Friday, February 20, 2009

Best Job In The World

I applied for "The Best Job In The World" and here is my application video. Watch for the shameless plug of our blog! 

Oz here I come!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Upcoming Wine Events

Taking a six hour class every Sunday has its perks- I'm now in the know about upcoming wine events. I also hear about them from time to time through working at Times Ten, but now I'll have access to industry tastings too- yippee! 

Most recently there was a wine industry only Bordeaux tasting that consisted of 94 different producers. I unfortunately didn't go to this event, but heard it focused a lot on 2006 vintages, namely Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Francs. Of my sources, few had time to venture over to the whites, so I am ill informed of what predominately was being tasted in that section.

You may rely on me, but there is also a website that will give you a listing of tastings, wine dinners, food pairings, etc. in most major US cities. Great if you're on the road and looking for things to do. 

Charlie Palmer at The Joule puts on regular tastings for $25 pp which feature different varietals and topics (i.e. Italian Boutique Wines, Italy From North to South, Grower Champagne vs. Negociant). Kozy on McKinney Ave. has weekly wine tastings on Wednesdays. They also host the occasional Open That Bottle! Night, or you may see it abbreviated to OTBN elsewhere. Bring in that bottle you've been saving, and have never found the right occasion to drink it. Share with the other guests, it's much better than letting the bottle sit on your rack and decline! There are quite a few events in Grapevine, Garland, and Colleyville as well. 

The weekend of March 6-8th is Savor Dallas. Things kick off Friday with an Arts District Wine Stroll, followed by a Wine & Food Celebration in Victory Park, and the AFI Film Festival gets underway that night as well. Saturday, there is a Reserve Tasting at the Nasher Sculpture Centre as well as an International Grand Tasting later in the evening. The Arts District Stroll begins at Seventeen Seventeen, moves on to the Meyerson, and ends at the Nasher. Wines ranging all price tags appear to be on the tasting menu. The Reserve tasting seems to be heavy on Napa wines, but rounds it out with quite a few wines from France, Chile, Italy, and a New Zealand wine (Sauvignon Blanc, of course).  Oh, and one Texas wine! And finally, the heavy hitters come out to play for the International Grand Tasting. The chefs from the likes of Bijoux, French Room, Crescent, Lombardi's Cinque Terre of deliciousness, Dallas Fish Market, and The Mansion will all be there. A slew of wineries will be accompanying them; I spotted a couple of Texan vineyards on the list. There will also be a bier garten and liquor reps in attendance for those who are wined out (Impossible, I say!). You can do the whole weekend for $300, or buy individual tickets. Tickets are available to purchase online or buying at the door is also an option. All in all, sounds like a pretty good weekend! 

May 19-23rd, the 18th Annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience will be going on. I'm drooling as I type! During that week, Wednesday, May 20th, Cakebread Cellars of Napa Valley will be hosting a private tasting and dinner with Cakebread's  Culinary Director Brian Streeter, along with the Ritz-Carlton's Executive Chef Matt Murphy. The price is steep at $150 pp, but I am sure the food will be out of this world, as Cakebread is also known not only for their wine, but for their healthy cooking and delicious recipes. If you want to skip the astronomically priced dinner, there is a fine wine stroll, wine dinner, auction, and best of all, grand tasting to participate in. Saturday, the 23rd is the Grand Tasting event that looks just awesome- over 75 chefs and 1000 vintages have signed on to dole out samples of the best they have to offer! All the while, with Louisiana's finest musicians helping you keep the beat as you while hours away tasting and drinking and tasting and drinking. Mmmm! Another fantastic weekend of wine.

I'll be sure to keep everyone apprised of new events and report back on the ones I attend!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

HeART and Soul

Starting Saturday, February 7th through March 7, 2009 the HeArt and Soul exhibit will be on display at the Bath House Culture Centre & the Creative Arts Centre by White Rock Lake. My beloved mother Sharon Shero has a photography piece "All That Jazz" on display and for sale all month! Please feel free to stop by and support our local artists! 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Humanitarian Architecture

Last year I had the opportunity to hear one of my favorite Japanese architects, Shigeru Ban, speak as he presented his work while competing for the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science. Sadly, he was not chosen for the project, but he continues to do amazing work around the world. I recently read an inspiring article on him in Architectural Record, cleverly titled, Ban-Aid, because of the work he does in disaster-prone developing countries and communities. He has used his paper tube concept from more expensive commissions to develop a housing system that can be built by people from the community in a matter of days.

He first got his start in 1995 by offering his services to a Vietnamese community dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake in Kobe, Japan. He and his students began building temporary shelters out of paper tubes, which was so successful, that the priest from the local church allowed him to rebuild the entire church with this concept. After that, people from all over the world started coming to him for help. He has helped communities in India, Turkey, Sri Lanka, China, among many others.

He is able to fund this type of relief from his many other well-paid commissions but puts his priority in humanitarian work. He will cancel or postpone other priorities in order to respond quickly when disaster strikes. And he approaches both types of work in the same ways; “working with the climate, finding good local architects (who, in disaster cases, will volunteer their services) and choosing suitable materials.” What’s incredible about this man is his eagerness to help free-of-commission. In a world where hiring an architect is considered a luxury, it’s refreshing to see a well-known and successful architect unselfishly care for communities that are in need of aid.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

America's Architectural Face

I have been really lax on reading all the magazines that come through my mail drop lately. But, little by little I am changing that and catching up on all my back issues of East Dallas' Advocate, UT's Alcalde, and Dwell. I'll eventually get to my Bon Appetits. :)

In Dwell magazine, one of the monthly columns is "In the Modern World," and the the Super Structure section of the December issue discusses the future architecture of the United States Embassies across the globe. (I wish I could give you a link, but unfortunately, they don't post articles from the print magazine on their website.) Our buildings have gone from the beautiful, open Saarinens, Breuers, and glass paned Neutras to walled off stone fortresses. Of course, since the 50's, a lot has happened to give the US concern for the safety of their diplomats and employees abroad. This immediately made me think of our recent trip to Madrid. We happened to walk by the US Embassy which not only was a large, stone building itself, but had a tall, iron gate surrounding it. Furthermore, an armored personnel carrier sat out front with a heavily police presence all around the block. Not at all welcoming. We took one photo, before I thought to ask if we were even allowed to be taking pictures at all. Fortunately, it was New Year's Day and the officer was in a generous mood. Here is a picture of what most MadrileƱos see when walking down the sidewalk:

*Photo by Chad Hannon
After the 1998 bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, safety has taken precedent over design. And reasonably so, over 220 people were killed that day. Embassies are now moving toward a pre-fabricated and standardized design called "The Standard Embassy Design" or SED. This eliminates some of the issues of getting employees computer access and plumbing in parts of the world where this is not always easy. And more importantly, it allows for the buildings to be more secure and predictable for traveling embassy employees. As we speak, 22 of the 29 embassies that are currently under construction are using the SED model. There are plenty of good arguments for SED. And granted they will all look a little different on the outside, but are we just expanding our mass-produced cookie-cutter housing and corporate park techniques into embassies and distributing them around the world? What does this say to our global architecture community?

Personally, I believe that SED embassies demonstrate us unimaginative, unwilling to work with the local built environment (albeit in some cases that could be next to impossible), and flat out paranoid. Surely there are local design groups that could have responded to a RFP for designs that are both unique, open, and secure, all while maintaining a budget. Being that they have Knoll office furniture, the budget can't be so tight to not allow for a little hi-tech design.