PICASSO

Genius Loves Company

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Picasso Exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris

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Picasso Mania

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The Studio, Currently on display at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky

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Untitled Picasso Sculpture in Daley Plaza in Chicago

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Woman, Chicago Art Institute

Photo:  Benn Bell  Sculpture:  Picasso  Model: Ginger Bell

All Photos by Benn Bell

PINK HOUSE!

The Story of a Victorian Mansion

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On one fine day in May I was strolling through one of old Louisville’s beautiful “walking courts” with my good friend and trusted side-kick Victoria Mansion. When much to our surprise we came upon a phenomenon down toward the end of the block for which neither of us was fully prepared. A Pink House! Now this wasn’t any ordinary sort of pink house it was an extra fancy with raisins sort of pink house. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t a house at all but a palace.

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What caught our interest was a small gathering on the porch. Everyone had a drink in their hand and seemed to be having a good time. Come on in, they beckoned. Well it was just too hard to resist. Turns out it was an open house put on by a local real estate agency. The old Pink House was for sale!

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Now let me tell you what they had to offer for refreshments: beer, whiskey, two kids of wine, cheese and crackers, and sushi. Well, we came right on in and helped ourselves. We were invited to explore the house which we did.

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A little of the history of the place. The “Pink Palace”, circa 1896, features beautiful period architectural details and a massive turret. The entry foyer and elaborate and ornate staircase are impressive to see as you enter the front door. You will see quarter-sawn “Tiger Oak” floors and woodwork throughout and magnificent stained and leaded glass windows. The “turret” rooms are located on each level of the house are as you might imagine round and filled with light. Great for sitting or reading.

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This glorious mansion began its history as a Gentleman’s Club and Casino for the male residents of St. James Court and Belgravia Court to relax and unwind. They enjoyed a good cigar, brandy, stimulating conversation and cards, as well as other past times including the services of  ladies of the evening.

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The Gentleman’s Club was in existence for only a few years before it was sold to the local chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union who bought the mansion for  their headquarters and promptly painted the red brick structure pink. Hence the “Pink Palace.”

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It is said the Pink House is haunted by a friendly ghost named Aviary.

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He only appears at times of danger to warn the residents…

You can see Aviary in the mirror above the fireplace.

It was on a very merry day in May…..

 

 

 

NIAGARA FALLS

Road Trip

Once upon a time in a land faraway (New Jersey) I made a road trip with my then wife Robin to Niagara Falls. On the way we made a stop in Corning, New York for a business meeting which justified our trip.

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We traveled in my new convertible Crossfire which could go from 0 to 100 in under 10 seconds. It came equipped with it’s own green frog whose name happened to be Kermit.

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We stayed at the Embassy Suites Hotel on the Canadian side.

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While walking around the downtown area of Niagara Falls we sort of wore ourselves out. Robin commented that if I was a few years younger she would make me pick her up and physically carry her back to the hotel.

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I responded that if she was a few pounds lighter I would pick her up and carry her anyway. She laughed and I laughed and we both had a good laugh.

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Next day we went out to the falls which were nothing less than spectacular.

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Wildwood

It was my last best hope and expectation to meet up with a very special girl from Jersey in Wildwood. I was from Philly and she was from Harlem and our lives intersected in a small town in South Jersey. She was a sweet kid and wild as Friday night and we were supposed to meet for a weekend rendezvous in the seaside town of Wildwood. It was during the off season and there weren’t too many people around, which was how I liked it.

I holed up in a cheap hotel near the beach for a few days but she never showed. So I walked the streets and combed the beach a bit and I snapped a few pictures.

She Came to Stay

When I was in London recently I had occasion to stay at the Thistle Hotel. In the morning as I was having breakfast my waitress came over to offer me more coffee. Sure, I said, I’d love some. As she refilled my cup she glanced down at the book on the table which I had brought with me to read. She look back at me and then in her best English accent asked me, “Well did she?”

Of course to her I was the one with the accent.

“Did she what?”

“Did she stay?”

At first I didn’t know what she meant. I looked at her and then I looked at the book and then I look back at her again and then in an instant of recollection, understanding, and reckoning I said, “She did indeed.”

My waitress beamed a self-satisfied smile and flitted off to the next customer to offer them some coffee.

The next day I was off to France to drink a toast to the author of the book, Simone de Beauvoir. This I would do at the fabled Cafe De Flore in Paris.

But I still had another day in London so I thought I’d spend it at the British Museum.

The Traveler

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Benn Bell, Nairobi, Kenya

“He did not think of himself as a tourist. He was a traveler. The difference was partly one of time. Whereas the tourist hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler, belonging to no more one place than to the next, moves slowly over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. It would be very difficult indeed to tell anyone, of the many places he lived, precisely where he felt most at home.

Another important difference between the tourist and the traveler is that the former accepts his own civilization as his own without question; not so with the traveler, who compares it with the others and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking.”

-Paul Bowels, The Sheltering Sky

 

 

Elephant Walk

On Safari in Africa

On this spot in 1989 Kenya burned 12 tons of ivory worth over three million in U.S. dollars.

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Nairobi National Park

According to then president Moi, “To stop the poacher the trader must be stopped and to stop the trader the final buyer must be convinced not to buy ivory.”

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The tusks that were burned represents more than 2000 elephants  shot and killed over a four year period.

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Hotel Serena, Nairobi, Kenya