Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For dog lovers one of my favorite advertisements

  New York New York: Dog lovers, enjoy Bergdorf Goodman's Christmas ad. Pin It

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Carbonera; Private Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi.

photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

Carbonera; Private Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi.   Near Treviso, just north of Venice is the VillaTiepolo Passi whose nucleus dates from the beginning of the 16th century. In the 19th century the villa became property of the Conti Passi de Preposulo who continue to live in this historic residence. 

The villa remains a place of rare beauty and today functions as the headquarters of an agricultural estate, an important destination for cultural tourism, as well as the setting for exclusive events. With its architecture and art, it allows the visitor to experience the hospitality of another era, the authentic flavors of a cuisine based on age-old family recipes, and the magical atmosphere of its buildings and gardens. 
Guided tours are held each Sunday at 11 am at the end of which there is a tasting of jams and preserves produced 
on the agricultural estate of Villa Passi.   “Our goal is to explain the historical situation in Venice from the 16th century onwards and how it led to the construction of thousands of Venetian Villas. Additionally, here at the villa, we demonstrate how the “Civiltà di Villa”, the unique way of life in Venetian villas, still exists in our customs, work, food, and pastimes…” Count Alberto Passi di Preposulo, who is also the president of the Ville Venete association, explains.

Conte Alberto and Contessa Barbara Passi di Preposulo

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi. Products for sale produced on the estate include preserves and jams made with quince which are the specialty of Villa Tiepolo Passi. 

The quinces used in the various products come from the brolo (ancient vegetable garden of Ville Venete) where they are grown using completely natural methods. 

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi.  Besides the quince cotognata, preserves, candied fruits; piquant, sweets and Mostarda Veneta are prepared using an ancient Venetian process
 which dates back to 1300s. 


Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – aperititvo # 1.  Before lunch the Villa Tiepolo Passi Prosecco was served in the carriage house.  The Prosecco grapes are grown on the vineyard of the estate, which stretches beyond the wrought iron gates, which separate the informal rear courtyard and the countryside.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – aperititvo # 2. Elegant starched white uniforms are handed down through the decades.  The epaulettes boast the family colors.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – aperititvo # 3.  As if on the set of a period movie, the maid is also, comme il faut, smart in her frilly starched white apron and gloves.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – aperititvo # 4. Simple bites of bread and salami are garnished with sliced gerkins, also served, Bacala mantecato, a savory spread of whipped salt cod. 

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi. The table was set for twenty-five, with an ivy printed green and white tablecloth, in the magnificently restored stables with a vaulted ceiling adjacent to the coach house. Built in 1600, the buildings continue to reflect the refined efficiency of an era in which beauty and function went hand in hand.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi.  An autumn composition of Hydrangeas from the garden adorn the stables.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – first course.  Contessa Barbara always favors local recipes, some of which have been handed down through the centuries. The first course included: Split Pea Soup with croutons, a pumpkin and rice pie and a broccoli tart.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – second course. Radicchio di Treviso, which is a typical lettuce from the region and resembles Belgian endive sits next to Baccala alla Vincentina a native dish from Vicenza made from dried unsalted cod and served with white, soft steaming polenta.  On another table, spare ribs, mushrooms, cabbage and polenta were offered.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – puddings.  Budino al Cioccolato or chocolate pudding, Budino Dipolmatico, homemade Langue du Chat biscuits and Chestnut Mousse.

Sunday lunch at Villa Tiepolo Passi – cheeses and jams.  The Villa Tiepolo Passi also produces jams, preserves, mustards, and candied fruit grown in the brolo, the villa's vegetable garden, which are delicious eaten with cheese.  The centuries-old ortus conclusus, the walled in orchard has been enriched with the introduction of over six hundred organic varieties, including apricot, cherry, 
prune, plum, pear, apple, and quince trees. 
The variety of trees ensures a constant supply of fruit from May to October for the villa’s kitchens.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Venice: Palazzo Fortuny - Fortuny Mission Project

VENICE: Palazzo Fortuny - Fortuny Mission Project. The restoration of Mariano Fortuny’s theatres carries on….
A cocktail party was held at Palazzo Fortuny for the completion of the restoration of Mariano Fortuny’s Teatro delle Feste and Dipinti Dell’Atelier and the cry for help for the restoration of the Bayreuth Theatre and the Theatre Drawings Album. “THANK YOU” said Franca Coin president of the Venice Foundation “When you do something for Venice it bounces back at an international level.”  The thanks was directed to all the micro patrons who bought virtual seats to help restore the Teatro delle Feste to its full splendor.
The story:  In 1912, Mariano Fortuny, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Lucien Hesse designed the Teatro delle Feste, which was to be constructed at Esplanade des Invalides in Paris. Mariano himself built the model, based on their design, with his prodigious hands, inside the studio of the present-day Fortuny Museum where it is now exhibited in all its former glory.

