My new commercial website is up, glitches and all, final version moving at laid back Miami speed. Please check it out, I welcome any feedback on look and how it works. Thank you!
From pastoral Pennsylvania to crazy Miami.
To the bachelor pad which is being de-bachelored by turning the “pool” room (as in shooting pool with your mates at 3 am, after getting home from the Wall without scoring) into a third bedroom for the twins so they can do homework, hang out, bicker and sleep behind a wall (instead of the exposed upper mezzanine).
Of course this was to be done in the ample two months that we were away and of course it was started on the Friday we returned. So now we neither have an office (pool room) nor a bedroom for the girls since everything from one room is piled in the other.
But thats OK.
They say they will be done by Wednesday.
They said they’d be done by now.
But I’m not bothered. There are bigger problems.
Like school uniforms.
Maybe one has to be genetically programmed to deal with procuring kid’s uniforms. Maybe I’m too hippy-dippy Dutch to even think about universal clothing for creative kids. See I always look to blame myself first (Have you noticed? Do you do that too? I wish I were a bit more Teaparty, and blame everyone else. Like only everyone else all the time.), still I was proud to have gathered, at Woodbury Common (Like/Love), four khaki bottoms that my trendy twins would deign to wear to school, and one pair of black pants that may get them sent home (while the color is right, the fit will be deemed too sexy, which in this city of underdressed exhibitionists is paradoxical but don’t get me started, I already wrote that blog.)
The preppy polo tops have to be bought locally since they are emblazoned with the Miami Arts Charter School logo.
Another bigger problem was getting an e-mail from TED, shortly after arrival, requesting a full run-through of my talk at 1 pm on Wednesday. This Wednesday? This Wednesday!
TED? But I was still on uniforms. Saturday was uniform day on my “what to do when we get back” list. Which also has finish homework with the girls, unpack, get food in fridge, get 2nd floor toilet and phone fixed , you know the drill.
So while I should be writing and practicing my TED talk, I’m chasing uniforms.
Yes, I’d ordered them online as the school suggested, but got a notice a few days ago that the polo’s would be ready for delivery in 5 weeks!
What are the suggesting? Homeschooling for five weeks? I mean the school is clear:
All students and parents have agreed to abide by the school uniform as described in the parent/student contract signed during registration.
Students not in uniform will be required to contact their parent and sent home.
I settled on North Miami and was wise enough to call first, just to make sure they had said polos in stock, but of course got the robot who told me that August is too busy to answer the phone, and tells me to leave a message.
They’re also too busy to answer.
I find out just how busy.
But not till after getting lost in the maze of NE and NW 159th street Drive and Street and Court, at the very place where 95, the turnpike and 539 intersect in a spider-web of flyovers and underpasses and of course the exit ramp that Mapquest told me to use is Closed for Construction.
You are sorry for the inconvenience?
Why not just post some signs up telling how to get the fuck to Ibeley Uniforms in the industrial park (with one entrance) that I can see from the overpass which points towards the Everglades, at 70 miles an hour.
50 minutes later, and isn’t it amazing how proud those moments can make you (forget about a TED talk), I pull up in front of Ibiley.
Pride turns to nausea in a nano second.
Swarming around the huge warehouse, are hundreds of people of many colors (none quite as white as the three of us), several stainless steel quilted food trucks are randomly parked, and something that resembles a long line, made up from entire families (bring the kids, the toddlers, the babies, the grannies, aunts, uncles and don’t forget the neighbors) comes out from the front door into the 95 degree sunshine.
We “politely” battle our way inside only to find many feet of empty shelves and another line that resembles immigration at JFK before Christmas.
Determined (if nothing else) I find 8 tees (4 each), while yelling at the twins to help me. Unfortunately they’re catatonic with the otherness of it all, like in some culture-shock transition from the verdant woods to this urban jungle.
We join the immigration line.
After ten minutes we move close enough to spot a tiny sign over the counter.
We are out of the folowing logo patches. (you buy the tees and pay in line #1, they give you your school’s logo patches, you join line #2, the one outside, and they apply the patches).
Come back on the 28th and we will apply them for free,, it also read. (You’d have to bloody well pay ME to come back!).
