Province Almanac for April 20, 2015

George Takei in Hamm, Germany 1996. Photo courtesy Diane Krauss by Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

George Takei in Hamm, Germany 1996. Photo courtesy Diane Krauss by Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

Today has historically been a turbulent day, with a lineage of both accomplishments and tragedy. I was an undergraduate in 1999—sitting in a break room waiting for class to start—when news broke of the Columbine High School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado. In the span of an hour, two senior students from the school opened fire on their own classrooms killing thirteen and injuring two-dozen more. The shooters ended the rampage by committing suicide. 

Eleven years later, the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 people and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. An estimated 210 million gallons of oil entered the ocean, killing wildlife, halting the Gulf fishing & tourism industries, and turning southern U.S. beaches black with crude. It was one of the worst environmental disasters in history, and more than a million barrels of oil are still "missing" since 2010. Also missing are the bodies of the 11 men who perished in the Deepwater Horizon explosion- their loss mostly overshadowed by the enormity of the disaster itself.

In more uplifting news, 2008 saw Beloit, Wisconsin native Danica Patrick win the Indy Japan 300 race, "making her the first female winner in IndyCar racing history." Wisconsin has even more to be proud of today. In 1836 Congress established Wisconsin as a territory. Today Wisconsin is one of 3 states that celebrates the civic holiday Patriot's Day, recognizing the first battles of the Revolutionary War. The other two celebrating are Massachusetts and Maine.

George Takei was born on this day in 1937. The 78 year old actor made famous by the Star Trek series, has since become an internet sensation and LGBT activist. With 8.4 million followers on Facebook, his opinions and op-eds tend to have significant socio-political influence.

Maybe the moon is to blame for our April turbulence. According to Stardate.org, a lunar triumvirate will transfix our gaze tomorrow night when "The crescent Moon and the planet Venus stage a beautiful encounter...Venus is the "evening star", and stands to the right of the Moon. As a bonus, the bright orange star Alderbran, the eye of the bull, stands close below..."

Captain's log, stardate 92903.31. Destination: San Francisco, Earth, birth place of Captain Sulu, year 2237.

The Legacy of Artist Eyvind Earle

"I’m constantly and everlastingly overwhelmed at the stupendous infinity of Nature." -Eyvind Earle

Several weekends back we were (and still are) visiting open houses in what's become an exhaustive search for a home in L.A. Walking down a hallway in a hillside mid-century modern, I was stopped in my tracks by a small framed print on the wall. The open house was ending, we were already feeling rushed, yet I was compelled to stare at this print. Never mind the house—which the agent oddly quipped would slide down the hill within the next 100 years—I needed to learn more about the artist. I quickly snapped this sad photo on my phone for later research:

earlestillvalley

From the signature I Googled what appeared to be "E Earle" and came across the story of an highly accomplished artist whom everyone else seems to know about but me.

Eyvind Earle, who died in 2000 at the age of 84, was an esteemed Disney animator, perhaps best known for the incredible design of the original Sleeping Beauty. I must admit, I'm not a Disney buff, but a well-done serigraph will peel my eyelids back like a kid entranced by a movie screen.

A serigraph is a handmade art print using a time-consuming and meticulous process commonly referred to as silkscreening. It's a process often seen today in tour posters for bands (think Band of Horses, Phish, The Decemberists), like those of artist Justin Helton at Status Serigraph in Tennessee. Here is a video of another serigraph artist's fascinating process.

To understand the complexity of the process, just look at Eyvind Earle's Fire Magic- it required 200 individual screens:

Outside of his employment at Disney, Eyvind Earle amassed a stunning body of work using numerous styles and mediums. But it's the brilliant colors and mysterious fanciful layers in his serigraphs that captivate and transport the imagination. The serigraph collection, now available for viewing on his estate's website eyvindearle.com, is where I finally found the print from the open house, Still Valley, c. 1986:

Still Valley

Still Valley

I imagine floating in a hot air ballon above this idyllic valley. Just like how each of his prints take me to a special vantage point; where I want to share the secret with the world, yet keep it all to myself.

Red Barn and Tree Snow  

Red Barn and Tree Snow  

The Wave 

The Wave 

Soft Green Meadows 

Soft Green Meadows 

Gallery 21 and the Eyvind Earle Publishing LLC keep his legacy alive by making available serigraphs and notecards. I found the following in their online store:

 

Thank you to Ioan Szasz of Eyvind Earle Publishing for allowing these works to be shared.