The virtual seats: The restoration of the model of the Teatro delle Feste was financed through the booking of virtual seats.


The restoration team. In less than one year, Stefano Provinciali directed his team of restorers, Laura Folin, Gea Storace together with Francesco Rado who restored the electrical parts.  They will now be restoring the Bayreuth Theatre, which has to be ready for Wagner’s bicentennial in 2013 to commemorate the great German composer’s connections to Venice and the city of his death.

The Bayreuth Theatre # 1.  Since 1891 Mariano Fortuny was completely captivated by the allure of the staging of Wagner’s theatre, however many years passed before he concretely measured himself against the theatre experimenting at length with both lighting and technology and the preparation of scenographic sketches.  It was in fact starting with the realization of scenographies linked to the works of Wagner that this model was born in 1903.  Made of wood and metal and now kept in the atelier, it is a reconstruction of the layout and the risers of the setting of the German Bayreuth Theatre.  In addition, certain reduced scale lighting applications like the cupola or dome and indirect and diffused lighting techniques are visible.  This maquette is an intricate and complex system made up of small cables, electrical power transformers and light bulbs; of wings and scenes depicted on cardboard; of the cupola, an important stagecraft element of Fortuny’s reformist project.  These are all elements, which are in very poor state of preservation and must absolutely be restored.  The objective is that of being able to once again admire the captivating luminous effects projected onto the setting of this impressive theatre model, which was meticulously created by Mariano Fortuny’s skilled hands.  The dimensions of the model are: height 240cm, width 210cm and depth 170cm.

The Bayreuth Theatre # 2.  In a rare autobiographical recollection, Fortuny affirms: “All that I saw and heard kindled in me a desire to achieve new forms and new aspects that would enhance the general effects of the theatre:  I still remember certain details of The Rhine Gold scene that were dissatisfying to my youthful imagination.   The effect of the river in the distance was lacking in the effectiveness because of a bad light trick.”
Note: The scene above is for The Rhine Gold production.

HELP!!! – The Bayreuth Theatre # 3.  You can see for yourself the sorry state of the Bayreuth Theatre, which stands in one of the rooms of the piano nobile of Palazzo Fortuny crying for help.  It desperately needs restoring. Donations for the restoration of the model are inspired by certain Wagnerian works that Mariano Fortuny depicted in paintings and etchings: the Flower Maidens (E 200 $ 280) running after each other and playing in Parsifal: Wotan (E 100 $140), the King of the Gods found in the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung; Sieglinde (E 50 $ 70), Sigmund’s sister in The Valkyrie and finally Mime (E 25 $ 35), a character present both in The Rhine Gold and Siegfried. The names of the contributors, in the manner, which they themselves indicate, shall be included in the list of supporters of the restoration of the Bayreuth Theatre model. For more information contact The Venice Foundation.


Greetings.  The mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, the director of the Fortuny Museum, architetto Daniela Ferretti, the chairman of The Venice International Foundation, Franca Coin and the president of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Walter Hartsarich greeted guests at the cocktail party held at Palazzo Fortuny.  “Dear Friends,” Franca Coin writes in the Venice Foundation newsletter “ in 2013 we shall celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Richard Wagner.  There are many connections between the great German composer and Venice, a city that he visited six times.  During his first visit, in 1858, he worked on the composition of Tristan and Isolde, while he spent his final one, in 1882, at Palazzo Vendramin Calegi.  It was here that he spent the last six months of his life.  Yet there is another link which for us is very significant: even Mariano Fortuny - a man to whom the Venice Foundation has been dedicating the Fortuny Mission Project since 2010 for the restoration of great works - had since his youth been so fond of Wagner’s works that he created a model of the Bayreuth Theatre, so dear to Wagner, upon which to apply his brilliant technological innovations.   This model, which is kept at the atelier of Fortuny Palace Museum, was created by Mariano and now needs your generous contribution in order to be restored.  We must start right away because the restoration will be long, difficult and meticulous.  We would like to finish in time to contemporaneously celebrate the skill of Wagner and the genius of Fortuny.”

Theatre Drawings Album. Fortuny expert Claudio Franzini explains the Theatre Drawings Album and points out the sorry state it is in.

HELP!!! Also on the Fortuny Mission Project agenda is the restoring of the Theatre Drawings Album, an extraordinary and unique collection of drawings relating to studies and the scenic and lighting applications, which Fortuny designed in support of his complex and structured theatrical reform at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Worthy of note in this album are various drawings and sketches dating back to 1898 of scenographies of Wagnerian operas along with several architectural reliefs of the Bayreuth Theatre, but above all it is the first drawings of 1902, done in Paris, of the structure of the scenographic device commonly known as the “Fortuny Dome” and the system for the lighting of scenes with indirect and reflected light that are the most striking. This thick and bulky album gathers together an undefined but very consistent number of drawings, which are attached directly onto pieces of cloth. Given the poor preservative condition of the album, upon the completion of the restoration the individual insertion of each drawing into a double page with the inventory number on the outside is foreseen.

