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Graffiti Art Becoming Hot Property

Graffiti art- From the street to the museum [May 07]

This article has been reprinted from, the leader in the art market:

Historically, graffiti was a underground movement, born to the Hip-Hop rhythm in the American ‘hoods of the 1970s. It is people’s art, rough and ephemeral. Rough because it was created illegally in public spaces. Ephemeral because its lifespan, subject to external constraints, is necessarily limited. The prohibitions which hit this urban art right from its beginnings in Europe could not stop its expansion during the 1980s. At the end of the decade it had become a veritable fashion phenomenon, in the press and on museum walls. Aside from urban buildings, street furniture and public transport, the graffiti artists created works on canvas, paper or street hoardings which are now prized by a growing number of collectors.

The pioneers

above: A Basquiat serigraph

The unquestioned star of the genre is Jean-Michel BASQUIAT who is racking up million-ticket sales (more than forty). On 15 May last, a mixed-medium 1981 work smashed the artist's record in crossing the 10 million dollar mark! Initially estimated at between 6 million and 8 million dollars, the hammer went down on the lot at 13 million dollars (more than 9.6 million euros, Sotheby’s NY). Warhol’s friend with the fleeting destiny (he died at 27 years) signed his first works in the street under the pseudonym Samo. Today a small pencil or graphite drawing changes hands for between 10,000 and 20,000 euros on average and you'll need between 50,000 and 100,000 euros for a paper-based work in crayon. Prices are higher still for large formats in ink or oil pastel.

above: A Keith Haring silkscreen

Another Warhol accolyte, Keith HARING, is also a key graffiti name. He doesn’t reach the heights of Basquiat but has shown steady growth over the last four years. On 8 February last, you'd have needed not less than £56,000 to secure a small 1984 acrylic (50x50 cm) at Sotheby’s London. The same day, Sotheby’s competitor set a new record of £440,000 for a 1983 canvas (Christie’s London).

The more affordable FUTURA 2000 is one of the pioneers of urban painting which he created instinctively on the walls of Brooklyn as of the 1970s. Only 3 works from the graffiti artist have been put up for auction in ten years! The latest, an untitled acrylic and aerosol painting on a plank of wood, found a buyer for 4,000 euros in October at Artcurial who will auction a spray-painted graffiti canvas entitled Bar code (1983, 137 x 181 cm) for an estimate of between 4,000 and 5,000 euros.

above: A 1963 John Perello acrylic painting, All Are One

Graffiti art becomes sought after in France

The auction house Artcurial will auction around twenty works by American and French graffiti artists on 6 June. The sale catalogue lists the works together in a section called ‘Graffiti and post-graffiti art’: never before has a French auction house given the genre so much credit! The sale’s headline piece is the large-scale Match Point, Ephemeral Hospital, 1993 (214.5 x 190 cm) by John PERELLO, aka Jonone estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000 euros. Highly vibrant and colourful, this work takes liberties with the masters of abstract art such as Kandinsky, Pollock and de Kooning.

With these twenty lots going for estimates averaging between 5,000 and 10,000 euros, the art lover can set his or her heart on the large canvases with cartoon references signed John Matos CRASH or ASH II. There is a wide choice of works for between 1,000 and 5,000 euros: a Jonone sized at close to a metre, the abstract graffitis by SHARP, Chris Ellis DAZE, KOOR or a surreal graphic canvas by Alex/Mac-Crew. For less than 1,000 euros, one might hope to secure the spray-painted canvases by Sonic or Hondo and for a low-end estimate of 100 euros an untitled work combining several media on a plywood panel signed Thierry CHEVERNEY.

In two years, graffiti artists have seen their prices double: is the street phenomenon moving to the auction room?

More DIY Stuff For All You Frustrated Artists!

Once upon time, the only creative DIY stuff available was for kids. Coloring books, mainly. But now, for those of us who fancy ourselves "creative", there are a million cool things on the market to which we can add our own sense of design.

And here are some of the latest to hit the market.. Just click on the pic for more info and to purchase

DIY stuff for Frustrated Artists

See more of my DIY stuff for Frustrated Artists list at ThisNext.

Help Beautify San Francisco:
Pick Their New Bus Shelters!

If you're like many designers (or simply like those who notice and appreciate design), you may find yourself walking through cities complimenting or insulting public architecture like park benches, kiosks and bus shelters.

Well, here's your chance to be heard (by more than just the dog you are walking or by your best friend)and quite possibly, make a difference. You can actually help the City By The Bay (San Francisco) choose the latest design for their city bus shelters, both commercial and non-commercial. All you have to do is go to their site ( to see the candidate's designs and vote.

The SFMTA would like your feedback on the transit shelter models that they are considering. Go to their site to comment on any of the individual model shelters below in the spaces provided.

At the end, they will ask you for your most and least favorite designs.

Here are just a few of the options:

The SFMTA would like your feedback on the transit shelter models that they are considering. Go to their site to comment on any of the individual model shelters below in the spaces provided.

Meet Photographer Todd Baxter

So, I came upon a new talent today.
Photographer Todd Baxter was PDN's Guest Editor, Liz Miller Gershfeld's Pick.

In her own words, Liz states:
" -- Themes of taxidermy, disaffection and 70's era A/V equipment made me look twice at Todd Baxter's unique vision of the world around him. His vision is strong, but its execution subtle. I called in his book and there is more there: strong problem solving and a little more ferocity. All of it beautiful and in a palette that hangs together. His styling is quirky and smart and works really well. I love the woman with the skinned knees lying at the foot of a tree and the bird cupped in someone's hands. It makes me feel bittersweet, like Radiohead. I am excited he is in my own backyard of Chicago."

I took a look at his work ad he has the uncanny ability of combining the charming with the bizarre. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

To see his entire online portfolio, click here.

Some of Todd Baxter's clients are listed below:

Element 79
Energy BBDO
Jacobs Agency
Kenya Airlines
I'm Smitten
Taylor Cheng
Club Libby Lu /Saks Inc.
Chicago Creative Club
ACE Hardware
Condé Nast /GQ
Punk Planet
Pistil Magazine
Slam Magazine
Random House
Akashic Books

here's his contact info:
Todd Baxter
workbook portfolio

represented by Somlo Talent

New Narrative Style of Online Documentaries

Announcing the launch of, a site showcasing unique online documentaries brought to you by The Submarine Channel.

About Minimovies:
A Minimovie is an episodic documentary consisting of 8 to 10 episodes. Episodes are 7 to 10 minutes each. Put together, they form a self-contained story. With MiniMovies SubmarineChannel explores a new narrative and visual style of documentary filmmaking. You can watch the Minimovies here or simply download them to your digital device of choice.

"A Second Life", one of the movies you can view and/or download:
In January 2007, a man named Molotov Alva disappeared from his California home. Recently, a series of seven video dispatches by a Traveler of the same name have appeared within a popular online world called Second Life. Filmmaker Douglas Gayeton put these video dispatches together into a documentary of seven episodes.

Douglas Gayeton, director
Douglas Gayeton wrote and directed, together with William Gibson, 'Johnny Mnemonic', the first interactive cd-rom based movie, for Sony Imagesoft. His digital animated series 'Delta State', was named best animated TV series of the year at the 2004 Annecy Film Festival. Gayeton has also created or designed online social networks for such clients as AOL, MSN, Vivendi and Napster.

above: A still from A Second Life

Just launched, has only two movies up right now. But more will be available soon. Below is just some of what's coming:

So be sure to bookmark and you can view (or upload, or embed or e-mail) original, creative episodic documentaries. Yet another wonderful creative avenue available to you through the internet.

I Knew I Should Have Married Rich. Homes Of The Billionaires.

Most Expensive Homes In The U.S.

Homes Of The Billionaires by Matt Woolsey, Forbes Magazine
Call it quaint, but there was a time when a $75 million house made news. In 2005, that's what happened when the Three Ponds Estate in Bridgehampton N.Y., landed at the top of our list of most expensive homes in the U.S.

No more. That number is practically pocket change compared with what the market currently bears.

