Friday, January 27, 2017


Blogging for me is mostly a conversation with myself. It's a way of sorting through a running dialogue of thoughts and ideas and giving them some clarity. These past several months have demanded more sifting and internal arguing than usual. During quiet time I tend to play a mind game of chasing design inspiration but those pursuits have had to take a back seat to politics and a view of the world that has more than my design ideas and me in it. I've not kept my politics a secret. I bend way more to the left than I do to the right. Age has softened me a bit but I'm still pretty sure of an injustice when I see it.
That's why I marched on Saturday. I marched with my daughter because it was called a Women's March. I marched with my gay brothers and sisters because when I was trapped in the closet fear kept me from accepting my own self-worth. I don't want another generation of gay children to doubt their right to a world where they shouldn't be as qualified as anyone else.
I marched with the families that pushed strollers of children worried about a world that might melt away because of our inability to take care of it.
I marched with this octogenarian who proudly wore a pussy hat her head held high.
I marched and I asked what's next.
We marched five years ago along with unimaginable large numbers against a state government whose self-interests were wildly opposed to my own. Yet marching alone didn't help but persistence did. A federal court has finally come to the conclusion that a Republican state congress bent the laws in their favor and their gerrymandering of the state is being judicially challenged.
I love my bubbles of Madison and New York where sanity still seems to have some relevance. I love that my neighbors are willing to get out and shout against injustice. I love that we are still willing to welcome those facing starvation and death into our communities with open arms.
I don't wan to become an isolationist. I miss my Obama's. I know they'll resurface. I know I'll march every time it means standing up for those I care about. I'll sent out letters that won't be read but my name will be out there. I promise not to become complacent. I hope you will do the same.
This took less than 60 seconds to find out a way to support Senator Elizabeth Warren's request for an audit of President Trump's finances. A call went out to the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office. We were told that the most effective way to be sure our support counted was to email two administrators: Katherine Siggerud and Timothy Minnelli. At and
Here is how to format your email:
Subject line:
Audit for President Trump's financial concerns
Dear Ms. Siggerud and Mr. Minnelli
I'm writing in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren's request for an audit of President Trump's finances, to prohibit conflicts of interest that would prevent him from carrying out the responsibilities of the office without corrupt influences
Copy, paste and send
Flower Power, 1967
Bernie Boston, photographer for the Washington Star

