Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes)

sunchokesThis is one of my favorite sides we made for Thanksgiving this year.  Super simple and can be made while the turkey is waiting to be sliced.

We used 4 lbs of sunchokes but that is for 15.  Here is a recipe for 8.

2 lbs of sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes).  I kept them whole but you can slice them in half.

4 sprigs of rosemary

1/2 stick butter

3 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

In a deep skillet cover with olive oil and put in the chokes then 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes they should be soft.  Take off the cover, stir occasionally until the water is evaporated.  They should get caramelized and super soft.

In another small pan melt the butter with the rosemary sprigs in the pan.   When the butter gets foamy turn off the heat. Pour over the chokes and add the Balsamic vinegar to coat.  Add salt and pepper for taste.


Did you change your name when you got married?

A piece was just published in the NY Times asking the question “did you change your name when you got married”?  They are looking for answers, obviously for interesting data.  The other questions are “Who made the decision, and what factors went into it?” and “How do you feel about the decision, and has your view on it changed?”  They should also ask “what is your age”.   It will be interesting to see the trends.  For awhile people would put both last names together with a hyphen for their children.  Unless your name was Jones and Smith it just seemed like a lot.  The big question is at what point and if any will this age old practice end.

I clearly remember when I changed my name.  It didn’t happen at first.  It happened when I made a career move.  I had left Macy’s to go work for a company in the garment center.  The owner was about to introduce me to everyone and right before he did I pulled him aside and said I want to use my married name, Joanne Wilson vs Joanne Solomon.  That evening I told Fred that I changed my name to Joanne Wilson.  He couldn’t believe it.  He thought that Solomon might have been better in the industry that I was in.  I mean Joanne Solomon in schmata…I get it but I had made the turn in the road and wasn’t going back.

Why did I do it?  I did it because I knew our children would be Wilson’s and that I wanted to be connected to them thru name.  I know women who have kept their last name.  Total hats off to them but sometimes I can’t remember their children’s last name because I don’t know their husband’s last name.  I am not so good on name recall.  It is funny how brains work.

We did use the name Solomon for our son’s middle name.  Middle names seem to disappear over time particularly for women who take on their husbands name.  What I’d really like to know is what is the origin of the middle name and does anyone even use it anymore?


New Podcast is up today at Positively Gotham Gal…What You Don’t Know, You Learn with Corie Hardee of Union Station.


I invested in Clue in 2013.   There were many period trackers on the market (all started by men) but this one was started by a woman, Ida Tin, who I believed was more qualified to run a company around this vertical than anyone else.  She has proven to be a leader in the Femtech space.  They just closed on a large round and I couldn’t be happier for the company.

Period tracking is how they began but there is much more to this business.  The data that we can learn from all of these applications is huge for future generations.  Just like 23&Me, if we know that women in Japan go into menopause later or there appears to be a cluster of women in Wisconsin who are having problems getting pregnant that is powerful.  23&Me is learning about gene pools but Clue can be drawing information about real life behavior.

Wellness is the first word that comes to mind around this entire area.  There is a large movement around wellness that branches out into meditation, exercise, custom vitamins, juicing, knowing more about your body, etc.  Being in the moment makes sense.  We are inundated with information at the speed of lighting and it takes a toll on our brains and in turn our body.  Yoga and meditation are practices that has been around forever yet more and more people (men and women) are making this part of their daily life in order to take a breath and clear their mind.

I have seen countless businesses come across my desk around the “wellness” space.  I put wellness in quotations because it is so huge and will become bigger over the next decade.  It isn’t an area that I will invest in because of the many moving parts that have accelerated since 2013 but I am curious how all of this plays out.

Miami Basel Recap

imgresThere were many articles all week long about how less crowded it was this year than years past.  Lots of theories.  I have a few thoughts on that.  My guess is many of the reservations were cancelled around the Zika scare.  If I was of child-bearing age I would not come down here either.  They really don’t know enough about Zika yet and why take a risk.  The people we saw walking the shows were mostly older.

It seems like the shows did well but there is also speculation around the state of the world.  No doubt taxes will go down with the Trump administration as his cabinet is looking extremely old school Wall Street tilting very right.  China is a major player in the art world and his conversation with Taiwan scares people.  More than anything people buy art when they are feeling upbeat, happy and confident.  I am not so sure that people are feeling this way but more on edge here and abroad.  There are a lot of speculators in the art market who buy for investment purposes to flip later on and that might be something that collectors are wary of.

