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I needed a welcome distraction, something fun and frivolous. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to finally see an exhibit I’ve been wanting to see at NSU: Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968. There wasn’t loads of stuff there, but I just need a change of scenery, the chance to look at something  beautiful, and a reminder that I am  more than my problems. There is something to be said by surrounding yourself in beauty. I adore any chance to overwhelm my senses with loveliness. It can be so uplifting for me. In this case, it was fashion. There were some lovely pieces on show, but what really surprised me, was that even though nothing was short of 45 years old, pretty much everything on display would be totally wearable today. In fact, in my head, I even chose a few choice garments for Moi-self. Do you need a little escapism too? Focus on some of your very favorite outfits, and imagine yourself in your mind’s eye wearing them. Imagine where you would be, who (if anyone) you would be with, and what you would be doing. It’s kind of a little game I like to play. Like Barbie for grown women LOL.

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I’d like to imagine myself into that V-neck black dress in the back. You can’t really see how awesome it is in that tiny picture, but it is fab! It looks like something straight from Carrie’s closet in Sex in the City. At one point she was wearing a lot of dresses that had that sort of silhouette.  In my head, I shall imagine that I am in Paris. I am eating in an uber glam restaurant with a handsome gentleman (that I secretly am in love with, but I keep him guessing)  who can’t take his eyes off me *le sigh*. You see how this game works? You try it. Here are some more pictures…

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Aside from the actual garments, there was also some gorgeous vintage handbags, and the walls were lined with lots of Italian fashion photography. But my favorite part? I’d have to say it was the cases of heritage Bvlgari pieces. I do own a simple Bvulgari band which I have held on to back from my housewife days, but I am still lusting after a particular gobstopper

For now though, I will need to stuff my gob with other less expensive stuff. Maybe some fancy grilled cheese? Oh, I know that sounds a bit anti-climactic, but I assure you, I would not kick this guy out of bed LOL. Thrilllist actually calls it one of the best sandwiches in Miami (there is more than one Rok Brgr in Florida). True, no self respecting Italian fashionista is going to be scarfing one of these down, but I am not Italian; nor do I have much of an excuse to be a fashionista at this point in my life.  Believe it or not, nobody asked me on a fancy Parisian adventure in recent history. Crazy, right?! So if my ass is looking a little dimpled from enjoying a few fatty treats, I doubt anyone is going to be the wiser. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, this is pretty museum worthy…

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Short rib grilled cheese with fontina and caramelized onions, with a side of rings (not Bvlgari, but it will have to do).

How do you like to escape when you are feeling a little low?

 

Last weekend I braved the bus to the Ft Lauderdale NSU Museum of Art again. Taking the bus is no fun, but as I still don’t have a car, sometimes it is my only choice. Living in England I had access to wonderful museums and cultural events. I hate to say it, but South Florida is kind of a cultural wasteland. So when there is something to see, I will go out of my way to see it. So yes, back to Ft Lauderdale I went, where the smell of pee and homelessness seems to pervade the air. I went to see an exhibit called The Indestructible Lee Miller. Should you like to see it, it will be running until February 14, 2016.

So who is Lee Miller? She is best known for being the muse, student, and lover of the famous photographer Man Ray. She was what you’d call a “Hitchcock blonde,” what with her icy cool beauty. Her dad used to photograph her when she was a little girl, later she was a model for Vogue magazine, and after that, she was the subject of one of the famous photographers of all time… but actually, Lee Miller was more than just pretty face. She was an artist in her own right, and something of a feminist icon.  As a photographer, her travels lead her from fashionable Paris to war-torn Germany where she photographed the atrocities of the concentration camps and the suicides of German officials… there were some gruesome photographs in that exhibit, some that I really found hard to look at. It was much worse for her though. Miler’s time in Germany left her understandably troubled. So much so, that after the war, she locked many of her photos in an attic and tried to forget them.

No, Lee Miller, was certainly not a dumb blonde. She was a courageous artist with a deeply rich life. Below are a selection of my favorite photos from the exhibit.

Lee Miller, 1930 Man Ray
Lee Miller, 1930 Man Ray, Solarized Portrait
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Lee Miller’s very famous but somewhat blurry neck, photographed by Man Ray

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In Hitler's bathtub shortly after his death, washing away the
In Hitler’s Munich bathtub shortly after his death, washing away the “grime.”
An editorial fashion photo of models wearing fire masks in London.
An editorial fashion photo of models wearing fire masks in London, 1941.
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Opera singer singing a song from “Madame Butterfly” amidst the ruins, 1945.

In all honesty, I was not unhappy to leave the museum that day. Some of the photos left me unsettled. They are photos I choose not to post, because although they are very real, they disturb me, and I don’t want to put that kind of thing on my blog. Let me just say, that I will take the smelly homeless of Ft Lauderdale over pictures of emaciated and dead prisoners of war any day. It was almost a relief to walk out of there and feel the sun on my face, and the beautiful rainbow graffiti art that drapes over the walls of the museum.

