Hip Travel Guides: Art & Artists

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Private Art Tours

Private Art Tours with Drs. Kees Kaldenbach I am an academic tour guide, providing guided tailor-made Private Art Tours. I travel with my clients either by car or by public transport. With this message I would like to inform you about my travel and guide options in The Netherlands, also available in the upcoming Rembrandt year 2006. I prefer to guide small and select groups to museum visits and to walks in historic Dutch towns. Numerous TV and other media networks - among which BBC2 - have sought my expert assistance and TV appearance. Having an academic background, my presentation is very communicative and therefore open for a wide audience. For the Dutch National Tourist Board I often take foreign journalists on walking tours of Amsterdam - to tell them about historic Amsterdam but also about present-day Amsterdam. Contact:
Private Art Tours
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach
Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs
1058 JS Amsterdam tel NL+20 - 669 8119
cell NL+6 - 2868 9775 http://www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/verm/Vermeer_lecturesENG.html

Posted by on Tuesday, August 16 @ 03:06:38 UTC (3288 reads)
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Lee Bridges, The Cannabis Poet

Hip Profile: Lee Bridges,
The Cannabis Poet

by Skip Stone

No one believes Amsterdam
Will ever stop swinging when
So much real freedom is truly
Felt, especially in the smoking
Coffeeshops where tensions and
Hostilities melt and
What a beautiful scene
The Scene (Part C)
Copyright 2000 by Lee Bridges

Hip Trip: Philosopher, poet, cannabis activist, former soft drug smuggler.

Grooves on: fine clothes, good company, red wine & black hash.

Amsterdam has always been a refuge for those whose politically incorrect ideas have exiled them from their home country. A few of these include Rene Descartes, Voltaire and Karl Marx. Today, Amsterdam is awash with a new wave of ex-patriat artists and writers seeking literary and creative freedom in the aftermath of 9/11. The scene here is reminiscent of Paris in the 30's and 40's when Hemingway and Gertrude Stein held court in cafes and private salons.

Today's refugees seek solace and fellowship in Amsterdam's numerous brown pubs and smoke filled coffeeshops, where Alice B. Toklas would've felt at home. So it was no surprise when I finally met Lee Bridges, a man whose life and art revolves around such establishments, at the Greenhouse Coffeeshop. Here I found a soul brother. A man who feels the inspiration and creative energy permeating Amsterdam's more famous cannabis hangouts. Lee, dubbed the "Cannabis Poet" by those who recognize his unique contribution to both poetry and cannabis activism, is quite a character.

On the Amsterdam scene since the early '60s, Lee "bridges" the gap between the last great wave of writers, philosophers and artists with the new wave, recently arrived. At age 74, he is well respected by much of this younger generation.
Born in Georgia, Lee took off to the big city, New York, in the 1940s, as soon as he could, to dig the scene happening there in those Post WWII days. He hungout in jazz venues occasionally playing sax & clarinet in jam sessions around Harlem. Later, Lee traveled around with a big carnival band.

Lee went to night school to study English & creative writing. He found himself broke in Amsterdam in 1963, so he started doing poetry readings in the cafes. Later, in Paris, he formed a group called "Contacts" which combined Lee's poetry with background music and a folksinger who sang during the breaks.

Lee loves to talk story and will tell you about his vagabond youth and his drug smuggling days back in the 70s, with tales from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan that harken back to the golden age of hashish dens along the famous hippie trail. Lee has been caught smuggling hashish into Europe and spent time in a French jail as a result.

With those days far behind him, he can now recall them without fear or worry that he might get into trouble. He's a man who's paid his dues, and now demands respect and tolerance. And living in Amsterdam, surrounded by friends he gets plenty!

Lee is an elderstatesman among the cannabis set. His 55 years of cannabis consumption haven't dulled his wit nor his sense of humor at all. In fact, his regular use of the substance keeps him focused on the beauty of the "moment". Like a skinny, black buddha, Lee's presence has a subtle influence on those around him. His beautiful resonant voice draws you in then whisks you away on an exotic, mesmerizing journey.

