New York April 2011

Dear friends and family,

First of all, I have to explain that our last trip: a short visit to Texas and then NY in March, we had a very good time, but became very disheartened with the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns in Japan and the turmoil in the Middle East. Didn't have the heart to write much and felt it maybe wasn't appropriate. Now we have the heartbreaking tornadoes in Alabama. But life goes on and I guess we can accustom ourselves to most anything.

In March, the San Antonio Museum of Art was the last stop of The Missing Peace. The Museum was able to accommodate all 80 some odd pieces in the show and installed them beautifully. Many artists showed up for this last episode, some of the tried and true and some we had not yet had the pleasure to meet. Our dear friend, William Wiley, gave an entertaining talk. Below is a photo of the assembled artists, taken by a Good Samaritan, whose name I did not get, with Don's camera.

This is a photo of some of the attending artists with some of the people who made this exhibition happen all around the world.

We stayed in Austin most of the time with Don's brother, Scott, and Scott's wife, Karen. Great hosts: comfortable house and great cooking. What more can one ask?

This quick trip in April is all NYC. We have been here working with Kiki Smith on a series of 3 tapestries. What a trooper; she is right in there, focusing on what is being done every step of the way, paying attention, scrutinizing and making important decisions. A joy to work with. And it is work for all concerned.

Thursday we changed hotels to the super comfortable Surrey. Fortunately, we have a trade there. In the taxi on the way we got a call from Mikael Kirkman of Bicycle Coffee. He and Bailey were in NY also. Met them at the Conservatory Water, a large pond in Central Park, a few blocks away from the Surrey. He gave us some of his great coffee beans, which we gave to Kiki.

Bailey, Mikael and Era, squinting into the sun.

Thursday evening was a special treat. The Tibet Fund, a very worthy organization, had a gala fundraiser dinner at the Pierre Hotel. Our tapestry is the large piece with a buddha in red robes. Many artists donated pieces which were auctioned off for the Tibet Fund's important work in preserving Tibetan culture, and Tibetans, for that matter.

Don tossing barley over his shoulder to ensure good fortune (I think he got confused with spilling salt. He was supposed to toss it gently up in the air; instead he gently hit the lady behind him.)

Chef Eric Ripert organized a group of his chef buddies to help in a major way with this event. Chef Eric told us that not one chef he asked to participate turned him down or showed the slightest hesitation. Each chef cooked a special dinner for one of 9 large tables of about 20 people. We were very fortunate to have Chef Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen cooking for our table. He and his team did a fabulous job. We were able to tell him that we had reservations at his restaurant the next day (and we did, thanks to our friend, Deb Hoffman). We positioned ourselves as close to the food preparators as possible -- wanted to see everything, but then became so interested in speaking to our fellow diners that we didn't see much of the food prep. 

Our chef, Dan Kluger, and crew from ABC Kitchen.

An absolutely brilliant salad, shredded pea pods with parmesan and a mustard vinaigrette on radicchio. Chef Dan emphasizes and gets the most beautiful color in his food.

Cooking under the circumstances was a little frustrating for the cooks as they had to use a little electric stove. There were pauses for different speakers, while the cooks endeavored to keep the food warm; the result was the toast was burnt in places. It was still delicious. I believe this was goat cheese with fluke sashimi.

Richard Gere

Era sat next to the president of the Students for a Free Tibet, Tendor, which was totally fascinating. Of course, we spoke about Ai Weiwei and his arrest by the Chinese government and subsequent disappearance. We all hope that he is not being treated too badly and for his imminent release. Across from us was a Tibetan artist who has a work in The Missing Peace, Tenzin Rigdol; and a lovely woman, Kamala Cesar, an Indian dancer who once took an Indian dance class with a young Aggie Brenneman, our daughter's Indian dance teacher when Marisha was in grammar school; and Kamala's husband, a very sweet man who is a singer. Also at our table were Tibetan artist, Gonkar Gyatso; a journalist from W Magazine; various Tibetan dignitaries and other people we didn't get to meet.

Donald and Shelley Rubin and Richard Gere were honored at the dinner and gave talks. Donald Rubin told us about how his dad started a union local; I think it was Local 9. How he remembered being on a picket line at the age of 3 with his parents. It reminded me of my mom taking me to anti-nuclear marches when I was about that age. I so respect those who take time out of their busy lives to try to make this world a better place. I do it occasionally; not enough.

A round of applause to the hard-working chefs, staff of the Tibet Fund and honorees. Far left, front row are Rinchen Dharlo and Robyn Brentano of the Tibet Fund, Richard Gere, Shelley Rubin, Donald Rubin, some of the generous chefs. Eric Ripert is second from the right.

More in next installment.


Era and Don