Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hey Ho Where To Go Ohio

Now that I am of a "certain age", I allow myself a few breaks here and there. Like why hammer the return home from Pittsburgh in a day when I can invite myself over to the modernist museum in Cleveland that is Michael and Debbie Edwards home? I love the old traditional neighborhood, turn of the century vernacular homes with ordered lawns and of course theirs is extra special because these are people of taste and substance. It's the oldest house, the original dairy farm sitting way back from the street on a huge lot, landscaped, sculptures, how lovely for the interloper's overnight? Of course the story inside is something else. In their hands, the spaces are clean white gallery rooms, hardwood floors, original doors and woodwork. Beautiful bones as they say in the architectural parlance. But, how they've designed it, selected edited, selected, tis a modernists' dream. Everywhere you look is a statement piece of the masters, reminding you of the powerful voice post war America had in the world. I sip the prosecco they hand me and study exceptional examples of the applied arts: sculptures in wood, clay, paintings, textiles, ceramic vessels, furniture by the cognoscenti of the day mixed in with simple primitives, Michael's own ephemeral photographs and pieces of other eras that balance the collection and make it a handsome place. We compare our rustbelt cities. They say Ohio struggles like detroit but is more complacent and defeated compared to what they describe as a still fighting the fight, not backing down, scrappy Detroit. I had never heard Ohio described this way, but I sure recognized Detroit and sighed a quiet sigh of relief. I couldn't exist in that environment. I'd have built a compound around myself too, and then travelled every minute I could afford. They've closed their store which only drained resources and are working the surplus into their living museum and mostly selling it on line. I give them a lot of credit for their ability to adapt to the new paradigm in our beaten economies. I personally don't work well in that solitary business model. I've dropped in on them unexpectedly, the veritable Cat in the Hat to their Sally and I. I'm bouncing with tales of a business reinvigorated by a new movie making industry in town, design projects and art installations for better-supported cultural institutions. This has resulted in new found energy to brand my business as proudly Detroit and market it to better markets on the East Coast and beyond. I know I would not be in this expansive place if not for the positive feedback of a newly emerged buying public. So you know what this cat is thinking: I am going to New York and Debbie and Mike are on my way, couldn't I design them into the act? Wouldn't this stunning collection, their sophisticated mid century classicism make my industrial modern steampunk sparkle and dance? Forget that tired worry of…."but it's competition!…won't it steal your thunder?" Look I've been going on about this for like 20 blogs already. Huge paradigm shift, get it into your head, we can't just keep on going in this same myopic direction where it's every man for himself and you're on your own. The well is mighty dry, and either we all get just what we need or we're gonna watch people all around us drop like flies. I really believe these times were tailor-made for a middle child, a born collaborator who lives to work together with other like-minded, smart and talented people. Can you really argue with a little success? Can you really tell the Cat who is clearly having a ball up their juggling it all that it's not any fun to play with others? No my friends, you cannot.Throw caution to the wind, toss a ball in the air. Get in on this act before mother finds out what a mess you made of it all.

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