Santa Baby…

December 20th, 2008

Guess what we all got from Santa Claus this year?

santa claus obama michele roohani

It’s been a horrendous holiday season and my images below illustrate the Christmas mood of Rodeo Drive:

via rodeo sign christmas 2009 michele roohani

The real estate market is so bad, they are giving away whole buildings!

via rodeo christmas 2008/2009 michele roohani palm trees

The haute couture has a small “sale” sign but no buyers…

via rodeo christmas 2008/2009 michele roohani ferre red

The Christmas decorations are as gorgeous as ever but with no money to spend, people are just not in the mood,

via rodeo christmas ornament 2008/2009 michele roohani reflection

and the  Cinderella slipper has to wait for a better (non-bankrupt) prince.

rene caovilla gold shoe michele roohani beverly hills cinderella

The doormen at Prada are waiting in vain too— the headless/moneyless client is entrapped in Koolhaas’ quirky cell:

michele roohani prada christmas 2008-2009 headless man

Last year’s night version of this was way more cheerful…

michele roohani reflection christmas 2008-2009 vuitton

Africa’s still bleeding in spite of De Beers pretty windows:

michele roohani reflection christmas 2008-2009 de beers

An exercise in futility if you ask me but Harry Winston is still showing off its ridiculous necklaces.

michele roohani reflection christmas 2008-2009 harry winston

The poinsettias are effortlessly beautiful and everywhere—they keep bringing a smile to my face without costing an arm and a leg.

michele roohani christmas 2008-2009 poinsettias

poinsettia michele roohani christmas

An espresso and the man of the year to wrap up the day.

michele roohani patisserie nahid christmas 2008-2009 obama man of the year

It looks like we’re going to have to take Einstein’s advice, whether we like it or not: “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

This is a collective smile, thousands of miles long…

Rainer Jensen_European Pressphoto Agency michele roohani

Take a look at these pictures of the big smile here and read about it from Christiane Amanpour here.

President Obama the world is smiling michele roohani

A paradigm shift my friends, a paradigm shift of biblical proportions…Read Thomas Friedman’s excellent article here and Judith Warner’s amazing piece here.

“We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.” Barack Obama

Coming back from Europe, reality hit me with the softness of barbed wire! The U.S. is paralyzed with fear and uncertainty and the world is watching in horror the rapid meltdown of greedy and extreme American Capitalism—of the unregulated kind thanks to Reagan.

Trick-or-Treat halloween red shoes michele roohani

These are hard times and people can’t “go to the mall” anymore like their president suggested a few years back but Sarah Palin sure did with her shopping tag of $150,000—read Dowd’s interesting column here. Remember Obama’s tattered shoes?

obama tattered shoes micheleroohani

Watch out  for the trick…People have been affected by the real estate massacre and there is blood on the streets everywhere— massive layoffs have not started yet. This cartoon of Ed Stein is funny and sad at the same time:

ed stein halloween cartoon michele roohani

I don’t know about you but I prefer my autumn in its original colors of yellow/orange and the Halloween sweet and funny. If you miss my jack-o-lanterns click on my last year’s Halloween post.

pumpkin flowers fall michele roohani

I couldn’t resist including my picture of this classic Morgan—it has the perfect colors.

michele roohani morgan british sports car interior

Exploration of the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty. I hope that the elections bring some degree of order and certitude; chaos scares the hell out of me.

Usain and Hussein have been on my mind in the past week; the lightning Bolt—aka the fastest man alive—and Hussein Obama. I made this image for my son who wanted a poster of Obama using a photo by Callie Shell of Time magazine:

obama paradigm shift michele roohani

“A Paradigm Shift is  a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change” according to Thomas Kuhn; he believes that Change is difficult and that human beings resist change— awareness is prerequisite to all acceptable changes. A Paradigm Shift is when a significant change happens—usually from one fundamental view to a different view. In most cases, some type of major discontinuity occurs as well. Khun thinks that “a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions cause one conceptual world view to be replaced by another view”.

My question for you boys and girls is that what makes one cling to the atrophied McCain—aka the off-line American—over the uber-eager Obama? I didn’t vote for Obama in the primaries but neither can I  imagine voting for mister “I want to relive vietnam ad nauseum”…

obama blue red michele roohani double poster

What are these posters from the good senator’s camp? Martin Luther King, the second coming? I frankly like my version better.

Another paradigm shift came this last week of the Olympics with the other Hussein or Usain:

usain bolt huffington post michele roohani

What can I say? the man can run! Look at him here on cruise control going the 100 meters on 9.68 seconds; this guy with all his antics was a breath of fresh air.

Claude Verlinde and Jacques Poirier are two underrepresented French painters. They are both master illusionists/image makers/mirage makers.

invitation aux jeux du theatre verlinde micheleroohani

I fell in love with the above painting when I first got introduced to Verlinde’s work in Paris. We all know hollow people, lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance – we have all met shallow people lacking in depth of thought, or feeling. In Persian we call them “hollow drums”: noisy but empty.

the witness jacques poirier micheleroohani

Thanks to the internet we can know of something without really knowing about it. We used to have to read, to see, to hear something in order to be able to talk about it but not anymore folks! everybody’s an expert.

I’ve been wanting to talk about V.S. Naipaul for the longest time. Every time that somebody tries to eat up my life/time, I remember the writer’s fabulous statement reported on BBC: “my life is too short, I can’t listen to banality”.

naipaul young and old micheleroohani

Staying with the trompe l’oeil of Verlinde and Poirier, take a look at this very clever ad:

jobsintown.de micheleroohani

You can see the rest of these very funny ads here.

Today is my blog’s first anniversary! If you like what you see, please subscribe.

You eat your values

April 21st, 2008

“You eat your values – don’t let them be fast, cheap and easy” says Alice Waters, the revolutionary chef and cookbook author. Maybe it’s my age but I’ve started to think seriously about what I eat; junk food has never been a sin of mine but Waters and Dr. Oz have pushed me to eat better.

 

green tomatoes micheleroohani

I’ve been too lazy to go to Farmer’s markets up to a few months ago but I am hoping that my health is worth a little more money and a little inconvenience. Cooking becomes a pleasure again when you use fresh ingredients like in this simple Thai chicken and mint dish.

cicken a la menthe

Alice Waters has started the “Slow Food” program that teaches children to make the right decision about how and what they eat.

 

eat your vegetables micheleroohani

This doesn’t mean of course that great food shouldn’t be appreciated just because it’s not green enough. I was at a friend of mine‘s today for a fabulous sunday brunch that ended with these great cakes made by her talented sister, Mona; The chocolate mousse and the baby kiwi cakes were divine.

 

chocolate orange cake micheleroohani

 

baby kiwi cake micheleroohani

I took a tour of the kitchen and w o w…

 

spices micheleroohani

Just look at these pastry molds:

 

pastry molds micheleroohani

it’s true that a beautiful kitchen like this one makes you want to cook but I have had very delicious food coming out of small/dark/chaotic kitchens in my life (just dare to go to almost any parisian café’s kitchen)…

Today’ s food crisis makes us forget that good food like flowers should be affordable to everyone. As Jeffrey Sacks says “you can’t tell people who are dying of hunger in Africa to tighten their belts, as if they had belts”!

 

Ranunculus or Persian buttercup micheleroohani

I would like to finish the post with these pictures instead of some starving kids in Africa which is approaching a meltdown with the crazy Mugabe and the criminal Janjawids.

 

ziba shirazi painting micheleroohani

How did she go from chocolate mousse to Darfur? I bet that you didn’t see it coming…

Check your facts people! Until a few years ago, being judgmental was politically incorrect (a very tired notion today) but as I am growing older, I am realizing that Life is too short not to judge. My good friends André Démir and Tamas Ungvari are “Messrs Opinion” both; in these times of “chilling apathy”, it’s refreshing to see somebody take a stand on something (in their case, on everything). This post is an homage to these two gentlemen, both hungry observers of the life around them and armed by an uncanny fluidity of intelligence.

tamas ungvari micheleroohani

I get frustrated when I hear all these unworthy opinions rolling out of everybody’s mouth; it’s good to check our facts before sharing them with everybody. Trust but verify. I am ready to listen then but I can’t even count the number of times that somebody has recited an article from a major newspaper or repeated a pundit’s interpretation of the news as an absolute fact to me. I am not completely innocent myself.