There’s no actual list of said missing patches posted. I guess it changes by the minute.
I grab an Ibiley sales girl who looks like she will get really drunk that night.
MAC is not on her list of out-of-stock patches.
I ponder if this is good news. I’m rather praying for an excuse to leave. But it sounds like we will be there for the next few hours. (Could I get into this Cuban/Caribbean/South American block-party atmosphere?).
The girl walks away.
The girl comes back.
“You are at the wrong location”, she says. “MAC uses special embroidery and is only available at our Little Havana store on SW 8th Street.”
We are on NW 167th street.
You have to be from Miami to know what that really means, but imagine flying to London instead of Sydney.
We are fucked.
We leave the line.
We are hungry and buy three sandwiches, and three Cuban drink cans ( sexy looking mixed mango. papaya, passion fruit that taste like water) from the guilted truck.
“Mom, these are the best sandwiches I’ve ever had,” the twins chime, “Yes, at least we got some really good sandwiches out of it.”
They encourage me. (Afraid that I might have a shit-fit meltdown?)
Instead I find 95 South (easy), and head towards Little Havana.
I call husband who is on the porch in PA and tells me its the first nice day in weeks.
He also tells me to give myself a break.
He often tells me this.
I listen. The only breaks I take are the ones he tells me to take.
He’s good to me in that way.
“You did your best,” he says. “Go home, have a swim, enjoy being back.”
He has a point.
I compromise with myself. I settle on Target, which I happen to be passing, buy the last three (a terrible number for twins) white polo’s and HP iron-0n tee shirt transfer paper.
I feel clever.
I shall go home, get the MAC logo online and iron it on.
Which I do.
While arguing with the MAC principal in my mind that this is as good as the real thing from Little Havana and that the Ibiley store was completely out of stock (good chance of that anyway, right? Given the odds so far?)
While the trip to Little Havana still looms, since three tees between twins won’t last me the promised five weeks.
They wont even last two days.
And then there is TED.
TED needs attention.
As soon as the girls are in school TED will be my lover.
I promise TED my undivided attention….
I am now of the age where, when faced with a photo of myself, I cringe and only see the wrinkles, double chin(s?), roots etc. You know what I mean, and I think maybe I’ll like this one in ten years time, as my mind is forever a decade behind my appearance.
So when dear Gina Rudan from Practical Genius posted this video of our interview last week I watched with my eyes shut until Kiki said, “mom you look really pretty.” It was the surprise in my daughter’s voice that made me look.
So, here some anti beach plastic pollution advocacy that I do not mind sharing, and thank you Gina for making me watchable…
Aqua, where we live in the Dutch DJ’s bachelor pad, is a community. As in gated. As in there are rules and regulations handed down by the board and enforced by “management and security”. These rules and regulations are of course to protect us, the owners and tenants.
(From each other?)
Now, husband and I spent about 19 years of our union sneering at these kinds of communities. We’d never live in one of those !
Here we are!
We chose this pad when we cruised Miami Beach two years ago with Esther Percal, the super realtor, because Iona liked the furniture (Italian decorators do candy-land bachelor style ), husband and I liked the huge pool overlooking Indian Creek, and the twins liked the three TV’s, one on each floor except for ours, after their TV-less nine-year-long life.
Aqua seemed safe for the kids. They could play outside, ride bikes, scooters, boards, play ball, swim, play hide and seek, walk the dog, all without much parental supervision. Just like home in Milford where they ran in and out and played on their own ten acres.
When we moved into Aqua almost two years ago it had only a 40% occupancy and was way too designer-exclusive for its own good and our first year was spent alongside three Maserati and Lambourghini owning bachelor neighbors who returned from the Wall@ the W at 4am revving their $350.000 engines, while several (as many as fit in Maserati/Lambourghini) perfect female bodies clicked twice as many Louboutin heels on the pavement, went inside only to reappear on the deck across from our bedroom where they would either discuss or have sex until I loaded the kids into the car to go to school.
Mom, what was that noise last night?
It woke me up!
I heard girls screaming!
The bachelors frowned upon us. We frowned upon them.
As in breeders versus non-breeders.
