Take Me To The Art – Seattle, Washington

Take Me To the Art – Seattle, Washington

“We use our minds and our hands to create our world.”   Jonathan Borofsky

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The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) was designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. It is one of Seattle’s privately owned public spaces. The city of Seattle offered developers the right to build larger developments in return for certain public amenities. As this is not advertised, most people do not know that certain lobby space, restrooms and rooftop gardens of downtown buildings are open to the public. The lobby space of SAM is fun, light and airy – good place to catch up on email.

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Jonothan Borofsky’s Hammering Man towers in the front of the museum. The hammer swings back and forth from mind to heart. His original concept was to have Hammering Men, hammering all over the world. There are many indoor hammering men of different sizes. The outdoor ones are in Seoul, Frankfurt, Basel , Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle.

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SAM’s cultural statement is “ we connect art to life.” Art is displayed in similar groupings while juxtaposing with different cultures and time periods. The Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park are all part of SAM.

I loved one of the current exhibits called City Dwellers. It is a glimpse of India from the eyes of twelve modern Indian artists. The photographs were taken from an Indian perspective instead of a tourist one. India’s pop culture, history and religion has made it a place of contradictions. The artwork highlights this in the private and public sectors. (India Shining V – Gandhi with Ipod by Debanjan Roy)

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The Olympic Sculpture Park is part of the Seattle Art Museum. It was built on land that was once on the environmental cleanup list.  On my first visit to the park, I felt that it was about beautifying the urban landscape. The architectural space and scenery were much larger to me than the art. The park is free from dawn to dusk on beautiful waterfront property near downtown Seattle. (Seattle Cloud Cover by Teresita Fernandez)

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An art collector friend pointed out that it was an interesting, high quality outdoor collection. So i had to go back and see it again.  She was right and it is noteworthy.  The Eagle by Alexander Calder stands guard over Elliot Bay.

DSCF4155Among other sculptures are the serpentine steel plated Wake by Richard Serra,  Bunyon’s Chess by Mark di Suvero, Echo by James Piensa and  Father and Son by Louise Bourgious. The sculpture is a lot more impressive in person than in photographs. The combination of setting, architectural concept and art seems to fit with the Seattle aesthetic.  (Serra, di Suvero  Bourgious)

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The gallery scene in Seattle includes many Pacific Northwest artists and affordable art. Seattle is not known as a city of art collectors so if you go to a gallery and show some interest in an artist, they are happy to talk it. They will take you in the back and show you more work. I spent a long time at the Foster White Gallery.

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After seeing the small but thought-provoking exhibit at the not for profit alternative art space Soil, I was told about more galleries in the area.

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I had a plan but took gallery personal recommendations instead including restaurants and coffee places.  (Roq La Rue Gallery)

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There is an eclectic mix of contemporary art in Seattle and all the gallery people were welcoming and informative. Other cool galleries include Greg Kucera, Prole Drift, Punch, Bryan Ohno, Roq La Rue and James Harris. (Bryan Ohno Gallery)

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The art in Seattle ranges from serious to fun and quirky. Maybe it is the weather that influences the artists. It rains a lot which makes you appreciate a beautiful day. I felt that appreciation when I went into a gallery on a rainy Seattle day and found an unexpected piece of art that touched me and connected me to my life. (always my favorite art)

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Fly safe,

JAZ

 

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Seattle Is A Food Town

Seattle Is A Food Town

“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.” Joss Whedon

I’m a terrible food blogger. I do way too much when I travel and I’m always starving when I sit down to eat. I never remember to take photos when the food comes until after I’ve eaten several bites. I try to put the food together but it never works.  Or it’s dark and I forget to put my flash on. There is something weird to me about taking pictures of food before you eat it. But it is the number one thing people post. Apparently other people love to look at pictures of the food you are about to eat.

Seattle is a food town. Signature dishes are salmon, smoked salmon, coffee and Starbucks, (separate categories), Rainer cherries, Teriyaki anything, Top Pot donuts, fresh local ingredients, Salumi salami, Dungeness crabs, named after the town of Dungeness in Washington) apples – half the apples in the United States are grown here, mussels from Whidbey Island and my least favorite thing – Geoduck clams. I had a lot of eating to do but no Geoduck.

I’m not a huge fan of cured and preserved meats or long lunch lines.

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Yet I found myself waiting an hour at Salumi in Pioneer Square.

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It is owned by Armando Batali, father of a famous chef.

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I had the Salumi salami sandwich and to my son who made me wait on the long line, I say “thank you.” It all worked – the bread, the provolone, the salami and whatever they drizzled on it. The family had the mole sandwich, muffo sandwich and salami and mozzarella on Guiseppi bread. It is worth the wait.

