Recalling Bad Men

This past week we hit the slopes for spring skiing. It was truly an epic year of snow. Some people we know came out skiing from NYC and Fred did a few runs with them. I caught up with them and their friends later in the morning. I went up with one of the men on the chairlift which is part of the whole experience. I learned that his wife had spent the beginning of her career at Macy’s. We had overlapped.

When we got to the top I asked her about Macy’s. Ends up she was at Bamberger’s NJ which was owned by Macy’s (bought in 1929) and changed its name to Macy’s in 1986. That was the beginning of massive shifts in the department store world.

We chatted a bit and then she told me she worked for a man, who I do say his name in public when I speak but never have written it down in a post, that I worked for as well. I said to her that he was the worst. He said to me that women do not move as quickly as men do. She then went on to tell more stories and what a disgusting person he was. Before the #metoo era the stories are endless and how I hope that they end.

This man has gone on to be extremely successful. For what it is worth, she told me that she wishes him to be dead. I would find it hard to believe that he has not retreated from his vile behavior.

Times are different now. We all must speak up. We can not let a next generation bump into someone on the ski slope and get angry reminiscing about a pompous, misogynistic, egomaniac white male (or anyone for that matter) who behaves in a way that is morally reprehensible because he thinks he is above it all.

The time must be up.

Sheer Will and Self-Confidence, Jesse Genet, Lumi, Podcast #97

Jesse Genet is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lumi, a company that creates packaging solutions for modern supply chain teams. Jesse has a killer story of taking leap-of-faith after leap-of-faith from an early age, straight on into her latest venture, without a single break for self-doubt in between.

You can listen to it on iTunes here.

Brian Bress

One of the best things about collecting art is meeting the artist. It gives you a completely different perspective about the art. We have been following Brian‘s work for years and finally got an opportunity to meet with him and take the plunge. What a fantastic morning.

We drove out to Glendale from Venice making our way up to Burbank and coming back down. At least we were always moving. Brian’s studio is quite large. A variety of rooms with super high ceilings including art on the walls and a kitchen area. Really comfy. This piece was part of one of his video pieces.

Brian’s creativity around each of his pieces is impressive. He began in the film world so it is not surprising how his work is a culmination of creating the end video product. He paints, he makes outfits, he sculpts costumes, he does decoupage to create the character he plays inside the video who then plays around inside the film.

His studio is a combination a backroom of a garment design shop to a movie set.

Extremely inspiring artist who is just charming.

Women, Women, Women

(If you love this clip as much as I do, you can donate to make sure this film gets done at iFundWomen.)

We were walking through the airport and Fred pointed out two adorable young sisters wearing the same t-shirt. It said “I am not bossy, I have leadership skills.” I wanted to walk over to those two girls and give them a high-5. Perhaps that is a sign that change is actually happening.

Everywhere I go I hear the word woman. I overheard some women talking about their film and they said people want to put money into more female directors so timing is great. Another VC asked me again if I knew of any women that would be a good fit for a partner. Companies are making a point of hiring more women (at least the ones I know). There are some powerful women out there who are not holding back. It is time and it feels good.

More women than ever are running for office. Even Beto said that if he won the nomination he would more than likely choose a woman to be his VP acknowledging the incredible women who are running for the Presidency alongside him. More women are starting companies. More women are figuring out how to work and raise a family at the same time. A universal childcare act would be of help here.

The tide is rising. On the Circus this past Sunday (a worthy political show), Alex Wagner, who is one of the 3 journalists on the show was out there walking side by side with politicians asking questions and she is 9 months pregnant. Have never seen that before. I mean come on, even Captain Marvel is a woman.

The College Take Down

I was certainly an involved parent from day one navigating how to be present, teach good lessons and morals, and give our kids the freedom to make their own choices.  I wanted to raise our kids very different yet certainly some similarities on how I was raised.