Until last summer when the leases were up and they moved on to the next playboy hotspot.
And we left for Milford. When we came back to Aqua new leases had been signed all around us.
The low occupancy rate brought the prices down and had attracted….
Big and noisy families!
The Maserati/Lambourghini house was taken by a spivvy-looking couple with two girls the twin’s age.
The house across the alley, aka The Israeli house for Young Army Bachelors (yes, they flew the Israeli flag and over the year several amputees spent time in the Jacuzzi one-upping each other with tales of battle and atrocity), was taken by another young family with more twins.
Two houses on the other side contained families with only rowdy boys.
Result: A lot of biking, scootering, ball playing, running, hiding and seeking and corresponding screaming and laughing and shouting.
Those DANGEROUS-noisy-wild kids!
Two days ago this was decreed from above:
No more kids in the streets.
Play was dangerous.
A peace-disturbing threat to the status quo.
Not to mention a liability.
No more bikes, no more scooters, no more roller-skates.
No more riding bikes to the pool.
I saw a boy being reprimanded by the security guard for riding his skate board.
Minutes later I saw his mother wagging her finger at same security guard.
Minutes after that I was in cohoots with the mother.
We agreed on the message that we heard:
Kids were best not seen and not heard. Kids were best indoors in front of the TV.
Soon after my new neighbor called me.
Had I heard?
And then followed a groundswell fueled by e-mail and Facebook.
Libya, Egypt, Syria had nothing on us.
The Mothers of Aqua.
Did you follow the story on CNN?
About the clandestine meetings in Aqua’s back alleys, where we usually fight over parking spots for our SUV’s but are now united in our indignation against the board. Did they tell you about the demonstration outside the gym? Our manifesto with demands? The Chinese rocket launcher that’s on backorder?
While we were drawing up our demands we threw in some other stuff for good measure, like no more cutting of the mangoes, we have a right to eat the mangoes in our grove, and open up the lap pool (which has been closed for several years because tiles supposedly pop off the overhead building and oh-the-liability), and how about some fines for those dog owners who don’t scoop their poop! Huh? Why don’t you go after them instead of our kids you board/management/security bullies?
A neighbor drew it up and sent it out.
A scary e-mail. A we-take-no-hostages-without-killing-them e-mail. A get-the-fuck-real about who you’re dealing with e-mail.
Get your priorities straight!
They compromised. Yes to bikes and scooters on the sidewalks, no to bikes and scooters in the streets and alleys. Yes to opening the lap pool (soon), but no mention of the mangoes and the entitled non-scooping dog owners.
The spivvy neighbors are moving. To a house on the beach further north. A child-friendly place they say.
Soon we will be back for the summer at our non-gated, no security guarded home in Milford.
Alongside neighbors that shoot at children.
But that’s another story which one day I may be brave enough to share and will be called Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mother Scorned # 2…..
Forgive my absence.
So sorry that I did not blog for almost three months and then do this weird search-word driven thing which most people (especially my mother who thought I’d gone bonkers) did not get. Writing kinky helped the stats however, as in “how to drive more readers to my blog.” So bear with me when I pepper the blog with dirty words and obscure celebrity combinations. I’ll forewarn with the * icon . Example: * bums, big tits, Charlie Sheen.
BTW my most popular search-words are: sexy long legs, models. So I found an old Razzmatazz ad/video of me in Australia, befitting this search word: link here, then click 1979 button down.
I just came back from a tryst. (Tryst – An agreement between lovers, illicit or not, to meet , for sex, in a certain time and place). Actually we did not meet at the certain place, Key West, we drove together along the ugliest corridor that connects all the Keys, the randomness of place, demographic and function (fishing, dolphinariums, shooting alleys and gun shops, strip bars, motor boat retail, cheap motels and trailer parks, etc.) creating a disastrous effect, a visual assault that left me nauseous until we passed Deer Key and the sea turned light turquoise and spotted with every size island from potted plant to small land mass.
Husband and I had not been in a confined space, ie car, together in a long time, so mind-trysting started before we hit Key West. The only place fit for romance if you live in Miami and want to get away like a * gay-escape.
