Monday, June 8, 2009

Expensive meat and a Modigliani.

Hello Jeanne Hebuterne, pleasure to meet you.

Barefoot at a drafting table. Grandma's gifted denim shirt draped loosely, sans bra, sans everything except this shirt that has so easily become a front runner in my weekend wardrobe. Thank you Helen for this shirt. I woke to the sounds of my Thom making espresso and ironing a shirt before work, hustle bustling before the clock struck eight thirty. With a surprisingly clear head and a happy heart, I lay and listened to him, feeling like the luckiest lady in all the land. Rain fell, and is still falling and all I keep returning to in thought is how beautiful Stef looked last night on her most precious day of her life. My dear friend and coworker a la Pear (amix), got hitched last night to the lovely Emery. They will have a good (looking) life and good (looking) long-haired babies. They were kind enough to request my humble hand a la candid photography and I obliged with thanksgiving. Sadly my camera decided to malfunction the day before the wedding but all was saved by my friend Tristan who supplied one of his cameras at the last minute. Thankfully our cameras are very nearly twins, so hopefully not all was lost in the switch. I will find out tomorrow, I suppose.

Anyway, the wedding. It was a Sunday wedding made up of babes, youth, good taste, warmth, laughter, good food, style, creativity and good music. What more could a bride ask for? She looked stunning in lace and her attendants looked stunning in their bright coral, baby blue and magenta frocks with tulle galore. I was lucky enough to be whisked away with the babe wedding party straight away following the ceremony to an undisclosed location via the vintage limousine. We pulled up in front of a brick mansion with an impressive red front door filled to the brim with chandeliers, Persian rugs, an original Modigliani, a full suit of armor and an Egyptian mummy. There was even a bust of Queen Nefertiti which looked pretty damn similar to the one at the Egyptian museum in Berlin. Yes, a mummy. I found a bowler hat, a top hat, an ancient telephone from the land before time, an upright grand piano in pristine condition begging to be played, porcelain galore, statues and busts on every surface, mantels laden with weird instruments, two cellos, more chandeliers, orchids, one Monet (!), and a slew of other oil paintings that were beyond my comprehension. Every inch of wall space was covered. I had never seen the like. Ever.

All of this belonging to a tiny Eastern European jeweler with a similar stature to that of my eight year old cousin Alex (except much fatter and hairier), whose name was John. John the jeweler, proud owner of four Rolls Royce, one vintage Jaguar and married to a now-dead Hungarian ballerina named Olana. "She was a real beauty. Damn shame her heart stopped beating one night in winter". Damn shame. Beautiful. I walked through that home with my mouth agape, a thousand unwritten stories racing through my head as the smell of a Sunday pot roast wafted through the rooms and hung in the air with a welcomed heaviness.

The smell of expensive meat, dust and orchids.

The sun room was the most impressive. A room smaller than the rest leaning against the brick work of the back of the mansion like a child hanging on a woman's hip. The sun room, about 8'x8' square was filled to the brim with every kind of plant known to man, windows for walls, and two sets of skinny French doors (my favorite type of door) leading into the kitchen and great room, also made of delicate glass. Skimming just above my top bun (about 5'11" above the hardwood) hung thirty odd chandeliers in all their bejewelled, bedazzled glory. Hanging crystals in the high hundreds. The light was unbelievable. Only five out of the thirty were connected to an electrical source. Seeing that room for the first time was pure insanity. My breath caught, arm hair stood to attention, eyes swallowing imagery as fast as the Rolodex of my mind could process. After I ran out of film (aggggggggh!!!!) and my other camera stopped working, the wedding party did their thing with the digital photographer and I wandered around until I found John in the kitchen. He sat comfortably in one of his many Eero Saarinen tulip chairs surrounded by knickknacks from around the globe. He stirred his tea and I drilled him about his house. Seventeen bathrooms, eleven bedrooms, thirty two fireplaces, one hundred and seven chandeliers, four garages, one bazillion bricks, three floors and five living rooms, all built in 1901. I will never forget it, as long as I live. To Stef and Emery, thank you is not enough.

The painting featured at the top of this post was the Modigliani piece I spotted on the west wall of John's great room, just below eye level in an ornate golden frame which coincidentally, happens to be one of my favorite paintings of all time: Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne.

I want to go back.
I want to go back.
I want to go back.

To say the very least, their wedding pictures will not be your run of the mill Jumping-in-the-Exchange District bologna (no offense to anyone who is into that jazz). For whatever it is worth, my sincerest congratulations go out to the couple with the best taste in town. Bologna is for the unimaginative; pot roasts are the new black.

Wishing I was a Hungarian ballerina, yours truly, Meg.

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