We collect like we invest.  Early stage = emerging artists.  It is something we enjoy doing.  We have never sold a piece that we have purchased and have been collecting a long time.  Everyone comes to this fair with a different agenda.  We love the art, the artists, the process, the history and to be surrounded by work that resonates with us.

Our favorite shows were Pulse and Untitled.  The really out there satellites were the most interesting and discussion worthy.  It is what stayed with me.  It was at the Satellite Fair where we saw a lot of galleries from second tier cities such as Baltimore to North Carolina.  The artists and gallerists all had the same look at that show.  I hate to use the word Brooklynesque but there is a look and feel from all of them that is a constant.  This generation grew up with more information coming their way than the past.  There is a take on their future that is almost apocalyptic.  Social media and media in general 24/7 has created an even flatter world so the youth in the Middle East can be connected to someone in LA yet they are comfortable with their religion setting them apart.  That is a good thing.  On the other hand there is a backlash to simplicity and survival mode in the work.  A backlash to big money and a connection to community and doing what makes them happy.  It is really interesting and reflective in the gallerists and the artists.

The populist Governments across the globe will be represented in art as we move forward.  It was great to see so much video and technology incorporated in works and my guess is we will see more of that.  It is part of the ever evolving art world. The artists and people in the art world tend to not be part of the populist movement.  They are really representative and embracive of a changing world and their work shows that.

Next years Basel will be a lot more interesting than this one as the next twelve months is a serious crapshoot.

Last day at Miami, Basel

We saw just the right amount of art and stayed the right amount of time.  I could see doing this every year.  It is really nice to get out of the city for a few days and put a different head on.

aquaToday was about the satellite shows.  We began the morning at Aqua.  Aqua is set in a motel.  Each gallery takes up a room.  The concept is really clever.  Makes you feel as if you are going on a studio walk.  Each space is small and the work is definitely emerging.

statueThis is one of the multiple plexiglas statues from Hebru Brantley.  This one is called “Lil Mama” from Vertical Gallery.

otherstatuPilot Girl by Eda Tasli was another one.  This one is from Gallery Selvin.

soldierValerie Carmet takes objects and puts them inside bodies.  This one is of an officer filled with GIJoe pieces.

sculptureA simple colorful object by Philip Melling.

masksMore of the work from Hebru Brantley.  Fun masks.

bongOne gallery carried only artistic bongs.  The prices are not low as they start at around $50K.  Who knew.  We got a kick out of the gallerist and the assortment of glass bongs.  This one is a take on the supermarket honey bear.

scopeOur next stop was Satellite Art Show.  Satellite is held in a hotel as well.  Each room is taken over by a gallery.  The majority of work here is really pushing the envelope.  This is in the lobby.

hallwayHere is what the hallways look like.

robotThe rabbit by Anton Kropotkinsky.  It was really cool but having that wire on the front was not the way to go.

printsPrints of black musicians.  The entire room was set up to print.

roomwithcabinAn installation based on Antartica by Jim Ovelmen.

bedroomA room turned into a tropical bedroom.

bathroomAnother installation in a shower.

vikmunizThen we headed over to Pulse.  Have always been a fan of Vik Muniz’s work.   We finally pulled the trigger on this one.

wavesSaw more video art at this show.  Yorgo Alexopoulus at Bryce Wolkowitz.

yarnYarn work by Adrian Esparza.  Seeing a lot more material art.

pinkMirrored Acrylics by Amelia Toelke.

fbazaarWe headed back to the Faena hotel.  They had set up a bazaar across the street.  Clever idea.

atriumbAtrium in the middle.

outdoorrestaurantWe did a little R&R before heading out for dinner.  We went to Mandolin Aegean Bistro in the design district.  Should have come over to this area and walked around during the day.  Next year.  The majority of the restaurant is outside.

gerekHad a really good meal.  Greek salad.

fishWhole fish and more.

Made our way back to the hotel.  No night parties for us. Instead we took a walk down the beach before heading to bed. More thoughts on the art world tomorrow.

Basel, Day 2

pastriesWe went hard today.  Our heads are spinning with art.  We began the day at Rosetta Bakery some baked goods.  We were not the only ones who had that idea as there was a line out the door.  After breakfast we started at the main event, Art Basel Miami, that takes place in the convention center.  The place was packed.  What you see at this show is the leading contemporary and modern art galleries under one roof.

lightBasel did not open until noon so we hit up Design Miami first.  Design Miami sits next door to Art Basel Miami as the perfect companion as the premier venue for carrying objects such as furniture, lighting, jewelry and some sculpture.  My highlights.  A lamp.

greenGreen people that were very apocalyptic by Kim Simonsson.

furnitureVery smart architect/furniture designer.  The LED screen changed constantly showing different environments for the furniture.  Jonathan Gonzalez.

vaseBeautiful ceramics by Adam Silverman.

deananddelucaDean and Deluca oversaw the food there.  Best food I have seen at the fair.

schnabelHere are some of my faves at Basel although the art changes daily and it is truly hard to capture it all.  Julian Schnabel at Pace.

robertlongoAm a huge lover of Robert Longo.  This is a charcoal.

derrickadamsDerrick Adams at one gallery.

morederreckdamsDerrick Adams in another gallery.

bballAleksandra Domanv

joselermaJose Lerma.

getrealjackpiersonJack Pierson.  We have started to know the galleries that we like…a pure education.

bballpaintingAfter literally over 3 hours walking the show we made our way over to NADA, one of the satellite shows.  NADA is much smaller and all about emerging artists.  These were my highlights there.  This basketball painting.


twocolor-faceTwo colored face.

owlCeramic owl.

byblosWe went back to the hotel for a quick shower and then back out to the world.  Had drinks at our friends place and then out to Byblos for dinner.

sunlunOn the way back home we stopped in this installation for Sun Xun’s work.  This is a collaboration with multiple galleries including Sean Kelly, Eduard Malingue and Shangart.

printmakingThe work was around classic printmaking.

Went home and hit the pillow hard.



Miami Basel…

I went to Basel in 2006 with a friend.  This year I returned with Fred.  We expect to see a lot of art and do a lot of sweating.  I spent a major part of my life in the DC area where I thought I had got used to the humidity but I was wrong.   The heat and humidity down here is seriously overwhelming.

damienWe are staying at the Faena.  Have to love this huge Damien Hirst piece that sits outside en route to the pool and beach in the back of the hotel.

viewWe did not hit up the art the first night but went to dinner at Juvia.  The food is mediocre at best but the views are nice and sitting outside is nicer.

alexkatzAfter dins we strolled through the promenade where all the big name shops are.  H&M was gearing up for their Alex Katz collaboration.

mebabyIn the morning we hit the town early.  Our first stop was the Rubell Family Collection.  I love what they have done and continue to do.  They collect work from emerging artists and go deep in those artists.  They bring some of them down to Miami to create work in large spaces that the artists don’t have access to.  Then they share this work with the world. This piece is by Jennifer Rubell.  It isn’t light!

booksThey are in the process of building a museum to house their works.  Not only do they have physical arts they also have an insane collection of art books.

bigpieceI took so many pics there including videos.  This one is by John Williams.

birdThis is Jesse Mockrin.

beerCady Noland.  All those cans are Budweisers.

humanhairHuman hair by Solange Pessoa.  The collection is vast.  I found this a bit creepy.

streetWe walked around the area over to Panther coffeeshop.  We were told how the neighborhood has completely transformed since the Rubell’s put their mark here.  It is gritty and cool.

terraniumStopped in Plant the Future on the way there.  Loved this store.  My Mom had a plant store in the 70’s in Georgetown when that was a big trend.  Nice to see this come back in a new way.

coffeeHad a serious cup of coffee, a flat white, en route to the Margulies Collection.  One of the four major private collections in Miami.

danflavinThe works here tend to be more mature artists vs the Rubell collection.  This is a really fantastic Dan Flavin.

beachAfter this we made our way over to the Untitled Show.  It is one of the many shows in Miami.  I really like this one because most of the art shown is galleries that represent emerging artists.  The tent sits on the beach so the light is incredible and it wasn’t so crowded  Very civilized.

ceramicsThese pieces by Joakim Ojanen were at the Richard Heller Gallery.

seanmickaThis was by Sean Micka.  He paints pieces from auction books.  Really interesting historical context.  Those books come and go and the pieces live in another person’s life until they are perhaps sold again.

architectpiecesArchitectual pieces by Juan Carlos Delagado

matthewstoneReally love these two pieces at the Hole.  This one is Matthew Stone.

whitepieceThis is Joe Reihsen.

dresserThere is a lot more video art these days.  More of these artists are doing videos and also surrounding the piece with either photos or objects.  This artist, Mary Reid Kelley, is a video artist and this particular piece was part of one of her sets.

coconutEnough art for the day.  I hit the pool and did a little R&R with my coconut.

phucyeaOut for dinner with friends who have a place here.  We went to Phuc Yea, a Vietnamese place.  Food was quite good.  We had a huge table with a lazy suzy in the middle for sharing.

chickenwingsMy favorite was the chicken wings.

Off to bed for another full on day of art.

One person can change everything….oh, and a new podcast

There is a new podcast up.  Worth the listen.  Umber Ahmad of Mah Ze Dahr Bakery.  You can now subscribe on Itunes.


imagesIn a company one person can change everything.  A sales person can join the team and the trajectory can change overnight.  A new COO can join the team and take a look at the company from bottom up, shift a few things around responsibilities and all of a sudden you have a fine oiled machine.

One bad apple in a company can reek havoc on the culture.  Some founders have a hard time firing that one person for fear of the team being upset, or hoping that tomorrow will be a better day but pretty much 10 times out of 10 when they do let that bad apple go the team sighs a huge gasp of relief.  The question is always, “why didn’t anyone say anything?”  The reality is most don’t.  They are looking for leadership and believe in in the culture they are creating.

It isn’t easy being the founder.  It is a tough job yet it is also an exhilarating job.  I have also seen founders become paralyzed around hiring.  It is hard to put the cart before the horse but in the start-up world those risks are weighed daily.

I have seen companies have 24 cents in the bank and boom they get funded and life changes.  It is the same thing with people.  One person can change the whole game.



Columbia Second Years MFA’s

We were invited to go see the studio showing of all the second year MFA students at Columbia.  You get to meet and greet the artists, see their work and perhaps strike up a relationship with one of them.  The majority of the people in the program are between 26-32.  They are all figuring out their work, some more than others.  You can see hints of brilliance in some and others haven’t got there yet and may never get there.   I always compare these up and coming artists to the start-up world.  These artists are young, raw and talented as they try and figure it out just like start-up founders.  When you see a mature artists work vs a young artists work it can be seen immediately just like a mature company that has learned many lessons on the way.  I really just like the start-up world no matter how it plays out.

emilyludwigEmily Ludwig Shaffer

lucylordLucy Lord Campana.  The beginnings of a piece.

kristinwalshKristin Walsh

derickwhitsonDerick Whitson

josezunigaJose Delgado Zuniga

andrewcannonAndrew Cannon

juliamedynskaJulia Medynska

peterlabierPeter LaBier

Allison Janae Hamilton.  This was hard to show because it was an installation of video art including paintings and objects.  This woman is off the charts talented.

notmypresidentThen the poster that two of the artists had put out and were hanging around the halls.  I grabbed on that is not sitting in my office.


We must all be feminists

imagesWe can all say what we want but all signs points to the fact that we will have a misogynist in the White House.  It is important now more than ever for fathers to be feminists.  What does that mean exactly?

Young women should be given the support and change to be anything that they want to be.  When it comes to STEM let them build what they want with technology.  Give them the tools to think about social responsibility and community so that they can apply that to STEM.  Women entrepreneurs tend to build businesses that fill voids in their lives.  Young women use the technology tools they are learning to build things that mean something to them and we should applaud that.

Young women should know that they can do anything or be anything.  If they try multiply things in school and happen to fail at one, tell them to out there and try again.  Don’t tell them perhaps that isn’t your thing.  Applaud their efforts, acknowledge their mistakes and push them to get back in the game and try, try again.

All women are beautiful.  Everyone should feel good about their bodies.  Teach them to be strong and stand up to men who feel empowered to dismiss them, take advantage of them or don’t consider them to be equals.  Teach them to stand firm and believe in themselves.

Teach them to always be curious.  To never stop learning.  To feel that they can take on the world.  They can forge their own path.  That they are our future and should have high hopes for any road that they choose.

They should know if someone takes advantage of them or abuses them that it isn’t them, it is the other person.  They should feel empowered to stand up to men like that and call the out on their behavior immediately.  They have done nothing wrong.  Do not stand back in fear but to be brave and call out any wrongdoing.

Teach your sons to treat women with respect.  While you are at it based on the many women who have taken a deep breath to come out of the closet and tell their tales of abuse at the hands of Trump ( Cosby and others ) it might not be a bad idea to teach them a good right hook as well.

We must all be feminists.