This year, the country's priciest properties include a $135 million Aspen, Colo., ranch and a $125 million Versailles-inspired estate in Beverly Hills, Calif.

above: $135 million
Hala Ranchin Aspen, Colo.
Owned by Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., this 95-acre estate boasts a 56,000-square-foot, 15-bedroom, 16-bathroom mansion. Several smaller buildings, including stables, a tennis court and an indoor swimming pool, complete the property.
For more information, contact Joshua Saslove at Joshua & Co., or Gregory Antonsen of Christie's Great Estates.


Why such price acceleration in the top-flight market?

The simple answer: a good mega-mansion is hard to find.

"Try to find eight or 10 acres in the middle of the Hollywood Hills," says Mauricio Umansky, a broker at Hilton & Hyland. "God's not making any more land. [Trophy properties] are a true microeconomy with much less supply than demand."

Above:$100 million
Lake Tahoe, Nev.
Conveniently located on the tax-free Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, this 210-acre property is owned by Joel Horowitz, co-founder of Tommy Hilfiger. The 20,000-square-foot main house is modeled after a northern European mountain home and has a 3,500-bottle wine cellar. An indoor swimming pool and atrium, as well as a 19-seat movie theater, ensure constant entertainment, even if you're snowed in.
For more information, contact Shari Chase at Chase International.


In addition, the financial muscle of flush buyers allows for quite a bit of upward price flexibility. Twenty percent of a household's wealth consists of home equity, according to the National Association of Realtors. Following that logic, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal--worth $32 billion--could easily afford $6.4 billion in housing.

"The net worth of the buyers and the sellers is such that they can do whatever they want," says Joshua Saslove of Joshua & Co., an Aspen-based affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. "The rules of the regular real estate market don't apply."

Sellers who find themselves able to piece together huge pieces of land in desirable locations can expect large listings.

Above: $65 million
San Francisco, Calif.
This French limestone-clad Gold Coast palace is certainly exclusive--you won't even get a go-see without having $800 million in the bank. The dramatic neoclassical villa was sold two years ago for $32 million; neighbors on "billionaires' row" include the Getty family. The limestone on the mansion comes from a single quarry in France. The windows are also European, as is the 19th-century Italian tile roof on the guest house.
For more information, contact Warwick Properties Group.

Gigantic Gems:

above:$125 million
Fleur de Lys
Beverly Hills, Calif.
The latest addition to the $100 million-plus club, Suzanne Saperstein's gem is aptly called the Fleur de Lys. Modeled after Louis XIV's palace at Versailles, the 45,000-square-foot home took five years to build following Saperstein's accumulation of the five acres in Beverly Hills during the 1990s. Should strolling the grounds bore you, there is a 50-seat screening room and a library filled with first edition books to entertain. Auto collectors will salivate over the nine-car garage.
For more information, contact Joyce Rey at Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills.

The latest addition to the $100 million-plus club is Suzanne Saperstein's Los Angeles jewel aptly named the Fleur de Lys. Listed at $125 million and built in the style of Louis XIV's palace at Versailles, the 45,000-square-foot home took five years to construct following the accumulation of five acres in Beverly Hills during the 1990s by Saperstein and her now ex-husband, billionaire David Saperstein.

In Florida, beachfront land drives the highest-end market.

above:$125 million
Maison de L'Amitie, Palm Beach, Fla.
In 2004 Donald Trump bought former health care executive Abe Gosman's palace, Maison de L'Amitie, center, at a bankruptcy auction for $41.25 million. The refurbished version comes complete with a ballroom, conservatory, 100-foot-long ballroom and 475 feet of oceanfront.
For more information, contact Christina Condon at Sotheby's International Realty or Dolly Lenz at Prudential Douglas Elliman.

"There's nothing under $20 million that has 120 feet of ocean frontage in Palm Beach," says Cristina Condon at Sotheby's International Realty. "[ Trump's house] has 475 feet on the ocean."
Is your city in one of America's overpriced real estate markets?

While it's not news that private jets and telecommunications make the world smaller, an increasing number of buyers for trophy properties are international. This, says Peter Kozel, executive managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, an international real estate appraisal firm, "is easy to understand in light of the cheap dollar."

Hot Holdings:

Above:$75 million
Malibu, Calif.
It seems a steep price for a beach house, until you see the land accompanying it. In addition to the panoramic ocean views, the flat seven-acre plot, which sits on its own bluff, offers two riding stables, a riding ring, swimming pool, tennis court and private access to the beach. The seven-bedroom estate is listed with Westside Estate Agency.


What better place to develop a foothold in the U.S. than in the most desirable neighborhoods of Malibu, Aspen, Palm Beach or the Hamptons?

Above:$75 million
Three Ponds
Bridgehampton , N.Y.
Three Ponds, which encompasses more than 60 acres of Hamptons farmland, is named for its surrounding lakes but also features its own USGA-rated Rees Jones golf course. Surrounding the main house are 14 gardens, a 75-foot-long swimming pool, golf pro shop, grass tennis court and a guest house. The main house, designed by architect Allan Greenberg, has a great room with a 28-foot-high domed ceiling.
For more information, contact Susan Breitenbach at Corcoran.

Above:$75 million
The Portabello Estate
Corona del Mar, Calif.
The triple oceanfront lot along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California is only part of what makes the Portabello Estate so pricey. The unique design resembles a nautilus shell, with a dramatic grotto surrounded by "chambers." Built in 2002, the home has eight bedrooms and 10 full baths in nearly 30,000 square feet of ultramodern space.
For more information, contact John McMonigle at Coldwell Banker.

"Trophy properties can serve as a branding for big, new money," says Dolly Lenz, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman. "For a Russian oligarch, a trophy home in New York or Palm Beach is a way to brand themselves in the U.S."

As a result, brokerage houses are ratcheting up their efforts to reach out to potential buyers all around the world.

"International marketing has been very good for our [Florida] properties," says Condon. "We advertise in Russia, Asia and the Middle East."

But problems can arise when it comes to verifying those international buyers. In order to schedule a showing of a $65 million or $125 million home, brokers need to know you can afford to buy the house beforehand. If you don't appear on the Forbes billionaires list, a simple note from a Swiss banker will do.

"The hardest thing for me is to differentiate the people who contact me, to find out if they're real," says Lenz. "They can get very annoyed, but I need to know they can write the check."

Ah, the check. Sometimes there is no need. After all, when an international jet-setter pays $100 million for a third or fourth home, why take out a mortgage?

Many top-tier transactions are "done in cash," says Condon.

Above: $70 million
The Pierre Penthouse
New York , N.Y.
This château in the sky occupies the top three floors of one of the most posh hotels in New York, located on the edge of Central Park. The Pierre's original ballroom was the site of many an elegant event. Now, it's a spectacular grand salon with a 23-foot-high ceiling. The balconies and windows have 360-degree views of Manhattan, Central Park, the East River and the Hudson River.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Lee Sample at Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Real Estate Rat Race
As for which mega-mansion will sell first, it's anyone's guess. The decision to purchase a home of such caliber comes down, more than anything, to personal preference.

above:$65 million
Belvedere, Calif.
The vistas alone may be worth the $65 million price tag on this palace. Indeed, the six-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot home offers breathtaking views of San Francisco, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. Among its other spectacular features are herringbone floors, marble baths and front gates designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan.
For more information, contact Olivia Decker at Decker Bullock.


"Think of it this way," says Umansky. "I could put three mega-yachts in a line-- one contemporary, one traditional and one Mediterranean. I don't know which one is going to sell because I don't know which one Larry Ellison or Bill Gates is going to pick."

Funky Find Of the week: Tea Cozies for People?

The Cozy HideAway

above: The HideAway Adult cozy, made of soft wool

A lot is happening in the world of textiles. Whether it's an abumdance of pillows, bedding or wallpaper, we are seeing the most unusual designs.

However, I have yet to find anything more unusual than Rosalie Monod de Froideville's HideAway Cozies.

From ArtOlive, a gallery in the Netherlands comes these bizarre soft wool cozies for everything from Adults to dogs. Sorry, they don't have any for tea kettles.

