The Good and the Wha? at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah GA

While Savannah’s Kimpton Brice was fun, we were looking forward to trying the Mansion on Forsyth Park too. It’s a Marriott Kessler Collection, so one can expect art *everywhere*, an in-hotel gallery, trendy furnishings, and a very boutique feel.

This hotel can get expensive in the high season, into the $400s. Thankfully we were able to jump on a Marriott package on an off-week and were able to save tons. We avoided valet fees since there was a ton of on-street, non-metered parking right beside the hotel.

There’s art everywhere. Everywhere-everywhere. This is the hallway to our room

Our room

The bed was soooo comfortable. It can be purchased from the Kessler Living site, and Av and I are a few years past due for a new mattress. I’m thinking, though, that we might give the Casper mattress a try (Consumer Reports liked it too). If you have experience with it, I’d love to hear.

This is where our problem was. I took the boys swimming one morning. See how the pool surround is marble? Know how marble is really, really slippery? So maybe having marble all around a pool isn’t the greatest idea. When Shug got out of the pool, he actually slipped and fell on his side getting out. He was hurt but was able to walk it off. Shugie got out right behind him and did the whole slide-but-catch-yourself thing. Also, you can’t see in this pic, but around the lounge chairs by the pool steps — and I didn’t see them until we were toweling off and Shugie stepped on one — there were little shards of marble. His foot was cut but it wasn’t too bad and we were able to stop the bleeding with some pressure. Sooooo….

…we did what anyone would. We got up, went to the lobby and told the front desk person that an area of the marble decking may have some kind of cleaner residue that makes it really super slippery, and that there are some shards of marble that need to be swept up.

We thought that was it. We just wanted someone to know. We weren’t upset, we didn’t ask for a Bandaid, neither of the boys were in tears, this was for informational purposes so they could do something about it. The front desk person asked us to wait just a minute. Here, I’ll paste the text of an email I sent to management:

The woman at the desk immediately went to get the manager on staff. (name retracted here) came out, and rather than doing what any person in any similar position would do — express that they were sorry about these things happening and thanking them for letting the hotel know so it could be fixed — she treated the three of us as potential lawsuits.

She scribbled notes on a series of post-it notes, then told us to show her the shards. Rather than walking with us back to the building, she got on the phone and started laughing.

At no point did she ever say “I’m sorry that happened” or “thanks for letting us know” so no one else would similarly be injured. Several minutes later, there was a knock on our door with her telling me to fill out a multi-page incident report.

How did this go so wrong? 

Even my kids realized this wasn’t handled correctly. She never said she was going to get the shards swept up (though a maintenance man did come over to look at the shards too), or look into getting the slick spot on the pool deck taken care of. Never acted as though she cared. 

I was going to let this go, but just today, one of my boys asked me again if I thought she took care of things so no one else was going to get hurt on their vacation. The other one asked me why she didn’t say “sorry” like they are taught to do at school. The fact that they are still thinking about it is enough for me to reach out to you.

I have no idea why we were treated as though our next stop might be a lawyer. And I have no idea why this was handled as though my children were exhibits rather than little people who were hurt and had genuine concern for others. 

BTW, when the maintenance man came to look at the shards, he reminded me that the pool deck of course gets slick — it’s smooth stone. I just didn’t say anything. Maybe if they’re so accustomed to people falling getting out they should consider putting down something other than a smooth stone. You know, like just about every other pool that has a textured decking.

Your pool can be so hot it breaks Instagram but if the fact that people get hurt around it elicits a you-shoulda-known, maybe something’s not right.

Actually, I realize that their fear of lawsuits is real, but we presented as nonchalant people who just wanted someone to look into something for the next guest and we were on our way up to our room to get ready for another fun day in Savannah. And if filling out an incident report is policy, okay too. Anyway. This could have turned out so much better. And I was especially proud of our boys for even several days later hoping that they got things fixed so no one else would get hurt.

