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Cat Bauer has lived in Venice since 1998. She was a regular contributor to the "International Herald Tribune's" Italian supplement, "Italy Daily," and is the author of the novels "Harley, Like a Person" and "Harley's Ninth," published by Knopf.
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|Youth of Dagestan Dancing Group|
(Venice, Italy) Thanks to a cultural exchange between the Russian Republic of Dagestan and Venice, the dancing group the "Youth of Dagestan" is here during Carnevale, performing their passionate dances on stage at Piazza San Marco. From the Carnival of Venice official site
, slightly edited:On the southern edge of Russia lies a wonderful mountain village - Dagestan - indeed, the Mount of languages, the ancients said. The people here speak over thirty different languages. However, all the ethnic groups have lived and worked in peace for centuries. Since ancient times Dagestan has been famous for its handicrafts. The art of the masters and popular culture are transmitted from generation to generation, with poems, songs and dances.
Their national dance lezghinka -- impetuous, fiery, fervent -- does not leave anybody indifferent. The performances of the dancing group "Youth of Dagestan" is a testament to the originality of the multicultural society of Dagestan. The group was formed in 1978 by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Dagestan. Over the years the group has developed into a collective of skilled dancers.
The group has achieved a broad consensus of the public in 32 countries and has won the International Festival of Folklore on several occasions. Today, the complex State dance of the people of the Caucasus is performed by "Youth of Dagestan," a group of high-level professionals who are always looking for new forms of artistic expression and are ready to reach new levels!
It's peaceful here in Venice, with throngs of people wandering through town, some dressed in elaborate costumes, some not, some wearing masks, some not, and others getting designs painted on their faces. Here are some images I captured today.
From a Venetian Cat - The Venice Post entitled, Venetian Masks:As far back as the 11th century, the mattaccino costume was worn by mischievous young men, who, dressed as clowns, would bombard noblewomen with eggs filled with rosewater, inspiring the first official documentation regarding masks: a 1268 law prohibiting the throwing of eggs while disguised. The Venetian government apparently gave up trying to enforce it, however, and resorted to putting up nets along the Procuratie in St. Mark's Square to protect the ladies and their rich clothing.
Masking making in Venice can be documented back to the 13th century, though it probably existed much earlier. On April 10, 1436, the ancient profession of mascareri was founded under the jurisdiction of the Painter's Guild. Over the years, masks were used for a variety of reasons -- in the government, the theater, and as a means of disguise. Masks provided the Venetians a degree of anonymity.
The wearing of a mask put everyone on the same level: rich and poor, nobleman and citizen, beautiful and ordinary, old and young. It permitted confidences to be exchanged anonymously -- everything from accusations before State Inquisitors, to a potpourri of sexual indiscretions. Prostitutes practiced their trade without fear of retribution; homosexuals hid their illicit lifestyle. In 1458, it was decreed that men were forbidden to dress up as women and enter convents to commit indecent acts.
Not all masks were used for indelicacies, however. The bauta was worn by both men and women, and was not considered a costume but a form of dress -- required wearing if a woman wanted to go to the theater. Il medico della peste had a long beak-like nose stuffed with disinfectants, and, as its name implies, was used to protect doctors from the plague.
Another ingredient in this colorful mix was the Italian theater, Commedia dell'arte. In the 18th century, the renowned Venetian playwright, Carlo Goldoni, brought theatrical masks to the forefront. Pantalone, Harlequin, Colombina and Pulcinella were among the many masks that found their way into the Carnival.
Over the years, Carnival festivities grew more decadent until it evolved into a 250-day event of non-stop parties, gambling and dancing. Social and class distinctions were flipped on their heads, with servants dressing up as masters and vice versa. It was difficult to distinguish a housewife wearing a traditional mask, cape, hood and three corner hat from a nobleman dressed in the same outfit, allowing both to move freely though the city without fear of recognition. ...
Over in Campo Sant' Angelo there is the Carneval Altro - Facciamo la Festa all'Austerity,
or the "Other Carnival - Let's Celebrate Austerity," where students flood in from all over the region and dance the night away, and where the anti-cruise ship folks, Comitato No Grandi Navi, have set up a base. Dogs play frisbee while gyros sizzle in the background, and the sweet smell of crepes cooking perfumes the air.
There is something for everybody at this year's Carnival, and everyone seems to be having a good time. The thing that always amazes me about the Carnival in Venice is how polite people are despite sometimes being caught in a pedestrian traffic jam. There is a feeling of goodwill permeating the air, and the city feels alive and warm. Let's hope it is a sign of more good things to come!
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) As the bells in Saint Mark's Campanile
struck noon, "Angel" Marta Finotto took flight and floated boldly into the throng of 70,000 packed into Piazza San Marco to watch the Volo dell'Angelo
. Marta was costumed as Columbina, a stock character in the commedia dell'arte, and flew with pizzazz, stricking glamorous poses on her descent. According to a new tradition, the winner of the previous year's Festa delle Marie, an ancient Venetian beauty contest, is the Angel who kicks off Carnevale the next year. The Festa delle Marie was supposed to be held yesterday, but it got rained out -- it poured all day long -- but today is beautiful and sunny, and things are back on track.
I've written about this festival before:La Festa delle Marie originated from a pirate raid in 943 a.d., according to Venetian legend. In ancient times, Venetians married on only one day each year. A water procession from the Arsenale on the canal “delle Vergini” started the festivities. All the brides-to-be were rowed across the lagoon in decorated boats brimming with dowries, while their future husbands waited at the Church of San Nicolò at the Lido.
That year, pirates raided the procession, kidnapping the brides and the booty. An enraged Venetian rescue party executed the pirates and brought the brides back to the ceremony.
To commemorate the victory in the past, every year twelve patriarchal families would present twelve virtuous young women from poor Venetian families with a dowry, and the designation “le Marie,” or “The Marys.”
The biggest thing missing from Carnival this year is the presence of Bruno Tosi, the King of the Festa delle Marie
and Maria Callas expert. Sadly, Bruno Tosi passed away on September 13, 2012. But I think I saw him flying next to Marta Finotti -- except he did not use a cable, he used his own wings! Click to read the Bruno Tosi obituary entitled Una vita come un'opera
(A Life Like an Opera) at the Corriere del Veneto
The theme of this year's Carnival is Live in Color
, a Carnevale dedicated to color itself. "The Carnival of colors, the colors of Carnival: this is the theme of Venice Carnival 2013. Venice is the only city in color before the invention of color itself: Canaletto, Guardi, Bellotto, Titian, Giorgione, Bellini, Veronese refined the art of perspective and color painting here in the lagoon. Under the theme of color are the many events of the rich calendar of Venice Carnival: the concerts in St. Mark's Square staged on the spectacular scenic structure of the Grand Theatre, each focusing on a strictly different color theme, the dances and historical performance in the squares, the aperitifs in music as well as all the entertainment for kids.
Click to go to the Carnevale di Venezia
This year, during Carnevale, the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello at Palazzo Pisani in Santa Stefano is putting on a special program called A Music Aperitif
. At 4:00pm on February 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, Venice's music academy is offering guided tours to Palazzo Pisani where you will be able to visit the interior of the magnificent palazzo. Then, at 5:30pm a series of concerts will be performed. After the concert, enjoy a drink of Prosecco and some typical Carnival pastries and cicchetti
, traditional Venetian finger food. The price for that unique afternoon and evening is 15 euro, and all proceeds will be donated to the Concervatory of Music Benedetto Marcello of Venice.
Click to go to the Aperitivo in Musica
.pdf file invitation.
This year is the 4th edition of La Biennale's Carnival for Kids, one of my absolute favorite things to do during Carnevale, even though I am a grown up:) The theme is Il Leon Musico
, The Musical Lion. It's good old-fashioned creative fun for kids of all ages. I've written about it before:
Here is the statement of Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia:
“Yet another step forward. The 4th International Kids’ Carnival becomes more articulated, more complex and more fun all at the same time. The Director of the Music Biennale Ivan Fedele will personally take charge to lead the children to meet The Musical Lion, to play with him, to experiment, to use colours, musical notes and sounds to build the most stimulating of experiences. We confirm our special attention to the younger generations and the importance we place in familiarity with the arts on the one hand, and creativity as dedicated play on the other. Carnival is an initiative that will harness the combined energy of many institutions and academies throughout the city: so far 110 schools have joined and we wish to express our gratitude to them all.”
This year promises to be even more exciting, so if you've got children, or if you are young at heart, head on down to Giardini and play!
Click to go to the La Biennale Carnival
Ciao from Venezia,
(Venice, Italy) With the appointment of the dynamic Rem Koolhaas as curator, the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition has dramatically changed its modus operandi as it looks forward to 2014. Originally created as an "imitation" of the Art Biennale, the Architecture section of Biennale
is evolving into a major exhibition-research project conducted by the curator, and has become the most important event in the world for Architecture. The opening date has been moved up to June 7, 2014, and it will last as long as the Art Biennale, about six months, through November 23, 2014. Instead of the eight months that David Chipperfield, last year's director, had to prepare, Rem Koolhaas will have nearly a year and a half to organize his theme: FUNDAMENTALS.
