When the Lights Go Up in the City

In the months leading up to the winter solstice, the days grow shorter. To accompany the longer, colder nights, the lights have gone up in our fair city! San Francisco and its surrounding environs are a hotbed of holiday lighting displays, from public monuments to private homes, and we at Boyd Lighting would like to take a moment to celebrate the collaborative holiday illumination of the Bay Area.

 

The historical significance of Union Square is grand: built by the now eponymous first mayor of San Francisco, John Geary, the square was initially constructed to honor the Union Army in the mid-19th century. It is home to memorials as old as the Dewey Monument, circa 1905, and public art as new as the Hearts in San Francisco installations, sculptures auctioned off and renewed every year since 2009. As the central hub of San Francisco, Union Square is also home to the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a brilliant tradition reignited just two weeks ago.

 

 

Christmas tree on Union Square at night. San Francisco, California, USA

 

 

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While the Embarcadero matches Union Square in history, it surpasses it in evolution. San Francisco’s waterfront and center of trade for over a century, the Embarcadero has had many incarnations. From bustling, turn of the century seaport to military hub in the Pacific Theater of WW II, from freeway partition between city and sea to rebuilt modern boulevard following the ’89 earthquake, the Embarcadero is one of the most beautiful and transitional of San Francisco’s landmarks. The Embarcadero Center’s holiday lighting ceremony overlooks an open-air ice rink, and is remarkable for the way the glowing outline of each building accentuates the San Francisco skyline.

 

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Not to be outdone by their more stationary cousins, San Francisco’s more quaint transit venues also enjoy adding their own spark in the Holiday Season. The Sausalito On The Waterfront Foundation, not two miles from Boyd Lighting headquarters, holds an annual Lighted Yacht Parade, where over 50 decorated boats tour the Sausalito Waterfront. San Francisco’s Classic Cable Car chartered tours depart from Fisherman’s Wharf, where sightseers get to take in all of the city’s lights and holiday vistas aboard gorgeous, Yuletide decorated Cable Cars!

 

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I’ve left maybe the most glorious, awe-inspiring lighting display in the Bay Area for last… and not without reason. Nearly two years ago, the Bay Bridge was illuminated like never before. The Bay Lights, as the project has come to be called, is already a Bay Area classic. Twenty five thousand LEDs, individually programmed to shine rhythmically through the night, decorate the suspension cables on the two mile western span of the Bay Bridge, stretching from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco. A study in scale and an opus of light, the Bay Lights stretch 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high at their peak.

 

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Under the auspices of the Illuminate The Arts non-profit, this massive public art installation was designed by Leo Villareal, a nationally recognized artist famed for large-scale light sculptures including public LED installations in Madison Square Park, NY, and the National Gallery of Art’s Concourse in Washington, DC.

 

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Yet this magnificent sight is not a perpetual gift to the public. The Bay Lights have been funded only for a two-year span, which will end this March, 2015. In the spirit of giving that is the core of our brilliantly lit holiday season here in the Bay Area, please take the time to donate to the Illuminate the Arts homepage to keep the Bay Bridge lit past 2015 and beyond!

 

As 2014 comes to a close, Boyd Lighting wants to wish everyone a very happy, well-lit, and artfully designed holiday season!

Boyd Cares: Holiday Food Drive 2014

For the past several years, Boyd Lighting has held a holiday season food drive for the San Francisco & Marin Food Banks. As a company that began in 1921 in San Francisco,  helping the needy in our area is a cause near and dear to our hearts.

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Helping this wonderful organization collect donations is our small effort to give back to the community that has supported our business for over 90 years. Once again, we have organized an online Virtual Food Drive where donations can turn your $1 bill into $6! Through generous corporate partnerships, local farmers, and food donors, the San Francisco & Marin Food Bank is able to take your $1 bill and secure $6 worth of nutritious foods – enough for three full meals – which can then be distributed throughout the community. Think about that for a moment… A $10 donation can turn into 30 meals. A $25 donation will provide 75 meals for seniors, children, the disabled, and those down on their luck.

 

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Each and every day, the SFMFB distributes the equivalent of 100,000 meals, so the need is there, and unfortunately, it only seems to get greater. Without your monetary donations this effort would certainly not be possible. Even the smallest of donations make a difference. We have set a modest goal of $2000 and/or 100 lbs of food. We will try our best to surpass those goals…with your help!