His stories easily capture the imagination of the stoned, while his poetry reaches into every soul's sense of wonderment and revelation. Lee is fond of saying " WWWHHHOOOoooeee!", which pretty much sums up his perceptions of life's dark alleyways as well as it's breathtaking beauty.

Like Allen Ginsberg (his contemporary in NYC), Lee Bridges sees life as a stark reality of desire and despair occasionally mitigated by peace and contentment. Yet, like Buddha, he knows it's all in your head.

In fact
I don't even want
To stop hanging out
Looking out for new
Smoke and, new folk
And, just plain old
Having fun, because
Every day you wake
Up, means that every
Day is won

A Sure Thing
Copyright 2000 by Lee Bridges

His outspoken opinions on cannabis use, as a social and spiritual phenomenon, makes him an activist if not an outright promoter of the plant. Lee sees cannabis as a bridge to finding your true self, and as a non-aggressive alternative to alcohol consumption. His strongly held convictions are echoed in his poetry.

And you might be wondering if
You are, in fact, smoking enough
K.O. Koffieshop
Copyright 2000 by Lee Bridges

His Amsterdam poetry is evocative, yet gritty. Lee plays with the city's urban contrasts like sinful pleasures and junkie despair. Yet his love of the city and it's people comes blazing through the wet and gray.

WWWHHHOOOoooeee! What wonder!
The ladies of love reposing in
Rose hued windows of innumerable
Quickie retreats of pleasure and
A mere stroll thru the good time
District is a real treat, altho
Many find it too offbeat, saying
There're too many whores, too
Much drinking, too much smoking
Of cannabis, in fact, far too
Much of everything for a normal
Soul to endure
From: Tourist Guide
Copyright 2000 by Lee Bridges

The Cannabis Poet is that rare combination of artist, activist, humanitarian and philosopher who finds inspiration and beauty even in life's darkest corners.

You can purchase Lee's poetry direct from him!
His new CD, In-Exhales (see photo above) has his Amsterdam and cannabis poetry on it, accompanied by mellow music. A mesmerizing treat!
Price: $15 or 15 Euros (includes shipping to the States!)

Lee's books of Poetry include:
1. The Cannabis Poet (photo above)
2. Oh Amsterdammers! Oh Amsterdammers!
3. Whew!
4. Wwwwwwoooweee!

Each volume costs $15 (15 Euros) and includes shipping.

Special deal! Order any two items, including the CD! for only $25 (25 Euros).

To place an order:
Mail to:
Soul-O-Might Productions
Nieuweteertuinen 5A
1013 LV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Make Int'l money orders payable to Lee Bridges

Lee Bridges is also available for Poetry readings. Please write him to schedule an event.

Posted by on Monday, March 25 @ 05:58:07 UTC (7313 reads)
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Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

Click on image to view larger version.

The Night Watch, 1642
The Syndics of the Clothmaker's Guild (The Staalmeesters) 1662
Rembrandt's Eyes
by Simon Schama Perhaps the greatest of the Dutch Masters, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is justly remembered for his innovative work and for his marketing savvy (a true Dutchman).† He was a master of etching and chiaroscuro (light and shadow).† Unlike most artists, Rembrandt was very successful during his lifetime, having a bevy of patrons amongst the wealthy burghers of Amsterdam. His house is a popular tourist attraction. His famous huge painting, "The Night Watch", hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Note: The most famous of the Dutch masters, Rembrandt achieved great success during his lifetime.

Posted by on Monday, June 18 @ 07:11:05 UTC (4541 reads)
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Johannes Vermeer

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The Milkmaid, 1658-60
View of Delft, c. 1660-61
Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665 Not nearly as prolific as Rembrandt, Vermeer's 35 known paintings are scattered around the world.† His relatively small paintings depict everyday people going about their business in indoor settings.
Vermeer : The Complete Works
by Arthur K., Jr Wheelock

Note: Not nearly as prolific as Rembrandt, Vermeer's 35 known paintings are scattered around the world.

