Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Frivolous Nutmeg Fix- The Julie and Julia Movie (A Blog-Blast to the Past!)

Hi!  So this is a little something I stumbled upon when I was browsing through the archives of my Myspace weblog- written some 3 years ago when I was a ridiculous newbie in New York celebrating my mid 20s.  It was written in the lovely confines of my yellow studio apartment in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.  My mini fridge was my companion, and a hot plate my secret weapon.  I lived like a monk (I think), but enjoyed the simple life nonetheless.  There was enough chaos trying to get used to the city as it was.  I must say I'm a little humored by the random $%it that went on in my head, and quite certainly nothing has changed (ha!).  Please forgive the past me, I didn't care about editing or flow back then.  Enjoy!   Xxx, LA

My Frivolous Nutmeg Fix- The Julie and Julia Movie
Current mood:hungry

Dear Reader,

Not too long ago, I saw the movie Julie and Julia with the girls, and that same night (by sheer coincidence of course) we entertained ourselves with an extremely sensational French dinner. "Julie and Julia" is about the life of Julia Child written in tandum by a chef-fan of hers, Julie (...I forgot her last name). Julie, one frustrated day after work, decides to start a project to cook at least one recipe from Julia Child's book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", for a year. That's roughly over 500 recipes for 365 days. That whole year, each day, she writes a blog about her adventures. It puts a strain on her diet, her marriage, her job, and mental stability. She also gets mis-understood by Julia Child herself over a midnight phone call. In the end she learns to bone a duck and is chased by magazine companies, publishers, and movie producers, all inspired by her blog. She realizes after a whole year of cooking, loving/hating her life, and eating, the Julia Child in her mind was the one who inspired her all along.

I don't consider myself a follower, and I've always written or mentally reflected on my cooking. It's one of my many passions. In fact, I think I spend more money on food and have more fun in grocery stores than I do in clothing stores. Why? Am I a normal female? Of course not, but then again, please my dear Reader, define "Normal"! I don't know if I'm good at it. I'm certainly not formally trained....that is, if you consider your mother and television a form of proper training...

This evening, with much respect to the culinary world, I'd like to write about a recipe I saw in the movie which I rendered into my own version. I "rendered (it) into my own version" because I didn't have butter (SHOCKER!!). =) In the movie, almost every recipe of Julia Child had butter. The recipe is Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce over Toast paired with Asparagus.

The Experiment

The first thing I did the morning after watching that hilarious movie “Julie and Julia” was search my mini-fridge for eggs and bread. It was a craving. Two days prior, I had returned from a trip to the Philippines, so my mini had absolutely nothing except for eggs (thank goodness), moldy celery, parmesean cheese, a water filter/pitcher, a box of carrot soup, and no butter.....of all things! I also realized that my freezer tray was not only purged of its usual mountainous collection of frost, but all its contents, and anything perishable, was thrown away by my landlord. I was then reminded I DID have butter, but that along with a serious bunch of fruit and vegetables were tossed.....except for the celery!!

I started my task of making poached eggs with toast and hollandaise sauce.....rendered my own way...with no butter. It seemed that butter was the key ingredient for Hollandaise sauce. On the other hand, I had no desire to put on a pair of jeans, a bra, and flip-flops to the corner market to spend the Boerum Hill price of $7.00 on bread, butter, and the way, I think asparagus was out of season. I did, however, have a box of carrot soup which contained a small amount of butter; and I did also have a leftover roll of white bread from my flight back from the Philippines!

Here we go! I poached two eggs, which was easy-shmeezy. The salted water with egg whites was saved for a Chinese Velvet Egg Soup which would be made for dinner that evening. While all this was happening, I halved the roll, cut off the rounded end, and popped all three pieces in the toaster oven. I cracked another egg, poured the whites in the eggy-salty broth, and whisked the yolk in a small bowl. In another small bowl, I heated roughly 1/3 cup of the carrot soup and a teaspoon of rice vinegar (yes rice vinegar....that's all I had, sorry).....

*Side Note: I thought to myself as I was doing all this that a sauce was a sauce was a sauce....Salted butter is traditionally used in Hollandaise Sauce to provide moisture, fat, and an oily texture to carry the egg yolk. Vinegar was traditionally added to give the sauce a little zest, extra moisture, and a chemical-thickening agent for the butter and egg. Once the butter and vinegar are heated together under medium-low heat, the cream in the butter curdles and thickens. When the egg yolk (once whisked) is added gradually to the butter mixture under low heat, that also thickens, and PRESTO! You have Hollandaise sauce!

