Friday, December 30, 2011

A rose will bloom...

...and then will fade

If you had been at the great Stazione Centrale last night, an Art Deco masterpiece, you would have found me sunkissed, content and loaded down with shopping bags full of cheeses(yes it's true, Carrick), produce, speck, part of a gigantic panettone and other delights from my trip to the snowy Dolomites.  They were spectacular, something impossible to capture on film...but I'll talk about that trip next year.

As we travel into the next year, it's impossible not to think of the changes that have happened in our lives.  Can you believe it will be 2012?  No.  I can't either.  If we go back ten years, we were still living in the recent memory of the Twin Towers falling, I was in High School, hating life and everyone in it, wishing I was 10 years older. 

I can gladly say my outlook has changed for the better, but I'm also pleased that I've fulfilled what age 15 Daniel wanted in life!  If you had asked me then: Where would you like to be in 10 years?  I would have either rolled my eyes and continued reading my book, or I'd say, 'I dunno Italy, France, London? I'd like to live in Europe for sometime or New York.' 

It's nice to look back and say you've accomplished your goals, Lord knows there are about a million others unfulfilled.  I wonder what next year will bring you and I?  Let's hope it's another goal answered.

Images from my recent trip to the stunning city of Verona

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Artecchino moderno

I'm sick in bed, nursing myself with funny youtube clips, tea, and Strangers with Candy episodes, pondering how in the world am I going to teach for four hours tonight.  If I die on one of my students at least I'm going out the way I want.

This week I've officially made my residency here at the Commune, which means free health care (hello dermatologist!), I can now buy a car (I'm not), but leaves me a bit sad saying good by to my Yankee roots.  I'm being entirely overdramatic, but it all feels very permanent. 

It is the final step you have to make with the legal immigration process here, so I feel like I've not only won a marathon, but an Iron Man championship or the Olympic Gold in Male Figure Skating!  One or the other!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

winter is coming

source: unknown

Monday, December 19, 2011

In the meantime, in between time...

...ain't we got fun?

'The Great Gatsby' brings back a shudder of memories, namely my 11th-Grade English teacher's large underbelly popping out from an oversized Tweetie T-shirt (she ruined a lot of books for me), but I love the film!  Well almost...everything but Robert Redford (go ahead throw some tomatoes at me).  It was filmed near my house, in Newport, where Great Gatsby Sunday's would be arranged and we could all tour Rosecliff feeling very nouveau riche, sipping Veuve, donning the latest Molyneaux.  Some of that may be be a daydream, but to see the image above gives me such great hope.  I think Baz Luhrmann will really be able to capture my favorite era, and maybe create (to me) an even more perfect Gatsby.

Image found at my new favorite blog: Fox and Flyte

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mount Stuart

Today was thankfully the last day of school for the next three weeks, and after the five hour exam on Wednesday, it's greatly needed!  I passed (not as high as I'd like) and am now in level B1 but feel I'm at that infamous learning-a-language plateau, where you learn so much and then just suddenly stop, whilst everything jumbles around inside your brain coming out in an incorrect way.  I hear this is normal, but it's a bit frustrating.  I'll take the next few weeks to sleep properly and hopefully allow everything to find the right place in my brain.

I've been looking on Easy Jet and Ryan Air's websites on a daily basis, dreaming of places to go for a weekend.  My options are endless and all for 15 Euros, cheaper than taking a train to Bologna!  Maybe England, to London for a book buying binge.  Or Ireland beckons, where I can discover my Hibernian roots in County Kerry.  Copenhagen, Marrakesh, Berlin, Prague, Stokholm: there's so little of the world I've really seen.  Or Scotland, where I could have a Highland Fling, and visit an ancestral estate like Mount Stuart, home of the Marquess of Bute.

