This image is the product of a drive-by photo shoot that I committed (from the passenger seat, I assure) while traveling through the mighty Rockies earlier this year. A favorite Edward Estlin Cummings poem seemed an apt accompaniment. And for your listening pleasure, scroll down to the YuleTube treat below: a reading of the poem by e. e. himself.

Joy, peace, love to you, my darlingests.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- e. e. cummings

:image dianamuse


what i'd wear to the holiday party...

...if I'd been invited AND if I were an iconic Asian beauty trained in the art of Geisha AND if I were more self-possessed AND if I were a certifiable nutter (though I'm making headway on that last one).

Truthfully, I just wanted to give you some exquisiteness to gaze upon - and to tell you that I miss being here with you.

But wait. There's more.
I could see getting married in this. In fact, I could see getting married just to be able to get married in this.


:vogue december 05


everything is illuminated

We tripped the light fantastic through Soho (or Sohoma as I call it because of the neighborhood's unfortunate resemblance to an overrated suburban American shopping mall, a new-century playground for the Bridge and Tunnel set) and Chelsea over the weekend before last. We were treated to this year's moveable feast for the eyes, courtesy of The New Yorker.

As we stepped out of Location One on Greene Street, the diagonal rows of weathered glass alongside the base of the stairs caught my eye. The sidewalk vault lights looked to be casting their warm amber tones up and out from underground. I love these humble representatives of 19th century New York. Let me share a bit of their story....

Beginning in the 1850s, sidewalk vault lights became a common feature amidst the burgeoning manufacturing districts of America’s urban streetscapes. These cast-iron panels, fitted with clear glass lenses, were set into the sidewalk in front of building storefronts. They permitted daylight to reach otherwise dark basements (or “vaults”) that extended out beneath the sidewalks, creating more useable or rentable space for building owners.

Vault lights typically extended four to five feet out from the building line toward the curb. Each panel was screwed to a cast-iron saddle and the iron framework that spanned the basement vault. They were cast with molded iron knobs set around each lens to protect the glass and improve the footing of passers-by. Originally simple glass lenses were set in the panels, usually with a cement grout. Advances in daylighting technology, including the development of prismatic glass pendants that refracted the sun’s rays further into basement areas, and the use of reinforced concrete panels made vault lights popular through the 1930s.

If you find yourself scouting for treasure in New York City (admittedly not much of a challenge - there are riches on every. single. last block), you might consider a look-see on Greene Street. These enduring survivors of a bygone day will not disappoint.

:image dianamuse; post title courtesy of this beautiful film


the goog at 50

This year, the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum celebrated its 50th birthday (join the crowd). The Guggenheim first opened its doors on October 21, 1959. To kick off this golden anniversary year, the Guggenheim presented Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, its best-attended show ever. The exhibition closed on August 23; we got in just under the wire.

The show featured 64 Frank Lloyd Wright projects, including privately commissioned residences, civic and government buildings, religious and performance spaces and unrealized urban mega-structures — as well as more than 200 original Frank Lloyd Wright drawings, many of which were on view to the public for the first time. I was delighted to come upon a rendering of the Marin County Civic Center, a Wright creation that had some prominence in the landscape of my childhood. The design left a deep imprint on my visual brain.

One of our favorite exhibits was the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective — a proposed (and unrealized) concept that was to be built on the summit of the Sugar Loaf Mountain and serve as a destination for short motor trips. The spiraling roadways - cantilevered to allow full views — were to be supported by a vast dome, 150 feet in diameter. Under the dome, Wright proposed a planetarium to be surrounded by a circular gallery containing aquaria and natural history exhibits. So cool. (This image, just below, courtesy designboom — I'm borrowing this one because we weren't allowed to take photos in the exhibit itself, only on the ground floor.)

David van der Leer was appointed the Guggenheim's assistant curator of architecture and design last fall. His initial focus was organizing the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition. I like what he says about the museum itself: "It's a great piece of architecture and it's the biggest object in our collection."

Did you know? Lego added Wright's Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater to its new Architecture series. The other structures in the line include the Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, the Empire State Building and the Seattle Space Needle.

