Picture this: It is the early 1800’s, late in the reign of King George of England, or perhaps early in the era of his daughter, Queen Victoria.
You are a young person of means, a lady or gentleman partaking of a Grand Tour of Europe before beginning a career or marriage. As you travel, through France, across the Alps, into the heart of Italy and the origins of the Roman Empire, you seek souvenirs, mementos to bring home with you for loved ones, or yourself. A person with some wealth, you turn down cheap trinkets, and seek finer art objects to commemorate your travels.
Prince Maximilian and Her Imperial and Royal Highness Princess Margarete of Thurn and Taxis, married July 15, 1890
Archaeology is hugely popular with the aristocracy at this time, and the ballrooms and dining salons that you left behind in England were decorated with artifacts from Egypt, South America and Africa. With this influence, your eye is drawn to the classical figures, especially here in Italy, where ancient Roman gods and goddesses are depicted in exquisite sculpture.
As your tour brings you closer to Pompeii, the ancient city buried in a second under the lava and ash of Mount Vesuvius thousands of years before, you find just the thing! Your choice is a Lava Cameo carved from the ancient basalt.
Historical view of the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, Italy, with Mount Vesuvius in the distance. This image was taken in the late 1800s.
Crafted by a master, your Lava Cameo is an exquisite depiction of an ancient goddess, and completely unique. Your Lava Cameo embraces the Italian culture, archaeology, and is an instantly recognized symbol of status, education, and refinement.
That is the romantic story of the lava cameo, those distinctive works of art so prized by collectors. Lava cameos remained popular and collectible for decades, fading into obscurity only at the turn of the century, when photography became an accessible and easy way to record one’s Grand Tour!
I feel like the world would be a better place if we had all grown up with an Elvis Room, a Portsmouth square, if we had all matured with a Barley Pub.
I spent Saturday evening in the company of friends who have been the bedrock of my world since I was a teen. Gay. Straight. Artists. Cooks. Musicians. Geeks. Parents. Black. White. Asian. Hispanic. Assholes. Saints. Diseased. Health nuts. Friends. People… All of us just people. People who started as strangers.
People who wouldn’t have known each other if we hadn’t had a place to go where everyone was welcome.
We weren’t always all friends. We weren’t always all tolerant. We weren’t born knowing each other. We worked at it. We introduced ourselves. We learned about each other. We learned about ourselves.
We’re still learning.
Do you want to change the world? Do you want the world to change?
Start small. Make your heart a place where everyone is welcome.
If you’re afraid, that’s OK.
Start with one person
Looking into these eyes is traveling through time.
Some Fayum portraits, dating collectively to the period AD 70-250. The numbers refer to discussions in the text.
She is very beautiful. Her face is flawless: long and olive skinned, the nose long too, but neat and narrow, the brows crafted, the chin just firm enough to suggest a certain liveliness of character. She has dark hair, and one gets the distinct impression that it has potential for unruliness, but it has been called to order and fashionably styled, cut short over the ears in order to display expensive jewellery. A half-smile plays about her lips, and it does not seem too much to read a hint of amusement into her large brown eyes. It is easy to imagine meeting her at some elegant affair, for she seems alive – yet she is dead, and has been dead for rather more than 1,800 years .
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I first saw the painting Nighthawks when I was a kid. It was a featured poster in the new shop in the mall, where you could purchase an image of Spuds McKenzie driving a Porsche, or Monet’s ‘Waterl…
Source: Nighthawks: A Writing Project
I first saw the painting Nighthawks when I was a kid. It was a featured poster in the new shop in the mall, where you could purchase an image of Spuds McKenzie driving a Porsche, or Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’ framed in black plastic while you wandered down to Orange Julius for a smoothie.
I fell in love with Nighthawks immediately, and later, with Edward Hopper in general. Hopper’s use of light and architecture speaks to me in every painting and sketch he’s ever done. Nighthawks, with it’s counter full of strangers, sipping coffee, caught for a moment in a light that was both indicative of the Retro Era, and also ancient and timeless, became a touchstone for me. Who were these people? Why were they sitting in this diner, in the dark, dressed to the nines?
In my writing series Nighthawks, I imagine the stories of people as we see them, and as they see themselves, in one brief glance through a window. These character sketches are vignettes, post cards, poems, and the creation of people.
The wind cried “Mary.” It cried “Joseph” and wailed “Samuel” and “Sloan.” It whimpered about a King and bemoaned the one true lost love that was a pi…
Source: Hurricane Season
The wind cried “Mary.” It cried “Joseph” and wailed “Samuel” and “Sloan.” It whimpered about a King and bemoaned the one true lost love that was a pirate, or maybe a privateer, the wind couldn’t remember and probably never knew the difference, but the wind had loved him, more than anyone.
The land rolled its metaphoric eyes, and thought the wind might be a bit of a drama queen, especially when the wind had been hanging out in the Islands. It was always this way, with the wind, this time of year. A spinning cyclone of howling regrets and a flood of memories and she’d be gone again, leaving the locals to clean up the mess.
“That’s what the hell he gets. Good for him!” My mother had uttered those words in her typical matter-of-fact tone one morning as she watched the news. “He” was Michae…
Source: Stranger by the River