Now (with the "sauce is a sauce" concept), since I had no butter, I heated the carrot soup (which was already thick from the butter, cream, and carrot starch) together with vinegar. Once hot, I gradually stirred in the whisked egg yolk under low heat and removed it from the hot plate. At this point, the toast was done, so I spread out the toast, and placed the poached eggs. Next, I took the toasted round end, sliced it into four strips and saved them for later.

I checked the carrot-hollandaise sauce. It was thick, but tasted like it needed a kick. I added a little sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parmesean cheese.....still it lacked that kick. Finally, took a sniff of the carrots in the bowl and thought of Christmas and nutmeg!! I usually added nutmeg to carrots to bring out the sweet root flavor. I added the spice, taste-checked it, and it was perfect!!

The (still hot) poached eggs were topped with the carrot-nutmeg hollandaise sauce. Two strips of toasted rounds were arranged on top of each for some architecture. Very satisfied, I dashed a little more parmesean and herbal seasoning for aesthetic, and....DONE!!!! Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce (sans the asparagus)!


I normally eat every meal with some sort of vegetable. (What about the asparagus!?) I gave myself the excuse that I was still trying to get over the stomach flu, which was contracted from my trip to the Philippines....Ex-nay on the fiber-nay! However, I also was not supposed to be eating cream and butter....tisk tisk! To be even more evil, I had that very delicious French dinner the night before (Crimini Mushrooms in a cream sauce, served over a French puff-pastry....oh OH!)....Oh well! =)

Seated at my fold-out table, I sliced a piece and sampled the flavors and textures. The toasted bread crunched and moistened nicely with the warm creamy poached egg. The parmesean cheese was carried through by the egg sauce, then a kick of zesty herb, and finally finished with the carrot and nutmeg! At the end of everything, it was the nutmeg that saved the day! Who knew! It took me fifteen minutes to finish. I was thinking about the various ways I could have made this...perhaps leave out the herbs and just use nutmeg and cloves?.....

After having just two poached eggs and 8 ounces of water, I was full! That was curious....

*Side Note: I recalled a book I had read- "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Miriele Guiliano. I mentioned her in one of my previous blogs. Basically, she emphasizes that portion control is a great factor to keeping slim. Additionally, using quality ingredients and meditating on food helps maximize the impact of the meal. To be frank, it means slowing down, eating less (you'll feel 80% full, but you're actually 100%), and thinking about your food so you'll feel more satisfied. Having a conversation and some wine also helps. ;)

I'm sure you've also heard that it usually takes your stomach 20 minutes to realize it's full. With that in mind, I realized I did just that. I meditated on my food for 15 minutes, drank my water (with my vitamins- a contradiction on French gastronomy- but I won't tell if you don't!...I'll explain this in another blog), and washed my dishes. All together this took 25 minutes and I was not hungry.

In the End

In the end, I could have used better-quality ingredients. I also could have just put on some jeans, a bra, flip-flops, and spent that $7.00 to ensure a balanced meal. Then again, everyone has days like that right? It's not a crime to be lazy. It's also not a crime to prepare whatever is in your mini-fridge right?
I think I now have a frivolous nutmeg fix. My next experiment will include nutmeg in a Bolognese Ragu sauce. I got the inspiration from a book I'm currently reading called "Heat" by Bill Buford. I don't feel afraid of adding cloves and lime either! Read the book. You'll love it! If not, you'll at least feel a craving for authentic Italian food. I did.

To me, cooking means being adventurous- to try everything and anything to create an exciting meal or stick to budget. It means scientific experimentation and human guinea pigs. I suppose many have died from these excursions, but thankfully we have great masters to teach us the ways. In a sense, we're being humanitarians- we work hard to save people's lives! In Julie's case, it was her vision of Julia Child who helped her get past rough times. I hope I don't kill anyone in the future with my culinary experiments. If I had, I guess you wouldn't be able to tell me now would you?

As always, thanks for reading! It surely means a lot to me, and I hope I had entertained or lightened your day in one way or another. I'll write to you later!

Lesley Ann

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Work New York (Projects in Scope: Life-Drawing, Terreform ONE, Trudy Miller/Layers, Spectacle Theater, and the Malapit Residence Garden)

Dear Reader,

Last Thursday, as Izzy and I were waiting for the (evil) G Train to come by and truck us away from the Gowanus district in Brooklyn (we had just finished seeing Slow Club, Air Waves, and Chalk + Numbers at the Bell House), she asked me, "So why do you want to stay in New York?".  She had asked me this because I'm currently searching for employment, and to be honest I could easily pack my bags and go back to California.  I took a long sigh and thought to myself how loaded that question was.  The answer was a jumbled mess in my head, but I guess it all boiled down to, "Because I feel like I could grow here, and I need seasons; I feel like I was designed for cold weather, and things feel more real here.  I have friends and networks, and I'm not ready to leave just yet.". 

