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Sunday, June 30, 2019


Norman Rockwell photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1974 for Life Magazine
Alfred Eisenstaedt is to photography in America’s mid-century, middle class as his similar time frame peer Norman Rockwell was to painting/illustration. Works of both icons are currently on exhibition at one end of the country to the other.

NORMAN ROCKWELL “For the People: Memories of the Old Corner House,” April 27, through October 27, 2019, Stockbridge, MA.

Norman Rockwell at the Corner House
From its humble beginnings in the historic Old Corner House in downtown Stockbridge in 1969, the Norman Rockwell Museum has grown into a vital center which informs the public of Norman Rockwell’s life and career while showcasing the history of American illustration through its ever-growing collection of work by Rockwell and other artists. The original sign from the Old Corner House which promised “Norman Rockwell Paintings” inside will be displayed amongst photographs of the original Museum staff and Rockwell family members, and video diaries of visitors, models, and staff present during that seminal year.

Visitors and community members are invited to share their stories and memories of the early Corner House days or just wishing the Museum a Happy 50th Anniversary by posting their story on social media using the hashtag #NRM50 and we will post select on the website. Click here.

ALFRED EISENSTAEDT “Life and Legacy,” through July 14, 2019, San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA.

Drawing from over 350 photographs by the famed photojournalist in The San Diego Museum of Art’s broad photographic collection, this exhibition explores Eisenstaedt’s observations on society from a variety of his assignments with Life magazine.

San Diego Museum of Art, where current
Eisenstaedt photo exhibition is being held through July 14
One of the most recognized photojournalists of the twentieth century, Alfred Eisenstaedt (born Dirschau, West Prussia, 1898–1995) was a master of candid photography whose widely published work informed and amused millions of Americans. Capturing sincere expressions and natural behaviors, this selection of gelatin silver prints conveys Eisenstaedt’s intimate and thoughtful impressions of a variety of social subjects from 1930 to the 1950s.  These decades, known today as “The Golden Age of Photojournalism,” were an exciting and prolific period for the format, fueled by the popularity of image-heavy publications like Life. The groundbreaking magazine featured large, high quality photographs on topics that ranged from major world news to human curiosities, and reached a substantial number of readers each week. As a member of Life’s staff from its first issue in 1936 until it ceased regular publication in 1972, Eisenstaedt contributed over 2,500 photo-essays and ninety-two cover photos. In a time before television was commonplace, these photographs were instrumental in forming readers’ views of the world and exposing them to people, places, and lifestyles they could not otherwise visualize. With an inherently optimistic and affectionate perspective, Eisenstaedt’s most famous images continue to hold a significant place in cultural memory.  Click here.

Rockwell above, Eisenstaedt below

Saturday, June 29, 2019


Q Grader Savannah Phillips of San Diego
GUEST BLOG / By Laurie Britton--San Diego coffee cognoscenti will note Savannah Phillips, who is charged with the critical task of quality assurance at Barrio Logan’s Cafe Virtuoso (1616 National Avenue), has just become a licensed coffee industry “Q Grader”.

Editor’s note: Reposted from San Diego Beverage Magazine, an all beverage sister publication of West Coaster craft beer magazine and website:

For those of us, who haven’t a clue what a Q Grader does, here’s a quick Q&A article.

Q: What exactly is a licensed Q Grader?”
Savannah: The easiest way to describe it like being a wine sommelier, but for the specialty coffee industry. Specifically, a Q Grader is an individual that has received extensive training and has been assessed and awarded a license from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) on his or her ability to rate and determine the quality of specialty-grade Arabica coffee beans through smell and taste.

Breaking it down, we learn olfactory (smelling) and sensory analysis skills, cupping protocols, how to triangulate coffees (find the “odd one out” in between three different coffees), how to match organic acids, and how to identify sample roasts.

It’s also important to note that Q Graders like myself work only with Arabica beans. As for those trained in grading Robusta coffee, the term “R Grader” is given.

Q: What the difference is between Arabica and Robusta coffee?
Savannah: There are two main species of coffee that are cultivated. Arabica is the most popular of the two and accounts for more than 60 percent of coffee production around the globe. The main reason it’s more popular because it has much more complex, desirable, and varying flavor profiles. Like wine, hundreds of flavors are possible ranging from caramel and chocolate to blueberries, stonefruit, and citrus. These and many more can all be part of a high-quality Arabica coffee flavor profile depending on the origin and how the coffees are roasted to best bring out their unique characteristics.