The college admissions scandal that was announced this past week has been a constant conversation with many people since it broke. On one hand mind blowing but on the other hand not shocking.  Not only is it a sign of the times it is an evolution that began when you could apply to 30 colleges with a click a finger. When you wrap that into a generation of wealthy hand holding hovering parents well here’s what happens.

Obviously it is about the parents. First question is what are they teaching their kids? Life can be bought, if you aren’t hanging in that elite university where supposedly the best and brightest students in our country attend then you are a loser and will never be a success, oh the life of wealth and the life of Riley is oh so powerful, morally sound and belongs to us. Kind of like our current President.

Between the blame game from the White House, to the rise of hate groups who need to blame others for their shortcomings and place in the world, to avoiding taxes (the college donations were in a non-profit slush fund for tax deductions), the golden sidewalks of Hudson Yards, paying for sex to people who have trafficked undocumented immigrants for cash then this college thing is just the icing on the cake.  When does this type of elitist behavior end? Have we peaked yet?

 

Getting Innovative with Content Creation, Kristina Budelis and Lisbeth Kaufman, Kitsplit, Podcast #96

Kristina Budelis and Lisbeth Kaufman are the Co-Founders of Kitsplit an online rental house that lets content creators further cash in on the gig economy by renting out their gear to peers in their community. Lisbeth and Kristina share their story of meeting at ITP to starting their company in the middle of graduate school. Major inspiration for anyone out there with an idea they’re eager to launch.

You can listen to this on iTunes here.

Lemon Chicken with olives, capers, artichokes and onions

This is a dish that I made the other night. I wanted something with these ingredients and just started to put it together. The sauce could be used over fish too. You can use more of one ingredient or less or even eliminate one of them all together.

Sauce:

4 lemons, sliced

1 1/2 cups green olives sliced

2 large sweet onions sliced

1/2 cup capers

8 small artichokes (peeled, cut in half and roasted)

1 cup white wine

In a deep frying pan cover the bottom with olive oil. Once it gets hot, lay the lemon slices next to each over the bottom, toss a bit of salt over the top and sauté them until they are browned. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion to this and sauté them until browned. Add the wine and boil down until there is liquid left but not a lot. Add the capers, artichokes, and olives. Mix everything together and taste. I splashed a bit of white wine on top of this again and warmed it. Then I set aside the sauce.

I used 10 full chicken legs (thighs and legs) and broiled them until done. That way they were crispy.

Right before serving this dish I put the chicken in a pot, warmed up the sauce and poured it over the chicken and served. I made the dish in the afternoon and served it later for dinner. So easy and really good.

Another week/weekend in LA

I really do love LA. When my brother moved here it took him a few years to assimilate from NY life so perhaps it is just taking me some time as well to truly love our winter sojourns at a new level. Puntarelle salad of dates, stilton cheese, green olives, allium, walnuts and a sherry vinaigrette at Tartine Bianco.

This week we had dinner and brunch at Tartine Bianco, located at the Row in downtown LA. We took the LA Metro downtown from Santa Monica instead of battling the traffic. It is fantastic. I read my Kindle, did a few crosswords on the phone and skimmed a few emails. We book an Uber to where we needed to go when we got off the rail and Uber’d it home after dinner. It would have taken an hour and a half to get down there by car that evening but coming back it is only 25 minutes with zero traffic. The chicken liver with kumquats and blood orange over a piece of crispy toast truly hit the spot.

We came back a few nights later to see the Lakers/Nuggets game. We happened to witness history that night with James LeBron surpassing Michael Jordan in baskets.

This pic came from Jonathan Gold in the LA Times

Friday night we went to Coni Seafood for dinner. We had been to the original in Inglewood and this me went to an off-shoot on Centinella. The place was empty when we got there and I was not sure about it but in the end, I was swept in with the whole family to just enjoy. The dish to get here is the Snook. It is pretty damn good. A heavy white fish served with a spicy red sauce, caramelized onions and soft tortillas.