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Since I’m sure she’s an avid follower of our blog I’ll start out with an apology to Meryl Streep. Sorry Meryl, I love football or more specifically the Green Bay Packers. I grew up worshipping the throwing arms of Bart Starr then Bret Favre and now Aaron Rogers. On my Father’s knee in front of the black and white Magnavox I learned about first and ten, the difference between a wide receiver and a tight end and a few choice new words for a referee I wasn’t allowed to use anywhere beyond the fifteen-foot radius in front of the TV on game day.
Hopes had been high with many prognosticators giving the Pack a nod to being potential Super Bowl candidates but after ten games with only four wins the swirling whirlpool of enthusiasm that had greeted the beginning of the 2016 season was quickly and painfully being sucked into the vortex of despair. As much as most of us Packer fans kept repeating the mantra of Relax, Relax, Relax there was really only one who truly believed in those five remarkable letters that formed his mantra, Aaron Rogers. By now we should all know never to discount the magic of Aaron the magnificent?
I have to confess that I’m not good when the Pack is losing or when the game is close. I’m not made for this kind of excitement. A heart attack may only be a fumble or an interception away. I’ve gotten so nervous over a game I’ve had to turn the TV set off or suffer the indignity of having my family come in to find me dead on the floor and night games are the worst: win or lose. My heart rate gets so elevated it can take hours of incantations to sooth the pain and a whole new set of pacts with God to bargain for an hour of sleep.
So last Sunday as the sky was fading from a soft gray to an inky black it was the comeback Pack that had made it all the way into the play-offs and we were facing a 4:30pm kick-off against the number one seed, Dallas Cowboys. The Pack had come back from a four-six season mid-season slump to an eleven-six record with seven straight wins. Remarkable, although completely nail-biting.
Madison was gearing up with bar space at a premium and theaters making their screens available for a standing room only crowd viewing of the game. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Madison. No, I was in New York. Even though this was going to be a nationally televised game and I could sit at home, alone, in front of my own TV I figured I’d need more moral support than I could find there on my couch.
Being stuck in Giant country wasn’t the most popular place to be last weekend since the previous weekend was the weekend the Pack beat the Giants eliminating them from the play-offs and their chance to face America’s team, the Cowboys. Lucky for me there’s a sanctuary for Packer fans on Christopher Street in the heart of the village. It’s a bar that comes to our rescue whenever there’s a Packer’s game, The Kettle of Fish. Once before when I found myself in the city that never sleeps on a Sunday when the Packers were playing I made my virgin visit to the Kettle of Fish and blogged about it. This time I’d be a regular, or almost. My goal was to get there early enough that I could get in and watch the game for their fifteen-dollar cover with a bunch of New York Packer fans. I figured if I passed out or finally meet that looming heart attack there’d be someone there who could notify my next of kin.
I got there at two-thirty. I forgot how popular the Packers are in a city the size of New York. What I hadn’t planned on was that tickets to get in had sold out weeks ago. There was apparently much more I needed to learn about the popularity of the Kettle of Fish and the Packers. There were maybe another thirty people in the same sinking boat I was in hoping to persuade the lady at the front door to let them in. She was tough and no one was getting past her without a prepaid ticket for an opportunity to be serenaded with a horsy rendition of “The Bears Still Suck” by the Packer faithful.
The Kettle of Fish besides being in the heart of the Village and on Christopher Street it’s also on the main aorta of New York’s gay scene. Not exactly where you’d think football would be king. Touch passes and end zones have substantially different meanings here. The other amazing fact about the Kettle of Fish’s location is it’s two doors down from The Stonewall, the newly designated National Landmark, where the LGBT revolution marks it’s birthplace. This same gay icon bar is where the sweet lady at the Kettle of Fish was directing everyone that didn’t have a prepaid ticket for the Fish to go if they were willing to watch the game with a touch of glitter, and she was right.
Festooned with green and gold helium filled balloons was another packed crowd ready to guzzle real beers and root, root, root for the Packers. There wasn’t a Cowboy in sight, well not a Dallas Cowboy.
I found a stool in a corner right off the entrance where I could watch swarms of dykes in spiked hair, boys in muscle shirts, drag queens in theatrical makeup and Packer fans in Rogers and Matthews jerseys most all of them coming in to watch the big screen and cheer for the Packers. It was a tough crowd and as it turned out the bar was just as tough. I’m not a drinker so in here I wasn’t initially feeling too self-conscience about swaggering up to the bar and asking for a sarsaparilla. The bartender in a tight tee and manicured three-day beard on his youthful face looked at me and said I wasn’t going to find much in the way of drinks that don’t involve alcohol. He did manage to dig up a five-dollar can of pineapple juice. I tipped him an extra five thanking him for disguising my drink with enough garnish to make it look as if it had alcohol in it.
There were about five small screens spread out through the bar and two mega screens on the back wall that had probably been there for a decade or more. The resolution and color quality were about what you’d expect to be seeing after a half dozen shots with a dozen beer chasers. It really didn’t matter. The crowd was totally pro Pack and even though none of us sang the Chicago stinks song there was a brother and sissyhood that bound us all. We watched as the Pack rose and fell and rose again until the last second field goal that sealed the deal. We cheered and waved our arms and spilled beer over each other. I could barely walk out. I was shaking with an adrenalin rush verging on my demise but the thrill of the win was worth the cost of a few less years on earth. I’m already preparing my bargaining chips with the football god to give us one more win.
On Sunday it’ll be Atlanta. I’ll be back in Madison. Go Pack Go!