 

Please give what you are able in order to help out this wonderful cause. Click here to donate for the San Francisco & Marin Food Bank. For more information on food banks near you, or for information how you can donate with a check, please contact me. Happy Holidays!

The Giants’ Mystique, Jinxes, and a Question of Dynasty

It’s early to even mention it. It may even be a cosmic jinx to write it out and publish it on the internet. But no one can deny the historical context of the 2014 World Series, and the debate over whether a third San Francisco Giants championship in five years would constitute a dynasty.

 

Of course, if you are on the East Coast or populate an I-95 metropolis, you might be chalking it all up to luck. We’ve often heard how the baseball postseason is a crapshoot, and no team in the national sports dialogue is more emblematic of the stars aligning than this most recent, uncannily successful iteration of the Giants. The meteoric 2010 run to the franchise’s first World Series title since 1954 (rest assured that the ghosts of seismic earthquakes and Rally Monkeys are just as foreboding as the Curse of the Bambino and Billy Buckner) was definitely the most improbable at the time.

 

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“I’m totally generic compared to the freakish movement on this split finger change”

 

Built on a historically dominant pitching staff that simply waxed lineups in September (18-8, 1.78 ERA), the Giants rode performances that ranged from the transcendent (Tim Lincecum’s 14 strikeout 2-hit shutout in Game 1 of the NLDS), to the shocking (Cody Ross taking two deep off of the impervious, coming-off-a-no-hit-postseason-debut Roy Halladay), to the foreshadowing (Buster Posey, .288/.354/.744 with a postseason rookie-record 17 hits, and Madison Bumgarner, 2-0, 18k, 20 IP, 2.18 ERA). An unlikely champ to say the least, and one that defeated teams in the Braves, Phillies, and Rangers that all came with greater fanfare and more highly touted star power.

 

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“My power is beyond your understanding!!”

 

The following year was forgettable. Everyone in the Bay Area remembers the tremors of 2011. Posey’s ankle snapping in a plate collision that would later end a century-long tradition of catchers being run over (and Scott Cousins being banned from San Francisco). Trading Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler. Some ridiculous reality show on Showtime. Really, a jinxed year all together. But then the odd number turned to even, and 2012 brought with it new faces, along with some recognizable faces taking on new roles. Hunter Pence, acquired in a midseason trade, brought five-tool skills, a confounding, unorthodox swing and a unique pant-to-sock ratio. Marco Scutaro, left for dead on baseball’s scrapheap, also joined midseason and finished the year with a 20 game hit streak (more on this below). Buster Posey, ankle healed and back in the squat, won the NL MVP and Batting Title in his third season. Pablo Sandoval, who had sat the bench in favor of Mike Fontenot in the 2010 postseason, was named an All-Star starter, joining Posey, Matt Cain, and the now forsaken Melky Cabrera. And Tim Lincecum, heretofore the face of the franchise and most recognizable Giants star, would humbly move from starting ace to bullpen dervish for the 2012 playoffs.

 

While 2010 was improbable in the sense of the Giants being a mostly unknown ballclub, the improbability of 2012 was sheer, odds-beating guts. The Giants opened the 2012 NLDS by losing the first two games at home, and then coming back enflamed, sweeping the Reds and ex-manager Dusty Baker in three straight games in Cincinnati. Let’s pause, and offer a moment of silence for Buster’s grand slam off one Matt Latos, he of the infamous “mercenary” nonsense (love ya Buster).

 

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“I prefer the term bat-for-hire”

 

The Reds series was also notable for Timmy’s 1.42 ERA and 8k’s out of the bullpen, and Hunter Pence going pregame football scream-speech all over the place. The 2012 NLCS brought another showdown with elimination, as the traditionalist’s dream the St. Louis Cardinals took a 3-1 series lead, with the much defamed, 126 million dollar man Barry Zito on the mound for Game 5. Somehow, beyond impossibly, Zito pitched the game of his life, carrying a shutout into the eighth inning. I’ve argued with many a Giants fan on whether that albatross of a contract was worth Zito’s 2012 postseason run (while Sandoval was benched for the 2010 postseason, Zito wasn’t even active), where he shone with a 1.69 ERA, 2-0 record, and only 3 earned runs in 16 innings. Most say something close to no, but, given his track record before 2012, the fact that I haven’t received any unequivocal no answers speaks volumes to Zito’s redemption. The Giants would go on to win the next two games, off the strength of the resurrected Marco Scutaro’s performance at the plate, with the following, absurd splits: .500/.533/.607/1.140. Not much of a debate for the NLCS MVP. (One crazy sidenote on Scutaro: he had only, and read this carefully, six swinging strikes in a 170 AB stretch during the second half of the 2012 season. He swung and missed SIX times in 170 at-bats. That may be the most absurd statistic I’ve ever seen, thank you, thank you Fangraphs).