Posted by on Monday, June 18 @ 07:04:13 UTC (3343 reads)
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Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)

This pioneer and icon of the abstract art world is noted for his geometric paintings of lines and boxes using mostly primary colors.† These simplistic cubist works, some consisting of as little as three horizontal or vertical black lines on a white background, influenced many abstractionists.†† My best friends in Holland have done their entire apartment Mondrian style with the bright colors everywhere.† Mondrian cabinets, refrigerator, chairs, desk, coffee mugs, etc., etc.† Sorta reminds me of a preschool.† Unlike Bosch, Mondrian is highly regarded in Holland, perhaps reflecting the Dutch penchant for orderliness, cleanliness, and simplicity. Mondrian's last, unfinished painting,

'Victory Boogie Woogie'
(above) was recently acquired by the Gemente Museum in Den Haag for $40 million.Earlier Mondrian works were influenced by Van Gogh and other artists of the period and represent an interesting style.

Broadway Boogie Woogie
by John Milner, Piet Mondrian
Biography with color plates

Note: Influenced by fellow Dutchman Van Gogh, who pioneered the use of bright colors, Piet Mondrian's geometric works influenced a whole generation of abstractionists.

Posted by on Monday, June 18 @ 07:00:01 UTC (9203 reads)
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Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516)

The Garden of Earthly Delights , Hell, 1504 (right wing detail)
The Garden of Earthly Delights , Hell, 1504 (right wing detail)
The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1504 For some strange reason (which I'll try to fathom), Hieronymous Bosch is not so highly regarded in his homeland.† In fact a visit to the Rijksmuseum in search of one single Bosch painting is an exercise in futility.† I recently visited the museum's excellent website, and alas, he is left off the list of hundreds of Dutch artists!† This flemish painter whose magnificient yet eeire landscapes filled with bizarre creatures, horrific demons and blasphemies (Garden of Earthly Delights) influenced many artists including the surrealists, is almost a non-entity in Holland.† My guess is his religious themed works didn't play too well during the golden age, when the Dutch were pursuing pleasure, not piousness.† Bosch's hellish message of paying grotesquely for sins in one's lifetime was probably as much a turnoff to the existential Dutch (then and now) as the Spanish Inquisition was during it's heyday in Holland. Perhaps another reason is that much of his work has been spirited off to Spain and France, hanging in the Louvre and Prado museums.† It seems the Catholic countries can better appreciate the evils of sin and the price to be paid in hell.Update: I recently got to see the excellent Bosch exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, in Rotterdam and learned that his paintings were so prized that they were taken as war booty and thus were spirited out of Holland and ended up in the museums above and others around the world. The exhibit was marvelous but crowded, which contrary to my earlier statement shows that the Dutch DO appreciate Bosch after all!
Hieronymus Bosch
(Masters of Art)
by Carl Linfert

Note: Find out why are there no paintings from Hieronymous Bosch in Holland.

Posted by on Monday, June 18 @ 06:24:15 UTC (4991 reads)
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Gandia Winery

Gandia Winery makes my favorite Spanish wines, from the Utiel-Requenna area northwest of Valencia. Smooth, deep, and delicious, they produce reds, whites and rosťs. Founded in 1885 by Vicente Gandia Pla, the more than 100 years of experience as a family-run winery shows in the beautiful wines they make. According to their publicity, "the passion, effort and care that we put into making high-quality wines are the result of knowledge passed down from father to son for four generations." Thanks to this spirit of constant growth and renewal, Bodegas GandŪa is one of the leading Spanish producers of bottled wine, doing business in more than 75 countries on four continents. With more than 200 hectares at the Hoya de Cadenas estate and other facilities in Valencia, the firm employs more than 100 professional winemakers. All of their wines are aged in American oak casks for that special flavor. The grapes they produce and make into wines are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Tempranillo and Bobal. I can attest to the fineness of the Tempranillo from drinking many, many bottles of this wine during the winter of 1994-1995 while staying on the Costa Blanca. The wines produced during the year 2003 are exceptionally fine, and two years later are quite drinkable, and enjoyable, indeed. Good thing it was a majorly prolific year for the grape harvest in Spain, in 2003. They say global warming is only making the European wines better and better. Small consolation I suppose. So when in Spain, be sure to visit Valencia for the Feria, some Paella, and then venture into the mountains to the cool heights of Utiel-Requenna, and visit the Hoya de Cadenas estate of the Gandia family winery. You won't forget it. And I guarantee you'll enjoy the wine.