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I love fish and all the fish in Seattle is so fresh. The salmon, mussels and poke I had at the wedding at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island (and it looks like its name) was amazing. Sorry,  I was busy taking pictures of family and friends.   All the seafood at Anchovy and Olive is beautifully prepared and delicious.

Pike’s market is one of the main tourist attractions in Seattle. It opened on Aug. 17, 1907, with just eight farmers who sold their food to more than 10,000 people who came out on a crazy first day. It hasn’t slowed down since and now more than 10 million visitors come to it annually.

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The market is located on Pike Street.

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How do you not like aisles of fruit, vegetables. souvenirs, desserts, ethnic food, art, crafts , flowers and men throwing around massive fish and giant crabs?

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I ate my way through on the first day –clam “chowda”, giant Dungeness crab cocktail, chocolate covered cherries, giant peaches , piroshkies and apples apples apples. I would have taken photos but I couldn’t balance the umbrella, the purse, the camera and the food as I walked through hordes of people.. Remember that Anthony Bourdain has a film crew.

The original Starbucks was opened in Pikes Market in 1971. There are Starbucks on almost every street in Seattle but there is always a long line down the block at the first one. I guess it just feels different. I did not wait on that line in the rain for my Seattle Pikes Place Starbucks mug.   I walked to the one a block away with a normal line and got a regular Seattle one. I draw the line at waiting forty minutes for a souvenir – even though I have a major Starbucks around the world collection and wish now that I done it.

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Piroshky Piroshky bakery  located in Pike’s Market is a must to get piroshkies in Seattle, Even if you don’t know what they are you will not be sorry. Try the cinnamon and smoked salmon ones.

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I found a new favorite dessert – dried Chukar cherries covered with dark chocolate cocoa and I am eating them as a write. They are located in Pike’s Market and will let you sample many of them. I see you can buy them on Amazon.

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The gum wall in Pike’s Market is one of the main tourist attractions. The wall is by the box office for the Market Theater, and the tradition began around 1993 when patrons of Seattle Theatresports stuck gum to the wall and placed coins in the gum blobs. It became a tourist attraction in 1999. You can bring your own gum to add to the collection but just know that is on the list for Five Germiest Tourist Attractions In The World.

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Food writing is very competitive. As a non cook I have no right to judge other people’s food but I do come to the table with major experience as an eater. I’ve had three meals a day for my entire life.  I’m also a restaurant slut. I am always trying new restaurants and rarely stay with them unless they are amazing. My favorite places to visit are those with good people and good food and Seattle has both.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

 

Chihuly Garden And Glass – Seattle, Washington

Chihuly Garden and Glass – Seattle, Washington

“I never met a color I did not like.” Dale Chihuly

As soon as you enter the Chihuly space , there is a magnificent piece of glass.

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You turn around and an explosion of color and light appears.

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I walk through the galleries in awe of seeing so many beautiful pieces in one place. Even the idea that hot glass pushed through a pipe, can be shaped in such extraordinary ways is fascinating.

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The exhibition includes indoor and outdoor spaces as well as a glass atrium. The pieces work perfectly to heighten the spirit of the environment.

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In the first gallery is his basket series influenced by Indian baskets and tapestries with blown glass in them.

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The other works are mostly floral motifs based on influences from his mother’s garden.

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He has the ability to blend his work well with nature.

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Dale Chihuly is renowned for his architectural installations in museums, gardens and public buildings throughout the world.

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He studied at the first glass program in the United States at the University of Wisconsin and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study glass blowing in Venice. He established a program at the Rhode Island School Of Design and taught there for many years. An auto accident in 1976 caused him to lose eyesight in one eye. His injuries caused him to relinquish his actual glass blowing activities and continued developing his projects with his chief glassblower William Morris. He now presides over a company of artisans.

I would have loved to see his large-scale installation of Chandeliers Over Venice.

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There were fourteen large-scale chandeliers hung over various sites in Venice. PBS did a video about it which runs from time to time called Chihuly Over Venice.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Chihuly+Over+Venice+On+PBS&Form=VQFRVP#view=detail&mid=E27A5D3BB7EC80DC7FA8E27A5D3BB7EC80DC7FA8

The Chihuly Garden and Glass opened in 2012 by the Wright family who own and manage the Space Needle to reinvigorate Seattle City Center.

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The Collections Cafe which houses some of Chihuly’s collections has great food.

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Though others may critique this idea, there is something magical to me about an artist who can no longer physically create his own pieces, but is able to see how far he can go with glass and show us his vision – with only one eye.  http://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/m/

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Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Things That I Have Learned In Seattle, Washington

Things That I Have Learned In Seattle, Washington

“Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it.” Kimberly Kinrade

Seattle is ranked the most literate city in the country. Everyone reads here. The Seattle Public Library system has the highest percentage of library card-holders per capita in the country.