For more photos of this stunning place: HERE

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Studio Peregalli

[Photo by Aurora Di Girolamo © The Invention of the Past: Interior Design and Architecture by Studio Peregalli, by Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli, Rizzoli New York, 2011]

On a dreary day like today, I'd love to crawl onto my couch (see above), skip work, make myself a cup of tea and finish my book....if only.  And if only that really was my sitting room.  Instead it's the masterwork of Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli of the Milanese architecture and design firm, Studio Peregalli.  Isn't it just perfection?

The other day I found their book The Invention of the Past in a local bookshop and was instantly spellbound.  It's filled to the brim with photos of their designs, each unique and painfully gorgeous.  Have you seen the book?  Have you known about Studio Peregalli for years?  Have I just been living under a rock?  Their office is near my school, I'm thinking of going in one day during the break, throw myself on their desk and beg for a job.  Ms. Rimini wears her hair in marcelled waves...even more reason to love them!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Venezia e' un pesce

Venice is a city full of contrasts, especially the light.  As dark and brooding as the nights are, as shadowy the corners are, there are moments of truly luminous light.  You walk through a dark alley and are emptied out into a piazza overlooking the lagoon, where the light is so brilliant you must blindly search your bag for your Persols.

This photo was an obvious mistake of overexposure, but I love how it came out.  Sometimes mistakes make the most dreamy photos, isn't it true? 

Now walk around the corner and you had better take off your occhiali.  This is the cavernous galleria housing the fish market, where I found some of the most fresh fish I've seen since the back of my father's boat.  Maybe we can try a local Tocai at that bacaro across the street?

Let's duck into the inumbrated palazzo of the great Fortuny.  Even the courtyard reflects his almost ghostly sense of style...

Now let's end the day on Giudecca, the outer island of Venice, where the true Venetian still lives, and where you can still find fishermen picking through their nets like back home, and where the salty smell of low tide makes you painfully homesick for Point Judith, which is something you never thought you'd ever say.

As you can see, I quickly became infatuated with Venice.  But I think it was it's relationship with the sea which I loved the most.  And as I told my parents in their postcard, 'You can take the boy out of New England, but you can't take the New England out of the boy...'

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

La Serenissima

Venice is beautiful at all times, but the nights, with their desolate streets, tiny alley ways, beautiful lights, blustery passages are what make Venice her most radiant.  There weren't many tourists when I was visiting due to the time of year, but when they left with the sun, the city completely changed.  In 'The Aspern Papers' Henry James wrote that Venice was like a large apartment, with it's streets as it's hallways, it's piazzas and courtyards it's rooms.  You never really leave the apartment.*  And that feeling really is true.  As I was walking down a tiny, dimmly-lit street back to my hotel (after a last minute decision to go to La Fenice!), passing an odd Venetian returning from work, it really felt like I was just in the back passage of an old villa passing a fellow worker.

I spent too long a time trying to capture the spirit with these pictures.  If you had been on the Grand Canal last week you would've found a boy laying stomach-down on a dock trying to set the shutter and capture a pleasant view at the same time.  But alas!  no one was around to find him there, which made him love the city even more.

*Read this lovely quote in 'Venice is a Fish' by Tiziano Scarpa.  If you go to Venice, I highly recommend you make this book your first companion as I did.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tra: The Edge of Becoming

Venice.  Venezia.  Venexia.

Are there words to describe this absolutely breathtaking city?  No, in fact the whole time I was wandering aimlessly through the salizade and calle I kept on trying to find the perfect word.  As of yet, nothing.

I'm still uploading and editing my photos so I'll share a little something I wasn't able to photograph.  The Palazzo Fortuny was hosting a show curated by Axel Vervoordt, and as he was so admired by my former employer I felt it my obligation to see what his show 'Tra' was all about.  First off, the Palazzo Fortuny is a crumbling (quite literally) palazzo where the great Renaissance man, Mariano Fortuny, set up shop creating sculpture, textiles, photography, paintings, clothing, architectural renderings, etc etc.  The man was a genious, and honestly I knew close to nothing about him before going.

The first floor was darkly lit, displaying a few pieces of art contrasting greatly, a modern video installation together with an ancient Southeast Asian sculpture etc.  The room was in Vervoordt's traditional Wabi Sabi style, old floorboards, dark walls, minimally earthy.  I was starting to feel a little disappointed, as much as I love him.

A corner of Fortuny's workplace, not during this Installation but gorgeous nonetheless

What awaited me, though, on the second floor, Mariano's studio, completely forced those thoughts out of my ignorant brain.   Fortuny's studio is a thing of beauty in itself.  Imagine his gorgeous textiles covering every inch of wall, while the Eastern lamps he designed hang from the ceiling.  But to add on top of that, Axel has filled the room with art from every time, every corner of the Earth, placing them in these beautifully lit rooms in a way I think only Fortuny could have thought up.  A Flemish masterpiece of the 17th century, next to a Kandinsky, next to a dress designed by Fortuny, next to surgical table filled with enlarged crystal organs. I was breathless, my heart was palpitating, I was wishing I was there with someone who would feel my same sentiments, clutching their arm lest I faint. 

Chen Zhen, Crystal Landscape of Inner Body (2000)

Room after room beckoned my exploration and it was a pity the museum was closing as I could have spent more hours trying, attempting to take it all in.  The final floor (I skipped one, interesting yes, but not significant) was the attic, with exposed beams, and Fortuny's first studio, before he gradually took over the entire Palazzo.  Among the sculptures of Man Ray, there was a labyrinth in the middle designed by Vervoordt himself.  Each tiny alley led you to something different all in his unique, inimitable style.

So do you want to go?  I wish I could take you with me all again, but alas! the installation ended this Saturday along with the rest of the Biennale.  I recommend you buy the book, something I think I will have to do at a later time.  I'm so glad I thought to visit the show right before it closed, powers within must have guided me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Return of the Soldier

A long, long time ago: last spring, when I was staying in Italy the first time, Thomas from My Porch, was kind enough to send me books in English.  They are not easy to come by, and my desperate suplication must have pulled some heartstrings because he sent over five books, all of interest to me, and not commonly found in Italian bookstores.  The bad news was once my visa expired, I had to escape into the night disguised as a gypsy, ruturning to United States unscathed, meanwhile the package of books arriving at my old apartment.  Such is life.  Imagine my excitement, though, where upon arriving not only did I get to pick up my old things, I also now had five new books in my possesion!

The first I picked one morning last week was 'The Return of the Soldier' by Rebecca West.  At first glance, I was sceptical.  I normally don't like war stories, and the cover made it look like a story similar to something my dad would read.  But how wrong I was!  Chris, a soldier of the Great War, returns home with no memory of the last 15 years.  Three women wait for him.  His cousin Jenny - the narrator of the story, Kitty, his wife of ten years, and Margaret, the woman he was in love with as a young man.  Imagine being Kitty, the wife of someone who has no memory whatsover of her looking on as her now childlike husband can't help showing affection to his young love.  This brief but incredibly beautiful story shows the struggle of doing what's right despite wanting something else.  Incredibly poignant and gripping - I nearly missed my stop twice whilst reading this.

Here is a quote I loved when Chris first returns home:

He was looking along the corridor and saying, 'This house is different.' If the soul has to stay in its coffin till the lead is struck asunder, in its captivity it speaks with such a voice.

I fell in love with this book, and am curious to read more Rebecca West, have you read any of her others?

*           *          *

Yesterday, I sneezed in class and one of my students enthusiastically said: CHEESE!  He meant to say 'Cheers' which still wasn't correct.

*          *          *

Tomorrow I'm going to Venice!  Taking classes, teaching and teaching equals a lot of giving of energy and no recieving.  As a closet introvert, I start to detest anyone who strikes up a conversation with me when this happens, which I hate about myself.  To aid this I'm off for a few days to somewhere I've always wanted to go, especially after reading 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.'  I'm bringing along 'Venice is a Fish,' an excellent book to reread written by a Venetian, 'Wings of the Dove,' by Henry James (I'm not sure this is a good idea-he bores me so) and some comedies by famous Venexiano, Carlo Goldoni!   A prossima settimana!

{Editor's note:  My friend Carrick (CC Blair the Younger) read this post and said it sounds like I'm having a mid-twenties crisis. Ha! Please don't think that...just a brief...moment of refreshment!}

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Sunday look-at-oneself in the mirror and other curiosities

Last week, as I mentioned earlier, I encountered this painting firsthand at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.  In the somewhat cavernous galleries of the collection, there we find Caravaggio's Basket of Fruit, lit up like the gem it already is, begging us to touch it even though the old security guard is breathing down our inquisative necks.  I, of course, didn't touch it and didn't have to.   It's beauty, luminosity and clarity really took my breath away, reaffirming my tempestuous love affair with Caravaggio.

Later at home, doing extensive research on him (on wikipedia) I found out how old he was when he painted this masterpiece.  Not the 50-something like I expected, not even 30-something.  He was 24 years old.  Twenty four.  Two four.  ie: My age.  How can someone be such a master of something at such a young age?  What did I do wrong?  Is being a master of something even on my horizon?  On anyone's horizon?  I'm not expecting answers, but if you do perchance have one or two, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A sojourn in the classroom

As most of you know, along with studying Italian, I've been supporting myself by teaching English.  I've been enjoying it more that I expected, and although at times draining, hunger-inducing and mind-knumbing, I'm wondering why I haven't been doing it longer.

Sometimes my students really make me laugh, and although it's wrong to laugh at their mistakes or when they say something funnily, I just can't help it.  Thankfully Italians are very easy to laugh themselves.  I have a group of students on Saturday mornings that are all about eight years old.  No one in the school wants to teach them, but they really make me laugh, so I take them gladly.  Especially since I have to teach the class in Italian, I get my ample share of being laughed at.

It can be humbling at times, though, humble for whom I don't know, but when I'm correcting a Milanese man who owns a multi-million euro company, I can't help but feel a bit sympathic for him.  Here I am, 25 years old, correcting his "I don' will know when to happen," where by day he is in control of hundreds of people around the world.

Last night, I was playing a group activity with basic-intermediate English, with the group divided into two teams.  They had to complete simple sentences, "I was brought up..." what's the past participle of 'buy,' spell "proficient," etc etc.  The turn was to a dark, Sicilian security guard, very manly with a very strong resemblence to Jon Lovitz.  I asked:  "I used to be...?"
After one minute of silence he responded:
"I used to be... blonde."

I seriously almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard, and the whole class was on the floor with me, including the serious Russian with the Hermes bag who never smiles.  Moments like that, stupid as they are, really make everything worth it.

Image: NYPL

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Suzanne Jongmans

...So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea....

-'Annabel Lee,' Poe

Some Poe to accompany gorgeous photographs by Dutch artist, Suzanne Jongmans.  Vermeer would be proud.  For more, please go heerwarts

Monday, November 14, 2011

Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore

Sometimes you need to give a book a second chance, just like anything else.  When I first read 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller,' it was the middle of the summer in Rhode Island.  With good reason I had a hard time getting through it.  In fact it lay unfinished on my shelf for years.  Now that I'm here in Italy, in country that at this very moment has no government, the book couldn't be more perfect.  This book celebrates the reader, reading, books and everything exciting about the written word.  It also celebrates the confusion of living in Italy.  'You' the reader find a book, but unfortunately after finishing it's first chapter realize it's unfinished.  When you start another, that book also changes after the first gripping chapter.  And so on and so on.  Confusing?  Of course, but Calvino so brilliantly writes 10 first chapters in completely different styles, each capturing you in it's pages.  I think I appreciated it so much because it reminded me of everyday life here.  For everything thing you apply for, with seemingly perfect papers in hand, always leads to a chase for something missing.  I really loved this book, and as my friend Anzie is proof, you don't need to be in Italy to love it...but it helps.

