Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
A row of permanent shops at Renningers
For another," the flea market is the real deal, not a bunch of inferior trash brought in from the orient last week and guaranteed to break the next. Ninety percent of the merchandise is recycled or fresh grown (including the miniature goats and African geese). The vendors are as unique as the merchandise, and as we got there very early, they provided the best people watching.
Fine antique jewelery at Renningers
A pair of Mi-Mo swivel seat bar stools
A mounted sailfish above mosaic inlaid cow head
A lion statue I wouldn't mind receiving as a birthday gift
A monkey on the cross holding a guitar clock , more Lost City
A perfect example of the vast people watching opportunities at Renningers
Saturday, July 25, 2009
This little girl was really having fun at the butterfly display but I think I accidently made her camera shy as I snapped the photo.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
One of the newer attractions is from a dairy located only about four miles from downtown Winter Park that makes artisinal cheese. They have a killer blue and just recently added a Swiss that is as good as any I've ever tasted. If the gouda they plan to be introducing in the fall is half as tasty, it will be good. Two incredible French cuisine stands produce some of the tastiest morsels imiginable. The one run by Quebecois has a croque monseuir made with boursin and bacon that is memorably moist and creamy. Another stand run by native Orlandoans has bread puddings, like key lime, double chocolate and rum raisin that are truly decadent.
For BreakfastI had a sicilian omelet cooked up by a Colombian family that included shrimp, asparagus and feta cheese, although the German woman's crepes would have been just as good.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The scene I witnessed on Monday morning on 41st Street was even more bizarre than sable hats with palm trees. Black yamulke propped on dishwater blonde hair, a forty something wearing shorts and holding a long turqoise skateboard looked like a panhandler, but I didn't have to turn him down. He only seemed to be approaching fellow yamulke wearers who also had prayer shawls. And by the time I got close enough to hear his spiel, I heard him say, "I'm not asking for a handout- I do accounting, web design, taxes..." Obviously this is the kosher way to street hustle in the heart of Miami Beach. Where else could I have been amused, but not surprised , to be the audience for a sketch like that ? (The art of the deal mid- beach syle)
The capstone to my trip through diversity ended when I went to the west end of the street to take a picture of the belltower of the St Charles Catholic Church. Resting thirty feet up the building's side was a monumental statue of Jesus. One of his hands was holding an orb, while the other seemed to be offering a benediction to the building across the street. It used to be the bayfront Howard Johnsons Hotel I stayed at years ago when I first started coming down to buy plants. Now it serenely houses the Talmudic University. I'm pretty sure I saw an image of Buddha being formed in the clouds that rose up above the aqua blue waters of Biscayne Bay behind it.
(Jesus gives his benediction to Talmudic Univ.) (My old Howard Johnson as an institution of higher learning, Talamudic University)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
We started out the day with a terrific breakfast at Balans on Lincoln Road. It's one of the few cafes there to open early. A few years back, we had a stint at selling orchids and bromeliads right next to Balans at the Sunday Farmers Market. That's when I took the picture of a couple shopping that became the basis for a painting. You can view my other artwork at http://www.floridagardengallery.com/.
After going back to the room, I headed north to the Fountainebleu. Ten blocks north of 44th and Collins, this amazing construction from 1954 is considered a masterwork of Morris Lapidus. This architect, who was snubbed by the cognoscenti of his day, has rightly assumed his role as one of the founders of post-modernism. His style is defined as MiMo (mid-century modern) and he is single handedly responsible for setting the style and tone for the whole section of Miami Beach north of 41st Street.
This was my first visit back since the latest remodeling, which was an attempt to restore it to the original Lapidus look that had been bastardized in previous attempts to "fix it up." And although it's managed to undue some of the previous harm, it is still not as good as the original. I can only imagine what the Mona Lisa would look like if a trio of less talented artists had been invited to over paint Leonardo's masterpiece.
Nothing about it now trumps my memory of it as a sixteen year old. Every year in high school, my debate team spent the week between Christmas and New Years at a competition held at Miami Beach High School that attracted National Forensic Leaguers from all over the country. My friend Brian and I donned suits that we brought just for the occasion and proudly presented ourselves to the maitre'd of the main dining room of the Fountainebleu. If anything seemed strange to him about seating a couple of unattended young men ( I looked fourteen), nothing in his demeanor betrayed it. The surroundings surely enhanced the taste of the vichyssoise and escargot, but I'm pretty sure they really were good.
Certainly we were living proof of Lapidus' adage that if you build a wonderful set, its occupants will have a great time acting in it. That evening we two starred in our production of a grand little play that is fondly enshrined in my memory. Little wonder that the botched attempts at improving on the site of our production seem so much like heresy to me. But a glimmer of some that is great from the original has been returned. The reconstruction of Morris' "Stairway to Nowhere" is most appreciated. Originally constructed solely as an entrance to the coat room, its real purpose was to allow the hotel's clientele, after dropping their outerwear and hats, to make a grand entrance to the throngs of guests milling around the lobby. Each was probably expecting that they would become the star of the history of their own lives. I think Morris would have been amused at the little drama a couple of boys played out in his place that December night in 1966.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Steve, Jose and Primo are working on three little sod jobs on the east side of town, while Mike and Roland work in Windermere.
The prediction is for heavy showers this afternoon, but fortunately the carpentry for the pergola can go on in one of the two huge garages at the hacienda. I'll be going to ranch country to pick up the sod today and tomorrow and later I'm doing two little design projects for places in Winter Park and Altamonte Springs. It's not as exciting as doing a big installation, but everyone deserves a little help. And watching a team of highly trained monkeys working in your front yard in the rain should be at least mildly amusing for someone to see.