Contemplate among bonsais

Contemplate among bonsais

Seek out a tree and let it teach you stillness.

Eckhart Tolle

Medium sized bonsai trees at the Japanese Garden in Hayward.

If you are looking for well-manicured trees I recommend the Japanese Gardens in Hayward. A large variety of conifers, but also a few deciduous trees are styled in medium height bonsai fashion and where possible were shaped into rounded heads.

Bridge over the koi pond at the Japanese Garden in Hayward.

The gardens are surrounded by the San Lorenzo and Castro Valley Creek. Thanks to the rain the creeks below are filled with water and the rush of water accompanies you in the quest for serenity. Another water feature is a koi pond with a waterfall. Many of the koi are huge and might be on a diet, because the feeding is prohibited.

One of the gazebos at the Japanese Garden in Hayward.

The gardens wind in a few loops and have multiple gazebos for you to rest. On a smaller loop I heard a frog croaking; birds are also part of the natural entertainment. Overall a nice place to walk, contemplate, and enjoy nature.

The Japanese Garden is open daily, 8:30 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. No dogs allowed.

Have you been to the Japanese Gardens in Hayward?

Resources

https://www.haywardrec.org/DocumentCenter/View/5425/Japanese-Gardens-Brochure?bidId=

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/02/12/haywards-hidden-gem-japanese-gardens/amp/



See 100 murals

See 100 murals

The 100 Block Mural Project is going for a Guinness record. They created 100 murals, each their own 3×3 space, as a large continuously collaborative mural. You can admire the artwork at 300 First Street in San Jose, across the California Theatre.

Some of the 100 Block Murals
Some of the 100 block murals
Some of the 100 block murals
Some of the 100 block murals

The creators of this, Exhibition District, are not only on a mission to beautify the city; their plan was to discourage graffiti. And, what is really amazing, they paid the artists for their murals.

Two of the 100 block murals

And given that women are present but not well represented in the art community, they achieved a great set of statistics. Of the 100 artists, 90% of the artists are local, 50 males, 40 females and 10 non-binary.

Each of the art pieces has a different feel. But it is not overwhelming, rather fascinating. The official unveiling was done March 1st, 2019, so you’ll be able to still get a fresh look at them. While you are out check out other murals around. The SOFA districts booms with murals. But clearly the 100 block is something special in the world of murals. It brightened up a rainy day for me. More please!

Have you seen the 100 Block Mural Project?

Resources:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Artists-Collaborate-for-Guinness-World-Record-Mural-in-Downtown-San-Jose-506468401.html



Celebrate Steinbeck

Celebrate Steinbeck

Steinbeck Center entrance, Salinas

Steinbeck’s birthday is February 27. He would have been 117 this year. Steinbeck grew up in Salinas and later moved to New York. The Steinbeck Center in Salinas celebrates their famous author all year. Only closed for mayor holidays the center is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm. The entry fee for adults is $12.95 – a steep price tag for a roadside attraction.

Growing up East of Eden, Steinbeck Center, Salinas

The Center is conveniently placed at the beginning of Main Street, 1 Main Street. And the downtown area has lately been revived with modern eateries, coffeeshops, and breweries moving in.

On the other side, Salinas is still a town of rural farmland, with a saddening rate of one in four kids considered poor. This makes Steinbeck as present and meaningful as ever.

If you have kids in tow, they might enjoy the scavenger hunt that is offered. Grab a printout and a pen from the entrance area and start looking for clues.

Cannery Row reading, Steinbeck Center, Salinas

I have to admit I haven’t read anything by Steinbeck before. We did listen to The Grapes of Wrath and a lifetime ago I have watched East of Eden. So, with this challenged novice knowledge I was pleased to watch a bit of East of Eden coming into the Center. The history lessons dispersed throughout the exhibits were helpful. The little movie clips I glimpsed at made me hungry for more.

Steinbeck was awared the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, Steinbeck Center, Salinas

A very interesting man in a very interesting town. Both worth checking out.

Have you read anything by Steinbeck?

There is also the Steinbeck House. Maybe on our next stop in Salinas.

Interesting article about the situation of Salinas kids from KQEDs California Report:

https://www.kqed.org/news/11716780/for-many-students-in-salinas-homelessness-is-becoming-the-norm



Shop for some gifts

Shop for some gifts

Every town and city in the Bay Area has its distinct feel. It’s hard to describe, but that’s what I love about it, too. Los Altos, for example, is all about gift shops. There are candy stores, toys and book stores, and several shops for giving presents.

