Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Walldog Named Don.

Silver Platters in Queen Anne
Lucky for Seattle, Don Rockwell is teaching us some old tricks. This local "walldog" wants you to join his pack this summer, as he paints “The History and Legends of Gospel, Jazz, Blues and Rock & Roll." This is no small task, mind you. Here's a quick visual-- the canvas is a 12'ft high by 80'ft long wall, and will feature legendary greats like Charles A Tindley, Chuck Berry, and Jimi Hendrix. Tail wagging? Read on. 

I've often wondered about the ambitiously painted, dazzling billboards scattered around the city's funkiest spaces. You can't help but admire the "cool factor" mastered on the exterior of Seattle places like Silver Platters, a music and movie store located in lower Queen Anne.  When I recently connected with Don Rockwell, a Seattle muralist, he opened up my eyes to the underground band of artists called "walldogs" that have been painting the sides of brick buildings, barns and outdoor structures for decades around the country.  Does it seem impossible to join the ranks of these old school artists?  Not so, thanks to the don of the dogs...

Adele's album, painted by Rockwell.
This summer, Rockwell will host a series of "mural camps," where participants will learn the fundamentals of creating a mural from conception to completion.  Rallying at Silver Platters, Rockwell's campers will undertake the enormous task of painting history's greatest music heroes, in an outdoor workshop that is sure to catch the attention of the community and then some. There are three sessions available (each session lasts four days), so check out his website or give him a call if you're interested in joining the creative crew. What an incredible opportunity to learn from a master muralist, make art and try your paw as a "walldog."  I can't wait to see this collaborative effort take shape this summer.  Here's some straight bark from the leader of Seattle's pack: "The only mistake is not trying."  So roll up your sleeves and get out there!

A few links for more information:  

Silver Platters:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Insanity in Chi-town

It's St. Patty's Day, and I'm from Chicago.  I'm also from a good old Irish Catholic family, which typically translates to, "I come from a family that likes to have a good time..."  I come by it honestly.  Honestly.  Until I moved away from the Midwest, I didn't think anything about the fact the city of Chicago actually dyes its river the color "green" in March.  Don't believe me?  Check it out:  The whole city goes nuts for this holiday.  I've been raised to go nuts for this holiday.  Here's a perfect example-- one year I convinced my Greek/Italian husband that dyeing our pool green in Southern California was a good idea.  This was after I cooked 40 pounds of corned beef in our 1300 sqft home for our annual party.  Needless to say, I typically pass on this dish this time of year.

From left, off celebrating somewhere: Megan, Mary Catherine (Katie), 
Marguerite (Maggie), Melinda (Molly), Maureen (Mo), Maribeth (Mom)
My name is Kathleen Elizabeth, and my siblings are named Michael Timothy and Rorey Elizabeth.  Most people in my family are named Michael, Patrick, Patricia, John Patrick, John Michael or just Jack, along with a couple Brian's and Danny's thrown in for good measure.  My Aunt Patty is actually named Patricia John-- go figure!  Oh yeah- and I have a younger cousin also named Kathleen Carroll (she is adorable, charming and witty, no bias), which gets me wondering if her middle name is Elizabeth too...  My mom has six siblings: Maureen, Maribeth (mom), Marguerite, Michael, Molly, Mary Catherine and Megan. The "M sisters" all live within a 15 mile radius of one another, and they are mostly Irish twins.  On top of that, they look like one another and sound exactly the same.  Exhausted yet?  I often wonder how my Grandma Patsy and Grandpa Jack survived.  I never wonder, however, why my Uncle Mike moved away. :)  I even have a grandma named Carole Carroll, who was married to my grandpa named John but went by Bill.  It seems like we're lacking creative naming in my brood.  Don't even get me started on my second and third cousins because we'd be counting into the hundreds.
Chris, Sofia & Gus, toasting to you!  Henry Michael, our child who looks Greekish but bears 
the only semi-Irish name of our offspring, must be off practicing his Gaelic dance moves. 

I love my crazy family and miss being home, particularly today.  I won't disappoint, though!  Chris and I have our fridge stocked with all the dysfunctional accoutrements of the great St. Patrick.  And even though my kids carry the last name "Kalafatis," I've raised them to believe they are 95% Irish-- Erin go Bragh!

Great links:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Happy Birthday, Michael.  Your amazing spirit lives in all of us. xooxox
As a toddler
Three's Trouble
Uncle Mikey

California Living
Irish Eyes
There will be a mass offered in Michael's memory at Old St. Pat's (Chicago) on Sunday, March 13th at 11:15 am, followed by a St. Patrick's Day celebration. Information can be found Huge hugs and lots of love from the Carroll family. xoxoxo

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Confessions of a Chicken's Clam Diggin'

My husband Chris and I have a standing date night on Tuesdays, which is always a fun and nice break for us.  These Tuesday adventures serve as a gentle tease of our once kid-free, cooler selves, although we wouldn't trade our rascals for all the martinis in the world.  Our weekly romps have sparked countless adventures albeit challenging Wednesday mornings, but we always seem to end up at this one place in Lower Queen Anne- Crow.  In fact, we always seem to order the same things, even though we pledge to pull the trigger on something different each return.

When we first arrived in Seattle an old friend took me to Crow, toting "welcome to the great food scene."  She insisted we try the manila clams steamed in a chorizo tomato broth, which I admit didn't sound appetizing to me.   I hadn't tried this food pairing prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest-- seems like more of a local deal, which explains its absence from the Midwest and Southern California.  Stupidly skeptic, a big bowl of baby mollusks tossed with chunks of sassy pork arrived steaming at the table.  A changed woman!  An addicted junkie!  This dish is ridiculously good- I'd even eat it for breakfast.  The clams are delicate and mild, perfectly coupled with the chorizo's spice and salt. And the broth is full of big flavor- it begs to be sopped up by the yummy table bread.  Chris and I have found this bite scattered around Seattle, but I don't think anyone else stacks up to Crow's recipe.  Let me know if you know of any contenders, and we will gladly go digging. 