:images dianamuse; check out the mega-versions (and a couple of postcard-size efforts) at beautimuse - click here



We have some serious relief mapping of Egypt under way here at the homestead — thank you, middle school curriculum. I stopped in my tracks when we fell into this satellite image of the Nile River delta. I mean, come on. Do satellites realize how lucky they are?
No sign of strife or war or squabbling over toys from this vantage point. Such deceptive calm.

For review: The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the River Nile spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It's one of the world's largest river deltas — from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 143 miles of Mediterranean coastline. It is a rich agricultural region, both densely populated and exceedingly fertile.

:world perspectives/getty images, satellite view of the nile river delta


Good weekend, everyone. Get your march on, wherever you may be.

:image irwin klein, peace demonstration, 41st st. and 6th ave.


Happy treasure-hunting weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:image dianamuse


the duchess, unpublished

Mark Shaw captured these images of Henrietta Tiarks (who would later become the Duchess of Bedford) at Palais Royale in Paris in 1959. The photos are outtakes from a fashion assignment for LIFE magazine and were never intended for publication. The Duchess is modeling a green Jules-François Crahay suit. That's Monsieur Crahay himself (below) ogling his creation at the Nina Ricci salon.

Prints of these images are available, along with a host of other Mark Shaw photographs, at the Mark Shaw Photographic Archive.

:mark shaw; other images of the duchess of bedford at the national portrait gallery


saturday fare

Some of the bounty at today's Tucker Square greenmarket.

:images dianamuse


Joyful weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:image guggenheim museum, vasily kandinsky, small pleasures, 1913; kandinsky retrospective on view now! through january 2010


autumn day

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

- Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell

:image © sebastian waters


shadow box

On autumn's cusp, the play between light and shadow is more evident than ever. Brilliant, golden light pushes high-contrast, sharp-edged shadow into the fore. I shot this photo yesterday afternoon at the Columbus Ave/76th St. flea market. The shadows seem to articulate the shell forms better than the shells themselves, don't you think? It's all very rich and wonderful and Jungian.

Happy pre-autumnal equinox, my darlings.

:image dianamuse


the original

It just doesn't get better than Sir Sean in all his sexy, 60s, double-oh-cool glory. Yowzah.

I think that the wizards in Mad Men's mid-mod costumery must have taken some serious guidance from Mr. Connery's style sheet. Lookie here:

Nicely done.

:images dr. macro (top); amc (bottom); take the mad men costume shop tour



good losers

Last year, Creativity magazine partnered with Penguin Books on a talent contest, asking artists of all types to develop a cover design for Sam Taylor's novel, The Island at the End of the World, published August '09.

Designers, illustrators, painters and photographers contributed more than 300 design concepts; a jury comprised of Penguin editor Alexis Washam, creative director Paul Buckley and a few editors from Creativity narrowed the field to 25 entries before deciding on the runners-up and the winning design.

The two designs on this post didn't make it to the judges' short list, but they would have been on mine. You'll find the contest winners over here. Care to weigh in on the final results?

:images nytimes books


Wall-e, meet The Matrix.

Happy Triple Nines Day.

:image focus features via nytimes


forged from the aegis of zeus

I wrap a bundle of these babies 'round my wrist and take on the day. Zap! Pow! Bam!

Query: Anyone know the post title reference?

:image dianamuse


Good late-summer weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:image courtesy of my four-year-old daughter; she took the photo at eye level (approx. 40 inches above the pier) early friday evening on coney island


Swoonage at its peak. I could just keel over and die from all the gorgeousness. Have any of you actually been there and seen this? Did you just keel over and die from all the gorgeousness? Did you? I bet you did.

Everything in Italy that is particularly elegant and grand borders upon insanity and absurdity
or at least is reminiscent of childhood.

- Alexander Herzen

:image venice daily photo, palazzo zenobio, dorsoduro district, venice


the face of hypervigilance

Definition: /hy·per·vig·i·lance/ (hi″per-vij´ĭ-lans) the condition of maintaining an abnormal awareness of and responsiveness to environmental stimuli, and/or scanning of the environment for threats.

Personal Objective: to curb this tendency in myself. Way too exhausting.