 

To cap off 2012, the Giants would face another ESPN / East Coast media darling, the juggernaut Detroit Tigers. MVP Miguel Cabrera had won the Triple Crown and former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was simply unhittable. But apparently, the Giants pitching staff and Pablo Sandoval weren’t paying much of any kind of attention to the hype. The Panda went ahead and paid homage to Mr. October, crushing two of Verlander’s pitches over the wall (three in total), including a pitch way outside that he just knuckle-busted to the opposite field. I still enjoy watching the replay of Verlander mouthing “Wow” in disbelief, watching the opposite field muscle shot land in a screaming sea of orange.

 

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Quoth the Panda, “Nevermore”

 

Ah beautiful. Cabrera would bat a subpar .231, and the Giants would proceed to sweep the Tigers, clinching in Detroit and again simultaneously shocking and embarrassing the so-called baseball experts, who had consistently picked against them.

 

Now, after another ignominious odd-year in 2013 where they failed to make the playoffs, the Giants seek to win their third World Series Championship in a five year-stretch, again in improbable fashion. Off the unlikely, left-for-dead bat of Travis Ishikawa, the Giants again have defeated the Cardinals in the NLCS in dramatic fashion, this time with a walk off home run. Many faces are the same: Posey, Pablo and Bumgarner, along with the four headed bullpen monster of Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Serigo Romo, and Javier Lopez, were all on both the 2010 and 2012 teams. Many new faces have shown their mettle: Joe Panik, Yusmeiro Petit, Michael Morse. But strangely, this year more than any, the Giants are winning despite an absence of some of their greatest stars: Angel Pagan, a linchpin at the top of the lineup in 2012 is out for the season; Lincecum and Cain, bulwarks of the starting rotation, are gone to a loss of mechanics and injury respectively.

 

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This is what “I just cruuuushed it” looks like

 

But with Posey, Sandoval, Bumgarner, and the middle relief, one other constant remains. Bruce Bochy, the essence of equilibrium. He of the gargantuan cranium and longtime catching experience. It’s become fashionable to name him the best manager in the game, and the pundits likewise grudgingly place Posey and Bumgarner in the pantheon of elite players in the game. But, as we in the Bay Area have known since the mystical postseason success began in 2010, this team is about much more than MVP awards, or All Star appearances, or media kudos, or star recognition. Simply put, the more they succeed in October, the more they believe they can continue that success. The more often they navigate pressure and face elimination, the more they bounce back and outperform expectations.

 

What they face now is no easy task. The 2014 Royals look a lot like the 2010 Giants: young, brash, talented, built on defense and pitching, a murderer’s row of no-name players that the national media doesn’t recognize. They look to engender their own brand of magic with their first championship in 29 years. Then again, what the Royals face now is likewise no easy task: a team of misfits and uber-talents, a devious minded manager, and that certain October mystique that bears no easy definition. If the Giants do win, they will join only the 1910-1913 Philadelphia A’s, the 1912-1918 Red Sox, the ’42-’46 Cardinals, a variety of Yankee teams (’36-’43, ’47-’53, ’58-’62, and ’96-’00) and the ’72-’74 Oakland A’s  as teams to win three championships in five years. If that doesn’t constitute a baseball dynasty, I’m not sure what does.

 

I will say, in full disclosure, that after editing this post I waited. You see, when you mention jinxes, they have a strange way of…jinxing. In 2004, watching the Giants play the Dodgers, I somehow uttered this, “The only way they win is if Finley hits a grand slam, there’s no way he’ll do that off of Wayne Franklin.” (Double full disclosure, I had to Google the pitcher). Well, if you don’t recall, Finley went ahead and hit that grand slam, a walk-off that clinched the NL West for the Dodgers. My best friend turned to me and said, “Should’ve knocked on wood dude.” I have never forgotten that. Jinxes are real in baseball. As proof, I’ll point to the Giants game one win against the Royals, a game played with no blog post with “dynasty” in the title posted an hour before the first pitch!