Robusta coffee, while having more caffeine and less acidity overall, tends to be less desirable because of the bitter flavor and is much less complex. Robusta is oftentimes used for instant coffee or as a filler in lower-quality coffee blends.

Q: Why are Q Graders relevant or should be considered important to the average coffee drinker?
Savannah: That’s a really great question. First off, times have changed tremendously regarding what the average coffee drinker now knows about coffee and expects how it should taste. We’ve come a long way as consumers who not that long ago mostly drank what is considered to be average “diner coffee”. Today, there is much higher-quality coffee available (known as specialty grade). Q Graders are in part responsible for indirectly bringing this extensive knowledge and higher standards to the average consumer by way of boutique third-wave coffee shops and roasters that has ultimately shifted the entire global coffee market.

The reason that Q Graders remain vitally important to coffee drinkers is that they are trained based on set benchmarks established by the Coffee Quality Institute and by the Specialty Coffee Association. This allows us to measure coffee’s quality and be able to speak about it with other coffee professionals around the world in a manner that is always consistent and understood by everyone. While identifying and labeling defects and undesirable characteristics are extremely vital, another important role for Q Graders is the ability to continue to discover the best coffee producers around the world. That way the new “average Joe” always gets the best “cup of joe” possible.

I’ve realized coffee for me has become my obsession. It’s just so damn complex. The minute I think I know all there is to know, there’s something new that is discovered. This fuels my desire to constantly keep learning more about coffee as the industry itself continues to grow and evolve. Another bonus side effect is that for us as a company it ensures that Cafe Virtuoso is consistently roasting, delivering, and brewing the best quality organic coffee to all of our customers both on the retail and wholesale side.

Laurie Britton originally compiled and authored this Q&A.  She is the founder & CEO of Cafe Virtuoso, an organic brand, roaster and coffee house in San Diego, California, which she founded in 2008.   

Savannah Phillips leads quality assurance efforts at Cafe Virtuoso. Savannah’s most recent endeavor is founding the San Diego Coffee Training Institute (SDCTI), a non-profit organization that aims to empower and elevate vulnerable populations (homeless, foster care youth, previously incarcerated individuals, and others) to self-sufficiency through the advancement of coffee. These students receive specialized training in the form of SCA certified classes, workforce skills and job placement. For more information about SDCTI, visit

San Diego based Cafe Virtuoso, 1616 National Avenue, Barrio Logan

Friday, June 28, 2019


San Diego’s mega hit brewery and tasting experiences, Modern Times, has expanded to a presence in Santa Barbara.  Pretty cool looking oasis for you road warriors.
This note appeared first in West Coast Beverage News.   Go to West Coaster’s website for all things thirsty.

Modern Times Beer's The Academy of Recreational Sciences

If you’re planning a road trip up the coast this summer and you’re tired of those state run “rest stops” along 101 or I-5 then this news is something you can use.  A more creative pit stop is now San Diego-based Modern Times Beer, which now has a Santa Barbara location where you can make stretch-your-legs pause in the action with award-winning craft beer benefits. Located at 418 State Street, The Academy of Recreational Sciences just opened, featuring a plant-based menu, 30 taps of beer, coffee, wine, and cider, plus a patio and installation art galore.  Onward.

Thursday, June 27, 2019



The Space
2355 India Street
San Diego.
The Space is the building that houses James Coffee Co, a coffeehouse and roaster specializing tasty coffee from a revolving selection of single origin beans, which houses a never dull eclectic collection of small shops all under one roof in San Diego’s historic Little Italy.

Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue,
New York City.
Basking in a reputation as NYC’s epic food hall, shopping mall, TV production site, and office campus, Chelsea Market is located on the West side, where the High Line passes through the 10th Avenue side of the building.

Mercado de San Miguel
Madrid, Spain near Plaza Mayor.
Designed as an indoor market place with iron structure supports and facades in 1916 and 100+ years later remains a must visit shopping attraction in the historic heart of Madrid.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (interior image) is a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The museum was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. 
What is his real name?
Is he really a team player?
Why does he regret being a cameo on the “Simpsons?”
Does his ego fit with his starchitect status?

Also, must read:

Also, must see Frank Gehry’s media docent: