Sunday, August 15, 2010

Greetings From...Pebble Beach and the Concours d’Elegance


But sour grapes here…ok, maybe a little. I was offered Press access to the Concours d'Elegance this week and was more than ready to pounce on the kind offer but couldn’t rearrange my LFG vacation commitment. I know that I come across as capricious and superficial but my LFG commitments are always immutable. I'd love to have been at The Concours though. I mean come offers a bolus of visual delights in all things classic automotive as well as an ethereal gander at color, texture, art, history and the proverbial "grown ups with toys" phenomenon. This 1951 Allard K2 Roadster is a rather modest example of all things aforementioned.
Ralph’s 1936 Bugatti Atlantic may be the most sublime work of God I’ve seen—car wise. The lines on this car are erotic. Ain’t it just like God to supply is with such visual delights and then admonish us to practice restraint. Hold me.
Dig this Jaguar D-Type…sublime. I can see art in many things and it’s a no-brainer to see it here. Same with a pair of shoes or the handwork in a sleevehead or working buttonhole…if you look at them with the right lens…and I find it hard not to believe in God when I see art in so many things. I can't show you art or God in a car. But if you come over to CasaMinimus I can show you scores sartorial examples. I can show you some other stuff too. It wouldn't be a lie if I offered you an invitation to "see my etchings."
Steve McQueen owned one of the Jaguar D street versions…a 1957 XK-SS…and I own one too. 
I think there are still about nine road-worthy Jaguar Ds or XK-SSs remaining in the world. McQueen sold his and then a decade later, in a fit of nostalgic seller's remorse, began a year long negotiation to buy it back. He kept this car for the rest of his life. 
Mine’s a little different though. It sits on the bookshelf along with a dozen others in my collection. If you see me tooling around Old Town in this baby, be sure to honk. You'll know me for reasons obvious, not the least of which will be my Fez.
So maybe next year the Concours invitation will again be offered. I’ll have to catch Ed Hermann et al another time.
And I have in the hopper a great Abarth… Guido Scagliarini… Mille Miglia love story to share at some point. There won’t be a dry eye in the blogosphere when you read about what a friend of mine did for Guido.
Ok, so LFG and I made some of our usual Gotham rounds this week but with a twist. Understand now, that my little gal has taken the train to Gotham scores of times. But Manhattan, through her ten-year-old little eyes, is Midtown at worst and the optimally, the Upper East Side. I had her (it’s easy to please four year olds…hotel-wise) for the first few years of Gotham visits, comfortably looking forward to stays at my usual mid-tier business class hotels until my former mother-in-law hosted LFG at the Sherry Netherland one weekend about five years ago. 
LFG came home and shared with me that the … “Sherry Netherland is three thousand years old and they had a horse and buggy out front that was mine.” It’s been downhill since then.
Oh, but what about the “twist”? LFG experienced a totally different Gotham this time. We stayed in SOHO. She saw Chinatown and the Lower East Side and experienced some of the cool granularity of a hamlet, south of her usual Manhattan sensibilities. “Are we gonna have to walk to the theatre from here daddy?” She commented more than once on the olfactory differences between our usual Gotham and the twisty one. I tried to share with her my same olfactory experience the first time I ran through the French Quarter at six in the morning one Sunday. I don't think she quite got it.
Our little hotel was just around the corner from the Puck Building. LFG liked  mischievous little Puck...the scrivener-illustrator-observer-lampoonist of his world. 
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street is a must see if you haven’t. LFG and I needed a dose of this reality before heading uptown to procure. I was worried that my little charge would be bored but was gratified to witness her fascination as we learned about the lives of two families that began their American experience at 97 Orchard. A Prussian family in the 1870's and a Sicilian family in the early 1930's. 
And no LFG, we didn't have to walk to the theater. But we did do something that thrust us quickly into the minority...We dressed decently for the evening. Jack Damn Rogers shoes for Lily (which by the way, I learned that these were procured for a deep and compassionate discount) and Belgians, Ralph linen trousers, Flusser diagonal tone-on-tone pink button down and a Flusser seersuckha jacket. The Addams Family was great and while all of the performers were good, Nathan Lane carried the production. To say that he is brilliant is an understatement.
And Bebe Neuwirth at fifty-two years old is still amazing. I know how it feels to be physically exhausted after being front and center...being "on" all day long. It is beyond me how these people do it night after night at such a high level. And then, take the time to sign autographs before going home. Nice.
"Dad, I hear the guy from Everybody Loves Raymond." The first thing I asked was how she knew something so random. She'd been with her grandfather two weeks ago and they watched Raymond re-runs every day. So I turn around and sure enough...Brad Garrett..."Robert"...Raymond's brother is sitting behind us with his daughter. We said hello during the intermission but consistent with my demeanor when Paul McCartney ran into me at the Four Seasons, I generally don't ask for autographs or pictures. 
We have a new favorite store, thanks to the kind suggestions of a dear friend. Evolution is a must see. Fossils, skulls, shells, insects in Lucite, zebra skin rugs. Twenty bucks goes a long way in this joint and we had a blast. LFG shut me down when I told her I wanted to go back for a second visit the next morning.
Sir John Soane's Museum meets The Addams Family.
The only items I had to steer LFG away from was a counter with little baskets of penis bones. Even at five bucks a go, I had to pass.
LFG with a bag of Evolution Loot
LFG selected our Evolution Ostrich Egg...a Mink Skull...and a Turtle Shell. All now catalogued and integrated into our menagerie shelf. Shut up.
Balthazar was just around the corner from our digs and offered old world-European-ish trappings for French Toast and Waffles. "Daddy, why can't your bacon look like this at home?"
We were the most famous people in the joint but I've heard that the Soho elite are sometimes found gandering about in here.
LFG right after I told her that we were going to Paul Stuart, Belgian Shoes and a couple of other daddy sartorial stop offs. But only after we dropped our bags behind Uncle Alan Flusser's desk for safe keeping.
Much to LFG's relief, we did her things first before my things sartorial. The American Girl store intrigues me in many ways...mostly from a marketing perspective. These people do the brand management, marketing strategy and operational/execution stuff right. I crack up every time I see the "spa". Little girls are in the queue with their dolls, awaiting their chair time so that said little doll can get a tune up.  And LFG wanted nothing. "Let's wait for Christmas, Dad." Is this my child?
Dylan's Candy bar was next on the LFG agenda and here she pounced...on the Dylan Lauren Barbie.
I'm not ready for fall sartorialisms just yet. But the retailers are. And Paul Stuart had a Phineas Cole window replete with this delightful mongrel. A mongrel? Yes and here's blanket cashmere/wool blend plaid...reminiscent of Polo Ralph coats during what I think to be Ralph's greatest style era...the early 1980's. But this one is delightfully mongrelized as a hacking jacket. Hacking in an angular tango is the pocket flap duo of ticket and big boy. And we aren't done beckons Savile Row's Huntsman...what with the one-button closure. My verdict...brilliant. FuzzyDicey out the heine. I think Phineas Cole is brilliant and it still intrigues me that Mark Rykken of Flusser House goes freakin' postal every time I say that.
The Mother Church of comfortable faggy-shodding. Henri Bendel's bedroom-ishesque slipper emporium. They should have Ramsey Lewis' Trio "The In-Crowd" playing continually. LFG deemed these too color. Hell, they're all light in weight. If you've never picked up a pair of these, the first thing you'll notice is how light they are. Your next thought will be about how something that light in weight can hold up for any length of time. They don't. That's why you need a dozen pairs. Brilliant marketing mix here as well. More so than the brilliant American Girl minions.
And LFG deemed these green lizardy ones too dark.
The monochromal-audacity of these navy blue ones put them square in the contender corner. LFG put the ixany, for now, on these too.
Too dark, too light, too monochromatic? No...Just right. In dark loden suede.
And finally...stay tuned later next week for a Richard Merkin—George Frazier blast. I’ve been on a manic George Frazier, and collaterally, Richard Merkin tear and have some yarns to share in the Frazier-Merkin sartorial-litero-biblio realm.
I haven’t quite finished it yet but I’m a fair way through the task of illustrating Frazier’s Esquire epic The Art of Wearing Clothes. I also have on the cusp, a flurry of George Frazier quips from his early Downbeat years. I read his jazz articles in 1938 issues of Downbeat and while they aren’t as evolved and robust as his columns of later years, the twenty-something year old Frazier was edgy as hell back then. I’m thinking that Frazier was a contrarian en utero. And damn the word-play of this lexiconical master. “Asininities”…I’m only jealous that I as opposed to Frazier, didn’t coin that baby.
And Merkin…I just got after many months, my un souvenir Merkin self portrait lithograph. The Richard Merkin scholarship fund at RISD offers these for a $350.00 contribution. I’ve only known Merkin as a dandy and writer of things social and sartorial but I’m gonna do a post on the teacher Merkin. Stay tuned. vacation and now sans to Denver in the morning. Someone has to pay for all of this fun.

Oh and Ps...MegTown just reminded me about Pearl River Mart. LFG had a blast in there. Another place where a twenty dollar bill goes around the block and then some. I bought a paring knife for a dollar and a quarter. Excessive I know, but I bought my mama one too. LFG bought paper lanterns for her opium den. Shut up.


Pigtown-Design said...

wow... read all of that and no review of pearl river! love the puck building and will have to visit evolution on my next trip to nyc.

ADG said...

MegTown....oops....just added it.

Richard M said...

ADG: As we recently discussed, I eagerly await your Frazier/ Merkin stuff!

Silk Regimental said...

New York has so much that captivates. An adventure on each visit I'll bet.

You know me and classic automobiles...LOGE THEM! Yes, God's temptations, and oh so beautiful. Maybe you'll get to go to the Concours d'Elegance next year.

...ami... said...

Good Lord, you and LFG are way tougher than I am!
I walked into Evolution, did a 180 and walked straight out again.
Scared me to death, but the husband loved it.

Looks like a grand time was had by all!

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - Wow! You certainly know how to show a girl a good time in the City!
Re: Balthazar and the SoHo elite - you're absolutely right; I work round the corner and you'll see my 1936 Bugatti parked outside most days...

Anonymous said...

This is the best reading ANYwhere, shut up. I was on a blog binge yesterday when I accidentally found myself linked to maxminius nirvana. You good. How does this sound: LFG and ADG do 2011 Spring Break at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. She'll love it and so will you. In these parts, it will already be hot by then, so you can pack those drawstring linen pants.

LPC said...

So wait, you are too coy about where you stayed. The Soho? The Crosby? Do share. This makes LFG the modern Eloise, bumped downtown and lacking only a pug. In case you had any doubts, I love Eloise.

ADG said...

LPC...Prunella, Crosby was absurdly priced for our limited stay...the Mercer was a bit better but still too steep...and if we'd stayed at either, I'd have posted pics of the digs. The did you know-know? And we love Eloise too.

Flo...can we stay with you?

AnonEngFem...damn...and you didn't offer us your Bugatti.'s your dad?

Silk Reg...indeed.

Richard...sit's brewing.

Richard said...

I own the exact same pair of Belgians, but I commited heresy and removed the bow to replace it with a crest with my intials.

Nelle Somerville said...

Ok...LFG's curls just keep getting prettier and prettier. Love Pearl River. Looks like you all had a great trip.

Female Admirer said...

Why is it whenever you take a picture of the shoes on your feet your crotch gets in the way?

Anonymous said...

FemAdm? have finally noticed how crotchety he is.

I am also fairly fresh to this blog so I am asking you what might be a an amateurish question: Have you ever done a post on Steve McQueen? Not just used him here and there to illustrate a point.......but a full blown McQueen dedication?

BTW My father was taking me to the Concours d'Elegance from the tender age of 8 and I adored the whole experience.......every time.....every year. He also took me to Laguna Seca where I was hand held into the pit areas frequently. I will never forget any of it. I told you. This is the man who gave Carroll Shelby his first ride in a sports car. LFG is now ready for more challenging horizons than clothing and doll stores. She is with her Daddy. She needs to know about such things. Land sakes. Of course, if she starts asking you for a Morgan or a Bugatti, I will humbly hang my head and slink away with my damned suggestions and tail between my legs. Just saying......


SouthernProletariat said...

Looks as if you both had a wonderful time. And LFG simply gets more beautiful wtih every picture you share!

A few things though....running in the french quarter? Were you doing penance or something similar? And if the climate was even slightly warm- were you mad?! Olfactory indeed...

And have LFG tour a tenement house and then take her to the AGD store? Brillant! No wonder she didn't want anything...

And just remember, "daddy's little side trips" will come back to haunt you in a few years...I can just see poor ADG making that same face!

ADG said...

SouthernProle...don't remind me.

SFBay...sounds like you had some sublime experiences with your dad. Great! Oh and's been done and done.

Female Admirer...because I am one big ole mean wanker.

Nelle..yes! We had a ball...and now it's back to reality.

Richard...I like your monogrammed Belgians.

Anonymous said...

I DID realize the sublime with my dad for as long as he lived...and on another sublime level with my mother, who is still alive but only lucidly remembers the past. I think she is the archivist for great and wonderfully explosive memories.

