Archive for the 'critics' Category


as you do (adventures in eating and viewing)

it seems that anymore our “adventures” always involve eating and viewing. yesterday was no exception.

we headed up the freeway to the bluff park/museum district  in long beach (405 north to 7th, over to junipero and left to ocean blvd. and left again, down two blocks and left again, and right where we parked on 2nd in front of a stunning craftsman residence (we believe circa 1912 — 1914. some houses had ‘historical markers’ designated this house or that one a “_____” or a “______”. to have read them correctly, we would have had to trespass and in these days of concealed carry, the last thing you need is an armed resident greeting you with the barrel of a gun while you satisfy your need to know. but i digress.)

i think this house suits him, don't you?

i think this house suits him, don’t you?

after some oohing and aahing over the merits of living in a historic home, m. & i tottered over to the long beach museum’s outdoor cafe, claire’s, where we met up with his ex, a., who was ‘in town’ (which means agoura hills) from chicago visiting his sister; long beach being the halfway point between us. m. & i have been together for 34 years, so that should give you an idea of our relative ages…a bunch of old men.

oceanside at claire's.

oceanside at claire’s.

we had a lovely brunch at claire’s, even though we left the “br” out of our menu selections and settled to a person on the “unch” parts. turkey club on pumpernickel, tuna salad (grilled rare and sliced thin over baby greens), and claire’s cobb salad, with freshly grilled chicken breast, gorgonzola, avocado, bacon, baby field greens, hard-boiled egg, and mustard vinaigrette. finished with a flourish of banana bread pudding.


but to the ‘viewing’ — i can honestly say, m. & i don’t need a museum to be in ‘viewing’ mode. we are of a mind to find the beauty (and the ugly) of our surroundings and to frame each ‘view’ with commentary and perceptive understanding, citing references to other ‘views’ and admitting honestly that “i don’t believe i’ve ever seen anything quite like that.” our storehouse of references inexhaustible it seems, thank the god of mental facility. although admittedly, there’s sometimes a moment of silence as one of us waits for the other’s file retrieval system to kick into gear.


we were fascinated and captivated by the works of terry braunstein, who explored time, memory, and feminism in carefully constructed collages, installations, and photography.

collage by terry braunstein at the long beach museum of art.

“who is she? dancing to kerouac” a collage by terry braunstein at the long beach museum of art.

we took the elevator up to the second floor in deference to m. and viewed a handful of examples from the museum’s permanent collection before we fell into the barbara strasen exhibit, “layer by layer”.

i have to say, it was a bit confusing at first. the work is complex and reminded me of the pattern & decoration movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s, so to sort through all of the dense imagery took some visual adjustment, but once you fell under her spell (not too trite, is that?) you could begin to understand and appreciate the journey she was taking you on. her use of lentricular lenses was particularly fascinating. i believe her commentary on the overload of images we are subjected to each and every day was precise and revelatory. we all enjoyed her work immensely.

possibly the most fab of all the homes we saw.

possibly the most fab of all the homes we saw.

the museum is small, so an hour later we were back out on the street and walking the avenues of bluff park. many of the homes had been fully renovated and brought back to (or maintained) their original glory, but there were a few that could’ve done with a coat of paint and a bit of tidying up–said the gay man. (i hate stereotypes, don’t you? but really, it is a marker, don’t you agree, that gay man like to prettify their surroundings? i’m sure there’s the exception to every rule…but none who would admit it.)

who wouldn't want to live in a neigborhood with a honor library?

who wouldn’t want to live in a neigborhood with a honor library?

we decided that even though it was suggested that everyone in the neighborhood helped maintain the ‘neighborhood book swap’, the reality was that the owners of the home this cart and sign sat in front of did all the heavy lifting. still and all, a sign of community such as this, is a blessed thing in our world today.

hollywood regency plopped into the middle of arts & crafts--perfection!

hollywood regency plopped into the middle of arts & crafts–perfection!

we plotzed when we saw this hollywood regency home cheek and jowl next to a queen anne on one side and a greene & greene on the other. <3!

and finally...

and finally…

i’ll leave you with our favorite of all of the homes we saw yesterday. if you look closely, you’ll see me waving to you from the second story window on the left.



decay in the new millennium (lashing out at lacan)

everything’s better in threes (pretend i’m whispering to you while you sit in the waiting room.)

DSC05657when you look in the mirror what do you see?

DSC05661 (1)are you conscious of the mirror image (dipping your hand in the pool to disturb the reflection)

DSC05662or do you reject the unconscious and its symbols?


decay in the new millennium ([de]boning barthes*)

you didn’t think i was done, did you?

DSC05655 a plant isn’t concerned with its beauty. its blossoms die to live.

DSC05656the plant has no system of symbols. jung be damned.

DSC05659to be that free must be nothing and everything.

*you needn’t worry, i get it.


the garden/ocean/palm tree blog resumes, day seven

“even I* took a day off, robert.”

DSC05034*if you believe in that kind of thing.


the garden/ocean/palm tree blog resumes, day one

you should have heard them at the weekly staff meeting.


“benign gardener, my ass,” harrumphed the lily.


“who does he think he is, ignoring us like this?” complained the agapantha.


“it’s apparent even to the weeds that he has lost his way,” opined the bleeding heart.

to be continued…


all that glitters is not gold iris (or quality)

your yearly reminder:


quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.


let’s talk about the p***s and the film “weekend”

whatever happened to the p***s?

mixed media drawing after a photography of john pruitt by jim french for colt studios

mixed media drawing after a photograph of john pruitt by jim french for colt studios

from classical greek times through the renaissance the small, thin, delicately foreskinned penis reigned supreme in the visual arts (when it was depicted at all or hadn’t been covered up with hastily configured fig leaves and draping.) the big, the exceptional, or for that matter, the ordinary penis was considered vulgar. go figure.

“weekend”, however,  was more of a phallus–BTW, did you know that the word “phallus” refers to a large erect penis and not just an ordinary flaccid penis? i didn’t until today, but now that i do i plan on using it more often, like a spice you grow fond of and find uses for even though it’s not suited for fowl or cauliflower.

“weekend” is about two young gay men who meet on a friday evening and by sunday morning have, well, i won’t spoil it for you, but regardless of the outcome of their meeting, the film director, andrew haigh, has devised a bergman-like film (those close-ups of the actors talking to each other face to face in bed after sex reminded me of liv ullman and joseph erlandson in bergman’s “scenes from a marriage”) that explores the relationship of gay men operating in a straight world.

it was one of the first gay-themed movies that i’ve seen recently that felt true. true about character, relationships, gay life, the anxieties of gay men caused by navigating their emotional lives in a world that does not acknowledge their feelings as valid and worthy of public display.

it got me to thinking about gay marriage — a topic that i think about a lot, partly because the hopeless romantic in me thinks it’s an awesome commitment and partly because i abhor the thought of the loss of our gay culture as we slowly sink into that bubbling pool of assimilation.

what i don’t think will be drug behind the acceptance of gay marriage is the acceptance of gays and lesbians expressing their love in public. i expect it will be quite a while before that becomes mainstream–if it ever does. this was a topic in the film and it really made me realize how uptight i am about public displays of affection between my partner and myself, even after 30 years together. although i will confess that at this age i care less about what other people think about our holding hands or kissing each other, a peck on the cheek, and with age a certain amount of freedom from convention is not unexpected in the he’s-a-crazy-old-coot kind-of-way. you know.

anyway, all of this blather about p***ses and the movie is an endorsement of the film…rent it, watch it, and discuss it. you can thank me later.

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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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