Dan Adams (above departing Chelsea's Pearl Street Gallery Monday), took some of our best working-waterfront blogposts out from behind the computer screen, blew them up and hung them front and center in the window of his work in progress, the "Landing Salt" exhibition now showing at 100 Pearl Street, Chelsea. The young man we call the Eastern Salt Imaginator discovered the Chelsea salt piles 3 1/2 years ago during a Harvard Design School course, "Listening to the City," taught by Professor of Architecture Margaret Crawford, co-author of Everyday Urbanism. Her subject is one of three mutually contentious paradigms in contemporary urbanism, the other two being New Urbanism and Post Urbanism. In the words of Doug Kelbaugh, who wrote the book's introduction:
[Everyday Urbanism] "is nonutopian because it celebrates and builds on everyday, ordinary life and reality, with little pretense about the possibility of a tidy or ideal built environment. Indeed, as John Kaliski and others in Everyday Urbanism point out, the city and its designers must be open to and incorporate 'the elements that remain elusive: ephemerality, cacophony, multiplicity and simultaneity.'"
When we arrived at the gallery around 5 o'clock Tuesday evening for the "opening event," a gorgeous bouquet of ivory roses from our greatest blogfan, the Goomp himself, was waiting for us. Tuck Willis photo.
Dan stood up and gave a whirlwind guided tour to the assembled guests of all things salt — photographs and paintings, of course, but also his own totally awesome computer-generated diagrams and charts and other explanatory material tracing the history and methods of extracting the salt of the earth. That's our stuff hanging in the window behind the artist, pretty in white. The maroon bag isn't a bag in the purse sense but in the bag sense, a lightweight but super-strong partitioned wine-toting bag the folks at Hannaford's give you to carry your bubbly home in. In our case we carried our silver party shoes, camera, business cards, house keys and such. Teresa Hummel photo.
"OMIGOD! You are so beautiful in your outfit!!!" imailed our sis as we deconstructed "The Outfit," first fashionable ensemble we'd bought in years, a personal milestone made possible by our loss of 40-plus pounds since jumping onto the Cold Turkey Cookbook bandwagon just over a year ago:
She: The maroon "evening bag" is the perfect complement. And THOSE SHOES!!! But, was there a swatch of turquoise at your waist, or is it just my eyes?"
We: Your eyes. It looks like a swatch and acts like a swatch but is my little t-shirt peeking out from behind the jacket.
It took over two hours and the tender ministrations of three different Macy's employees to locate the perfect pair of white lined linen pants — no pockets, concealed side zipper and lightly elasticized waist — and matching top with puffed sleeves and two oversized fabric-covered buttons just below the lapels.
A specially commissioned tiny replica of Eastern Salt's signature Manitowok crane and bucket — with moving parts! — a painting whose vibrant color and energetic brushwork capture Kelbaugh's "ephemerality, cacophony, multiplicity and simultaneity" and Dan Adams's photographs of the original "Chelsea Projections" light show animate the gallery walls. Teresa Hummel photo.
A closer look at the detailing of that little linen jacket as we engage in conversation with sub rosa blogfriend Jill of The Business of Life. Update: We liked Jill's casting of several of her conversational partners as archetypes: "It was a pleasure to be able to talk to the Manager, the Teacher and the Politician." Teresa of Technicalities was there, too, taking a lot of pictures — including this one — with her fancy new SLR digital camera. Our old green shirt, shorter than today's trendy tees, was the perfect length to fill the gap created by the jacket's unorthodox buttoning scheme.
"And when I looked, the salt had turned to gold" was sis-in-law Ellen's favorite. Ours too. What a treat to have her and brother Ben with us on our special night. Ditto that other Ellen of Grove Street in Chelsea. Our own sis couldn't make it but touched our hearts and minds with a sentimental gift of gardenias, the kind girls used to wear on their wrist to the prom. Teresa Hummel photo.
Dan said wonderful things about our work. We share a fascination with the authenticity and energy and "beauty in unexpected places" of those Everyday Urbanscapes. He's talking about maybe using that felicitous phrase to rename the whole show.
VIPs left to right: Paul Lamb, dock manager of the Eastern Salt working waterfront, our man Dan, company president and charming hostess Shelagh Mahoney and her daughter Molly. Teresa Hummel photo.
Teresa caught Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash checking out some of our work. Cool, huh?
Update: Here's Teresa's take of the evening's festivities. Thanks again, doll, for being there with us and taking all those pictures!
Update II: Be sure to check out Carol Ward's excellent comments re the dueling utopian and nonutopian Urbanisms. This, re New Urbanism, is a gem:
It called to mind the humaniziing individual remodelings of the rows of virtually identical Levittown houses. Something there is that doesn't like to be fit into a one-size-fits-all template.