Saturday morning I had got tickets at the Marciano Foundation. We went last year too. You had to get tickets in advance, they are free but you have to book in advance. Well worth it. The place is small with interesting exhibits. It was created by the Marciano family to explore and enjoy contemporary art. The Tulip Room, Yayoi Kusama.

Back down to the Row area to have lunch at Tartine. The key are the salads and the morning bun. An insanely delicious sticky bun where the bread has become so caramelized that it is sticky and hard on the outside but soft and melt in your mouth on the inside.

The height was dinner at Ma Genet. Ma Genet was highlighted in Jonathan Gold’s movie, an ode to LA. We have driven down Ethiopian row so many times and finally called to make a resy. The place is intimate and hopping at the same time. The thing to order here is the Dorwot. A spicy rich Chicken dish that has been roasting for 48 hours. Almost like an intense Mexican mole with different spices. It is a lick your finger delish but then again there are no utensils at Ma Genet so that is exactly what you need to do.

The utensil is the injera, a thick spongy sour crepe that is able to stretch and grab anything you want to eat between your thumb and fingers. We also had the vegetable combination that gives a newbie the ability to taste everything. My favorite main dish was the Tofu Tibs. Crispy little tofu cubes sauteed with in onions, green chiles and an Ethopian sauce.

I grabbed this pic on the way to the bathroom. A chef overseeing her domain. Praise Ma Genet.

Jimmy Neurosis: A Memoir

Years ago I went up to Saveur offices and lucky for me met James Oseland who at that time, was the editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. We talked and talked and began to have breakfast together every so often. He has since left Saveur and has continued to be a writer, traveler and editor and so much more.

He told me that he was writing Jimmy Neurosis: A Memoir a few years ago. It just came out and of course, I read it. It is his coming of age story. Growing up in the outskirts of San Francisco with a checked-out father and a single mother trying to make ends meet. Oseland has a great cadence in how he writes his story. It is like listening to him tell his story at a dinner party. His first sexual experiences and how he found his community and comfort in the beginnings of the Punk Revolution.

For any young person who is having difficulty fitting into the world they were dropped into, they should read this book. It is a celebration of figuring out yourself in your own terms. I loved it.

Didn’t your parents tell you?

Airports are interesting places. Most people are there just getting ready to move from one location to another in this huge space where you are interacting with people that you have never met and will most likely never see again.

We had already sat down on the plane and I was just watching the people board. This adorable young four year old child was running in front of his parents to get on. He had his hands down his pants. His mother yells out to him to get his hands out of his pants. He essentially yells back that he doesn’t want to because it keeps his hands warm down there. The passengers just laughed.

I had just spent a few hours in the lounge because our flight was delayed. I happened to sit back to back with two “dudes” who were starting a company. I can tell you all the information except the name of the company. They are doing about $100K a month, they need to write a deck to raise more capital, they are sort of making up reality, the VC’s they are working with are the best in the business and hang out with the elite. This is what I listened to for hours. The thing is I knew a lot of the people they were talking about. They were seriously mansplaining. I kept thinking “damn, didn’t your parents teach you anything”?

My first job out of college was at Macy’s. I went through the training program that at that time lasted a few months. It essentially taught you how the company ran and where all the bathrooms were. One of the first things they taught you is not to speak in the executive elevator which is a rickety old school elevator with an elevator attendant.

They told a story of two young men riding the elevator with Ed Finkelstein, who was the CEO at the time. The two young men wondered outloud who Ed Finkelstein was because the one thing they did know was he signed their checks every week. Dumb clucks perhaps but Ed did not take to this and hence the lesson was taught to each incoming class….elevator behavior.

There was a small part of me that thought about calling the VC and telling them what I learned at the airport but decided I would let those two men create their own hole. I figured if they were so forthcoming at the airport that their behavior will get them into other trouble down the line.

They had their hands way down their pants.