Thursday, September 29, 2005

Isadore me

After I finished that last post I went to bed to read for a bit. John was already asleep, lying on his side, but facing my way in our enormous king-size bed. Usually Merlin will come in while I am reading and he will plant himself between us, stretching out to his maximum length which is 36" believe it or not. But tonite Isadora stopped by. She has not slept with me regularly for years. When she was a kitten she would try to sleep on my head. And I would toss her down to the end of the bed, over and over we would do this (she is a slow learner), until she finally figured it out and learned to sleep at my feet. Which these days she does sporadically at best.

So it was somewhat of a surprise when she hopped onto the bed and walked right up to me and meowed in my face. She is quite the talker, always has something to say, and is one of those cats who has to get the last word (or meow) in. Anyway, there she is, standing on the bed, meowing in my face. After a little while she decided to stay and took her time curling up between me and John, very close-like. She had her butt to me and was facing John with her little face less than 6 inches from his. And she was still meowing. Not that he heard it, John doesn't even hear when he is awake, let alone when he is asleep. It was so funny I thought I would wake him up for sure because I was laughing so hard but he didn't budge. Which is when I knew I had to wake him up to see his reaction. The only thing is I should have gotten the camera first. I said "John," in a firm voice and he opened his eyes and was staring directly into Isadora's face. She meowed. Of course. He blinked. I was laughing so hard I was crying. And John went back to sleep.

Come on out!

I'll be at the Historic Shaw Art Fair this weekend, so if you're in the St. Louis area, come see me. This is the last outdoor show of the year. I am happy/sad about the end of the season. Happy because I get a little break but sad because I genuinely like doing this.

But I am also anxious to get started on new stuff plus I have several commissions already lined up so I do have work to do. I also want to P-L-A-Y with new products; I got some experimental things from Golden and I have ideas, oh how I have ideas on how I might use them.

But first the show......and it's going to be fun. It is in a lovely old neighborhood with tree lined streets and fantastic big homes. The neighborhood association holds the art fair. And the neighbors all seem so into the artists. Hospitality is just top notch; one of the highlights is the Saturday night Artist party which was a good time last year and we hardly knew anyone then. This year I know a lot of folks and a number of my friends are in the show including my art fair mentor, Rhonda, who got admitted off the wait list this morning. Woo hoo for her. She was on her way to a show in Dallas and promptly turned the van around.

So we will set up tomorrow then my friend Sarah will come home with us to spend Friday night here rather than driving all the way back to Carbondale where she lives. I am looking forward to that. We will probably do a little gallery hopping in UCity or perhaps hit the opening of Quilt National over at the Foundry. Not sure what she will want to do. Sarah has two little kiddos and doesn't get a lot of play time. She thinks it will be like vacation staying with us and it probably will be. Hopefully we won't stay up all night since we do have a show Saturday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The #1 Art Fair Question........

Is not "Where do you find your pictures?" Yes, that one is asked a lot and I explain how I started with family photos but now find pictures mainly from estate sales and flea markets. Or generous friends.

Is not, "Is this Decoupage?" regrettably, that one is also heard like maybe once an hour, mainly from older people. Hopefully no one sees my jaw clenching as I patiently and politely explain the difference between my paintings and decoupage.

Is not, "Could you do this if I gave you my pictures?" I get that one a lot too. And yeah, sure I do commissions, I love working with people on their personalized projects so I always take time to talk about the possibilities. And for every 15,000 people I talk to at an Art Fair, there is usually one (that is 1, as in singular) who will really call me.

No, it's none of the things mentioned above, nor is it anything even related to my art at all. Truly, for both Kansas City shows that I have done so far, the #1 Art Fair Question has been.........drum roll please...........

"Where is Wildwood, Mi-Zurr-Rah?"

You see, the show producers make up these little laminated signs that hang in the booth. Mine says:

Mary Beth Shaw
Wildwood, MO

I am not from Missouri originally, so this is all just theory, but it seems like people from here generally know the state pretty well. Like they know the other towns and have heard of even the most obscure locations. But they sure haven't heard of Wildwood. Probably because it was just incorporated 10 years ago. It is one of those communities formed when someone got the bright idea to merge a bunch of unincorporated land all together for purposes of controlling development, etc. And it's not really a tourist mecca or anything. We have some lovely parks here, beautiful rolling hills, blah-dee-blah, but no one is advertising to "Visit Wildwood" or anything like that. Tons of maps don't even show Wildwood. And yeah, that's where I live. Which, during a busy show, I have to explain about once or twice a minute.

It was a good show though. Not the best of the year, but certainly right up there. My inventory has once again been severely depleted and I am doing what I can to re-stock before Shaw. Tough though since I stupidly forgot to place a new canvas order before I left. But! The gloriously reliable Dick Blick (he is a real person in my mind, the King of art supplies), has already processed and shipped the order I placed Sunday (at midnite) and I am expecting it today. And I had a few things in the works when I left. So I should be ok.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

When in Rome.....

Eat the Steak Oscar. Oh, I must be confused, I'm in Kansas City. Well, you know what I mean, this is a steak town. And oh boy it was good. There is nothing like a big ol' feast before the show, the last supper so to speak. Because I will be living on bottled water and Kettle Korn for the next 3 days. And wine since my sweet hubby stashes it behind the booth. But we try to hold off on alcohol until a civilized hour such as maybe 4:30 or 5:00. Depends on the show. Last week we were talking about it as early as 2:00. Not a good sign.

Ah, Kansas City. I love this town. It seems so much more cosmopolitan than St. Louis and it has that "west coast" edge that reminds me of home (meaning CA, my adopted home, not OH where I was actually born). I seriously like it here.

We are staying in a "boutique" hotel that is totally adorable. Big king size bed, cozy down duvet, lots of pillows, free internet, gourmet coffee. Meets all my needs. And dinner was lovely, the Capital Grille, I think this is a chain actually, known for steaks. There used to be one in SF on the ground floor of John's office. I had salad and a wonderful steak. Our waiter brought me a flourless chocolate espresso cake for dessert; a little treat for the artist. OMG, it was delish however I may be up all night now. But yum yum. A nice welcome to the city. And our faboo waiter hinted that I could perhaps get a martini TO GO!?!?!? during the show. Lordy, lordy, I have died and gone to heaven.

Our set-up time is 9am. This is a little different as we have an assigned time. We scoped it all out and it's a good thing we did because the streets don't have street signs. But we figured it out and are ready to go. Scoped our spot and we are across from Starbucks. And MAC. Maybe they will give me a make-over before the show? A girl could only hope. It doesn't really get much better than this as far as I am concerned.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Coming up for air

So here is one of the new 6x6's that I like. Every once in awhile I make one that I really like and this is the pick of the week. I don't know why I find this one so funny but I laugh every time I look at it.

I have been working my ass off, pretty much non-stop for days now. Despite the fact I am sickly and don't have my normal energy, I have by some insane miracle managed to finish ALL the pieces that I had planned. Since it is apparently such an honor to be accepted to this show (my booth neighbors at last week's show were giving me a lot of shit that I got in my first year), I mainly wanted to feel like I had put forth my best effort. And after today's work I do feel I have done that. If any of you are in the Kansas City area, be sure and come visit me at:

But it has been tough. The cold/sinus thing has been horrible and the new scanner hasn't helped either because I don't really know how to use it so I've been doing this shoot from the hip scanning that is slowslowslow. And then tonight I am doing finishing touches on these pieces and notice I have done something totally see, John wires my canvasses for me and usually does this after I complete a piece. I have been working so fast and furious we thought it might be more productive if he did the wiring ahead of time which he did. And, you guessed it, I made the pieces upside down, sideways, you name it, completely ignored the wire placement! I didn't even think about it, just went about my merry way and now he has to re-wire about 6 pieces because I am such a numbskull. What is even more hilarious is that I am so ego-centric (it's all about me, isn't it?) that, when I noticed it, I immediately thought John had lost his mind and made a mistake.....uh-oh.....I did fess up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Low Energy

This horrible cold snuck out of nowhere and has smacked me down. There is so much I need to do and I can barely summon enough energy to dress myself. I have 15 canvasses downstairs, backgrounds done, waiting for completion but they will have to wait I suppose.

I did drag my sorry ass out of bed yesterday because I had a teaching gig at U City schools, teaching to teachers, for their in service day. My teaching partner Karyl and I did our paste paper class and it was a lot of fun. The teachers seemed to truly enjoy the experience. From what they said, apparently their in-service days are frequently lectures or something that is totally unrelated to their jobs(which is a damn shame in my opinion). So they were quite excited to actually be doing art and making something that could later be adapted for their students.

