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Friday, February 28, 2014


DESIGN NOTES—A foursome of items today on local design.

Chef Richard Blais, Juniper & Ivy
1.--Juniper & Ivy, a brand new modernist restaurant concept by local investor Mike Rosen and chef Richard Blais will open Monday.  Blais, who also operates The Spence restaurant in Atlanta tapped Atlanta-based The Johnson Studio to transform an old commercial warehouse in Little Italy into another industrial chic eatery.

Award winning bath by Damian Tuggey, ASID, San Diego.
Photography by Martin Mann, courtesy of 
San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine, March 2014
2.--Four amazing bath designs are featured in the March edition of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.  Headlining the 15th annual contest were design winners:
     Damian Tuggey, ASID, Tuggey Interior Design, 858-270-2249;
     Michelle Strausbaugh, Reveal Studio, 619-405-4738; Mark C. Morris, AIA, Oasis Architecture & Design 858-273-5632 with Lisa Franco, Lisa Franco Interiors 858-354-6496;
     Susan Bachand Morone,Albert Morone, 3M Studio, 760-294-7122.

3. Modernism book signing at Boomerang for Modern for "California Designing Women 1896-1986" written by Bill Stern with designers Marilyn Austin, Arline Fisch, Judith Hendler and Cher Pendarvis. Saturday, March 1 from 2 pm to 5 pm at Boomerang for Modern, 2475 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy.

4.—ASID, AIA and ASLA Designers to Offer Complimentary Design Consultations at the Spring Home/Garden Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

ASID San Diego chapter members, who specialize in residential design will be at the Spring Home/Garden Show to offer complimentary personal consultations to homeowners looking to improve, re-design, or create new interiors for their home.  The show takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds from Feb. 28 through March 2.

To make an appointment in advance, please visit the show web site at and click on “Private Design Consultations.”   Bring in your questions, ideas, plans, photos and sketches for your meeting with a professional interior designer.  Look for the “Ask the Experts" booth in the northwest corner of O’Brien Hall.

The ASID designers will be there with their colleagues from the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects, who are also available for consultation.

The San Diego Chapter of ASID is proud to be one of the most active ASID chapters in the country with nearly 700 interior design professionals.  ASID serves as a resource for designers, service providers, and other design industry professionals.

For more information, visit

Thursday, February 27, 2014


WEATHER OR NOT--Spring is the only time the weather is mysterious in San Diego. Predicting zero rain any other time of year is a safe bet.

But for a group of Ray Street Artists, who have spent time and energy to organize a public invited outdoor exhibition of their work, they’ve prepared for the worse by readying tents in case the rainstorm arrives as expected this Saturday.

Rain or shine, “Art in the Garden” will be held as expected SATURDAY, MARCH 1 between 1 pm and 5pm.  The 12 artist exhibition featuring the work of North Park’s Ray Street Artists will be held at the beautiful La Jolla home of Lisa and Rick Tear, 6112 Waverly Avenue, La Jolla, 92037.

The afternoon of art, music, food and fun will feature the art of Lorraine Iverson, Ari Kate Ashton, Ann Gallagher, Lisa Tear, Ann Golumbuk, Wilna Wolf, Jan Lord, Patric Stillman, Shirin Nikoukari, Vanessa Hofmann, Patricia Harris and Shiela Daube.

For additional details:

Left to right: Vanessa VanBeusekom HofmannAri AshtonJa DaubeAnn Gallagher,  Patric StillmanWilna WolfLorraine IversonJan LordLisa TearDawn Kureshy and Patricia Harris

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


1940s Hollywood, CA
CONTINUING SERIES ON COOL JOINTS--“...Musso’s became a literary hangout in the 1930s, when studio executives began to recruit great American authors to Hollywood, hoping their names would help sell tickets. With the Screen Writers Guild just across the street, the writers — tired of working under the execs’ watchful eyes — began to spend time at the restaurant.

If they weren't in Musso’s Back Room, they could be found at the Stanley Rose Bookshop, which at the time was Musso’s neighbor to the east.

