This past Sunday in Berlin, perhaps in registering a long-brewing homesickness, and blindly following some magnetic pull towards what would cure me – or maybe just finally resolving to fix the problem of my own boredom on a day in a city where everything is closed* – I found myself making a spontaneous visit to Amerika Haus, a.k.a. the new-ish home of theC/O Berlin Gallery.
I was lucky enough to spend an intermittently sunny & dismal morning at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London last week, where Woodman’s work is on view through this weekend. I’m not sure whether my babe or I loved the show more. Not that there is anything childish about the work, but that Woodman deals so tantalizingly with the visual equivalent of sugar, for babies: her obsession is with creating and confounding surfaces.
—Nefelomanzia, said the man, it’s a Greek word, nefele means cloud and manzia, to foretell, nefelomanzia is the art of predicting the future by observing the clouds, or rather, the form of the clouds, because in this art, form is substance, and that’s why I’ve come on vacation to this beach, because a friend from the air force who deals with meteorology assured me that in the Mediterranean there’s no other coast like this one where clouds form on the horizon in an instant. And as quickly as they take shape they dissolve again, and it’s right in that instant that a real nefelomant must practice his art, to understand what the shape of a certain cloud foretells before the formation dissolves in the wind, before it transforms into transparent air and turns to sky.
Today's installment of You and Me, & Sleep: Tales of Love and Slumber is a very special extended episode! And unlike that D.A.R.E.-sponsored story arc of Saved by the Bell when Jessie Spano took too many caffeine pills, in this one - as in Part I - you might actually learn something, as Kate Johnson and her husband Stuart Newman delightfully weigh in on their conflicting bedtimes, and the compromises this nocturnal dilemma has wrought.
An end-of-the-month mini-series from friends of Olympia Monthly, in which we chronicle tales of sleep, relationships, and conflicting bedtimes. We wanted to call it "Dynamite in the Sack"...but didn't.
Every relationship has a tell. It’s that little indicator, that little relationship litmus test, that can be celebrated, be brushed under the rug, or be brought to the forefront in the heat of a whiskey-induced spat. For some romances, it’s how they act around your friends. For others, it’s the last sentence before they hang up the phone. For me, it’s sleep. - Kathleen Rommel
As our favorite London-based/native Texan photographer Lilly Husbands captures perfectly, Marfa, Texas, is equipped with one of the most enchanting comfortable/rugged hotels one might dream up. Tumble out of your car into the dust of El Cosmico, a sophisticated trailer park and campground that's the perfect place to spend the night in a yurt, under a full moon and leaden Pendelton blankets.
Lilly Husbands: London dweller. Native Texan. Landscape & Travel Photographer. Film Researcher. Experimental animation & cinema specialist.
In the last decade Liz Lambert* has undertaken the ambitious project of building Bunkhouse, a Texas hotel empire, and bringing the poured-concrete-and-succulents austere/luxurious aesthetics of, say, Los Angeles and Donald Judd, to the western part of Texas. Or at least the Bunkhouse empire has succeeded at making it look this way to T Magazine.
I picked up Ali Smith's Hotel Worldas I was waltzing out of town, alone on a long trip for work, first to take a flight to Nice, and later to take a train across La France to the Atlantic coast side of things. (To be honest, no waltzing was involved, just sweating and banging my shins on stuff).
In any case, I cracked open the slim Hotel World as soon as I nestled down into my purple velour seat upon the TGV, which was literally rattling from the Côte d'Azur towards Paris. From then, I was captive: I couldn't put it down, even for the hour I was in Paris (I'm a dummy), nor could I stop reading as my train continued to hurtle down south, through endless sunflower fields.
There's something in common between Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Stefan Zweig's The Post Office Girl. They give us hotels that are entire worlds: their corridors house luxurious accommodations as well as morgues, writing rooms, grand ball rooms, and entire social orders. But each also appears as a little sort of eddy in a river of war washing across an unhappy world.
Herewith the first of several recommendations for your summer reading: books featuring hotels, in all their glamorous, complicated, and luxurious (or down-and-out) glory.
First up is a classic you may already have on your bookshelf, but that is well worth a re-read for its silent backdrop of imposing facades, marble staircases, and brass bars, never mind the war and wasted youth: Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned.
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a philosophy of motherhood, particular to Nelson's experience and delivered with special care for the limns that define it: conception, pregnancy, labor, maternal finitude. Nelson does not generalize, and asks her reader to respect her limits. So the only way I can think to talk (let alone to write) about The Argonauts is to make it about myself, too: this is how I read it. I highly recommend rushing off to get your own copy, but not to expect the world from it.
In the summer just after college, when I fancied myself some type of pioneer of real-world living, clumsily learning the basic skills of adulthood (seemingly long-known by everyone else), I discovered by accident and subsequently went fully cultish over M.F.K. Fisher. A freshly edited compendium of her writing, The Art of Eating, had just been published that summer, and I think it literally fell down on me from a high shelf while I was sulking around the cookbooks at a Barnes & Noble.
In February, pregnant and in bed with a cold, I fell head first into my first Persephone Book*. One of the small press’s handful of Classics, The Home-Makerwas originally published in 1924. The author, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, was a New England novelist (and wife, and mother). And rather than a feminist, a self-declared advocate for children. Ninety years later, her message remains sweet as ever.