Saturday, April 24, 2010

DONE!

Colloquium passed!
Final Papers Done!
Nothing left but to graduate!

Packing up my apartment this weekend and moving about 20 blocks downtown to wonderful Tribeca! Posts have been slow during studying, but now I am done and I will be sure to post about the move downtown and then the great preparations for my trip! 3 continents, 7 countries, 17+ flights, all in 5 months. I will be sure to keep you all updated about the planning, hotels, visas and everything else!

Now go properly enjoy Spring!
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And don't forget to check out my new book!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bronx Botanical Gardens Orchid Show 2010

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On Sunday I took a much needed break from end of the year studying to hit up the last day of the Bronx Botanical Garden's Orchid Show.  I went last year as well, and both times I found it really beautiful.  Unfortunately I can't tell you all to go out and see it as it has ended, but definitely take the time to go next year, and a BIG tip, do not go the last day!  When I went last year it was not at all crowded and quite pleasant, this year the park grounds weren't too busy, but the show itself was so packed my friend and I could hardly enjoy it and felt more like sheep getting herded along through the show, not fun!  The flowers are beautiful and well worth the schlep to the Bronx, and even now that the show is closed the park itself is worth a trip to!  We saw an adorable little bunny rabbit, an even cuter chipmunk, tons of birds, including a Robin on her nest!  This is the perfect time of year to go the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, there's about one week left so I suggest this weekend will a good time to go!

And as for the people, we had a cool celebrity spotting, Katie Holmes was there with the ever adorable Suri Cruise (Tom was not there).  But Katie was very cool and normal just hanging out on the great lawn outside the Orchid Show with a friend while Suri and other adorable children ran around the lawn.  There was a slightly ominous body guard lurking in the background, but nothing obtrusive, it was really nice to see a family that gets such crazy paparazzi invasions having a nice day at the park, so I didn't take any photos of them out of respect, so none to share with you.  Although adorable Suri did run into one of my frames of the Orchid Pavilion and can be seen in her little blue dress.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Visiting Annenberg

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While in Los Angeles last weekend I finally made it to the Annenberg Space for Photography.  I have been wanting to go since it opened, but my timing and trips to LA have not been conducive for a visit.  The Annenberg is hosting a show with National Geographic all about Water.  It is national water month and the show is absolutely amazing, showing all the ways we interact with and use water.  It brought up so many issues we don't normally think about- the way humans use water, the way animals use water, ice melting and drying up rivers, how political water can be when we fight for it in disputed territories.  It was an amazing subject handled beautifully.

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The show can be seen at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, Los Angeles.  It is located right behind the CAA building on Avenue of the stars.  The Coffee Bean next to it is also running a promotion on Saturdays when you go to the Annenberg (which is free!) you get a a coupon for $3.50 at coffee bean!  It's a great deal I highly recommend!


The taking of photographs was not allowed inside so unfortunately I can't share with you pictures of the amazing show, but check them out on Annenberg's website.

Be sure to check out the video that plays in the center of the building in a very cool space.  They have a documentary on the show including interviews with photographers and staff at National Geographic.  After that documentary they showed another movie on one of my all time favorite photographers Joel Sartore and his work RARE, portraits of endangered species.  It was fascinating listening to him describe how he makes a mollusk look cool to get people to care about it as much as a smiley turtle.  I absolutely love him and his work! 

The Water Show is there till June 1st so check it out soon!

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gallery Show

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Hey everyone, I have a gallery show coming up in New York City at the NYU Gallery Space at Wagner, which is in the iconic Puck Building located at Lafayette and Houston.  There will be an opening reception on Wednesday April 14, 2010 from 5:30-7:30 with wine and cheese, but if you can't make it then it will be open till June 1st, so no excuses go check it out!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Frogs Were Jumping Everywhere....

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Just got back in from a great weekend in Los Angeles.  As many of you know it was passover this week and unfortunately because of my class schedule i wasn't able to make it back for sedar on Monday or Tuesday, so my family threw a sedar on Saturday night.  Now I don't mean to put down other sedar's but ours is no regular sedar, it is a fun big party with some tradition and great food thrown in.  We use the Gindi Haggadah, which is targeted for families (i.e. children who can't sit through long sedars and need them to be fun) and eventhough the youngest at our sedar this year was 16 we still love it!  (Obama actually used a personalized version of this haggadah at his sedar!)  We aren't great cooks, but my mom and I make an amazing charoset, and the rest is pot lucked and catered by Junior's in Los Angeles.
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We try to make our sedar both fun and socially relevant.  Sedar is the story of exodus- freedom from oppression.  Now there is controversy over the historical accuracy of the story, my friend who is studying Egyptian art at UCLA told me that there is no historical evidence proving that we were ever in Egypt, never mind slaves there, and there is hard historical facts that the pyramids were built by well taken care of workers.  I was shocked as I had never heard that before, but after some poking around online it seems like she is completely right and this whole story may be untrue.  I'll address this more in later posts during the week.

Whether or not we were ever slaves the message of freedom from oppression is still a very important one and is something to celebrate and work for each year.  We include contemporary texts as supplements to our haggadahs to show people how we can apply these ancient lessons to our modern lives.

We also believe in having a little fun with it and we embrace our inner child and sprinkle the table with the 10 plagues and then every person at the table gets to help act it out.  It keeps the story fun and fresh and gets everyone involved. We cover the table in frog eraser toys and also have people put on dark sunglasses for darkness, tip over cow figurines for blight, and poor die into water to represent the Nile turning to blood just to name a few.
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My favorite part of the sedar since I was a child has always been searching for the afikomen.  The afikomen is a piece of matzah that is hidden somewhere in the house during sedar and after the meal all the kids go looking for it and then ransom it back to the adults for a prize.  When I was younger the prizes would be fun gifts like puzzles or toys, but as we got older my parents had to rethink the prize system.  Many families will give money as a prize when older children are involved, and while that is fun, my parents decided to try a little social experiment a few years that we have all come to love and look forward to.  Instead of just giving us money to keep they give us a certain amount of money for the afikomen that the winner then gets to choose to donate to a charity of his/her choice.  They decided though that it would be better for the kids to have a dialogue then just one person deciding the outcome, so they also hide little pieces of paper representing various amounts of money around the house, when those are all found we come together and choose one or more charities to give them to.  We've been doing it for over 5 years now and the "kids" have ranged from 16 year olds to late 30's.  Each year some of the other adults chip in extra money and we end up with a substantial sum to give away.  It is important on a holiday where we celebrate freedom to give to those who are still not free- which can mean anything from poverty to disease or oppression.  This year my friend Bryan found the afikomen and gave the money to the group to decide together where all the money should go.  We ended up donating to the Lamp Community, UNICEF, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and Make A Wish Foundation.
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Every religion has some celebration of Spring, no matter what your beliefs are Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and its good to celebrate it with friends and family, give thanks for what we have and help those who are in need.  I hope everyone has good Passovers, Easters, Earth Days or whatever else you do to celebrate the sun being back out.  Personally I'm going to go for a walk in the park with Rheana and soak up the sun!
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