Gallery 9 storefront, Los Altos

If you like to give some local art work, gallery 9 might be a good place to shop. Originally founded by 9 artists in Menlo Park, it relocated in 1973 and is now the oldest art gallery in Los Altos with over thirty artists.

Current exhibit at gallery 9 features Mam-Weber's paintings and ceramics by Shigemi Sanders

Every month they feature different artists in the front of the gallery. This month you can admire paintings from Mami Weber and ceramics by Shigemi Sanders. Gallery hours are Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 am –  5 pm and Sundays from 12 pm – 4 pm. Since it is an artist collective you will meet one of the artists on your visit.

Ceramic figures by Shigemi Sanders at gallery 9, Los Altos

Gallery 9 also participates in the Los Altos’ First Friday with an artists’ reception.

Do you love to give gifts?


Get a glimpse of the Cuban School of Ballet

Get a glimpse of the Cuban School of Ballet

Did you know that the Cubans are as serious about ballet as they are about baseball? In fact the school is so successful that kids come from all over Latin America.

Rebekah Bowman, a Mexican-American photographer from Berkeley, went on and off to Cuba the last six years and captured the intensity of the young dancers.  You can see her work at the KCI Gallery at Foothill College. Until March 21st, 2019, nineteen images are shown in the gallery. Ballet images are perfect for the round space with the handrails on both sides. If you want you could probably re-enact the poses.

Rebekah Bowman's photography at KCI gallery, Los Altos Hills
Rebekah Bowman's photography at KCI gallery, Los Altos Hills

I found the choice of the black and brown photos printed on bamboo paper represented the fragility of the Cuban surroundings and helped the objects to shine. And shine they do, in strikingly perfect poses, all muscles. Bowman also managed to capture the playful sides of her objects. I imagined joyful, dancing teenagers. Hard working, but also developing into adulthood.

You can own the prints, prices are $500 for the small prints  and $800 for the larger ones.

Rebekah Bowman's photography at KCI gallery, Los Altos Hills

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 the Foothill College will show Horizontes (2 pm – 3 pm, Room 4006 KCI), a documentary about two dancers of the National Cuban Ballet.

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 there will be a Gallery Talk with professor Ron Herman (12 pm – 1 pm, KCI Gallery).

KCI Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 8 am – 7 pm, Friday 8 am – 5:30 pm and Saturday 8:30 am – 4 pm. To get to the KCI Gallery you should use the parking lot #4, parking is $3.

Have you heard about the Cuban School of Ballet?


Call me Ishmael

Call me Ishmael

Call me Ishmael phone, Los Gatos library

“Press any button to hear a story from an anonymous bibliophile about a story they loved.”  This is the sentence you hear when you pick up the receiver of the old pay phone in the Los Gatos library.

Reviews are read from different book lovers. Unfortunately there was no volume button. Some recordings are hard to listen to from the recording quality and the speed of the reader. But the personal account is priceless. Some are short and sweet but most of them are true personal recollections.  

Press 0 and you’ll hear a pitch for ‘Call me Ishmael’ or if you are at home in front of your computer you can watch their YouTube video for their earlier kickstarter project.

Current book selection from Call me Ishmael, Los Gatos library

Currently the book selections are from Sarah Boynton’s Pyjama Time! , a picture book, to classics like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, to the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

If you like to record your own review you can do this by calling 774.325.0503. On the CMI website you can also listen to featured calls.

Los Gatos library (front entrance)

A fun way of learning about new books! The personal touch of the stories makes it feel like a friend is telling you about a book they loved, and the Los Gatos library is a great place to hang and discover new books.

What book would you review?

Marvel at the Eichler X-100

Marvel at the Eichler X-100

X-100 indoor garden and fireplace

Usually I wouldn’t tell you about this house, if I myself hadn’t been inside. For the inside is really the interesting part. But in this case I make an exception. Thanks to the American Institute of Architects San Mateo who generously provided me with images from the inside of the Eichler X-100.

You, who know Eichlers, are aware of the private facade Eichlers display towards the street. So, to be able to look inside this marvel, even just seeing the pictures, is a treat. You can imagine the design ideas of Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons the main architects of a lot of Eichler homes.

Double oven in the X-100

The San Mateo Highlands are the largest Eichler community with over 700 of the “Modern California” homes. The X-100 is an experimental home with steel instead of wood beams. It shows off its modernity with two interior gardens, but also the kitchen equipment was prototyped and came in 1956 with a black dishwasher, a garbage disposal (“pulverator”), a double oven and a radio and intercom to name a few features.

