Latest Material Acquisitions.

The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images.

I picked this book up at the Met, the bookstore there drives to me into a frenzy. This is a special one! With 800 images from a diverse assortment of times and places, cultures and religions, each page discusses one symbol. I have included here an example. On this page a detail from Bosch's 16th c. The Garden of Earthly Delights and a 16th c. Japanese Buddhist hanging scroll (Kobo Daishi, Kukai, as a Boy, artist unknown) are used to inspire an essay about the possibilities that may be found in bubble imagery. A passage from the Tao Te Ching is used to describe the concept of oneness, completion, and spiritual perfection in terms of the weightless, translucent bubble: infinite and eternal. I love these kinds of comparison books. They are incredibly effective at not only getting you to think about issues in a global way, but I think the juxtaposition of two images from entirely different contexts is incredibly stimulating in a visual sense. I like to look through this before bed. Instead of novels on my nightstand I keep art history books. 

A few years ago I became fixated on the idea of patent leather yellow everything, well mostly accessories. It all started with a perforated belt I randomly found in a vintage store in Philadelphia. It seemed to improve everything in the world around it. A skinny belt, to be worn on the waist, I wore it until it felt apart. Each hole in the belt length would break off a piece and I would tighten it to the next hole until I just couldn't breathe anymore. I probably still have it for nostalgia or inspiration. Since I knew that belt was not long for this life I was always on the hunt for a replacement, on this hunt I expanded into shoe territory. It must have been winter and I was probably desperate for color and the promise that I would again be able to shed socks and see sunlight. So my new obsession turned to yellow patent leather flats. This was before the concept of internet research or online shopping had really formulated in my mind. I didn't even own a laptop or spend much time on the computer at all. All natural hunt, eyes constantly scanning. 
One day, in Texas, I stumbled upon exactly what I had been envisioning. They were even better than I had imagined. Loeffler Randall: wrap around ankle strap, perfect shade of yellow, beautifully crafted in Italy, and 90% off. AND: The only pair was My Size! 

Apparently I'm still always looking because I ran into these J. Crew flats over the weekend and couldn't resist. They aren't patent, but were similarly reduced in price and are much more neon in person, which I love. I'm already craving sunshine and it's only December. 

My record collection is very small. I don't feel moved to increase its size. There are many reasons for this: some practical, some emotional. However, there are a few good record stores in the neighborhood and it is fun to bring home something new to listen to. I only buy used records and I usually only look in the international section. Except I did buy a Halloween sounds record that is truly disturbing. 

Somerville Grooves opened up in Union Square this summer. I finally went in and ended up leaving with two records that are fantastic. The best was only a dollar. It's actually a record by a local group of women who call themselves collectively, Libana (translated from Arabic this means "to nurture from the breast"). I guess you could categorize it as Female World Folk or something. But really, when I put it on I just feel transcendant. This one is called Handed Down (it was recorded in 1984 right here in Somerville!). It features women's vocal and instrumental dance music from the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The songs on it range from Turkish Armenia, Persian Armenia, Syria, Bulgaria, Hungary and it includes two pieces by Béla Bartók

I also picked this up: Afghanistan, Music from the Crossroads of Asia. It was recorded in Kabul, 1968, by members of the Radio Afghanistan Orchestra. I love this kind of music, from places I may never get to visit.* Hearing it on vinyl makes the experience even more magical and close.

 Halfmoon, Bahman Ghobadi, 2006. Kurdish.

*Well, maybe I will get to Hungary ;)

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