Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bill Cunningham New York

Decades before the Sartorialist, there was, and still is, Bill Cunningham's ON THE STREET column in The New York Times.  The man behind the camera is the reluctant subject of a recent documentary.  Gregarious, yet humble, he finally gave access to a small crew who shadowed him for a year.  Bill's days are long and active.  His sole mode of transportation is a bicycle, and at 81 that is a very impressive accomplishment.  Pedaling the streets of Manhattan with his Nikon around his neck, Bill combs the crowded sidewalks for trends and arresting style.  At night he attends multiple society events, and finally returns to his storage room-like apartment when most others have already gone to bed.  Bill is an enigma; for a man obsessed with fashion he owns very few clothes, and wears a simple, practical uniform of dark slacks and a blue sweater or workman's short.  He has little interest in food and drink, is shockingly thrifty, and although he has access to every extravagant party in the city, leads a monastic life.   His love for his work was immediately evident, but something saddened me about his life.  When the filmmaker asked Bill if he had any regrets, he said he never thought to have any.  And yet there was another moment, triggered by a different question, which caused him to break down in a deep, heaving cry.  I was an intruder on a personal moment, too profound for pop psychology, but whatever I had been sensing through out the film was exposed, and it made me feel even sadder.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Moment

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Day of Summer

I marked the last day of summer with a sunset hike.  The nights are already significantly shorter, and the sky has an autumnal hue.  Although the days are still warm, the mornings have been coated in a cool, dense fog. A slight tightening in my heart acknowledges the passage of time, as more memories will be filed in the past.  I feel bittersweet as I welcome this new season into my soul. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Sold another script today.  As an executive I would encourage writers to celebrate the victories along the way.  So as a producer I'm taking my own advice, enjoying this triumphant moment and not focusing on the process ahead of us.  A year ago, this company was a whisper in the wind, this career change a dream.  I continue to believe, and take one step at a time.  It feels good, it feels right.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


On my way to a dinner party in my neighborhood, the sun, a perfect glowing orb, was sinking into the mountains.  On the side of the road, a photographer and his tripod awaited the perfect shot.  Yes, a wonderful photo op, if only I had my camera.  Winding through the mountain I realized I did indeed have my camera.  It was on the floor next to me.  I pulled to the side of the narrow, winding street exhibiting irritating tourist behavior and snapped a shot. 

The evening was as magical as the sunset.  The dinner party was in honor of a fascinating woman I had a met in Bangkok several months ago.  Our connection was immediate, the flow of conversation easy.  We never paused on the trivial, we went straight for the profound.  Our experiences could not be more dissimilar, yet we are kindred spirits.  These type of experiences give my life texture.  Accessing the human soul makes the world feel intimate and expansive at the same time.    In 48 hours she'll be back in Bangkok breathing air infused with sauteed ginger and steaming curry  and streets congested with motorbikes and cars.  I long to be back there.  Thus when my new friend asked when I'd be visiting again, I replied, "soon".

Monday, September 19, 2011


"You can only lose what you cling to."  Buddha

There was an undercurrent of emotion, tugging, weighing down my heart.  I gave voice to it.  The resulting epiphany released the intellectual conflict and allowed the feelings to rise.  Ah, it bore the name grief.  Familiar, necessary, stinging sorrow, dusted in relief.    The melancholy occupies a space once filled by something lovely.   The thought I cling to is what if this place is vacated, never to be lived in again?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Milk Studios

I've passed 855 Cahuenga Boulevard hundreds of times, never giving notice to the elegant white marble courtyard leading to Milk Studios.  Glamour and Hollywood may be synonymous when referring to the industry, but until recently was not often used to describe the neighborhood.  This was the address on the invite for the Emmy party I attended last night.  I was thrilled it was so close to my house, but didn't anticipate much from the space.  I was immediately blown away by the graceful and stylish structure, minimally decorated with high end furnishings.  Waiters serving hor d'oeuvres and cocktails greeted us in the lobby which doubled as a bar.  Spirits were high, the atmosphere was clearly having a positive effect on the mood.  Like Alice in Wonderful, we explored beyond the lobby and found two, enormous spaces, a literal sound stage, pulsing with energy and music.  The 46,000 square foot space was transformed into an intimate, sophisticated environment with designated living room areas, bars, and food stations.   Originally built in '20s by Howard Hughes, the property has been occupied through the years by show-biz companies, including Technicolor and Television Center Studios.  In the 1980s when Hollywood grew seedy, many entertainment businesses fled for more desirable addresses.  In 2008, Mazdack Rassi, the visionary founder of  Milk Studios in Chelsea, was searching for a space to launch a west coast branch of his successful business catering to photographers, designers and artists.  After revitalizing the Meat Packing industry with his first studio in the '90s, he was set on finding a location in Hollywood, and settled on this historic address.  After an extensive renovation the doors opened in June 2009 hosting a fete for Chloe.  It's been buzzing ever since.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