Please note how the 'corporate one even has room for a briefcase!

They also make custom ones.

And these aren't prototypes guys, you can order them!

Below is the description from the site:

Willem de Kooning Academie

We all have these moments when we wish the world could just stop existing for a while. Whether it's to get away from a personal crisis or from universal threats, from time to time all we want to do is curl up and hide. Now, for these moments we have the perfect soultion: the HideAway. Pre-shaped in the hiding-position, this cover has a snug fit and is easy to use. you can get into it fast and easy, anywhere and at any time.

And, of course, the requisite pics:

The HideAway for Baby

The HideAwaya Corporate, pin striped with room for briefcase!

The HideAway for Dog

above: the HideAway Trench

above: The HideAway Thug-life is very 'street'

Interested in a Custom HideAway of your own?

You can contact them at

A Brainy Design Magazine: Monocle

Winnipeg-born entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé, the man behind the influential and stylish Wallpaper magazine, launched a new magazine in London 2 and a half months ago.

aims to meet the demand for serious news, with a mix of articles about culture and style and an international outlook.

Tyler Brûlé says the magazine aims to meet the demand for serious news. Tyler Brûlé says the magazine aims to meet the demand for serious news.(CBC)

The first issue, weighing in at 200 pages, featured a look at Japan's defence forces, a Q&A with the chief executive of Lego and a cultural report about Afghan music.

Brûlé sees the magazine, and its accompanying website, as a product for serious readers, who are tired of celebrity-driven, dumbed-down news.

"I think what people will get when they read Monocle is a truly global title which doesn't live along national boundaries and I think so much media is regionalized today," Brûlé said in an interview with CBC Television.

International Appeal

The more indepth, serious approach should appeal to people dealing with multiple cultures, he said.

"If we actually look at travel patterns — you know despite all of the environmental pressures people are travelling more than ever before — and people are living in multiple cities, whether it's for business, whether it's for lifestyle purposes, and I think we want to be a media brand to reflect that."

Monocle came out in London and Europe on Feb 13th, 2007 and was available in Canada, mostly in airport news agents, selling there for $12.

"I think this magazine will speak to Canadians as much as it will speak to Australians and Japanese," Brûlé said, adding that it's not just for the jetset.

"This is also for someone who might live up in Scotland or someone who lives in Manitoba who just wants quality coverage as well."

Brûlé, who started Wallpaper in 1996 and sold it the following year for $1.63 million, is well aware of the risk of starting a new magazine, but his forecasts are optimistic.

He expects Monocle will be selling 200,000 copies within six months.


The Concept:
We believe it's time for a new, global, European-based media brand. With a keen focus, strong reporting, sharp wit and a more classic approach to design, we've dubbed our venture Monocle. At the core there's a monthly magazine delivering the most original coverage in global affairs, business, culture and design. Alongside, there's a web-based broadcast component covering the same areas through a variety of bulletins, mini-documentaries and talk formats. Focused on informing and entertaining an international audience of disillusioned readers, listeners and viewers, it is our intention to create a community of the most interested and interesting people in the world.

Edited out of London, Monocle is staffed by a team pulled from the world's leading news outlets, magazines and broadcasters. Conceived by Wallpaper* founder and International Herald Tribune columnist Tyler Brûlé, the launch team calls on some of his old alumni and new talent from The Independent, the BBC, branches of Condé Nast and a host of other news outlets. Versed in politics, popular culture, business affairs, media, architecture and design, the editorial team will cover the world from its London hub and dedicated bureau in Tokyo, Zürich and New York. Monocle will be driven by offering original, never-before-seen content to an audience of well-heeled, intelligent opinion leaders around the world.

The Magaine's Sections Are as follows:

A global mix of reportage, essays and interviews with the forces shaping geopolitics.

Devoted to identifying opportunities and inspiring the reader.

With a tight group of opinionated columnists, reviewers and interviewers, it delivers the best in film, television, music, media and art.

Bypassing hype, design is dedicated to unearthing emerging and established talent.