Cotton Candy Is Having Its Big Fluffy Moment

Maple-flavored cotton candy from the cabane à sucre (sugar shack), Pakenham, Ontario, Canada -  photo via QUOI Media Group under Creative Commons/Wikipedia

Maple-flavored cotton candy from the cabane à sucre (sugar shack), Pakenham, Ontario, Canada -  photo via QUOI Media Group under Creative Commons/Wikipedia

Has cotton candy ever fallen out of fashion? It's been around for hundreds of years but, like acid wash mom jeans, I'm suddenly seeing cotton candy all over town. And, just like mom jeans, I have to give it a squeeze every time I see it. Umm... what?  Well, anyways, if the cotton candy craze hasn't struck where you live, prepare to be amazed.

Remember when 'stuff on a stick' became a thing? Cheesecake on a stick. Cake pops. Well, cotton candy has flown the stick and become the new "put a bird on it".

Last weekend we went to Milk & Honey cafe in San Gabriel, CA and they put cotton candy on our tea. Little did we know, that makes to-go cups difficult to fit in cup holders:

Cotton candy milk tea at Milk & Honey 

Cotton candy milk tea at Milk & Honey 

If I start a band, I will definitely name it The Cotton Candy Cup Holders.

If I start a band, I will definitely name it The Cotton Candy Cup Holders.

Then I see on Instagram that Snow Monster in the OC is putting the fluff on their fruity pebbles flavored soft serve. Honestly, you had me at fruity pebbles flavored soft serve.

Check out Snow Monster's Instagram feed to see their cotton candy fascinators. (Don't worry L.A., soon you won't have to drive 7 hours to the OC to get Snow Monster. They have locations coming to USC and Little Tokyo.)

When it comes to unique flavors, Sugar Hi of Gilbert, Arizona was not to be outdone. Below is their heavenly line of wine infused sugar clouds. Sugar Hi, you have managed to combine booze and cotton candy. If there's any justice in this world, you'll be immediately nominated for a James Beard.

Oh, and it also comes in Peach Iced Tea.

Photo used with permission from facebook.com/SugarHiCottonCandy

Photo used with permission from facebook.com/SugarHiCottonCandy

Speaking of wine, here's a pretty sweet twist. NPR reported that a grape farm in California has developed a Cotton Candy® grape. The selective breeding used to create the Cotton Candy grape is not the same as creating a GMO; but then again, we'd probably just give them a pass on this one anyway. The Grapery claims the "grapes taste exactly like the pink spun-sugar treat you loved as a kid."

And of course Nabisco has done some selective breeding of its own. Cookie, meet Candy. Candy, this is Cookie. Phew, now that we're done with awkward introductions, here's the fruit of their labors: a limited-edition cotton candy Oreo sold now through the end of May. POPSUGAR has the scoop:

via POPSUGAR

via POPSUGAR

When the Oreos go away, you can still get your fix of pink foods. f'real has rolled out a line of cotton candy milkshakes across the country (here's their retail locator). You could even head to Starbucks and ask for their secret menu item, Cotton Candy Frappuccino. Ha, didn't know about that one, did ya!

I suppose I shouldn't assume everybody prefers pink. REMICONE in South Korea certainly doesn't:

환상의 짝꿍 2 썬더밤 & 썬더티 #remicone #레미콘 #썬더밤 #썬더티 #신사 #가로수길

Posted by REMICONE on Wednesday, February 11, 2015

While you're traveling to Korea for that tantalizing gray REMICONE, why not stop by Australia for Wild Pear Cafe's Rosewater/Strawberry/Vanilla milkshake with fairy floss and crushed pistachios. Oh—My—NSFW does that look amazing:

Thanks to Wild Pear Cafe for letting us use this photo. Check out their INCREDIBLE desserts on Instagram @wildpearcafe.

Thanks to Wild Pear Cafe for letting us use this photo. Check out their INCREDIBLE desserts on Instagram @wildpearcafe.

But maybe you're a traditionalist. You prefer your cotton candy on a stick, just like the good old days. Well, did the good old days look like this? At nearly 5 million views, this video of a sugar spinner in China has made cotton candy go viral. Wait, that doesn't sound right.

If you happen to live in San Francisco, Minnie at Sweet Puff Candy will even custom dip your cotton candy sticks to match your wedding colors. Who wouldn't want to have their sticks dipped?! Oh, and she customizes flavors too...like cinnamon dusted horchata or cookies & creme.

Perhaps if you're the DIY type you can just do all of these yourself. A well-rated cotton candy maker on Amazon will only set you back about $50. If you go this route, send me a photo of your creation, I'd love to feature it on the blog. Likewise, if you see a creative use of floss in your travels, send it to me and I'll give you a shout out. And may your dentist enjoy his yacht!

P.S. Many of the most beautiful and peculiar food innovations are coming out of cafes and street vendors in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong. Do an Instagram hashtag search for #cottoncandy (or #fairyfloss in Australia) to see these pastel works of edible art. Instagram tip: If you'd like to see what's happening in other parts of the world, do your hashtag searches late at night or early in the morning. That's when they're wide awake on the other side of the world!

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