Posted by on Sunday, January 30 @ 19:01:01 UTC (3502 reads)
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Paella con Pollo y Verduras

This home-made Paella is actually made with chicken and vegetables, as there are many variations of Paella.Paella comes in many flavors, and always is made with that fat-grained rice from Valencia. Valencia is where Paella is from anyway, so with a few examples of the local Paella under my belt so to speak, I ventured forth to make Paella myself, while living on the Costa Blanca. So here is my most recently favorite variation, Paella con Pollo y Verduras. Ingredients:
1 cut up chicken
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
several cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped, plus one whole head of garlic
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 large peppers, red, yellow or green (maybe some of each?) sliced into big rings
sliced mushrooms
2 tomatoes peeled and chopped
saffron threads (2 or 3 soaked in 1/4 cup warm water)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground sweet red pepper
sea-salt crystals to taste
2 to 3 cups rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup fresh peas

Directions for putting it all together:
Heat the olive oil in the paellera, the special pan. This pan will sometimes need to be placed over TWO burners for even heat distribution. (TIP: keep rotating the pan during cooking as well.)
Add the garlic and onions, the tomatoes, chicken and vegetables, holding the pepper rings aside for the top.
Sizzle gently for ten minutes until chicken is browned on all sides. Add cayenne and sweet pepper, the salt, and spread the rice evenly over everything in the pan. Stir this only until well mixed.
Heat the chicken stock until boiling, then pour evenly over the mixture. Place the pepper rings on top, and push the whole head of garlic into the center, then pour the peas over the top. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes without stirring. I use sheets of aluminum foil to hold the steam in.
The key to a fabulous Paella is the succadore, the crunchy, almost-burnt rice that forms at the bottom of the pan when cooked over high heat. When the Paella is finished cooking, one can hear a popping sound as some of the rice kernels explode. This signal is that it's time to let it rest for a few minutes off the flame, while setting the table with some Vino Tinto, fresh bread and olive oil with an Ensalda Mixta.
Enjoy! This is some of the best Spanish cuisine.Recipe by Martin Trip, Editor of the Hip Guides.

Posted by on Sunday, January 30 @ 12:58:19 UTC (7085 reads)
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Sole Dieppoise

Filet of Sole Dieppoise Visiting northern France is a pleasure, with many villages along the coast offering a variety of fresh seafood. The seaport of Dieppe, captured between high cliffs and the seashore was more of a resort in its heyday, but the fishermen still bring in a catch worthy of your attention, and the local cusine benefits greatly from this treat. Parisians would take the train here, then ferry over to England. The English used to come here to swim, now they have discovered warmer places like Spain... but that's another story. There has always been plenty of sole to catch in these waters, and one local offering is "Sole Dieppoise," a tasty dish that also features another local favorite, mussels. Modern variations also feature shrimps and exotic mushrooms, but locals keep it simple with the sole and mussels swimming in a divine sauce. Here is my own variation of the classic seafood dish from Dieppe; easily made anywhere you can get some fresh filet of sole and mussels. Filet of Sole Dieppoise Ingredients:
1 sole, filleted
1 dozen mussels, cooked and shelled
1 small onion
1 bouquet garni
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup cream
salt and pepper
grated nutmeg
juice of 1/2 lemon
cayenne pepper or paprika
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190 C). Using a pot large enough to hold the mussels and fish, add the wine, bouquet garni, onions, fish and mussels. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 6 minutes or until the mussels open. Remove the fish and mussels, discarding any shellfish that did not open. Reduce the remaining liquid by boiling for five minutes, and strain thru a filter. Place the fish and shelled mussels into a buttered casserole and pour the strained liquid over the fish and mussels. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and use it to cover the fish. Bake for twenty minutes.Pour liquid from casserole into a saucepan, and bring to a simmer on the stove. In a small bowl blend the butter into the flour, salt and pepper, a pinch of grated nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne or paprika. Whisk small amounts of this paste into the simmering broth and keep whisking until the sauce is cooked to a nice smooth consistency. Mix the egg yolk and the cream together in a small bowl, and whisk into the thickened sauce. Simmer for five minutes or until thickened nicely. Arrange fillets and mussels on a warmed platter, pour sauce over all and garnish appropriately with some chopped fresh herbs. Sprinkle some lemon juice on top, and serve immediately. Perhaps this could be the centerpiece of your next family gathering, or for an impressive dinner to impress your date. I hope you enjoy this little slice of France. ~Martin Trip

