In front of the PRS
So. California. We squeezed a lot of wonders into a relatively short amount of time, saw loads of pals, ate (way too much) incredible food. Here's a list of some highlights from our trip:
- So much goodness in the Mission thanks my BFF Shiwani and her husband Jeff, including Anthony's Cookies, Gravel & Gold, Bi-Rite Creamery, Dog Eared Books, ohhhh, the list goes on. We made some awesome music discoveries, too. Picked up Angus Martin's gorgeous franco-caribbean album, Le Demimonde, at Gypsy Honeymoon - and had a nice chat with him as well:
- Lucasfilm / Skywalker Ranch: My schweetheart loves the Star Wars movies (yep, all 6 of them) more than anyone you will ever hope to meet. Now, I know what you're thinking: "No one's a bigger fan than my friend/brother/mother/me!" but I'm just going to save everyone some time here and say that you are absolutely effing wrong. Suffice it to say, getting a private tour of Lucasfilm and Skywalker Ranch (thanks, Kerri!) was an absolute dream come true for him, and super wonderful for me as well. Loads of film props, original movie posters from through the ages, Normal Rockwells, Maxfield Parrishes, Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetics galore. Both locations are beautiful homages to American arts and crafts, and it was a total honor to get to spend the day exploring them. And apparently we were one car-length away from George Lucas in the driveway! I think I'm mostly glad we didn't get to see him, because I think my husband would have literally died on the spot. The gift shop alone made him woozy.
- Leonor Fini show at Weinstein Gallery: I wrote about this show previously, but what a joy to get to see it in person. A huge thank you to Kendy for spending so much time with us, and being so gracious and welcoming. The stories we were told about Leonor made me fall even more in love with her. And of course the paintings were beyond the beyond. Decades of her work under one roof! Unprecendented!
- Castle in the Air: I've been dreaming of visiting this beauty of a shop ever since I met Clint Marsh, who is one of the creative partners there. Well, Clint had the nerve to move out of state, so I didn't get to ambush him as planned, but I did get to meet the shop's proprietor, Karima Cammell, who is basically the Fairy Godmother of the Creative Urge, as well as an author in her own right. She couldn't have been more warm or generous, and her shop is a fantastical, jewelbox duplex, filled with rare paper goods, craft supplies, unique books, and romantic, imaginative artwork. She holds classes in the upstairs gallery, so if you are ever in Berkeley, you should definitely sign up for one.
- Tail of the Yak: Well, we got here exactly 2 minutes before the shop closed, but it was a heavenly two minutes! I'll have to make it back there sometime and dig through their elegant gifts from other lands.
- Winchester Mystery House: The story goes that this house was built by an incredibly wealthy woman, who communed with spirits, and grieved her husband and daughter's deaths for years on end. She was told in seance that her home was never to be completed, so it was remodeled over 600 times, has nearly 200 rooms, and contains lots of occurrences of the number 13, staircases that lead to nowhere, secret doors, and windows for spying. It was cool to see, though there isn't much furniture to speak of, so it was mostly walking through an empty, batty old house. With a better tour guide than the one we had, I think it could have been even cooler.
- Pacific Coast Highway: What to say. Unbelievably, breathtakingly gorgeous, particularly Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-Sea, as well as the lovely, foggy town of Cambria. We ate in lots of great restaurants, did a ton of driving, and mostly just listened to music in the car and swooned at the scenery. Highlights of our travels include stopping at Pfeiffer Beach, which is a bit hidden away down a road of majestic redwoods, and contains purple sand:
...and the requisite stops to the kitsch-tastic Madonna Inn:
...and the extravagant Hearst Castle:
- LA was a blast as well. I had an appointment at the Philosophical Research Society, and can't thank Dr. Harris and Edie enough for allowing me to pour through so many rare, esoteric books. Seriously, this place is the library of my dreams, with the most incredible collection of tomes on mysticism, art, and magic. Heaven on earth. It was such a treat to hear anecdotes about Manly P. Hall, and to put our heads together regarding some interesting projects (more on that another time!) And of course we had to go to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. I hadn't been there in about 5 years, and it's amazing how they've grown, including some wonderful new displays, such as a 3D film about Athanasius Kircher I don't recall seeing last time, and their Moroccan-style roof aviary! We ended our LA leg of the trip, appropriately enough, with a jaunt around the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Cause that's how we roll.
Well, there you have it, out of order and roughly sketched. I feel as though I'm forgetting about 77 other tidbits, but that's a pretty good overview I should think, sans loads of meals and silly times with lots of our fabulous friends. I'm longing to be back there already.