This Moment

A Friday ritual.  A single photo, no words, capturing a moment from the week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Do Not Despair

"How long will you follow the glittering phantom reflected from another? Strive to make the Divine experience actual for yourself.
So that your words will be prompted by your immediate feelings, and your flight will be made by your own wings and pinions...
I have no hope from any quarter, but that Divine Bounty is saying to me, " Do not despair!"
Our Emperor had made a perpetual feast for us: God is always pulling our ears, drawing us close and saying, "Do not lose hope!"
Although we are in the ditch and overwhelmed by this despair, let us go dancing since He has invited us.
Let us dance along like mettlesome horses, galloping towards a familiar pasture.
Let us toss our feet, though no foot is there; let us drain the cup, though no cup is there.
Because all things there, are spiritual: it is reality, on reality, on reality.
Form is the shadow, reality is the sun."

Rumi (Vol.6, 4664-4747)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prayer Flags

The onslaught of media this weekend commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 left me feeling empty.  Reliving the event is horrific enough, but reflecting on the ten years that ensued disheartened me even more.  I find the hip, hip hooray for America hypocritical as we grieve for those lost in a bloody civilian battle, yet we continue to kill.  Do unto others as you would condemn others to do unto you.  Of course,  I mourn the lives and innocence lost that day, but I wish the response to the terrorist act had been different.

At a loss for how to comprehend my emotions this weekend, I found some clarity when I stumbled upon Carla Shapiro's Prayer Flags.  In the weeks after 9/11 Carla turned her lingering loss into an art project.  She hand copied The New York Times obituary for each victim onto a single vellum sheet of paper, and strung them over the creek that runs past her cabin in the Catskill Mountains.  For an entire year, she photographed the 1,910 flags, documenting nature's impact on the ink stained pages.  Over time, the elements washed them clean, returned them to blank pages, and allowed Carla to release her pain and grief.  This was a memorial I could embrace, for it was personal, spiritual, healing, and appropriate.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The 9/11 Decade

The event will forever be synonymous with the decade, and time will continue to clarify the impact on the world, a nation, a generation, and me.  I was alerted to the disaster by a friend, who called concerned about mutual friends in Manhattan.  Had I heard from them, did I know if they were okay?  Assuming they were in a car accident, I asked for details.  Turn on the TV.   The South Tower was already down.  I couldn't fully process or comprehend what I was seeing.  The footage of the plane colliding with the building was on a continuous loop, as if the riddle would be solved the more times it was viewed.

The Woolworth Building with it's majestic Gothic spire is my favorite architectural wonder in the city, but The Twin Towers hold a special space.  We were conceived in the same decade, I watched them grow from the car window during frequent family trips to the city.  A source of conversation around the dinner table, they symbolized confidence in a city plagued with crime and inflation.  I loved them most from afar, rising from the concrete, sleek and modern, anchoring the skyline.  I can't recall the first time I stood in the plaza, shadowed by the world's tallest skyscrapers, but my most memorable experience occurred when I was 17.  Commemorating my grandmother's 80th birthday we had an intimate family dinner at Cellar in the Sky.  I borrowed one of my mother's designer dresses, the men wore black tie.  On the 107th floor of the North Tower, we dined for hours on a superlative, seven course menu impeccably paired with five exquisite wines.

I was on the phone with my mother when the North Tower fell, words caught in my throat, tears wet my face.  In the ensuing days I was awakened to the ramifications of our global actions.  I was deeply saddened by the devastation, but also by the country's arrogance.  My initial fear, that life would never be the same, were accurate, but in ways I didn't anticipate.  At some point ease and frivolity returned to my days, but my global disillusion remains.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Moment

A Friday ritual.  A single photo, no words, capturing a moment from the week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby Mei Mei

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Farmers Market Ojai

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Apple Picking in Ojai

Apple picking, a perfect way to bid adieu to summer and  usher in fall.  Although the daytime temperature in Ojai Valley was still in the 90s, the evening was substantially cooler.  The sun set earlier, and the changing light signaled a change in season.  Crisp, tart apples begging to baked in buttery dough, or juiced with cucumbers and kale.