Tom + Katie try to culture it up

The Amsterdam weather has been fantastic -- sunny and 80ish for more than a week -- and once again I am reminded how well the Dutch do warm weather. Everyone leaves their rooms and embraces the sun, mostly without proper sunscreen. The canals were filled with boats, sidewalks in front of apartment buildings were filled with families and friends having dinner al fresco, and I was schooled how to use parks for proper picnics and birthday parties. Lots of lazing in the grass eating fantastic food and the happiest dog in the world.

On Sunday Tom and I went to the Art Amsterdam 2008 show at the RAI (in the south), which featured the latest in international contemporary art from 125 galleries. It was a great way to see such disparate work, as there wasn't the intimidation of going into actual galleries and there was a sense that you could discover something cool before a museum or highbrow collector did. And there were plenty of collectors around, which made the people watching freakishly great.

Some favorites:
Patrick Bergsma - Dutch artist who uses iconic Dutch motifs with great humor and affection

Klaas Gubbels, Door Vermeer, 1993, olieverf op doek, 70 x 80 cm

Klaas Gubbels - my affection may be influenced by the fact that he was in the space, signing books. I stood on the edge of the crowd that was gathered, watching him, and when I turned around, the expression on my face caused Tom to say, "You are such a goon. So excited to see a real life artist!"

Robert De keersmaeker - Dutch realist painter with a charming eye

Susanna Majuri, Farevil Kanal, 2005

Susanna Majuri - Finnish photographer

Kresten Havgaard, Uden titel, 2005, Olie på lærred, 67x92 cm

Kresten Havgaard - Danish painter in the best Motherwell vein

This show happens once a year for four days and was one of the best things I have done since moving here. So great that we were inspired to buy a piece of our own by Rotterdam artists SCHILTE & PORTIELJE. Though I can't download the image, you can see some of their work on at the Van Wijngaarden Hakkens gallery site. We felt quite fancy.


Summer Lovin' Amsterdam Style

The 100m Stiletto Sprint (this photo from Flicker)

I survived my second Queen's Day last week, celebrating in orange style with friends and a massive influx of Dutchies for a Day. The night before QD, is the Drag Queen Olympics at the Homomonument and it was fabulous. I learned one important fact: never photograph a drag queen from below when they are hurling a handbag. It just isn't fair.

A handbag toss from below. I apologize.

The next morning I got up and did a bit of shopping on the streets. No Frank doll like last year, but I found a set of walnut, glass-topped stacking tables and some pieces of the West German pottery that I like. Then we donned our orange garb and boarded a boat with lots of people from W+K for a four hour tour around the canals. Tom's orange knickers were a bit hit (though you have to be careful who you say knickers to, as it also means underwear).

And after the boat we went back into the streets to soak in some mayhem.

In the days following, the sun came out and the temps soared, so I assembled the patio furniture and opened up the roof terrace for the inaugural BBQ and cinco de mayo celebration. It rocked. The sun rocks.

This week I spent lots of time in the park with the dog and starting to get ready for the trip to Portland and New York: hair cut, facial, work stuff, finding a dog walker, etc. I can't believe I will be there for three whole weeks. So excited!