Friday, November 29, 2013

Lake Minnetonka from Lake Street, Wayzata.

Signs, tracks, bare trees, and setting sun over calm and beautiful Lake Minnetonka. Today has been a exceptional Black Friday, but cold, cold, cold!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weisman Art Museum, U MN Campus, 11/24/13.

With a James Rosenquist massive mural as backdrop, Grandma B, Poppina and I get started today with our tour of the Weisman Art Museum on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.

Boy, was there a lot of art to enjoy: Mimbres Pottery;  works by Marsden Hartley; a room-ful of classic Korean furniture; stunning portraits of young Somali men, active in service to their communities; and on and on it goes.

That was inside the WAM.  Outside there's an exceptional exhibit of public art installations, 25 of which in particular are being celebrated by WAM and the U.  With temps in the 20's and a wind chill lower than that, we normally intrepid art fans wimped out and instead of cruising the campus, we watched an excellent video loop of the public art, instead.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Me and a Cozy Pooch, E. Lake St., Wayzata, MN 11/23/13.

When Britania Ruled: Bombay Britches Gurkha Shorts.

Remember the Gurkhas?  Fierce indigenous fighters on the side of the Brits, protecting the Khyber Pass and a great deal of the Queen's Empire in Ceylon, In-ja, Madagascar, Malaysia, Burma, and far-flung islands throughout the East.   The Gurkha's were special, and so were their uniform shorts back in the day.

Years ago I found hundreds of pairs of "Gurkha Shorts" in a surplus store on Canal Street in lower Manhattan. Shorts were, brand new, in pristine shape -- bundled and baled, wrapped in water-resistant paper with burlap overlay, for sale at $2.00 per pair.  The shop owner gave me access to the attic, and I climbed over the bales to my heart's content: taking in the aroma of an era now gone, and imagining the battles and dominions these uniform shorts might have seen.

Not only did I acquire bales and bales of the olive drab shorts -- made of the highest quality Egyptian cotton, big, wide waist band, deep front pockets, pleated and blousey and roomy around the thighs --  but the shorts came in khaki and white as well.  Each branch of the British Military in the Far East seemed to have its own style and color.

In time I sold hundreds of pairs of Bombay Britches.   Advertising in the classifieds of magazines like Rolling Stone,  I priced the shorts at $17.95/pair, built awareness, and sold a ton of product.  My money back guarantee and personal thanks-for-the-business note seemed to produce repeat sales far beyond my expectations.

My shorts ran out just as retailers like Banana Republic began to sell their own version of MY Bombay Britches !! It was a helluva run and a lot of fun while it lasted. Thanks to any former customers who might be reading this blog, and to R. Scott Samuel of Southern Pines, NC, who designed my ads and promotion material.

PS - Thanks to my brother Joe Hoyt of Miami, FL, who found the old Bombay card in his attic, and reminded all of us what the glory days of short pants were really like!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Me and Arty Didact and Mr. Arty D.

At the uber-creative handmade show last weekend at Minneapolis's Book Arts Center, Sharon Parker, a.k.a Arty Didact had one of the most impressive exhibitions I saw. Here she is, behind her display, and in between her hubby Craig Cox, and yours truly, old Poppy.

Sharon's remarkable talents extend to illustration, calendar making, witty gifts, hand-bound books, and much, much more.  If you ever get the chance to shop "Arty Didact" at one of Sharon's shows, plan to spend big and get even bigger pleasure in the process.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dan's Got an Eye for the Alhambra.

My good buddy Dan and his wife just returned to the Twin Cities from a two-week trip to Espana. Ole!  

They saw all the sights (like the fabled Alhambra pictured here), hung out in the coolest, most sophisticated cities -- Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, et al -- and treated me to an occasional e-mail update and a superb pic from time to time.

Readers of the Poppy Blog know how much your humble blogger here enjoys taking and posting fine photos. And while I think we give a pretty decent accounting of ourselves with home-grown talent, I sure am glad that Dan came along.

Buddy Dan is an artist, designer and craftsman, you see, and he has a remarkable eye for just the right shot.  What do you all think?