Quite certainly, I feel I could get the art and design scene back in California, but to be honest, I'm tired of moving.  I need to stay put, especially with all the traveling I've been doing in Europe.  Besides, there are some awesome design and research firms here that I'm elated to work with/for.  Please don't be confused- I'm not the stereotypical emmigrant who moved to New York to pursue her dreams and become masked by the limelight of admiration on every superficial level possible.  No, really, I don't care.  I just want to be busy, and happy with what I do; and if love and appreciation comes with the work, then GREAT!  I'll be humbled, and encouraged to push further. If not, I'll just shrug (maybe cry a little), and be humbled yet again.  As always, I'll be moving forward.

Now, speaking of moving forward, since I have the time, I've been filling my schedule with all sorts of personal and pro-bono projects.  I'm doing this because it keeps me focused on something positive, something productive; and who knows, maybe I'll land something next week.  I've probably sent out at least a dozen applications to corporate and boutique offices in New York, as well as freelance opportunties in both the US and the UK.  I've also signed up with an employment agency, and I've spread the word out to my friends and provided samples of my work, references, and a link to my webpage.  I suppose you can say I've done all I could for now, and will continue doing so until the time is right to stop.  In a way, I feel at peace knowing that despite all the twists life has given me, doing my best is enough, and I could let go of whatever it is that's holding me back.  Now, dear Reader, don't think I'm super-human for thinking this way.  I'm not.  I tell myself this, and to you, because I'm validating it both in my mind and on the screen.  It reminds me to keep going- and in a way you're helping me along.

With all the applications I've got rolling, here are the side projects I'm currently working on, and will be working on in the near future:

1)  Malapit Residence Garden 
I'll have to be honest and admit that this project is way past due.  You see, Mom assigned me this early last year, and I have postponed working on it for so many valid (and unvalid) reasons:  I was in graduate school, I was looking for employment and sorting out my student loans, it was the Holidays, I moved out to New York.  I have to admit, Mom doesn't deserve to be treated this way, so before April (and before her birthday), I'm aiming to get it designed and built.  Mom has even taken 3 weeks out of work to get it all done (which means the whole family will be her laborers hahaha!), so I can't faff around.  Now that I've got my job applications sent out, I've freed up enough time to hammer this out in a week.  No pressure eh?

2) Malapit Design Website
Seriously, I'm not at all too happy with the title "Malapit Design".  It sounds boring!  Yet, I can't wrap my head around it right now- got too much stuff to do.  Any suggestions dear Readers?  The stuff you see on is really just a site for samples and a quick profile.  I had a proper website going, but had to put it on hold when I started and stopped working full-time.  Now that there's a bit of time, I've been incrementally improving the new one.  I've been thinking about new ways I could boost my portfolio and market myself; though to be completely transparent, since this is something I'm trying to do on my own, I'm finding it difficult to step outside of my thoughts and see myself objectively.  I think I'll be needing some help in the future- someone I could brainstorm with.

3) Trudy Miller/ Layers
Trudy is a wonderful friend of mine who I did some volunteer work for before I moved to Scotland 2 years ago.  She is an architect, a zero-waste clothing designer, and more appropriately a "Solutionista".  You could say we share similar ideals when it comes to global consumerism, and quite honestly we're annoyed at how little people know about their responsibilities toward our environment.  Granted we are not saints ourselves, and I definitely don't want to sound preachy; but the book she is working on (and I will help her format) will discuss the social experiments she conducted using her zero-waste clothing line, as well as share new ideas about being a "solutionista".  I haven't started helping her yet, there are still many side projects to get out of the way.  Quite certainly though, this will help both of us compartmentalize our thoughts and values regarding the aforementioned topics. 

4) Spectacle Theater - Movie Posters Scoping
(Plus a brief story about Anti-Valentine's Day)
Last Valentine's Day, Jessica, Izzy, and I went to the Spectacle Theater to watch some Anti-Valentine's Day movies.  Maybe we were cynics about v-day that evening, or at least I was considering that Valentine's Day was formed to celebrate the lives of several early Christian martyrs, who died a few hundred years after Christ's death....And guess what?  Their names happened to be Valentine (or variations of it).  To go further into it, I was also crestfallen when I read that the romance associated with the holiday didn't come until circa Geoffrey Chauser's time in the High Middle Ages when courtly love (among members of the royal family and their associations) was all the rage.  It then evolved into the exchange of poetry, chocolates, and cards (like we know today) around the 15th century; and became a major industry in Europe and America centuries after.  Yes, I did read a book or two discussing the holiday (but not in depth, thank God), and I did fill a few gaps using Wikipedia (geek!).  To be honest, I've always been curious about the holiday, and I have much to owe to it- after all, I got 50% off my red bedsheets from Target during their V-Day sale.  The main point I'm trying to say is if I'm going to celebrate Valentine's Day, I might as well do it my own way since it's been altered so much already. 

