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Anita Baglaneas

 

Photo by Iory Allison

Anita Baglaneas is a jewel of rich colors sparkling on the edge of a rainbow! And if you think that’s a wee bit over the top wait ‘till you see her charming home high above Boston Harbor where she welcomes us with her infectious laugh and an elegant flute of champagne.

Anita is the inexhaustibly creative chef-owner of “Jules” her successful catering business that has been churning out culinary joy and delight for a discerning clientele of corporate, non-profit universities and private customers over the last 30 years. www.julescatering.com Still going strong, Anita’s hard won success is due to a recipe of talent, tempered by discipline and gumption, all whisked together with a soupçon of piquant pixie.

The pixie part is in evidence all over her charming home where the little darlings literally hang from the ceiling and dance on the shelves, ever reminding our serious business-woman to find joy in the moment.

Anita has nurtured and trained a competent and loyal team of 65 employees who all have an intricate role in the complex task of running a busy catering company. At any of “Jules’” diverse events Anita and her staff may be called upon to cook-up, not only the soup to the nuts, but also create the place, the space and the decorations – getting all the paraphernalia of hospitality in and out of the venue with dispatch and finesse! This is accomplished by the cooperation of her seasoned staff working together with Anita’s attention to every detail and her respect for every team member, from the working chefs to the dishwasher; all have a place of importance at “Jules.” Anita knows this because years ago she had to do it all herself before she could afford any help.

Iory: “When you are relaxing in bed, sipping tea and watching “Telly” what are you most appreciative of in your life?”
Anita: “Every night I am grateful that a Greek peasant girl was able to have the life I have!!!”

Comfort, art and color predominate Anita’s charming home. She has expanded the finite area beyond the confines of her “four walls” by choosing art and artifacts collected from her travels throughout life, all wrapped in peaceful colors that tie her diverse collections together with panache.

Anita told me she wants to go to Venice for Carnival but I looked around her home and thought I was already there.


Anita’s place is quite simply “Zany”- in the best of ways. For a famous Chef isn’t it surprising that you are now peeking into her kitchen. It looks more to me like a window into wonderland and as I think about it, I guess that’s exactly what Anita’s kitchen is, wonderland – the laboratory of a professional hostess.

Now will you believe me? Here we spy Anita with a cloud of whimsical lovelies who dance attendance on their Tatiana, Pixie Queen.

A close up of the characters in question, I love the little bear on the bike hanging from a rainbow parachute.

Hot – Cha – Cha! Here is the essence of Anita, skirt swirling in a mad dance, entertaining one and all who join her at the table. Although this is technically her kitchen counter, everywhere we look is a dance with this “Dame of the Realm of Hospitality.”

Did I mention the shoes, characters from all walks of life? Here is part of the parade circling  the crown molding of Chez Anita.


 The Gal herself, our adorable Anita doing a little jig in response to my asking about the swarm of pixies hovering in the kitchen window – a shrug and a smile was all I got for a reply, and that was perfect.

The soft violins by Lui Heitt, speak of the transformative power of music, melting hearts with beautiful melodies. To the left is, a glass creature whose audible squawk can be heard cracking ribald jokes.


Blue Skies is a vintage record of Irving Berlin’s famous song here performed by, “The Hour of Charm, All Girl Orchestra and Choir.” It was a much beloved memento of Anita’s grandmother who took it from the USA to Greece and back again.


Anita’s fabulous home looks out over Boston Harbor so it’s no wonder that our wonder woman wanders the world with frequent trips to Samos, Greece, the island of her birth.

I love the collection of sparkling jewels decorating the screen behind Anita. They reflect the twinkle in her pretty eyes.


These angels, ever mindful of their guardian duties are trying not to giggle at the marching shoes above them. Don’t you just luv the chartreuse Victorian boot with pink flowers?


Soft textures of draping fabric and cork-screw curls form colorful wings setting sail for ports of dreams.

