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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Chasing Beauty

I was reading something about Kiki de Montparnasse, who was the muse and lover of Man Ray. Just the mention of Kiki's name got me thinking about Man Ray, and how his images are so moving to me, and then that got me thinking about other things that give me the same feeling.

Each of us have certain sights, sounds, scents, tastes that we crave, repeat, long for--sensations that evoke some private, fleeting bit of heaven. I know that's why I dance tango: it's an easy way for me to be in that moment. But there are other situations, perhaps more sublime or transitory, that will do that too.

Are tango dancers more sensual beings than other people? I don't think so, but perhaps we've just found a way to get our fix faster?

I've had a bad headache today. It's finally, finally going away after all day, but the little headache that lingers puts me in this hyper-aware state. Things seem a little louder, a little brighter, a little more forceful than usual. Perhaps that's why I'm so fixated on this topic of sensation today.

What transports you? Tell me. I found it interesting to see how these sensations are grouped, for myself. I'm curious to see what you come up with.

Paintings by Gustave Moreau in his atelier in Montmartre
The Caress, pictured above, by Fernand Knopff
Paintings by Giorgio de Chirico
Photos by Man Ray
Works by Andy Goldsworthy
Red figure and black figure ancient Greek pottery
The last mysterious segment of 2001: A Space Odyssey
The hallway scene in La Belle et La Bete, by Jean Cocteau
The Eagle Nebula, as captured by the Hubble Telescope

Privet or boxwood trees
Redwood trees
Double Delight roses
The smell of certain old stairwells in Paris (what is it, the plaster, the wood, the past?)
The smell of Metro stations in Paris (it's a warm, greasy smell)
Chanel No. 5, Hermes 24 Rue Faubourg, and D&G's Sicily perfumes
Fresh thyme
Tomato leaves when you rub them between your fingers
The jasmine bush in front of my neighbor's house
A little male perspiration and a faint whiff of cologne mixed together

That first "pop" when you bite into a juicy hot dog or sausage (you know what I mean)
Really really good hamachi sashimi
Foie gras (no judgement here, please)
Crunchy salt
Soft polenta with lots of butter
Coffee with cardamom in it (the kind they sell at Middle Eastern stores)
A perfect bing cherry
Bittersweet or dark chocolate
Red Vines
The tiny little drop of nectar that's inside a honeysuckle blossom (wow, that's an old memory!)

Sound (these links all have sound--turn up the speakers and close your eyes):
Nessun Dorma, as sung by the late Luciano Pavarotti, may he rest in peace
The Flower Duet, from Lakmé
Ave Maria, by Schubert
Gymnopedies III, by Satie
Summertime, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
My Sweet Lord, by George Harrison
When I can hear the faint sound of a foghorn while I'm still in my bed, sometimes happens around 5 a.m.
Rain (any kind, from drizzle to thunderstorm)
Little kids laughing

Walking in mist, especially mist on my face
How my legs feel after I've shaved them and put lotion on them
My hair after Kat blows it dry at the salon
A kitten on my lap
Very lightweight silk
When someone else touches my hair

Okay, now it's your turn!


Geert Groote and his urbane double egg. December 13, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

I just started reading your blog a couple days ago (when I started my own), and I liked this, so I posted my own blog listing things that "transport" me too on my blog.

if you want to see:

thanks for writing all you do, I really like your blog -it's very interesting, and I even rented "Fallen Angel" yesterday because you like other movies that I like, so I thought I'd give it a go!


tangobaby December 14, 2008 at 9:07 AM  

Hi Geert,

I tried to reply directly to your post on your blog, but the word verification didn't behave.

So I'll post my reply here and hope that you get it:

~city lights on wet pavement at night
~my rosary from Rome made from actual rose petals
~the way my grandma's room used to smell
~incense (the kind they still use in some Catholic churches - especially during Easter)
~coca-cola (ice cold - no ice)
~my mom playing the piano
~when it's really hot outside and you exit a very air-conditioned building, that wall of heat that just hits you
~cool piano keys -that first touch before you really start playing
~my first Confession - afterwards


What I enjoy so much about your list here is that it gives a subtle and unique snapshot of who you are right here, right now. And yet it's got universal elements that we all can relate to. Lovely, just lovely.

Now promise that you'll get a little studying done, too! ;-)


ps. Do let me know how you enjoyed the movie! I'm excited you'll give it a try.

Geert Groote and his urbane double egg. December 14, 2008 at 10:15 AM  

Hi Tangobaby,

I watched the movie last night - it was great! I really enjoyed it, and was very pleased with how it ended. I was completely surprised that the detective was the one who did it.

I'm glad you liked my list. Thanks for replying!

Now I will go study. :)