Wednesday, January 26, 2011

mark pinero @ the philadelphia fire art department

i went to visit my dear friend, mark pinero yesterday.
he's one of the most interesting & courageous people i have come to know in my life.
war veteran, fire fighter, talented artist, ex-pool hustler. the list grows the longer i know him and i've known mark since i was 20 years old. the stories never end or cease to amaze me.

here he is in his studio at phila fire's art department. it was an absolutely fascinating place.
if my guts didn't get all jammed up on me (the troubles of having a uterus) i would have more images posted. but, alas... i will visit again soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the taj mahal of camden county.

when i was a kid growing up in south jersey there were a couple places that just seemed
to be the mark of utmost sophistication and class. they were places that perhaps i would go
to when i was older. to my young mind, a symbol of having "made it". one of these places was the pub, the taj mahal of camden county.
sitting on the circle where the admiral wilson meets route 130 south, my mom and i would pass it and i'm sure she must have made some remarks about this being a good restaurant because i built a mythology around it at a young age.

i vaguely remember the first time i went there. i know i was with a boyfriend at the time. it's a steakhouse, he ate a lot of steak. it was a decent meal but i had been living in philadelphia for so long that i had already developed a sophisticated palette and wasn't so easily impressed. but, i liked it and more than that, i think i just liked being in there. maybe i felt like i had really gone places.

and it's so funny to me because it doesn't seem like the place has had much change or even tried to keep up with the times. it's interior and exterior hail from their glory days in what i would guess was the late 60's. and it's good but, i find myself saying of it, "well, it's not exactly what it used to be." really, how would i know? i just have a feeling that it's not.

but, now i have been there many times over the years and i always enjoy it. not for all it's actual pomp and grandeur but for all of that which i carry with me when i walk in those doors knowing how far that little girl has come up in this world. i made it cause i ate at the pub.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the tower, my souvenir & a history of footsteps.

pisa. i took a day trip out to see the leaning tower. it's funny, it's such a common image that i've seen all throughout my life and when i realized i'd be fairly close to it i was overwhelmed with excitement to see it in person. this really amused me. i was excited to see the leaning tower of pisa. i had no real idea.

so i drive to pisa and i get there easily enough, it was about an hour and a half from where i was staying. but the funny thing is, is that when i drive into pisa, i think "oh, i'll just look for the tower looming over the city and drive to it." wrong. nothing is all that tall in italy, well at least where i was. so, i drove straight by the tower about 3 times until i stopped and actually realized i couldn't see it.

but first i did just stop into town and grab a bite to eat. ravioli, delicious. pisa was cool. it was by far the most chic place i visited in italy. the women actually stood out to me there. it just struck me as fashionable unlike the other places i had seen. this is just my experience and opinion.

so, get to the piazza dei miracoli (the miracle square) and as i enter i realize how short this thing actually is. i mean, it's not tiny, i guess i was just looking for something reminiscent of the buildings i'm used to in philadelphia. but, nonetheless, it is absolutely gorgeous. i mean, it's clean, white. beautiful and in this square that houses a basilica, a cathedral and a huge crypt. the grass is beautiful and i find out later that this park is also known for it lush green natural carpet.

and all the tourists are lined up taking pictures of themselves pretending to push the tower over or pretending to lean against it. i opt to not do this. after all, i am alone.

so i get my ticket and go in and what immediately strikes me is how the stairs are worn away as each tourist walks up and down them and favors the side in which the tower leans. it's super cool to me, this history. a history of footsteps. not only do we have this beautiful tower with this great story (the tower began to lean during construction in 1178.-_it took 177 years to complete this bell tower-and it wasn't until 1990 that the tower was stabilized in the ground as to not tilt any further) but, we have this path we all walk as we ascend to the peak for an absolutely lovely and for those with a fear of heights ( slightly nauseating view of the city of pisa and this miracle square.

and so i saw it & it was funny to me & it impressed me & i bought my first souvenir that day- a miniature leaning tower of pisa for 3 euro. it made me laugh, i was alone and i walked back to the rental car in hysterics at it all.