Bite-sized and thought provoking, Edits are vital life improvements curated in a fast-paced well-researched collection.

Below is a glimpse of upcoming articles:

Subscription details:

* An annual subscription of 10 Issues of Monocle for £75
* As a subscriber, you will also have exclusive access to information on Written and reported by our international team of correspondents, it will offer mini-documentaries, bulletins and our 25/25 guide series detailing the best places to eat, shop and sleep in the world’s leading business cities and resorts. Examples of this will be available to all visitors for an intial period, but will soon become subscriber-only.

Wanna Subscribe? click here.

Funky Find of The Week

Chester, The dog-shaped briefcase.

Chester, the dog-shaped briefcase

Because sometimes you are too busy working to walk the dog so this way you can do both at once.
Besides, briefcases don't pee on your rug.

Click on the above image for more information and purchase.

Foodie Eats His Way To Pulitzer

For distinguished criticism, in print or in print and online, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) awarded to Jonathan Gold, food critic for LA Weekly.

Awarded to Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly for his zestful, wide ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times for his pieces on art that reflect meticulous reporting, aesthetic judgment and authoritative voice, and Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times for his passionate music criticism, marked by resonant writing and an ability to give life to the people behind a performance.


Jonathan Gold is the LA Weekly's restaurant critic and the author of "Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles." He began to write about food for the Weekly in 1984, when the paper's former owner admired a piece he'd written about health insurance and invited him to edit the biannual restaurant guide, and the "Counter Intelligence" column first appeared in the Weekly in 1986. He has been restaurant critic for California, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles magazine and Gourmet, where he was the first food writer ever to be nominated for a general national award in criticism, and he has won James Beard Awards for both magazine and newspaper restaurant reviews.

Gold also wrote frequently about music and popular culture for Spin, Rolling Stone, Details and Vanity Fair, and contributes to the radio shows Good Food and This American Life.

Below is an interview with the winner reproduced from The Washington Post:
Chewing the Fat With the Restaurant Critic Who Ate His Way to a Pulitzer Prize
By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 21, 2007; C01

LOS ANGELES Jonathan Gold, who this week became the first restaurant critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, is giving directions to the Mexican food joint he has chosen for lunch. "I'll be the chubby white guy with long red hair," he says. "You can't miss me."

He is, as promised, Falstaffian in proportion, but he carries his girth well. He looks like a man who has eaten professionally, and with tremendous gusto, for two decades. He is wearing a black leather jacket and a faded yellow T-shirt that reads "Evil Taco." He does have long henna hair streaked with gray and a perpetual squint. He'd make a good pirate.

The lunch place, which he is planning to review soon, is classic Jonathan Gold, meaning it is a mom-and-pop dive in the working-class neighborhood of Highland Park, a cafe called El Huarache Azteca, which boasts of its "el Chicano dog," and its sopas, tortas, tacos, pambasos, sincronizadas and platanos fritos. It is next door to an auto body shop. It is classic Gold in that the 46-year-old critic has made it his mission to discover and revel in the kaleidoscopic ethnic culinary delights of Los Angeles, to search out food that is a window into the city's crazy-quilt immigrant soul, and Gold keeps eating and eating and eating, on an anthropological quest to answer the questions: Who are we? And what is for dessert?

Almost immediately he is ordering. You would be wise to just let him go. When this correspondent first arrived in L.A., a source pressed into his hungry mitts a dog-eared copy of Gold's book, "Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles," a collection of his columns of the same name from LA Weekly, and for many a foodie it's a treasure map to the best sea urchin gonads, grilled chicken knees and cucumber mint gelato in town, and sometimes, in the world. The Pulitzer committee praised Gold "for his zestful, wide ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater."

Today, Gold chooses huaraches (a masa turnover, like a fried bread, shaped like a shoe sole) with a succulent beef brain, a green mole that is zesty and creamy in the same bite, and chilaquilas; and the plates are surrounded with steaming rice, and beans with a little cheese that sigh, "comfort, my friend," all washed down with a gallon-size plastic foam cup of fresh watermelon juice.