Nonetheless, the movies were well-chosen for the Anti-V-Day theme, namingly "We Will Not Grow Old Together" (  .  I must have felt annoyed at times at Catherine for staying with Jean, and then did a 180 and felt simply righteous for her when she left him.  Goodness knows we've all been in relationships like that before.  I felt the film explored every aspect of love- lust, eros, compassion, abuse.  It felt raw, and that pretty much summed up what I was interested in seeing that night.  Troy, the curator of the Spectacle Theater, was more than accomodating with his mysterious and ginormous bag of the darkest chocolate you could ever sink your teeth into.  Scientifically speaking, the darker the chocolate is, the more phenylethylamine (or love chemical) you'll get.  And if you add how much caffeine is in dark chocolate, you could understand why it's such an awesome treat to have on Valentine's Day, hint hint.  I must say it didn't work for me- I went home that night and slept without even thinking.  I must have been tired from all the walking I was doing that day.  Quite certainly it helped others though.  I observed there was much flirting among friends in other groups that night. =)

Visiting the theater however did make an impression on me, and a week ago when I was having a chat with Izzy about the Spectacle, she suggested I volunteer as a movie poster designer.  Taking all of this in, I'm quite looking forward to stretching out my limbs and doing graphic design again.  It's been a while to be honest, but there's no hurt in trying....and I love PS and Illustrator.  Here's hoping I could make a profit for them if we get to sell any posters.  More to come on this one.

5) Terreform ONE - Internship
Website: (
Since I don't want my skills and brain to go rusty, I'll be interning for them part-time for the span of 6 months.  It will provide a great opportunity to explore new ideas and get the experience and technical skills that are lacking in my portfolio/resume.  After all, I've been wanting to work for them for ages....literally.  Before I moved to Scotland, I read an article of theirs in Metropolis Magazine about self-sufficient cities and knew almost immediately that this was something I wanted to know more about.  Maybe you can say they helped inpsire me to pursue landscape architecture.  I was working full-time in Manhattan at the time, so it was quite difficult to get out of my routine.  Now that things are different, I'm looking forward to getting my hands soaked in work, with the possibility of becoming a teaching assistant in the summer.  Here's to new adventures!

6) Life-Drawing Classes
Website: (
So this is something I've already mentioned in my previous weblogs, and as you can see, I'm still taking classes at Spring Studio whenever I can.  It's a nice way to run free from the apartment and catch up with my former co-workers- Izzy, Mariko, Hao-Hsin, and maybe Jessica will join one day.  I find life-drawing relaxing, wholesome, and perhaps even spiritual.  Yes, I said "spiritual", don't laugh.  Imagine drawing someone nude in a closed environment, you're more or less removed from the unemotional, mechanical things in life-  computers, subway trains, mobile phones, our televisions.  Really, it's just 2 to 20 minutes of intense focus on the subject in front of you.  Sometimes that "subject" turns into an "object", and in the end, you're not drawing a breast, or a penis, or an eyeball.  You're studying the human body, you're drawing softness, light/dark, forms;  you're thinking about the human body and what he/she means to you, and you represent that meaning on paper.  If being spiritual means having the desire to learn about ourselves and others in the context of compassion; then sure, why can't it be?  That's why I go to class.  I go because I'm interested in humanity, and what it really means to be one.

So what REALLY brought me to New York in the first place? Before I went to Scotland for graduate school two years ago, I moved here because of a burnt-out relationship which ended with definite closure, followed by a beautiful and painful short-term whirlwind romance. I guess that time was all about embracing the good and the bad (or what Rollo May would call- embracing the "Human Dilemma").  This time, the second time, I came out to New York for another type of relationship (business-oriented if you will), which ended suddenly but with no regrets.  Again, you can say I'm embracing the human dilemma, but you don't need a famous psychologist to tell you that's what life is all about.  And what's REALLY keeping me here in New York?  Life would be easier if I just went home and lived with my parents until I have a stable job.  But to be honest, I haven't left yet, and I'm a firm believer that if Someone upstairs knew going home was the best thing for me, I would already be there.  I'm not quite certain where I'll end up, and I'm guessing I'm having these little earthquakes so I'll finally end up with something stable.  Tomorrow, I will keep pushing to find a job, and stay productive with my list.

