Tag Archives: architecture

Happy 161st Birthday, Antoni Gaudi!

25 Jun

Antoni Gaudi, Catalan architect of insanely intricate, bone-like structures, was born on this day in 1852.  When I was backpacking through Europe, I stopped by his La Sagrada Familia.  You can read about it in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.

Gaudi was beaten and imprisoned when he showed up at a demonstration against banning Catalan.  The language is now considered an endangered language.

Advertisements

Clip: St. John’s Leads the Nation in Civil Rights

21 Jan

StJohns11-225x300

Burnside Writers Collective published my article “St. John’s Leads the Nation in Civil Rights,” about the civil rights history of the Church of the Presidents. The article includes information on Barack Obama’s inauguration and Martin Luther King Day.

Election 2012: The White House Landscape Artists

6 Nov

In honor of the upcoming election, here’s a bit of trivia:::

The grounds at the White House in Washington, D.C., were designed by Calvert Vaux and Andrew Jackson Downing.  While Downing was American, Vaux was British.  After Downing was killed in a steamboat accident (I kid you not), Vaux went on to work with Frederick Law Olmsted.  Together they designed Central Park and Morningside Park in Manhattan and Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  Is it any wonder that he cited the Transcendentalist author of “Nature,” Ralph Waldo Emerson, as one of his influences?

I took a group Church Hopping to the Church of the Intercession in Washington Heights, part of New York City, where Calvert Vaux was commissioned to to do landscape work on the cemetery grounds.  You can read about it here.

Road Trip: 17 Mile Drive

22 Oct

On my road trip down the California Coast, we took the 17 Mile Drive.  I’d never heard of it before, but everyone talked about it as if it were the highlight of the trip even though we spend a lot less time there.  What I discovered was that California’s 17 Mile Drive is a stretch of road associated with luxury.  Millionaires build mansions that overlook the Pacific Ocean.  Golf is the sport of choice.  The art scene is thriving among the cultured citizens.

Here’s a bit about the 17 Mile Drive from Wikipedia:

At the north end, a portion of the early route through Pacific Grove begins at the intersection of Del Monte Blvd and Esplanade Street. The famous portion of 17-Mile Drive then begins a few miles south of this point. The crossing of Highway 68 (Holman Highway/Sunset Drive) and 17-Mile Drive marks the entrance to Pebble Beach.

From the Sunset Drive/Pacific Grove gate, the drive runs inland past Spanish Bay, then adjacent to beaches and up into the coastal hills, providing scenic viewpoints. Travel along the road takes as long as the traveler likes, a minimum of 20 minutes south to Carmel without stops. Numerous turnouts along the road allow stopping to take pictures, or getting out to stroll along the ocean or among the trees. Visitors receive a map that points out some of the more scenic spots. In addition, a red-dashed line is marked in the center of the main road to guide visitors, and help prevent them from venturing into the adjacent neighborhood streets.[2]

The road provides vistas of golf courses including Spyglass HillCypress Point and Pebble Beach. After reaching Carmel Way, and the exit to Carmel, the 17-Mile Drive then heads northeast to the Highway 68/Highway 1 interchange, where one can exit, or continue to loop along the higher vistas of 17-Mile Drive, some of which offer views from more than 600 feet above sea-level. The full loop will take you back to the Pacific Grove Gate at Sunset Drive — a distance of 17 miles.

 

The driver slowed down and pointed out various homes.  I was not impressed.  I grew up with parents who trapped us kids in the back seat while they drove around looking at the mansions in Alpine, New Jersey.  I’ve seen beautiful, large homes before, and it just doesn’t impress me.  Interior decorating and architecture are passions of mine, so it’s not that I don’t appreciate nice homes.  And I’m by no means against luxury.  I rather enjoy a certain lifestyle.  I’m just not impressed by it.

Do you enjoy driving around looking at mansions?

 

In case you missed last week’s road trip posts:

everything on my trip went wrong

cocktail recipe for what Jack Kerouac drank in Big Sur

writing tips from Big Sur writers

save the sea otters and sea lions

Clip: Church Hopping: Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

12 Oct

 

A car packed with teenagers was speeding down the street at the exact moment we were approaching the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on foot.  It was an unseasonably warm October day in 2011, and the car window was rolled down.  Or maybe the rebellious, rowdy passengers rolled it down when they saw us, a group of about twenty-five people, looking eagerly toward the Stations of the Cross.  ”God sucks!” a teenager yelled to the support of his peers.  The car vanished down the road as we turned around.

 

Read the rest of my article Church Hopping: Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on Burnside Writers Collective and discover how Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, JFK and Jackie Kennnedy, and endangered languages are connected to this place.

Clip: Church Hopping LIVE: St. Bart’s

1 Aug

 

Check out Burnside for a full recap on Church Hopping LIVE to St. Bart’s.  Part 2 to St. Patrick’s will post later this week so keep your eyes peeled!

And, don’t forget: the next Church Hopping LIVE event is August 20.  Details here.

Dreams of European Picnics

3 Jun

 

Two nonfiction writers in my MFA program individually suggested that I check out Saveur, and I’m so glad they recommended the culinary magazine to me!  It’s always full of such mouthwatering images of food and recipes I’d love to taste test.  This week, the article “Menu: A French Picnic for Early Summer” arrived in my inbox.  Sometimes I think I must’ve been French in another lifetime.  I’ve always thought of myself more as an Anglophile than a Francophile, but there’s just something so charming and whimsical about the whole French flea-market aesthetic.

A summer or two ago, I read Barry Miles’ The Beat Hotel, about the years Beat Generation writers Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso lived at 9 rue Git-le-Coeur on the Left Bank of Paris.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a long, leisurely picnic of baguette and chevre along the Seine?  Experiencing communion with God while drinking cabernet sauvignon and contemplating the enormous rose window of Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris?  Reading bohemian and Beat poetry and penning poems in a pocket journal?

Sometimes I wish the Greek aesthetic lent itself to a more feminine and whimsical feel.  I picture triangles of tiropita, squares of feta cheese generously sprinkled with oregano, and delicate twists of diples dripping with honey and cinnamon all laid out on an off-white doily-like tablecloth crocheted by my yiayia.  Someone is fingerpicking an ornate bouzouki, and I’m reading about how Allen Ginsberg sailed to Greece in 1961 to track down his love.  And I am writing stories about cultivating a garden of memories in Greece.

Church Hopping: Don Justo’s “Trash Cathedral”

14 Apr

Image via Wikipedia

Hola!  The latest entry in my Church Hopping column at Burnside Writers Collective is up, and it’s probably one of the most unique churches I’ve featured to date.  It’s Don Justo’s “Trash” cathedral in Spain.  A lot of my friends said the church is “interesting” in that tone that means “strange,” and while I agree it’s definitely not your traditional cathedral, I think the symbolism behind it is astounding.  What do you think?