Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cup Thoughts

I recently went to an amazing event at Barnsdall Art Park called "Cup Thoughts".  I don't get out of the house much these days, but I was so excited about this event that I wrangled a babysitter and requested to go to this event in honor of my birthday re-do.  (My original birthday celebration had been cancelled because we all came down with a nasty stomach flu!)

Cup Thoughts was basically a giant communal coffee break with fellow artists, and hosted by a very gracious and fantastically kooky artist named Nicola Atkinson.  Officially, it was a public artwork by Nicola Atkinson Does Fly.  Nicola and I will hopefully be having an e-mail correspondence to discuss the event and the concept of communal meals that I can post on this blog in future, but in the meantime, check out Nicola's website  Nadfly Cup Thoughts  for more information and additional photos.

The idea behind Cup Thoughts was simple, but its execution required a vast network of collaborators and participants.  Nicola hosted two separate events at which two different groups of people in two different countries would enjoy a cup of coffee from the same set of cups.  She served coffee from cups she made herself, and a special cake, which she prepared from a recipe she created for the event, and sang a song she wrote in honor of the event.  The project took place over a two year period and were based on the idea of the "Fika", which is a Swedish tradition of enjoying a public coffee break with friends, family or colleagues.  As Nicola describes the project:

The starting point of Cup Thoughts is a simple question-- how do we take our coffee?  Do we have it "to  go" as we pursue our busy lives or do we prefer to take a break and engage in a more socialized ritual?  What if we took a proper break with our work fellows for ten minutes every day?  What if we detached ourselves from our computers, iphones and Blackberries?  How much more productive and creative would we be together?  This art project sets out to discover the effects of the "Fika" on people and their work environment.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Third Try's A Charm- Jared's Pale Ale is All That and More...

The first time I watched my friend Jared make beer he was brewing up a batch of Pale Ale.  I didn't realize that the beer had to ferment for several weeks before it would be ready to drink and I was sorely disappointed on that first visit.   I've been obsessed with trying Jared's Pale Ale ever since, especially because Jared made a second batch and it was so popular that I missed it again.  By the third batch I was committed to getting a taste.  I told Jared's wife Amy that I wanted to be alerted as soon as this batch was ready.  Jared had made a double-batch (ten gallons), so I was pretty sure there's be a decent window of opportunity, but with Jared's beer you never know.

But today was my lucky day.  We went over to visit Jared and Amy, bringing an offering of ripe home-grown avocados in exchange for a taste of his new batch of Pale Ale.  All I can say is that it didn't disappoint.
My third attempt to try Jared's Pale Ale ends in triumph, Nov. 29, 2010.
This batch of beer was made with Jared's home-grown hops, which made it even more spectacular.  I'm not good at describing the nuances of beer, so I feel my vocabulary and my taste-buds will never be able to do it justice.  But it's great.  Really great.  If anybody out there has tried Jared's Pale Ale and feels they can describe it in an adequate manner (including you, Jared), please write and help me out!