Let’s talk about fun stuff again! The hotel, true to its name, is right at Forsyth Park, the one with the famous fountain. We spent lots of time there around the fountain and the park — Shugie brought his football so he and Shug were kicking and passing the ball…running everywhere, having a great time.

One morning, we had the breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, 700 Drayton, which was included with our stay. It was all really good, from the pancakes to the omelette, benedict, and shrimp and grits.

And the setting there was really pretty as well.

I think we’ll pass on staying at the Mansion on Forsyth again. The TripAdvisor reviews are giving me pause too. Maybe the Bohemian Riverfront next time?

Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah

This Moshe Safdie building, opened in 2006, is the Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, Georgia. While the emphasis here is on more contemporary art, which entirely complements the structure, the strongest part of the museum is in its rotating exhibits rather than permanent collection.

Here, William Christenberry’s ‘Painted Male’ and ‘Painted Female’

Keith Sonnier’s ‘JOB’

Cedric Smith’s ‘Freedom is a Road’

Anne Ferrer’s ‘Hot Pink’

powered by:

We spent hours in their ArtZeum space which is geared for children, and the boys played in their large workshop making many pieces of art.

This is the Walden, The Game — and it was written up this week at Hyperallergic

Walden, a Game takes a seemingly absurd premise — transforming Walden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau into a video game — and makes it a surprisingly thoughtful experience about finding balance in life. Players can devote all day to wandering the shore of the titular pond, listening for owl hoots or watching hummingbirds flit around flowers, but their Thoreau character will start to starve, and his firewood supplies will run dangerously low for the approaching winter. Yet spend too much time chopping wood and planting beans, and his inspiration will dwindle, the color seeping out of the digital landscape and the birdsong becoming quiet.

When they first sat down at the keyboard, I thought to myself “knowing Thoreau, this isn’t exactly going to be Mario Kart Rainbow Road” but they enjoyed it.

We were very fortunate to be there just before the end of the Nick Cave exhibit

Of the current and upcoming exhibits listed, I’d most like to come back to see Kahlil Gibran and the Feminine Divine which will be on exhibit through January 2, 2018.

Telfair Museums boasts the largest public collection of visual art by Kahlil Gibran in the United States, donated in 1950 by his lifelong supporter and mentor, Southern native Mary Haskell Minis. This exhibition concentrates on works that capture Gibran’s enduring belief in the oneness of all things, often characterized in his paintings and drawings as the feminine divine.

Snacking Savannah

It must be a rule that when in Savannah, one must go to Leopold’s for ice cream. And for good reason.

Not sure who thought a scoop of ice cream between two cookies was a good idea, but the four of us each had a bite and agreed.

We also happened to walk later to Chocolat by Adam Turoni (on IG here). We got four small pieces — one for each of us, and one later for Av since he was working — and honestly none of them were as delicious as we had wanted them to be (though they were pretty). What was so compelling was the atmosphere:

The shop is set up to appear as a library. The pieces are placed here and there in bookcases…

…and to select a piece, one takes a wooden tray which has in it a small set of tongs, opens the door, and takes a confection

His Etsy shop shows how gorgeous these all are.

We had our highest hopes for these passion fruit truffles (below) but they weren’t especially tasty. Unfortunately no flashbacks with the confections here to visits to Paris or Brussels. We *so* wanted them to be amazing. Perhaps we just came on a day when something was going on, because even the customer service person seemed off. They packaged our chocolates in a small clear cellophane bag, and when I asked for a paper bag to slip that into, explaining we had a lot more walking around Savannah out in the sun to do, the person seemed very put out. Everyone has an ‘off’ day. We’ll give them another try.

But the interior! It’s all done here (and at their other shop in town which is made to look more like a dining room (gasp at how fab those chocolates look!) by Alexandra Trujillo de Taylor. Bravo, Alexandra! Her IG is here.

Not snacking, but supper: one evening we went to Garibaldi Cafe at city market, and it was pretty great too:

Scallops, lasagna, lobster tail app (I just had a salad for my entree) — all fab.

