1) East of Eden
John Steinbeck’s East of Eden is one of my most prized possessions. The novel explores the polarizing concept of good and evil, but does so with nuance and simplicity of language. One of my goals is to read the full John Steinbeck canon.
2) Las Meninas
The first time I saw this painting was an uncomfortable and peculiar experience—partially because I was a sweaty 13-year-old in a hot museum in August, but also due to the painting’s composition. The power of placement and mirrors makes your role as the viewer unclear. Are you one of the people in the painting, or an omniscient being? I felt it was a secret between me and Diego Velázquez. Art is the avenue through which I choose to learn history and understand composition. When I travel, I visit as many museums as possible.
If I could marry a city, I would hands down have a streetcar wedding replete with techno DJ with Berlin. Beyond being full of German things I love (liters of beer, a MUSEUMISLAND!, and crazy architecture), Berlin has an energy about it that is infectious. It is aware of its low points in history, but uses good design to honor the heroism rather than hide the heinousness.
4) Dinner on New Year’s Eve 2014
I am an unqualified pundit on all matters dining out. I am particular about service because I value service as a profession that requires special skills, rather than how it’s commonly viewed: an in-between for people off to better things. My manpiece Tom and I had one of the most stellar dining experiences I’ve ever had at Senza, a Chicago restaurant (which has sadly shuttered). I will never forget when the server told us the entire six-course meal was gluten-free, well after we had licked our dessert plates clean.
Excuse the portmanteau. I read somewhere that when you photograph something, your brain stores that information differently. I love taking photos, so I’m not going to let that stop me. One thing I try to do to counteract the memory issue is to collect like-memories. I later mash them up as diptychs or triptychs. Just a fun reminder to myself that people and places are more similar than they are different.