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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Long Island Modernism 1930-1980

By Caroline Rob Zaleski
W. W. Norton & Co
336pp; £55

Long Island Modernism

This book is an important historical account of the growth of modernism on Long Island and its impact and legacy to the broader American architectural landscape.

It covers the work of many of the key figures of this period, Mies, Meier, Johnson to name but a few, delving into their production process, the relationships they would forge with clients and others ranging from artists to politicians.

Their work is catalogued in over 300 images; many period photographs by the American photographer Ezra Stoller and more recent photographs. The book also contains a wonderful array of original sketch, hardline and presentation drawings.

Saltzman House

Saltzman House(1956) Richard Meier

Today around 30% of the 501 buildings documented exist in their original form; the remainder have been seriously altered or demolished.

The author also attempts to explain the migration of Bahaus teaching, it’s Americanisation and the resultant work on Long Island and its influence on teaching in American architecture schools.

Zaleski writes in an anecdotal manner, with emphasis at times placed on the client’s perspective, their circumstances and how this impacted upon the outcome of the architecture on display here.

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Geller House I (1945) Marcel Breuer

Reading the book one comes to the conclusion, that the notion of modernism, in this case the Long Island version of modernism, may still be relevant today. The high ideals of the architects, combined with a poor economic background and a desire to find contextual identity through vernacular materials,  poses as many questions as the book attempts to answer.

One such question being; if architects in this era could achieve so much, why can’t we?

words by david rushe

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Last night I attended Tate and Lyle’s launch event for their new sugar range at 68 Dean Street, Soho in London. A little random, perhaps, but fun nevertheless. The event was organised by @WeLoveBaking with treats from @FancyNancyCakes and was dubbed the “Tasting House”. #TastingHouse trending in twitter for a period. My attendance was made possible by a twitter competition entry;

the winning tweet

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The event itself was fun and very indulgent. The Tasting House comprised of seven rooms, in each room a theme; British, South Pacific, Mississippi etc. These themes represented the seven new varieties of sugar Tate and Lyle had created. The treats on display were prepared by @FancyNancyCakes and was the work of 14 bakers, spending circa 2100 hours baking and 900 hours decorating!  Almost everything in each room was edible, it goes without saying that this was brilliant…..even if it hinders the waste line for a period.

choose your (sweet) poison  

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treat tower 1

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treat tower 2

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treasure treat chest

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macaron mountain

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popcorn bath

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bath soaps

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never eat in bed?….not at tasting house

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turtle cake

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mississippi rainbow cake

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best fudge ever

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easter island head (person in background not edible)

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Tate and Lyle’s “Tasting House” by @WeLoveBaking at 68 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 4QJ was a treat not only for the taste buds but for the eyes too. Great taste and great craftsmanship. 

Safe to say that the Tasting House would be the only nefarious activity I would endorse in Soho!

words & photos by david rushe

“You have poor social skills. You have a problem”

David O Russell the writer / director of such films as Three Kings (1999) I Heart Huckabees (2004) and The Fighter (2010) returns with his latest offering; Silver Linings Playbook (Playbook)

Silver Linings Playbook 01

Playbook tells the story of Pat Solitano Jr (Bradley Cooper), a bi-polar sufferer who he is released back into society to live with his parents after eight months of treatment. Pat Jr. is attempting to reconcile with his wife Nikki, wanting to show her that his time away has changed him and that he is ready to begin his life with her again. As he attempts to rehabilitate he meets and befriends Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a recent widow, afflicted by loss and depression and recent redundancy, suffering from an absence of self worth to boot. Through their shared neuroses, the two develop a deeper affection and trust for each other as Pat Jr, with Tiffany’s help, aims to win back his wife Nikki (Brea Bee).

Pat Jr. is supported in his attempts at redemption by a stellar support and acting group. His father Par Sr. (Robert DeNiro), his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver), his friend and fellow mental health patient Danny (Chris Tucker), and his therapist Dr Cliff Patel (Anupam Kher) all do their utmost to keep him on the road to recovery.

“DeSean Jackson is the man!”

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The central performances by Cooper and Lawrence are the heartbeat to the film. Russell’s words on the page give us these damaged characters, but it is through Cooper and Lawrence’s interpretation and embodiment of the script that makes these two individuals come to life. You care for these characters in a way you don’t for characters in Argo (Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning film). You route for them from their first non date all the way to their non mawkish dance recital performance.

This sense of caring is not limited to the two central figures. DeNiro, Weaver and a surprising turn from Tucker have you wishing only the very best for all involved. It is testament to the intuitive writing and directing of Russell and the organic acting on show, that made me wish I could have stayed with these people long after the 122 minutes had come to an end.

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“I opened up to you, and you judged me”

Disgracefully Playbook only picked up one Oscar; Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, for which she most certainly deserved the acclaim. But when a career defining performance from Cooper appears before you, DeNiro proving he still has it and the consummate writing and directing from Russell go unrewarded it begs the question? Why bother with the Oscars if it is only ever going to be politically motivated? “Argo, fuck yourself” ……Argo!

Playbook is a superbly crafted film, it is arguably Russell’s most consistent work in many years. Russell’s realism in his directing style is only enhanced by the naturalistic performances by the cast and the clever and honest dialogue in the self penned screenplay. It is apparent why the film received so many plaudits, working at every layer as a complete movie, proving Russell to be a true virtuoso.

A masterful film, a must see.

Rating: 5 / 5

words by david rushe