 

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Am I really ending this with a Dodgers’ stillshot? Further evidence that jinxes are real, in baseball

 

Links

1. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/poseybu01.shtml

2. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bumgama01.shtml

3. http://m.mlb.com/video/v15201733/must-c-collision-cousins-posey-collide-at-the-plate

4. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/zitoba01.shtml

5. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/scutama01.shtml?redir

6. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/marco-scutaro-and-baseball-at-its-simplest/

7. http://blog.sfgate.com/giants/2010/09/29/team-building-according-to-mat-latos/

8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1TVP5OsqZk

9. http://m.mlb.com/video/v25447495/must-c-classic-sandovals-threehomer-game

10. http://www.dodgersnation.com/throwback-thursday-steve-finleys-walk-off-grand-slam-vs-giants/2014/04/17

A Mythology of Light

Illumination is ever-present in our civilization’s mythology. We grew from roving hunters to petty shepherds, from planting alfalfa and corn to constructing engines, all under the majestic lights of the sun, the moon and the stars. In our wonderment we have written the mysteries of light into our legends. Many Boyd designs evoke the mythology of light.

 

After the war between Titans and Olympians, Zeus and his pantheon of younger gods ruled over earth and humanity. Prometheus, one of the last surviving Titans, gave humans the knowledge of fire, symbolizing the gift of enlightenment. Zeus’s anger, lightning through darkened clouds, can be seen carefully in the design of the Catacaos!

 

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Lightning in the sky…

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…the Catacaos, a vision lighting your ceiling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amaterasu, the Japanese deity of light and the sun, once withheld the sunlight from Japan, hiding in a heavenly cave for generations.  She was tricked into reemerging when the other gods placed a celestial mirror outside the cave. Amaterasu believed another goddess of light was set to replace her, but in truth she mistook her own reflection. The mirror, Yata no Kagami, is one of three Imperial Regalia of Japan, representing the virtue of wisdom. Mirrors are longstanding focal points of lighting design, emblematic in our Mirage Sconce!

 

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Goddess of light, arrested by her reflection…

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…the Mirage Sconce arresting the attentions of your guests!

 

 

We all remember Aladdin discovering the enchanted oil lamp, and the djinn that lived within. Boyd’s own Steampunk Sconce embodies the image of the oil lamp, and with nostalgia lamps installed, the mischievous djinn may indeed be the source of light!

 

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Ancient oil lamp, djinn escaped.

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Victorian oil lamp, djinn returned?

 

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The Steampunk Sconce, you wished for an airship, the djinn granted it!

 

In more modern mythology, we see the designs of light mirroring modern and ancient traditions. Tolkien’s creation myth centered around two trees that lit the world before man. The great smith Feanor forged three legendary jewels faceted with the light of those trees, the Silmarils. Though generational tragedy led each jewel to be lost into the sky, the earth and the sea, our Baguette Sconce reimagines the concept of jewel and light!

 

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Maglor throws the Silmaril into the sea, griefstricken…

 

 

 

 

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…the Baguette Sconce illuminates your joyous residence!

 

Of course, what is more distinct in modern myths of light than the lamp post of Narnia? After Lucy ventures through the wardrobe, she discovers a brilliant lamp post amid the swirling, icy winter of Narnia under the White Witch. There she meets Mr. Tumnus, and begins the cycle of adventure for the Pevensie siblings. Two Boyd fixtures are emblematic of the illuminated winter in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, our Belvedere Lantern and the Icicle Drop Sconce!

 

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Lucy, the lamp post, and the icy castle of the White Witch in the distance…

 

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…the Belvedere Lantern, aglow above wintry exteriors…

 

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…and the Icicle Drop Sconce, accenting your festive holiday interiors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The visionary quality of Boyd Lighting’s designs will only continue, as our Q4 launch approaches. Stay tuned!

 

 

A Tale of Two Cities…and of a Legend, Too

Sitting in my hard plastic seat on an 80 degree evening, I take in the sight of an absolutely glorious sunset against a backdrop of palm trees, rolling hills, and thousands of smiling faces.  Is Los Angeles like this every day?

 

As a Mother’s Day gift, I recently took my mom down to L.A. for the weekend.  Sure, Mother’s Day was over three months ago, but I’ll get to that later.  During our short visit, we explored the Hollywood Hills and then strolled on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, taking countless snapshots of terrazzo and brass stars along the way.  In the evening, finding great food was not a problem.  Did I mention the guacamole?  A restaurant we ate at had undeniably the best tasting guacamole I’d ever experienced.  A serving went for $18, which was essentially one avocado, but knowing what I know now, I would have gladly paid double.  In fact, after starting with culinary perfection in the form of such a simple appetizer, the actual dinner turned into an afterthought.

 

But I digress.  Why did I choose this particular weekend for a trip to the Southland?  Sir Paul McCartney was going to be in town!  My parents were big Beatles fans when I was growing up, so I spent many years listening to and appreciating their musical talents.  In 2010 I watched Paul perform live at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and vowed that if the opportunity ever presented itself again, I would be there.  And I was!

 

He was wrapping up the final leg of his “Out There” tour with a swing through The Golden State.  I bought tickets in early May as a Mother’s Day gift, so the wait for this show felt like a long time coming.  Dodger Stadium was the venue this time around, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect night.  The weather was balmy. The setting was stunning. The crowd was friendly and enthusiastic.  Singing along to hit after classic hit from his Beatles, Wings, and solo catalog was something that I’ll never forget.

 

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Los Angeles

From the opening chords of “Eight Days a Week”, to the pyrotechnic extravaganza of “Live and Let Die”, to his final song “The End” during the second encore nearly three hours later, Paul never took his foot off the accelerator and the crowd devoured every moment of it.  No one went home disappointed, especially my mother.  Thank you, Los Angeles, for being such a wonderful host city.

 

But the story does not end there.  Four days later, Paul McCartney returned to San Francisco for the last date of the tour, at Candlestick Park.  To put things into perspective, whereas the Dodger Stadium show was a very big event for their city, the San Francisco show was The Event to be at, fully one year in the making.  In contrast to L.A., the weather was cold and windy, and the fog made its presence known quite early.  If you weren’t wearing winter clothes, you were probably from out of town.  Traffic around the ballpark proved to be a nightmare, and some folks frustratingly never even made it into the stadium after hours of trying.  There was no food being served other than popcorn and cold sandwiches.  But to me, this was even more perfect than Los Angeles had been.  After all, this was home.

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San Francisco 1966

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San Francisco 2014

 

You see, this was the final public event held at The ‘Stick before it meets the wrecking ball early next year.  In 1966, The Beatles performed their last ever live show here, so having Paul as the stadium’s final performer held special significance, both for him and for the crowd.  He reminisced about that show five decades prior and paid tribute to his former bandmates.  He even played some rare songs just for the occasion.  But this was more than just a concert.  It was a chance for us to say goodbye to a terrible venue that held so many wonderful memories – World Series games, football championships, a history of sports legends, a visit from a Pope, or for me, simply that day as a kid sitting with dad and watching a Sunday afternoon double-header in a cold and mostly-empty ballpark, idolizing my heroes who played the game I loved so much.  Oh, Mother Candlestick used this last opportunity to wreak havoc, but these tickets were worth more than gold to those of us lucky enough to hold one in our hands, and a bit of cold weather wasn’t going ruin anything for us.

 

So long, Candlestick.  You will be missed…

Holland Magic

We’re sitting on the runway at Heathrow three and ½ hours after the plane was supposed to take off and I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to recover from my “vacation.”  After nearly two weeks of eating and drinking and partying with the parents of my daughter’s best friends in the wake of her graduation from University I’m ready for a break.  I’m thinking longingly of a diet filled with celery, and lemon water; of nights with sleep attached to them; of my own pillow; of some personal space.

 

We’ve been traveling with our three adult-ish children, and travel with five people, strong personalities and even stronger opinions, while always exhilarating, becomes exhausting after so much togetherness.  London was a whirl of cocktails and dinner parties, of sightseeing and ceremonies, and while we watched with pride as our daughter graduated with a 2.1 in her honors program from Istituto Marangoni in Fashion Design, we had “come out of the gate” so fast, that within two days of landing on British soil, I didn’t know which end was up.

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True disorientation, however, came in the form of a 4-day side-trip to Amsterdam.  The Dutch are not a fashionable people, so stepping off the plane from London into bustling Amsterdam was at first a bit like landing in Fresno from New York City…but Amsterdam has a mystical quality that you cannot find in the British capitol.

 

First of all, I cannot fathom a more thorough disruption to one’s circadian rhythms than sunrise at 4:30 am and sunset at 10:00 pm.  The summer days are so long in Holland that our meals were often miss-cued – lunch at 3:00, dinner at 10:00? –  and the intervening hours were filled with beer and chocolate and cheese.  (Believe me -I’m not complaining – I’d fill all my intervening hours with those things back here in Sausalito if I could figure out a way to do it…)

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The unmoored vibe is only heightened by Amsterdam’s labyrinthine system of concentric canals that give you the feeling the entire city is floating on water.  Combine the canals with lengthy, unpronounceable street names rife with double oo’s, an endless supply of charming, teetering brick houses leaning together like so many bad teeth, a scary number of bicycles traveling silently at high speed, a red-light district full of sadly beautiful women behind glass… and you have a reality that plays out like Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka.

 

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But this city is about the boats.  Forget the sedentary floating homes, furry topped with vegetation that line every canal and are part of the permanent landscape of the city.  I mean the boats for tours and transport and shirtless young fun that crisscross every canal with an atomic frenzy, Dutch flags flying…laughter…music…

 

Then at night Amsterdam is a vision in lights.  Every surface – bridge, cafe, bicycle, and barge – is hung with fairy lights, and the effect of so many twinkling lights on so much sparkling water is dazzling.  I am in the lighting business after all, and it’s hard not to notice that Amsterdam knows how to bring on the magic as the sun goes down.

 

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The Other California Beaches

There are some misconceptions about California beaches in pop culture. Tropical weather. Deeply tanned people in bikinis. Crystal clear ocean water you can bathe in. These are not necessary norms. The borderlands between land and sea are not supposed to be lounge material! In Northern California, when you enter the maw of the sea, you feel like you’re entering a different plane of the world, not a day spa.

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Bodega Bay

There are innumerable tourists that summer in the Bay Area. If you hop the ferry from Sausalito into San Francisco harbor in July, you are as likely to hear a torrid argument in French or a conversation in Japanese as you are to hear the native complaints about our Giants’ hitting woes. Not that this is unusual at any time of the year. We are an international metropolitan area, but in summer that identity is much more pronounced. The same questions are invariably asked of local  San Franciscans and Oaklandians and Berkeleyans and Santa Rosans, “Where are the warm, California beaches around here?” “When will the fog lift?” “Is this biting wind permanent?” The same answers are invariably returned,  “Those beaches are two hundred miles south.” “The fog lifts by  midmorning…or by the evening.”  “Yes, yes it is permanent.”

 

Water meets earth in spectacular ways in Northern California. At Mavericks, ocean waves plunge and bombard the shallow waters and daggered rocks, where only the most insane surfers dare to test their mettle against nature. At Ocean Beach, the undercurrent is sentient, constantly scheming to pull you with the seaweed a half mile from your entry point into the water. From Mount Tamalpais you can peer eastward to see the chilled winds whipping fog lines across Richardson Bay, or turn west, hike through the evergreen Madrones and see the Pacific churn at the shores of Stinson Beach. These primal extremes make their way into Northern California lore, and lend themselves to distinctive artistic framing – Laird Hamilton in Riding Giants, Louis CK and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, George Oppen in Some San Francisco Poems.

 

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“This shirt is like the least optimal attire for this weather, huh?”

 

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“Not a bird in the sky, how strange”

For me, Bodega Bay encapsulates everything that makes the Northern California coast unique, but there’s really no one better to pen an ode to its natural beauty than Alfred  Hitchcock. Can you picture Tippi Hedren rowing across the eerie-cold waters to deliver her lovebirds? (I was expecting bird attacks, but I really didn’t see that seagull swooping from on high to maul her.) Or the ghastly Potter  Schoolhouse, 17110 Bodega Lane, where the children fled from flocks of marauding crows? What’s  more inviting for beach enthusiasts, will you tell me? Drive a few miles north of The Birds locale and  you will find Salmon Creek – the gnarliest beautiful place in the North Bay.

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17110 Bodega Lane

Coastal prairie adorns the approach to the cliffs above Salmon Creek, beetles fluttering out of the grass as you approach the edge. The cliffs perch primordially, sediment beaten back by thousands of years of ocean tides receding and resurging. From the top of the wooden-staired path that descends to the beach, you can see the Pacific stretch until it meets the sky. Stone formations jut out of the sea here and there, lonely and monstrous.

DSC03714 Sea stacks north of Bodega Bay, California

Bodega Sea Stacks

This is an ancient place, with a history of wooly mammoths, Coastal Miwok, and 19th century Russian settlers, it has seen its share of the forms of the earth. The wind shrieks on a normal day, and on gusty days you chew sand as often as you exhale. The creek for which it is named winds some 18 miles through Sonoma county before reaching Bodega Head and spooling out into the ocean through sand dunes so clean they look untouched by human hands. Mule deer, tide pools, kelp, driftwood, green herons, sand dollars, and sea lions – all of the beach looks to have beaten back civilization. You stand and think you have come to the place where saltwater and stone meet freshwater and grass for the very first time.

Estero Trail

Estero Trail

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Salmon Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So which do you prefer? Placid, static coasts where the ocean and the land have become a yawning, stuffy old couple, hardly a gust of wind or a diving bird of prey or the roar of the waves? Just set aside the ideas of bikinis, Mai Tais, steel drums and lounge chairs. Put your Best of the Beach Boys away (please don’t actually own that). Grab some jeans and throw on a hoodie.  Bring a beanie just in case. A six pack will work fine, as will ambient noise. Sit in the sand, or on a well worn rock that hasn’t yielded to the tide, and feel the salt on your face. It’s Northern California. It’s cold. It’s awesome.

 

Luxe Launches in Our Fair City

Any time I attend a party replete with champagne, transvestites and taut, gorgeous young men in underwear, I know I am in San Francisco.  The Luxe San Francisco Magazine launch party was an only-in-San Francisco classic.  I found myself wishing my dear friend from Cleveland was by my side just so I could see her jaw drop.

Luxe party 2

The venue was Coup D’état, a showroom full of mid century masterpieces, the crowd was coifed and teased to perfection, and the vibe was electric.  Picture 700 people jammed into a space designed to hold 200 and you’ll get a rough idea.

 

I attended the event with our new product development engineer, Mark Gaynor, and our first clue that this was going to be one hell of a bash were the nearly naked specimens of manhood reading Luxe SF while standing in piles of sand in the front window of the showroom.  Mark, a straight man (in San Francisco a highly coveted variety), was less amused than I.

 

Inside the joint was bumping to a rhythm fueled by    music, champagne and beautiful people. Shoehorned in  amidst the Danish Modern fur chairs and the 1950’s brass, not to be outdone by the front-window set, were    a gloriously over-the-top bunch of “women” done up in  feathers, leather and sequins.  Mark opined that they    seemed a little overdressed for the occasion, and upon  closer inspection we discovered chin stubble visible  beneath the pancake makeup.  Luxe seemed to have  hired the entire floor show from Finnochio’s – for those  of you too young to remember – a famous, now defunct tranny review from North Beach’s heyday. So San Francisco!

 

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As if transvestites and oiled up male models were not enough to hold our attention, Luxe “hit it out of the park” (to use a baseball expression in a baseball obsessed town), with the delicious food and drink.  Between the taco bar, gelato stand and various champagne and cocktail bar set-ups there wasn’t a line we weren’t happy to stand in.

 

Congratulations Lisa Lovely (Luxe SF’s new publisher)…you’ve done San Francisco proud!

NeoCon 2014: Boyd Lighting Preview

NeoCon 2014 - Merchandise Mart

From June 9th through the 11th, the largest interior design trade show in America will be held in Chicago. This year’s NeoCon is the 46th annual edition, and the influx of ideas will surely mark a turning point in the design year.

 

We see overarching trends in design becoming more and more relevant: eco-consciousness, technological integration, mobility, personalization, authenticity, etc. Much of this speaks to a fast moving market of ideas, where the purpose is to fuse elegance and beauty with efficient, streamlined solutions. The shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials as the dominant generational consumer demographic is a key factor in the growing trend toward incorporating technology, green design, and authenticity into commercial interiors.

 

Efficient lighting options and innovative design are touchstones at Boyd Lighting. With LED options for virtually every light fixture, and a portfolio of original, trendsetting designs, Boyd’s history of leading-edge lighting design speaks for itself.