Over a leisurely hour, we inhale the stuff, shoving the plates back and forth, shoveling the aromatic meats down with plastic forks as Gold offers, "you gotta try this," and at one moment, produces a wonderful burp.

Gold began his journalism as a classical music critic, as he had studied composing at UCLA. "Opera," he says, "was an obsession." He is an accomplished cellist, and in the punk heyday of the late 1970s, he played in punk bands, including Tank Burial, "which was the heaviest name we could think of."

From his biography on the Pulitzer Web site: "He began to write about food for the Weekly in 1984, when the paper's former owner admired a piece he'd written about health insurance and invited him to edit the biannual restaurant guide." His main perch over the years has been LA Weekly, which his wife, Laurie Ochoa, now edits, though he has also worked at California and Los Angeles magazines, the Los Angeles Times, and Gourmet, under editor Ruth Reichl, a close friend. "If she goes to Cat Fancy magazine, I'd follow her," he says.

What is the life of the food critic? Harder (arteries) than it looks. During scouting trips, Gold may hit six or seven restaurants in a day. "I can tell at the first bite whether or not it stinks," he says. There was a recent L.A. Times exposé on 400 restaurants that had received failing grades from health inspectors. "I'd been to 110 of them," he says.

In how many eateries has he dined, just in L.A.? He can only guess: 5,000? 10,000? He scours the ethnic newspapers of L.A., written in Farsi, Khmer, Vietnamese: "I don't understand a word of it, but they list an address and I go." Often, he just drives around in his pickup truck and swerves to the curb to sample a couple of dishes. Crowds, he warns, can be deceiving. "I know people who will go down the street for a Chinese restaurant because it's 50 cents cheaper."

For a piece on the best Korean food in Los Angeles, he went to 150 restaurants (he thinks there are about 700 in the county). "They are freakin' amazing," he says, "the best Korean food outside of Seoul." He went to a Taiwanese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley 17 times -- and he hated the food -- "but I could tell what they were doing was impeccable. I wanted to understand that."

In addition to diners and dives, Gold reviews the most expensive food destinations in Los Angeles -- and he has taken some of them down. "And they deserved it," he says. Unlike many food critics, Gold does not give stars or grades. "I'm more descriptive than evaluative," he says. Gold confesses that his lifelong search is to find another word for "salty."

From one of his winning reviews: "Do I love The Lodge for its double-fisted Tanqueray martinis or for the thick-cut pepper bacon put out like peanuts at the bar? For the big chunks of blue cheese in the house chopped salad or for the onion rings as golden as the bangles on a Brahmin woman's arm? For the dripping-rare New York steak or for the bone-in rib-eye as big as some models of compact car? For the sommelier, Caitlin Stansbury, who seems to purr like a cat when you order her favorite Madiran or Spanish Syrah on the wine list?"

His favorites? "I'd eat anything," he says, "though I am particular to Chinese," a cuisine of many faces that soars in L.A., "but my favorite food of all is really, really expensive French cuisine." Oh, and he knows his wine.

The best restaurants in America? Gold says New York, hands down. Best foodie locale in the world? Gold votes for Singapore. But he praises Los Angeles as the best city to eat Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Armenian, Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican (close runner-up: Chicago). He credits L.A. with the invention of Asian fusion, the California pizza, and resurgence of high-end "comfort food," the $26 meatloaf of Wolfgang Puck. He has at home 3,000 cookbooks. "I don't have one Lithuanian cookbook, I have several." He is also a solid home cook. He does Italian (and visits Umbria every year, "best butchers in the world"). "I've memorized Marcella Hazan," he says of the classic Italian cookbook author.

Above: Jonathan Gold celebrates his Pulitzer

After he won the Pulitzer on Monday, he downed several goblets of Champagne. Then he and his wife went to Pizzeria Mozza, the red-hot oven on Melrose run by celebrity chef Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton (of Campanile fame), a friend of his wife's. He recalls a great bottle of Lambrusco. Then on to Lou, a new wine bar run by Lou Amdur, the husband of New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis, "and then more Champagne."