:images dianamuse; (top) the corpse bride figurine - our living room; (bottom) male figure with a diadem - met museum egyptian wing



As the sun slowly sinks in the west, we bid a fond farewell to June, July and August.

:image dianamuse, santa monica high-rise


Peaceful weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:image dianamuse, august sky


eye tripping

The Taking Woodstock poster is a great nod to the psychedelic masters themselves, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso, who designed many of the famed 1960s posters for San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore and Avalon Ballroom.

Sock it to me.

:image mojo


Good weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:from ryan mcginley's latest series, moonmilk


charles and ray: where they worked

Ray's desk, 1976

Charles Eames said that 'recognizing the need' is the primary condition for design.

Early in their careers together, Charles and Ray Eames identified the need for affordable, yet high-quality furniture for the average consumer, furniture that could serve a variety of uses. For forty years the Eameses experimented with ways to meet this challenge, designing flexibility into their compact storage units and collapsible sofas for the home, seating for stadiums, airports and schools — and chairs for virtually anywhere.
Their chairs were designed for Herman Miller in four materials: molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh and cast aluminum. The conceptual backbone of this diverse work was the search for seat and back forms that comfortably support the human body, using three-dimensionally shaped surfaces or flexible materials instead of cushioned upholstery. An ethos of functionalism informed all of their furniture designs. "What works is better than what looks good," Ray said. "The looks good can change, but what works, works."

Charles's desk, 1976

Did you know? Charles died August 21, 1978. Ray died ten years later to the day.

:images and info eames office; find my other homage to charles and ray here


the kids were alright

My favorite Woodstock quip:

Woodstock was probably the single best show in history. Townshend doesn't like it because he's an idiot.

- Roger Daltrey

:top image sue jacobs morris, jimi hendrix closing woodstock, early in the morning - via nytimes


Beautiful weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:dianamuse, russian summer house, 2006


summer snapshot: no. 7

I'm delighted that my great blogging pal, Lori of everyone's favorite automatism, invited me to participate in her Snapshot: Summer series. Every Thursday from July until September, a fellow blogger shares one image that captures for them the essence of summer. Today it's my turn (yippee!) and I'm contributing this shot of the Pond in Central Park that I took during the High Holy Days of Summer 2008.

Visit automatism and check out the rest of Lori's beautiful Snapshot lineup. Thanks so much for including me, Lori.
Je t'adore.

:dianamuse at automatism


work detail: old questions, new project

I'm occasionally asked one or more of the following questions by my Internets compatriots: just exactly what do you do for a living? and where exactly do you work? and what exactly do you look like? and (my favorite) who exactly are you?

In characteristic fashion, I don't plan to answer any of these questions directly. Not now anyway.

However, I am posting some close-up shots from my workspace (which is a visual response to the second question—
sort of). And you'll find additional pics at beautimuse, that other place where I post bigger—much bigger—images.

But the very bestest part is that I'm inviting some of blogdom's most fantabulous residents to participate in a new project: I call it Work Detail. Starting in the fall, I'll post images of YOUR wondrous workspaces—be they studio, closet, park bench or houseboat. We can all gather 'round and consider what your creative surroundings say about you. Which begs the question, what do mine say about me?

Stay tuned, my sweets. This'll be fun.

:image dianamuse


Fun weekend, everyone. Wherever you may be.

:image dianamuse; santa monica beach pier - last saturday evening


b e a u t i m u s e : twilight on the western front

Time for some pretties, my darlings. I've been away far too long. It's good to be home and it's oh such a pleasure to reconnect with all of you wonderful, patient, wicked-talented visiteurs.

For this evening's plaisir des yeux, we offer a photo from recent travels. This shot of the Wasatch Mountain range is one of several that I took from a 20-mile distance at five-minute intervals. You can see a trio of pics over at beautimuse, the new-ish place where I post Jumbotron-size images.

The shift in colors from moment to moment was stunning. And, lo and behold, the sunset hues perfectly match those of this 1940 travel postcard (below). All that coral and rose saturating the sky must come from years and years of pollution — courtesy of the copper mines. Thanks, Monsanto and Kennecott Minerals.

If you'd like to comment (you know I'd love to hear from you), please, pretty please do so here.