Destination was a secret so I visualized the Hemingway House combined with renovated cute gay Inns as seen online. (Apparently there are straight-friendly and not straight-friendly cute gay inns in KW).
We went to a resort. Upon arrival my mind did a U-turn. It was modern; Travel and Leisure worthy, with swimming pool, beach, 200 rooms, and I liked that this is was what husband had in mind for us, * like Brad and Angelina on vacation.
Idyllic? Yes. But see those two beach balls?
They have “Advanced Auto Parts Convention” printed on them.
Advanced Auto Parts is a link you do NOT press. AAP was trysting too. Like a * Advanced Auto Parts orgy.
We arrived at 2 but check- in time was 4pm. OK. So when we finally get to our Casa Marina room at 4 and walk onto the “balcony” the nerdy bag boy follows us and says: “Best leave the room from 6 to 11, it will be noisy huh huh.” He snickers like * Mark Zuckerberg. Right below us is a stage with Easter Island sized speakers for that night’s AAP concert . Woohoo, we had front row seats. OK. And what time is check-out?
“11 am.” (Shit! that works out to $40.00 an hour spent unconscious, eyes shut, as in sleeping.)
Still, when on a tryst everything is “fun”, its so not hot to complain during check-in; “Excuse me, my husband and I were planning on coming home and having sex around 10 pm, but with that band…. would you have another room for us? Like facing the highway or the garbage collection area?”
I don’t think so. Denial is preferred when on a tryst, avoiding every opportunity for disappointment which will inevitably lead to a fight.
So, a 3rd rate rock band under our window? Who cares, we’ll just pretend its * Gwyneth Paltrow!
We rented bikes. Rode around with 10.000 other tourists, for some reason mostly Danish. At 3.55pm we leashed our bikes together at the clumsily laid-out Casa Marina bike racks, once you were in you couldn’t get out, which irked my Dutchness, but I kept quiet.
We went to our room. After all it was between 4 and 6. Then back on the bikes. Dinner at Seven Fish.
Back at our room by 9.30. Too early. See below for video .
The next morning we biked to Hemingway’s House because that’s what you do when in Key West. Along with 100 grey haired ladies.
Then we drove back, stopped for lunch at Pierre’s (* a place that makes me think of Carolyn Bessette and how, depressed, she never left her cottage when on a tryst with model boy friend Michael Bergin because she was already madly in love with JK).
PS I love Coca Cola going green and adore their new cute aluminum bottles and this truck:
Ok, I know, its been a week.
I’m sorry I did not get to it sooner, but if you were here you’d know that after one week of Art Basel Miami and all its trimmings from parties for Isabella Rosselini, Bruce Weber, Julian Schnabel, Sean Penn to art events in at least 320 different locations on the beach and midtown causing traffic that puts the Paris peripherique at 7am to shame, if you’d lived through all that you wouldn’t want revisit it, well, till the frenzy has not only worn off, but a sense of objective relativity has settled back in.
In the middle of it all Kiki got sick. On Thursday night, after a party I co-hosted for Water.org, and meeting Alastair at the Schnabel/Maybach/Sean Penn/Haiti (yes all in one breath) event, where I posed as gallery owner Angela Westwater, the one who had nabbed husband away from me for the #1/a-list/VIP studded event that evening (of my very civilized dinner for water.org to which husband did not come because Ms. Westwater’s offer was superior ). Are you getting the escalation of frenzy and stress? (I must remember, I tell myself, that when I’m 70+ and would like a handsome, younger, entertaining male on my arm to a #1/a-list/VIP studded event, I can invite any married man out there. No problem. And I will. I promise I will. Fuck it, I’ve spent a lifetime being perceived as a threat, when I am 70 and no longer perceived as a threat, I will take advantage and tempt younger men with my #1/a-list/VIP studded events).
But I’m way off topic. That night, when I posed as Angela Westwater, because it turns out she’s way too A-list to pick up her name tag, and I turned up under her name it was assumed I was her and ended up with her tag, and passed Sean Penn in the corridor who threw me a look like he’d just blown up the headmaster’s car, but apparently I’d just missed his angry rant about Haiti and the lack of help which resulted in the sale of four Schnabel drawings raising over one million in a few minutes. Well, that night Kiki got sick. I had a few, not my fault, I was served quite a few, wines, scotches, champagnes. I was tired, bone tired. So I was sleeping like I really needed it.
