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New Orleans’s Columns Hotel Returns in Style
The wide front porch of the Columns Hotel, in New Orleans’s picturesque Garden District, was for many years a neighborhood institution and, for several of those, Jayson Seidman’s favorite college hangout. About two decades later, Seidman, now a hotelier, purchased the Columns, seeing an opportunity to restore it to its Old World grandeur. Built in 1883 as a private home, the Italianate mansion was later converted to a boardinghouse before opening as a hotel in the 1950s. Seidman focused on preserving classic details, such as the central mahogany staircase, the ornate stained-glass skylight above it and the original hardwood floors. Many of the light fixtures, including chandeliers, were dismantled, painstakingly refinished and then retooled to cast a glow that would complement each space’s color scheme and mood; Seidman partnered with professional lighting designers who had been stranded in the city when their film and theater projects were suspended on account of the pandemic. Upstairs, the 20 rooms — all with high ceilings and unique layouts — are appointed with a mix of gilded mirrors, four-poster beds, Chinese and Moroccan rugs, claw-foot tubs and one 1930s-era pink sofa sourced from the South of France. The chef Mike Stoltzfus of the local favorite Coquette leads the hotel’s New American restaurant and its bar. Additionally, the building’s old ballroom has been reimagined as a spacious lounge, though guests can also sip cocktails on the main porch or, if they’re staying at the hotel (which will reopen Dec. 1), on the second-floor porch or rooftop sun deck and take in the views of the neighborhood’s famously lush live oaks below. From $350; 3811 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, La.; thecolumns.com.
A Queer Los Angeles, Now Lost to Gentrification
The photographer Reynaldo Rivera grew up in the ’70s, moving around from Mexicali, Mexico, to California’s Central Valley to eastern Los Angeles. When Rivera was 12 or 13, he began picking cherries with his father for work. Thrift stores and secondhand bookstores became a portal to art and literature, and Rivera eventually got his hands on a camera and began taking pictures, even though he considered art to be “something white people do,” as he has said. Many of Rivera’s earliest pictures have been lost or destroyed, but a new monograph of his work, “Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City,” is being published by Semiotext(e) this month. In the 1980s and ’90s, Rivera was living in Echo Park, selling photographs to LA Weekly and documenting the underground life of Latino gay and drag bars such as Mugy’s, the Silverlake Lounge and La Plaza. Most of these nightclubs — and the glamorous-looking girls who populated them — are now gone, washed away by the gentrification that has taken over eastern Los Angeles. “This book is an attempt to leave a record that we were here, since we tend to get erased and leave our neighborhoods without any traces,” writes Rivera of the Latino community he lovingly documented. Comparisons may be easily made between Rivera and his peers, such as Nan Goldin or Larry Clark, but as the writer Chris Kraus points out in her introductory text, Rivera’s photographs reflect “a different kind of collaboration. He sees his subjects less as they ‘are’ than how they most wish to be seen, lending himself to their dreams and illusions of glamour.” Available for preorder, $34.95; semiotexte.com.
Bring Some of the Amalfi Coast Into Your Home
If you have ever traveled to the Amalfi Coast, you may very well have ended up at Le Sirenuse, an 18th-century villa painted cherry red with white trim and covered in bougainvillea, its poolside and veranda dotted with fragrant lemon trees overlooking the Mediterranean. The property was originally the private home of a member of the Sersales — a noble Neapolitan dynasty of ancient origins — that they transformed into a hotel in 1951. The American writer John Steinbeck, visiting in 1953, described it as “an old family house converted into a first-class hotel.” Le Sirenuse still maintains this charming sensibility, even if, today, it is considered an international destination. Now, following the launch of its resort-wear line, Le Sirenuse is offering its first home collection, composed of embroidered cushions, handmade glassware and bone-china plates and mugs — allowing you to take some of the place’s European glamour with you. Of particular note is the glassware, all handblown on the Venetian island of Murano, in colors such as sea foam, white, sky blue and red, which includes tumblers, water and wine glasses, champagne flutes, a water pitcher and small bowls. The gold-rimmed bone-china plates, meanwhile, have been customized by the English designer Luke Edward Hall, who was inspired by the hotel’s iconic view, as well as by Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning 2017 film “Call Me by Your Name.” From $78; available at emporiosirenuse.com and matchesfashion.com.
Performa Hosts a Different Sort of Arts Telethon
New York’s interdisciplinary arts organization Performa is known for its biennials, for which it transforms spaces all over the city into venues for boundary-pushing performance art. This month, on Nov. 18, the nonprofit is celebrating its 15th anniversary with an event both pleasingly retro and perfectly suited to these modern, troubled times: a live-edited, eight-hour-long telethon video fund-raiser. Streamed via Performa’s website, it will combine a digital auction with testimonials and live and prerecorded performances. The event will be staged at an ad hoc TV studio in Manhattan’s Pace Gallery, where limited-edition wares such as porcelain vases by Barbara Kruger and body pillows by Korakrit Arunanondchai will be hawked from a cheeky QVC-style set. Performances by Yvonne Rainer, Jacolby Satterwhite and others will be beamed in from all over the world. It’s a little bit Jerry Lewis, but it’s also a little bit Nam June Paik, whose early ’80s experiments in live broadcasting changed video art. Performa senior curator Kathy Noble admits that creating a such a long live TV show is an “epic” undertaking, but the organization wouldn’t have it any other way. “The telethon is very much in the spirit of what we do,” she says. “It’s coming up with a new idea, a new way of doing something, and working with a huge number of artists.” Donations and auction proceeds will go toward Performa’s continued programming. To be streamed live on Nov. 18, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time; performa-arts.org.
A Tote Honoring the Artist Noah Davis
The Underground Museum was founded eight years ago in the working-class Los Angeles neighborhood of Arlington Heights by Karon Davis and her husband, the painter Noah Davis, who died in 2015 of a rare form of cancer at age 32. The museum, which is composed of three storefronts, and includes a bookshop and community event space, is a destination for Black contemporary art and culture. To help further its mission, all proceeds from the sales of a new edition of MZ Wallace’s Metro tote, featuring a painting by Davis, will benefit the Underground Museum (as will the smaller accompanying Metro pouch, which is sold separately). “Before Noah became ill, he used the money he’d inherited from his father to found the organization,” says the MZ Wallace co-founder Monica Zwirner. “It was an incredible gesture. I believe that art can change your life, and I think Noah deeply believed that, too.” Earlier this year, when Davis was the subject of a posthumous retrospective at David Zwirner Gallery, Monica (who is married to David Zwirner) met Karon. There was an instant connection. “She’s an absolute dynamo,” Zwirner said. “And she said to me, ‘Oh, I have one of your Kerry James Marshall totes!’ I was like, ‘Done and done, let’s do something.’” Though Zwirner and her co-founder, Lucy Wallace Eustice, have released artist editions before, remote work complicated the process this time around. “We’d been just looking at screens, and when the fabric came in, we saw the colors were wrong, so we had to start over,” Zwirner recalled. “But of course, we had to be true to the art.” MZ Wallace x the Underground Museum Medium Metro tote ($265) and Metro pouch ($45); mzwallace.com.
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