Monday, August 01, 2005

Get Back, Jojo!

I've been doing the famous Beatles' lyrics backwards... I've left California grass for Tucson, Arizona.

Am ensconced in a house that can only be called gorgeous. ...Using same meaning as when style guru Made Wijaya says, Bali has the world's most gorgeous culture. More on that in a moment.

Finally managed, in this crazed real estate market, to find two properties which have a decent cash flow on rentals. One is a bit of a fixer-upper and the other is nearly perfect as-is. But it took me four months to find these and a few hard lessons in the Arizona market, to know to jump, puma-style, on these offers. More on those when I close escrow.

For the moment, though, I have moved out of the usual Ramada circuit, and moved into the Foothills home of artist and arts educator Barbara Rogers. Barbara is a gracious hostess and hardworking painter. She has a great circle of friends, some of whom I met at her place at a party on Saturday night. Kimberly Lund is moving to the middle east to teach painting, and we all celebrated her send-off. Fantastic middle eastern dishes came from myriad guests, and Barbara's secretary belly danced her way around the room like a juicy tinkerbell. What a night! Artists, bassists, curators, DA's, educators, the creme de la creme.

Meanwhile, I line up insurance quotes and edit the perfect commercial lease, starting my day with a stroll through Desert Shadows in blissfully cool weather (all the Tucsonians can't believe the temperatures and sprinkles of afternoon rain). Bunny rabbits with perfect white tails and delightfully tall ears scatter across Barbara's driveway. Lizards and quail families dash by like cartoon characters. The neighbor's gardening detritus has enough agave pups to start a new hedgerow in Montara. Yes, I thought ahead and brought an extra suitcase.

Now, about that word gorgeous. What is different about gorgeous, compared with beautiful, pretty, and handsome?

Gorgeous is a type of beautiful, but it denotes boldness and drama. Pretty is a type of beautiful that is plainer, more delicate, and closer to a natural, unembellished beauty. Handsome is about quality and good lines and simplicity; a beauty that is not usuallyh natural but is mindful of the limits of interference. Gorgeous is the aesthetics of interference, of clashes, of extremes. Barbara's house is all about gorgeousness. Her gold and richly layered paintings are everywhere. And if these are the ones that didn't sell in galleries, then what must those in other homes and museums look like?

Barbara's home is a showcase for her many collections... platform shoes are displayed like works of art, an oak table is a repository of desert artifacts, and museum-quality Buddhas stand watch over everything. There are lush curtains, oversize plants, massive armoires, and the lustre of metal, here and there, shining out from under a tiny layer of perfect tarnish. There are curves, ovals, flaws, and ridges. A red bathroom, a bronze bedspread, and a black lacquered grand piano (which got a workout Saturday night).

It's all so gorgeous.

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