I love this cheerful piece outside of the museum. It is by an artist called Jen Stark, entitled Acid Free.
I love this cheerful piece outside of the museum. It is by an artist called Jen Stark, entitled Acid Free.

I needed a burger.

Last time I went to Rok Brgr, a few steps away from the museum, I thought my Sweet Caroline burger was delicious indeed. The fries? Not so much. Channeling the adventurous spirit of Lee Miller (yeah, all of the sudden I’m a daredevil adventurer, huh? You see how I did that?), I decided to try the truffle burger with tater tots. As you can see, I like to live on the edge. Well, as you are on the edge of your seat with wonder, I shall tell you: the tater tots were definitely better than the fries (nice and crispy, though they could be a bit more fluffy in the middle). But the burger? Juicy deliciousness. There were some excellent flavors going on: it had the beefy goodness factor, the contrast of sweet caramelized onions, and garlicky aioli… and it was drippy and messy, just like the best burgers are. Pure satisfaction. Really I don’t miss sex all that much LOL! Burgers have an edge over men, you never have to wonder why they didn’t text you back. OMG, I am so shallow, I kill me.

I think this could be hanging in a museum too.
I think this could be hanging in a museum too.

I kind of doubt that Lee Miller liked to indulge in fat ass burgers like I do. Perhaps she would disdainfully look away as my thighs slowly enlarge. What do you think? What can I say, I like my art with burgers on the side.

I love art, from fine art to street art, so I couldn’t help taking a few pictures on my recent visit to Ft Lauderdale. Here are a few snapshots I took after visiting with my friend Frida.

Outside of the NSU Museum
Outside of the NSU Museum

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I’ll never forget the last time I saw Frida. It was in Paris, at the Musée de l’Orangerie. It was a rainy day, and I ducked into a Laduree to eat a truffle omelette. It was pure luxury. I remember this song from Pulp Fiction playing in the background, and I remember feeling that all was right with the world. I was newly separated and scared, but in that brief moment, I was feeling pretty damned okay.

Well, Ft Lauderdale ain’t Paris, but I’ll be okay here too. What choice is there? There are burgers here. I’ll be fine. I went to a place called ROK:BRGR, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a burger with my name on it “Sweet Caroline.” It must be a sign, no? I must be headed in the right direction.

This time, in the background it was 80’s “hair” metal. There was Ozzy Osbourne, The Scorpions, Van Halen… old friends. I was sitting outside, the sun was shining. It’s moments like these where I remember that I may be down, but I’m far from out. “Nope, I’m definitely not out,” I thought to myself, as some skinny bitch turned to stare at my behemoth of a burger with longing LOL. “Don’t hate chicky, cause yeah, I’m going to eat the whole thing, and you can freaking bite me.” Plus, thanks to the grief diet, I can look good while doing it! Hmmm… yes, karma does have it’s rewards.

Mmmm... juicy, sweet, messy and bloody. I can see why it  was a champion at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Aged cheddar, BBQ short rib, creamy coleslaw, fried onions,  on a brioche bun. It was pretty fab. I'd give it a 9. The fries were a bit crap though.
Mmmm… juicy, sweet, messy and bloody. I can see why it was a champion at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Aged cheddar, sweet and tender BBQ short rib, cool and creamy coleslaw, fried onions, on a brioche bun. It was pretty fab. I’d give it a 9. The fries were a bit crap though.

You know, I’m learning something as time goes on. My life is totally different than the one I used to live, but although my  environment has changed, nobody can take away what makes me special. I don’t live in a city where I have access to great art or fancy food. I don’t have tons of spending money, but I can make do. A queen without a king is a still a queen, even if she is dressed in rags (but carries a Bottega Veneta). It makes me feel kind of proud.

Frida, my hero and my fearless friend. I love her.
Frida, my hero and my fearless friend. I love her.

So today let me tell you about one of my favorite people who ever lived: Frida Kahlo. I’ve talked about her on my old blog. There is not  one woman in history that I feel a greater connection with than her. She is my favorite artist of all time. Why? Well, here’s the thing: her art isn’t particularly beautiful, in fact, sometimes It can be downright hideous, BUT, more than any artist to come before or after, I have never witnessed a person who was able to paint with their soul as she did. In her work, I see her pain, her sadness, her love, her happiness…. I can see it all. Her willingness to share her life so beautifully through her art, makes her very special. So I think she is the most amazing artist who ever lived, but more than that, to me, she is almost like the sister I never met.

Let’s start with the obvious: the unfortunate unibrow. Yep, I’ve got that. I tweeze mine to an inch of its life, but I can not deny that I have one.  I can thank my dear old daddy for that one. It’s the Mediterranean blood.  It makes a girl furry LOL. Thanks daddy! I love how Frida is not shy about painting that in, or her faint beginnings of her mustache. She wears them like a badge of honor, and though I can’t put my finger on why, it makes me proud. I just adore unapologetic women. I love women who are not afraid to say, “this is me, take me as I am.”

