Thursday, April 24, 2014

3 PM: Fire To The North, Water To The East

Fire North Of The Dome

Gateway Geyser

I was going to post some more spring flowers today but, you know, more flowers. So I was sitting at my desk at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon in my usual torpor when I glanced out my window to the north (I'm in a northeast corner). High, billowing black smoke was rising from somewhere behind the football stadium. I looked at a couple of local news sites and found nothing. 

Then a glance to east across the Mississippi: the Gateway Geyser was having its mid-afternoon blow. This is directly across the river from the Arch. From my angle it's behind a grain elevator. It goes off at noon, 3 and 6 during the warm months, rising as high as the Arch itself when the wind is calm, like yesterday. The only one in the world that's higher is in Saudi Arabia.

Now if they could only direct that water canon back to the Missouri side.                       

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Whose Art?

Forest Park 2014-04-19 4

The St. Louis Art Museum sits on its hill, looking down at the flowering trees below. Mrs. C isn't sure what this one is so I won't hazard a guess. The colors of this view won't last long but this morning, when I went out to get the paper at the front door, the Post-Dispatch looked like it was lying in pink snow.            

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Forest Park 2014-04-19 1

Cue it up, Ludwig.

Back in The Lou, where it's spring and it rains and there are flowers all over the place. This is the Jewel Box in Forest Park, an Art Deco conservatory. It's full of and surrounded by flowers at this time of year.

The city is in bloom and we will see more of it this week. Then on the road again over the weekend.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Frank Lloyd Wright Slept (And Took A Shower) Here

Taliesin West 6

The photo above is of the great room at Taliesin West, mentioned in yesterday's post. The chairs are based on origami. As Dave mentioned in a comment yesterday, when high power lines were built nearby to the west in the direction of Phoenix, Wright angrily revised the house to face east toward the McDowell Mountains. Note that the roof line to the right slopes so sharply that guests were forced to sit down, facing the host's preferred view.

Wright and his third and last wife, Olga, had separate bedrooms. Some think that's the only way someone could stay married to him. The bed in the foreground was only for lounging during the day. There's another one behind the divider for sleep. Who knows why. He also had his own tiny bathroom. Nothing like those in today's big American homes, so large you could play badminton. 

Olga Ivanovna Lazovich became a sculptor of some note. Some of her work is seen at the bottom.                        

Taliesin West 7

Taliesin West 8

Taliesin West 9

Taliesin West 10 

Madeleine Monday

Madeleine 2014-04-20 1

Gotta start 'em while they're young. (Bib found at the International Photography Hall of Fame in STL.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Taliesin West

Taliesen West 4

My favorite thing to do in Phoenix, a visit to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home. Wright, a cantankerous genius, was one of the greatest architects of the 20th Century. His most famous work is probably the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The building sits on the eastern outskirts of the Phoenix area, with nothing beyond but desert and mountain. He and his wife entertained the greats of the artistic and political worlds, holding grand salons that make make you think of a dessicated version of Gertrude Stein's.

The house is full of rectangles but also triangles, some quite subtle. Look for them in today's and tomorrow's posts. And, yes, I gotta do one more, featuring interior space and artwork.

It's hard to give an impression of the place without being there. Someone once said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. And I can't dance to save my life.                         

Taliesen West 2

Taliesen West 3

Taliesen West 1

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tucson To Phoenix

Saguaro National Park West 4

I'll get back out on the streets of The Lou this weekend but I want to finish up some Arizona stuff. Saguaro National Park, which we saw just over a week ago, has another branch northwest of Tucson. It's a perfect stop on the way back to Phoenix.

This is typical landscape for middle and southern Arizona. My feelings about it seem to change over time. I used to view this as beautiful country, very spare and clear. This trip my reaction was that it is more harsh and unforgiving, unsuitable for cities without great manipulation of the environment. It felt good to come back to the pastel softness of Midwestern spring. I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.

The bottom photo has some of that manipulation, a strip of irrigated emerald alfalfa between desert dirt in the foreground and sand-blown mountains in the back. I'm a climate pessimist. Your opinion may be different.

One last Arizona post tomorrow, probably. Simon and Garfunkel wrote a song ages ago about the owner of the place.                        

Saguaro National Park West 2

Desert Irrigation

Friday, April 18, 2014

Scary Snake

Desert Botanical Garden 5

We saw this just beside a trail at the Desert Botanical Garden. I don't run away screaming from snakes (with the possible exception of a deadly pit viper) but I keep my distance. Locals told me that this was a king snake and not poisonous. Not for me to do any tests.

Below, the raison d'ĂȘtre for all of this.                                     

Desert Botanical Garden 3