The restorer. Margherita Errera will be restoring the Fortuny Theatre Drawings Album.  She was also responsible for restoring Palladio’s drawings from the collection of the Musei Civici di Vicenza.

 Daniela Giussani, Giulia Venturini and Marialiusa Frisa

Fashionista, Cecilia Matteucci

The Fortuny Dinner. A dinner party for the Fortuny Mission Project was held after the cocktail party in a palazzo on the Gran Canal.

Adele Re Rebaudengo, Manfredi Bellati and Franca Coin

 Cesare de Michelis, Emanuela Bassetti and Tonci Foscari

Journalist Manuela Pivato who wrote one of twenty short stories in the book I Nuovi Veneziani (The new Venetians) curated by Caterina Falomo and published by Studio LT2.

Not on the menu. Hand blown Murano fruits sit in mid nineteenth century ceramic bowls.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art – MOCA - Gala dinner.

Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art – MOCA.  The Museum of Contemporary Art, (MOCA), celebrated its 32-year history as one of the world’s leading contemporary art institutions with An Artist’s Life Manifesto, a special gala envisioned by renowned performance artist Marina Abramović who served as this year’s gala artistic director. Music and popular culture icon Deborah Harry, also known as Blondie performed hit songs.
Note: I never write about events I haven’t been to, this is an exception because of my love for art, food, table settings and my admiration for Marina Abramovic, also the singularity of this event intrigued me.

 Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

MOCA Gala Dinner.  An Artist’s Life Manifesto, hosted by Gala Chairs Maria Arena Bell and Eli Broad, Honorary Gala Chairs Larry Gagosian and Dasha Zhukova, together with MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch, began with cocktails, what Abramović called Post-Human Cocktails, and included a private preview of the exhibition Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles, which opened to the public on November 13. Curated by art historian Richard Meyer, the exhibition is the first museum survey devoted to the body of work that the tabloid photographer known as Weegee produced in Southern California. Guests also previewed the Kenneth Anger: Icons exhibition, which showcases the films, books, and artwork of one of the most original filmmakers of American cinema. After previewing the exhibitions, guests preceded to the gala tent, where they were fitted with crisp, white lab coats before entering the main event.
Above:  MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, performance artist Marina Abramovic, actresses Tilda Swinton and Ellen Barkin and MOCA Gala chair Maria Arena Bell.

  Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

MOCA Gala Dinner.   Marina Abramović choreographed an extraordinary art performance in which all of our guests were participants,” commented MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch “It fused an art experience with a social experience.” An Artist’s Life Manifesto continued in the main tent, decorated in black box fashion with mirrors and dark walls, some guests sat down to a reenactment of Abramović’s Nude with Skeleton (2002, 2005, 2010) work in which female performers were situated under skeletons on rotating platforms at the center of round dinner tables.

 Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA
  MOCA Gala Dinner.  At other tables performers were stationed under black-cloaked dinner tables as live centerpieces, their heads popping out from holes cut into the tables and slowly rotating around. The centerpieces engaged in non-verbal exchanges with guests who chose to interact with them, meeting the gazes of the diners as they ate and drank.  

 Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA
MOCA Gala Dinner.  At everyone’s place setting cards instructed guests to “look, but do not touch,” and invited them to silently communicate with the performers: “The centerpiece will observe you. You may observe the centerpiece...please respect the rules.”

  Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

MOCA Gala Dinner.  The evening concluded with a surprise finale, dessert prepared by Kreëmart, the Manhattan-based creative entity. Guests watched as the pallbearers carrying “bodies,” which were unveiled by Harry and Abramović to reveal naked figures of themselves, decorated with white chocolate fondant.

Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

MOCA Gala Dinner.  Wielding carving knives, Harry and Abramović, then sliced open their likenesses to reveal red velvet (Harry) and rich chocolate (Abramović) cake inside. Two performers then took over, cutting apart their edible body parts to serve the gala guests.

Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA
MOCA Gala Dinner.  The red velvet Deborah Harry cake.
Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

 MOCA Gala Dinner.  Sticky fingers, chocolate Marina Abramovic and red velvet, Deborah Harry.

 Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA

MOCA Gala Dinner.   Actor Donovan Leitch enjoys a “finger” piece of cake.

Photo Credit - Getty Images for MOCA
MOCA Gala Dinner. While guests dined, the pallbearers returned to the stage carrying a cloaked Deborah Harry, who emerged in white lab coat, which she promptly stripped off to reveal a tight blood-red cocktail dress. Harry treated guests to a rousing performance of “China Shoes,” “Heart of Glass,” “One Way or Another,” “What I Heard,” and “Mother,” bringing the crowd to its feet. Guests danced around the stage, relishing an intimate, once-in-a-lifetime experience with the pop icon and legend.

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