And in other news, that cat poop continues. I can barely even talk about it I am so distressed. Each morning I walk downstairs with this dreaded anticipation over what I might find. It's not every day, but enough to be a real issue, I mean once is enough to be a real issue, shit on the rug is just not right. But we still haven't caught anyone in the act. I will say my focus has narrowed to Gilligan though and we made an appointment with the vet.

You see, Gil is simply not acting like himself. He is my buddy cat, always a Mama's boy, kind of ugly since he only has one eye, but of course I find him adorable. He is like the Walter Matthau of cats, a very scroungy curmudgeon, but oh so loveable. There was a time when I was in the insurance biz(claims mgt, believe it or not) and I had an employee named Gil, one of my first older employees, perhaps 20 years my senior. He was actually a lot like my cat Gil especially the curmudgeon part but I found it so odd to manage a person with the same name as one of the cats; I could barely write his perfomance appraisals with a straight face. Gil the cat, not my previous employee, is the one who plays nurse cat when you are sick, just sleeps on the foot of the bed the whole time you are ill. Even yesterday when I got home from class and had to lie down, he instantly knew I wasn't feeling well and curled up on my chest which was so sweet and like the old Gil. But otherwise he seems very mopey to me as if he were depressed about something. He walks around the house making a mournful sound and it is so pitiful. So we will have him checked out and make sure there is nothing going on from a physical standpoint.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

It's Slowtime

We are at Mosaics in St. Charles, MO. Nice because it's close to home and the weather has been astonishingly beautiful. Nice also because I won an Award of Recognition, a $500 prize. And that's cause for a big Woo hoo. S-L-O-W sales though; the people have been pleasant and supportive of my art but just don't seem to be buying much this weekend. That is ok though because we are headed to The Plaza in Kansas City next weekend and I suspect I will need all the inventory I can muster up. I actually have a lot of works in progress at home and have been working on some new photos and captions while we have been here at the show.

Plus biding my time with my newset addiction....Sudoku. It is this numbers puzzle which is just oh so much fun!! I have heard there are tons of websites with the puzzles on them and I have no idea which is the "official" site. Our local paper publishes one puzzle each day and I cut it out so I can work on paper, not on the internet. It is fun and challenges your brain. But I have to warn will suck you in!!! And since I am kind of number-impaired, I am excited to find that this interests me so much. I mean it's not Math or anything(heaven forbid!), but at least it's a change from Scrabble.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Woe is me

You may want to just pass right over this post unless you are in the mood to listen to a little whiney bitch. Because I have had a very crappy day.

It's all about the computer thing I wrote about before......well it is ongoing....John called the Geek Patrol and a guy came out today. He was here for 4+ hours working on our computer. Arrived in one of those little Geek cars, which is a Beetle with a spiffy paint job and was also dressed in the Geek attire which I thought was pretty cool actually. He was here so long I feel like we got to know him. Yeesh. After unsuccessful troubleshooting, he ended up having to re-install our Operating System. TWICE. As in 2 times. We had stuff backed up, but not everything of course, and I just couldn't think quickly enough, honestly it never occurred to me everything would be wiped out like this. So we have lost a lot, stuff that I really liked such as Mah Jong and Tetris. And my favorites folder. This will cut down my surfing considerably. Or perhaps NOT since I will be frantic to find all my old spots again. I do think we still have all the important stuff though like my art biz documents and all my images.

But I have spent the last oh, say 6 hours(!) working on this, loading software, installing the new scanner, trying to get my email accounts all set up and mailing to the right place, that sort of thing. My eyes are about to glaze over. And in the midst of all this I stupidly deleted all the music off my iPod. I am an idiot, this should be in all caps, I-D-I-O-T. Naturally I hadn't backed it up and didn't even think of it really, just assumed all the music on the iPod would somehow migrate back on to to the computer? Who knows what I was thinking!?!? Anyway, I loaded the iPod software, hooked it up and the computer says something like this iPod is linked to another computer (well, not really, but I can see why it might have thought that) so I agreed to switch and boom, bigger than shit, my entire collection was gone. Just that quick. Kind of mind blowing.

So it is perhaps time for me to head off to bed. And to think I have a show starting tomorrow.......

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Let me "bore-er-tain" you

This is one of those weeks when I question why I am even writing a blog. My life seems so mundane it’s impossible to believe anyone would want to read about it. The opposite of “entertainment” although there apparently isn’t such a word.

Anyway, I’m up to my usual business of trying to crank out as many 6x6’s as physically and artistically possible since that is mainly what sold last weekend and my stash has been significantly reduced. Mosaics (this weekend) is not my ultimate goal here because I could put some big stuff out and fill the booth, but the Plaza show in Kansas City (next weekend) is the focus.

Which brings me to my pain in the ass computer. Late last week the scanner crapped out on me. The computer failed to recognize it; this had happened before, usually I just unplugged it and it would work when I plugged it back in. Or I would restart and it would be ok. But this time it was dead. My friend photographer friend Greg (who owns all the best toys), has a new scanner on order and offered me his old one which is way better quality than my scanner ever thought about being. So I picked it up Monday and installed it. Worked for about 10 minutes during which time I was a scanning maniac, then all sorts of crazy things started happening…..scanner wouldn’t work….printers locked up.......Word failed……..Publisher and Photoshop wouldn’t load…..basically most of the computer died. Something about a Spooler issue. The broadband still works so I did a bunch of research and I think this is some XP bullshit deal and honestly I think it may have existed before my scanner died or, better said, perhaps my scanner isn’t really dead after all. Whatever, it’s beyond my capabilities although I certainly gave the troubleshooting a good shot way into the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

I can’t tell you how desperately I need a computer to do my work. I scan all the photos then do a little touch up and sizing stuff in Photoshop, then I print on our laser printer. I work with phrases on the computer, pick fonts, size them, print them out. I print the transparencies I use. Yadayadayada. I am up and down the stairs all day long using the computer. Normally that is. After my implosion yesterday (that was when I finally collapsed in tears in front of that bastard machine) I came to the realization I have no choice but to work with the materials on hand. I will not be able to introduce any new photos this week. I will have to use Chartpak rub-on letters for my phrases. That’s all there is to it. And so it goes…….I’ve been working that way as we wait for our Thursday appointment with the Geek Patrol. And thank goodness for the laptop so I can still do email. I know I could probably hook it up to a scanner or printer too but I am a little paranoid right now and want to see where all this shakes out first.

And then John has been sick with an annoying persistent stomach bug. Last week when we were doing set-up he had it and was feeling weak. He kept getting dizzy whenever he bent over and had to sit down a number of times. Now I know this makes him sound feeble and believe me, he is anything BUT feeble, rather a prime specimen actually, and I feel sure the 95 degree heat was also affecting him. I was briefly sympathetic to his condition but basically hoped he would shake it off (which he did) until after he got the tent up.

So, you guessed it, this little bug nabbed me yesterday. Kept working through it the best I could but did switch over to eating bland stuff and even took a little nap. Apparently Aidan had this and I have also heard there is something going around so who knows where we got it. I feel better this morning though so perhaps it has run its course.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Yes, I had White Castles for dinner at midnite. Two days running. Thank goodness the show is over now and I can revert to some healthier eating for a few days. But I will say they really hit the spot every once in awhile. Double cheesburger with no onions. I am sure the folks at the drive-thru think I am a freak, or John most likely, since he is the driver and places the order. I mean who orders just ONE sandwich at White Castle. With no onions?

Anyway, the show was good. Really fun for one thing - great music, good food, high quality beer, all the ingredients for a good party. The art was better this year too at least I thought so. And I was pleased with my sales, so that is cool. This show attracts such an interesting group of people, edgy, hip, diverse - I love the crowd. Naturally it is nice that so many of them seem to really GET my art too. I talked to a lot of folks who remembered me from last year and gave positive feedback on how much my work had evolved from a year ago. Also talked to a couple who told me how much they are enjoying their purchases from last year, how visitors in their house have admired the art, how much pleasure it gives them on a daily basis, etc. It was so validating to hear and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

As I was sitting at the show I had a little "out of body" experience as I thought back to last year at Schlafly, which was my very first outdoor art fair. I remember John and I unpacking the tent last year, trying to be calm and cool and act like we knew what we were doing. Mainly I was praying the tent didn't fall over and hit someone or we didn't whack each other with the poles or some such thing. But I remember pulling the tent out of it's bag - it was bright blinding white, like new tennis shoes that had never been worn. And I wished we had scuffed it up a bit; we were such obvious newbies. We had done a trial run in our yard to practice and our rehearsal must have paid off because we got that thing up without a hitch.