I couldn't have said it better daaaahling, this could be me talking to Dr ManWhore.
I couldn’t have said it better daaaahling, this could be me talking to Dr ManWhore.

Mostly, I identify with Frida because of her relationship with her husband, artist Diego Rivera. Like my husband, Diego was a fat ugly bastard, but he had talent, charisma, and the ladies loved him. Diego, like Dr ManWhore, was a vile philanderer.  He didn’t understand how blessed he was to have the love of such a unique woman until it was too late. Is it the nature of men to chase glitter when they have a diamond?

Yeah, I love a woman who calls em like it is!
Yeah, I love a woman who calls em like it is!

It is both a pain and a pleasure to be able to love so much and so deeply. But I kind of imagine, that like me, Frida wouldn’t have been able to live any other way. This is the way it is when you live with passion, and this is what makes us what we are. Perhaps we are not everyone’s cup of tea, but not every A-hole knows how to appreciate a fine vintage.

Frida was Madonna before the 80s ever happened. She was fierce, unapologetic, a feminist, political, and sexually liberated. She was leaps and bounds ahead of her time. I have a major girl crush on her! When I lived in London, I went to see her exhibit in Paris. And now, while living in south Florida, there was no doubt I would revisit my favorite lady of all time.

Eeww, let me start by saying that taking the bus to Ft Lauderdale is highly unpleasant. I have got to get a car asap! The people who ride the bus in Broward County… I’m not sure how to put it kindly… let me just say that they are not a classy bunch. Geez, I’ve come a long way from being a doctor’s wife being driven around in a luxury Mercedes. It’s slightly disheartening to be honest. It was scorching hot, and it was more than an hour’s drive each way to the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibit at the NSU Art Museum. When the doors opened for me to get off the bus, I was assaulted by the scents of homelessness and pee. Yeah, I really love Frida. I wouldn’t do this for just anyone.

The exhibit was comprised of works by Frida, Diego, and some of their Mexican contemporaries. I have selected some of my favorites to share with you today.

Self portrait with monkeys: I love these colorful whimsical paintings, they have such charm to them.
Self portrait with monkeys: I love this colorful whimsical painting. It has such charm to it.
A very glamorous portrait of Natasha Gelman with calla lilies painted by Diego
A very glamorous portrait of Natasha Gelman with calla lilies painted by Diego. I think the guy was a bastard, but I can not deny his talent. Yes, this is fatty loved the female form. It is obvious.
Diego's portrait of Frida's sister Cristina--one of the many women he slept with. This one was a dagger in the heart for Frida. It was the one affair she couldn't turn a blind eye to.
Diego’s portrait of Frida’s sister Cristina–one of the many women he slept with. Though she got used to his cheating ways, this one relationship was a dagger in the heart for her. It was the one affair she couldn’t turn a blind eye to.
The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened, by Frida Kahlo The open fruit are supposed to have a sexual connotation.  Supposedly this is about a bride being nervous about loosing her virginity. Eat that watermelon LOL.
The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened, by Frida Kahlo
The open fruit are supposed to have a sexual connotation. Supposedly this is about a bride being nervous about loosing her virginity. Eat that watermelon girl LOL.
Diego on My Mind, by Frida Kahlo No matter how much pain she caused her, she was never able to escape her love for Diego.
Diego on My Mind, by Frida Kahlo
No matter how much pain he caused her, she was never able to escape her love for Diego. This was my favorite painting at the exhibit. It is a very raw and private account of love. You can feel the longing in her expression. Ironically, she is wearing a traditional Mexican wedding veil.

My favorite part of the exhibit was a documentary they were showing in one of the exhibition rooms on the life of Frida Kahlo. It left me very touched. It left me thinking of my Napoleon actually. While there is no love left in my heart for my ex husband, the truth is that there is not a day that goes by when I don’t think of Napoleon. He is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning, and the last person I think of at night. I try so hard to be strong, to convince myself that I don’t need him– I don’t NEED him, but oh how I want him. Watching that documentary, that dull ache in my heart started to burn. When I got home, I did something that maybe I shouldn’t have done. I wrote to Napoleon and told him how much I loved him and missed him. He has not replied. Perhaps it is the destiny of women who love so much and so deeply. I don’t know. It hurts. You know, I know that writing to him was probably not a wise decision for someone who is trying so hard to rediscover her independence. Strangely I don’t regret it. I love him. I tried. It probably wont be the last time.

If I have to experience this sadness, I couldn’t be in better company than with my dear Frida. I don’t want to live a life without passion. And Frida? That woman knew passion. The pains and the trials of her life, which were supposed to be private, she painted them in full color. It was scandalous to be sure, but it was a life lived with honesty. That is something I really respect. As Frida wrote on her very last piece of art “viva la vida.” I concur whole heartedly.

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