President Paolo Baratta explained the evolution of the Architecture Biennale, and consequently the choice of Rem Koolhaas:“We are universally recognized as the most important event in the world for Architecture. We are the place where Architecture talks about itself and meets life and society at large. Over the past few years, our choices of curators and themes have been based on the awareness of the gap between the “spectacularization” of architecture on one hand, and the waning capacity of society to express its demands and needs on the other. Architects are called upon prevalently to create awe-inspiring buildings and the “ordinary” is going astray --toward banality if not squalor: a modernity lived badly. We have made choices oriented towards addressing the issue of this gap.” In a September 2012 article for The Smithsonian, Nicolai Ouroussoff asked: Why is Rem Koolhaas the World's Most Controversial Architect?
"...Koolhaas’ habit of shaking up established conventions has made him one of the most influential architects of his generation. A disproportionate number of the profession’s rising stars, including Winy Maas of the Dutch firm MVRDV and Bjarke Ingels of the Copenhagen-based BIG, did stints in his office. Architects dig through his books looking for ideas; students all over the world emulate him. The attraction lies, in part, in his ability to keep us off balance. Unlike other architects of his stature, such as Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid, who have continued to refine their singular aesthetic visions over long careers, Koolhaas works like a conceptual artist—able to draw on a seemingly endless reservoir of ideas."
Yesterday, January 25, 2013, President Paolo Baratta and Director Rem Koolhass met with the representatives of 40 countries participating in the 14th Exhibition at Ca' Giustinian, Biennale Headquarters, to present the theme: FUNDAMENTALS. Paolo Baratta emphasized: "It is a theme, not a slogan." Koolhaas has stated:
“Fundamentals will be a Biennale about architecture, not architects. After several Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will focus on histories – on the inevitable elements of all architecture used by any architect, anywhere, anytime (the door, the floor, the ceiling etc.) and on the evolution of national architectures in the last 100 years. In three complementary manifestations – taking place in the Central Pavilion, the Arsenale, and the National Pavilions – this retrospective will generate a fresh understanding of the richness of architecture’s fundamental repertoire, apparently so exhausted today.
In 1914, it made sense to talk about a “Chinese” architecture, a “Swiss” architecture, an “Indian” architecture. One hundred years later, under the influence of wars, diverse political regimes, different states of development, national and international architectural movements, individual talents, friendships, random personal trajectories and technological developments, architectures that were once specific and local have become interchangeable and global. National identity has seemingly been sacrificed to modernity.
Having the decisive advantage of starting work a year earlier than the Biennale’s typical schedule, we hope to use this extra time to introduce a degree of coordination and coherence among the National Pavilions. Ideally, we would want the represented countries to engage a single theme – Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 – and to show, each in their own way, the process of the erasure of national characteristics in favour of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language in a single repertoire of typologies.The First World War – the beginning of modern globalization – serves a starting point for the range of narratives. The transition to what seems like a universal architectural language is a more complex process than we typically recognize, involving significant encounters between cultures, technical inventions and imperceptible ways of remaining “national.” In a time of ubiquitous google research and the flattening of cultural memory, it is crucial for the future of architecture to resurrect and expose these narratives.By telling the history of the last 100 years cumulatively, the exhibitions in the National Pavilions will generate a global overview of architecture’s evolution into a single, modern aesthetic, and at the same time uncover within globalization the survival of unique national features and mentalities that continue to exist and flourish even as international collaboration and exchange intensify…During the press conference, Koolhaas elaborated on the theme.
He said wanted each country to start with World War I and work forward to 2014 and examine what impact history and events had upon architecture, and how we have arrived at the state of globalized architecture we have today. 1914 was not just the beginning of World War I, it was also about the time that Louie Armstrong came on the scene and when Marcel Duchamp started creating his "readymade" art. Each country in the world has been wrestling with globalization in their own way. We used to have Swiss architecture, Italian architecture, Indian architecture. We used to have a majestic ceiling at the Sistine Chapel created by Michelangelo, and now we just have a ceiling. We used to have different types of doors; now we more or less have the same stuff, a boring, contemporary door. What happened?
And yes, Rem Koolhass is totally cool. From Wikipedia:Remment Lucas "Rem" Koolhaas
born 17 November 1944) is a Dutch architect
, architectural theorist
and Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design
at Harvard University
. Koolhaas studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture
and at Cornell University
in Ithaca, New York
. Koolhaas is the founding partner of OMA
, and of its research-oriented counterpart AMO, currently based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In 2005 he co-founded Volume Magazine
together with Mark Wigley
and Ole Bouman
In 2000 Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize
. In 2008 Time
put him in their top 100 of The World's Most Influential People
.Ciao from Venezia,CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) Murano glass is a work of art, appreciated by the civilized world for more than 800 years. Throughout the centuries, everyone from the global elite to regular folk has enriched their homes and enhanced their appearance with handcrafted Murano glass. Now, www.yourmurano.com
has gathered sixteen of the most prestigious companies together and created the only e-commerce site authorized and certified by Promovetro, the Consortium of glass producers on the island of Murano in Venice, to sell products with the "Vetro Artistico® Murano" trademark. All great creations have many imitations, so this guarantees that you are purchasing an authentic piece of handcrafted Murano glass from Venice itself.
The island of Murano has always been a secretive island, only a five minute vaporetto ride from the center of Venice, yet mysterious enough even to Venetians. Glassmaking traditions pass from father to son. Competition and copying are rampant. Feuds rage between different branches of the same family. The Venetian glass industry is of such importance that, in the past, a traitorous glassblower who revealed his secrets would be punished by exile or even death.
In 1291, fear of fire moved Venetian glassmaking to the secluded island, where many of the factories remain today. During the Republic, the Doge of Venice granted special privileges to the Muranesi. They had their own "Golden Book" which listed the most important families, creating a local hierarchy which still exists informally today. Keeping the glassmakers cloistered on an island, swearing them to secrecy, and showering them with riches and titles of nobility practically guaranteed the Venetians control of the marketplace.
The art of glassmaking is nearly as old as the Pyramids of Egypt. The tradition dates back about 3,500 years. The art of blowing the glass is a newer concept - about 2,000 years old - and Venice one of its most-respected centers. Over the centuries, the secret of what ingredients to mix together and in what quantities has been lost and rediscovered.
At the glass museum on Murano
, visitors can take a trip through the evolution of local glass. It is created by mixing a hodgepodge of ingredients, similar to the way a cook makes hard candy. The main element is silica, which the ancient Venetians dredged out of the Ticino River in the form of pebbles, then crushed. This was mixed with soda ash derived from plants, powdery marble, arsenic and potassium carbonate. The whole batch was heated until it melted and turned into a syrupy mass. When it cooled, it became glass. Today, the process remains much the same except the furnaces are heated by natural gas, not wood, and the ingredients come from different localities. The tools themselves have been unchanged for centuries, dating back to the Middle Ages.
To English-speakers, the word "factory" conjures images of General Motors assembly lines, but an Italian fabbrica
is often very small, with only a handful of employees not capable of producing mass quantities of goods. Government controls are strict and expensive, and the price of materials and taxes are staggering. So if you happen upon a piece of "Murano glass" for a bargain price, chances are that it is an imitation, and not the authentic craftsmanship that is guaranteed by www.yourmurano.com
Whether you are looking for an impressive gift, or to add a touch of Venice to your home, or a dazzling accessary to enhance your wardrobe, Murano glass is an investment that will retain or increase its value over time.
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice BlogTreasures of Venice - Authentic Murano Glass is a sponsored post by www.yourmurano.comSections of this post were taken from an article entitled A Glass is Born in Venice by Cat Bauer, originally published in the International Herald Tribune - Italy Daily.
(Venice, Italy) The Three Wise Men star in nativity scenes all over the world at Christmas, and are remembered in song, such as We Three Kings of Orient Are
. In fact, many unusual characters appear during Christmas time around different parts of the globe, which is what happens when you lay a new religion over existing celebrations. How Santa Claus and his reindeer bringing gifts got tangled up with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is a question that has been examined by scholars and historians for centuries.
Here in Italy, there is another element that has been added to the mix, and that is La Befana, who is a witch, complete with broomstick. Like Santa, she gives gifts to good children, and coal to naughty ones. Here is one version of how La Befana met the Three Wise Men, or the Magi, or the Magicians. From Wikipedia
:Christian legend had it that Befana was approached by the biblical magi, also known as the Three Wise Men (or the three kings) a few days before the birth of the Infant Jesus. They asked for directions to where the Son of God was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home. The magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the little baby. She leaves all the good children toys and candy (“caramelle”) or fruit, while the bad children get coal (“carbone”), onions or garlic.
And here in Venice, the holiday has added a watery element that I have written about many times before, starting back in 2009:The Epiphany, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas, on January 6th is a national holiday in Italy. It is also the day of the La Befana, a witch who hands out candy and gifts for good children, and coal for bad children, similar to Santa Claus.
