Monday, September 29, 2014

pirouettes and tutus

how lovely is this? the first ever world ballet day, to be held online on october 1.

five world famous ballet companies - australian ballet, bolshoi ballet, royal ballet, national ballet of canada and san francisco ballet - will be live streaming from their rehearsal studios. 

it's a workday, but i just may be watching on my ipad.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

all the rage

source: spin

five. it's my fifth time seeing interpol in concert. and it's just as fresh as the first time. my love for this band still has no bounds. 

and they officially kicked off their north american tour in vancouver! plus three years ago when they last played here, they were not very active on twitter. i thought it was pretty cool seeing all the tweets from guitarist daniel kessler, on his impressions of stanley park and downtown.

the band were as tight as ever. consummate musicians playing their hearts out to a sold out crowd. besides debuting a new look, paul banks was uber-relaxed. i've never seen him so interactive with the audience - which was fantastic. the dance floor was just heaving with people, so i watched the entire show from the balcony. because of the unobstructed views, i was really able to appreciate just how talented a drummer sam fogarino is.

and i don't know whether it was the type of crowd or a change in concert etiquette, but there were not as many cell phones being collectively hoisted up in the air, in the futile and ridiculous attempt to capture a live performance. there were a few blue screens here and there but not nearly as many. could it be the interpol crowd or maybe we finally remember what it was like to be present and just take in the gig? 

here's the setlist:

and if i didn't have to go to victoria for my work's conference, i might have contemplated hitting their seattle show the following night. three years between gigs is a long time. got to get my interpol fix whenever i can.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

insta-cali: art on the wall

clarion alley and the mission district is a must if you're a graffiti/street art fan.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

insta-cali: monterey aquarium

attack of the 50' cephalopod. the puny humans have no idea what's about to befall on them.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

a wedding and a family reunion

a long-awaited family reunion. plus a wedding. all converging at the monterey plaza hotel. we got to dress up in our finery. and raucously hooted, hollered, clapped and cheered on our cousin mike for getting married to his long-term girlfriend, stella. yes, we were THAT family. the one where we paparazzi'd the entire ceremony and the reception. subtle, we were not. i can say with certainty that between the lot of us, we did the wedding photographer's job for him.

welcome to the family, stella!

Friday, August 1, 2014

insta-cali: hearst castle

might be the most beautiful and opulent indoor pool i've ever seen. fancy a dip in william randolph hearst's roman pool?

a visit to hearst castle

road trip! as my cousin's wedding was taking place in monterey, we decided to leave san leandro a day early so that we could fit in a visit to san simeon and see hearst castle. every time i've been to san francisco, i've always wanted to see it, but at 3 hours driving time, we never were able to fit it into our schedule. well! since we're headed in that direction...

twelve cousins in 3 cars traveling the 101. for the most part, an uneventful drive - that is, until we closed in on san simeon. high up in the hills, i spied ocean waters so turquoise-y, it looked like a saturated photo or a painting. i hadn't seen that vibrant blue anywhere outside, maybe hawaii. i was in amazed. 

we reached san simeon before noon and it was a scorcher! oh, and since california is going through a drought, the bathrooms were closed off to visitors, in order to conserve water. instead, there were rows and rows of pot-o-potties and wash stations in the parking lots. what a great first impression, non?

we got our tickets and boarded the bus for the 10 minute ride up "la cuesta encantada" or the enchanted hill. it is here, in 1919, that newspaper publisher william randolph hearst hired architect julia morgan to build a hilltop "ranch", or rather a mediterranean revival style estate, that would be filled with art and antiques from heart's vast collection. the project was completed in 1947. 

hearst's casa grande, with its church-like appearance, is the main draw. at 68,500 square feet, it contains 115 rooms including 38 bedrooms, a library, movie theatre, kitchen and living quarters for the staff. we signed up for the introductory grand rooms tour, where we visited the assembly room, refectory, billiard room and theatre.

if i have the chance to go back, i'd definitely do the evening tour. not only does it add another flavour, but guests and staff dress up in '30s attire - just like in hearst's day.

after our 45 minute tour, we were allowed to wander the outdoor grounds. we saw the 3 cottages, casa del mar, casa del sol and casa del monte. each cottage was named for its view and was used to house guests and family. interestingly, none of the cottages had kitchens or dining areas. instead, all guests were required to go to the main house for their meals.

walking along the esplanade, we saw palm trees, citrus trees and boxwood hedges.

and then we came to the neptune pool. the 104 ft long outdoor pool even has a 17th century statue of neptune as a focal point, along with roman columns from 1st-4th centuries.

but the piece de resistance was the indoor roman pool. consisting of more than a million murano glass tiles, some of which contain a layer of gold leaf inside, it was absolutely stunning. 

every bone in my body, resisting the temptation to jump right in. i mean, who wouldn't want to take a dip in here?

but what was EVEN more jaw-dropping? the drive back to monterey. instead of the 101, we took highway 1, otherwise known as, the pacific coast highway. i had told my cousins that i wanted to do this drive the next day before the wedding, even if i had to go by myself. i was a big fan of beat poets and writers, so i've dreamed of this stretch of highway for the longest time. and now i was on it, driving through big sur. the views are beyond words. and windy as all heck. i didn't have any problems, but my passengers did. unfortunately, we didn't make any stops as the kids were getting antsy and my cousins wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible. 

i was really sad about that. i wanted to stop at every turnoffs and take a million photos. but at least i've seen it and i made a promise to myself to come back here again. with sean because he has to see this. he must see this. the most beautiful drive ever. even better than the road to hana - which was also stunning.

i can't describe the magnitude of how beautiful the drive was, so here's a vimeo video that i found on driving the PCH and big sur. this is a bucket list item, folks.

one time is not enough. next time i go (and there'll definitely be a next time!) i'll have to stay overnight and really explore the area.