Chandelier love:

The Olde Pink House, Savannah

Our first reservation in Savannah: The Olde Pink House. It faces Reynolds Square and is housed in a mansion on a lot which was a land grant from the British Crown. Begun in 1771 and construction completed in 1789, it’s especially distinctive thanks to the pink stucco covering the brick. It’s also adjacent to the Planter’s Inn. After serving as a private home for James Habersham Jr and his family, the building served as Planter’s Bank and First Bank of Georgia.

We made reservations via OpenTable so didn’t even worry about timing or availability, while several others I noticed came in just to put their name on the list. We use OpenTable all the time and love to get to bypass the hoping they have a res that was called in or hoping for the best without one, and we’re almost always seated immediately.

This is the dining room we were in:

Shortly thereafter, we were treated — just as everyone is — to a jar of their fab cheese straws (the cheese straws I make are piped shorter and thicker, but they come in all shapes and are equally delish)

Rather than an entree, I chose an appetizer: the fried chicken livers over Geechie Boy grits with bordelaise and fried spinach. Completely delicious.

Av chose the fried chicken, which was also crazy good. The skin was crispy and flavorful without being too salty. Shugie (who opted for a bowl of she crab soup which was nice) came over and helped him with it.

I *knew* the interior was going to be beautiful, so I asked if it would be any trouble for me to visit some of the other rooms since we’d be considering a future visit for supper — they were happy to, and offered that I could go upstairs, too.

Upstairs is just one beautiful room after another. Here, by the landing

Even though the restaurant gets a huge share of tourists, we thought it was fab and would not hesitate to make supper reservations. Looking forward to it.

Staying at the Kimpton Brice, Savannah

It seems as though there’s a plethora of great hotels in Savannah. I even made a little list of ones that looked interesting: the Mansion on Forsyth Park, the Bohemian, the Kimpton Brice, and four B&Bs — The Kehoe House, the Hamilton-Turner Inn, Eliza Thompson House, and The Gastonian.

Those B&Bs have their place, but although our boys are very well-behaved, I perceive them as places best suited for couples. Also, lately I just haven’t been in the mood to stay in that kind of setting.

We wanted fun.

So we chose the Kimpton Brice to be the first hotel we stayed with there. It’s right on E Bay Street, so we walked to everything. For whatever reason, the night we checked in, there was a ton of really close on-street parking available, so we did that rather than valet, even.

The lobby isn’t especially large but it’s interesting and cozy. Design is by Anna Busta.

I saw this print below and thought to myself: I know this. It’s by Methane Studios in Sharpsburg, Georgia.

And yessss to this Angel Olsen print screenprint they made.

Below is Pacci, the hotel’s restaurant with these magnificent floor tiles. We didn’t even eat here because we had resys elsewhere, but in *love* with these tiles. Walker Zanger maybe? Ann Sacks?


According to the hotel’s PR, the building was “originally built in the 1860s as a livery stable, cotton warehouse, foundry and machine shop, wholesale grocer and Coca-Cola bottling plant prior to becoming The Mulberry Inn in 1982.”

The room itself was fine. They carried the same mod look into the guestrooms

Bath amenities are from Atelier Bloem, with the mandarin & citrus body wash, oolong tea shampoo, and geranium conditioner. Atelier Bloem is exclusive to Kimpton hotels, but it’s made by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, so if you know Malin + Goetz from the 21c hotels or elsewhere, that’s the idea. And yes it all smells amazing.

The armoire opens to reveal umbrella, yoga mat, and ::ohyessss:: seersucker bathrobes ($95).

A tray of goodies. The Patron = $32, JD = $20, San Pelligrino = $4. Snacks include gummy pandas, jerky, nuts, bars, and the like. If you join the Kimpton Karma loyalty program (free), you get $10 credit for the mini bar. I chose the $5 Savannah Bee Company mint julep lip balm and without checking the label, a $5 Kate’s Grizzly Bar which has 360 cals and…wait for it…51g of carbs. Whut.

