Italy dreaming

florence

I have a Sunday routine – I get up early, go to the gym, get breakfast, come home and watch CBS Sunday Morning. It’s always a great way to start a Sunday, the stories are always great.

This past Sunday (today, if you are reading this when I posted it, the whole show took place in Italy. Jane Pauley was based in Florence and there were stories from all over the country. So beautiful. You can watch the whole episode here, free.

I’ve always dreamed of spending long periods of time in Italy, you know, like maybe a whole summer or so. I’m usually in a rut – a travel rut, I go to the same places over and over again – this summer will be New York City again.

Something interesting that was mentioned in Sunday’s show, and something I had heard in the past is that if you are of Italian descent and have ancestors who came to the United States from Italy, like I do, you can become a citizen of Italy – have a dual citizenship between the US and Italy. That’s amazing to me. This also gives you some sort of citizenship as part of Europe according to the program, so that’s even more amazing.

It’s sort of full circle – my grandparents came to the US for a better life and I would consider going back to Italy for a better life.

In 2011, The Jersey Shore group, yes, that group, Snookie, et al, spent time in Florence. I started watching the show back then for the scenery. No seriously.  Here’s a NY Times article on the Jersey Shore people going to Italy.

I like so many areas – Milan, Florence, Naples, it’s hard to decide. I guess I should at least plan my trip before deciding where to live, right?

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Dominoes are part of a large new concrete landscape

dominoes14

Photo courtesy Droga

Artist Bo Droga and his volunteer crew have been creating a large row of dominoes along US1, under the Metrorail tracks in Coral Gables, FL. The large columns in the area at the University of Miami along Ponce de Leon Boulevard have been turned from drab cement to black and white domino pieces. Droga’s work is inspired by many things, usually by his immediate surrounding and the local material at hand. “The common thread within my artwork is the simplicity in form, and use of everyday material,” he says.

The volunteers helping him on the dominoes project are all moms, all volunteers and all French.

The “Miami Dominoes” installation will eventually include 46 of the columns when completed, as of now, there are still a few more being worked on. They are up to 18 feet high.

Droga is Australian, who came to Miami by way of Paris. After all these years, he is the one who had the eye to see something that was staring us all in the face all these years.

I must admit when they were building Metrorail in the early 1980s, I would see the pylons/columns which we called “Stonehenge South” at the time and thought they would make great surfaces for advertising. Thank God that never became the case.

The crew uses large metal forms to create the round domino dots. The area will eventually be part of the long Underline project and Droga envisions outdoor tables and people sitting around in the area playing dominoes – a sort of sister to Domino Park that is in Little Havana.

Dorga originally had the domino idea for a project in Australia, but it never got off the ground due to permitting issues and when he moved here and saw the Metrorail pylons, he knew exactly what to do.The Miami-Dade County transportation and public works department helped him get permitted and he was off.

One thing that the local community has noticed – the dominoes are a “double six” set, where in Miami, “double nines” is popular. Droga knows that, but feels that the sixes make for a better look and art installation.

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Just attending a lot of art things

Sorry I haven’t posted here lately, there’s really not much going on. Just living my life.

Been to a bunch of art festivals we have during the winter here in Miami. There was one today, Saturday, a block party called the French Quarter Block Party and there were all New Orleans-themed things like a crawfish boil, beignets, jambalaya, and things like that. With live music, drinks, ice cream and all. The whole town came out. We had a few block parties this winter. I live in a small village in the Miami area.

It was lots of fun. I cover the news for my town, so I have that here in the Coconut Grove Grapevine. Along with a bunch of other art happenings I attended this winter. I interviewed a bunch of artists who participated in the arts festivals in town and also attended shows in Miami starting with the Art Basel events in December. I think I posted some of it here in the Tomversation blog. It’s also all in the Grapevine.

The butcher the baker and the candlestick maker

cyclemessenger

In 1896, Alice Austen traveled around New York City taking photos of everything. Most images were of people working – police, city employees, mailmen, etc.

These were the people who made the city run daily. This is a photo of a bicycle messenger and there are photos of various other workers like a shoe-string peddler and a sponge peddler and a knife sharpener. Could you make a living doing these tings? Remember the scotch tape store that was a recurring skit on Saturday Night Live? It was a store in the mall that just sold scotch tape. That’s it.

The cost of living is so high these days that it makes you wonder how people survived by selling shoe-lace strings. But when most things cost a nickle or less (like wasn’t a newspaper a penny or two?) I guess it was possible.

Alice’s photos were donated to the Library of Congress. There are many shown here at Mashable. Check them out, they are really enjoyable to see.

Enjoying the Beaux Arts Festival

The Beaux Arts Festival is in town this weekend. Starting in January a whole bunch of art festivals take over the South Florida area. It’s a lot of the same artists that make the circuit and go from show to show, so there is not much new art to see, but it’s fun to be out and for my friends and me it’s a lot about the food.

The Beaux Arts Festival is a yearly event benefit for the Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus. This is

the 67th year.