When In Rome is playing,
Lesley Ann

PS:  Should any of you Readers like to spread the word that I'm looking for a freelancing gig, please feel welcome to do so. You can find samples of my work here: Or, if you would like to Shout Me A Coffee for this post (donate button at the top of this page), I'd much appreciate it.  Cheers! XX

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Trip to Space: Nicholas Jaar in New York (Frog Legs and Ambient Electronica); AFI in Glasgow (there were Fainting Spells)

Event 1: Nicholas Jaar at the MOMA PS1. Long Island City, New York (05, February 2012)

Dear Reader,

I'm happy and proud to have been part of the Nicholas Jaar MOMA PS1 installation in Long Island City, New York (, which happened in the massive geodesic dome of the MOMA courtyard yesterday, Sunday, 06, February. Izzy introduced his music to me one work day while I was writing cover letters through a fervent text to Google him and the event. Being a big fan of hybrid electronic music, it was not too difficult to win me over. The show was to last from 1pm to 6pm, with non-stop turn-table, laptop, wires-all-over-the-place action. Mr. Jaar, 22 years old, was in the middle of the dome on a platform surrounded with swarms of people, and despite all this attention, was kind enough to mix live sound textures (aka Blue-Wave) through the entirety of that afternoon. The 1-2-hour wait in line (or queue, as some of my British friends would say) was pretty much well-worth it, especially if you're really into large crowds of curious hipster/designer/artistic folk, ambient techno awesomeness, modern dancing, and frog legs. Yes, I said frog legs!

A quick note about frog legs- so MOMA PS1 has two courtyards it seems: one with the geodesic dome, and the other with a grill fired up with another long queue, and a food menu of Quail, Frog Legs, and Chorizo. Exotic, eclectic, garlicy goodness. The drink menu, as far as I know (since I didn't bother to have a beverage) consisted of Bloody Marys, and I guess other stuff. Mariko (my former co-worker), and I ordered the Frog Legs and Chorizo Combo. It came in this nifty greasy-ghetto-yummy gingham boat (which you would see in carnivals traditionally packed with fish and chips, or corn dogs). On top of the frog legs and chorizo mess was a warm slice of buttery garlic bread.

As Mariko and I were waiting in the queue to get into the geodesic dome, a father and his toddler child were right in front of us; and of course I was too hungry to care who was around me, so I stuffed my face with frog; and not too long after sucking on a leg, with a dinky foot sticking out of my mouth, the father with his child in his arms turned around and said in awe, "Is that a hopper sticking out of your mouth?!". I looked up and met the eyes of a man half-grinning, half-disgusted, and the eyes of a child in horror and confusion. I managed to say in a muffled tone, "Yeah, but it's pretty good", and continued sucking on the bone. I thought it tasted like really tender chicken wings, and, being incredibly hungry, was not about to spit up what I've eaten just. I might have caused a child to cry (or an angel to fall, to that matter), and I'm so sorry, but it's not every day do I get to eat something so unexpected!

The show itself had some strengths- the marvelous, fluid, ambient electronica (reminiscent of Moby, Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, the latest of BT, Fuck Buttons, and something I must have heard on a Cafe Del Mar album). Another positive aspect was the well-dressed artsy hipsterish crowd swarming around the dome with their iPhones, DSLRs, cons and/or weathered leather boots, and smartly draped scarves. There was also enough pot swirling around to give me a headache, along with the farts and burps that came with the elbow-to-elbow movement. I'm not saying I liked it, but it added to the memory of the event- the "atmosphere". There's beauty to the ugliness. I love large crowds, getting lost in one, watching their faces, how they move/dress, and their unified purpose of seeing a show, or moving in a specific direction. One primary weakness to the show was the seemingly small projection on the massive ceiling. To be honest, I was expecting MOMA to project the animation/film onto the dome like as if you were visiting an IMax theater. Yes, it was a one-day installation, but I thought MOMA had enough resources to achieve this effect. Nonetheless, being a free ticket and all (with a $5.00 donation), it was worth it. I have much to hand over to Izzy for suggesting this event, and introducing me to a new artist who I'll be following for years to come.

