Tag Archives: photography

How to suck at travel photography

Well I don’t know about you but if I read another Pinterest article titled Twelve Tips for Taking Insanely Great Travel Photos: Number 5 Will Blow Your Mind!!! I’m going to barf all over my cheap-ass digital camera. I have a more unique skill, one that doesn’t even require three exclamation points: I take terrible travel photos. […]

The bewitching theater artistry of Riga

In college I had a friend named Patricia.  She was a graduate student in theater design and I was a costume designer so we’d work together to design plays and films.  Collaborating with Patricia was the first experience I had with someone with serious talent.  I mean, I knew a lot of talented people, but […]

Post-communist rainbows fade to hipster in Tirana

Here’s what happened to Tirana, Albania: communism screwed it over for 40 years, destroyed much of its historic architecture—mosques, Orthodox cathedrals and an Ottoman era baazar—and then replaced those once beautiful buildings with architectural train wrecks. Architecture train wreck case in point: this so-called Pyramid of Tirana was originally the Enver Hoxha Museum.  (For those of you […]

Transfiguration in Tbilisi

I can never resist a thrift store.  Walking through a thrift store door is an act of optimism, a confidence that a few minutes of digging through racks will unearth just what I didn’t know I was looking for but what I most desire.  It’s more than finding a treasure;  it’s an act of recognition, […]

First Church of Deliverance in Chicago: an electrifying encounter in lime green

We walked around the corner onto S. Wabash, clutching a map from Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago, and OH HECK YESSSSSSSSS, there was this delightful architectural surprise: a Streamline Moderne church!  With it’s twin towers of terra cotta and glass block, the First Church of Deliverance nods to traditional church structure, but don’t be deceived–there’s nothing traditional […]

Caspar David Friedrich painting or The Infamous Blue Traveling Poncho?

This could be a post about an ugly travel poncho.  Or more likely, a tribute to the earnestly brooding Romantic landscapes of German painter Caspar David Friedrich.  However, I’d prefer this to be be a story of how an undignified rain coat can transform the experience of traveling in crappy weather from dreary to hilarious. So, is it The […]

Dazzling mosaics in Cappella Palatina, Palermo and–bonus!–bible stories abridged

Every surface in the Cappella Palatina in Palermo (1140-70) is a pristine work of art.  Study the ceiling, the floor, and of course, at the mosaics.  Don’t be rushed.  This is what happens when great cultures—Arab, Norman and Byzantine–combine synergistically to produce the finest art imaginable.   It was created for Sicilian kings to worship in, with […]

Sicily is an abstract painting

Sicily is an open air museum.  Sure, there are the sensational sights and the glorious landscape, but the details are just as rewarding.  The island is full of off-kilter stripes, a tessellation of tiles, a kaleidoscope of mosaics, crossed-out graffiti, and attractively decaying billboards.  Now that I’ve had a brief taste of Sicily’s main attractions, […]