The new year is here, though young, and how is it going so far for you? Many laughs and early betting wins? Empty barrels bereft of VAL on Christmas soft top? The joy but do you wish you were the world’s richest man, instead, enjoying the life of a divorcee on the island of St. Barth getting widely ridiculed for his choice of clothing at bacchanal with his new wife’s ex-husband?
The mainstream media lit up, overnight, as pictures of Jeff Bezos dressing in purported 1970s fashion were released.
I am still in Florence having just attended mass at the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in stirring Gregorian chant. The painted ceilings, marble sculptures, incredible architecture are truly beyond description and very much worth a visit. The whole city is, in fact, a jewel that has stood the test of time much like the New Zealander Nancy Mehrn who, as the new year rung in officially became the world’s oldest surfer at 92-years young.
Though she has put her body on a boogie, or rather a 42-year young piece of foam she stole from her son, she awes her follow wave sliders.
According to reports, “at the surfers club in Sumner, the small town in southeastern New Zealand where Nancy lives, those who stand admitted their elderly fellow ‘is an inspiration to all of us, but also an uplifting one for everyone.’ The club’s director, 63-year-old Simon Brown, admits he is very skeptical that he, too, will be able to surf to Nancy’s age. The secret of Ms. Mehern’s resilience lies in a constantly active life, from vegetarian, and emphasizes – ‘to avoid sugar from an early age.'”
If someone told you that you, too, could boogie until 92 but had to be a vegetarian without eating sweets would you say Yes!” or begin penning your final piece of quit-lit?
Much to ponder, for us, but very much congratulations to Ms. Mehrn who really put Kelly Slater to shame and there is no doubt he will push to 100 just to rub her face in it.
Shark researcher squashes speculation tagged seventeen-foot Great White “Poe Girl” was responsible for fatal Christmas Eve attack on surfer at Morro Bay, “There are so many other White sharks around, there’s no way to say it was her”
“She is not your everyday Southern California juvenile; she’s a massive adult that you should avoid.”
A prominent shark researcher and prez of the Marine Conservation Science Institute has hosed down talk that it was one of his tagged Whites that killed a bodyboarder at Morro Bay’s The Pit on Christmas Eve.
“I’ve gotten a lot of messages because of the unfortunate fatal shark encounter at The Pit (Morro Bay),” Michael Domeier aka doc_domeier wrote on Instagram. “A male bodyboarder was bitten and he succumbed to the injuries. First, my heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim. Second, no I don’t know if the shark was Poe Girl, or any of our other tagged sharks. The probability of it being one of our sharks is very low, since we’ve tagged such a small percentage of the overall population.”
Last October, after Poe Girl was tracked off El Capitan State Beach near Santa Babs, Domeier warned surfers, “She is not your everyday Southern California juvenile; she’s a massive adult that you should avoid.”
"The beauty of art may be in the eye of the beholder, but the behavior we allege today is objectively ugly.”
Christian Rosa, art darling of the Hip, has been indicted for the forgery and sale of Raymond Pettibon’s “Wave” series.
According to the US District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rosa stole at least four unfinished works from Pettibon’s studio, worked them to completion, then sold the forgeries complete with Certificates of Authenticity through a middleman dealer.
Regarding the case, FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said, “The beauty of art may be in the eye of the beholder, but the behavior we allege today is objectively ugly.”
A whip-sting of truth from the feds.
Rosa, 43, (real name the less charming Christian Weinberger), was schooled in Vienna and bedazzled his way through the LA and NY art scenes with his paintings, zombie formalist in style. (Roll eyes here.) Both Jay-Z and Leo DiCaprio own his works.
Until last year, Rosa typically fetched over a hundred grand, but recently the value for an original fizzled down to thirty, tops. Rosa maybe thought forging the wave paintings would be easy money to maintain the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to.
Everyone loves surfboarding.
The forgeries were sold for over six figures each.
Enough for a down payment on a wide Riverside spread.
Pettibon, who was originally brought to fame in the 80’s through his cover art for the punk band Black Flag, was a friend and mentor to Rosa, painting each other’s portraits, sharing gallery space, and gambling at dog races.
His wave paintings, begun in 1985, typically sell for about 1.2 mil. They are noted for their simplicity, making the familiar strange, as they say.
While Pettibon’s works are noted for their simplicity, which are hardly more than elaborated school notebook daydream doodles, the style make a Pettibon wave easy to recognize.
New York-based art collector Michael Hort, who owns both Pettibon and Rosa works, says it’s not surprising that Pettibon’s wave paintings were forged.
“Pettibon is easy to knock off. They’re easy to replicate. They are not that complicated, though you keep going back and finding new things to look at.”
Experts certainly did find things to look at. It wasn’t long before examiners sniffed out irregularities in the pieces. Artnet described the forged paintings as having “seemingly strange yellow-greens blended into Pettibon’s normal cobalt blues” misplacement of text, and a too-careful signature.
Basically, Rosa was sloppy, the criminal’s mortal sin.
"You come all this way and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair. We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”
I am now in Florence, having rung in the new year just hours ago in a quaint piazza, many carabinieri milling about. I asked one where the party was going to be after finishing my meal of linguini all’astice and Negroni. He responded, “Nowhere. There is no party. Go home and go to sleep,” though laughing. Whilst walking back to the 19th century hotel on the banks of the Arno, I realized they were actively breaking groups of people up, Covid etc., but this being Italy, the party happened anyway.
Back in Los Angeles, a different sort of party was taking place on the banks of the Pacific as 4 million gallons of untreated sewage escaped from a 48-inch wide pipe, fleeing into the Dominguez Channel then losing itself in the ocean.
Beaches all over the county were immediately shuttered as water safety inspection teams raced in to assess the damage.
This is the second major sewage spill in the region in the last six months after 17 gallons of sewage spewed into Santa Monica Bay this July. Officials say “climate change creates perfect storm of raw sewage and rainfall in the cities that can least afford it” but the sentiment does nothing to salve the wounds of tourists.
Sandi Williams, who traveled to Southern California from suburban Massachusetts for the holidays, told the Los Angeles Times, “You come all this way and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair. We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”
There’s no catastrophe in Florence. Things very wonderful and Ms. Williams should think about just coming here.