Travels NY - Venice

Dear friends and family,

On the road again. Our few days in New York were mostly business. We kept passing movie vans and trailers parked all over SoHo and Tribeca. Very early on our first morning we heard large noisy trucks and guys shouting down the block to each other. Got up to see movie trailers parked all up and down our narrow little street. Did manage to get a photo of not only them, but the KATE tapestry hanging in the Surrey Hotel and Norbert Prangenburg and John Yau's book, A Child's Vi(r)gil, at Betty Cuningham Gallery. Had a fabulous dinner at John Yau and Eve Aschheim's. Their very precocious daughter, Cerise, entertained us on the recorder and otherwise.

Business class from SF to NY, but Economy from NY to Munich. Poor Don could barely fit into the seat. It felt a bit like a cattle car, especially since there was someone very nearby having constant and continuous gastric problems. Not as bad as Harris Ranch, but close.

In Munich they parked us quite far from the terminal, so we had to take a bus to reach it. Then we had to clear security and customs again, even though we had just gotten off an international flight. We ran all the way across the airport, but arrived after the bus which took people out to the plane for Venice had left. It turned out everyone on our flight and a flight from DC who were traveling on to Venice also missed this plane. Maddening, since the plane was still there when we arrived, but they (Lufthansa) wouldn't send a bus for us. Next plane in 3 hours - not too bad. Mary Webster had warned us about Lufthansa, and she was right, although our stewardesses were wonderful.

We found a not very populated part of the vast and sparkling clean Munich airport, stretched out on some seats and took a nap. I guess after the volcano ash, everyone has become inured to the sight of stranded tourists sleeping where they can.

After we woke some fellow travelers, except they were in business class, gave us a food credit for 30 euros; they had received 2 of them for missing the same flight and because they were in business class and raised a stink. We had some coffee drinks, water, juice, a sandwich, and then just started buying things for people at the bar.

In Venice we are staying with Robert Morgan (the painter and sometimes photographer; Magnolia printed his photographs as etchings for the gorgeous book Watermark, published by Peter Koch), Robert's wife, Ewa, and their adorable and spunky daughter, Felicite, right off the Zattere. Managed to stay up until 10, then crashed.

This is the view of their back yard.

This is Felicite's walk to school.

Wildly coincidental, we thought (although Susan Filter had told us this previously), but Ewa works for a Polish Cultural institution, The Signum Foundation, which purchased the building we had seen with Susan and Peter Koch in San Polo, a beautiful square in Venice. The last time we were in Venice this building, the Palazzo Dona', was being offered for sale (by the Fonseca family), absolutely gorgeous. We toured the rather small (for a palazzo) home and fantasized about how we could possibly afford to buy it. We couldn't, short of having about 20 partners. It ended up being purchased by this Polish institution, and Ewa ended up working for them. To add to the crazily serendipitous nature of it, the director, Gregory Musial, knows our friend, the curator (and painter) Randy Rosenberg. They used to work together in Washington DC for the World Bank's art programs. Randy is the curator of the exhibition we are traveling to, The Missing Peace, Artists Consider the Dalai Lama, and thus we wouldn't even be making this trip if it were not for her.

I have gotten all kinds of mileage from anyone Polish by the fact that my boyfriend in high school, Peter, was the son of Czeslaw Milosz. If you don't know who Czeslaw Milosz was, you aren't Polish. He was a Nobel Prize winning poet who taught at UC Berkeley. He was also a member of The Committee of 100 for Tibet, which exists to help the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet, and is sponsoring the exhibition we are in. Every Pole seems to revere him, or at least know of him, including Ewa, the small staff at the Polish institution and our young waiter at En in NYC. Don is probably tiring of the way I have been dropping this tidbit to every Pole we meet. It is odd that I almost never meet Polish people in California, but we have been meeting them on this trip.


Here is a photo of Era dancing with Felicite and standing in an installation of Carlos Cruz-Diaz at the Signum Foundation. We got to see the upcoming show before it was completely installed.


Era and Don