The city has the highest percentage of residents with a college degree or higher.

Seattle is the birthplace of grunge, has summer rock concerts in the zoo, a Jimi Hendrix memorial and a Kurt Cobain memorial (his old house).

It was the first city in the US to play a Beatles song on the radio.

Edgewater Hotel is where the Beatles stayed on their first tour to America. It is the famous photo of them fishing from their room.

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Bumbershoot is the music and art festival of the year for kids growing up in the Pacific Northwest.

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The festival takes place over Labor Day Weekend. Bumbershoot means umbrella so you know that there will be rain. It is held near the EMP Museum and Space Needle so there is an eclectic mix of rockers and tourists around.

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It’s all good. Especially because marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. You can definitely smell it. The law states that if you are over 21 and have an ounce of marijuana not open in a public place it is legal. You cannot smoke it anywhere cigarettes are not allowed. The police are still finding their way so be careful.

Seattle was the first American city to put police on bicycles.

The EMP Museum is dedicated to science fiction, music and pop culture.

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The Experience Music Project  was designed by Frank Gehry and created by Paul Allen who was one of the founders of Microsoft.

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Seattle-based artists Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana have galleries there.

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There are interactive music galleries that the kids will love. Play any instrument, dj or make a video.

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Music videos are on constant loops through out the museum. (props from OK GO, This Too Shall Pass, my favorite music video).

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There are impressive instrument collections as well.

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The sci-fi and horror film section has something for every nerd. Even a non-fan will be impressed with the displays and technology.

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Constructed on the grounds of the 1962 World’s Fair, the Seattle Space Needle was inspired in part by a flying saucer. With its domed top (always a rotating restaurant and observation deck) it has appeared in Sleepless in Seattle and Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me.

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At 76 stories and 937 feet Columbia Center is Seattle’s tallest building and is 12th tallest building in the country.

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The Seattle Great Wheel built in 2012,  is the largest observation wheel on the west coast. It is 175 feet tall and can hold up to 300 passengers at any time. The wheel is open year round. There are fully enclosed gondolas and a covered waiting area, so the rain can’t stop the wheel from spinning.

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The world’s first gas station opened in 1907 on East Marginal Way in Seattle.

The Washington State Ferry System is the largest in the country and the third largest in the world, carrying over 25 million passengers annually.

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Seattle’s Pier 52 is the busiest ferry terminal in the U.S.  It is a 35 minute ferry trip across Elliot Bay to Bainbridge island.

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Bainbridge Island is almost 28 square miles, and has a population of just over 20,000. If you have the patience to wait on the ferry lines and bring a car over, it is a good way to explore the island. If you happen to be going to a wedding there, it is best to walk on.

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Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour in Pioneer Square takes you beneath Seattle’s streets where there were once roadways and storefronts.

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The Underground Tour leads us through obscure doors and urine filled alleys.

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This was the original area for saloons and brothels and “the sewing circle”- a group of ‘seamstresses” who knew “not to sew without a thimble”.

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It was interesting to learn how the city was leveled and rebuilt after the fire of 1889 to accommodate constant flooding and poor sanitation.

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Tales of rats and sewage are a big part of an underground tour if that is your thing. (Notice  that the early water pipe  is made from wood.)

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Our tour guide was funny, informative and a great story-teller. There is a lot of history under those streets. http://www.undergroundtour.com

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The Seattle Architecture Foundation does tours around Seattle. I was there on a day that they did a downtown tour. Check the website for the tour schedule. It was raining but being a frustrated architect I got to learn all about the architectural styles and public/private space buildings around downtown. Hearing the history from the underground tour and seeing the modern, beaux-arts and brutalist buildings pulled the Seattle story together for me. http://seattlearchitecture.org/tours/downtown-tours.

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I always take advantage of a concierge at a hotel. Keith Dowsing at the Alexis in Seattle was especially knowledgeable, helpful and fun. Before I arrived he had taken care of great dinner reservations, tours and a hair appointment on a Sunday. He is the ultimate insider and knows everything going on in Seattle. He made my kids feel special when they arrived as well. He is a valuable resource and definitely added to my Seattle experience. Thanks Keith.

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Another great thing about the Alexis is that  on your night table there is a copy of a book for purchase written by students in the writing program at 826 Seattle. I volunteer in the writing program at 826 LA so I thought that was very cool.

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People in Seattle are used to rain, always have a Plan B, don’t usually carry umbrellas, have plastic for their cameras and a good hooded rain jacket. I am not from Seattle and knocked into a lot of people with my umbrella and couldn’t take photos in the rain. Living in LA for so long I need to brush up on my weather skills.

Fly Safe,

JAZ