Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Divas on the Delaware

Paddling divas (click on photos to enlarge)

TD and I really have had the best summer. You know, I wish it was summer all year 'round. Recently we spent a week on Fire Island as the guests of our friend Philip and it was heavenly to be at the beach. Previous to that, we had a fun trip to upstate New York. The first stop was Callicoon, a town in the Catskills, where we and friend Bill were guests of friends Karl and Robert for an adventurous river rafting ride called Divas on the Delaware. The second stop was in picturesque Cooperstown, and I wrote about that for New York Social Diary.com; I'll be posting that part next.

Divas on the Delaware is a festive annual event where about one hundred gay men and a handful of women raft down the Delaware River. How could that not be fun? Plus it was that weekend where it was approximately 104 degrees out, so it was a relief to be on the wide, cool Delaware River. We drove to Narrowsburg to a camp ground where the group assembled and then got on a rickety school bus to be transferred to Skinner's Falls. There, we all grabbed a life preserver and an oar, and jumped into a raft.

Everybody made it into a raft and headed down the river.

At the beginning of the trip we hit Skinner's Falls which aren't really falls but more like rapids

but still it was exciting because you did get tossed around a little and had to work to navigate the raft to safety.

After that it was smooth sailing.

In the wide expanse of the river we got separated from the other divas.

It became very quiet and calm. I dunked into the river four times to cool off.

I had thought it would be a noisy, raucous affair but it turned out to be quite peaceful. The scenery was beautiful and the nature was unspoiled. At this bend ahead the river turned right.

A river was lined with pretty houses. This woman sat in the shallow river to escape the summer heat.

There were other rafters on the river too. This blonde girl in front of us had on a Daniel Boone raccoon cap which I thought was appropriate, and chic.

We were on the river for a few hours and eventually arrived at the end, at the place to land, seen here on the left. I took one more dunk into the river to cool off. After we landed, there was a big barbecue lunch at the camp grounds.

By the end of the raft trip I was completely relaxed. The meditative serenity of the river had worked its magic. I can see why river rafting is popular. You do surrender yourself to the beauty of nature.

Up next: the art and culture of Cooperstown.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Pleasure

(click on photo to enlarge)
Recently at the Union Square Farmer's Market, at the Durr's truck, I bought these gladiolas. This big bunch was only $6. I love the spectrum of bright colors, and how they match the peaches and the tomatoes also from the Farmer's Market. When I was growing up, upstate in New Hartford, New York, in the summertime we, the kids, drove with my mother in the station wagon over back country roads to Clinton to a farmer's stand where she bought colorful gladiolas. It was often in the late afternoon when it wasn't so hot and she also bought fresh ears of corn and tomatoes for dinner. When I see gladiolas I think of summer afternoons at that farmer's stand in Clinton. Gladiolas fell out of fashion as a flower but I think the bright spikes of blossoms are pretty glorious. It's time for gladiolas to make a comeback, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Last Days of Alexander McQueen

Inside the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (photo from The New York Times)

"I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress."
Alexander McQueen

On Friday I ran up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 8:30 a.m. to see the Costume Institute's blockbuster show Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty which closed on Sunday. Last year we went to the opening of the Costume Institute show where I had the chance to interview Anna Wintour, but this year because of scheduling I made it up just before the McQueen show closed.

As you probably know the Alexander McQueen show was sensationally popular and in the end it turned out to be one of the ten most visited exhibitions in the history of the museum. The extravagant production paid tribute to the gifted British designer who committed suicide last year at age 40, and everyone wanted to see it.

At 8:30 a.m. there were already lines going up Fifth Avenue of people waiting to get in to see the show. Fortunately I had a VIP pass so I was able to go directly into the exhibit on the second floor. The very first room of the show, which highlighted McQueen's gift for fine tailoring and featured exquisite jackets and trousers, was my favorite.

Then it was into more galleries of his fantastical designs made with glossy black feathers, funereal Victorian lace, blood red velvets and mad touches like little alligator heads used as epaulettes. The galleries were dark – with walls of black or smokey glass or cement block, and the audio effects included howling winds, growling wolves, creaking doors and monster noises. The environment was spooky which matched the Gothic sensibility of the imaginative designer.

" I oscillate between life and death, happiness and sadness, good and evil."
Alexander McQueen

The price I paid for waiting until the last days was that the galleries were very crowded but I did my best to see what I could including a small hologram from a McQueen fashion show which featured Kate Moss floating and spinning over the runway like an angel in a dreamy flowing gown of white organza with raw edges. By the end of the exhibit the visitor certainly did fully understand the momentous and singular talent of Mr. McQueen, and felt the sadness of his tragic loss.

I left the exhibit and passed the long waiting line strung through the second floor. When I went down the Grand Staircase I saw that the line circled around the second floor galleries of the Great Hall; all of the museum was one long line to get into the show! Outside on the sidewalk in the hot sun the line on Fifth Avenue circled back and forth, and this was at 11 a.m. I've been going to the Metropolitan Museum for thirty years and I've never seen anything like it.

Now, the show is gone, dismantled to make way for a new exhibition called Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India, 1100-1900. But, with the magic of the internet, you can tour the McQueen show here with its curator Andrew Bolton:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Darlings, rush on over to New York Social Diary.com, and read my story today about our recent trip to Cooperstown. The trip was inspiring.
And, coincidentally today The New York Times published a big story about the summer season at Glimmerglass.