I would honestly try to describe the music further, but you just would have to be there to really "get it". In attempt to give you a hint, all I could do really is to place You-Tube links to the show. So here you go:, and here's a link to one of the tracks in his new album "Space is Only Noise",


Event 0.3: AFI at the ABC in Glasgow, Scotland UK (April 2010)

Hello Again,

I know I've been obsessing over Davey Havok for the last 10 years or so, but yesterday I was reminded of him and AFI again when Izzy and I were talking about seeing them at the ABC in Glasgow a few years ago. It was because of that, and I really can't help but appreciate Davey- this handsome, 36 year-old vegan who, despite his high status in the mainstream and indie/alternative music industry, still makes a conscious effort to remain humble and diplomatic. Therefore, after all this, I must write it. Shut up, I know.... I know this may be a superficial connection (obviously I don't know him personally) and for sure there's a boat load of others who can surpass him; but whenever I hear his music, read about him, and watch his clips online, it's like drawing in cables, coming home, or feeling the warmth of empathy after being disconnected for being too "unique". Honestly, I can't even begin to fathom how he came about to be so honest and express himself, seemingly unbridled and unmatched. I believe in his case, it's not easy growing up in Oakland, California, a place that's "something else", unlike the romantic visions of the coastal Californian lifestyle- the beach blond girls, the sunlight, Hollywood. It's not like that at all. Coming from Pomona, a sprawled suburb of Los Angeles, and of a similar demographic, I grew up with low-riders, rice-rockets, tatooed bikers, orange groves, over-exposed dusty freeways, and strawberry fields. It doesn't have the cosmopolitan feel like LA. Yes, it's easy to be creative in this type of landscape, but it's not easy to get away from it and become more than you thought you can be. He impresses me for fighting against the masses and becoming his own.

In any case, when I was still living in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 2010 I saw Davey and AFI perform live in Glasgow at the ABC, show-casing their latest album Crash Love. It was like a mad rush- the crowd, the speakers in my ears causing temporary deafness, the girls crying at my side. It was a bit overwhelming, like having a case of fainting spells, caused by a conglomeration of too many people pushing hard against the hand-rails, moshing, and carbon-dioxide. Was someone smoking indoors? I can't tell. I wasn't crying, thank you, but heart palpatiations must have been heard, and please do not make fun of me for being able to sing to all the lyrics. I'm sure you all can relate, and don't lie.

The show was too short, way too short for my liking; but the band sang all of my favorites, and a few older songs from the 90s (those were difficult to follow, but I like punk too, so I was in the right place). I must have waited nearly 8 years to see AFI live, and gratefully I was able to see them in a small venue at a decent price that. In Los Angeles, it's difficult to get a ticket to one of their shows in small venues at an affordable price- they're usually either sold out or in ridiculously large arenas where can see the band, or rather the speck that resembles them from the nose-bleed section. Let's just say things were lined up perfectly that night.

Here are a few pictures of the event. Forgive the blurry, under-exposed, low-resolution photos. I desperately need to get a DSLR, but that will happen in good time. OH, and here's a clip from YouTube: ENJOY!

Hey You With The Hair!
Lesley Ann

ps: Sorry for the crazy layout. I've got lots of stuff to do and can't be bothered with html at the moment. In due time I'll fix the text and pictures. Thanks! ♥

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Quickie on Californian Minimalism

Dear Reader,

My new roomate, Hiroki, a liaison at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Chelsea, invited me to the opening of Mary Corse' gallery last Thursday night. She's a minimalist artist from California, with a studio in Los Angeles, and has been fine-tuning her technique for roughly 50 years. Being from California, I could appreciate why the color white (which is dominant in her work) is so key to the culture- white for the light, breezy, sunny weather; the coastal scene, white chaise lounges, Californian modernism, clean white hotel linen sheets in Malibu, white dresses can be worn in any season. I feel, generally, it's quite a coastal thing, and I do miss Calfornia for being that way.

One of her pieces "Untitled" (White Inner Band, Beveled), was made in 2008 using glass microspheres on acrylic on canvas (size, 96x144 inches). It is so simple that upon viewing it from far away, one could laugh that this piece of "art" is worth .5 million dollars; yet upon viewing it at different angles, at different lighting, and different mood, one can uncover subtle layers of information about the high level of craft(wo)manship and complexity of thought that was placed into it. If I was a buyer, it would be for this "design", and uniqueness that would move me enough to purchase the piece. To be honest, I really would, if I had the money that is. I'm a big fan of minimalism, and I'm very much in love with similar artists like the British photographer, Michael Kenna, and the architect Kazuyo Sejima. They both use white, subtle changes of tint/value, and high contrast with dark colors to reveal truths, or mere glimses of them to hold the eye and interest of, say, a fellow artist or creative individual.

