Friday, October 29, 2010
fire broke out this morning in the hills above
Boulder; everything above 6th Street is evacuating;
I stopped home to grab a toothbrush just in case
the risk spreads to my place by nightfall and found
the whole neighborhood unfazed, drinking their
coffee, eating their sandwiches, while the fireplanes
buzz by overhead enroute to dump chemicals through
the haze of the rapidly approaching smoke and
Posted by suttonhoo at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
If you don't know who Elaine Stritch is then you're not a homosexual.
David Sedaris, this evening at the Boulder Theater.
Sedaris shared this observation just before he queued three minutes worth of Stritch reading from his new book: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.
The delight on his face as he listened to Ms. Stritch read from his story was one of the highlights of the evening. Alongside it: the way he pimped Wells Tower's first collection of stories, Everything Savaged, Everything Burned. Not because he was a friend -- "I've never met Wells Tower but I'm told he's very tall" -- but because he loved the book.
I knew the recommendation was coming because friends had seen Sedaris a short while back and they passed along the book title; what I didn't expect was the pure generosity of Sedaris' action. I was lucky to snag a seat with a good view to the stage, which afforded me a good look at the sweet smile that plays across Sedaris' face as he performs -- something I missed the last time we saw him from a great distance. He doesn't overplay his lines and they're terribly dry. Unless you're right on top of him it's easy to miss the deep kindness in his eyes -- especially when he's reading this kind of thing »
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
all weekend, and not all posted pics made it to all
This was one of my favorite shots from the weekend
so I wanted to be sure to get it out here.
Somewhere over the Charles River
Posted by suttonhoo at 5:32 PM
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
You just cannot compete with the scale of the Rockies. So we tried to make a building that was without the conventional scale you get from recognizable floor heights -- as in those monolithic structures that still survive from the cliff-dwelling Indians.The Architect IM Pei on his design for NCAR, completed in 1967
The National Center for Atmospheric Research sits on a high mesa a little bit distant from core of downtown Boulder; ten minutes by car if you follow Broadway to Table Mesa, an hour by foot if you take the serpentine trail that connects the scientific laboratories to the historic Chautauqua site. If it's late Summer like it was when I hiked it you'll find bushes rid of their berries and large black clumps of bear hair and satisfied scat littering the trails.
The Center is government funded and university driven and the site is open to the public -- we're free to wander all of its corridors without accompaniment, although if you materialize at the right time you can hook up with a tour guide who will tell you all about the work that's underway; how NCAR doesn't gather data so much as crunch it and make sense out of all the weather events that are occurring all around the world.
Global warming is the big story just now, has been for a while, and will probably be for a while longer »
IM Pei said his 1960s campus was influenced by the structures of the Mesa Verde Cliff-dwellers; the difference being, of course, that the Mesa Verde Indians sought shelter snugged up against the cliff walls and NCAR is exposed to the elements on the broadest part of the mesa. Given this it must create its own shelter and it does: stiff towers frame the perimeter like hooded sentinels peering out across the plain. It may be their height -- the great distance between base and crown -- that creates a feeling of openness and accessibility even under their tight watch. The towers aspire like science; more observatory than fortress, more invitation than obstruction.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Toured five really lovely homes designed by the architect Dennis Blair in Long Grove, Illinois today, including the one that he designed for himself and his family and lived in for thirty years. All of the homes were nestled along the same sloping street, surrounded by Burr Oak and Japanese Pines.
The architect was in attendance, regal and grey, and told us about apprentencing with Wright at Taliesin (and scoring the Romeo & Juliet Tower as his quarters) as well as at the offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in Chicago.
Blair won his apprenticeship with Wright through a well turned letter, and earned his keep through his skill as a draftsman -- in particular, his skill at drafting domes, which he came by in wartime Detroit where he worked for the government illustrating captured aircraft; domed bombers a among them. As a result, his was the hand that drafted the dome on the architectural plans for Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York.
His architectural structures capture some of the quality of a heavy aircraft in flight -- long trim lines, brick and beam somehow soaring. That each was unique was the really telling part -- the architect has an eye for the interplay of geometry with the site and used a wide assortment of materials across structures from boulders to cedar planking to brick to flagstone.
The purring of the title came from a woman named Pat, whom we met on the walk between houses, and who lives in another mid-century home elsewhere, but mentioned it in reference to the qualities of really fine architecture and to what living within such a structure does to a person.
She's the caretaker of the home she lives in now; it's owned by a woman who will deed it to a foundation on her death, but this is the second house she's lived in that made her purr.
The first was one she visited with her husband when they first moved to the Midwest. He bought it to surprise her, knowing how she loved it, and called her to give her the news, telling her: "I bought a house for the cat."