Friday, December 17, 2010

Lucca Comics - and trip to italy....

waaaaaaaaaaaay back around Halloween. was that long ago.
i had a great time going back to the Tuscan town of Lucca. It's been many years since i attended the comics festival there and there have been some major changes. the show seems to have gotten bigger! good...there were tons of attendees and a crazy energy about the town. "cos" they're known it Italy...the people who dress up in costumes, were in huge throngs....probably the most elaborate and passionate cos players i've seen. The old Lucca festival used to take place outside the wall of the town...and now it's inside. I guess it's better for the show, and probably better for business in town...but gone is the tranquility of the town. the THRONGS of comix fans can get overwhelming at times. but it's all part of the scene now. the FOOD in Lucca is still fantastic. absolutely wonderful. i got in the que at my favorite Foccaceria...and it was just like old times! had wonderful dinners out with my friends Massimo & Marina (my kind hosts in Roma) and our other friends Martina & Giovanni (Milano), and also Carsten (Berlin) & his girlfriend. Many others...but the names are slipping into the either.

after doing some fine biz in Lucca, and suffering thru the bad weather (so typical) we headed back to Roma, where i spent my last 4 nites of the trip. the rest of my stay was tinged with the sadness for my friend Massimo whose father suddenly passed away. Massimo & Marina were kind enough to let me stay in their apartment while they attended to family matters down in Sorrento.

Roma is still Roma, although i was alone, and feeling a bit strange, i managed to have some very nice times. More time walking and just enjoying the good weather. I finally managed after years of visiting Roma to make it to the Castel S'ant Angelo which had some of the most impressive views of Roma i've EVER seen.

Bought some great shirts and sweaters for myself, and brought back some nice gifts for Marcia & Lena.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

fedex...your worst nightmare....but

I ship a lot of art. all over the world...mostly never have a problem. but this summer after
the San Diego comic con, I shipped home 14 boxes....mostly art. This is incredibly stressful for me because some of these boxes are VEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERY valuable. and i had good reason for this stress * fedex lost 1 of the boxes. a gazilion $$$'s worth of art in it.

This happened at the very beginning of the summer trip with still nearly 1 month of travel ahead. i only had a master list, so i couldn't say exactly what was in the box. the people at fedex have a SHITTY system for finding lost packs. It turned out that when we finally started dealing with the "trace dept" that they weren't even in the same state of the warehouse with the lost boxes!!! all they had to go on were the Keywords to search from. we went around in circles until they told me, sorry...just make a claim!! after this Marcia wrote letters to ALL the most important people at fedex, and we were beginning to negotiate with the insurers. when they called and our package was FOUND !!!! the letters worked...because they re opened the investigation. 2 months after being shows up in Utah. ??? ohhhhhhhhh, where they auction lost packs!!!! BASTARDS !!!!! they told me on the phone that they wait more than a year before things go to auction houses.

Moral of this story: don't give up hope!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

summer highlights!

soooooooooooooooooo, i've been outta the loop. guilty as charged. it was a long, fun, at some point difficult, at other times amazing summer.
the highlights:!!!
1- San Diego. Terrible marine layer the whole time we were in S.D., but we managed to have fun anyway. Fun at the beach except that nasty stingray assault on my friend's son Sam. He's ok...the kid's a trooper. and OF COURSE there's the food we love: Great Asian, superb farmers' market, 2- 2-our friends from the Netherlands (the Mokken family!!!)... they were in S.D., and they joined us for camping in the Sequoia forest. awesome times.
3-Camping in the Sierra's. ALWAYS a blast. Did some new things this time, the big fire almost blew our plans...but we ended up trying a new camp for the first 2 nites. absolutely amazing and completely pristine.
4- the drive North: short form...
a- dinner at a polish restaurant (chopin) in Walnut Creek
b- the drive up to Mendocino...passing thru wine country with a very nice afternoon lunch in Sonoma
c-MENDOCINO !!!! great seaside town. superb food, great coffee shops and nice architecture and lush gardens everywhere.
e- Southern Oregon coast. DUNES !!!!
f- Staying with Marcia's Uncle Ed & his wife Anne in Eugene OR
g- Portland. great city, stayed with Marcia's cousin David and his family.

Friday, July 23, 2010

fri. s.d. Comicon report - ASHLEY WOOD ARRIVES!!!

wellllll, after having his flight canceled on wed, and being held up with nothing to do till now, Ashley arrived around 1pm. All the faithful fans who've been following his blog and waiting patiently have been rewarded. There is a nice little crowd around him chatting and getting signatures and sketches. i'll have photos later !!

Friday, June 25, 2010


A completely crazy food experience is heading to New York City in around 4 months...

to find out what EATALY is..... CLICK HERE to read the article about Joe Bastianich's new project

just reading about has me juicy.

i can't wait.


Monday, June 21, 2010

counter culture heaven - MERMAID PARADE in coney island

you gotta love people in costumes on parade...? well i do!!!, especially when it's the natty
Mermaid Parade of Coney Island.

scantilly clad mermaids & mermen...from clumsy to carnivale and everything in between, it's a great event with Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson leading the parade!

we had a sensational time starting off the day at the coney island aquarium, and proceeded to the parade route and then a fantastic meal of Russian cuisine on the Brighten Beach boardwalk
@ Tatiana. Cherry filled ravioli, Borscht and then Chicken Kiev & Osso Bucco .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jim Woodring WEATHERCRAFT opening

Wow, a big thanks to all the fans, friends, artists, bloggers, and Brooklyn neighborhoodies who attended the opening last nite. Those posters i put up in the neighborhood really worked!

Jim's Weathercraft art looked great hanging! We exhibited around 30 pieces including the 24 pages in a row from the end of the book. The art will be hanging for another month! try to come in to see it.

It was a great evening with Jim on hand meeting & greeting fans, signing books doing a sketch or 2 as requested...An old acquaintance of his brought in the first zine he made (1982 !!) that she got when she traded hers for his. This was quite THE artifact. very cool to see it.

The evening went swimmingly and the signed Weathercraft books, and limited ed. (50) silkscreen prints we made were hot items~! (contact me for the remaining few that are still available!! - )

*next time, a 50 lbs worth of ice! dang it was a bit hot in the gallery, and beers could have benefited from a tad more ice...note to self! tho i didn't hear any complaints ;-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

germany day 11& days of ERLANGEN

it ain't easy stayin on top of this. so, excuse me if i ramble and continue to make no sense like i usually do! the final 2 days of the show were great. amazing times, great biz, and a lot of fun seeing old friends and great artists. to start with Thomas Ott came by and said hi. He, the Swiss master of scratch board art is still making some of the coolest art around. i had a lot of fun with him stopping by and saying hi. also, a real trooper award goes to Veronica in her Wonder Woman costume!!! yes. plus there's a pic of the special dish i was talkin about called Blaue Zipfel in Zwiebelsud.

also great news for my new friend , female artist Ulli Lust who took home several major honors at the awards : !!!!
ICOM prize- independent comic prize _ Erlangen & Munich comic festivals
best graphic novel of the year for "Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens" ok...that translates (courtesy of google translate) to Today is the last day of the rest of your life
and the german equivalent of the Eisner awards the Max & Moritz prize for the fans favorite!
and her book got the publishing rights bought by French, Spanish & Italian publishers!!!
so, congrats Ulli!!!!

so the last 2 days just flew by and next thing you know its time for dinner and another fine meal at the Kitzmann brewery....

final day of the show was great and then BOOM! it's over, time to pack up and head back to Munich. no matter what kind of show i've had there's always a sad feeling like "what?" it's ending already???? yep. so, we packed it all up and hopped in Christoph's van and were back in Munich in like 2 hrs. had an uneventful but convenient meal at a local beer garden down the street.
enjoy all these pix from the final days

Saturday, June 5, 2010

germany day 10 - Erlangen Comic Salon day 2

woooooo, it was a busy and fun day. a lot of biz, a lot of friends, and a lot of activity at the booth. Night before when we ate at the Kitzmann brewery i really over did it...woke up to major heartburn around 3am. remember the old Alka Seltzer commercial?: i can't believe i ate the whole thing! ???...yes, that was me. luckily there was some xtra strength ant acid pills from a previous trip. unluckily not a great nit of sleep. soooooooooooooo, the big and important thing to report about that meal is the name of that special sausage cooked (and served) in that vinegar based broth: Blaue Zipfel im Zwiebelsud mit Brot. the transalation is boiled (blue as opposed to browned from the grill) sausage in a vingegar onion base, with bread. This is an exquisite and specific Bavarian dish local to this area. ok, enuf about thurs nite! back to friday

begins with the great breakfast @ Konig Otto hotel. after arriving at the convention and setting up all over again, we settled into the groove of the day. Some art i forgot to bring with me for a customer was in transit via the post office so i was regularly checking the tracking info and regularly disapointed, finding that the delay was caused by a german holiday.

My Italian friends Giovanni & Martina (couple) and an italian dealer Umberto brought art that was part of a deal i did with another collector from Roma. and our plans to meet up later back at Kitzmann were set. The rest of the con went on swimmingly sales wise and with a major purchase/trade brewing in the works.

It's easy going back to the Kitzmann brewery. plus the weather finally turned out beautifully so it was really nice sitting outside and eating. i went easy and ordered the lamb again. all was tasty and then our Italian friends showed up finishing the evening with us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Germany - days 8/9 ...Erlangen !!

So, my good friends....we left Munich around 1pm on Wed and headed off towards Erlangen. got in around 3:30pm and went straight for the convention center to make sure everything was ok. picked up my badges, check out the stand, fixed a few issues, and then met up with my good buddy Marc Mokken from Amsterdam (a fellow comic/art/dealer/collector /friend) who was finishing his set up. the 3 buddies then set off in search of a much needed beer w food. so, we headed into the town center towards a restaurant i knew, only to find out it was now serving spanish food. uh uh. no thanks.

our next course of action was to go towards a wonderful brewery i knew about not far from the hotel...i remembered the general direction but not the a name! anyway when we go near to where i thought it was we asked a shop owner and she kindly directed us towards the Kitzmann Brauerei
this is a wonderful place with EXQUISITE BAVARIAN cuisine. really special! so for dinner i had roasted lamb, with potatoes , marc had the duck w french fries and red cabbage kraut, and Christoph had this great speciality of Wurst cooked in a vinegar based sause with onions. MMMMM it was all fantastic. and the beer was great. we sat around blabbing about all kinds of stuff until it was time to split for sleep. yes the beer kept coming.

onto TODAY and the first day of the show. woke up and had the hardy german breakfast courtesy of my Konig Otto hotel. and then off to the show for start up. not the easiest thing limpin over there because of my sore calf. ug, getting OLDER sucks! presently i have 3 injuries...but that's another story, THANKS BJJ !!!!

anyhoo, at the show the set up went well and eventually all the old friends and customers started showing up, and the days business got off to a very nice start. Ulrich Merkl*a collector /friend and publisher of a wonder Winsor McKay book called Dream of the Rarebit Fiend
stopped by to say hi, Alexander Braun who helped create an art show at the Salon from his collection came by, and a bunch of other local dealers and neighbors from previous shows.
a great morning.

sadly i can't report having ate anything noteworthy for lunch. but, as the show winded down we attempted to reserve for dinner at a fave place close by the convention center only to find out that this lovely little Bavarian place was now serving pizza and pasta? there was only 1 thing to do!!! KITMANN BREWERY !!!! yes. and glad we did. another really fine meal accompanied by their delicious beer. C & i started off with sharing Baggers (german potato pancakes) with a very tasty type of kraut, plus the side order of those delish wurst in vinegar w onions...i'll get the name of it later! mark had bavarian carpaccio. then for the mains, marc ate what i had the night before and C & i order the Schäufele (roast pork shoulder) with dumplings and kraut. it was absolutely amazing and the crispy skin perfect! i was stuffed and couldn't even finish the dumpling. oh it was delish!!!!

we ate outside and there was no rain in site. the weather starting to get nicer.
it was great day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

munich - day 7

Grüß Gott,
hey everyone...another nice overcast day in what did i do? had a nice lazy morning with bernadette at home. and then headed off by bike towards the Pinakothek's . Stopped for lunch at a cafe/restaurant part of a wine shop called SoulKitchen . A nice prix fixed lunch special (5.90eu) which consisted of a potato soup (brothy kind), and schweine schnitzel with bbq sauce, baked potato and salad. All very nice.

then it was off to the Alte Pinakothek to see the great old master collection of art. It's really an incredible collection with great examples of Rubens, Van Dyck, Durer, the Flemish school, Rembrandt, and of course other great German painters: like Albrecht Altdorfer. I've never seen his work in other museums but i can assure you his skill and hyper detail of battle scenes (Alexanderschlacht ) and exquisite landscapes is second to NONE. It's really astonishing
and incredible. As far as Rubens, i doubt there is a better single collection of Rubens art any where. they have in 1 room 15+ GIANT paintings, and then scattered about beautiful prelims and other paintings by him. They also have a strong collection of Italian Masters as well.

After a nice after noon at the museum i biked back home, and then after a little tooling around it was time to head to the park for my bi annual soccer match with Christoph & Bernadette's friends!!! i was nursing a calf sprain coming into the game and about 3/4 thru the match i was i spent the rest of the time in goal. actually it was a lot of fun (except for the not being able to push off on the right foot.)

afterwards we went back to B's cousin Erme's house for dinner and they're theatrical practice session for a friend's wedding coming up. they had a comical musical performance they were working on. i couldn't understand a word of it, but from their laughing i inferred a lot.

Everyone was very nice ...Marcus and wife, erme's husband, and their kids....the eldest (a big soccer fan...6 yrs old!) took the group picture.

a very nice day. ok, i need some aspirin, but today (day 8 morn) it's easy as we're finally heading off to the ERLANGEN COMIC SALON .

i'll give my calf much needed rest for the weekend!



Monday, May 31, 2010

munich - day 6

Cold and rainy today. kind of the weather i expected for the whole trip...but luckily until now i avoided it.
so, everything is closed today, i went for lunch at the Augustiner Brau ....Munich's oldest brewery.
Sauer braten, with semmelknödel (dumplings!), and a red cabbage slaw. but the food isn't the point's the beer. and the atmosphere. so it was a lot of fun.

afterwards i attempted to go to the pinakothek's but was thwarted as all museums were closed today. it's ok...went for a very nice 1hr walk home via the englischer garten. a pit stop at a nice cafe on the way was all i needed.

now i'm chilling, my hosts forgot about a dinner date, and invited me to join but i decided on staying in and drinking BEER and eating some nice leftovers.

so...that's the day.

munich - day 5

after a quick little breakfast and coffee we were on our way for our day's adventure. 1st stop to
meet at Michael & Veronica's house. M is a comic convention promoter in Munich. Also, C& B's friend Renata showed up to join us. M showed me his very nice apartment and art collection and a little more coffee and then we were off to our special destiniation: the countryside south east of munich about an hrs drive. the drive was very nice, as we got closer the views were incredible- in the distance the beautiful alps were rising up in front of a gray/lavender curtain of rain clouds...very beautiful.

we arrived (all of us hungry) in the pleasant little town of Sonnering where the restaurant Gasthaus Angstl awaited us! and we were treated to a glorious bavarian meal complete with Schweine Haxe, Dumplings, potato salad and several types of kraut. + GREAT BEER.

after lunch we headed back towards munich and made a pitstop in the historic town of Wasserburg (along the Inn river). We spent an hour or so roaming the beautiful quiet streets and finished with some nice coffee in an outdoor cafe.

I drove back with Renata, who practiced her english very well! it was a nice ride home. we arrived around 7pm. then C&B were showing stuff to their friends in the, trophies from the flea market the day before...

for dinner i had leftovers from lunch and some left over food from the day before which was just as good reheated (german burgers & potato salad!)....

a great day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

munich day 4

kicked back with a chill morning at home. and then went off to a local outdoor food market. this is a really great treat. are a bunch of pictures.

afterwards i went for a long bike ride back down to the exercise park. it's such a great city for biking in. finished the afternoon off with a beer in the beer garden . it was packed with people and the bavarian horn band was playing a top the chinesischer turm.

later when i got back to C & B's home, we had a lovely meal with some tasty german burgers, and potato salad...of course accompanied by a fine beer!

then Christoph wanted to see what art i was bringing to the show, so we hung out and looked at the first batch.

enjoy the pix

Saturday, May 29, 2010

munich day 3

i barely used the camera today, so pix will be from other days! except for the food pic from the englischer garten!

woke up to lovely weather...went over to the local bakery/food shop (i need to get some pix of this place!) and got some yogurt, fruit, and a wonderful little roll called a Krusti. delicious with butter. not a great nite sleep so it was harder than usual to motivate to go out for exercise...but i biked over to the park and went for a little jog before lunch.

i went back to the Englischer Garten for lunch and kinda went crazy a bit over ordering! Stecker Fisch (Mackrel on a stick), weisswurst, bratwurst, sour kraut and a big pretzle! and NO i didn't finish it all!

after eating i went for a great bike ride to the southern end of Munich via the Isar River park. This is one of my favorite things to do. it was warm out and i decided to spend the day out instead of going to a museum. hit the exercise park and did a nice little work out. and then finished the afternoon with a long bike ride home (roundabout and with heading north to the wilder part of the Englischer Garten. a nice nap set me right for the evenings festivities...and festive they were!

it was off with Bernadette to the opening party for the film she starred in! and Christoph was in it too! yes, she was the star...however it was just for a friends project. nothing big or fancy. it was a zombie movie with a twist! called night of the living! food wise just eating snacks for dinner. Had a really nice time seeing some of the people i've met before and meeting a few new people.

then a great quiet nite time bike ride home!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

munich day 2- evening

dinner tnite: a snack of a cheese spread with pretzels, and then the wonderful käsespätzle (spätzle is german pasta! & käse is cheese- put them together and what do you have? a very happy mr eder!). earlier while the batter was being prepared...yes it's more like a pancake batter than the drier italian pastas! i really worked up an apetite learning how to make spätzle... in addition there were fried onions served on top! and there was a fine german beer to accompany, and for desert a type of rhubarb preserve!

munich day 2

wie geht es innen? (how's it goin?)
i went to the museum brandhorst today. it's a new museum (next to the modern pinakothek) that was being built the last time i was in munich. they have a great pop art collection, and the museum itself is a modern masterpiece of architecture. i even saw a damien hirst that i liked. i went with bernadette by bike to christoph's work place neighborhood for lunch where we went to a special little place (it was pouring and we ate standing...that's how tiny the place was. we had a dish called Schaschlik (which is a kind of kebab marinated and cooked in broth...stewed as it were. it's of hungarian/german origin. thy drizzled it with curry powder. and i had a lurid old fashioned german soft drink ( neon green) at christoph's behest. all was yummy, and a nice brezel (pretzel) to accompany. it's been pouring on and off all day, very overcast when not pouring. and yet it's all good. again one of the most chill cities ever.
so i'm back at their home now drinking a nice beer Bergbock Hell by Kloster Andechs. bought at a great beer store. basically a miniature version of our fave upper manhattan beer distributor, but with only great german beer of course. .80 cents per bottle! mmmmmmm. it is good here.

the dinner post to follow

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Munich - day 1

well travel day went as easy as pie.
got to munich and my friend christoph was was there to greet me within a few minutes of arrival.
went back to his place....had some coffee and rhubarb pie! very nice. my bagels, coffee, and brownies travelled well, and he and bernadette enjoyed.

after getting set up with the bike, it was time to hit the road and get some it was 12 noon i decided the best course of action was to bike down the englischer garten and stop at a beer garden for wurstl (sausage) bread and kraut. jet lag was hitting pretty hard post eating, but i chilled a while and then continued my bike ride along the isar river south. heading back home in order to take a nap around 4 pm.

bernadette made a lovely dinner with fresh asparagus, potatos and schnitzel of pork with a horseradish bread crumb mixture. prior to dinner christoph and i biked to get some beer. we each had a nice Augustiner beer.

after dinner we played around on rhapsody...and then all were ready for bed.
pretty simple but very pleasant day.
havin truble uploading pix...will work on it tomorrow.
gotta crash now!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

birthday conclusion! with pix

it was a great day.
we had dinner at a very special tapas, & paella restaurant Socarrat. something i was VERY skeptical about because paella isn't
something that is normally good in takes longer than risotto to make. so usually restaurants cheat and have it pre-cooked. YUCK..
but this place is different. they warn you that it will be 40 minutes!!
the tapas were wonderful....fried artichoke hearts, mushrooms sauted with pork and drizzled with tartuffo oil, fried whole peppers, and croquettas!
instead of paella we had fideo (short spanish pasta) in squid ink w seafood! it was YUMMY.
and then marcia and lena baked a special birthday cake...lotsa chocolate !!! mmmmm

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

may 19th...happy bday to me!

woke up to 3 lovely presents from the wife and kid.
a coffee mug (i drink lotsa coffee) with my daughter's picture on it!
a T shirt that has "" in a word bubble. what can i say?...the merchant in me has rubbed off on the missus.
and a new FRY PAN...stainless steel. i've been whining about it for a while...i guess she heard me! it's awesome, and has delicious cheese omelette written all over it. than pan won't be a virgin for much longer!
and then a nice cozy breakfast out at Cookshop with marcia after dropping lena off at school. had a pretty darn good version of huevos rancheros! no need for lunch was huge!
i'm at the gallery now and YES, thars coffee in that thar mug now!@!!
i'm 47 today!

Monday, May 17, 2010

you be the judge....

fun at an nra (national rifle association) gathering, pictures are worth THOUSANDS of words...

see this movie !!! + grillin

take the soprano's and mix it with iron chef and what do you get?


this is a fun movie with a great ensemble's not 4 foodies only.
it has a stylish vibe, moves quickly and i loved it!


had our first cook out of the season last nite, in out community garden. just me and the girls.
had to start with the classics (almost) buffalo burgers (with cheese, tomato & onion)
hotdogs (who isn't a sucker for good dogs off the grill), potato (trust me, cut an 1/8 to a 1/4 inch thick and slathered in olive oil, salt &'s awesome), and a veggie skewer!~
beers and good weather...what a pleasant evening it was.

Friday, May 14, 2010

quiet about brazilian jiu jitsu....until NOW

after getting my first promotion about 3 months ago...i had to stop training as my hamstring tendon was giving me fits. very confusing thing tho as i could jog without pain and do lunges, stair climbing, etc. but in certain positions, sometimes doing nothing at all, i would just have an aweful spasm of pain suddenly. only a certain type of stretch could relieve it. went to the doctor, got some knee strengthening exercizes and therapy to do. after 2 months, a little better, but i decided that it was time to go back to class! i had my apprehensions as you could imagine. so i decided that if i had to i'd favor one side, avoid movements stressful to that area. prior to going to the class i did my workouts to test the tendon and found that i was mostly ok. if you recall, earlier when i posted about braz jiu jitsu, i mentioned what a great physical challenge it is. so, i was a tiny bit nervous returning to class...but it turned out that i kept up a good routine on my own and i mostly breezed thru all the workout, with only a minor moment where i needed to stop and stretch.

i'm now proudly nursing my sprained wrist!! war wound i'm proud of! i missed this class. and it's good to be back. still, i'm off to Germany to attend the Erlangen Comic Salon in around 12 it's on and off again with bjj. i'm just happy all's well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


because we are having a JIM WOODRING show. yay!!!! JUNE 18th....just over a month away...

Jim's incredible book WEATHERCRAFT just came out, and we're the lucky lucky folks who get to exhibit and sell the art from this masterpiece of graphic novel fiction!

sooooooo, come by and say hi june 18th.

Monday, May 10, 2010

italian trip...the final days

before it all fades last attempt to remember the last days of a short but epic trip. on the last free day...i spent the morning with my host Marina, chatting about it got later, i realized i had to get out of there. so we dashed off by car to drop me off at the metro station. i jumped out of the car, dashed off waving to marina. and, yes, the train station was closed! STRIKE UNTIL 3pm!! i frantically grabbed my cel phone called her and she was still nearby :-). so she drove me off towards a bus stop closer to town. and being the native of rome that she is, she thought of a special forno (bakery) near the bus stop which would have my beloved pizza bianca! u know they had way more than that of course...i couldn't resist and had a piece of pizza with fresh funghi porcini! mmmmm, it was great.

it was raining or drizzling all morning. i waited for the bus, which was sooo crowded i could barely get on and stood at the top of the well. the bus was so packed i couldn't even stamp my ticket. thanks to the strike!! and when i got to the piazza where the church of san Giovanni was, i jumped off...i had enuf of the bus. fine with me, another visit to the church was well worth it. afterwards i headed in the direction of the colosseum knowing full well that i would stop in the church of San Clemente and see the excavations below the church (which i hadn't had time for previously in this trip). WOW...this is a really cool thing to do. there's a complete complex of the ancient church below it. it was really special.

near the church is a gorgeous park over looking the colosseum. chilled there for a while and tried to find a church i had stumbled across the last time in roma. i found it and the crazy cool Michelangelo sculpture within. there was a cool sign forbidding tour leaders from stopping in front of the statue and giving lectures about it. nice.

and that was the end to a perfect day in Roma. we were supposed to meet our friend Giovanni for dinner but the baby was sick and we ended up relieved a little bit ourselves because we could now chill at home...Marina cooked us a lovely alla matraciana, with frittata. we had antipasti of home made cured artichoke hearts, some pecorrino romano and some nice hams. and yes...the vino from their food collective they belong to. it was lovely.

and if that wasn't enuf...massimo and i stayed up late into the nite trading art, and his other friend massimo came over and when it was all said and done, i did some great biz with both guys and ended up with Magnus, Manara art! i was very were they. treasures were swapped and all were happy.

but i must go in reverse for one last blur of a crazy meal we had the nite before. no need to go on about the churches and sites of Roma...oh yeah there was a Leonardo show about his drawings of mechanical contraptions from the various codex' . accompanying the drawings were full size constructions based on the drawings!!!! it was incredible. genius is an understatement for this man.

so...this meal. right now i can't remember the restaurant name! uggggg. but it was a place in the middle of nowhere (more or less a suburb of Rome)...u'd never find it in a million years and you'd have to drive there.
check out what we had:

entrees: stuffed peppers with baccala with pesto of pistachio and rucola
scallops with salad of artichoke and radicchio
ravioli of lardo (speical pork fat) di " cinto senese"stuffed w potatos, porcinis & curry
nuts i know!!!! totally nutz!!!

primi: ravioli filled with mussles with ratatouille sause
risotto w julienned peppers, sweet tomatos, and sausage
spaghetti with sardines, mezzancolle and pecorino

secondi: sandwich of sword fish filled with tomatos & bananas with lemon couscous
chicken with truffles, asparagus and avocado cream

on that note....
buono note!!!



Friday, May 7, 2010

napoli: days 7-10 redux

wow...before i forget all this, i'll digest it for all. the last free day before the con is but a blur now. i came to the great realization that the perfect pizza is the margherita (simplest, also cheapest on the menu)'s ok with light supplement (funghi, maybe salcicce, etc) but not too many items. The day now fuses into a mix of churches (san gregorio in armeno again!...) and the fantastic National Archeological museum. where i was treated to the fabulous Farnese collection. a collection of roman sculpture dating back to ancient roma. the entire collection is on display permanently now. it's totally incredible. when i headed back to the hotel for a beer and rest around 5pm i bumped into giselle who reminded me about the opening of the museum show at Villa Pignatelli (with dinner!) and so after a nice time resting the feet, it was off to see the show. i lent about 30 pieces by the following artists: Gilbert Hernandez (who was a guest at the show), Ashley Wood, Jack Kirby, Chester Gould, Winsor McKay, Milton Caniff, and it was a great show. during the dinner i met a couple of really nice german artists.

so, the next morning the show would begin. cost 25 eu to take a cab to castel s elmo where the show was being held. luckily i got a great view of the city on the way up...25eu~!!!

the quick review of the Napoli Comicon as follows: i did very well sales wise day 1, and thankfully Bernard the french dealer who was to share the space didn't show i spread out into his space. my day 1 sales equaled the sales of all the sales of the previous show i did in napoli. my buddy (and host from Roma) Massimo came in around 10:30 bearing food~! i was thusly even happier to see his smiling face. our neighbor to the left was Sergio who runs the the little Nemo auctions, and on the right the art dealer Stefano (whom i met on Massimo's last trip to NYC back in march). surrounded by cool dealers the day proceeded smoothly. we ate dinner at Gorizia which is an incredible pizzaria but also nice restaurant...we would end up eating here every nite. i have vongole veraci (surprise) but also shared some nice apps, and good wine. The publishers of the now defunct Glamour art magazine joined us. a very nice evening.

day 2- another good day, with some *notable trades added to sales (that exceeded day 1 !) not by a lot, but i was happy with the result.

and finally a slow day 3, Marina (massimo's wife) showed up and they spent a lot of nice time in Napoli...then we had dinner (at Gorizia) again....on other nites i had the Ripieno (a specific type of calzone) but when massimo went for the fruiti di mare, i knew it was MY destiny too. a YUMMY pannacotta followed for desert....and drove back to Roma (about 2 hrs).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

day 6 - Napoli !!!

i haven't lost my mind...every time i go to naples it seems that there's some new fad of sorts going on here. sometimes those fads aren't so new...4 years ago every woman and girl below the age of 20 had on cowboy boots! this year's disernable fashion trend is the color(s) purple & lavender. but what does that have to do with klak klakakakakaka?
that's the sound 2 plastic balls (held together by string) make when you wack them in just the right way! remember those things? i was in elementary school the first time i saw them. they were bigger then, and thankfully WAY more dangerous! the story was some kid took an eye out or something, or did he split his head open? anyhoo, they went away.... but now they've resurfaced and shown their ugly klakity heads in Napoli. you can't go anywhere without hearing the vendors who sell them, or the kids who buy them KLAKAKAKKAKAKA. if you really want to make me laff....bring one to a con, sneak up behind me and start klaking! please video tape my expression ;-)

in other news my camera is kaput! so no more pix until i get back and upload them from my phone. i need the right usb cable. ug.

so, i got an early start and made a bee line for the restaurant where i left my credit card from the night before. yes, i called them that nite! went an alternative route there...but found out that a certain part of the street was private. so i went a bit out of my way. no worries.

then i tried to add money to my vodaphone card...long story short, after doesn't work. so a bit of wasted time.

luckily right down the street was a Caraggio in a historic building (owned by a bank). they charged me 3 euros to see it. only a sucker for the big C would submit to it.

then as time was running out i rushed desperately off to the cloister San Gregorio in Armenia. which closes at noon. i went an alternate route and found the adjoining church open for once and boy was i rewarded! what a glorious church it was....probably the best one for it's size in Napoli. and then i went to the cloister and chilled a bit.

next i had lunch at pizza Sorbillo ....a great place, quite well known in Napoli. i had a special one with a bitter brocoli like green and sausage and cheese. no sauce. it was yummy. my stomach expanded to acomodate all of it.

finished with gelato (pistachio & strachitella)
while sitting in the sun i decided my next plan.


an awesome time... you can not visit this place too many times. especially since the restoration process continues and you're likely to see something that wasn't open yet. 3 hrs just flew by.

when i left i literally ran to catch the train. got it !

got a little lost for a bit after leaving the train station, and luckily stumbled across a granita stand. it's an italian slushy. and i had the cafe granita. mmmmmm

after walking all day i was quite relieved to rest my sore feet in a wine bar before dinner. then headed back to the restaurant umberto from the nite before. it was just too easy to go back, i was in the neighborhood, tired, etc...
i had a nice salad of asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and calamari. and then for the pasta (so secondo for me tonite) i had potato gnocchi with clams, mussels, calamari with zucchini & pumpkin. yes, it was very very good. each nite i'm drinking Falanghina.

i took pix...i'll show all when i return.
then i nice walk home and yes...more gelato on the way.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

day 5 - Naples - italy


another fine day in Bella Napoli.
woke up really late, and rushed off for the 30 minute walk to the old center. had a great pizza at matteo's. margherita con funghi!

but before i ate, knowing that all the churches close by around 1pm, i squeezed in as many as possible. i made it to the duomo with just a little bit of time to spare....luckily i got to see the San Genaro chapel and then they kicked me out! Pizzeria Mateo was just a couple of blocks away. BIG difference between the place i ate the day before (Da Ettore). first of all...Da Ettore, while they have excellent food & pizza, jacked me by charging a 3 euro cover! considering the pizza was 8 euro...this is highway robbery. usually the cover is for bread, but with pizza? come on...they don't give bread. needless to say...i didn't tip. fast forward to today. 5 euro's for the pizza pie, and 1 euro for the aqua gassata. 6 euro total. yeah... and the pizza is great.

so, after lunch i started off in desparate need for my first coffee of the day. i passed the entrance to the subterranean aqueducts and decided this trip i'd do it. and i have to say it was well worth it. we had a humorous young guide (who shared a coffee with me afterwards) and it was totally fascinating getting the history and the amazing scope of what was going on down there! first we went to a home where they recently rediscovered the ancient greek amphitheater! i've included a pic of us entering via the stairs thru the floor. the whole experience was great.

and then i discovered that my camera died! now what to do. i can take pix with my phone...but i don't have the usb cable to upload the images to the laptop. stay tuned.

after this i went to a few more churches and then headed off to a couple of different wine bars. after that it was time for dinner at Umberto
i had mixed fried veggies, and then pasta con vongole veraci. for desert pastiera.

a nice walk home.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 4 - Napoli - italia

well, what a day it's been (and again if you're starting here....go BACK TO DAY 1).
caught the high speed train at Termini station from Rome to Naples at 10:05 am. it was 20 minutes delayed. 1 hour instead of 2. while on the train i got a text from the convention promoter that my hotel had been changed...lucky i got THAT text. the new hotel is actually way nicer...but not as well located. the taxi was 25 eu !!!! dropped my stuff off and as i have a savant's memory i found a great place for lunch that i ate at 2 years ago. Da Ettore... aside from them ripping me off with with a crazy charge of 3 euro's for the was great.

after lunch i headed off to the old center of town. the streets were teeming with life along via toledo. as i got closer i saw that all the churches were closed for the afternoon (i kinda knew this). i got a wonderful gelato at the classic chocolate shop Gay Odin (caffe with pistachio). then i walked a bit more, sat on the steps of one of my favorite churches "san domenico maggiore" (closed...but we'll get back to it later) finished my gelato...and nearly passed out! ok. severely sleep deprived here. and decided wisely to head back to the hotel for a nap. since everything was closed this was pretty easy decision making.

had my much needed nap, and headed back to the center of town where i made a stop in a church i'd never been in before (chiesa di S'anna dei lombardi...also known as the church of Monteoliveto). i had passed it before, but either never really explored it or ...??? i don't know. it was very quiet, no one in, and a guy started talking to me in italian and kind of ushered me towards the back where i could see signs about i followed him. and low and behold he led me way in back to the Sacristy where Giorgio Vasari did the most amazing frescoed ceilings !!! (this is the same Vasari more famous for being the first italian art historian...and also a great architect as well.)...but he was no joke as a painter! what a special art treat this was!!
after this i headed off to the church of Gesu Nuovo. another stunner! nothing specific, but glorious architecture and design everywhere.

after that i headed off for the church of san Domenico Maggiore (where i nearly passed out on the steps), had a great time... now it was time to head off in the direction of where i would eat dinner. back along the via toledo, where it was swarming with the pre dinner walk. made a right turn on via chiaia. first stop a nice little wine bar where i had a couple of glasses of proseco with olives on the side. perfect way to kill time before dinner, and then i walked over to the restaurant Manfredi. a simple fried mozarella app, then linguini with fruiti di mare (mixed clams), and a bronzino (sea bass grilled). all awesome....took the nice stroll home and enjoyed (oink) a way too big cup of gelato!

bout to head off to sleep!
buono note!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

italy - day 3 - roma

don't forget to start with day 1 !!, i didn't sleep well. it always happens to me on after these red eye flights to europe. i catch some kind of cold. been there, done that, doing it again. thankfully massimo woke me at wasn't really waking me, i just couldn't get out of bed. Marina made us Rigatoni alla Carbonara. the classic romano dish. mmmmmmmm. you need a special type of bacon for this called guanciale (pork jowls), and eggs & pecorino cheese, and some black pepper. very simple but also very easy to not make it well. and marina made a beautiful version! after this we went for a walk on the antica appia (the appian way...the first great road of ancient Rome)...incredible park along the road with ruins and monuments. just lovely.

after this we headed for another part of Roma unfamiliar to me... Villa Torlonia & the beautiful surrounding Nomentana district. 3 different museums ...we went to the Casina Delle Civette (hut of the small owl). built in the 1840's it had a great display of art nouveau stained glass and mechanical drawings of the artists work.

we were dropped off at the piazza del popolo...where i made a pit stop to see a couple of caravaggio's...but it was too dark and there was a mass going on so i didn't want to disturb with the bright lights. then we walked down the via margutta...a great quiet street lined with art gallery's. after this every restaurant we wanted to go to was closed! we were dead tired and near the jewish quarter so we went to the classic roman jewish place Giggetto...where we had the Carciofi alla Giudia (artichokes jewish style)...i had bacacala, and then we had spaghetti con pepe Y cacio. (black pepper and creme sauce) and lastly the Ossobuco! it was all good...and it hit the spot. on the drive home we stopped in the outskirts of town for gelatto.

time to crash!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

day 2 pix

top right day 1 with the roman forum in the back ground, polenta gnocchi (more like polenta cakes if you ask me!), 3-in the orange garden atop Aventino hill, 4-marina & i in the cloister of San Giovanni, 5-yummy apps from that delicious dinner, and lastly the desert.