A nice quote about the joy of reading, for you dear readers always stuck in a book:

In other words, it's better for you to restrain your impatience and wait to open the book at home.  Now. Yes, you are in your room, calm; you open the book to page one, no, to the last page, first you want to see how long it is.  It's not too long, fortunately.  Long novels written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time each of which goes off along in its own tragectory and immediately disappears.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beatrice d'Este

Duchessa di Milano, Ambrogio di Predis

A brief glimpse of what I found the other day at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.  An amazing gallery and library started in 1618 by Cardinale Borromeo, it also houses a huge collection of Leonardo's works, including the Codex Atlanticus.  On display in an ancient room filled with books you can't help but be impressed by Leonardo's brilliance.  Maybe it's just me but I always sort of pass by Leonardo, 'Oh yes, Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, I know I know' but seeing all of his detailed astronomical sketches, his neat but illegible notes, made me want to know so much more about him.  How many times, I wonder, have I missed an opportunity to learn about him?  I'm determined to discover more about him, and also Cardinale Borromeo and his clan, the Visconti family, and the Sforzas.  It's hard to walk down a street in Lombardy and not pass something owned, built or conquered by these three families.  Even my header: The Isole Borromeo (above) are still owned by the Borromeo family!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dove sei!?

What's my excuse for not blogging?  There are too many to count!  But in order to not sound repetitive and dull, we move on.  Not only is my new apartment warm, cozy, overlooking a courtyard of trees, but it has the internet which means regular blog posts will be the norm.

I wish I could say my life has been filled with days shopping Via Spiga, enjoying an aperitivo on the Navigli, then enjoying a dinner of prawns, Emma Recchi-style at Cracco Peck but it has all been much less glamorous.  Just now, things have finally settled down and I seem to be able to breath.  New job, new school, new responsibilities, endless paperwork and new apartment all equaled one big headache, but it's pretty much all taken care of now, and I can now enjoy myself.

Milan is one of those cities where you find something new and beautiful everyday.  Unlike Rome, Venice or Florence where the beauty is all upfront and ready to see, you have to look for it in Milan.  On a daily basis I find a new stunning courtyard to peak into, I hear about another museum or church I must visit, or pass by a new pasticcieria where a brioche filled with chocolate cream is waiting for me.  It's a rainy day today, only the beginning of a rain-filled winter, but it adds to the Gothic feel of it.  (Being one who terminally looses umbrellas, though, not so romantic) There are so many things I want to see, and not just in Milan.  Scattered around the city are great little towns filled with hidden gems, and with my monthly All Lombardy Pass, I'm going to try and explore as many as possible.  Won't you join me?

The rain has abated a bit, I'm going to run to the store to buy a drying rack for my clothes, and some tea and eggs!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Maurguerite Burnat-Provins, Confiance

Ciao tutti!  Vivo! 

Sorry for the delay in posting, but alas! moving to another country is never easy.  This time seems to be especially trying as I'm staying for a long time and getting all my paperwork in within a short time has been near impossible.  You who have been here understand the glass windows, the evil government workers, the endless lines to nowhere, etc. etc.  The positive side is I feel much more confident with my Italian, which helps me be a bit more assertive even able to crack a joke with the lady taking care of my Permesso di Soggiorno which went over well.  I'm also forcing myself to be independant, refusing to beg my Italian friends for their assistence.

There is so much I want to share, but it will come with time but for a few hints we will first be discussing my Italian class, my landlord with a glass eye, Maurizio, my new job, where I've been living this month and soon to move: the Bat Cave and the Milanese.  But all with time.

I've been able to get some great shots of some people and places and a few minutes ago when I tried to upload the photos from my camera, just realized I didn't back the cord that connects to the USB.  Quelle Nightmare!  Can I buy one in a store or do I have to get someone to send me mine from home?

Monday, September 26, 2011

TWA Flight 686

By this time tomorrow, I'll be in flight (towards Washington DC at least) to my new home on the Continent!  Just typing that out makes me feel a little lightheaded.  I'm packing up my things at the moment, and not only am I the biggest procrastinator, hence the blog post, but I want to pack the most impractical things, ie: too many heavy books, my crystal champagne glasses, the imaginary Limoges, my Danish armchair, etc. etc.  Who wants to pack socks?!  In other exciting news the exchange rate for dollar has gone up, which means packing my forgotton underwear won't be as expensive on the Continent!

