Browsing Tag


13 In travel

the met: manus X machina

As a little girl growing up in the NYC suburbs, my favorite field trip of the year was when my class would visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So it’s no surprise that I still love it as an adult- my mom and I spent nearly a whole day there this summer. And though David doesn’t adore museums the way I do, an afternoon at the Met was the perfect respite from a very rainy day during our last trip.

It was just a bonus that it gave me one more look at this year’s Costume Institute exhibit, ManusXMachina, right before it closed. Fashion in the Age of Technology honored designers and the intricacy of couture workmanship, and it may well be my favorite museum exhibit ever.

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0 In los angeles

modern art in dtla

broad art

I could spend hours in a good museum.  The Broad is a very very good one, and it’s free to boot! It seems like I made our reservation to visit the Broad Museum a lifetime ago, but it just finally rolled around. In the typical mayhem that is my life, I had an early flight, landing at LAX just in time for David to pick me up and for us to head downtown for a morning of art appreciation.

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I don’t fancy myself some great art critic, but I’m educated, open minded and appreciative of the artistic spirit. It may not speak to me, but I’m interested in it regardless. My view can be too literal for some modern art, but that wasn’t the case at the Broad- the collection is incredibly well curated, one of the best of contemporary art I’ve come across. Even the most absurd of exhibits had accuracy.

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I adore art that really impacts- that makes you think.  Some of the seemingly simplest works of art pull me to introspection. The installation of FEMA propane barrels was so intricate up close, and the Katrina kid in me will carry that with her always.  The graphic art was almost pointed. I love when I want to inspect a piece of art up close, when it engages me that way, and the Murakami portion of the exhibit did just that.

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I’ve been super-inspired by negative space lately, in design and art, so admired this divided embrace piece for a little while. It’s far larger than the picture depicts, with the green aspects the size of doors.

We’d seen Jeff Koons’ Tulips when it was on display in Las Vegas, but I’d only seen his other works in print. They are just giant, much bigger that I anticipated, pretty much embodying all things glossy shiny prettiness. Total picture bait too- we had to be patient to get these shots while there were high school field trips in house. Teenage girls are very vocal in their admiration of my hair, for what it’s worth.

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I love how fun modern art is, and how truly creative it can be. Don’t get me wrong, I can spend hours among the Impressionists, but sometimes it’s just really enjoyable. After flying, and LA rush hour traffic, I was tired and cranky when we reached the museum, and it managed to turn my mood around quickly. And David loves museums a lot less than I, but we both really had a good time at the Broad.

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The Broad is beautiful inside and out, but in a really approachable way.  I enjoy the art in the random, like cleanly designed administrative offices (yes, I peeked). I swore every other person on the escalator was taking a selfie, then realized why when I stepped into the tunnel. And I loved the little voyeur window into the vault, an art exhibit in itself.

the-broad-escalator broad storage paintings broad monkey bones broad bird skeleton

It’s probably the New Orleanian in me, but I always find myself enraptured when beauty and breakdown combine in art. Both  Julian Schnabel’s The Walk Home and Urs’ Fischer’s untitled melting lamppost really drew me in.

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Our tickets were for just after opening, so we were early enough to secure a spot to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. There is a separate ticketing kiosk inside, for 45 second slots within the exhibit, but it normally reaches capacity for the day about 1 pm. We were paged to the exhibit about two and a half hours after we ticketed.  An undulating LED light show in a dark mirrored chamber, inspired by the artist’s hallucinations, it was stunningly beautiful, stimulating and exhilarating, and over way too soon.

infinity light room infinity light room broad couple infinite light room infinity light room broad

similar dress, 2, 3, 4 //  similar necklace2 (under$25!), 3, 4 // earrings (on sale!) // wedges


“Art is a humanitarian act. Art should be able to effect mankind, to make the world a better place.”         -Jeff Koons

yayoi kusama infinity mirrored room


0 In travel

more than montmartre

We took no pictures at the Shoah Memorial. While it is elegantly designed, it was too heartwrenching of an experience to even think about photography. We were solemn from the start- the knowledge that the museum exists as a World War II reparation and that anti-semitism is still common enough in France to necessitate a fleet of armed guards and metal detectors set that tone.

Some portions of the memorial haunted me, then and now.  The way the bronze cylinder echoes the chimneys of the death camps,  how the room of “fichier juif” (the Vichy police files identifying Jews) had a special section for detained children, seeing the only photographs in existence of the crematoriums and graves, taken from the inside of the camps, and reading the stories of those few who survived- it all unsettled my soul.  I’ve never been a more reverent place than the crypt, where a black marble Star of David contains the ashes of unknown martyred jews from the death camps and the Warsaw ghetto. Ner tamid, an eternal light, burns in memoriam.

And then the Wall of Names in the courtyard undid me.  Being surrounded by the names of French citizens who perished at the hands of, or fighting against, intolerance was an overwhelming experience.  Our last name was once Cohen, changed when David’s ancestors emigrated.  Multiple sections of the wall memorialize those who shared our name.

I’ll be honest- the Shoah shattered me. My eyes were swollen shut from crying and I was just an emotional mess.  As we left the memorial,  we were relieved that the rest of the day’s agenda was happier. We were pretty quiet on the way to Montmartre, and decided to make a cafe our first stop.


After a few cocktails and some conversation across from the Moulin Rouge, I was feeling a little less like a basketcase. Never underestimate the power of a stiff drink to help you pull yourself together.  Eager to explore, we hit the cobblestone.


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I was excited to come across Cafe des Moulins, as Amelie was one of the movies we watched on the train from Barcelona to Paris.

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We wandered Montmartre aimlessly, planning only to end at le Refuge des Fondus for our dinner reservation. We arrived ready for bottomless baby bottles of wine and all the cheese we could eat.

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They served our glasses of dry rosè with a chunky sugar rim, which I love and now do all the time.  Our predinner snacks were generous, with quality charcuterie, and a scrumptious spicy potato salad I’m currently tweaking here at home.


And the baby bottles were hysterical. It felt odd for the first minute, but then seemed totally normal. They helpfully facilitated my drinking- they had cut the nipples to increase flow, and refills were frequent. As throughout our trip, we found the house wine to be rather good. L’chaim!

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I’m picky about my fondue, and this was seriously yummy liquid gold. Refuge is known to be more touristy than my typical foodie choices, so I was glad when the caliber of food was unaffected by the festivities. As the night progressed, my minimal photography skills further deteriorated… it all got a bit blurry.


We ate and drank unreasonable quantities, making friends and toasting with the other guests, since we were all together at the communal tables. The boisterousness was the perfect antidote to the earlier part of the day, and we really let it wash over us.

paris-mm-fondue-wallsigning paris-mm-fondue-wall I was a total tourist and insisted on autographing the wall before carefully climbing out of my seat. Did I mention that the path to seats near the wall is over the table, holding the hand of the waiter?  It was far wobblier on the way out than in- I was glad we were closing them down.

paris-mm-moulin-litupAs we walked along the boulevard and back through Montmartre  to take the metro home to the Marais, the Moulin Rouge (and every cheesy wannabe night or gentlemen’s club) were all aglow in a gloriously tacky neon spectacle. It felt almost like Parisian Vegas, and we found it all very amusing.


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