The Schlafly website has some pictures from last year's show and it is hilarious how little art I had on the walls, barely filling the tent. And of course then I was blessed with beginner's luck and amazing sales so by the end of the show my inventory was wiped out and the walls were nearly barren. Now I know to carry extra to replenish as the show goes along.

We have come a long way in a year.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Think we got enough?

Holy cow do we ever have a lot of bubble wrap!!!

I have this thing about my art business, specifically the selling of my art. I believe that, as an artist, it's up to me to establish a "mood" and to make the art available for sale. It should be accessible and affordable. And I should be prepared. Much like Field of Dreams thinking, I go through all these visualizations prior to a show. Make it and they will come. But I noticed that although I sell tons of the smaller size works, I rarely sell any of my larger collages. Oh sure, I sold one at CWE, then 2 at Madison, but none at Midwest Salute, none at Summerfair, none at Chesterfield. And then it dawned on me........I do not have any way to package my larger collages, I don't even own bubble wrap that large nor do I have bags that big. How can I expect to sell something I am not even prepared to package. Well duh.

So earlier in the week I put John on this. "Figure it out," I said, "a way for us to package the large stuff." And as you can see, he did.

The thing is I am not allowed to call him excessive because of this minor incident early in our relationship. It was when his daughter was planning her wedding, with the reception to be held at our house. This was during the first year of our marriage and I was also in the midst of a whole house re-decoration since the "ex" was going to be attending the wedding and this had been her house. John later said it would have been easier and cheaper if I had just peed in every room. But I digress.....It came up during discussions with the caterer, this issue regarding rental of dishes, glassware, etc and plastic vs. glass (Mary Beth does not throw a party where guests drink champagne out of plastic). So let's say it was going to cost $1 per glass to rent champagne glasses. Well, bargain shopper that I am, I ran into a sale at a Glass Outlet and found these fantastic champagne flutes for oh let's say $1.50 each.........and I bought 150 of them. Hmmmm, that was when the "MB can never call John excessive" rule first started.......

So now it looks like we can effectively handle all of our bubble wrapping needs. Anyone need a body packaged?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

This sounds like a job for Red Bull

We had a very fun Labor Day, spent at our friends Bud and Marian's house where we got to meet some of their other friends. A little swimming, a little drink, lots of food, yumyumyum. And it was a lively intelligent group, plenty of witty banter to the point I wished I had a notebook to write down some of the better comments.

But now I need to hit the ground running. Emphasis on hit the ground. The running is not an issue for me but this business where my feet never touch is worrisome.

I have 17 new works done so far for the show this weekend. I have about 9 more little ones in the works, meaning backgrounds are done, they are laid out, etc. So they are do-able. But I would really like to tackle 2 more 12x12's if possible. In a 4 day week where one of the days is already trashed due to show set up.....possible? Hmmm, maybe this is a tad aggressive even for me. But a girl has to set her sites high.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

You can't always get what you want

Early this year I heard about a book, something about success, putting goals together...whatever...ok, I am a sucker for all things self sounded interesting. I did a search and requested it from the library. I was like #58 on the list but I put the request in anyway and resigned myself to the wait meaning I instantly forgot about it. So when I got the email that it was being held for me I did a double take, then remembered, oh yeah, I had wanted to read this book.

Well, silly me, I was expecting a book written by Jack Kornfield, the Buddhist teacher who wrote A Path with Heart, an excellent book I already own and keep at my bedside. Imagine my surprise when I see the book is really by Jack Canfield, as in the guy who wrote all those Chicken Soup for the blah-de-blah books of which I have read none. In retrospect, it does seem a little weird a monk would have written a book about goal setting and success.

I had a therapist once who was perpetually puzzled by the fact I never set any goals for myself. I was 31 years old when I met her and she recognized I had been successful at a number of things but suggested I could gain even greater success if I would make a plan and set some goals.

Goals, schmoals. I never have time. I am too busy shooting from the hip and juggling my craziness to actually sit down and think. I tend to believe the journey is the destination and clutch onto this thought like a life raft. Even before Dan Eldon. Too much of a plan seemed to destroy the spontaneity of my life and would possibly only set me up for disappointment. So I have remained satisfied with my quasi-manic ADD approach. And although it has served me well in the past, it recently occurred to me that I have so many ideas spewing forth into nothingness. I thought perhaps I am to the point where it might be useful to actually organize.....I am not talking about my "things", they are already pretty organized.......I am talking about my brain. So I hired a "coach" to help me. She is really a therapist carefully disguised as a coach and she has been extremely helpful. Listening mainly but also helping me to clarify my thoughts into a cohesive order.