See you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Happy Anniversary

Sorry for not being around lately.  Blog and I were so enraptured this weekend, spending our time together celebrating our third anniversary together in honeyed ecstasy, exchanging the leather (the traditional third anniversary gift) Gucci loafers and passport holders until...we was only our second anniversary.

We laughed nervously - made eye-contact - then quickly looked away.

I thought it was three years?

Oh well!  We laughed and as we embraced both thought of something cotton we wanted (everything from Ovadia and Sons fall collection) that would be just as nice as the new leathergoods! Whew!  That was a close one.

Image is mine of the Gothic streets of Belgium from my first blog post

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Signs and such

I have talked about Ben Pentreath's blog before and I'm going to have to do it again.  He's just come back from a trip to Italy and has brought back with him gorgeous pictures of the countryside and especially scenes from Sicily.  He has captured for our pleasure the gorgeous typography found on street and building signs scattered around the island.  So many Art Deco samplings I'm on overload.  See more here.

Sicily is really one of the places I wanted to see when I was in Italy, and was supposed to visit my friends summer place there in August (plans made prior to knowledge of visa expiration).  When I return I want to experience these signs first hand, along with the food, the beaches, the pastures, the food, the crazy dialect and the food.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Visto per Studio

The other day when I announced my move to Italy, I had a bit of apprehension.  Was it too soon?  What if I didn't get my visa?  Did I just jinx myself?  Well, lads and ladies of the court, yesterday after a second attempt, I got my visa!  Last week when I went, the pseudo-Italian man at the Consulate flipped through my 500 pieces of required paperwork, wrote a lot of red writing, then looked at me gravely and said, "This is a 7 out of 10," and then proceeded to tell me that I needed two things changed a little bit.  I guess he's the dramatic one at the office.  Yesterday, a sweet lady at the counter licked her fingers, flipped through my papers in about 14 seconds and then said, "Your visa will be ready on Monday. NEXT!"

I feel like I've won an Oscar or something.  I just want to tell everyone I pass on the street.  It's a relief and a cause for celebration!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leyendecker's Glimpse

Leyendecker has done it again!  He managed to look into the future and catch a glimpse of what I look like getting dressed in the morning.  I don't know how he did/does it.

Sock garters are great...until it's 11 o'clock at night and you realized you've been wearing them for 16 hours.  That's the hour where, sitting at the restaurant table, I cross my legs, gracefully take them off and throw them in my bag, all the while keeping my party numb to my under-table-actions.  My calves whisper,
'Thank you!" as I exclaim, "Who wants another drink?" to muffle their gratitude.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer Salvation

I'm usually sad to see summer go but with an photograph like the above, how can you not look forward to what's in store?

Monday, September 5, 2011


by Maasaki Sasamoto

I don't know if I have ever wanted to jump into a painting, Mary Poppins and Bert-style, as much as I have with the specimen above.  For more of Sasamoto's mind-bending work go here...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Swedish September

I can't believe September is upon us!  Where did the summer go? 
Oh well- we move on.  Isn't this a perfect September room?  Light, airy and white for summer, but with the hardwoods and wood stove, you can see how cozy it will be on those chilly September nights.  Nights where you need the down comforter up to your neck and mornings where staying in bed for an extra two minutes are a necessity.

found at Old Chum

Monday, August 29, 2011

Breezin' Along with the Breeze

Josephine Baker has a way of making any day better.  Even if it's already one of those gorgeous blue end-of-summer days.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene the not so Terrible

