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The Sartorialist

Scott Schuman photographs people on the street in NYC -- with his own take on fashion and authenticity: http://www.thesartorialist.com/

NYC Last Night




More Hot Day Leafiness



Cooper's, A Great Pub


8th Ave, betw. 18th-19th. 28 beers, cider on tap. Good food, ambience. Run by 3 Irish guys. Before leaving, bartender Barry made me a great Irish Coffee and informed me that this drink originated in Ireland after WWII and was not invented in San Francisco at the Buena Vista Cafe by Stanton Delaplane in the '50s, as SF lore would have it.
This panorama is a bit skewed.

City Signage




Carole King Musical, "Beautiful," a Dud

How can you go wrong with all those great songs? Well, by sugar coating everything. If you'd ever seen or heard the Shirelles or Drifters or Clovers or Little Eva singing "Locomotion." you would be struck by the dumbing down/gussying up of all this music. Big lack of authenticity. I left after the intermission. I even thought some of the singers were lip-syncing. Just phony. Worse than what Motown did with the Supremes. Heavy handed and yes, it's had great reviews. Go figure.

Last Night in NYC

Stumbled into great restaurant last night (the brewery I was heading to was closed), The Cookshop, 156 10th Ave. (at 20th), local mostly organic ingredients, on-the-ball chef. Same people have a Mexican restaurant ("at 2nd and 2nd") I'm going to check out.



Pierce Arrow Beauty in United Airlines Terminal, San Francisco Airport


Tiny 3-Story Brick Home in Greenwich Village


Lovin The Redeye/Citizen Kane at 30,000 Feet

First class* -- Ooowee! Take it from one who has suffered the indignities of steerage—er—economy class repeatedly, this is such luxury. Got it from frequent flier program but mostly Visa charge card. So this is how the 1%, or maybe 3-4% live. Mos def not shabby.

First to board, comfortable, spacious seats that fold out into a near bed, large personal monitor, wi-fi, DC plug-in, dozens of movies. My return to SFO will be economy. But to tell the truth, I've found economy a whole lot better than it used to be. United is on the ball these days. Their website works perfectly, flights have been on time, the crews have been great. The new United wing at the San Francisco airport, still under construction, is really slick. Wi-fi works immediately, cool Dogpatch espresso stand, lots of chairs desks, with DC power.

I love the redeye. I get to stay up all night, writing, watching movies, writing (travel stimulates), watching the sparkling orange/yellow lights of the East Bay as we take  off, seeing the sun rise this morning as we dropped down over Long Beach heading for JFK.

I watched Citizen Kane, had never seen it in entirety, wow! The cinematography! I just read about its uniqueness: http://www.takegreatpictures.com/photo-tips/tgp-choice/artistic-photography-in-cinema-citizen-kane Seeing it filled in a big gap in my film knowledge.

I'm at a cool cafe in the Village now, having oatmeal and a latte, soon to take off exploring until I can check into my room. Not a wink of sleep and I don't feel the least bit tired. Such is the pulse of this city.

*More luxe than "business class"

Artist Sean Yoro Paints Meticulous Seaside Murals While Balancing on His Paddle Board

I'm Off to NYC Saturday, May 22, 2015

For a week, staying in a small, built-in-1841 hotel in the Village. I'm going to Book Expo America and while I'm there, exploring this most fabulous of all cities. I'm really excited. Got a first class ticket with Visa/frequent flyer awards; my MO is to take the red eye, arrive at JFK around 7AM Sunday, stay up all day (no naps), go to bed by midnight, which eases me into eastern time. I usually go to Washington Square on Sunday afternoon to see the acrobats, music groups, skateboarders, then wander the streets, gawking and shooting photos.

Any tips on cafes, restaurants, venues, unique places to visit?

Ground Control to Major Tom,

Commencing countdown, engines on...

Sun Setting at Seal Rocks, San Francisco, Last Friday


Family makes last-ditch appeal to save Welsh 'hobbit house' from demolition

Dear Mr Kahn,
This house is going to be bulldozed because it "does not fit in with the surrounding Pembrokeshire countryside" which has to be the most ridiculous reason there is.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/19/family-makes-last-ditch-appeal-to-save-welsh-hobbit-house-from-demolition

If you had the time to say a word or raise your hand in their favor it might help.  I live in the west of Ireland. I don't know the people at all and have no interest in the matter other than that I feel their pain and if they lived somewhere else they would have gotten away with it.