And then this book arrived. And, well, what can I say......sometimes you get what you need.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friday was a rather busy day

The grandkids came for the sleep over Thursday night and all went well, meaning no one got hurt and we all still have smiles on our faces. Lately we have been watching them at their own house, so Ian hasn't spent a lot of time over here. He turned 1 in July and is walking now which is an understatement; he is hell on wheels. My gosh he is one fast moving kid. I stupidly thought I had the house childproofed and to some extent I do - those plastic things in the plugs (I can't even plug anything in because I can't get the protectors out), childgates to prevent entry into the more dangerous areas like the laundry room (which contains the litter boxes), all precious items moved to high places. But once Ian was here I suddenly saw my house through new eyes and it seemed like everything was an accident waiting to happen. Not to mention the cats, good grief, Ian really likes the cats but he is so boisterous he scares the crap out of them. Aidan is very much the big brother now and it is so cute to see. Both the kids were delightful and we had a great time. They slept in on Friday which was unexpected but certainly welcomed. Aidan woke up about 7:45. He is so adorable with his sleepy eyes and shy morning smile. I had to wake Ian up about 8:15 because we were going to drive them home at 9:00 after Papa cooked a pancake and bacon breakfast for them to enjoy. John and I got dressed for hiking because I wanted to stop at Castlewood on the way home to do a quick little 3 mile bluff hike. I had on cargo shorts, sports camisole, athletic shoes and a ballcap. Aidan looked up at me and said, "I like your hat, Yia, Yia...." Oh just go ahead, melt my heart you little charmer..... Anyway, while we were driving over to Beth's, I did a phone interview with a local newspaper regarding the Schlafly show. Also had another phone meeting yesterday with the U City public schools regarding a teacher workshop that I will be co-teaching in a few weeks. Felt good to get some business stuff done. I am trying to not obsess (too much) over my possibly (insert word of your choice) stupid, shallow, naive, gushing comments to the press about the upcoming show........ugh...... We got over to Beth's around 9:30 and I was hoping she and Frank had enjoyed a leisurely morning of lolling about, sleeping in, maybe breakfast in bed, perhaps some wild uninhibited sex since the kids were gone....oh foolish me, these 2 type A's had in fact moved all the furniture and were just finishing the carpet cleaning for their entire house. Lordy Lordy. John and I dropped the kiddos then headed over to the park for our hike. It was really wonderful to feel my feet on the ground. I was struck with the idea we need to do it more often especially on the weekdays when no one is on the trail and especially during the fall while the trees are changing color. We hiked up to the top of the bluffs, it is pretty much total uphill on the front end and I wished I had worn my hiking boots as the terrain was pretty rough. But your efforts are rewarded by a stunning view of the Meramec river (which is painfully low since we haven't had much rain) and the surrounding countryside, undeveloped areas of rolling hills, amazing it is so near the burbs. Thank goodness the state has protected this land as a park. After our hike we headed home and I worked in the studio for the bulk of the day. Small breaks here and there but I got a lot done and even prepped another dozen canvasses which I will start on today and tomorrow. We then headed out to dinner at Red Moon with our friends John and Darryl. Claire had told me the chef had left the restaurant but I didn't think the food had suffered much, if at all. I did find the service to be weak, we had this goofball for a waiter who didn't adequately handle normal tasks such as opening and properly serving the 2nd bottle of wine......or asking if anyone would like espresso or coffee with dessert........or even adequately explaining the change in the menu......But we thoroughly enjoyed the evening, such good company(!) plus the stunning decor of the restaurant. If you go to their website, we happened to be sitting so that we were looking directly at that fabulous painting of the Asian woman. After dinner we headed over to Mad Art to see an opening that didn't close till late. Ran into some people we know plus I knew one of the exhibiting artists - he and I have a little mutual admiration thing going on. We had done a show together earlier this year and he even bought one of my pieces. I don't have one of his yet, but the time will come. Anyway, Paul's show, Dystopia, is wonderful. Love the new work! It is part digital but also part painted and the best part is the subtle (or not) meaning embedded within. Such a commentary on society. I don't see the newest stuff on his website yet.