Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Do Thanksgiving during a civil war

Even the hardest hearts have a soft spot for Thanksgiving.  It’s love for the cornucopia, the  harvest that spills in fullness from a stony season.  It’s the fact that somehow our motley immigrant crew has extended out in bursts and … Continue reading

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Hills, Shadowed Valleys, Squirrel Hill

Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, of hills and shadowed valleys. The valleys or “hollers” – Pittsburgh is on the edge of Appalachia – have had plenty of darkness over different eras. Parts of the city seem backwoods, almost abandoned … Continue reading

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Anthropocene’s Shock of Beauty

Dear Photographers of the Anthropocene Art show, You’ve probably noticed the problem?  It’s about reactions to climate change and the geologic epoch named for our human interference.  In your cautionary Toronto art show, with its corollary film, Anthropocene, you want … Continue reading

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Candy-Colored Neon Bodega Speakeasy Baby

There must be some trick.  Urban life can’t quite be this happy.   There are three candy-colored glow-zones.  Pink walls light the space.  A demarcated zone glows in yellow from a bar fridge; from the side, a lavender color cloud.  … Continue reading

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Wolfgang Tillmans: To Believe in Things

Wolfgang Tillmans creates his gallery shows like books of poetry.  The influential German photographer treats his viewer to work that varies wildly in size, scope, subject, united by meditation and attention.  He puts things in front of your face you … Continue reading

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L’Shanah Tovah, Balkan Style

The synagogue in Dubrovnik, Croatia – a piece of culture that was lurking but hadn’t come to the fore until it was in front of me, a doorway on one of the many stone alleyways.  I went up the stairs … Continue reading

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Aretha’s Song of Songs

A lot of intelligence and heart has been poured into tributes to Aretha Franklin, as if her artistry and soul pushed writers to go higher, further, trying to catch a bit of her immortality in her mortality. Her more-ness, her … Continue reading

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Lèche-Vitrine

“Lèche-vitrine,” in French, literally means to lick windows, and seeing the smart and composed surfaces in Paris, who wouldn’t want to do just that? The phrase refers to window shopping, and it cleverly underlines the magnetism of the object and … Continue reading

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Ring Them Dubrovnik Bells

In the ’70s my parents had Liza Minnelli on heavy rotation, and that’s Dubrovnik first lodged in my head.  Across all that time, Dubrovnik – exotic and homely, worldly and worldweary, embedded with lessons of travel – has stayed with … Continue reading

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Serbian Tempers

I thought it was gauche, unseemly at first to vacation on a land of recent wars. Yugoslavia fell apart, was tragic, bloody and rife with hatreds in the 90s. But if we avoided every piece of land soaked in blood, … Continue reading

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