Posted by on Monday, September 12 @ 03:12:39 UTC (3429 reads)
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Baguettes or French Bread

Baguettes or French Bread The classic bread is demystified. If you have the time, here is the secret recipe taught me by a friend. It is not truly authentic unless sourdough yeast is used, but here and there throughout the world, it is simpler and more expedient to use commercial bakerís yeast. I prefer the dried granulated stuff in a big bag, which is put in a sealed jar in the cooler after opening. Donít rush this, unless you are making it for an audience. Even then, take some time to enjoy the experience. Pound that dough by hand! Ingredients: 6 cups of sifted white flour
2 cups water
3 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water Preparation: Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C, or 425 degrees F. Making sure that the water is at room temperature or slightly above, but no more than 100 F or 35 C in temperature, dissolve the yeast in a half-cup of the water in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes in a warm, dry place. The yeast mix should get bubbly and spongy looking, and this is when you add the rest of the water and stir it in with one of those wire whisks to add some more air. Then add one cup of the flour and whisk that in as well. Then with a large spoon stir in the flour one cup at a time until itís too thick to stir. Pour it out on a floured board and start kneading the rest of the flour into the ball of dough. Kneading is the key. If your arms canít take it use the cuisinart. Just make sure it gets kneaded for at least several minutes until it develops that snappy texture and itís smoothly elastic and only slightly sticky. Place this blob of dough back in the bowl and let it rise in a nice warm place for at least two hours. After it's risen and doubled in size or more, punch it down and knead the dough again for several more minutes. Then form the loaves, separating the dough into two pieces and rolling them with your hands into the long baguette shapes, but not longer than your pan! You may use a sharp knife, and cut long strips the length of the loaf on the top, or short side-to-side diagonal slits into the top for decoration. Let them rise again in that same nice warm place for at least another hour to develop that yeasty flavor, and the fluffiness the French love inside the loaves. Now is a good time to start preheating that oven. Here in Europe I have a convection-type oven with a huge fan that really moves that hot air around, and things bake quickly. You may have to adjust your timing if you use a conventional oven. Place a pan in the bottom of the oven, and pour two or three cups of boiling water into it. The steaming action helps develop the crustiness. Then carefully place the pan with the loaves onto a middle rack above the water, but not at the top of the oven, and donít slam the oven door! You donít want those loaves to flatten out. Bake at the high temperature for just fifteen minutes, then pull it out and brush the surfaces of the loaves with a mixture of 1 tablespoon cold water and egg white. Reduce the heat to 180 C or 375 F and bake another fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven when that hollow sound is heard in the loaf when you tap it. Let them cool on a rack for a half hour. These loaves should be the perfect baguettes to take down to the river, along with some Brie, and a bottle of wine. Recipe by Martin Trip, Copyright 2003.

Posted by on Sunday, May 11 @ 08:45:39 UTC (20410 reads)
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