Thank you for your time,
best regards,
Conor

New Video of Our Homestead by Kirsten Dirksen, Fair Companies

Kirsten Dirksen is a filmmaker with Fair Companies, a bi-lingual media operation that she and her husband Nicolás Boullosa run out of Barcelona. Kirsten is a former TV producer for MTV and the Travel Channel who now focusses on "…community and access to tools on sustainable culture." She has produced almost 600 videos, an amazing body of work when you consider that it's the editing, not the shooting, that is so time-consuming. I don't know how she does it.

We've had a bunch of people shoot film (OK, OK, video) around here and they generally take a long time to get set up, then follow a pre-conceived series of shots and questions.

Kirsten walked in the first time and within 5 minutes, was shooting. We were comfortable with her. She winged it, seeing what we were doing, following us around. On one of her visits, her two little long-haired girls explored the garden and chickens and Nicolás shot photos.

One thing I love about this video is that she recognized what Lesley is doing in her life and with her garden, her art, and her attitude towards a home. Often that gets missed in people coming here to see me.

The last part of this cracked me up.

Kirsten posted it earlier today.

http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/lloyd-kahn-on-his-norcal-self-reliant-half-acre-homestead/

Check through the other films at Fair Companies.

Photo of Kirsten by Nicolás Boullosa 

Watch this lion feel earth and grass beneath his feet for the first time in 13 years

"…This lion, after being imprisoned in a circus for 13 years in a tiny, fetid cage where he could barely move, had the opportunity to touch the earth and the grass for the first time when he arrived at the Ranch of the Gnomes. The video captures this first contact at the time of his release to his new home.…"
//boingboing.net/2015/05/16/watch-this-lion-feel-earth-and.html

GoPro Camera Film of Baby Blackbirds in Nest

My Talk/Slideshow: "50 Years of Natural Building" This Weekend at Maker Faire

I actually started building in 1960 (above is my first building in 1961, in Mill Valley, California, a studio with what is now called a "living roof") and soon thereafter started shooting photos and interviewing builders for our series of books on handmade housing. In those days we didn't call it “natural building,” but that's what it was. In our book Shelter in 1973, a section of the book was devoted to these materials: wood, adobe, stone, straw bale, thatch, and bamboo. I guess we were natural before it was called “natural.”

A month or so ago, Cheryl Long, the editor at The Mother Earth News, asked me if I could do a talk on natural building at the TMEN fair in Albany, Oregon (near Corvallis) on the first weekend in June. As I was getting the materials together, the MakerFaire asked if I could do a presentation at their annual event in San Mateo California, which is coming up this weekend.

I have selected photos from our five major building books, and will be doing a presentation at noon this Saturday (May 16, 2015) on the Maker Square stage in the Homegrown Village section of the fair.

Here are links to the fair and to my presentation:
http://makerfaire.com/maker/entry/51460/
http://makerfaire.com/bay-area-2015/schedule/

11-Year-Old Jazz Pianist Joey Alexander

Article in New York Times article on Joey May 13, 2015 by Nate Chinen: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/13/arts/music/joey-alexander-an-11-year-old-jazz-sensation-who-hardly-clears-the-pianos-sightlines.html
(I'm not sure if you can access all NYT articles without being a subscriber.)
"…Joey began playing piano at 6, picking out a Thelonious Monk tune by ear, which led Mr. Sila, an amateur pianist, to teach him some fundamentals. Beyond that, Joey recalled, 'I heard records, and also YouTube, of course.'

He played at jam sessions in Bali and then in Jakarta, when his family moved there. At 8, he played for the pianist Herbie Hancock, who was in Jakarta as a Unesco good-will ambassador. ('You told me that you believed in me,' Joey recalled last fall, addressing Mr. Hancock at a gala for the Jazz Foundation of America, 'and that was the day I decided to dedicate my childhood to jazz.') He was 9 when he entered the first Master-Jam Fest, an all-ages jazz competition in Ukraine. He won its grand prize.

Soon one of his YouTube videos caught the notice of Mr. Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, who invited him to appear at the organization’s 2014 gala. Joey played a solo version of the Monk ballad ‘Round Midnight' as the finale, earning a standing ovation, glowing reviews and some influential supporters.…"

Yuichi Takeuchi, Treehouse Builder From Japan, Visits Us

Last week, Yuichi Takeuchi, treehouse builder and kindred spirit from Japan, visited us in our studio.

He's doing wonderful work and says that Shelter has been a big influence on his work.