André is a mean Tango dancer (here with his angelic wife, Carol Kelly):

andre demir carol kelly micheleroohani

My hero, Isaiah Berlin, believed in “the power of the wisely directed intellect to illuminate, without undue solemnity or needless obscurity, the ultimate moral questions that face mankind”.

 

isaiah berlin micheleroohani

You just have to watch TV a bit to see how this power is misused by the kinds of the anchormen at the Fox News (or CNN for that matter). Beside making me sick, Ann Coulter makes me doubt Berlin’s philosophy:

‘Life can be seen through
many windows,
none of them necessarily
clear or opaque,
less or more distorting
than any of the others.’

I would have loved to listen in to Berlin and Akhmatova‘s conversation in a fateful night in 1945.

 

anna akhmatova micheleroohani

There is so much going on in the world with the renegade Kosovo, the two-headed Russia and Ahmadinejad in Iraq but those should wait another post to exploit your patience – I’ll try to make the next one all about flowers and butterflies.

Africa exasperates me

February 3rd, 2008

It seems like I’ve been back to Los Angeles for ages but it’s been only a mere week. Paris faded fast in my memory thanks to a nasty stomach flu I caught after a great dinner of oysters and choucroute at Maison d’ Alsace with my friends; there is a gastro epidemic in Europe and for the second year in a row, I fell victim to it.

kenya ben curtis time magazine

There’s been so much to think/talk about – from the chaos in Kenya to the phenomenon of the Kenyan’s son and his new Kennedy friends but I’ve been sick and tired. To look at the African problems in a fresh way I suggest looking for Caroline Elkins’ view about the possible source of these African tribes’ sudden violent behavior towards each other. In general, a lack of vision and rampant corruption is the hallmark of African leadership. Needless to say that after the Super Bowl it’s the Super Tuesday that occupies the mind of America and not Kenya…

obama

Christmas is here with all the usual joy and gore! I took some pictures last night from my neck of the woods. Welcome to the winter in the Lala Land.

michele roohani rodeo drive christmas chandelier

We are trying so hard to look like New York or Boston in the winter holidays but Los Angeles stays Los Angeles, a comfortable 55 F on Christmas eve.

michele roohani rodeo drive christmas beverly regents hotel

The Beverly Regent (AKA the pretty woman hotel) looks great in red.

michele roohani rodeo drive christmas via rodeo

michele roohani christmas via rodeo nutcracker

“My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet”

michele roohani christmas via rodeo poodles

Of course what is all this without music?

michele roohani christmas rodeo music

And these are some of my favorite store windows – the fabulous Rem Koolhaas‘ Prada flagship is amazing. I’ve always liked his Seattle public library as well.

michele roohani koolhaas prada flagship

Red has always been my favorite color.

michele roohani christmas via rodeo red dress

I have added Blue as another favorite some years ago.

michele roohani christmas  rodeo tiffany

I like them equally now.

michele roohani christmas  rodeo superman

By the way, I hate shopping/the crowd/malls – I wished people would stop accumulating extra-everythings (from candles to cars)…We all know people that are hopelessly deluded, bathed in trivia, mesmerized to the point of idiocy by almost any celebrity, amusing themselves to death, self-defeating and absurde at times. I made you read!

Isaiah Berlin was a political philosopher and historian of ideas. He remains a hero to me.

isaiah berlin, books, reading, writing, philosophy, coffee, fountain pen

one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, he remained true to his humanity. “I came to the conclusion that there is a plurality of ideals, as there is a plurality of cultures and of temperaments. I am not a relativist; I do not say “I like my coffee with milk and you like it without; I am in favor of kindness and you prefer concentration camps” — each of us with his own values, which cannot be overcome or integrated. This I believe to be false. But I do believe that there is a plurality of values which men can and do seek, and that these values differ.”