Tea Bazaar Light

The lighting fixture in this image is I guess, designed to look like a traditional Japanese lantern. No doubt the originals were made of rice paper and had candles inside. I think this one was made of fiberglass and had an incandescent bulb inside. It’s the spirit of the thing that matters I suppose. This one didn’t look like it had a lot of spirit—it just sort of hung there a bit lopsided as you can see.

This particular electric, fiberglass, Japanese lantern and the hanging behind it is suspended over the stairwell that leads from the street-level entrance to the Twisted Branch TeaBazaar ( info@teabazaar.com)    on the second floor of the building. I’ve written about this delightful tea room, eatery, music venue and hookah bar, with its wonderful texture and atmosphere, in previous posts.

I believe the above form of the name is what Gwendolyn (the owner) prefers—to include the words “Tea” and “Bazaar” run together like you see above—not sure why its that way—probably its more exotic like that. I didn’t get it right the last time so I’m hoping this will redeem me.

I had an errand to run on the mall today. It was raining (we really need it) and the atmosphere of this restored historic district and pedestrian mall was entirely different. On nice days and evenings the mall is a place of relaxed bustle and languid human interaction—people taking their time shopping, walking slowly, eating, drinking, relaxing enjoying the moment and each other.

In the rain there is no outside business. All the pleasant al fresco tables and chairs are empty and wet—what business there is, is indoors. People traffic is like, 2 percent of what it normally is—and people tend to scurry down the brick-paved pedestrian boulevard huddled under their yellow, red, blue (and one American flag) umbrellas. I kept thinking of the famous impressionist painting by Renoir, “The Umbrellas” and the 1964 French film, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”

I found an inconspicuous location where I could lurk that had a neutral background behind my field of composition and waited for groups of people to come by under umbrellas. I was hoping for some artistic jumbles I could capture, monkey around with in Photoshop and call, “The Umbrellas of the Downtown Mall.”

Under my own umbrella  (an unimaginative black) I waited and waited while my feet got wetter and wetter and I grew increasingly impatient. It seems people were not about to cooperate with me—I could not depend on the “kindness of strangers.” People wandered along in ones or twos—occasionally threes—no arty jumbles. I was disappointed. And my feet were wet.

I took refuge in the Tea Bazaar—went into the men’s room and stuffed paper towels in my shoes to draw out at least some of the water then wandered around looking for images. I shot a view of a smoke stack from the roof patio at the back of the business, an arrangement of a table, chair and ash tray half full of rain-water—a few other things—nothing really cool.

But—as I was descending the stairs I took note of this lantern and fired off 8 or 10 frames. This one was probably the best of the lot. Not a real rewarding excursion this one today. Some days are like that—you know—those days when the world just wants to be pissy and not cooperate—I’m sure you know what I mean.

I mentioned in at least one previous post I was working on a new “Cheryl story.” The draft is done—my editor (who also happens to be my chiropractor) has the manuscript and will be going through it looking for grammatical and spelling errors, errors in historical fact, technical issues (like what year did rock bands start using key boards) and nonsensical syntax.

The new story is about Cheryl at Woodstock in 1969—she is there with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and, as we all know, the concert, which was intended for 50 or 60 thousand attracted nearly half a million people. Things got pretty crazy for almost a week in that part of New York State in the summer of 1969.

In my story Cheryl gets stranded at the concert site among the muddy thousands, meets this incredible guy and has a spiritual experience…I better not say any more—don’t want to spoil the surprise. I should be posting it in the next several days—as soon as my chiropractor gets it back to me.

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