In Venice, the holiday has morphed into something truly unique. During the Regata delle Befane, male Venetian rowers dress in drag as female witches, and have a little regata, or race. Click to continue reading
It's strange, isn't it, that for more than two thousand years we still celebrate the birth of the controversial figure named Jesus Christ, a being who gave this planet a message of compassion, love, hope and redemption.
|Noli me tangere - Titian 1514|
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be satisfied. Matthew 5:10
Drawing on an extensive collection of multidisciplinary research, from ancient histories to biblical archeology to Greco-Roman economics, Isbouts paints a vivid portrait of the world as Jesus knew it, so scene-setting that Jesus doesn’t even appear as a topic until more than 100 pages into the 300-page book. Among other theories, Isbouts posits that Jesus was born near Nazareth, not Bethlehem; that he was a construction worker who toiled on new Roman cities rather than a carpenter; that he valued women as equal to men; and, perhaps most critically, that his ministry was as much about political and social activism as it was about religious belief. And in that latter discovery, that Jesus’s role was about bringing economic freedom and everyday justice to a land deeply divided between the rich and the poor, there’s much for our contemporary world to learn in this Christmas season, even lapsed Catholics like me.
|Sermon on the Mount by Henrik Olrik|
Ciao from Venice,
Wishing everyone a prosperous, healthy,
and stimulating New Year,
filled with joy and serenity,
and a new spirit of cooperation.
(Venice, Italy) Fragrance and fashion have always gone hand in hand, so it is only fitting that a section of Palazzo Mocenigo, the costume museum here in Venice, which is part of the Musei Civici di Venezia
, will be dedicated to the history of perfume. With the strong support of the Vidal family, the Venetian owners of the international fragrance company, Mavive
, Venice has decided to reveal some of its ancient secrets and perfume recipes, and has reprinted Secreti Nobilissimi dell'Arte Profumatoria
by Giovanbattista Rosetti.Noble Secrets of the Art of Perfumery
was first published in Venice in 1555, then reprinted in Bologna in 1672. I am holding the little book in my hand right now, together with a companion volume in English and Italian that explains the text and provides some interesting background. The creation of perfumes and cosmetics was considered an art performed by Venetian spezieri
, or spice-makers, who, according to Giancarlo Ottolini, were "part alchemists and part physicians who had a sound knowledge of chemistry, herbal medicine and the numerous ingredients (and their properties) that were available at the time" -- the spezieri
knew how to take a dash of iris, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon and mix it with some lavender, citrus, orange and jasmine in order to create things like perfumes, anti-aging creams and mouthwash.
In the Introduction
, Marco Vidal writes:"The reprint of Secreti Nobilissimi dell'Arte Profumatoria coincides with the 25th anniversary of Mavive and with the 112 years of the Vidal family's involvement in the perfumery industry: Secreti Nobillisimi is a testament to the values that have inspired the history of cosmetics since its inception. For four generations, my family has honoured these values and continues with great passion and devotion the tradition of the art of perfumery. In 1900, my great-grandfather, Angelo Vidal, created a small perfumery laboratory at San Stae, in the center of Venice. He began by manufacturing household products, then went on to create soaps, and finally perfumes and cosmetics. When he acquired the Venetian soap company, Salviati, and subsequently the ancient perfume manufacturer, Longega, he also acquired a profound knowledge of their "secret" cosmetic formulae, cherished and well-guarded secrets that have subsequently been handed down over the centuries.
In Technical Notes on the Formulae in Secreti Nobilissimi
, Giancarlo Ottolini writes:In the mid 16th Century, when this book was published, the Republic of Venice was at the peak of its power, beauty and splendour; a city rich in political expertise, treasures and artistic masterpieces. ...Textiles, glass, metals and especially spices were the main products traded in the dynamic Rialto Market, where the presence of merchants from various European and Oriental provinces guaranteed commercial opportunities that were not available elsewhere. ...Venetian women took great care in making their faces fair-skinned, in the bright colouring of their hair and lips, and in the appearance of their teeth; they used mouthwashes, removed their body-hair, applied make-up to their eyes, and were particularly fond of perfumes....It is worth noting that, in 1488, the Republic of Venice already protected and defined as an art the work and products of the saoneri (soap makers), an activity that later became increasingly widespread within the personal care, perfumery and cosmetics fields. In the 16th Century, about forty soap manufacturers were operating in Venice with a total production estimated at around seven-eight thousand tons per year.
Just think: five hundred years ago, Venice was cranking about eight thousand tons of soap a year, revolutionizing the industry -- they developed the "bar of soap." Even today, you can see the importance of the industry reflected in the names of the streets: Calle dei Saoneri means "Street of the Soap Makers."
Back to Secreti Nobilissimi.
In a section titled, Published Secrets: An Oxymoron
, Anna Messinis writes:Venice is one of the cities that revived the perfume culture in the West: its trade with the East enabled it to import important raw materials along with the technical knowledge needed to use them. The analysis of the substances cited by Rosetti gives an idea of how many of the raw materials were of oriental origin, a number of which were already mentioned in The Travels of Marco Polo. ...Marco Polo gives precise directives on extracting the musk from the deer as well as a description of the animal itself.
One ingredient that, Rosetti, the author of Noble Secrets
, lists in 36 recipes is called ambracan
, which is a bilious secretion made from the intestines of sperm whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Now, just where do you get whale bile? Anna Messinis writes: "As Marco Polo noted, in describing the island of Madagascar, it could be found floating upon the sea and in the sand along the coasts of Somalia, Madagascar, and Japan, as well as being extracted from the abdomens of dead cetaceans."
In the 16th Century, Venice was the Italian capital of the publishing industry, and self-improvement was all the rage. Books were printed containing tips on how to obtain snow-white teeth, a how to achieve a face without blemishes, how to get rid of freckles, how to make the face fair and splendid, and how to dye one's hair blond, an activity that made Venetian women renown the world over. For the men, there was a recipe on how to dye one's hair and beard black. Toothpastes and mouthwashes, anti-aging products and sun-blocks, Venetians have been consumed with maintaining a bella figura
for centuries.Venetian descendants even created Eau de Cologne itself!
Messinis continues: "Between the 17th and 18th Century, the art of perfumery spread from Venice to the rest of Europe, particularly France and Germany. Throughout this region there is ample evidence in the sciences, arts, and crafts of the Venetian influence. It is not by accident that in 1709, Giovanni Maria Farina and his brother, Giovanni Battista -- grandsons of the Venetian perfumer, Caterina Gennari -- created Eau de Cologne. As this book clearly shows, history informs us that Venice continued to be a fundamental reference point for culture and knowledge, which included the art of perfumery, a veritable crossroad for commercial interests and trade that still echoes down to this day."
|1920s Eau de Cologne Bruno Storp|
In keeping with that tradition, the Venetian Vidal family, owners of Mavive fragrances
, will have the support of the German Storp family, owners of Drom fragrances
, one of the ten leading perfume manufacturers in the world, to help enhance the new perfume exhibition at the Palazzo Mocenigo, providing technical and scientific support. The Storp collection of perfume bottles, or flacons, dates back to 2000 BC and contains more than 2,500 pieces. The perfume exhibition at Palazzo Mocenigo plans to be ready in time for the opening of La Biennale in June. Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo
e Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume
Santa Croce, 1992
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
|Bryan Wong & Lorenzo Brunello on Jobs Around the World |
(Venice, Italy) In July of this year, I helped to coordinate a television show called Jobs Around the World
starring Bryan Wong for MediaCorp in Singapore. We did a lot of preparation and negotiating beforehand, with both sides expressing their objectives clearly and honestly, which created a working atmosphere that was sublime. It was a great experience, and it would be refreshing if everything in Venice functioned that way.
You can read the post I wrote about the experience here:
Now the television show has aired, and a video is available over on MSN. It is in English with Chinese subtitles when English is spoken, or it is in Chinese with English subtitles when Chinese is spoken. It is not in Venetian or Italian at all, which, of course, is a little strange since gondoliers are Venetian, and normally speak either Venetian or Italian. In any event, both Bryan Wong and Lorenzo Brunello, the gondolier, speak good English; each has his own unique way of expressing himself in a language that is foreign. It is fascinating to watch them communicate with each other, and how they both seem to know what each other means even if the words aren't perfect. Plus, you get an inside view of what the life of a gondolier is really like. Here are a few snippets:
Bryan: Which is your gondola?Lorenzo: This one.Bryan: This one!
Lorenzo: The name of my gondola is Monica. That is the name of my wife.
Bryan: Ay, yay, yay. That is so romantic.
Bryan: To be a gondolier, do you have to go through formal training?
Lorenzo: It's a kind of training that normally takes five years. If you are ready, you will pass to a school where you will learn the history of Venice, the rules of navigation, normally. The father chooses to pass his license. It's a family contract.
Bryan: So what about you?
Lorenzo: I am the sixth generation.
Bryan: You are the sixth generation?!
Lorenzo: Pietro is the seventh.
Bryan: And your son is how old?
Lorenzo: Eight years old.
Bryan: Are you thinking that one day you would like to pass your license to him?