Our bill at El Huarache Azteca comes to $22.13 plus tip. Gold apologizes that we didn't eat at the Italian masterpiece Valentino, where we could have stuck The Washington Post with a $250 tab, minimum. No matter. As we're leaving, Gold keeps the recommendations coming. The most incredible Vietnamese spring rolls? The best taco cart? The finest martini? Here's a critic you can eat with.

Click here to read Jonathan Gold's latest reviews.

Books for the Eyes and Mind
From Princeton Architectural Press

What's hip, well designed, informative and affordable?

Meet Princeton Architectural Press.

A week or so ago, I received a request from Princeton Architectural Press to review some of their publications. I happily complied and some days later received some of their catalogs as well as one of their newer publications, Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of An Imaginary Soul Superstar by Dori Hadar, to review.

Above: Catalog Covers from Princeton Press' 2006 and 2007 collections

The following is how they describe themselves on their site:
In the nearly twenty-five years since its founding, Princeton Architectural Press has become a world leader in architecture and design publishing, both in market share and in editorial and design excellence. With over 500 titles on our backlist, we have consistently sought the best in our field, and are privileged to be able to attract and publish it. We've made our reputation in part by identifying new trends and publishing first books on emerging talents, as well as definitive works on established names, and by creating books of unsurpassed design quality and production values.

We've also successfully broadened the scope of what design publishing constitutes, by publishing everything from theory anthologies to documentation of remote Canadian fishing villages. Crossing boundaries is our strongest suit: we excel at publishing books that defy easy categorization. And in an industry where the average life span of a book is measured in months, if not weeks, we are a committed backlist publisher; indeed, the first book we published, Letarouilly's Edifices de Rome Moderne, is still in print.

Both the Press and our books have won numerous awards, for editorial excellence and for book design. They've been described in professional and popular media as "visually inviting," "elegant and charming," "useful as well as beautiful," "lovingly produced," "authoritative," "thorough and comprehensive," and so on: we try to make books that are smart and beautiful.

Since 1996 we've been distributed in North and South America by Chronicle Books, the successful trade book publisher based in San Francisco, which has dramatically increased our visibility in the non-specialist book trade and specialty retail stores. Our strategic alliance in 1997 with Birkhauser of Basel, Switzerland, strengthened our worldwide distribution and has brought greater visibility for their excellent books to our shores.

In short: we publish the best books on a subject we believe we know best.

Previously unaware of the large range of books that cover design, architecture and the 'visual' world from Princeton Architectural Press, I was pleased to see that their own catalogues are well produced, nicely designed and laden with wonderful books that cover numerous topics from Typography to Mapmaking.

I would strongly encourage you to request a catalog or spend some time browsing their publications. You won't be disappointed. Just take a look at how nicely laid out their own catalogs are:

In addition to the above catalogs, I took a look at Mingering Mike, by Dori Hadar with a preface by Neil Strauss and an afterward by Jane Livingston. It is an unusual illustrated find, recounting the story of a previously unknown soul superstar.

Author Dori Hadar (a self professed vinyl junkie) found a treasure trove of albums while digging through crates at a flea market.

Complete with folk like illustrations and extensive liner notes, Dori wondered why he'd never heard of him before. Upon closer inspection, he realized she'd uncovered handmade cardboard covers containing grooves drawn on 'vinyl'and thus was born, the story of one man's mythology of his music career.

After some searching, author Hadar actually met Mingering Mike and he retells the story of his unusual childhood and life experiences that were the inspiration for his imaginary superstardom.

The book is poignant and unusual, laden with charming art and heartfelt accounts of Mike's life.

Above: Mingering Mike, one of PAP's latest releases
A nice find for anyone who appreciates anything from folk art to the music industry to history.

Below are some sample spreads:

In addition to their publications, they have a blog about visual culture. On this blog, they also have a good list of art, design and architectural blogs (mine, however, is not yet included..).

Suffice it to say, Princeton Architectural Press is a 'bookmark must' for anyone who appreciates the arts and the world of 'visual' communication and design.

Careful though...with such affordable titles, you'll soon be snapping up their whole library!

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