Working late into the night under the comforting amber glow of the great chandeliers in the famous Back Room, writers like literary greats F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Raymond Chandler could have considered Musso’s a second home.

Fitzgerald was known to proofread his novels while sitting in a booth at Musso’s. Faulkner met his mistress of 20 years here, and was so chummy with the bartenders in the Back Room, that he used to go behind the bar to mix his own mint juleps. Raymond Chandler wrote several chapters of “The Big Sleep” while sipping drinks in the Back Room.

T.S. Elliot, William Sorayan, Aldous Huxley, Max Brand, John Steinbeck, John O’Hara and Dorothy Parker also made their home at the Musso’s bar.

Main dining room of Musso & Frank's, Hollywood, CA
After the Back Room closed and the bar moved to its current location in the New Room in 1955, the tradition lived on, and new generations of writers found themselves at Musso's. Following in the footsteps of the masters who had inspired them, writers like Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski became regulars, who, along with their martinis and highballs, drank up the creative juices left behind by their heroes.

The Los Angeles Times once wrote that if you stood in Musso’s Back Room long enough you, “…would have seen every living writer you had ever heard of, and some you would not know until later.”

NOTE: The following history is well written and found on the legendary establishment’s website. 

Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Boulevard

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


"NAKED"–is the title of a resplendent modern presentation of the nude in American art, photography, and popular culture, from the 18th century to the present. With more than 400 hundred color illustrations, this is the most thorough and wide-reaching survey of the representation of the male and female nude in American visual culture yet published.
San Diego-area resident, Bram Dijkstra explores the history of the subject from its earliest manifestations in the paintings of John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West to the taboo-shredding imagery of late-20-century artists such as Alice Neel, Robert Mapplethorpe, Eric Fischl, and John Currin. Dijkstra is a cultural historian who refuses to separate "high" and "low" art, charting instead such momentous historical events as the discovery of pubic hair, the invasion of the pin-up queens, "the inexorable rise of the breast," and the puzzling fluctuations of American prudery.
“Naked” also examines the effects of the early 20 century’s infatuation with Freudian psychoanalysis and the more recent fascination of comic book art with the legacy of Bettie Page and her seemingly ever more muscular daughters. In chronological and thematic order, the book demonstrates the links between the work of some of the most famous names in the history of American painting (Chase, Cassatt, Hopper), sculpture (French, Powers), and photography (Cunningham, Weston), and that of the outlaw hordes of cartoonists, book-cover illustrators, and visual extremists who, particularly during the last half-century, were able to turn the United States into the world’s principal purveyor of erotic fantasies.

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications.
Publish date: 2010

Price ranges: $40-$50 new; $25 used via Amazon Books as of Feb-2014.

Monday, February 24, 2014


San Cristobal, Venezuela, Tuesday Night
The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch

GUEST BLOG--By Francisco Toro, founder of Caracas Chronicles blog:

Dear International Editor:

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.

What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and  storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.

People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street.

And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.

What we saw were not “street clashes”, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.

Here at Caracas Chronicles we’re doing what it can to document the crisis, but there’s only so much one tiny, zero-budget blog can do.

After the major crackdown on the streets of large (and small) Venezuelan cities last night, I expected some kind of response in the major international news outlets this morning. I understand that with an even bigger and more photogenic freakout ongoing in an even more strategically important country, we weren’t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but I’m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and find…


As of 11 a.m. this morning, the New York Times World Section has…nothing.....

For complete posting of above posting go to:

NOTE: This from the Miami Herald:


GUEST BLOG, By Rodrigo Linares, posted today on Venezuela-based independent blog

Venezuela is in full-blown crisis mode. The violence has been in the making for years. It’s not a social or economic crisis – the economy is in shambles, but it’s not yet at its worst. Crime is stratospheric, but then, it has been high for years. The crisis, it seems, goes beyond this.

What makes the current conflict so sad is that it could have easily have been avoided if minimal spaces for dialogue between opponents had been safeguarded. The crisis, it seems, is institutional.

The recent violence has taken place against a backdrop absolute institutional decay. The rock-bottom-basic institutions a modern country needs – the high school civics triad of the Executive, the Legislature, and the courts – have just plain stopped operating in anything like a recognizable form.