Lorenzo: My wife and I, we said that we had to use a kind of philosophy. (Lorenzo puts down his oar and mimes a bow and arrow). The parents are only the arch that sends the son to the future. He will decide what he wants to do.
I tried to embed the clip into this blog, but apparently it's not possible, so if you would like to see it, you will have to make a small effort and click the link below. There is a short commercial in Chinese at the opening. Enjoy!
Check out this great MSN video - Jobs Around The World Episode 11
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) Only the brave would take on the battle of the Rialto Bridge, and I speak from personal experience. Fashion icon Renzo Rosso, the founder and President of Diesel and founder of the holding company Only the Brave - OTB - has come to the rescue of the Rialto Bridge -- and not a moment too soon. He has agreed to pump five million euro into the restoration efforts in exchange for attaching his brand to the ancient symbol, which he promises to do in a creative way. The international spotlight will be focused on the restoration of the most beautiful bridge in the world, so that Venice can move forward into a rich, multi-cultural future based on hope, transparency, and fair compensation for efforts made.
If you are a long-time reader of the Venetian Cat - Venice Blog
, you will know that I was illegally evicted from my apartment on the Grand Canal at the Rialto Bridge on June 10, 2009 by an Order signed by Judge Maura Caprioli on December 19, 2009 (sic - should read 2008) -- without me being present in court -- that said I was a tourist who did not pay the rent for two months. Since San Polo 622 has been my legal residence since 1999, and I have a carta di soggiorno
(sort of like a Green Card) and I have overpaid the rent by more than 63,000 euro, this is easily proven to be false, and it is puzzling why, to this day, I have not been able to present my case in court.
On June 24, 2009, US State Department consular agent Megan H. Jones called the Polizia di Stato at San Lorenzo, the station where I was attempting to file a police report. Megan Jones, shockingly, told the police to force me into the hospital -- the Carabinieri had already made such an attempt on August 7, 2008, after being called by Emilio Farinon, the co-owner of Taverna del Campiello Remer at the time, so this was not an idle threat. The Polizia di Stato refused to do such a thing. Much later I discovered that around the same time, my family in the United States had been contacted by the US State Department and told that I had been arrested (not true), was mentally unstable, and that they should come to Venice to take me back the USA. This false story was reinforced by former attorney Sara Jane Boyers in Los Angeles, someone who for years had been posing as my friend, making numerous trips to Venice and inviting me to stay at her house in Los Angeles, saying that she was a writer-turned-photographer.
I went back inside my apartment at the end of November, 2009, and immediately notified the Polizia di Stato, the Carabinieri, and the US Ambassador in Rome of my whereabouts. I remained inside my apartment for about six months, until June 11, 2010. That evening, I was playing music on my balcony, singing and dancing, something I often did in response to unusual activity I could see on the Grand Canal from my point of view on the balcony -- boat taxis coming and going; strangers arriving at the Magistrato alle Acque
, etc. Back then, I did not understand what was going on, but I knew that a couple years before there had been a sudden influx of Americans into the Rialto area who were linked to the military. About the same time, there had been a flood of cocaine and heroin into the Rialto area, the heart of Venice, together with illegal construction going up at the Hotel Rialto, directly across the Grand Canal from my apartment. I just found out two weeks ago
about about the Mala del Brenta
, and the Nuova Mala del Brenta
, the organized crime in the Veneto region.
About 9PM on the evening of June 11, 2010, the Grand Canal was shut down in front of my balcony, sirens wailing, lights flashing. A man climbed up a ladder and in through my bedroom window, opened the door to my apartment, and allowed a group to overpower me, inject me with drugs and force me into the psychiatric section of the hospital here in Venice, leaving my cat, Cleopatra, locked inside to die -- my Venetian aunt rescued her three days later. On June 13, 2010, an incredible story written by Roberta Brunetti was published in Il Gazzettino
, the local newspaper, which said that an American writer and blogger had broken into her apartment, and, distraught over her eviction, was going to commit suicide by throwing herself off the balcony. A few weeks later, Sara Jane Boyer's husband, Attorney Steven R. Boyers, falsely claiming to be a friend of my family, wrote an email to my lawyer full of veiled threats and innuendos in an attempt to intimidate the doctors at the hospital to have me diagnosed with a serious mental illness, something, gratefully, they did not do. When I got out of the hospital, I discovered that the door to my apartment had been replaced with a high-security door, locking all my possessions, including my US passport, inside, where they remain to this day. In addition, the outrageous interference in my life by US State Department officials William R. Gill and Megan H. Jones continued.
Recently, on September 26, 2012, Roberto Benetto, the son of Paola Bortoluzzi, the owner of my apartment, and a blond woman I do not know -- not his wife, whom I do know -- physically assaulted me. The blond woman yelled repeatedly that she wanted me dead or to go back to America as they kicked and punched me, trying to push me down the stairs. She said that this time they would win because there were three of them and only one of me, and they would lie and say that I assaulted them. The door to my apartment was open during the assault, and I could see many of possessions inside, such as my heavy wooden desk. There has been recent activity in the magazzino
, or storage area, on the ground floor inside my building at San Polo 622, and there is a strong possibility that my personal possessions were moved downstairs in yet another attempt to cover-up their criminal behavior.
The story is much, much longer, but I firmly believe that given the opportunity, I can prove that what I say is true: the United States of America
teamed-up with organized crime in the Veneto, in addition to powerful special interest groups, in an attempt to take control of the Rialto area, the one-time hub of the Silk Road
, a zone that has been an international center of commerce for centuries; a zone where enormous wealth lies waiting to be tapped. At a time when the world is in tears from the Evil that destroyed the Innocents in a small town in Connecticut, it is time for all of us to shine the light on the darkness, and put the planet back in order. We must be certain the foundation we build is based on the highest principles of integrity, transparency and fairness, otherwise the structure will surely collapse.
With all this in mind, I wish Renzo Rosso, a self-made man from Bassano del Grappa, together with the Only the Brave group, the best of luck in winning the battle of the Rialto. I am sure the dark, outside forces
will not leave without a struggle, but with a fresh army of angels arriving, and the European Court of Human Rights
focusing its attention on the atrocities that have been committed by the USA, I am confident the Rialto Bridge, Venice and the Veneto will join the world in an enlightened future.
|The Rialto Bridge by Francesco Guardi (1775)|
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
|Mariano Fortuny - Wagnerian Cycle - Siegmund & Sieglind's Embrace 1928|
(Venice, Italy) It is surprising that never before has the theme of "Wagnerism" been the inspiration for an exhibition, considering the enormous influence the man and his music has had on humanity. Richard Wagner gave earthly voice to the gods themselves, music that opened the portal to the heavens."I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired."
On Friday at Palazzo Fortuny I felt those vibrations wafting through the air so strongly that I sat on the sofa at the far end of the piano nobile
for a long time and wept silently with joy.
Mariano Fortuny created an environment inside the Venetian palace where he lived and worked that allowed the vibrations of Divine Thought to permeate the very space itself, vibrations that still resound today. The Fortuny fabric on the walls, the overhead Fortuny lamps, the 46 paintings of the Wagnerian Cycle on display, the books, sculptures, drawings, prints, illustrations, postcards and works of like-minded thinkers, combined with the music of Wagner playing softly in the background overwhelmed me. I sat on the long sofa and the vibrations were like a golden bath washing away the darkness. I thought: This energy is what is missing in the world today. There is a gap. Who is continuing this work?
And then I thought, suddenly: This work is being continued by many, only it is being suppressed
|From The Atlantic: Neuschwanstein Castle is now a world-famous tourist attraction. Criticized by many as wasteful and extravagant at the time of their construction (despite the King using his own money, not state funds), Ludwig's castles have paid for themselves many times over in the years since his death. Photo taken on May 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)|
Richard Wagner was sponsored by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the Fairytale King, who also tapped into the same vibrations, and had the enormous resources to create magical castles and bring his imagination to life. The officials said Ludwig was mad and tried to have him institutionalized, as is their habit. They then said he committed suicide, but many, including yours truly, do not believe that for one moment. I believe Ludwig II was murdered while trying to escape his captors.
The physical manifestation of Divine Thought frightens those on Earth who cannot absorb the vibrations, and those dark creatures will do everything they can to suppress it. I wondered aloud about the reason for this, and a young woman told me, "Nothing is more powerful than Love. The powerful on earth lose their power in the face of Love and so they try to destroy it."
Richard Wagner's music also had a profound impact on Mariano Fortuny, which he expressed through stage design, fabrics and costumes. To mark the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth, the Fortuny Museum presents Fortuny and Wagner - Wagnerism in the visual arts in Italy
, which opened yesterday, December 8, 2012 and will run through April 8, 2013, and focuses on the visual arts in Italy from the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century.
December 8, 2012 also happened to be the 32nd anniversary of the day that John Lennon was assassinated. It is also the day that the protagonist of my novels, Harley Columba, was born."One supreme fact which I have discovered is that it is not willpower, but fantasy-imagination that creates. Imagination is the creative force. Imagination creates reality."
|Mariano Fortuny-self portrait|
I was a bit dazed when I rose from the sofa at Palazzo Fortuny and started to head toward the exit. A female guide told me that I must go up, not down. I went up to second floor (third floor to Americans) and
took a peek into Mariano Fortuny's workshop, crammed with inspiration. “I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; - I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; - I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men; - I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art, is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her; - I believe that through Art all men are saved.” Richard Wagner
A little room on the right was labeled: "Bill Viola. Isolde's Ascension
. (The Shape of Light in the Space After Death). 2005 10'33." Ah, ha! Here was one of the missing links!
I thought. Bill Viola!
I had forgotten all about Bill Viola, who is my favorite contemporary artist. I never expected to see a video of his in a Fortuny and Wagner exhibition, but that is exactly where Isolde's Ascension
belonged. I was the only one in the tiny theater that seated four.
By the time that Isolde had burst from the water and ascended to the heavens, I was weeping all over again. I had had a conversation with Bill Viola during the 2007 Art Biennale. Many people were clamoring for his attention, and were shuffling him here and there. I said, "Have you read Carl Jung's Seven Sermons to the Dead
?" Bill Viola said, "No, but I've read Man and His Symbols
." I said, "You should read the Seven Sermons to the Dead
. It's different." Bill Viola stopped short and shook off his entourage. "Get me a pen. Get me some paper. I must write this down." And he did.“I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; - I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; - I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men; - I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art, is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her; - I believe that through Art all men are saved.” Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner died in Venice on February 13, 1883 a few months shy of his 70th birthday. Mariano Fortuny died in Venice on May 2, 1949 nine days before his 78th birthday.
The Fortuny and Wagner exhibition is curated by Paolo Bolpagni and installed by Daniela Ferrettio, and made possible thanks to the collaboration of the City of Lipsia, Klinger Forum, the Richard Wagner Verband Leipzig, and the Associazione Richard Wagner Venezia.Fortuny and WagnerWagnerism in the Italian visual arts
December 8, 2012 to April 8, 2013
San Marco 3780
San Beneto, Venice
Daily from 10AM to 6PM
Closed Tuesdays, Christmas and Jan. 1
Full price admission: 10 eurofortuny.visitmuve.it
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
More on this topic in the future.
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
|Venus of Urbino by Titian|
(Venice, Italy) Only in Venice can the launch for a new book about a 16th-century artist cause a near riot, but that is what happened yesterday afternoon at the Museo Correr. At the launch for Tiziano
by Augusto Gentili, a small group, including yours truly, was left standing outside the open door to the exquisite Salone da Ballo when we were informed that no one else would be admitted. This was surprising because even though all the seats were full, there was still enough room for us to stand in the back where people were already standing, and the outside group contained some distinguished residents. (One amusing thing about Venice is that if you're late, you're late, no matter who you are, and they will just not let you in. I have seen some very important people refused entrance on more than one occassion.)
|Ballroom at the Correr Museum|
The panel was chaired by Piero Lucchi of the Correr Museum Library, with speakers Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo of the University of Verona, Giorgio Tagliaferro of the University of Warwick, and Augusto Gentili, the colorful author of Tiziano
(published by 24 Ore Cultura, Milano, 2012). When the panel tried to begin, a gentleman in the outside group began shouting to at least open both double doors all the way so we could see -- only one side was open. He continued to shout until someone made the decision it was probably wiser to let us all in than to keep us standing in the doorway. So, in we traisped, and there was plenty of room to stand without blocking anyone's view.
|Sacred and Profane Love|
Titian, of course, was one of the most renowned artists who ever lived, and much has been written about him. This new book, "not to read on the vaporetto," according to Piero Lucchi, weighs in at almost nine pounds, 431 pages with 340 illustrations.
|Tiziano by Augusto Gentili|
, Augusto Gentili takes a different approach to Titian. Not the usual painter and courtier whose subjects were colorful princes, popes and beautiful women, but a new artist, a painter who reflects and debates with intellectuals on contemporary issues and current problems such as politics and religion, music and literature. A painter ready to break away from Venice and the last Italian dominions, and who addressed the risk of the European dimension. Titian, presented in the context of the history of ideas.
Author: Augusto Gentili
Publisher: 24 Ore Cultura
Date: October 4, 2012
List Price: 115 euro
Ciao from Venezia,
(Venice, Italy) The prestigious Glass in Venice
award was presented on Thursday, November 22 at the Veneto Institute of Science, Letters and Art to two distinguished glass sculptors, Pino Signoretto and Bertil Vallien.
Palazzo Franchetti is a beautiful palace on the Grand Canal where the the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti
is located. It was erected in 1565, nearly 450 years ago, and contains all sorts of magical information gathered by the wizards of Venice, France and Austria over the centuries. So, receiving the Glass in Venice
award is sort of like getting a special recognition from Hogwarts.
Pino Signoretto was born in 1944 in Favaro, a small town in the Veneto. At the age of ten, he started working in a glass factory, apprenticing under such masters as Alfredo Barbini, Livio Seguso, Ermanno Nason and Angelo Seguso, rapidly rising to level of master himself.
Throughout his long career, Pino Signoretto has developed an international reputation in sculpting hot glass. Amazed audiences all over the globe have witnessed his unique ability to create with molten glass, and his mastery over the fiery material. On his second visit to Japan, he performed in the presence of the Imperial Family; his sculptures are on permanent display at the Museum of Venetian Art in Otaru. He has produced sculptures for Dale Chihuly in Seattle, Washington and taught in many schools of glass and universities throughout the United States. Signoretto has the energy of hot glass coursing through his blood, has wrestled it under control, and tamed it enough to be able to produce magnificient Earthly objects, down to the smallest detail.
Bertil Vallien was born in 1938 (which I find astonishing, since he has the energy of a man a decade or two younger) in Sollentuna, a small suburb north of Stockholm. Raised in a devoutly religious home,Vallien felt conflicted and restricted by the faith being imposed upon him. His spiritual quest is reflected in the profound emotion contained in his sand-casted glass sculptures.
When asked, Why work in glass?
, Vallien admitted it was a difficult material to work with, but "glass has qualities that no other material has." Vallien said he wanted to express what was in his head and his heart with his hands, but since it is impossible to touch liquid glass, he creates negative molds made out of sand, which gives him control. When accepting the Glass in Venice
award, he said, "how touched and pleased I am to receive this prestigious prize. All over the planet when you talk about glass you say: Venice, Venice."
After the ceremony, I wandered around the Bertil Vallien exhibition Nine Rooms
inside Palazzo Franchetti and was overwhelmed. I had the same emotion I felt when I first saw the work of the video artist, Bill Viola, many years ago. Both artists grasp something deeply spiritual and universal, and put their own essence of that understanding into their work. It has been a long time since I fell in love with a contemporary artist, but I fell in love immediately with Vallien. He has the magic touch.
As I passed through the Nine Rooms, I longed to touch the glass sculptures, but forced myself to resist. Then, in Room 5, where the glass boats were, an older man stroked his hands across a boat. I was pleased to see I was not the only one who wanted to stroke the glass. So I did.
Room 7 was filled with tall, heavy glass pendulums that almost reached to the ceiling. They were still. I wanted to start them all swinging. I was alone, so I pushed them into action. The glass was heavier than I expected, and the frames supporting the glass less sturdy. For a few moments, I was concerned that I was going to topple them all; that the entire glass pendulum room might go crashing to the floor, or worse, knock over the Murano glass chandelier hanging perilously from the ceiling. But they stood tall, swinging to the rhythm of the Earth. I thought they looked much better in motion.
The pendulum, the glass, the decadence, and then, the water rises.
A giant-like pendulum hangs above Piazza San Marco.
The pendulum invalidates time.
It is independent of the Earth's rotation.
Time is beyond life's landscape.
On my way out, I ran into Bertil Vallien. I told him that I wanted to stroke the glass, and that I did do it after I saw another man do it, and asked if that bothered him. (I didn't tell him about the pendulums:) He said, no, it didn't bother him; that it was okay. I said, it's strange, isn't it? That I wanted to stroke the glass, and so did all the others? He said, it's because it's tactile. I said, yes, but I've never had such a great yearning -- when it comes to marble, for example -- it is not the same.
Anyway, it was a great honor to meet Vallien, and I told him so. And I am pleased that there is a Glass in Venice award from the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, an Institute of the highest degree. It is like an award for working with Lightning on Earth.
Ciao from Venezia,
|Photo: Nino Barbieri|
(Venice, Italy) If you have ever been to Venice, you will know that the statue in the center of Campo San Bortolomìo at the foot of the Rialto Bridge is of Carlo Goldoni (1709-1792), whom Voltaire called, "the Italian Molière." Goldoni's farcical plays about the Venetian society in which he lived reflected the dying days of the great Republic, which had lasted more than a thousand years. According to tradition, Venice was born in 421AD; the republic was conquered by Napoleon in 1797 -- just five years after Goldoni's death.
To say that Goldoni has recently made a comeback is an understatement. After receiving rave reviews in London, one of his plays just closed to critical acclaim on Broadway. Which play was that, you ask? Why, it was The Servant of Two Masters
, which has been zapped into the 21st century under the title of One Man, Two Guvnors
. From Wikipedia
One Man, Two Guvnors is a play by Richard Bean, an English adaptation of Servant of Two Masters (Italian: Arlecchino servitore di due padroni), a 1743 Commedia dell'arte comedy play by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni. The play replaces the Italian period setting of the original with Brighton in 1963. The play opened at the National Theatre in 2011, toured in the UK and then opened in the West End in November 2011, with a subsequent Broadway opening in April 2012
|Photograph: Cindy Ord/Getty Images|
: Blimey, It's a Hit! Broadway's One Man, Two Guvnors Recoups Its InvestmentBob Boyett and the National Theatre of Great Britain said on Aug. 22 that their acclaimed Broadway production of One Man, Two Guvnors, which won star James Corden the 2012 Best Actor Tony Award, recouped its $3.25 million capitalization in the week ending Aug. 19.
With all the renewed interest in the great Venetian playwright comes a new scholarly quaderni annuali
produced by top experts in the field. Promoted by the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice - Carlo Goldoni's House, in collaboration with prestigious institutions such as the CISVE - Interuniversity Centre for Studies Veneti, the National Edition of the Works of Carlo Goldoni, Teatro Stabile del Veneto and the Universities of Venice and Padua, the new "Studi Goldoniani" are divided into studies and reviews which offer scholars a chance to stable critical debate, and to ensure readers a detailed and updated review of the "stato di lavoro."
According to the brochure, "the journal aims to complement and animate the permanent laboratory for philological and historical-critical investigation represented by the Edizione Nazionale delle Opere di Carlo Goldoni
, and the newly created Edizione Nazionale delle Opere di Carlo Gozzi
: thus participating fully in reviewing tested but hitherto unproductive historiographical paradigms, and radically redesigning the features of the theater world (and others) of the 1700s."
To order a subscription of the beautifully-bound Studi Goldoniani
and/or the online subscription, please visit LIBRA web
, the online platform of the publisher, Fabrizio Serra Editore
In times like these, when the world reaches a critical pitch, mankind has learned that sometimes the best thing to do is just laugh. "Painter and son of nature," wrote Voltaire, at that time the arbitrator and the dispenser of fame in cultured Europe, to Carlo Goldoni, then a rising dramatist, "I would entitle your comedies, 'Italy liberated from the Goths.'"
From The Comedies of Carlo Goldoni
, edited with an introduction by Helen Zimmern, published 1892 by David Stott, London.
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) High tide was exceptional here in Venice today, with seventy percent of the city flooded. Venetians and shopkeepers were caught off-guard, as the tide was predicted to rise only to 120 centimeters. Instead, it rose to 149 centimeters, or nearly five feet.
This is not the first time this has happened. We had a very similar situation in November and December 2008, four years ago when Barack Obama first won the US presidency. He has just won a second term, and I am very pleased about that, as is most everyone else who cares about the Earth and all the creatures who live upon it. We are all much wiser now, and this time things were not as dramatic as they were four years ago. You can read what I wrote about that here
, and keep clicking "Older Post" at the very bottom on the right if you would like to read the acqua alta reports that led up to this particular post:
|Photo: Jonathan Ulman|
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this year I've decided to pull some news stories together for you so you can just click on the headlines to read more
. This evening, over by Rialto all the street lights were still out around 9PM, otherwise things are pretty much back to normal.
Near the end of this post is an amateur video of those tourists in the top photo swimming to their table in the middle of Piazza San Marco.
From the Huffington Post
Meanwhile in Venice ‘acqua alta’ or high water season, has been one of the highest ever recorded, with some parts of the city submerged under five feet of water.
From The Guardian
Venetians direct anger at forecasters after 'exceptional and unpredictable' rise in sea waters floods homes and businesses
Tourists attached plastic bags to their legs or stripped off to take a dip in St Mark's Square in Venice on Sunday as rising sea waters surged through the lagoon city. High water measuring 1.49 metres (5ft) above the normal level of the Adriatic sea came with bad weather that swept Italy
at the weekend, causing floods in historic cities including Vicenza as well in the region of Tuscany 250 miles further south.
70 per cent of central Venice underwater today reaching 59 inchesTourists waded through waters in wellington boots and donned swimwearIconic St Mark's Square flooded leaving normally bustling square deserted
It may be known as the Floating City of love. But romance was cast aside today as gondolas were swapped for wellington boots and swimwear. High tides and heavy rain flooded Venice's dry streets, leaving tourist hotspots virtually deserted.Tourists chose to wade through the waters in boots, with one group donning swimwear to sit at a table in the iconic submerged St Mark's Square.
And here's that amateur video of the tourists going for a swim in Piazza San Marco:
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) The high water, or acqua alta in Venice has been overshadowed by the news of Hurricane Sandy. But at about the same time the United States was being bombarded by extreme weather, here in Venice, we, too, had heavy winds, rain and flooding. The water rose to a little over 140 centimeters, or just under five feet. In Venice, we have long stopped expecting any help from the State. All the shops clean up the mess themselves; residents pull on high-water boots and tourists are forced to invest in a pair of "wellies."
Then life goes on. The Venice Marathon went on as usual on Sunday, October 31, 2012, with the runners actually competing in the extreme weather.Venice, October 28, 2012 – Rain, wind and high tide didn’t stop the 27th Venicemarathon who saw winners the Kenyan Philemon Kipchumba Kisang (2h17’00”) and the Ethiopian Emebt Etea Bedada (2h38’11”).Click HERE to read the story at the Venice Marathon official website.
I get a lot of press releases, guest blog requests and other information from companies looking to promote themselves on Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog, and refuse most of them. But this one from AccuWeather.com is so unique, forecasting the European winter, and written by a Meteorologist by the name of Meghan Evans, that I've decided to share it with you in its entirety -- plus I think it's cool that AccuWeather.com discovered Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog. AccuWeather is a for-profit weather service that competes with the National Weather Service in the United States, and whose owner, Joel Myers, is "a frequent contributor to Republican candidates," according to Wikipedia. We will follow up in the spring and see just how accurate AccuWeather turned out to be...
AccuWeather NewsEurope Winter Forecast: Not as Harsh as Last Year's Deep Freeze
November 2, 2012 -- State College, PA -- While cold shots blast portions of western and northern mainland Europe at times, stormy weather may hit southern Spain, the Mediterranean region and southeastern Europe.
Meteorologists expect Siberian cold to reach portions of western and northern mainland Europe, especially during the middle to latter part of winter. Much of the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain and Portugal will have below-normal temperatures for the season.
"January to February will be the best chance for cold air coming out of Siberia," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.
Left: The seafront is frozen in the Adriatic coastal town of Senj, Croatia, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in the midst of a deadly cold wave. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
However, the cold will not last as long or be as harsh as the deep freeze of last winter, Reppert emphasized. During the second half of January and early February 2012, bitterly cold air originating from Siberia killed hundreds of people across Europe.RELATED: Europe's Deadly Deep Freeze of January and February 2012
Well to the north of the active storm track expected this winter, near- to slightly below-normal precipitation is in store for the U.K., Ireland and Scandinavia.
"London will be mild to start [this winter]. Then it will be turning colder for the end of the winter. That could be there best chance for any snowfall late January and February," Reppert said.
Farther south, a storm train will be in place for much of the winter from southern Spain, the Mediterranean region and southeastern Europe. Above-normal water temperatures of the Mediterranean Sea will help storms to strengthen as they move across the region, enhancing rainfall.
Italy, Greece, former Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey are all included in the zone that could receive above-normal precipitation for the winter season. The active winter storms will keep temperatures close to normal for the season in this zone.
The above-normal rainfall predicted from southern Spain to Italy and southeastern Europe will be beneficial for drought-stricken areas. Severe to exceptional drought conditions are gripping portions of Portugal, Spain, Italy and eastern Europe.
The drought impacted agriculture, including a significant hit to grapes that will cause higher wine prices
Meanwhile, snowfall for places like Rome, Italy, which received rare snow last winter
, is less likely this season.
One exception to unusual snow occurrences this winter may be the French Riviera.
"The French Riviera is like Jacksonville, Fla. It typically gets snow once every five years or so," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls explained. "There might be a cold outbreak in France, especially late in season, during February, for southern areas that may allow snow to fall."
Paris may also receive a snowfall during the latter part of the season.
On the northern edge of the storm train, more snow than usual is forecast in the Pyrenees Mountains, the Alps and Balkan Mountains. With above-normal snow and temperatures that will be cold enough to sustain heavy snow pack, a good ski season is anticipated.
Across Germany, above-normal snowfall is forecast from Frankfurt on south. Berlin may receive near-normal snow.
By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
If you have questions or want to speak with a meteorologist, please contact our 24-hour press hotline at (814) 235-8710
or email email@example.com
.This is a commercial message from AccuWeather, Inc.
385 Science Park Road | State College, PA 16803
Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) I love this parody from Venessia.com so much that I just had to share it on Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog itself.
Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
(Venice, Italy) If you are in Venice on Sunday, October 21, 2012, you are in for a treat. The Venetian chapter of FAI will take part in a national cultural marathon, "the only marathon that you run with your eyes." I have written about FAI before:
The Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), or the Italian Environmental Foundation was established in 1975 to "emulate the English National Trust." (For Americans, a similar organization would be the National Trust for Historic Preservation.) ...FAI declares that it bases its work on five principles: knowledge, pragmatism, consistency, independence and quality. Since FAI is a foundation, we can agree those are principles upon which any solid foundation should be built. FAI safeguards the heritage of art, nature and the Italian landscape.
The FAIMARATHON is a non-competitive race involving more than 70 Italian cities, in which the goal is to call attention to cultural and artistic places that are part of hectic, everyday life, but often overlooked. Together with Il Gioco del Lotto, Italy's national lottery, FAI hopes to raise awareness of the art and culture that surrounds us here in Italy while raising funds to protect and restore that beauty. Using funds from the Lotto is a tradition that goes back 400 years when Pope Innocent XII finished construction of Palazzo Montecitorio, the current Chamber of Deputies, with lottery money.
In Venice, the marathon will focus on the wellheads throughout the city that are a crucial part of its history. Providing fresh water to its citizens was always a serious concern during the Venetian Republic, and an estimated 2500 wells were constructed, mainly out of stone. The wells were located in the middle of squares and courtyards, and daily life revolved around them. Strict laws regulated the purity of the water, and the amount that could be drawn.
From The Venice Wikibook - Venetian Public Art
:Because Venice was cut off from reliable sources of fresh water, Venetians built underground basins to collect and filter rainwater. Their system of cisterns collected rainwater and retained it in a clay basin, which citizens could access. Wellheads capped these cisterns. Often, wellheads were festooned with carvings of saints, family crests, inscriptions, or other images important to Venetians; carvings of saints usually faced the nearest church. The decorative characteristics of wellheads ranged through the Carolingian, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque eras.
Wellheads exemplified the city’s culture and its love for art, as well as functioning as a barrier between the important water reservoir and sources of possible contamination. Wellheads functioned as protection for the water source by preventing animals from falling in and keeping floodwaters from contaminating the drinking water. It was also common to have a small hollowed-out bowl near the base of the wellhead, which was kept full for animals to drink.As the city grew, so did the number of wellheads. They were typically located in the center of campi, and were always a place for socializing and interacting with neighbors. Photographs dating to as late as the nineteenth century show women washing clothes on the steps of wellheads, children playing nearby, and men hauling up the water. With the completion of an aqueduct from the mainland in the late 1800s, wells lost their function and were quickly abandoned.
|Photo: Nino Barbieri|
|Photo: Renato Canciani|
The FAIMARATHON will start at the Archivio di Stato at the Frari, wind its way through San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio and finish at San Francesco della Vigna in Castello, visiting 35 wellheads along the way. All participants will be given a kit which includes a backpack, a bib, the itinerary, a postcard to mark the stages completed, a free ticket to one of the FAI landmarks and a sticker in support of the campaign Ricordati di salvare l'Italia or "Remember to Save Italy." All those who complete the course will receive an orange scarf, a symbol of commitment to the cultural heritage of Italy and support of the activities of the Foundation. In addition, the FAI delegation of Venice has also planned a surprise!FAI MARATHONSunday, October 21, 201210:00 AMCloisters of the State ArchivesCampo dei FrariSan Polo 3002Registration:Day of the event from 10:00AM to 11:00AMPrior to the event at Olivetti Store, Piazza San Marco 101, Procuratie Vecchie Online at: www.fondoambiente.itEnglish: http://eng.fondoambiente.it/Cost: Adults: minimum contribution of 6 euro, 5 euro for FAI membersCouples and families: minimum contribution of 10 euro; 8 euro for FAI membersAnyone who joins FAI or renews their membership may participate for freeClick to leave your comments at www.lottoperfai.it Ciao from Venezia,CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
Dear Readers -
I am making the following test because it seems that YouTube clips are not posting properly on Facebook. I don't know if it's an Italian thing -- since Italy has been suing Google for years now, trying to shut down YouTube -- or just a simple, universal glitch. That you for your patience, and I hope you enjoy the clip:)
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
|Frank Stella - Gray Scramble - |
Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection
(Venice, Italy) Hennelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof were passionate collectors of Italian, European and American art of the decades after 1945, and felt they were kindred spirits of Peggy Guggenheim. Upon her death this past February, Hennelore bequested 83 works to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, including those by Afro, Alberto Burri, Alexander Calder, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Eduardo Chillida, Tony Cragg, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Lucio Fontana, Jean Dubuffet, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Anish Kapoor, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol, enriching the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with art dating up to the 1970s and 80s. When I saw pieces from new collection, which were deftly integrated into the existing art, I had the same feeling of wonder that I'd had on a class trip I took to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City when I was 13-years-old and witnessed modern art for the first time. The Schulhof Collection blends perfectly into the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
|Sound Garden by Architettura Sonora|
The Biennale's International Festival of Contemporary Music finished on an exciting note this year: attendance by students was way up -- over 20% of the audience was young people and students. Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale, said that it was encouraging to look out over the audience and not only see a sea of white-haired heads. "We have reaped the rewards after spending a long time laying the ground work to attract young people. Ivan Fedele, the new Director of the Music Sector, performed with presence and passion. The result is a turning point for the Music Sector of the Biennale, which will attach increasing importance to the dissemination of knowledge of music and supporting new talent, further strengthening the program and the Biennial Educational College." Ivan Fedele countered and said that even if someone has white hair, they can still be young at heart.Also doing their part to encourage the musical youth of Italy, the Fondazione Teatro La Fenice di Venezia and the Friends of La Fenice Foundation held their annual Premio Venezia National Piano Competition this past week. Saturday night, October 13, the two finalists competed against each other. This year, two young women ended up in the top slots: Martina Consonni, a 15-year-old from Como, and Giulia Rossini, a 19-year-old from Milan. The program:
Trenta due Variazioni in do minore sopra un tema orginale Wo0 80 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Scherzo n.2 in si bemolle minore op. 31 by Fryderyk Chopin
Mephisto-Walzer n. 1, S. 514 by Franz Liszt
|Martina Consonni - Second Place|
Scherzo n. 3 in do diesis minore op. 39 by Fryderyk Chopin
Sonata n. 1 in fa minore op. 1 by Sergej Prokof'ev
Sonata n. 2 in sol minore op. 22 by Robert Schumann
|Giulia Rossini - Winner Premio Venezia|
Giulia made a striking figure at the piano, with long blond tresses held back with a crimson headband and matching crimson gown, looking a bit like Sleeping Beauty come to life. Martina chose an elegant, sophisticated black classic look. Both young women were excellent, poised and confident, playing with passion and grace. During the intermission while the jury voted as the audience sipped prosecco, both girls ventured into the foyer, and it was evident that they had each other's support. Giulia won the top prize, which includes a plethora of cash and concerts, as does second place, so there really is no "winner" and "loser" if a young pianist reaches the finalist slot. I've written about the prize before:
The other three 2012 finalists were:
Antonino Fiumara, born in Messina in 1993
William Greco, born in Nardò in 1987
Serena Valluzzi, born in Gioia del Colle in 1994
Congratulations to everyone!
Ciao from Venezia,
(Venice, Italy) Venice, the most romantic city in the world, has a dirty little not-so-secret: it is covered with graffiti, most of which is "tags." On Sunday, October 21, 2012, a group of concerned citizens in Venice participated in an anti-graffiti Cleaning Day, organized by Milan, joining cities throughout Italy in a national effort to clean up the country on the outside. At the same time, the Italian government fights to clean up the corruption on the inside with an anti-graft bill. From Reuters
, Italy Moves Closer to Passing Anti-Corruption Law
:To accelerate passage of the draft law, which has languished in parliament for two years, Prime Minister Mario Monti called a confidence vote, which curtails debate and ends voting on individual amendments.... "A serious law against corruption is a fundamental factor for Italian activities and international investment in order to unblock the country's growth," Monti told local government representatives at a conference in Bologna as voting took place.Monti's unelected government is pushing hard to get the law passed quickly to shore up confidence in the political system and show that something is being done to stem graft.In an economy of about 1.7 trillion euros, corruption siphons off 60 billion euros (48.7 billion pounds) a year out of the public coffers, according to the country's audit court, a body of magistrates which overlooks public finances.
Stories of extravagant corruption as Italians suffer in a deep recession have become a mainstay of the media.
For example, they have been reporting prosecutors' allegations that an official in the regional government of Lazio, which includes Rome, siphoned off millions of euros of public campaign financing to holiday in the French Riviera, dine on oysters and champagne at exclusive restaurants, and buy a BMW 4x4 when it snowed in the city.
|Graffiti on Rialto Bridge|
As the Italian government struggles to pass its anti-graft law, Italian citizens are fighting back, too, with an anti-graffiti effort. The Facebook group "I nostri masegni puliti e splendenti" or "Our Stones Clean and Bright"
met in Campo San Leonardo to clean up a wall of graffiti. Masegni
are stones that Venetians have been using for centuries for pavement and construction. From Venipedia
:Masegni stones are the most prevalent paving stone in Venice, in fact they make up over 70% of all Venetian pavement. There are two types of masegni stones used in paving Streets. Traditional masegni have been used since 1676 and hold great historical value to the city. Newer masegni stones are used in some Street Pavement and are used to replace unusable traditional stones. Both stones are made from quarried Trachyte from the Euganean Hills.
|The wall before the cleaning|
When we arrived, we were handed an outfit that resembled a gauzy spacesuit to protect our clothing, a paint brush and a bucket of paint. Some of the group were professionals, but others, such as myself, were novices, including some children. The atmosphere was festive and light, and soon attracted a crowd that observed our efforts. Care was taken to prepare the area so that we didn't splatter the pavement with our good intentions. Reporters came by; we were on the local news, and even made the front page of the local paper, la Nuova Venezia
After the wall (and the Telecom phone booth in front of it), was cleaned, the workers celebrated with prosecco and snacks sent over by local businesses. Everyone agreed the wall would look even better after the paint dried.
While we were painting the wall in the historic center, over on the Lido another group polished up the Teatro Marinoni located inside the old hospital complex, getting ready for the new season. The Marinoni Theater was bequeathed to the residents of Venice by Mario Marinoni, and has been part of yet another ongoing struggle between the Venetians and private development, who want to turn the former hospital into a luxury complex. To me, there is no reason for one project to negate another. There is plenty of room for all.
Also, yesterday, was the FAI marathon, part of another national effort to rediscover treasures right in front of our eyes. If you missed it, you can find the Venetian Cat - Venice Blog
post at The Wells of Venice - FAI Marathon
As the world struggles to find its balance between creation and destruction, honesty and corruption, if we all just make some small efforts, the dark forces will be balanced by the light.
|The Wall - Before and After|
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
Encyclopedic Palace of the World
American Folk Art Museum
Photo by Gavin Ashworth
(Venice, Italy) Thanks to his loving grandchildren, self-taught Italian-American artist Marino Auriti's dream of a palace to house all worldly knowledge, bringing together the greatest discoveries of the human race -- from the wheel to the satellite -- lives on, inspiring the title for the 55th Venice Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition.
Mario Auriti, a whimsical inventor and self-taught artist, was born in 1891 in Guardiagrele, a town in central Italy. He eventually settled in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania with his family, where he built a huge garage and set up an auto-body shop and "artistic framing" business. In the garage, he painted with oils, copying old masters and photos clipped out of National Geographic
. It was also where he created his ultimate dream, a large model for the Encyclopedic Palace, which, in his fantasy, would become a national monument for knowledge, a skyscraper in Washington, D.C. After his death 1980, his dream ended up in storage, where it slowly decomposed until resurrected by the American Folk Art Museum in 2004.
Auriti's granddaughter, B.G. Firmani, has written a poignant memorial about the efforts of the family to ensure that his dream did not die. From FORTE E GENTILE
, a post entitled, Io Vivo! The Encyclopedic Palace Rises Again
:...But it was after my grandfather retired, in the 1950s, when he set to work on his pièce de résistance, the Encyclopedic Palace. This one wasn’t just a model, though.
It was a design for a museum, a national monument. He filled notebooks developing its concept; in his statement of purpose, in my stiff translation from his Italian, he called it “…an entirely new concept in museums, designed to hold all the works of man in whatever field, all discoveries made and those that may follow.” He wanted it built on the mall in DC – and if built at the time, at 136 stories, it would have been the tallest skyscraper in the world. With its surrounding piazza it would take up 16 city blocks. He built the model, at a scale of 1:200 meters, out of wood, brass, plastic, and tiny celluloid windows on which he drew mullions; for the tiny balustrades, he cut down hair combs. And this time, so no one could scoop him, he secured a patent for his creation. Continue reading at FORTE E GENTILE.
Massimiliano Gioni (Busto Arsizio, 1973), the curator for the 2013 Venice Biennale Contemporary Art Festival, chose the title Il Palazzo Enciclopedico/The Encyclopedic Palace, explaining, "...on November 16, 1955 Marino Auriti filed a design with the US Patent office depicting his Palazzo Enciclopedico... Auriti's plan was never carried out, of course, but the dream of universal, all-embracing knowledge crops up throughout history, as one the eccentrics like Auriti share with many other artists, writers, scientists and prophets who have tried -- often in vain -- to fashion an image of the world that will capture its infinite variety and richness."
I love this theme! Imagine that instead of the world's tallest skyscraper, Auriti's dream comes true in the sprawling Biennale International Contemporary Art Exhibition, each pavilion filled with art inspired by knowledge unique to that country. Paolo Baratta, the President of La Biennale, stated, "Each [pavilion] has its own history and style. It may certainly be said that in them the countries reveal the role attributed to contemporary art as messenger of their present and their cultural wealth. But the pavilions also provide revelations on more profound realities and riches than those of the usual official and stereotyped images or pretexts."
Yesterday, October 25, 2012, Paolo Baratta and Massimiliano Gioni met the representatives of the participating countries at Ca' Giustinian, Biennale headquarters. There are eight countries participating in the art festival for the first time: the Bahamas, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Republic of Kosovo, Kuwait, Maldives, the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) & Nigeria, participating with the African countries, and Paraguay, participating with the IILa (the Italo-Latin America Institute). The vice-president of the promotional committee for the Holy See's participation at Biennale Arte 2013 was also present.
Imagine, the Biennale in Venice, a city that contains all sorts of libraries, churches and palaces stuffed with ancient knowledge, adding eight new countries to its ever-expanding contemporary universe, inspired by the dream of an Encyclopedic Palace created by an Italian immigrant out back in a Pennsylvania garage!
The 55th Venice Biennale International Contemporary Art Exhibition will run from June 1 to November 25, 2013, with previews on May 29, 30 and 31.
Ciao from Venezia,CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
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(Venice, Italy) This evening is All Hallows' Eve, the night before Hallowmass, better known as Halloween, the evening before All Saints' Day. This year, the full moon a few days ago caused All Sorts of Havoc, contributing to extreme storms All Over the Earth, including Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast of the United States of America.
Here in Venice, we have been experiencing acqua alta
on and off; today happens to be an "on" day with rain and extreme high water expected this evening.
The ancient Celts believed that during this time of year the veil between this world and the Otherworld became thin, allowing spirits -- both dark and light -- to pass through more easily. So, tomorrow, Wednesday, November 1, we have All Saints' Day for the saintly spirits, and the day after, on Thursday, November 2, we have All Souls' Day for everybody else. Some say that the Venetian gondola resembles a boat on the River Styx...
I have written about this time of year before, an "evergreen" piece back on Sunday, October 31, 2010, which I will share with you again:
Gods' aid, let not my bones lie in a public location
With crowds too assiduous in their crossing of it;
For thus are tombs of lovers most desecrated.
May a woody and sequestered place cover me with its foliage
Or may I inter beneath the hummock
of some as yet uncatalogued sand;
At any rate I shall not have my epitaph in a high road.
---from Homage to Sextus Propertius by Ezra Pound
(Venice, Italy) That image is of the Island of San Michele, where Venice buries her dead. November 1 is All Saints' Day and November 2 is All Souls' Day, or the Day of the Dead, here in Italy. There is a free shuttle vaporetto
out to San Michele and back so everyone can tend to the tombs. The American poet Ezra Pound is buried here in Venice on the Island of the Dead, and also happened to die
here in Venice, most remarkably, on
the Day of the Dead,
two days after his 87th birthday on October 30, 1972.
Today is October 31, or Halloween, which has been one of my favorite holidays ever since I was a child. When I lived in Los Angeles, I would spend a good week decorating my house with dead bodies and skeletons, and setting up a proper graveyard under the white birch tree. I attracted kids from miles around, and some adults, too.
In fact, the first year I moved into the house in Los Feliz, back in 1988 before it was properly furnished, my sister and I decorated every room with a different spooky theme: the coffin room, the fortune teller room, etc. and threw a huge party complete with sound effects and lighting -- I even got the Frankenstein monster from Universal Studios to come, since he was a friend of mine. It was all in good fun, and there was certainly nothing religious about it, more like a Disneyland Haunted Mansion theme. To me, any holiday that can inspire Serious White Men to get creative, dress up in costumes and loosen up a bit is providing a service to mankind. One of my favorite costumes was worn by a fellow who was normally very... uptight. He dressed all in white and carried a big black felt marker, calling himself "Graffiti Man," and had people sign his clothes all night. To me, Halloween in the States is more similar to Carnival in Venice than it is to the Day of the Dead.
When I first arrived in Venice in 1998, I had one of the few carved pumpkins around, and there were no celebrations except a small one in Campo Santa Margherita with the students. Halloween has been slowly growing more popular, with shop windows filled with cobwebs and witches.
This is what the Catholics think about that:
Please click HERE
to continue reading Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog - The Island of the Dead
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog