(above: a J.L. Nipper totem)
This weekend, we went to the Temple Arts Festival
in Nashville at Congregation Ohabai Sholom (“The Temple”). It was great. Everything you would expect – lovely painted landscapes, really sharp photography, beautifully unique jewelry, interesting glass and sculpture – was there. But there were a few things that were absolutely *wow*.
Someone that is about to be *huge* (huge, huge) – Chris Beck
– was there with his metal sculptures…mostly outfits…just really fantastic:
Look at all those red dots above. Sold x 5!
Chris doesn’t do a lot of festivals, but he will be at Dogwood
in Atlanta this weekend (and he’s fantastic to talk with).
See you there? It’s one of those lovely Fri-Sat-Sun festivals…
Okay! Next is Bob Gray. Bob does gallery shows pretty much exclusively – from what I understand, this was his first festival in a long time so it was really big for the Temple Art Festival to be able to bring him in. Some of his pieces are multi-dimensional, like the steeple here raised off the canvas:
He had a fabulous story about being in a gallery show with Howard Finster a few years ago: Bob and his pretty wife have a band, and at show openings, perform. This was when Howard was older and not quite as lucid. When Howard saw the instruments coming out, he perked right up – someone was sent out to find him a banjo…anywhere. A banjo was brought out and it was as if Howard was 18 again. At the end of one songs that the band played, he told the audience that the angels had heard it. That is the experience of a lifetime…
I told Bob that there was a video on YouTube that someone had uploaded with Finster on the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (I used to have it at the bottom of this post
) but I guess NBC decided that whoever uploaded it violated their terms so it was removed. Hope NBC decides to upload it again one day.
Here’s another video of him playing in 1987 at his Paradise Garden:
Randall Lane of Tennessee was there for his first festival – he put a JL Nipper totem on the porch:
The festival had some Judaica, like this seder plate by Malcolm and Mary Ann Owen:
…and when I realized that they had Sylvia Hyman – which…at first I didn’t even recognize her work. I thought, “oh I wonder what those little scrolls are in that basket”…then I was told it was Sylvia Hyman as in *this is Sylvia Hyman* (!!!) as in has two pieces at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Sylvia Hyman (!!!)…
Oh yes. Sylvia Hyman had her trompe d’oeil ceramic pieces – none of the things you see here (well, besides the covered table) are real – they’re recreated in clay. That is not a wood cutting board, that is not a recipe box, that is not a cork, that is not a pencil, and that is not a recipe card. I’m getting carried away already. You can see…it’s not what it absolutely looks like:
Right. Not a basket, not wheels, and not music scrolls. Have you ever seen such!?
There’s more about her and her work here and a little YouTube clip here:
The festival was inside the common areas at Congregation Ohabai Sholom which is just called ‘The Temple’ in Nashville. This is the sanctuary:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a completely clear ark before. Here, even with the doors closed, you can see the six Torah scrolls they have. The Hebrew writing on the glass is for the Ten Commandments. The lamp that’s lit, above the ark, is the Ner Tamid (spoken: nair tuh-meed) – that’s the ‘eternal light’, and there’s one in every synagogue. It’s never turned off. It represents many, many, many things…the menorah at the original Temple, the fire at the altar at the Temple, G-d’s everlasting presence.
When I sit at services I sometimes just stare at the Ner Tamid and think of all the Ner Tamids in all the synagogues in all the places over all the thousands of years that people in our family have also looked upon. It’s simple and comforting.
Okay! Time for food. We headed over to Las Paletas which is a gourmet-flavor popsicle place whose owners were once challenged on season 4 of the Bobby Flay Throwdown show.
And they won! Yay! But they’re not open on Sundays yet – the sign says that summer hours are coming soon, so we had to make do with reading the menu of flavors, like – now remember, these are all popsicle flavors – hot chocolate with peppers, cookies, chocolate strawberry, butter pecan, raspberry lime, cantaloupe, tamarind with chile, and hibiscus. *Yum!*
New Orleans has a gourmet popsicle place, too, called Meltdown Popsicles
. Today, they’re serving strawberry basil, blackberry lavender lemonade, mango pomegranate, lemon ginger, honey rosemary, watermelon, and pineapple cilantro. On March 23rd, they tweeted that they were doing chocolate wasabi.
Oh.My.Stars. YES. Can’t even imagine – it would have to be good, right? In a weird but wonderful way? I’ll do it.
Okay, so after not getting a popsicle, we ran into Trader Joe’s
which is a grocery store I’ve heard about forever but never been inside. Oh, and I can never remember if it’s Joe’s or Vic’s but Trader Vic’s
is the Mai Tai Tiki place. So…
Well I thought Trader Joe’s was going to be like a California version of Whole Foods. It doesn’t look like much from the outside though:
The inside is kind-of kitschy:
Av said it was like if Whole Foods and Aldi had a baby.
Well, we finally got around to eating! Since it was Sunday, most of the places we would have gone with the boys – Prince’s, Swett’s, Arnold’s, Monell’s, Sylvan Park, Eastside Fish – were closed but one place in particular was open: Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. It’s a walk-up dairy bar with crazy-good hamburgers and of course tall soft-serve ice cream. This is the avocado cheeseburger. Yum…