The Kimpton Karma membership also means you can get a weekly email of their last-minute deals. We managed to get a great price on this room, but the weekly email shows what’s going on where as far as specials.

Happy with this stay and looking forward to checking out other Kimptons.

Wrapping myself in seersucker. Ta-ta, friends.

From the screenprint by Methane mentioned above, Angel Olsen’s ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’

NYT review of the Brice.  Telegraph review.

Vogue Loves Savannah Like We All Do

Yesterday, Vogue posted Is This Old Southern Town the Next Brooklyn? and they’re talking about Savannah. In reality, it’s more of a travel guide on where/what to eat, stay, and see, but they definitely tried to make a connection between north and south due to the number of makers they found in the city. And there’s a romance.

Noted humor writer Harrison Key adds, “It’s like the mind of Flannery O’Connor made a baby with San Francisco.” Whatever the outlook, the general consensus is one of sheer and utter love.

As to where to stay, they call the Kimpton Brice the ‘best choice among the higher-end boutique hotels’. We stayed there — actually, because I’m such a hotel lover, we stayed at two different hotels in the city, the Kimpton Brice and the Mansion on Forsyth Park (I’ll post them both this week).

The article also notes that West Elm (West Elm?!) will soon open a hotel there, and two SPG hotels including the ‘Perry Lane Hotel’ in the brand’s Luxury Collection will open.

Among those the article also gave attention to: Savannah Cordwainers (custom cordovan Budapesters: $1850), Christian Dunbar furniture, J. Pearson Designs, Katy Skelton, ShopSCAD, Alex Raskin Antiques, and Mimi Cay Antiques

Art-wise, mentions included the Jepson Center (Savannah’s art museum), and Laney Contemporary plus the Gutstein Gallery at SCAD and SCAD art sales, Pamely Wiley‘s quilting (looook).

For dining and drinking, the list mentions that Sean Brock is opening Savannah’s Husk later this year, and to also consider The Wyld, Atlantic (thank you to whoever designed their beautiful script logo!), The Grey, Back in the Day Bakery, Sandfly Bar-B-Q, The Collins Quarter, and the gorg Artillery Bar.

above, a pretty door I found in Savannah. They, Charleston, and New Orleans need to go on some war-of-the-beautiful-front-doors or something.

This is going to be Savannah Week at DFK so two fab hotels, a few amaze restaurants, and lots of pretty-pretty is coming this way. xoxo!

Futuro: Utopie Plastic

The Spaces has a post this week: Sci-fi tiny homes land in Marseille for the new Utopie Plastic exhibit in the city’s sculpture park. There’s Hexacube, Bulle Six Coques, a collection of furnishings (including Starck) that fit the theme, and:

The last piece included in the exhibition is Finnish architect Matti Suuronen’s Futuro House – fewer than 60 of which still exist today. Constructed in 1968, this flying saucer-style cabin sits on landing struts, and is ringed with porthole windows. A rare find – an original Futuro House went on the market for €130,000 last year – the sculpture park’s model was rescued from Majorca, where it had been dumped in a wood.

Soooo of course I thought of the Futuro home in Pensacola Beach

I took this picture about ten years ago, but checked on the home again last summer and it was still doing okay. I’ll get an updated pic of it next month.

Pensacola actually has three especially interesting homes — the Futuro at the beach, the Dome of a Home also on the beach:

and this monolithic dome in the city — this is another older pic but I’ll get an updated one next month. The home, the ‘Floridome,’ has three bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths and was sold in 2015:

It’s unclear as to whether one may still month-to-month rent the “UFO House” in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, but when Architect Magazine wrote about it in 2013, they included some pics of the interior. As they put it, Rent this house shaped like a spaceship, because it is a house shaped like a spaceship.

Sweet Dome Alabama

Artsy Asks About ‘Outsider Art’ Privacy

Artsy posted a piece today entitled ‘When Is an Artist’s Mental Health Your Business?‘:

In the case of so-called outsider art, or art made by those distant from the “art world” (often with mental health complications), it’s an even thornier issue. Curators, and those charged with translating and presenting the story of art to a wider public, have difficult choices to make. What details are relevant, rather than just salacious? Where is the dividing line between honest explication and exploitation?

