Stacy Alexander – ARTE CALIFORNIA – Welcome!

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Stacy Alexander

Welcome!

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© Stacy Alexander – 2015
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Bestabeé Romero in Reno

I went to see the Bestabe´Romero show at the Nevada Museum of Art a few days ago and would like to write about two parts of the exhibit.  The exhibit is Romero’s first solo museum exhibition in the western United States.   She is one of the most highly evered Mexican artists of her generation. and is known for combining indigenous and folkloric designs with non-traditional art-making materials, and for creating inventive installations inspired by literature and diverse cultures.  She created a series of four new installations for the exhibition, with an overriding thematic focus on transportation—both literal and metaphorical.

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The first pieces were large circular discs that were suspended about a foot away from the wall and facing a window.  The light from the window penetrated the surface of the various materials on the discs to reflect beautiful colored shadows on the wall behind them.

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The soft light and color filtering through the discs were magically multi-dimensional.  Their overall affect was one of serenity.

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Another part of the exhibit was Romero’s use of go cart wheels and gold leaf to make both physical sculptures and prints on paper.  Romero transformed tires in art from their status as a symbol of urban blight to one of progress and creative thinking.  This part of the exhibit was called, “Urban Stalactites and Stalagmites” and used Spanish and colonial patterns common to Mexico.

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The tires were inked, at one point, and rolled across papers to create serigraphs that repeated the designs.

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Once Again….Back in Reno

The last time I was in Reno, was under very different circumstances.   This time, however, is a family trip.  John and I left at the crack of dawn last Wednesday, and drove straight through from Portland.  We travel well together, and this trip was no exception.  We had lively discussions about music and literature, about our various projects, our friends and other things,  to make the time go by faster.

We had a  pleasant drive, tempered only by the sober realization of just how serious the drought really is.  Some of the bodies of water that we passed in previous trips…huge lakes….are now nothing more than salt flats.   It was disheartening to see.  Therefore, I felt especially happy when the sky over Reno opened up and poured rain for awhile late yesterday afternoon. I could almost hear the plants whispering their thanks.

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When we arrived, our friends insisted on taking us to one of their favorite restaurants.   They assured us it would remind us of Portland.  It did.  Campo is owned by our hosts’  good friend, Mark Estee, who has several other area restaurants.  This is the type of place that is springing up all over our neighborhood in Portland and that, in fact, reminded us both of one place in particular that is about two blocks from us.  One of Mark’s other places, Provisions, just down the street from Campo, is where I have bought most of the food that I have prepared at home since we’ve been here.  Provisions is a good deli where you can sit down and eat a sandwich or salad, or buy fresh pasta, cheeses and other goodies to take home.

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Our friends delighted in the various pig part offerings on the menu, while our server, Madison, offered helpful suggestions about what we might like to eat as vegetarians.   Madison is our friends’ favorite Campo server, and she fully lived up to her reputation.  She was competent, friendly and quite helpful.

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I have never been much of a rosé wine fan, not to mention a fan of  sparkling rosé, but to appease our hosts, I agreed to try a glass of the Gruet that they suggested.  I was glad I did.  It was light, dry and delicious.  I could taste hints of raspberry…maybe some cherry…but it wasn’t cloying at all…not sweet….and it paired beautifully with our food.

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John and I viewed the menu, and ordered a few small things to split so we could sample a variety of dishes.  The first was Campo’s delicious kale salad.  I am a big fan of kale salads anyway, and found this one to be special.

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It consisted of raw kale topped with a poached egg and crispy grana padano. With the exception of the egg, these ingredients were  tossed in a delicious lemon-garlic vinaigrette.  This salad was very similar to one that I prepare at home frequently, and we enjoyed it very much.  We also enjoyed the fire roasted cauliflower.

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Mark’s chefs cook this dish in the same oven as the pizza is cooked.  They add Calabarian chilies, garlic and croutons for a little fire and texture.  John and I were glad that Madison recommended this one.  It was a good side dish.

And….since I enjoy polenta, we also tried Campo’s  crispy polenta.

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This polenta was delicious, albeit a little too oily for my taste.  It was prepared with truffle mascarpone and truffle oil, which, when I told my friend about it, caused him to gag because of his distaste for truffles…but I enjoy them…and the mixture of the truffles with mascarpone was a good idea.  I just think I might have preferred it atop a creamy polenta….but this was good.  I’m not complaining.

The four of us split a dessert that was a sinful concoction of custard, caramel and chocolate cookie, I think, but it vanished far too quickly for me to get a picture of it.   Our dining experience at Campo was positive.  We had a great time chatting it up with our friends about people we know and know of in Reno, and about the food and events throughout the city.  Heard some GREAT stories, in fact. :-)

So now….we are staying in a beautiful house on Mt. Rose street and are exploring places, getting together with friends and cooking nice meals…generally spending some quality time together.  We spent Thursday night in the company of some fine Reno musicians, which I will write about later.  John is off to the little coffee shop that my friend recommended,  grading his students’ papers right now, and I am getting ready to take a soak in the hot tub.

It is overcast in Reno today, and looks like it might rain again….very pleasant weather, in fact.  We are thinking of driving into Virginia City later, but  my friend supplied me with an entire list of things to do in the area, so we might choose something different.  We’ll see.  We may  just hang here.  It feels wonderful to be finished with school and to have no work to do today.  I had no idea how much I had needed rest until I actually got some.  I am sleeping well here.    Another update will come soon.

Day #21-Wet