Thursday, January 12, 2017


I’m not sure if this was a reaction to the debate over global warming but the thought of looking forward to spring and the chartruesy green preceding the burst of springtime flowers is a welcome transgression from the chill of winter and the conceit that the North Pole isn’t melting into our oceans.
There’s a freshness to Pantone’s choice of Greenery for this year’s color that helps to wipe away the bitter taste of 2016.
That said Greenery isn’t an easy color to weave into an interior design scheme but when it comes to color one should look first at the master and that’s Jamie Drake.
Others have tried by successfully using touches of leafy green on accent walls.
Kitchens seem to be able to hold the green of spring in cabinetry within a traditional format
Or here in a very contemporary look where the green is not only accented but highlighted by dramatic lighting
Designers have figured out ways to use green in ways that make it peaceful and serene giving a room the relaxed quality of a meadow
Our friends, the Madcap Gents, have used it in their signature style taking green and mixing it with whimsy in a way that can’t help but make you smile.
Interior design, of course, isn’t the only design field to follow the color trends.
Of course the fabric houses have all jumped on board. Kravet, one of my go to showrooms, pulled out a display of their entries into the color of the year sweepstakes within second of Pantone’s announcement.
Product design was also right there on the cutting edge of color and greenery in the way of furniture
and of course in fashion
Even we have run our toes through the green grass of product design with our Cottage Grove line of painted furniture
Take a look at our Key Hole Side Table offered in a wide range of colors but shown here in a shade very close to greenery.
Maybe greenery may be a little temporary bandage to lift our spirits the way spring always seems to do. Hopefully a little green like the sprouting blades of grass that come with a new year can calm our nerves for a few seconds or give us a place to hide when the next shoe of 2017 falls.

Didier Massard, photographer
Represented by Julie Saul Gallery, NYC

Friday, January 6, 2017


I'm starting out the New Year by introducing a new way of presenting some posts to our blog. Starting back in last year, a year I'd like to forget, we also began featuring our brand on Instagram, a format propelled more through the visual than the narrative. That, along with my iPhone becoming my camera of choice, will lead me to constructing, every so often, a post that will be more picture focused than story. Each of these posts will be thematic and since the vehicle will be our photography the Gallery tag will not appear. The by-line is Shave/Melahn, photographers, represented by Pleasant Living, LLC. We're hoping you don't think this is too pretentious but I'm sure you'll let us know. So to start out 2017 I went through my stored pictures and pulled out everything I liked tied to restaurant architecture mostly form the outside but some from within. Other than identifying locale that's about all you're going to hear from us. Here goes! Let us know what you think
The Extra Virgin at night
Doormen outside the St. Regis helping guests and diners out of their cars, cabs and limos
Trailer Park on 23rd
New York City's Russian Tea Room
The block line for ice cream at Morganstein's
A Bieber-esk car in front of Cafeteria on Seventh Avenue
The bar at the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Terminal
A coffee shop down a Chicago alley
A restaurant in Delft, Holland
A vintage car outside in The Immigrant in the East Village
Inside Danny Meyer's pizza restaurant, Marta in the NoMad section of Manhattan
A bike outside a pub in Dublin
Stone Street Tavern, Financial District
A boar's head outside a restaurant in Orvietto, Italy
Gatsby's downtown
The outdoor café behind the Library at Bryant Parks
Prague's Fred and Ginger restaurant
An East Village café
Caffe Reggio on Macdougal Street, Greenwich Village
A neighborhood restaurant in Rome
Grove Street Village restaurant
Inside Freemans off of Bowery and hidden down Freeman Alley
Outdoor seating in Prague
Berghoff's in Chicago
Lunch or dinner in Bushwick
Babette in Barcelos, Portugal
The open kitchen at La Degustation in Prague
Little Prince on Prince Street in Soho
An Ethiopian restaurant at the end of Bleeker Street
Pershing Square Central Café under the Park Avenue underpass