Valérie Rousseau, who works at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC as curator of 20th-century and contemporary art is interviewed, and says:

“We always caricature our fields by saying that we’re all about biographies, and the market builds mythologies around the artist,” she explains, sitting in a gallery full of Gabritschevsky’s fantastical gouache paintings. In the case of these dual exhibitions, Rousseau says, “I didn’t [include] anything specific about their mental illnesses, and everybody is asking me: ‘Oh, by the way, I know it’s not written on the walls—but can you tell me? What exactly was the diagnosis of Gabritschevsky?’ People are savvy and curious about this connection, and they want to know. But I question the validity of giving them the answer.”

At the same time, she notes, what would providing diagnostic or clinical information really add to that exhibition experience? Audiences, weaned on Hollywood and pop-psychology, might fancy themselves experts—but what comprehension does the casual viewer actually have of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?

Agreed. There are some instances in which knowing a person’s background means *everything* in giving the art richer meaning and relatedness. I’m thinking here of my very deeply missed friend Wade Wharton, who suffered several strokes in his life. He would tell me over and over about how the strokes literally changed his brain in how he was able to see things, how he was able to interpret things and work them out mentally and with his hands. Because of the strokes, Wade’s walking wasn’t so great (I was always afraid he was going to fall in the yard) and his speech was a little impaired. But knowing about how Wade viewed the strokes as opening his mind to this talent makes seeing it even greater. Wade wanted people to know about the strokes, and there’s no controversy about details like that.

Here, Wade’s “skinny Buddha”

Many other artists I’ve known or studied have been convinced that they’ve been directed by the Almighty to do their work…that they were given a non-verbal sign, or that they were actually spoken to. W.C. Rice believed that he had been healed by G-d in 1960 from an ulcerated stomach, but didn’t start building his Cross Garden in Prattville, Alabama until 1976, the year his mother passed away. Someone had gotten a flower-covered cross at the florist that he was enamored with, then shortly thereafter, the L-rd spoke to him, telling him to put three crosses outside. Then, the L-rd asked him to put crosses in the den of his home. He kept following direction, and in 1980 constructed the ‘Church of G-d, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost Roadside Chapel’. Here, it’s interesting to know the story — especially so since W.C. Rice wasn’t a preacher like Rev Kornegay or Finster who had their own environments — but not absolutely integral in understanding the work.

Turning the page, though, I know of artists who have mental issues going on that should be kept absolutely private. Knowing why someone is obsessed with a certain topic/symbol/word, or the back-story to a work is gratifying in an “I get it now” way, but it’s not an ethically compelling reason to let the world in on what’s going on.

In the Artsy piece, Susanne Zander of Delmes & Zander, whose gallery includes work by the late Louisiana artist Prophet Royal Robertson:

“Essentially, we are not that interested in the mental history of the artist,” she says. “The selection of the artists in our program is based mainly on the quality of their work, irrespective of whether or not it was produced specifically for the art market. It’s important for us that the quality is on a par with established art production, and that the artists are judged not for any of their psychological problems—but rather for the quality, individuality, and autonomy of their artistic work.”

Yes again. Though it seems so interesting that the author here speaks with a gallery which shows the work of the Prophet, because if you didn’t know about his marital problems and his ensuing mental issues/obsessions, you’d wonder why exactly are you hating women? what brings you to that kind of loathing and hostility? and not understand this is part of the deep deep deep dark hole that opened up in his mind with Adell’s leaving.

On the other hand, in her 2011 NYT review of the White Columns gallery show in which he was included, of the Prophet’s personal life, Roberta Smith had exactly this to say:

He believed in space aliens and was fluent in the Bible and furious with his former wife, Adell.  

So there’s that.

BTW, news soon on preservation for Margaret’s Grocery in Vicksburg, where Margaret and the Rev H.D. Dennis loved everybody.