Next up, the chicken.  Typically I have this unwritten rule of not ordering the one meat I cook fairly well and often.  It's just one of those things that doesn't seem sexy on a night off from kid friendly food.  I now know it's a dumb hang-up, especially after our server gave me no choice in my entree order.  Quote: "You don't have a choice, I'm ordering the chicken for you..."  For anyone that lives up here in the Northwest, you know this is pretty atypical of Seattle folks, so I took this as a non-negotiable dinner omen.  Amen, sister- bring me some chicken wrapped in ham!  Brass comments aside, believe me when I say this dish is too good to be true.  The prosciutto seemed like it was dusted on the juiciest chicken- so light and crispy, and sauced in a creamy wonderland that had us licking the plate.  The true test (and semi-embarrassing fact) is Chris and I have alternated ordering this dish almost as many months as we've lived here, and it always delivers.  To take it a step further, we now sit at the chef's bar, determined to crack the recipe by spying on the preparation.  Whatever it is they do works because Crow's Tuesday prowlers are coming back for more.
823 5th Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 283-8800

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The punky QB, known as McMahon

When the Chicago Bears won the Superbowl back in the 80's, it rocked Chicago. In fact, it rocked my 9-year old birthday party.  I don't know who came up with the idea (maybe me, probably Abby Cucci), but all my friends were invited over for a lip sync party.  Everyone was asked to dress as their favorite rockstar, prepared to perform a song in front of my fireplace (think big hair, banana clips, Bananarama).  Most of us looked like various versions of Madonna or Cyndi, but not Jeanne Gorey.  I can't remember if she didn't get the message and forgot to show up with crimped hair and blue eyeshadow, or if she had a brilliant sense of independence that transcended the rest of our glued and herded grammar girl mentalities...  Knowing cool Jeanne, who now lives in Australia with her husband and 2 kids, the latter applies.  Regardless, the punky QB known as McMahon took the stage in #9 with her hair greased back in Vaseline and rocked my vinyl track of the Superbowl Shuffle, compliments of a McDonald's Happy Meal.  She motivated the cats and won the prize that day, and I hope she's geared up for the big game today struttin' her stuff down under.  

Having Bears on the brain as they face off today with the "Packagers" (my 6-year old's name for the Green Bay Packers, HA!), here's the link to the lyrics of the Superbowl Shuffle-- I think it's one of the funniest things I've ever read in my entire life.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Perfect Perfidia

I just can't get enough of this artist.  Doug Kemp will suck you in and deliver a decadent, sultry space.  Images of provocative femmes, hilarious heroes and spun imaginations-- enjoy!

Several of Doug's pieces are on display at the Norwich Theatre Royal, UK until February 16, 2011  (  You can also check out his work on his website:  

Straight from the source, Doug Kemp:
People who, like putting others into pigeon holes, place me in the Pop Art hole are very boring. I’m an Industrial City Painter, which used to be called a Modernist fifty years ago.

I am a colour and line man who ‘colleagues’ anything seen or felt from his life span and of course the history of art. I have just as much love of 10th century Romanesque wall painting as the Golden Age of Comics, all line and colour people. Everything and everyone has influenced me, in particular Art Deco, Fernand Leger and Max Beckmann. It doesn’t seem to be popular to have Hero’s these days but I have no wish to respond to current developments, provoke debates, challenge, innovate, be ground breaking, use the body of site of inquiry or exploration or protest; OR any other verbal’s that are used today to justify non-visual work that is about death (or spirit) not about life and the love of it.

This certainly puts me out of fashion most of the time. Painting for me is like marriage, sometimes very rough, but you stay with it because you are committed and bottom line is, you do love it. What you see here is lino cuts made over the past ten years or so and small drawings made over the past year. Although never intended, themes happen, so here amongst the prints, are the Night Club singers, Super Hero’s, Femmes, the drawings True Love and Broken Hearts.

Line block printing is very labour intensive - you do not have to be a masochist to make them but it helps. Fortunately I have Linda Richardson who prints brilliantly for me, thus removing most of the pain. 

-Doug Kemp

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Crazy Chinese Food, Eyeballs Included

As I've mentioned over and over, my trip to Shanghai was a total blast.  Not only was it an incredible opportunity for Patty and her mounting success overseas, but it was so much fun to stamp my passport and take off on an adventure.  There are a million relevant things to say about China, the people, the cultural explosion... the list goes on and on. But it would be seriously remiss of me to leave out my raw American memories of a culinary escapade with a vegetarian aunt that refused to swallow most dishes (leaving me to play the sampling hero to our gracious hosts, eyeballs included).  Not that Patty doesn't have an elevated palate because she does, but I think this particular trip scratched at her threshold and kept me howling for 6 straight days.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: Chinese Chicken Soup.  There's not a lot to say about this one because it speaks for itself, but I admit there was lovely flavor in the broth as long as my eyes were broken from the poor bird's gaunt stare.
The funniest part of this particular lunch was sitting next to Patty, as she is a strict vegetarian.  Note that she has a small bit of seaweed on her plate and some green tea.
And here's a picture of our gracious chef-- not sure of her name, but she was one of the loveliest souls my path has come across.  This picture also speaks for itself!
More later!  Happy holidays and a great weekend to all!
xox, KC