Leila walked it at 3-ish, and said: “Kiki just threw up all over the floor.”
For the first time in 14 years I said:
“I can’t deal with that right now.”
I turned over and went back to sleep.
Guess what? Husband got up! Maybe it was my total coolness about his date with Angela, but he got up and cleaned up the puke, and I experienced a very steep learning curve. Which is: I can say things like “I can’t deal with that right now,” and he’s there. Ready to jump in.
That was huge and has NOTHING to do with Art Basel Miami.
My promise of blogging about my installation as it evolved, which named itself the Bottle Shack after it was built because it was not quite as slick as I had imagined but took, like all good art, a life of its own determined by material, circumstance, timing and mood, and ended up quite random and gorgeous and shacky and textured in a messy luminous kinda way, that promise was way more than I could live up to.
So this is it how it went:
It started with 2400 recycled bottles. 1000 from my local school bottle drive. 500 from Recyclable Planet a reverse vending machine where you drop off your soda/water bottles, and 1700 from South Eastern Recycling. Not all were usable. Some were really disgusting with like gum stuck on the outside, food stuffed inside, mold, grease, like you dont wanna know what people do to/with their water bottles.
We, the kids, their friends and I started by removing all the labels. In order of popularity: Dasani (tap water, hello!), Zephyrhills (from a natural spring near Tampa Florida, yum!), Publix spring water (paradox), Coca Cola, Sprite, Perrier, and so on.
While we peeled labels a wooden cube structure was built by the show’s carpenters. We strung bottles on wire with Lara, Gabriella, husband and Jennifer and hung them on this wooden cube which collapsed right away. Shit! Now I was behind schedule.
A new steel tube structure with sloppy horizontals was built next. I had to let go of my Dutch sense of perfect parallels and become more, lets say, island…?
By Sunday noon my “installation” was nowhere near installed.
It soon became a case of, if I’d know what it takes I’d never have done it. Those are the projects I like best because I go into some strange obsessive state of mind. I drilled holes in 2400 bottles. I strung them on wire and tied them. I had some help from Steven, a DASH fashion student, but was mostly alone at the cavernous hall till midnight. I crept through some time-worm-hole and by Tuesday morning I moved into my pop-up studio bottle shack and got ready for the opening party.
Which was that night and I posed in my perfect dress, in front of the shack with an American Indian Chief who had blessed the event…oh for global and good-cause culture clashing!
Tuesday night held many other opening parties. There was Design Miami, there was the Mark Newson Riva boat at the Standard, there was Nadja Swarowski’s dinner party at Soho House, there was Bruce Weber at MoCA and a dinner to follow. Huband went to most of them and took Iona (14) as his “date”. It was like Iona’s coming out night at Art Basel Miami 2010. She was chatted up by a married man who asked her if her guy was in the film business. “You mean my Dad?” she answered. He then told her he ‘d come to the dinner with his buddy, acting like he was single but the next day she saw him swinging his wife and baby in the hammock chairs outside Design Miami. Another steep learning curve in the Gordon household – men will say anything to get your attention….
But I wasn’t there. I was at my own opening with my team.
My first ever art opening in fact. I’ve done countless fashion shows and their after parties, I’ve given many of husband’s book launch parties but I’ve never had my own Art Opening! 100 sq. feet of me. Of what I wanted to express at that moment in time. In my time. In Miami’s time. In the world’s time. An opportunity to make a statement.
I took on plastic pollution.
I worked in my pop-up studio and showed how to turn catastrophe into beauty hoping to inspire. Hoping to educate.
My favorite was when kids poked their heads through the bottles and asked me all sorts of questions which usually started with, “what are you doing in there?”