The key shortcoming of a presidential systems is the overload of legitimacy on a single human being and his or her agenda. Take this example: a president that gets elected by a narrow margin, say by 1.49 points. In this example 20% of the voters abstain. That 50.61% (out of the 80% that voted) who elected the president did so because they favor something like 75% of his agenda, while the others that didn’t vote for him, supported only a fraction of that. And yet, the president feels he can legitimately push 100% of his agenda.

Sound familiar? That is Nicolás Maduro for you.

The problem of excessive power in the hands of the President is not a Venezuelan issue. This is a problem with the system we have chosen for ourselves. We chose it because the forefathers of Venezuelan democracy thought a strong Executive was needed to govern in Venezuela. This was a choice made in 1961, but its roots go back to the 1820s.

Yet, in theory, there’s supposed to be a National Assembly and an independent Supreme Court in place able to keep an overzealous President in check. That is where Venezuelan institutions, and its politicians, have failed the country. First, in 2004, the Supreme Court was packed with a gaggle of unconditional yes-men (and women), ending any hope for judicial redress. Then our parliament went into a protracted death spiral.

A simplified mission of the Parliament is, of course, to pass legislation, but it is a lot more than that. It is place for different political forces to meet and talk (parler in french). In this space, political forces look for common ground to reach solutions that satisfy all representatives, and through the representatives, the constituents. The Parliament is an outlet for discontent, a space for negotiation where progress is slow but effective.

We talk and argue in Parliament so that we don’t have to do it out in the streets. But we broke Parliament, and turned it into a boxing ring, and we allowed our courts to be packed, breaking the one final check to authoritarian control.

This degradation was years in the making. First, the opposition boycotted the 2005 parliamentary elections, which ended with a meager 25% voter turnout. This broke not only the checks and balances, but the opposition walked out of a space of dialogue. A culture of imposition was created inside the halls of the National Assembly, one we really haven’t shaken off yet. For five years the opposition was not to be represented in the central government, and no alternative outlet for discontent was provided.

The 2010 reforms, just weeks prior to a new legislature taking office, left the Parliament an institutional husk. This was exacerbated with every Enabling Law that gave the President the power to legislate by decree, of which we have had two since 2010. Add to that aggressive nationwide gerrymandering in 2009, which ensured the government ended up with 49% of the votes and 59% of the seats, and the Parliament’s emasculation was complete.

When you thought it couldn’t get worse, chavismo made it illegal for representatives to vote against party line – whoever does so loses his or her seat, so long as the majority approves it. In other words, voting the party line is now mandatory…but only for regime supporters. There are no penalties for opposition members who switch sides to support the government. (It bears noting that Venezuela’s constitution explicitly forbids this rule, not that that’s made a difference.)

Since then, the opposition in Parliament (and their constituents) have been harassed, insulted, physically beaten on the floor of the Assembly, with all ability to legislate or hold a dialogue or issue a vote of no confidence effectively gutted. With no institutional space for dialogue, there is no democracy.

So history repeats itself. It has happened all over the world – when one large chunk of the population doesn’t feel represented, riots eventually follow. Democracy is all about muddling through to minimal mutual accommodation. Elections are just one mechanism to help bring that about, but you can’t expect the losing side to go dormant between elections while it is being insulted and humiliated, and while their legitimate interests are attacked.

When dialogue stops, we descend to anarchy. In other words, we see what we are seeing.

About the Blog: has been the place for opposition-leaning-but-not-insane analysis of the Venezuelan political scene since 2002. Run by Juan Cristobal Nagel – a Venezuelan political junkie now living in Chile – the blog’s goal is to breathe life, insight and wit into a discussion too often dominated by fringe loonies of all political stripes.

Since 2012, journalist Gustavo Hernández Acevedo (A.K.A. Geha) has joined the team, reporting from Barquísimeto on Venezuela beyond the capital. In early 2013, opposition activist Emiliana Duarte also joined the team.

The blog’s founder, Francisco Toro, stepped aside to pursue a different project in February, 2014.