Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Paul Paiement

I recently worked on an art auction (actually, I lived, breathed, slept, dreamt, sweated and fretted an art auction for six months), and the end result was a lovely event. But for Eric and me, the event brought three new works of art into our collection. Thought I should take a little time to talk about the three artists, so let's start with Paul Paiement!

Paul lives and works right around the corner from us in Long Beach, but his recognition is much broader. He had a solo show at Laguna Art Museum a couple years ago, so he's very much an established artist. We're just lucky enough to have him living in the LBC! He's also an art professor at Cypress College in Cypress, CA, and also its gallery director.

Paul is perhaps best-known for his "hybrid" series, where he depicts insects that are on the verge of morphing into a computerized, digitized creature. They are so beautiful, at once embracing nature and technology. The piece above is the lovely watercolor we acquired at the art auction.

Paul recently finished a large-scale installation for Heather Marx and Steve Zavattero (Paul is rep'd in SF at Heather Marx Gallery. They hired San Francisco filmmaker Jim Sottile to document the making of the piece, check it out, it's a really cool project.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

LB in the NY Times

Well looky there, word is spreading that Long Beach is actually kinda cool! Thank you, New York Times, for giving us a little recognition! Think we'll see a surge of NY Times-reading shoppers? Hope they don't come any time soon, as the smoky, ashy air will drive them away real quick.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fundraiser for Kime Buzzelli

This Thursday, Oct. 18, there is a fundraiser at the Echo for the LA artist Kime Buzzelli, who just had surgery to remove three tumors (from her kidney, I think?). I hate to miss this fundraiser, but alas we'll be in Austin so the best I can do is spread the word. Click here to view her blog, where you can see some of her work as well as read some of her touching and funny accounts of tackling these tumors.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Two more Mexico clips

Just wanted to share a couple more clips. The first: Bob waxing poetic on "turtle oil" as he drove us to Fisherman's Beach, and the second: the gorgeous sunset waves at Fisherman's Beach.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Casa Bentley in Todos Santos, Mexico

Eric and I were persuaded by cheap airfare to jet down to Mexico for a few days. The cheap seats were to San Jose del Cabo at the southern tip of Baja - we've been there before, and it's certainly lovely, but I wanted to seize the opportunity to, at last, visit the "artist colony" of Todos Santos. I'd been through TS years ago on a bus, during an epic Mexico journey with Tamita, and had wanted to return ever since.

Even though it's a relatively easy day of travel - two hour flight, cab ride to the bus station, then a two hour bus ride - it still feels quite adventurous. We pulled into Todos Santos at about 8:30 pm, it was pitch dark out, we had no idea where we were, and our Spanish lessons of years ago have dramatically faded (much to my embarrassed chagrin!!). We managed to stumble on the Hotel California (ever immortalized by the Eagles) and found a nice English-speaking waiter who gave us directions to our hotel, the Casa Bentley: "Turn left at the church and walk down the hill. When the road dead ends at the dark, unpaved road, turn right, and it's a little ways down on the right. Ignore all the dogs in the road." Oy.

At this point, we were very tired and VERY sweaty; it was surprisingly hot, and I had visions of cold, limey Tecates dancing in my head. It was so tempting to belly up to the Hotel California bar, but you know how you just can't relax until you get checked into your hotel? So off to the dark unpaved road we went, walking slowly like turtles with our backpacks.

At last, we made it to Casa Bentley. We walked through its front gates, and stumbled on paradise. The barking of dogs was our first greeting, followed by a chipper "Hello! I was worried about you!" from Bob Bentley, the hotel's proprietor and chipper, Santa-of-Cabo sort of guy. He let us know that whenever the hotel's five dogs start barking, just yell "Hi Heidi!" and they'll pipe down. He showed us to our room - the Dolphin Suite - pointed out the pool, handed us a couple of Tecates, and told us the Hotel California would be serving dinner for another hour.

Bliss! The full moon was the night before, so it shone incredibly bright onto the rocky walls of the Bentley. After a quick dinner and margarita (both kind of mediocre and overpriced, by the way) at the Hotel California, we took a moonlight swim back at the Bentley, and suddenly we were reminded what is so great travel. Our room was huge, cool and beautiful, with an enormous private patio and gurgling fountain outside the window.

It was still down season in Baja; a mere two weeks away the high season would begin, but for the time being Todos Santos - and Casa Bentley - were very, very quiet. Although I'd love to visit TS again when the throngs of art-loving crowds pack into the town's numerous galleries, for this visit all of the peace and quiet was pretty much perfect. Aside from Todd and Susan, friends of Bob's who frequent the Bentley, and who are building a home nearby, we had the hotel to ourselves, and it was like staying at someone's fabulous home; technically it is Bob's home, and he just saves all the best rooms for his friends and guests. Todd and Susan left on our second day, so it was just us, Bob, his trusty helper Beatrice (a lovely woman from Switzerland) and the five dogs: Jacque, Heidi, Mojo, Matilda, and Symyra. The dogs were all sweet and friendly and, miraculously, flea-free.

Check out Bob, chatting during our ride to the beach that weekend:

Bob, a former geology professor from Oregon, has been working on Casa Bentley for more than 20 years. Scattered throughout the rock walls are precious childhood mementos: stone that he gathered with his father as far back as the 1930s. He's full of stories and geology lessons - he explained how Baja was formed, what's going to happen to it in the future, the basics of plate tectonics, and why developers basically suck.

Todd and Susan kindly offered to take us to one of the nearby beaches, along with all the pups, for sunset. What awaited us was one of the most beautiful and least populated beaches I've ever seen. Perfect white sand, clear blue water, and nothing but a couple of shrimp boats in the sea (no oil drilling! no tanker ships!) We all applauded after a perfect sunset...the sun looked like it just melted into the ocean.

We returned to another beach, Fisherman's Beach, a couple of days later with Bob and the pups. Another gorgeous beach, another jaw-dropping sunset, this one with clouds and spectacular pink rays emanating from behind. This was a common site, Bob's standard poodle Jacque careening past us:

These beaches are about a ten minute drive from the hotel - there are places to stay near the water, but we opted to be walking distance from town instead. There were times when a car would have been handy to explore the area, to check out all the beaches, but that's where a return trip is in order.

Even though it was slow season, there were enough restaurants and shops open for us to spend a little time exploring Todos Santos every day. We had our favorite breakfast joint (Caffé Todos Santos) our favorite place to buy beer and tequila, our favorite taco stand (there are many!), and even our favorite pizza place (Il Giardino). Bob's waiting for you, under the huge rubber tree, near all the mango trees by the pool. If you're lucky, you'll hear the same words from him we heard upon our departure: "You're the kind of people I like!"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Quick Mexico glimpse

I'll soon write about our trip to Todos Santos, but for now here's a hilarious little highlight...