Citizenship, Baja, Vendimia , The Bowery , Brooklyn (Greenpoint) London, Mike Figgis, Ignite Festival, The Royal Opera House, Punch Drunk ‘s ‘Sleep No More’ , DKNY, Dublin, Dalston, The Ravages of Time, Whitechapel Gallery, London’s Thames Festival & The Whistling Shop… And the London Riots…

Hello friends – Time for some catch up re August/ September…

August – I went to Baja for the fantastic Vendimia festival, back in LA I took my Citizenship test; went to NYC en route to London – to work with director Mike Figgis as part of the Ignite Festival at The Royal Opera House ; attended Punch Drunk’s incredible ‘Sleep No More’; stayed in Camberwell &  hipper than hip Dalston; cheered at the Thames Festival; attended Thomas Struth awesome show at the Whitechapel Gallery (and peeked at a resident Rothko) , last week I got sworn in as an official Citizen of the USA and last night had my first experience of a lap dancing bar (don’t think the two are connected?!) And I wonder why time flies? !phew!

So lets start with Baja and Citizenship for this chapter.

August welcomes the annual wine festival  that showcases the best wines from the local vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe in Baja near Ensenada, along with delicious food from local and visiting chefs.

Most of you know that I have been driving down to this area since @ 2003 when my dear friends Eileen and Phil Gregory discovered the area and bought land on which they have built the spectacular Villa Del Valle

– a country retreat that now boasts a stunning new restaurant (architect Claudia Turrent)called Corazon de Tierra – I still haven’t got the hang of how to insert photos in this effing thing so here are a collection of some before and after of the restaurant as well as an early one of the Phil’s winery (architect Alejandro D’Acosta) taken in Spring….

Chef Diego Hernandez is amazing  check out this link to see the lovely Villa Del Valle and Diego at work in the kitchen there…

and the link below is for the 1st annual Baja Culinary Fest that is going on now featuring Diego amongst some other terrific chefs

This year I attended the Vendimia event at Paralelo winery – here is an LA Times article to give you some background about the amazing building by Alejandro and Claudia mentioned above – and its written by Barbara Thornburg who loves the valley so much she and her husband Andrew bought a property there.,0,5706297.photogallery

I attended the event with Phil, Eileen and Stacy and upon arriving we were given a Paralelo glass with some tasty white wine, a napkin and a clothes peg so you can drink, eat and wipe with ease!

My dear friends , Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker excellent composers  musicians, provided the musical entertainment for this years event

Paul played piano perched atop the entrance to the cellars as the crowds ate delicious gourmet tacos and a pozole to die for (Mexican type of  stew with hominy which are big chewy pieces of sweetcorn served with lots of things you can add depending on your preferences –delish!)

If you have never tried it here is a recipe

Mark and his band performed on the other side Paralelo to where the food was being served – guests were beckoned by Alejandro to walk down and underneath the winery , viewing the vast fermentation tanks as we did so.

We emerged into a grassy amphitheatre, with some people walking up to the edge to take a seat while others such as yours truly sat on the lumpy rather precipitous sides – causing me to slide  to the bottom a few times (or maybe that was the wine ?!)

After a bit of dancing we headed home as I we were leaving for the US the next day  so it was a short stay on this occasion but as always its worth every minute.

Monday 15th I was revising for my Citizenship interview and getting ready to leave for NYC the next day, when I got a phone call out of the blue by Husband #2! He was in LA (he now lives in Abu Dhabi) We hadn’t spoken in years and we had a nice chat – and interesting  timing b/c it was almost 10 years ago that we were together in NYC hanging out at the Mercer  Hotel , celebrating our engagement at The Plant Bar (where Moby popped in to see/ spin with Norman Cook …) the day after which me & my fiance  made a trip to Staten Island to view a ‘Peace Pot’ that had been sent from Tibet to the Buddist Museum there – one of hundreds of such pots sent all over the world , containing sand from the same blessed mandala in Tibet,  hoping to connect and bring peace to the world. Unfortunately they didn’t do the trick as two days after our trip 9/11 happened ….

My Citizenship test was a breeze –  out of the 100 questions they could have asked about government etc I was asked what was the national anthem and what happened on 9/11/2001! The nice lady said I had passed and she would be recommending me to become a Citizen!

As I walked out onto the sun baked Los Angeles Street I was made aware of the good and the bad of this  fine nation. At one end there are large government buildings proudly bearing the stars and stripes, a few blocks down the same block I could see a man urinating on the sidewalk, another passed out under the shade of the tree …. I know this kind of thing is usual for a megalopolis such as LA but it was kind of shocking nevertheless.  I also knew this is burgeoning DTLA (DownTownLA) and thanks to my trusty iphone I was able to yelp somewhere away from these unfortunates and found a great Japanese restaurant were I celebrated my success with some cooked eel and soup.

Back in Silver Lake I begun to pack for NY and London as well as clean the house and sort out paperwork that had been sitting on my desk for weeks but for some masochistic reason I wait til 11 pm the night before  bit trip to sort it out. Then I discover that I’m on an earlier flight and try to reschedule my Shuttle Bus pick up only to find I booked through Shuttle Fare – a third party company that doesn’t work 24/7 so have to take a $65 cab to LAX.  Note to self, READ YOUR TRAVEL ITINERARY 48 HOURS BEFORE DEPARTURE NEXT TIME!!

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