In Michael Kenna's work in Hokkaido, in some instances he photographed the rural landscape in a white snow storm, exposing the lense long enough to bring in just a tiny hint of shadow to reveal the silhouette of a tree or horizon line as it's masked by the blizzard. The result, when developed and printed, is a seemingly white sheet of paper, with the silhouette of the landscape in a creamy eggshell color. This is how he represents a landscape- using the idea of "White" to communicate every sense of the space. In Kazuyo Sejima's work, particularly the Gifu Housing Project, I'm in love with the (almost) Le Corbusier way of tea-room modular stacking; it lends an efficient, rational way of seeing architecture, but just about every unit is entirely different. Some of these units have double heights, single, and are not too narrow- allowing direct and ambient light to shine through every facade. In elevation, she uses light/white wire mesh and grating to create a series of sliding panels (like dynamic layers). In a distance, it's like the white facade (especially the north) has a ghostly, ethereal transparency.

Back to Mary Corse, that night, after spending nearly an hour examining her work, there seemed to be this unusual, ethereal (yet again), temporal dynamic quality to them. I can't quite put a name to her work, other than the experience of the pieces change depending on viewing angle, lighting, and mood of the day. Like Kenna and Sejima's work, they seem to reveal more and more after you look at them for some length of time; yet it would appear like they made little to no effort in making them. It's very easy for me to become obsessed with work like Corse's, Kenna's and Sejimas, and probably because to achieve a complex solution in a simple, efficient way is something I strive for every day. Mies' adage "Less is More", strikes home in this case. It makes me wonder if I'll ever achieve this state of mind and method in design. I will continue to keep them in a Favorites List. In the meantime, here's a link to Corse's work at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery:

Less is More,
Lesley Ann

All Things in Between the Rocks and Boulders

Dear Reader,

I just came back from a burger and fries dinner from the corner diner in Clinton Hill- a celebratory dinner to end an eventful day. Fridays usually are in my case. This evening, however, was made special, not for the series of events which took place this morning and mid-afternoon, but because I became friends with two very adventurous little girls who remind me of my sister's daughters, the owner of the restaurant, and the audience which surrounded me this evening.

It started with the need to sit at the bar and inadvertenly become, I guess, "that-mysterious-girl-sitting-all-by-herself", in a diner called Mega Bite (or Megabyte?). To be honest, I was not sitting there for any sort of attention, but because I was nearly starving to death, and I learned from the last time I sat a classical diner that people who sit at the bar get served first. Think about it, cops sit at diner bars for their meals because they simply need to move on quickly, right? Case-in-point? Sit at the bar = get served first.

In any case, I ordered the (megabyte) cheeseburger and fries, and as I was waiting for my meal a guy standing to my left ordered a vanilla shake to go. He then asked if he could have the dregs of the shake in the mixing tin next to the blender. The owner of the restaurant (George was it?), poured the remnants into a shot glass and slid it to the guy who then tipped it over in one swoop. He laughed about the idea of taking a "shake shot", and continued to chuckle on his way out. I asked George, "Dude, did you spike that?". George, confused, asked "What does 'spike' mean?".

This simple, honest, yet humorous question jump-started a stream of other queries- "Do you live close by?", "Are you from New York?", "Where do you work?", etc.- and I was in a chatty mood so of course I carried the conversation until the list of off-the-mind topics ran out and ended when George started taking telephone orders. Busy guy I suppose. Next, these two little girls who had spent the last 15 minutes or so swiveling around in the bar stools next to me, asked what I was doing with the pen and moleskin planner in front of me. I was sketching out a plan of my Mom's garden which I was designing for a March submission. This design is past due, and Mom had given me a hard deadline for the first week of March; by then she will have accumulated the resources, time, and labor for the project. Basically, this entails $500.00 for budget, a few weekends in March to April, and my brother (and his fiance), sister (and her family), and Dad to get it built (haha!). It's going to be a project all right- my first "real" freelance landscape project, pro-bono.

The two little girls watched as I started drawing grass, shrubs, and a garage. One girl (the one in a purple fleece sweater) said, "Hey I know how to draw grass, here this is how you draw it!". She borrowed my pen and started scribbling zig-zags in the space allotted for grass. I smiled as I thought "Clever girl, way to draw in between the lines!". Her and her cousin loved to draw I found, and I tore several sheets out of my planner and let them share it. Over the course of, I want to say 20 minutes, they had drawn flowers, grasses, roots, a backwards Super Man 'S', and pictures of themselves. As I was finishing my coffee, the girl in the purple sweater looked at me with a questioning face, and with an insecure tone said, "Are you going to steal us??".

"Steal, you?" I said with wide eyes. I had no idea what they were talking about. I paused for a minute, and then it hit me.
"What? I'm confused, I don't steal people. I don't think I really know how.". A lady who had been sitting to my right (the girls had moved to my left by then) laughed out loud; she was probably humored by the idea of little old me "Stealing" someone. To be honest, I was not capable of stealing people. I'm too little. In fact, I should be scared of being stolen myself.

