One afternoon last week, I sat in the living room of my father’s best friend, looking out at Lake Michigan from the penthouse floor. It was the four of us, my father’s great and lifelong friend (and schoolmate from the University of Chicago, where they both earned earned political science PhDs), his wife, an accomplished academic in her own right, my husband and myself, and we spent two of the most glorious hours talking — about Dr. Hamilton’s life and career (which intersected with my fathers as if they were the rhythm sections in each others’ bands), about his wife, the other Dr. Hamilton’s career, about their daughter and my father, who have both gone on to the great beyond, his daughter having left us in the plane crash that also took the life of Ron Brown, and my own father having lived to the ripe old age of 80, about the losses that shape a life and also the gains. It was cerebral and emotional and connected in a way that conversation so rarely is these days. It was a great reminder of how lucky we are when we have an opportunity to commune deeply with our minds and hearts engaged.
Dr. Hamilton and my father had the rarest of friendships. They were great admirers of one another, as human beings and as grand intellects who shared a deep commitment to social justice (they both played significant roles in the Civil Rights movement and in racial justice and human rights in the years beyond). Hearing him speak of my father with such love (and later hearing of my father’s great love for him from my stepmother), I was reminded of the proper role of the intellect in both public and private life. It is a lost art, this routine almost ordinary use of the mind through which we engage the big and meaningful ideas that turn our world.
I thought of those hours in Chicago when, upon my return to La La Land, where some of us work as hard as we can to pretend that nothing real matters, I turned on the telly and watched a couple of episodes of Showtime’s excellent if poorly titled series on global warming, The Years of Living Dangerously (you know a title’s a poor one when you can’t remember it to save your life).
Tags: Global Warming, Mental Rigor, Sustainability
I have been a fan of Malibu Farm ever since I read a description of it in C Magazine, that evoked such a magical sense of place, I knew that a dinner there — and a chance, one should hope, to meet its sublimely visionary creatrix Helene Henderson — lay in my future. Alison Clare Steingold, writing for C Magazine, described it thus:
[o]ne pig, two dogs, two goats, 23 chickens, 10 raised beds, 50 fruit trees, 300 raspberry bushes, 400 grapevines and some peacocks. Add a beehive for raw honey, Viognier from down the way, zesty Bloody Marys courtesy of a brand-new local mixer and golden olive oil from a nearby Point Dume grove.
What more do you need to know?
There is, of course, the view to take in, and the simple, elegant, “why didn’t I think of that” lifestyle concept to contemplate, but the only real information you need is of the “how the heck can I eat there” kind. With last week’s opening of the Malibu Farm Pop-Up at Malibu Pier, there are now two options:
Tags: Food, Helene Henderson, Locavore, Malibu Farm, Malibu Farm Pop-Up, Malibu Pier, Restaurants, Sustainability
I’ve been interested in food ever since I became a vegetarian the summer after I graduated from college. It was my gateway drug to foodie-ism and to all things healthy and environmentally sound. The impetus was an offending pork chop that I picked up from the A&P. It was disgusting. Turned me off to meat for a good ten years, until one day I had a craving for a pan-fried steak. Wise, by then, to the ways of good food, I drove myself directly to Whole Foods and bought a delicious if pricey grass-fed, hormone free steak which I fried up in an iron skillet with fresh rosemary and olive oil. Best meal I’ve ever had. I’ve been a dedicated omnivore ever since, though my vegetarian days have left their beautiful mark.
Tags: An Everlasting Meal, Farm To Table, Farmers Markets, Food, Food Policy, Locavorism, Mark Bittman, Sustainability, Tamar Adler, The Life
Libertine inventor Johnson Hartig (for inventor’s the only true word to describe him) has created a world of his own, a mythical, magical world where Lord Byron references live side by side with pirate hats and Uncle Sam stovepipes. The California-based designer of menswear and womenswear — itself a distinguished feat — has been around the fashion block a time or two, having launched his eponymous line in 2000 and Libertine in 2010, but he’s marched around that block to the beat of a drummer that he alone can hear. He’s like some mad pied piper, except his emperor is most definitely wearing clothes. Wild, madcap clothes pulled from the Wonderland dress-up box, or so it seems at first glance, but if you look past Hartig’s inventive styling, you’ll find wearable statement pieces that, when mixed with your more subdued clothes, will mark you as a forward thinker who’s ready and angling to take over the world. And any world being taken over by the dames and lads who don Hartig’s clothes and the Hartigean spirit is a world I’m ready to live in.
Tags: Green Living, Johnson Hartig, Libertine, Style, Style Visionaries, Sustainability, Visionaries
Mark Bittman, the influential food writer and New York Times columnist wrote a visionary piece of journalism in yesterday’s New York Times. The article, My Dream Food Label, was an act of imagination from a mind firing on all cylinders, but it was more than that. It was an act of visionary leadership of the kind we most need at this particular moment in human history, when the question of whether we will sustain life on the planet (and whether we will do so in ways that uphold human dignity and the dignity of all life — which at this point is the only true option) must be grappled with in tangible, hands-on ways.
Tags: deep ecology, ethical food, Food, Food Labeling, food safety, Green Living, Mark Bittman, Sustainability, The Life, the new leadership, The New York Times, The Revel Idea & Policy Institute, The Vision, Umair Haque