 

Icicle Sconce

 

For NeoCon, Boyd Lighting will feature a number of new    fixtures  at the Donghia Showroom, Suite #631. Two  headliners from our Q2 launch will be on display: the Miami Sconce and Saddle Sconce. A contrast in styles, modern and rustic, both designs are applicable in hospitality, commercial, or residential settings and feature LED lamping options.

 

Along with freshly launched fixtures, will also preview a selection of fixtures slated for a Q3 release. The Tonic Sconce, designed by David Nosanchuk, is a study in singular design, crafted with a unique fizzy glass to lend an ethereal aesthetic to the fixture. The Icicle Sconce, designed by Tom Nahabedian, an organic, sleek, and wildly versatile series was a showstopper at the HD Expo, and looks to conquer NeoCon with the same flair.

 

The Tonic Sconce and the Icicle Series, two original Boyd concepts lamped with energy efficient LEDs, represent where lighting design is headed. NeoCon 2014 will provide the perfect opportunity for design aficionados to get a sneak preview of the future at Boyd Lighting.

 

Tonic Sconce

 

 

Fun is so “Now”

A week has passed since we packed up the final boxes and left the showroom floor at HD and I am finally coming up for air.  I think BOYD had a good show.  We had quality attendees in our booth this year; folks who came in looking for solutions to projects they already had on their books, seemingly few tire kickers.  Lots of press stopped by to meet our new designers and to see their work, and our designers were charming and enthusiastic and fun to be around. 

From left to right: Tom Nahabedian, Alejandro Vargas, and David Nosanchuk

In the down minutes between press appointments, student visits and client tours of the Boyd offerings, we took some time to cruise the rest of the show. I learned my lesson last year and left the heels at home.  In flats, touring the floor was an enjoyable experience, so I will admit up front that happy feet may have colored my perception of the exhibitors. 

 

Icicle Pendant

 

If last year’s show was all about color…this year’s was all about fun. I guess I wasn’t really surprised: Boyd too had taken a page out of the “fun” book – the prime attraction in our booth was Tom Nahabedian’s Icicle Pendant gloriously hanging on red cables and dancing with light. All over the expo floor the most popular booths had something slightly over-the-top to draw in the crowds.

 

In the BOVER booth there was an enormous spider-like fixture that gave off the slightly sinister vibe of a black widow ready to pounce. My favorite exhibitor last year, POLaRT from Mexico, was there again with an oversized baroque wardrobe that could have been stuffy had it not been rendered in Easy-Bake-Oven-green plastic! So fun!

 

POLaRT

BOVER Fixture

 

 My favorite offering in the whole show –  outside anything in the Boyd booth – was  the remarkably comfortable blow-up  furniture from Blofield.  Classic tufted  leather shapes take on a whole new vibe  when built in marine grade rubber.  Think  Zodiac boat meets chesterfield and you’ll  have a rough picture.  I can envision so many uses for this “de-flatable” furniture.

Blofield Couch

My son lives in a 5th floor walk up in New York City, and he and his roommates blocked the entire egress to the building for 3 ½ hours while they moved their huge sectional up the stairwell.  They should have had a blow-up couch!

 

Roger Thomas’ new carpet collection for OW Hospitality could not have been more fashion forward.  Hound’s-tooth and plaid derivative of British men’s wear executed in brilliant hues of emerald, teal, fuchsia, tangerine, chocolate, lavender… so much design energy for the floor!  Roger, who is famous for his colorful eyeglasses, had a reception Thursday afternoon, at which every guest (200 people?) was wearing a pair of plastic eyeglasses in a vibrant hue – the hysterical and brilliant booth give-away.

 

Our neighbor and co-exhibitor in the Donghia booth, Charles of Paris, had over-the- top nailed.  Their spectacular “bouquet” of bronze flora – sunflowers, calla lilies, artichokes, ferns – plated in gold and polished to perfection was truly a showstopper.  I could not envision where I would use this glorious Volkswagen- sized object d’art in my own home…but I tried!

 

I left Las Vegas undaunted by the 8 hour packing-up process, and unfazed by the near-death experience of the forklift collision with our booth wall…because this year, after so many years of industry drought, HD telegraphed a positive energy in the design world.   Folks are ready to have fun again.  High time don’t you think?