The little girl seemed relieved, and started drawing another picture. She then said, "Hey don't look!". Her and her cousin started giggling as they turned away and drew a face with long hair, then took a huge purple marker and said to each other "Yeah, that's what I'm talking about, draw her dress, that's beautiful.", "Oh! Don't forget her glasses.", and "There's a dot on her chin!". They kept looking back, making sure I wasn't watching. The girl with the purple sweater even asked me to close my eyes, and when I finally opened them she said, "Taa Daaah! We drew you a picture!". They held it up for all to see. It was ME! With a long beautiful purple dress, with rectangular glasses, and of course the mole on my chin. This was a warming thing to see, and George, the lady nearby, and the waittress behind the bar smiled at these two charming little girls and the gift they had given.

I told them how much I appreciated my portrait; and after paying my check with a gracious tip to George, the little girls gave me a hug, a high-five, and pranced away. They started dancing the Tango down the center aisle of the Mega Bite Diner, happy that they made a new friend. I said "Thank you, and nice to meet you" to the parents of the little girls, to George, the waitress, and the lady sitting at the bar. After passing the Tango-dancing girls in the center aisle, I stepped outside into the cold air with the drawing in my hand, grinned happily, and tucked it into my bag. This evening, I walked home with a gait lighter than the one I had before entering the Mega Bite Diner.

Perhaps the moral of the story is to genuinely be kind to people, or maybe it's to just simply enjoy the little moments that could change the way you see your life. I, for one, am extremely grateful for the chance to reflect on tonight. Sure, I do still worry about things like money, my career, being a better person, etc.; but I think tonight I'm not going to think about all the rocks and boulders which frame my path, but rather the finer grains of sand and the wild flowers which remain in between.

Lesley Ann

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A New Day, and Nude Drawings

Dear Reader,

I woke up this morning thinking to myself that it's about time I grow up. This all sprang to my head last night actually, as I was writing cover letters to new job ventures. I started writing about the miscellaneous jobs I've taken up- 2.5 months at CHORA, 2.5 months at GROSS. MAX., 2 years at Sawyer Berson, 3 weeks at Balmori Associates. I probably should also mention the number of short-term internships at the various architecture firms, random clerical jobs, freelancing gigs, and volunteer work I've had in the past. None of them were long-lasting. This is nonsense isn't it? Perhaps this is all because of the uncertainties I've been facing- does this job offer what I'm looking for? Is this the profession I've really always wanted? Are the circumstances right for me to stay for a long time? I know, I'm young, and foolish, and indecisive to a degree....I don't want to blame myself for being the middle child- one who carefully considers both sides before coming to a conclusion. In my own defense however, I heard being one isn't so bad. I mean, we're pretty good negotiators heheh!

Back on track, I'm honestly fed up with the whole "Starving artist" act. It sounds romantic in the beginning, but I'm facing up to the facts now- I'm not getting younger (bleh, Peter Pan syndrome), and I have a heap of student loans to pay back. I guess that said, it's about time to work a corporate job again, or something like it. Yes, again. I worked at Westfield Corporation back in 2004, and it wasn't the worst experience, I've had, but it certainly didn't fit me well at the time. Sure, I made friends, became known for my closet Photoshop skills, and even made friends with the company's artists- wondering if I could learn their tricks of the trade. In retrospect, it was nice to have the stability, with the possibility of climbing that corporate ladder; but I honestly did not like being treated like a number. I really did feel that way; regardless of being there for 3 months or not. There were 300 people in the firm, and I was a guppie....

To end all this madness, I guess I should bite the bullet, and follow my brain. No more jumping around, and stay grounded. I have to start somewhere, so I'd might as well start from the bottom; but I need to be sure it's a good fit, one which will allow me to grow. Here we go corporate ladder, treat me well, and I'll do the same for you. Of course I'll try other smaller boutique firms, the ones that are hiring, that is. I suppose it doesn't hurt to get my name out there again any way. It's like fishing. My focus, I've decided in any case, will remain in a corporate office (fingers crossed this is a good idea).


Oh, and on a slightly different note, here are my (not so great) pieces I did at the Life Drawing class I took last time. Please no judging, and no giggling at the nude model. She worked hard that night, sitting the same pose for 4 hours. No, she didn't sit in this position for 4 hours straight, but don't you think it's a pain in the butt to even sit in the same position for even 10 minutes? Think about it, can you honestly meditate for 10 minutes? No? Cool, thanks, now do me a favor and be a bit more mature upon looking at these drawings....oh and thanks for being a good sport. =)

Cheers! xxx,
Lesley Ann