His website: http://www.treeheads.com

His photos sorted by projects:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/treeheads/sets/


Anise Swallowtail Butterfly

Showed up on a table outside the office. It just hung there for about 3 days.We put it in the greenhouse and it eventually took off.

VESTAS Sailrocket 2 hits 74 MPH in 2012

This was 3years ago. I think this record has been broken more recently.

Zip A Dee Doo Dah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZfX-qlmHmc
Darlene Love with Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, which I've been looking into of late, along with the maybe 10-year-long period of the "girl groups." A British DJ on Sirius radio last week said the girl groups were done in by the "British Invasion" in the mid-60s. Sounds about right. It was a great time for black and white female groups with intricate vocal harmonies. Be my baby…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUZTjRZvXWQ

This just popped up on YouTube after the above:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENX1QeEcO_k

Woe is me. Grooveshark is gone. Its resurrection at grooveshark.io is pretty weak.

Bicycle Powered Tree House Elevator

Sunny Morning, Made-from-scratch Buttermilk Pancakes, and "Look at This!"

I'm having pancakes and a strong latte at one of my 2 favorite breakfast places in the world*, Trink's in Gualala, a sun-drenched town with a major river, on the northern California coast.

Not only is the food extraordinary, but there's good-working wi-fi, copper-covered tables, and views of the blue (and this morning) windy Greatest of All Oceans out the windows.

I just gave one of our mini-books of Tiny Homes On The Move to a 5-year old sitting with his parents, and after a minute perusing the book, he yelled "Look at this!" and in a few minutes, "whoa-o-o." We've gotta be doing something right if we are getting through to 5-year olds.

I'm up here visiting my friend Louie. Last night we roasted a wild goose and had it with a salad and Louie's home-made zinfandel to the accompaniment of '40s music on Sirius radio. Two old guys havin fun…

Below is a panorama of boats down at the Pt. Arena cove yesterday. It's been too windy to go crabbing.

*(The other is Bette's Diner in Berkeley.

Good Sea Ranch House Design

I don't care for most Sea Ranch architecture. Too sterile, and no overhangs, which is just dumb here on the west coast. Landscaping at SeaRanch, by Laurence Halprin, however, is brilliant; he just left everything as was, coyote bush and all.

This house, however, looked good to my eye.

Surfer Out On Windy Afternoon at Pt. Arena Cove

It was a gnarly, cold, windy day yesterday. Pt. Arena surfers are a tough breed

Trip to Mendocino County This Week

I've shot photos of this tree over and over. Sculpted by the wind.

Heritage Salvage in Petaluma

If you're a Northern California builder, I highly recommend you stop in at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma. They have tons of used wood, hardwood slabs, and all manner of recycled and soulful building materials.
Shown here is a walnut slab that is 8' 3" long, and 60" at one end and 43" at the other. Think of the walnut tree that this came from.

Zooty Thunderbird in Petaluma


11 Photos of Nomadic Homes on Wheels in USA

"Gordon Hempton. Fort Warden, Washington 2012. 'For my most important work and the best times of my life, I take the VW bus. The journey is not just about getting there. The trip starts now. Slow down and enjoy what’s going on immediately around you. I didn’t want to start my journey to success in life with the suspicions of others, so I ripped out the key and put in a push button starter. Just push that button and off you go. It begins with trust, it begins with happiness, and what you get back is joy.'"
Photo: Andrew Waits
https://www.hcn.org/articles/boondocks
Sent in by Anonymous

Chand Baori Step Well in Rajasthan, India

"Chand Baori in Abhaneri village in eastern Rajasthan, India, is one of the most overlooked landmarks in the country. It is one of the oldest stepwell in Rajasthan, and is considered to be among the biggest in the world. Chand Baori looks like anything but a well. This incredible square structure is 13 stories deep, and lined along the walls on three sides are double flight of steps. 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry descends to the bottom of the well 20 meters deep to a murky green puddle of water. Built during the 8th and 9th century by King Chanda of Nikumbha Dynasty, provided the surrounding areas with a dependable water source for centuries before modern water delivery systems were introduced. As the green water at the base attests, the well is no longer in use, but it makes for an interesting stop-over to an architecturally impressive structure that is over 1000 years old. There’s also a temple adjoining the well for visitors to explore.…"
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/10/chand-baori-step-well-in-rajasthan-india.html#at_pco=smlrebh-1.0&at_si=5542f55438c58759&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=2&at_tot=5
Sent by Anonymous