We did it!  We lived through the Storm of the Century!  Or the one that was supposed to be.  Or the one that all of the news reporters had us in fear of our lives for the past week about.  In all serious, I'm happy it wasn't bad, just a bit spiteful that I'm still sore from boarding up the windows of the restaurant Saturday and sweating bullets in front of my cohorts.  One exciting thing about the coming storm was the eeriness before the storm.  The said drinkable humidity climbing, the empty streets in a normally bustling seaside community, the fog swirling around shingled buildings and over black calm water, and walking down to the water with an ice cream cone watching a lone surfer barely through the fog.  I had a strange drink the night before which may have induced my weary dreaminess but it was all very ethereal.  As the wind whips outside the windows right now, I hope all of you are safe, and that you got some quality rest and free time during this little tempest.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Art of the Translation

Italo Svevo

As I finished reading Zeno's Conscience the other night, I couldn't help but think, how does one take a piece of literature and transform it into something of another language?  All while keeping it's true flow and feeling?  As someone who has a hard time reading a language I can speak fairly, the task seems overwhelming, but William Weaver was the translator for La Conscienza di Zeno, and he did a brilliant job.  I actually had the Italian version next to my English and at times would cross over to see how he would do something.  It takes a brilliant brain to accomplish the task he did.  You already may be blessed with his translations.  Do you have Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino or Alberto Moravia in your library?  Take a look, most are translated by William Weaver.

I found a fascinating interview with him in the Paris Review.  His friendship with Frank O'Hara, the experience of moving to Rome before all the Americans and living with a literary crowd there left me breathless and entralled.  But his description of how he translates blew my mind.  So much goes into it, and how he relates it to performance art is nothing less than brilliant.


Might you say that your interest in performance is related to your work in translation? After all, translating is staging a written performance, an interpretation of a text.

At Bard College, when you give a course the head of the department or the division always says, Now, how can this be crosslisted? And they said, What about your translation workshop? And as a joke I said, Performing Arts. But you’re right. It is a performing art. In fact, when I’m translating sometimes I literally act out words. I was once alone in my study in the country, and I got to this word, sgomento, and I thought, Well, how do we say that in English? There is a word. I know the word exists, but I can’t think of it! And I started acting sgomento, sort of putting my hands in my hair and widening my eyes. Signor Bassi, the postman, who was also the bass drum player in the village band, came in with a special delivery letter and saw me with a weird expression on my face. And I looked up, and I thought, Oh, Signor Bassi’s aghast. And I thought, Sgomento—aghast! I quickly wrote it down, and I never bothered to explain to him what I was doing. This simply confirmed the local opinion that I was nuts.

If you get a chance take a look at the whole interview -HERE-

Friday, August 19, 2011

"There’s nane that gaes by Carterhaugh...

...but they leave him a wad"

Won't you stay for tea?  We have Tam Lin to learn by firelight.

images found at Belgian Pearls

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Lamentation

One of the many brilliant illustrations by Liza Corbett.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Waxing Gibbous

I've been feeling especially batty this week and not sure if it's because I've had this song stuck in my head since I woke up Monday morning.  That or our moon phase which will change over the weekend and hopefully bring about some much needed sanity.  Any one else feeling the same this week?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An Interview in the Garden

Wouldn't you love to hear what Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey were discussing on that lovely bench in the garden?  And who's that in the foreground listening in?

I don't know if we'll ever know... but if you'd like to know what Nick Campbell of Pile of Leaves and I discussed in his imaginary garden please read HERE

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Antonio Berardi Pre-Fall

I realized I don't really talk about fashion much on here, despite some fashion history every once in a while, but in another life it was all I ever talked about, thought about or cared about.  A lot has changed since then, but I still love it.  Especially when I find a collection like this Pre-Fall Collection from Sicilian Londoner Antonio Berardi that captures everything I'm in love with.

It's just the right amount of Art Deco Glamour paired with the perfect dose of Futurism, which actually works perfectly with that time.  I also love that so much in the collection one could actually wear.

I think Rob Marshall should keep this collection in mind when he finally finds the Nora for his Johnny Depp-Nick when he remakes 'The Thin Man.'  Marion Cortillard is rumoured to fill the roll.  Spot on, I'd say.

From by way of this is glamorous