Saturday, June 24, 2006

Corpus Christi

Last Sunday was Corpus Christi and being in the small mediterranean village of Sitges (where I used to spend every summer as a child), the festivities were quite special. I just wanted to share some pictures I took of the procession and the wonderfully detailed "catifas", exquisite carpets made of flowers, mostly carnations.

This was the first-prize winner of the catifas:

The design was taken from Andalusian tiles housed in a nearby museum.

The second prize winner:

"Sitges", the Catalan flag and Santiago Rusiñol, a local painter author, and playwright. This year is the 100th anniversary of his birth making it the "any Rusiñol".

Look at how cute the palettes are!

It is a shame to see these time-consuming yet ephemeral works of art destroyed by the same procession-but alas, that's the way it goes.

Here is one of the lovely giants impersonating a Catalan Medieval King.

An enchanting Turkish Queen,

And here are the proud Catalan regents. When they began to move along the procession they looked eerily alive. I don't really know where this tradition comes from... perhaps the citizens had always viewed royalty in such a lofty way that the only way to depict them or impersonate them would have to be as giants. That way one could be sure of gaining the people's respect and awe.

A pause in the procession...

I thought this little boy was sooo adorable! Look at his cute catalan espadrilles.

While witnessing all this I felt like I was in a scene from "The Talented Mr. Ripley", the Virgin Mary emerging from the transparent waters of the Mediterranean, and the supersitious inhabitants so lovingly recreating the same rituals year after year.
Beautiful. Spooky. Magical. Both spiritual and material. Tradition doesn't die in these villages; past and future become one.

Saturday, June 03, 2006 New York

Here are the New York recommendations as promised, but first of all a special thanks to Newyorkdely of Sprezzatura for being a wonderful host and guide to the Big Apple, if it weren't for her I wouldn't be writing about these fabulous places.

Cafés & Restaurants Etc.

Café Sabarksy- located at the Neue Gallery ( a collection of German and Austrian Art). This Viennese café exudes an air of sober elegance with its high ceilings, wainscotting and views of the park. The food is delicious and if you're lucky the pianist will arrive and add a bit of magic to the refined surroundings.

Café Tacci- An unpretentious locale, serving passable Italian food, surprises with live Opera. With the candlelight and the music, it's almost embarrassingly romantic if you're on a date but it is definitely something different.

Via Quadronno and Botttega del Vino- For the best espresso and paninis look no further, these revered establishments are of high quality and the décor feels authentic unlike so many other places... you'd swear you're in Italy!

Balthazar and Pastis- they are what the French would call "les incontournables" it's almost mandatory to pay your respects to both of these temples of worship when in Manhattan. The food is nothing special I have to say, though Balthazar is slightly better than Pastis. Both are very trendy so go there for the scene and enjoy it! You might see Jude Law and Sienna Miller there (are they together again or did they break up? Who knows!)

If you're still craving something sweet swing by the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker St. For those "Sex & the City" fans, Carrie and Miranda devour cupcakes in an episode where Miranda questions her relationship with Steve, wait isn't that every episode? Oh and they go to Pastis on several occasions in the last season.

Rice to Riches- An "awesome" psychedelic locale owned by Moby in Nolita which offers all kinds of rice pudding... it's quite a novelty and the plastic container and spoon are sooo cool!

And if you can...

-Have a picnic in Central Park under the cherry blossoms
-Buy your groceries at Agata & Valentina's like other gourmet New Yorkers
-Watch foreign films at the Paris theater
-Shop at the Patricia Field (costume designer for "Sex & the City) store, you might see her there, I did!!

- Get a shiatsu massage for $15 and a manicure for $7
-See the Whitney Biennial and write down the names of artists that speak to you
-Visit the Frick and imagine you live there
-Walk very very fast or very very slowly
-Go to the Met rooftop when you're tipsy and flirt with a security guard, no I have not done this but it sounds like fun.
-Get invited to French Tuesdays and practice your french while partying
-Go to Whole Foods and buy Emergen'C
-Get lost at the Met, extra points if tipsy
-Refresh your eyes at Moma
-Take lots and lots of pics!!!

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