Monday, January 31, 2011

Of Tinted Lenses and Colored Glasses

Earlier last week, Nero tacked up this boho-a-go-go New York home. One of my favorite eye-catchers in the bookish room below is the blue detailing on the chandelier. It's the pièce de résistance that crowns the room, capping it off -- a picture perfect punctuation. A second space in the apartment contains a similar fixture with a red diffuser-like lens

I'd never encountered lighting details quite like these until I stumbled upon this specimen below, listed over at that demonic dreamweaver 1stdibs. Behold crystal/waterfall/tinkling/tinted glass poetry in motion. 

For those interested in entering a blue period, get yours here for the price of a luxury car.


Of Levees and Literary Leanings

Nero hasn't skipped town in awhile, is starting to feel landlocked. And with so many hours wiled away tickling the keyboard, hitting the books, the real ones -- those bound and smelling of what was once mighty tree, is more of an aspiration than a fait accompli. So why not begin the week with a virtual romp over to a favorite haunt? For where there is imagination, there is mind-travel, says I. One of my grandmothers hailed from New Orleans, and while Nero's spent fleeting amounts of few-and-far-between time there, NOLA's gritty streets exert an eery soul tug, as if in an obscure former life, the city that care forgot had once been my home.  

Going to New Orleans is the best way to leave the States without really leaving. The city, with its decrepit European backbone,  architectural grandeur and even grander delusions, its ever-present demimonde and sooty underbelly, can usher in a heady, self-indulgent solace that works like a charm in measured doses. Nero, ever the flâneuse, likes her a good walkabout. And what better place to do so than La Nouvelle Orléans, once home to all the Creole finery trade route money could buy? -- just as long as you look left, look right, watch your back at all times and leave your valuables padlocked in the hotel safe. 

But back to books. Any establishment located in the Vieux Carré, and on Pirate's Alley at that, immediately waxes of the sort of exquisite escapism and latent (read, imagined) danger Nero lives for. A visit to Faulkner House Books, preferably after a chicory coffee and beignet pit-stop at Café du Monde, would cure even the most advanced case of reader's block. Nobel Laureate William Faulkner rented the very room where the store is now housed in 1925, the year he lived in New Orleans. Faulkner penned his first novel within those walls, then decamped for Paris where he swiftly became a literary sensation. 

The current owners live in a beautifully appointed pied-à-terre above the shop, which feels upon entry much like a cozy library in a private home. One of the greatest draws of the bookstore, beyond the obvious visual, ambient and mythological attractions, is that the selection is tightly curated to include many tomes by southern writers. Contemporary writings are shelved alongside classic Americana and great books of the world, so browsing becomes  an artfully chosen yet kaleidoscopic experience. It is a magical place, small but impossible not to get lost in. 

I haven't been back to New Orleans in some time, but the books pictured below were the last Pirate's Alley booty Nero insisted on toting home. If geography is destiny, then no place does that adage ring truer than in New Orleans. Nero doesn't dream much any more. A mother's sleep is often wakeful. But one night, several years ago, I dreamt I was sitting at a desk in a French Quarter house penning a novel. There are shutters -- flung-open -- street noise, a breeze and sunlight. And perched to my right is a caged canary. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Clubby Sunday

Go ahead, scratch the surface. Explore that edgy underbelly. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcoming the Weekend

With fluffed pillows and up-propped feet.

Of Cities and Odes to Them

Today, as Egypt rises up, burns -- bursts seething at the seams -- it is just another Friday for many of us. And Friday often means repose -- and yes, why not? -- a touch of entertainment. And so, fair Nerophytes, this Friday I propose a Netflixcapade. But this one rings particularly bittersweet. 

Cairo Time tells the little story of a Canadian magazine editor (Juliette), played painstakingly by the lithe and charming Patricia Stanton, who arrives in Egypt to meet her husband, a UN worker, for what she believes will be a holiday. But when her husband is detained in Gaza due to skirmishes, he sends a former colleague and friend (Tareq), played by the soulful Alexander Siddig, to show Juliette around the city. As you may imagine, quiet sparks ignite between these two strangers who bond over the overwhelming beauty and mystery that is Cairo. 

After today -- this Friday just like every other, and yet not so -- Egypt will never be the same. The hope is that it will be lightyears better, a grand and sandy land more free. And so I offer up this film as an ode, an homage -- a dulcet love song to a faraway place. Through its images, haunting soundtrack and thoughtful dialogue, it conveys just how it feels to discover this great, bustling capital for the first time. There are moments of delight and equal parts frustration, but one is always moved. As of today, the world will never be the same. And yet somehow, the world remains unchanged. And so, on this fiery Friday, let us give Cairo a little of our time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Homes for Magical Living

Some homes -- or the idea of them -- simply ooze with layers of warmth and life and beauty. 
I keep coming back to the idea of this one


It's here folks, time to pound the virtual pavement. Rue's third issue is in the house and it's like fresh-poured sophistication over ice. Razzle-Dazzle-Chin-Chin.

Pup Talk

Fair Nerophytes, one must have priorities in life. To fill one's days with goals most lofty and cerebral is to live in service of others. And so, with such noble ideals banging around in my head, Nero set out today to lend a Midas touch to this faux-Koons pup. A travesty you say, perhaps. An aberration -- highly likely -- to give him ideas beyond his station. And yet I felt that by freeing him of his sallow, chewed-up-bubblegum-pink skin with its cheap, glittery sheen, I may be paving the way for greater social mobility across the entire balloon pet sector. A whole can of paint was all it took, a steady hand and patience, the latter of which isn't Nero's strong suit. Once the glitzy alchemy had taken place, we played with placement -- Duck, Duck, Pooch, Where's Goldo? I tried to avoid putting him on a pedestal -- wouldn't want him getting delusions of grandeur. Yes, perhaps closer to the ground is best. After all, every home should have a golden sentinel.

How, pray tell, are you making the world a place more golden today?
With one Herculean feat under my belt, Nero's off to barter for toilet paper and milk.


Urban flâneuse, armchair observer, absent-minded scribbler, occasional epicure and carpool line cultural attaché, my nom de plume is Nero. Join me as I catalog a compilation of earthly delights and stuff that I dig. Alcira Molina-Ali



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