Heated inlay in the table at the X-100

One of my favorite upgrades is the heated inlay in the kitchen table to keep the food warm.

Since it is occupied, tours are rare, and are by appointment for groups only. Please respect their privacy.

Are you an Eichler fan?

Resources:

https://www.eichlernetwork.com/article/eichler-x-100-house-steel

https://www.realtor.com/news/unique-homes/eichler-x-100-house-steel-available-rent-5500k/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-100_(house)

http://www.eichlermidcentury.com/index.html

https://www.bungalowjournal.com/eichler-experimental-the-x-100/

Explore the Dimensions of art

Explore the Dimensions of art

A rainy Sunday is a great excuse to go to a museum. I convinced my family that the Dimensionism exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) would be worthwhile.

On the first floor the Harvey Quaytman: Against the Static is on display till January 27th and an excellent beginning of a study of shapes, textures, and colors. There will be a gallery talk on January 24th, at 5:30: Artist John Zurier joins curator Apsara DiQuinzio for a multifaceted look at Harvey Quaytman’s art.

A new exhibit that was not yet open last Sunday still brought me a lot of joy by just peeking at it and I can tell this will be a new highlight. Unfortunately you can’t touch the furry creations of Masako Miki but MATRIX 273 opened January 9th and runs till April 28th, 2019.

All these forms, shapes and colors will introduce you to the next level (on the lower level): Dimensionism: Modern Art in the age of Einstein. The modern artists interest in science, named Dimensionism, includes Kandinsky, Miró and Picasso. I really enjoyed the works of Isamu Noguchi, his sculptures representing the cosmic view with pleasing shapes.

Harold Edgerton’s Milkdrop Coronet was fascinating, not only the image, but the fact that he in 1933 invented the stroboscopic method of taking photographs with stroboscopic light, creating the illusion of freezing an action.

Staircase in the BAMPFA, Berkeley

The blood red stairway up to the Babette Cafe felt like being captured in an Andy Warhol print. But the friendly staff and yummy cake were well worth the transformation!

Thanks to Discover & Go, a service our library offers, we were able to get in for free. Usually adults pay $14, but there are many discounts available. People under 18 are always free. On the first Thursday of the month gallery admission is also free. The museum is open Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am – 7 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am – 9pm. Since everything can change, it’s best to check online.

What is your favorite Dimension?

Change the light with Brilliance

Change the light with Brilliance

Brilliance artwork in Palo Alto

I admired the six sculptures between the Palo Alto library and the Art Center during the daylight. Just recently I learned that these bulby metal objects with the stanced out metal messages glow in the dark. The design even allows you to change the color by pressing a button.

Brilliance in Palo Alto

Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines,  an artist collective that specializes in interactive exhibits and artworks, and Blessing Hancock created Brilliance. Like my experience with Brilliance, their goal is to create beautiful objects that evolve into a deeper meaning and use.

Button on the Brilliance artwork to change color.

The phrases in multiple languages that you can see on the sculptures got collected from the community. The writings reflect the diversity of Palo Alto and it is fitting for the space between the library and art center to have a community engaged art collection.

Brilliance in Palo Alto

To dive deeper into the experience you can now connect with STQRY an app that gives you background information.





I hope your New Year will be a brilliant enlightenment. Wishing everyone a great start into 2019!

Admire the lights on Eucalyptus Street

Admire the lights on Eucalyptus Street

This is the season of lights. There are many neighborhoods in the Bay Area that cherish this tradition in an extraordinary manner.

Santa landing strip, Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

Eucalyptus Street in San Carlos is two blocks of Holiday Wonderland. Parking is tight but not impossible. There is a park nearby, Burton Park, that might be your best option for parking. If you start on the corner of Orange and Eucalyptus Santa is asked to land there. He might as well stroll up and down to see all the beautiful lights. There are a lot of people and the little ones are plentiful, too.

Kids writing letters to Santa

On my visit on Saturday night I saw a lot of residents having private holiday parties. Nevertheless they made this an event for everyone by having a brass band playing Holiday favorites, a young juggler performing, plenty of photo opps for the instagram or Holiday cards, and of course the lights and moving objects to look at. My favorite attraction was the letter to Santa mailbox. Kids can write letters to Santa, last year they wrote 3217, and Nan Pat and Bumpy personally will deliver the mail.

Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

This is a nice festive activity. A little boy of maybe two pointed at the moon as if he just saw Santa’s sled. Overall I think they did a great job! Got me into a merry mood.


Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays everyone!