Oh for krysake, Person. I know McQueen has been done and done.....and done very well by a few writer friends of mine..........but I might have enjoyed a *twist* on his style by our ADG. You revisit many icons, yeah? So I just wondered if I had missed something *sublime*. Don't you be so know.......... I was just askin'.

Anonymous said...


Fuck McQueen. Thought you would have a new twist. As you say, "he's been done". Didn't know he had been done by YOU. All entendres very FIRMLY intact (note to FemAdm)

When I ask you for something *sublime* I am not asking for a dredge from the mundane file. 'K?

Mahalo for the wondrous peak into your experiensa..............

ADG said...

Settle down y'all. Or go to bed.

The Sluice Box said...

My last night in NYC. Looks like our itineraries overlapped when it comes to Belgian Shoes and Paul Stuart. Love these New York institutions. I'm surprised at the number of UES stores that were either closed or had limited opening hours during the month of August.

Toad said...

Welcome home

Easy and Elegant Life said...

This was a fine travelogue and post. Made me wish I was there. Except for maybe the "American Girl" store. Their marketing efficiency scares me.

I cannot wait until you finish illustrating Frazier's "Art of Wearing Clothes". It was too daunting a task for me to face down.

And yes, Phineas Cole is brilliant. If it steps up the game of the slender and youthful, I'm all for it!

Anonymous said...

"Flo, can we stay with you."

Honey, I'll consider it but let's open negotiations herewith. You must let L go off with me while you're doing antique autos. After what she's been through with the Belgian shoes and all those labels, she needs an eccentric aunt in the worst way. So she and I will start by going, yes, to Wal*Mart. We may even go off-island to the Super Wal*Mart, after that we head to KMart, then to Fred's, Target is too prissy, we're passing on that one. But after reading how you laid down the law on the hermit crabs, and then to see her walking along with the contraband swinging from her darling little arm, well I'm sure I too would pull the car into the T lot given one downturn of her mouth. Sigh. And it will be a wondrous thing how I educate this deprived child in the fine art of bottom feeding for the classics. I still have my Wal*Mart wool blend tan/brown/ecru houndstooth w/ oxblood hairline windowpane jacket. Mind, I did have to bring out the Singer, get up inside there and tone the lapel down, but what a winner for $25. Didn't even have to change the buttons. So if you will pack and ship me your oriental rug-covered chaise [SWOON], then maybe we can start talking terms.

Scale Worm said...

I love your posts. Sounds like a great time was had by you both!
I dig Ralph's ride (so beautiful), and that McQueen Jag is killa'! Happy travels!

ADG said...

Scale....thanks and cheers, now from Denver.

Flo...LFG would gladly go with you. We do lowbrow as well as highbrow. This child loves South of the Border and my sister, FLG, to LFG to Fred's when we were home in June visiting. And trust me, you don't want the kilim covered's haunted beyond redemption.


Toad...thanks buddy.

Sluice...yep...Gotham is a bit like Europe in August.

Young Fogey said...

Don't you think Belgian slippers would look so much better with square toes?

I can't afford the Concours d'Elegance (or, as the radio announcer said, the "concourse" dee ell-ugh-gunts)--tickets are one-fiddy a pop. And I so enjoyed going to the one near my folks' home when I was growing up! At least they have many of the cars on display, for free, in various venues, in the time leading up to it.

Not to mention more Lamborghinis on the road than you can shake a stick at.

Summer is a Verb said...

So we WERE separated at birth! RL's Bugatti is my all-time fav car. I also have dibbies on Steve McQueen's brown 250 GT Lusso Ferrari. And my vote's for the all navy as the next pair of Belgies. Oops, forgot I wasn't talkin to ya for sending me to a very closed Belgian Shoe. Cold shoulder turned back your way...XXOO

ilovelimegreen said...

There is a Concours d'Elegance in St. Michael's, MD, the last weekend in September.

Your LFG/NY trip reminds me in so many ways of my very own with my father in the 70s and 80s...sadly Evolution did not exist then (at least not to my knowledge.)

PS- I thought I was already LFG's eccentric aunt?

ami said...

Dad had a bad turn this week, so I'm headed back South-ish on Monday. Thanks for asking and keeping a good thought. Looks like he'll be ok, but a set-back nonetheless.

DAM said...

I dig the green skin Belgians, the Green is subtle enough to look black when worn and a nice sartorial 'FU' when the untrained high notices they are green and a "high five" from those that notice them and know they are Belgians.