I loved it when Michele Oka Doner breezed in like a luminous fairy, with a posse of Micky Wolfson’s glamorous women friends. They all came inside the shack, and then called out to Micky to join us. Luckily he declined. The shack was not built to hold visitors, it was built to be peeked into…
I joined Alastair and Iona at the Swarowski dinner. I flirted with Michael Tilson Thomas in the elevator, having no idea who he was other than rather cute. I saw my long time Dutch friend Li Edelkoort, we kissed and hugged like long lost loves knowing that the next time could be years from now. I embarrassed my dinner partner by making rather harmless comments about the other guests but when we parted he said I was his favorite new friend and he was the first to visit the Bottle Shack the next morning. A rather nasty writer called Derek to my right told me gleefully that Julie Gilhart had just been given the boot by Barneys.
Julie! My champion! The one who had introduced my beach plastic tees to the Barneys buyers! I e-mailed her when I got home and three days later she came to my Bottle Shack. My new favorite friend. The wonderful awesome Julie Gilhart! Not rattled at all by recent events, but inspired by its possibilities….
Loomstate‘s Berrin and Vivienne came down to Miami too.
To see me and their tees inside the shack. They took millions of pix and did an interview movie and we had a long noisy lunch at Joeys. They placed a great story about the Bottle Shack in Ecouterre and posted a glowing report on their blog. Thank you Loomstate!
Sunday 5 pm it was over!
I had loved it. It felt like I was whole again. After several years of not knowing how to redefine myself in a way that was fulfilling and meant something in a modern global context, realizing I had grown out of being a traditional fashion designer and did not know exactly how to fill the void. My creative void that was like a gaping hole, which made me unhappy. Unsettled.
Now, well, it seems I’m back on track….
Once a year the art-circus comes to town, given legitimacy because the prestigious Art Basel, as in Basel Suisse, as in most uptight city/country in Europe, is behind it. I’m sure its been asked before, but surely Basel and Miami in the same breath are an oxymoron?
It all started with Art Miami and then Basel came and then everyone who is anyone in the art world followed. And then the design world… for catching some rays before settling into the long dark northern winter? Who knows. They, the art world, thought it was an excellent idea, and so now there are many, many satellite shows. One is called Scope, one called Pulse, one called Red Dot as in SOLD (so you cant have it), one called Nada, and so on….
Now, you may remember, last year husband and I were Art Basel Miami sluts, like we didn’t care, we hung with every and anyone, at every and any party.
I must speak for myself when I say that, even though I enjoyed the unbearable lightness of it all, I wanted a bit more green, as in Green. Like some art that dealt with issues of the planet? Was that too much to ask? Like a bit less stuffed deer and doe and fawn, less Michael Jackson likenesses and a bit more Chris Jordan?
So. As Basel approached this year, and I sat assembling beach plastic tee after beach plastic tee, which gives me a lot of time to think since its manual labor, I thought to myself….. I should be at Basel… like Barbi does green, or blue, at Miami Art Basel week.
This year has been the “Year of Be Careful What You Ask For”, for me (after three years of getting shit I did not ask for). Like I wished to be in Barneys and they called me for 900 tees, driving me into beach plastic nervous breakdown. I think Barbi does Basel (yes that blog title I shall use next week), and low and behold, I get a call….
Thirteen days before the show!
But I said yes.
YES. YES. YES!
I committed to showing.
Sounds good doesn’t it? Sounds like it could be me, no? I mean who cares about art if its not for a better world?
Isn’t one definition of art that it gives the beholder a sense of hope, of seeing and experiencing a whole new emotion? A new paradigm, a moment of connection to the divine? The divine in another human being who somehow connects for a moment to what is true and enlightened and real? And isn’t the divine a moment of connection to our spiritual origins? And does nature not have something to do with this?
So. A better world through art sounds good to me. Thats the place I want to be.
Fuck the brands like Gagosian and Marlborough, aren’t they just like out of control Wall Street brokers?
OK. OK. I’ll shut up. Before I dig myself in too deep. No, I do not claim any superiority or connection to the divine. I just want to experience more. Like something I haven’t done before. I want to feel good not poor. I want to feel part of something not inferior. You know what I mean?
For now that’s all you get. I’m busy you know. very very busy.
I will record all right here. From the day I start, Sunday, and build my amazing recycled installation and somehow move into it.
Here’s the name of the installation and an idea….of what’s to come: