Happy Epiphany to you! As the Magi followed the star to present their gifts on the 12th day of Christmas, as numerous other country’s celebrate gift giving traditions around the world (including Italy’s La Befana), this January 6th I too would like to present to you my annual TOP TEN year-in-review list of all-things-wonderful secondo me for your perusal and enjoyment. My hope is it will provide you with new & enriching experiences to feed your soul. I believe in the power of starting each new year with rituals of intention – celebrating with friends I hope to see more of in the coming months, focusing fresh eyes on what I hope the year will bring, and looking back at the past year to recall and record which things felt most memorable.
A word about this list: COMMUNITY
The intention of the list isn’t meant to be ‘pro-consumerism’, rather it’s meant to be a well deserved shout out to some wonderful high quality predominantly local and often women-owned resources or experiences. So, have at it, folks!
This year I’d like to begin by suggesting that if you are able to simplify & slow down – wait – read that one again – SIMPLIFY & SLOW DOWN – you are a rich person indeed. Less, but better. Currently, that is the (north) star that I choose to follow.
*Caveat emptor As always, advance apologies for any incompatibility or disagreement you may experience in accepting one/any/all of the following suggestions.
With that said, let’s begin…
Movies: The ever-fabulous Mill Valley Film Festival, in its 40th year, provided an embarrassment of riches – a few of my faves were: the near perfect must-see French-Lebanese film The Insult; most incredible opening night Loving Vincent – the world’s first fully oil painted feature film by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman; the scathingly brilliant and heartfelt I, Tonya w 2017 girl-crush Margo Robbie and perennial fave Allison Janney + director + screenwriter in person at The Rafael ; achingly beautiful, controversial love story Call Me By Your Name with magnetic duo Timothee Chalamet & Armie Hammer + the lovely Michael Stulbarg; Matteo Trancone‘s Arrangiarsi – a humorous & heartfelt journey of self-discovery. Oh yeah, plus pizza. All seen at The California Film Institute – one of the most gratifying and valuable memberships I’ve EVER had.
Also Fraser Bradshaw’s locally grown MVFF offering The Deep Sky with sublime import Luise Helm (aka Scarlet Johannson’s German voice double) and the infinitely watchable Kelechi Nwadibia, which I was honored & thrilled to provide jewelry for (tx, Cari B! costume/wardrobe designer & producer).
New Italian Cinema‘s fascinating Franca: Chaos and Creation Sozzani and her legendary run as Editor-In- Chief of Italian Vogue. An intimate portrait of the woman as told by her son. (grazie, Cynthia!) It’s available on Netflix instant watch.
Shape of Water Guillermo del Torro’s fantastical adult fairytale of epic imagination and heart – Sally Hawkins and (again!) Michael Stuhlbarg are both nuanced marvels. Alas – beware! no one creates monsters like GdelT.. (shudder)
In Pursuit of Silence “a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives” – this film changed me. (tx, Leigh!)
Also HILARIOUS – Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime video. A 1950’s NYC housewife swaps her comfortable Upper West Side lifestyle for the gritty Greenwich Village comedy scene.
Books: New: The Power Naomi Alderman’s mind blowingly ingenious novel about an alternative matriarchal history; pleasure read Maile Meloy’s Do Not Become Alarmed, a disturbing pleasure read about adult female cousins who decide to take their families on a cruise over the holidays and the children go missing; Older: Guy Davenport’s insightful 1997 collection of essays Geography of the Imagination; Alan Watts’ 1951 The Wisdom of Insecurity as transcendant as it is slender, an essential read for achieving a more balanced approach to managing one’s mind – joyous – and rife with eerily prescient ruminations on the perils of over-fascination with gadgets..;
Food: Juanita & Maude– the (new) neighborhood joint we’ve all been waiting for.. stylish, comfortable, welcoming environment serving tasty bevvies & chow (tx, Susan F!). Also eagerly awaiting Gold Leaf Cafe on MLK @ University later this month..
Travel: ITALIA: we drove south to Matera – a Unesco designated site and the 2nd oldest continually inhabited place on earth – since the 10th millenium BC. – in the heel of Italy’s boot, where we stayed in a CAVE – an amazing discovery – the trip of a lifetime. Also idyllic seaside Otranto, Italy, with its 12th C cathedral and mosaic floor depicting a Tree of Life complete with Garden of Eden, Dante’s Inferno, Alexander the Great, Tower of Babel, the 12 astrological signs, and more etc… also an unrivaled mosaic tour of lovely Ravenna followed by dinner at local fave Ca’ de Ven (musts= la piadina + stinco!).
Arts: Here’s your new fave out-of-town-guest-destination – Berkeley’s long awaited, newly opened Perfume Museum, the fabulous Mandy Aftel’s Archive of Curious Scents.
If you find yourself in search of interesting WORKSHOPS please consider these fabulous women-owned opts: Maria Muscardini’s Handcraft Studio School in El Cerrito; Stacey, Kristen and Terri at Hello Stitch in Berkeley; Emily Pilloton’s Girl Garage (lock picking!); and a bit further afield (albeit well worth the trip) Vanessa Ambrose’s Cameron Marks in Santa Cruz; and Tammi Macala’s Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art.
A new find (tx, Barbara B!) – WSJ podcast Secret’s of Wealthy Women Um, yes, pls.
Last but never least – perennial fave (just can’t take it off the list) the best possible resource/repository for all things thoughtful & creative fr the ever-brilliant curiosity seeker Maria Popova – Brainpickings.
Reciprocity welcomed & encouraged! ~ let’s spread some good news, people!
~ wishing for you in 2018: clarity, kindness, health, happiness, ABBONDANZA ~
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(And if you’re receiving this but wish not to – just drop me a note so I can take you off of the list. No judgment, just my apology!)