Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Checks Please!


I was driving on McDowell Road over the weekend when I spotted this vacant building with a strange "checked" paint job.  I snapped a photo while waiting at the traffic light.  

An hour or two later, I had stopped at Biltmore Fashion Park to do a bit of shopping when I peeked in the door of a store called Cornelia Park.  More checks!  Those checks look better on these household items then they do on the front of a building.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Fashion Subversives


I stopped at the Phoenix Art Museum again last weekend because I had read that they opened a second show to complement the special engagement of the Rudi Gernreich's show that I featured last week.

This exhibit was titled Fashion Subversives and is meant to celebrate the designs that broke some rules and edged fashion in different directions.

My favorite piece in this exhibit was this simple dress.  It was displayed in relation to Trompe-l 'Oeill designs of the 1950's originally created by Hermes.  These were designs that looked to the eye like there were pockets, bows and buttons on the garment when actually those things were printed into the fabric.  

I'd wear this one!

This is a more recent creation by Junya Watanabe from the fall of 2000.  I just liked the look of it but I bet it would be uncomfortable to wear.

The group above was a tribute to Coco Chanel's "little black dress".  Designers everywhere have followed that lead and created their own versions of this classic.

To the left are two more fun dresses.  The lacy one is by Coco Chanel and the one in the back by Geoffrey Beene.

I'll leave this exhibit with this eye-catching dress by Alexander McQueen.  This one made me think my eyes were getting blurry.  The stripes in the fabric makes you feel like they are moving.  

Monday, June 14, 2021



Two weeks ago I was out scouting for murals when I found this place with this lovely and exotic looking mural in front.  It has an Egyptian feel to it.

It graced the front of this building.  Behind that red car, there was a sign painted on the window naming the business as "Wasted Ink Zine Distro".  I had no idea what that meant so I did some research and here is what I found:

"A zine - pronounced zeen - derived from magazine - is an independently or self-published booklet, often created by a single person.  Zines are customarily created by physically cutting and gluing text and images together onto a master flat for photocopying, but it is also common to produce the master by typing and formatting pages on a computer.  The end product is usually folded and stapled.  Zines can be printed and bound in any manner."

This place is sort of a library and publisher of these kinds of publications.  Blogging certainly allows me to learn all kinds of new things.  However, I didn't learn who painted those wonderful wings.

Taking part in Monday Murals.  

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Classy, Classic Cars


Here is a group of photos I forgot about.  They were taken in the parking lot of the Desert Botanical Garden at the end of May.  I was just leaving the garden after one of my walks and saw these fancy cars all lined up.  I parked the car again, and got out to take some photos.

There was no one around the cars so I don't think if was a special show.  It might have just been members of a classic car club who all came to the garden together.

Whatever reason they were there, they were fun to look at.  I wasn't the only one to pull out of a parking space just to park again.  These cars were stopping lots of people on their way out.  Even the bus driver from that bus in the background of the top photo, walked over for a look.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I have a guest photographer with photos from way, way up north.  

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Robins are Back

 A few days ago I noticed that the robins are back and once again feasting on the seeds from the huge ficus trees in the courtyard where I live.  These pretty birds were gone over the winter months when the trees weren't producing seeds.  But once the seeds started dropping in late May, the birds were back.  I wonder where they went during those winter months.

They are pretty wary of people so I have to sit patiently and take photos with the extra long telephoto.  I'm lucky when I can get a good shot.

I think these fellows appeal to me so much because I a grew up seeing robins outside my window while living in Illinois.  They were as common as sparrows there.  They are quite uncommon in a desert setting so the first time I spotted them two years ago, I was thrilled.  They make my happy!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Evolving Sunset & Travel News


I was at my friend Julie's house Tuesday evening and while we were sitting on the patio we noticed some color in the sky.  It looked like we were going to have a nice sunset.

As we watched, the color started to intensify.

It was so nice to watch it evolve as the sun kept getting lower. 

I was at Julie's to make arrangements for a trip.  We have decided to go to New York City in mid-October. Julie attends an annual wine event there every year.  It was cancelled last year (as were so many things) and she just received word that it will happen this year with somewhat scaled down attendance.  Her mother Glenda and I are going to tag along and fill our days with museums and other explorations.  We booked our hotel, our flights and we picked out a couple of Broadway shows to see.  Needless to say, I'm very excited!  I am itching to travel somewhere and New York is a place with endless options.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Family Pool


What used to be the only pool at The Arizona Biltmore has now been designated the "family pool" area.  That huge water slide is the biggest change in this area.  This pool used to be divided into two sections with a lovely waterfall between the two.  

With all these changes, it appears to me that the hotel is starting to market to a younger crowd.  There were certainly a lot more kids around than I've ever seen before.

To one side of the pool area was this fountain designed for splashing.  The water spouts all had colored lights on them and three fake saguaro cactus stand in the center.  There are no thorns on those fake cactus so it's perfectly safe for the little kids to play.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Biggest Change


The biggest change that was made to the Arizona Biltmore Hotel was the addition of this new outside bar. You can't tell from this photo that it is surrounded by a water filled moat making the bar look like it's on an island.

Directly behind where I was standing to take the first photo is this new pool area.  This new pool has been designated the "adult" pool while the old pool is now the family pool. All of this has been added to the large open space that used to separate the main hotel from the other buildings where rooms are located. I posted some photos from this area a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to spend a weekend here.  

In another area of the hotel we found this collection of Frank Lloyd Wright "sprites" that have been added to the gardens.  They reminded me of the Chinese Terracotta Army in a way.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Dinner with Friends


The Arizona Biltmore Hotel reopened in March and I finally got to see the changes that were made.  I joined three good friends for dinner at the new restaurant at the hotel called Renata's.  This new place calls it's food "modern Latin cuisine" and I have to say, the food was excellent!

My good friend David ordered one of the specialty drinks called Los Muertos. It's described as Serrano-infused blanco tequila, activated charcoal, agave, lime juice, black lava salt and smoke.  Sounds dangerous, doesn't it?  This is the way it was presented, under a glass dome filled with smoke.  I did taste it and it was pretty tasty.

I asked our waiter to take a photo of us after our meal but before they cleared the plates.  Just look at all those dishes.  The menu consists of a lot of shared dishes and if I remember correctly we ordered 5 different things but as you can see, that filled our table with dishes.  We had no trouble eating it all.

I snapped this photo as we were leaving.  The front of the hotel was nicely lit up and looking like the grand old place it has always been.  In some future posts, I'll show you some of the changes that were made over the one year that they were closed.

Monday, June 7, 2021

A Tribute to Prince


My sister Judy tipped me off to look for this mural, a tribute to Prince.  I found it on the side of the Rodriguez Boxing Club on the corner of Grand Ave. and Roosevelt.  It was painted by Maggie Keane.  A 2019 article in the newspaper said that she went looking for a place to paint a tribute mural the day after Prince passed away.  Once she found this spot, she started painting using her own resources.  A group heard about it and started a GoFundMe account to help her offset her expenses.  What a wonderful thing to do.  Prince's eyeglasses are actually mirrors.

Maggie Keane is the same artist who painted the tribute to David Bowie that I featured here and here.

Taking part in Monday Murals!  

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Younger Artists


After I explored the Fearless Fashion exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum last weekend, I strolled around the rest of the museum to see if there was anything new hanging.  I saw these two new pieces.  The one above is called "The Futility of Achievement" by Derek Fordjour and American artist born in 1974.  I read the description saying it was composed of acrylic, charcoal, cardboard, oil pastel, foil and glitter on newspaper and mounted on canvas.  

That made me take a closer look.  There really were a lot of components to this work.

It's an interesting piece.

The other new piece I saw was this one called "Fleeting Memories & Lasting Moments".  This one is by Vaughn Spann who was born in 1992.  It also has a lot to it.  It is described as mixed media with paint and Terry cloth over the canvas.  The young age of this artist made me curious so I did some searching.  He's an interesting young artist who has become quite a sensation.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I was craving a little Egyptian architecture. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Desert Summer


The hot desert summer seems to have arrived.  I walked early yesterday morning at the Desert Botanical Garden and that just might be my last walk there for a few months.  It was 82 degrees when I arrived at 7:00 AM and 92 degrees when I left a little over an hour later.  But, that's nothing compared to the 108 degrees the day reached between 3 and 4 in the afternoon.  Those are temperatures we usually don't see until July.  Fingers crossed that this hot spell will ease up a bit by next week.  

I took the path that goes near the little pond and I hung around there for a while listening to the frogs.  They were croaking loudly but they managed to stay completely hidden in the cattails.  However I did see that dragonfly in the first photo and I saw this large bee hovering over some saguaro blooms.  

I haven't posted a photo of the Chihuly sculptures at the entrance to the garden in a long time so I snapped one on my way out.  These beauties are always a pleasure to see!

Friday, June 4, 2021

More Fearless Fashion


Here are a few more fashions from the "Fearless Fashion" exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum that I featured yesterday.  

I liked that outfit on the left in the top photo.  The peacock patterned tights and dress were complemented by actual peacock feathers in the headpiece.  

This newsprint fabric for this outfit is very unique.  It looks like another dress with collar that can become a mask.

This "school boy" design was kind of cute.  

Rudi Gernreich's designs helped shape "mod" 60's fashion.  During this period of time, my mother actually made a lot of my clothes.  I think many of the patterns she used were based on some of these designs.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Fearless Fashion


Last weekend, I went to the Phoenix Art Museum to see a new exhibit called Fearless Fashion.  It was all about designer Rudi Gernreich.

I have to admit that I didn't really recognize the name but I do remember some of these 1960's mod-style clothes.  

Gernreich was born in Vienna Austria but he fled Nazi oppression in his teen years.  He eventually immigrated to Los Angeles.  As a young jewish, gay man he encountered discrimination and found a safe haven in the performing arts community.  

The clothes depicted here were things he designed for the dance company he joined.  

His designs for theater evolved into more tailored suits, mini-skirts and sportswear.

His gender-fluid and body-hugging styles were popular during the 1960's.  Many of his designs could be worn by both women and men.  His collection featured knitted swimsuits and thong underwear.  Some of you might remember his topless swimsuit.

The jumpsuit to the right made me smile.  It looks like it could have been designed for living through a pandemic!

I'll show you a few more of his designs tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Evolution of the Pomegranate


When I was at the Desert Botanical Garden at the end of April, I snapped photos of the blooms on the pomegranate tree.  The tree was full of fresh blooms.

It's fascinating how the blooms fall away and a hard shell forms in their place.  

I realized that over the years, I had taken many photos of the various stages of the formation of the fruit on this tree.  I looked through my past photos and found many examples. 

So I created this example of the many stages of the pomegranate.