Dear Friends and Family,
The Missing Peace at the Frost Museum in Miami was the last stop on our four-pronged trip. Miami is a wild place - 90 plus degrees and so humid the air is close to wet, in October. Don, whose skin must be more sensitive than mine, at least to heat, would walk outside and feel his clothes suddenly burn him. The only choice is to stay in air conditioning, or stay wet close by some water. People walk around downtown in their bikinis or micro-mini skirts, and one can hardly blame them. I guess with so much of their flesh exposed, many become very appearance conscious, and we have never seen so many enhancements: huge breasts, men who resemble the Hulk, and cartoony faces. A bit overdone, to my taste.
The pool at The Standard. That darker blue between the pool and the sky is the Atlantic.
Fortunately, for us, Lewis and Chandra (our great traveling companions in Japan) had booked a room at The Standard in Miami Beach, a true oasis with the most beautiful infinity swimming pool ever, part salt water and fronting right on the ocean. We somewhat reluctantly decided to join them, even though this was not really our style. Then, unfortunately, for us, there was some screw-up in their internet reservation and their booking disappeared. However, they found a beautiful hotel room at half the price, so it turned out just fine, except that Don and I found ourselves alone at The Standard. However, not such a bad place to be in Miami Beach.
The walk to our room.
A "private" screened off area outside our room. There was a bathtub in each one of these areas, which I never saw anyone use, as the curtains were semi-transparent, and the pool was close by. The gray area is crushed seashells.
Balcony off Lewis and Chandra's room.
View from their balcony.
Every time we left this oasis to drive anywhere in Miami - so this is sometimes a couple times a day - we would run into police action. This consisted of at least several police cars blocking the street and yellow safety tape stretched across the street, so that we had to make a several block detour. We live in Oakland and we work every day in West Oakland. We see police action maybe once every couple/few months or so. What is going on? Either they have serious, serious crime in Miami, or they block off the street whenever they give someone a speeding ticket.
We were sharing a rental car with Lewis and Chandra. When we first arrived at the airport, after waiting at least an hour in the longest line for a rental car we had ever seen, we drove into Miami and got lost. We found ourselves in a very rundown area with a lot of dead-end streets. Ragged people, who probably didn't have air conditioning, were milling around in these streets. Half-remembered stories came back to me, of families of German tourists who were murdered after mistakenly driving into some cul-de-sac in an area of Florida with huge gang activity. Had that been Miami? Suddenly, we were spotted - I'm sure they thought we were looking for some drugs - and a small crowd of people came running towards our car. Almost panicking, we got the heck out of there.
Lewis being interviewed by Miami public tv.
The rest of our trip was very peaceful. We were interviewed at the Frost Museum by Meredith Porte, a very pleasant woman who founded and directs an art program, ArtStreet, for Miami public tv. We had all been under the impression that this was to be a radio interview. I showed up rather unkempt and casual, but I wasn't too nervous as I figured chances were good that no one I knew would ever see this program.
The Frost is a beautiful new museum on the campus of Florida International University with high, high ceilings; what a luxury! They had done a great job of installing the exhibition; we were very pleased. This is a very difficult, large show to install, with many different artists involved. With so many different artists' work in so many varied styles and media, it is like a huge, complex puzzle to fit them all into a space and make everything look fabulous. Their staff all pitched in and worked very hard. The director, Carol Damian, said even the guards helped to patch and paint the walls.
The koto and flute were planned. The didgeridoo players were walking by and joined in.
Era practicing some new dance moves, hula? That cobalt blue scarf is Tibetan-Mongolian and was worn at the opening to designate us as artists.
The great people we met in Miami, who were interested in more, a lot more than going to the beach, driving hot cars and changing their bodies and faces around, seemed absolutely hungry for a show like this, which addresses his Holiness, the Dalai Lama and emphasizes the spiritual in us all, awareness of the planet and other good values - good in my opinion, anyway. It was exciting to see people's spirits uplifted before our eyes. I think it is possible that this show is actually acquiring a sort of mythic power as more and more people view it. What I mean by that is by people observing something and thinking about it, they actually give it some sort of energy. On a much larger scale you can see this with, say, one of Van Gogh's Sunflowers or the Eiffel Tower, or other famous and talked about things, images, concepts, people. The Van Gogh Sunflowers or the Mona Lisa are great paintings, but they are not far and away vastly greater than many other fine paintings. When you see them in person for the first time they actually radiate a glow. Part of that is probably your own (or my own) expectations and excitement, but I believe part of that is an energy which people have imbued them with.
Cuban dinner after the opening, courtesy of The Missing Peace.
Weighty decisions - Ron & Tenzin
Forced relaxation after the opening. Too hot to do much and The Standard is kind of isolated on a little island between Miami and Miami Beach. It is surrounded by water (but it does have a causeway going through it). We even went swimming at night; it was totally warm. We did venture out to go to a cool little museum with an art deco influence, The Wolfsonian. And had another lovely dinner with Darlene and Ron, Lewis and Chandra, and David and Hijin, who were staying at the W Hotel - W for Wow, the throbbing center of the Miami Beach scene.
Why bother losing weight, when one can take advantage of the magic of water refraction?
All in all, a pretty relaxing way to end our trip.
I am late on my emails. We have actually been back in Oakland for several days.
Love to you all,
Era and Don