The sun and moon plaque on the window wall smiles at the fragrant hyacinths, while the blue “flower fan” propped in the corner rolls her eyes jealously at the fragrant intruders stealing the limelight.


Anita wears the confidence of a successful business woman. She is acutely aware of the collaborative efforts of her staff and grateful for all her satisfied clients. Anita is a totally down to earth, hardworking Mamma with style and elegance, oh Yeah!


Lilly, the Tibetan terrier keeps a watchful eye, protecting Anita’s impressive bunch of friends.

Anita is a native of Samos Island, Greece where she maintains a second home that she visits often. Here is a vignette of souvenirs championing the working men of her village. They are flanking a neat little home with a purring kitty besides potted flowers, all waiting patiently by the lace-draped doorway for Anita to come home and cook them dinner.


Here we have a stylish Cuban couple strolling along the Boston Skyline.


Anita regards us with candor as she stands beside a sculpture of the sacred olive tree whose ancient trunk is firmly planted in the mystic soil of Greece, the source of western civilization.


A flourish of crystals and a peacock feather accent the view of Boston Harbor.

 


A Balinese dancer pauses to pray over an assemblage of Anita’s adopted “children” who hover about the stump of an old plant “gone by” which also supports the bleached jawbone of a deer, talisman of mystic significance.


A bevy of beauties gathered together for the pure joy of being delightful

 

A moment of release, leaning full into a saltmarsh at sunset, the lone tulip keeps his lady company

“Ribbit, ribbit” goes the frog hiding beneath calm waters of glass. He offers a goofy smile to the shout of tulips crowning the table above.

Family shrines from various generations help the bewildered parents a babe born in a manger to understand the sacred joy of living.

An international bunch gathers by the window wondering what on earth the bustle of the city is all about.

Anita is at home with her books and art, a picture of the complete person ever ready to embrace life’s next surprise.

A mini Anita with bobbing head in Chef’s whites wielding her rolling pin gives cooking lessons to a couple of old friends while a Dolphin leaps from the Greek Mediterranean to check on the action.

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where cowslips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.”
Wm Shakespeare, Midsummer’s Night Dream


Wrapped in sheared mink, the fur sculpted with a scattering of colorful butterflies and paisley swirls, Anita comes fully to life as the luxury of it all gives her a smile of enchantment.


On Samos, Anita’s “Auntie Pagonitsa” gives her girl a well-deserved kiss.


Now I ask you, who else would have dancing fruit but a happy chef?


The march goes on towards the far horizon


Anita takes us to visit with her friend from Samos.


Family snaps featuring, center stage, Anita with her doll next to her brother Peter in full Greek costume


Greek homes are never far from the surrounding Mediterranean waters.


Anita found this cigar smoking fortune teller in Cuba. Her companion with the elegant neck adds a tempering tone to the proceedings.

Featured post

The Decorative plinth of the Leif Erikson Monument

The inscription in Runes reads, “Leif the Lucky, Son of Erik”

Photo by Iory Allison

Leif Erikson is said by some to have been the first European Explorer to have landed in North America. Here in the Boston area, this claim is supposedly evidenced by certain stone structures in Cambridge, Watertown, and Weston “discovered” and “excavated” in the 1880’s by

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Prof Horsford by Ann Whitney 1890, Davis Museum Wellesley College

Professor Eben N. Horsford a Harvard Professor of Chemistry. So beware of men bearing impressive credentials that they do not, by power of a prestigious brand name. steal reason and twist knowledge to their purpose.

Horsford was also the principal patron to fund the Leif Erickson memorial sculpture that decorates Commonwealth Avenue at Charlesgate East. Professor Horsford made a fortune from reformulating baking powder with calcium biphosphate rather than cream of tartar. Fortunately, Professor Horsford’s attempt to “reformulate” history was not as successful as his chemical profundity. The theory that Leif landed in North America and founded a settlement called Norumbega, along the Charles River was a particularly nasty brand of Nordic / Aryan race superiority cooked up by a certain bunch of Boston Brahmins who were intimidated by the immigration of Irish and Italians into their territory in the late nineteenth century. It was the intent of Horsford and his ilk to debunk the accepted history with “alternative facts” proposing the idea that an “Aryan”, not a Mediterranean Catholic discovered North America.

In Horsford’s defense, it should be noted that he was an early supporter of women’s education and benefactor of Wellesley College. Presumably, his support of women is also why Ann Whitney was awarded the commission to sculpt Leif. This is my guess without documentation but I think it is a safe bet.

 

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Drawing of Ann Whitney 1821 – 1915

photo by Iory Allison

The Leif Erikson monument consists of an over life-size bronze statue of the explorer by the sculptor, Ann Whitney (1887). He stands on a brownstone plinth that terminates at its base with a curving prow and stern of a Viking long boat.

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photo by Iory Allison

The prow, in the form of a dragon, was intended to be a fountain head spouting water into a granite basin that surrounds the monument and is roughly shaped like a boat with four curious granite finials. Today the basin is filled in with earth and planted with seasonal flower displays.

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photo by Iory Allison

There are also two bronze plaques on the right and left sides of the supporting plinth. In the right plaque we see Leif and his crew landing on a rocky promontory, mooring their long boat and scrambling up the precipice where Leif has already gained ascendancy. He stands with hand shielding the brilliant dawn of a new era with a penetrating gaze inspecting the new land.

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photo by Iory Allison

The second plaque depicts Leif and his crew, presumably back home, reporting to the elder Vikings their discoveries. This scene takes place in a Viking long hall decorated with trophies of weapons: swords, shields, a sheath full of arrows and helmets.

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photo by Iory Allison

The brownstone plinth also has four corner masks at its base, each with a slight variant of design surrounded by distinctive hair or sea-weed flourishes arranged in decorative swirls that make the specific identity of the creatures ambiguous and thereby “mystic.”

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photo by Iory Allison

In the same vein of mystery are four granite finials that mark the termination of the water basin surrounding the monument. Each of these creatures is unique. The front left is a zoomorphic head with a threatening beak (octopus, giant squid, sea bird?) between two “eyes” of tightly coiled spirals that stare up at the viewer with menace.

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 photo by Iory Allison

The front right guardian finial is slightly more anthropomorphic with a hint of a human nose and mouth emerging from a tempest of sea weed “hair” that also contains two coiled spiral “eyes.”

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 photo by Iory Allison

The rear two finials resemble seaweed vegetation being curled into graceful balls by invisible ocean currents.

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 photo by Iory Allison

These four granite sculptures are in marked contrast, both in  texture and color, to the dominant vertical brownstone plinth and as such form a foundation of mystic forces representing the perils ever present in the wilderness, especially the unfathomable ocean.

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 photo by Iory Allison

At the top of the supporting plinth are two bands of decoration. The top-most band is different on all four sides but the lower band is uniform all around, depicting two rows of a Viking / Nordic knot design. On the top-most band starting in the front of the monument, there are two birds whose wings are shaped like shields. Their tails curl up with rows of beading terminating in tight spirals,. On the view’s right  a flourish of   tail feathers drapes over the bird. On the viewer’s left, a wrinkled leaf fills the space.  At the center of this band the dominant  birds face each other, each with a leaf of the central flowering plant in their resspective beaks.The flaring corners of this band are protected by strange creatures half bird and half lion, each one different and distinct.

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 photo by Iory Allison

Going round to the viewers left, the top band of decoration is composed entirely of a group of writhing animals in high relief sculpture. These strange creatures have a peculiar larval anatomy somewhat between a caterpillar and a salamander.

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photo by Iory Allison

The topmost band of decoration at the back of the plinth reveals two winged dragons with scaly tails and griffin heads turned back to center and glaring at each other breathing fire. They flank a radiating fan (rising / setting sun?) with a four pointed star (morning / evening star?) suspended within the spokes of this fan. This decorative band terminates at the corners with flames rising from a mysterious vessel or is this intended as a log fire?

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photo by Iory Allison 

The right hand band at the top of the plinth shows what may be a woodpecker and a squirrel facing each other and feeding on a flower that has two rows of five petals each. This flowering plant in the center spreads scrolling branches of leaves terminating in flourishes of anthemion or palmette.

I suspect that the plinth and fountain basin were the work of another designer, not Ms. Whitney. The eclectic “Nordic” design motifs employed are inventive and perhaps include disguised esoteric meaning. I wish I could discover the actual collaborative designer and read about the full intent of that artist.

It could well be that the bronze plaques on the sides of the plinth are by Ms. Whitney but I don’t know that as a fact, they are not visibly signed. The extent and complexity of the overall design is interesting and remarkable. Without being fussy or overdone, the ensemble stands together to make a handsome if fanciful exposition in historicity.

 

 

Featured post

Kicking about Vienna, Austria

Darlings! if life for you is over full with delights and reading my 12 captioned photos below is like receiving yet one more box of chocolates and just too much, skip to the bottom of the page and click the link to my photo essay of Vienna where you can dash through or savor as you see fit.
This article on Vienna is dedicated to my dearest friend Jenifer Van Deusen who taught me to love the Goddess! All my love to you Dear Furrific

The two Happy Husbands, T2 H2, Leo and Iory standing at the front door our Hotel, Zur Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna owned and run by hospitable Ungersböck family. We were right around the corner from the Opera House and the ultra-famous Hotel Sacher, of chocolate cake fame, and a hope skip and a jump to the main pedestrian shopping street, Karntner Strasse.

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Here we see Rudolph the Meek, king of Bohemia, 1282 – 1307 with his first wife, Blanca of France on his right and his second wife Ryksa princess of Poland on his left. I am a big fan of the exquisite technique of enamel painting on porcelain decorating this display urn. The rich colors of their raiments contrasting against the gold background are regal in the extreme. I am particularly fond of Rudolph’s robe of fuchsia and purple, not to mention his chartreuse sleeves. This urn is a part of a desert service depicting the early Hapsburgs. It was made in the second half of the 19th century in a neo-Gothic style and like the tureen below is also part of the extensive table settings collection at the Hofburg Palace

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This blow-out porcelain soup tureen is decorated with an abundant garden basket over-flowing with fruits, vegetables, flowers and garden tools, all surrounded by sheaves of golden wheat bending with the weight of their fecund ripeness. This sweet honey is part of the extensive collection of banquet and table settings: silver, porcelain, crystal, linen, etc. that belonged to the Habsburg Imperial household until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918. These vast collections are on display in the Imperial Chancellery Wing of the Hofburg Palace, Vienna which was the seat of the Habsburg government for over 600 years.

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This gleaming white marble edifice is a newly cleaned wing of Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg Palace that houses the Ephesos Museum (Greek and Roman archeological artifacts from Ephesos, Turkey) and the Austrian National Library reading room. This part of the palace was constructed between 1881 and 1913 and as such was the last hurrah of the Hapsburg dynasty. The grandeur of the palace can only be described as “Imperial.” Every component part, sculpture, classical revival architecture and the immense scale of the building is all in the finest taste and exceptionally handsome. This wing façade faces the Berggren, a pleasant park with large specimen trees that can be comfortably viewed from the broad terraces flanking the palace.

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Now here is a tangle of bodies that perked my curiosity at the Kunsthistoriches Museum Picture Collection. The central characters are Odysseus of the Odyssey fame and the beguiling Circe, a powerful sorceress who turned all strangers to her island into animals by means of a magic potion. The surrounding menagerie is the unfortunate crew and companions of Odysseus as embodied in a number of beasts who signal their true identity by cuddling up to our hero. As you can see Circe is also attempting to make her moves on Odysseus who recoils in an attempt to disengage from her clutches. His reluctance, however, is perhaps disingenuous as he sojourned on Circe’s island for a year benefiting from her council as to how to navigate the perils ahead, all the while enjoying her “chummy” companionship.

This painting is by Bartholomäus Spranger, a Flemish painter working in Prague at the court of Rudolph II Holy Roman Emperor of Hapsburg lineage, (1576–1612). I became aware of Spranger at the “Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague” a special exhibit at the Met in New York City, winter of 2015, where a number of fleshy individuals of both sexes cavorted in various stages of undress and like the above painting were entwined in peculiar if not awkward possess.

I am particularly intrigued by Odysseus’s complex and layered aegis or breastplate of two colors, chartreuse and purplish pink. Aegis comes from the Greek word aegis literally meaning goatskin and I mention it here because you can see how this “armor” is form fitting, accentuating various parts of Odysseus’s torso. Especially arresting is the Pinkish under layer that is seen covering the pectoral and hip region. I had to study this detail to discern why our hero had pink pecks, a sensitive erogenous zone on both men and women. Considering the element of eroticism attributed by the Met’s show to this artist I can only concur that yes, Spranger has created a highly charged picture that communicates a powerful sexuality on many levels, explicit and subliminal.

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In a more innocent tone we find these three chubby children engaged in arranging a flower garland or perhaps the two kids seated are draping the garland about the central fellow. Whatever their idyll is intended to be, their charming game contrasts and accents the formal balustrade of the terrace that surrounds the Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg Palace. Their position at the bottom of the stairs leading down into the Burggarten park acts as a transition from the sever formality of the Imperial palace above to the more natural landscape of the garden below. This charming sculpture which I assume was created at the time of the construction of this stretch of the Palace (1881 – 1913) draws its easy motion from the Rococo style of the mid-18th century. Our three friends have recently been cleaned in conjunction with the complete restoration of the Neue Burg wing now in process and you can see what a difference a day makes by the contrast between the almost black rusticated stone work of the foundation level of the palace above and the gleaming white cheeks of our little darlings, the same marble is employed in both instances.

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This painting, entitled Bacchanal is by Michaelina Woutiers (1617 – 1689).  The Artist has painted herself into the scene (far right). She is turning away from a leering and scruffy character who is wrapped in a coarse animal pelt. He teases her cheek with his knurled fingers as Michaelina looks directly out of the picture at the viewer with a calm and alluring gaze apparently completely at ease with the antics of the procession before her. Center stage we see Backhaus, and yes this procession is intentionally theatrical – Bacchus was the God of wine, fertility of the harvest as well as theatre. The later evolving from drunken frenzies that were incorporated into ceremonies of ritual madness that evolved into Greek theatre – most especially as enacted in the farcical Satyr plays serving as emotional dynamic intervals between the longer tragedies.

The near naked and highly sexual Bacchus, in a dazed and drunken state, is being carted in a wheelbarrow by a brawny Satyr whose cloven hooves spread with the weight of the recumbent god. An attendant in equal state of undress squeezes the juice of a cluster of grapes into his master’s slobbering mouth. Drunkenness in this context was seen by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a hyper aware trance state inducing prophecy, divination and sexual potency.

Considering all of this, it is amazing that Michaelina, painted her version of Bacchanalian excess in the midst of the Counterreformation at a time of censure by the Catholic Church of all things secular when Rome struggled to regain its patriarchal hegemony over the Protestant reformation. Michaelina’s brazen nakedness exposing one breast and scantily clad in a pink sensuous tunic is equally surprising. To me she is declaring that she is perfectly at home and master of a “man’s world”. Her bravura stance is fully supported by her success as a painter of all major genres of her art (portrait, history, still life and genre) and by being the only female painter represented in the Imperial collections at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

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At the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts I came across Gustav Klimt’s preparatory water-color designs for the mosaic wall decorations of the famous dining room at Palais Stoclet in Brussels designed by Josef Hoffman, the famous Vienna Secessionist architect and cofounder of the Wiener Werkstätte. This is one of the nine sections of Klimt’s designs and it shows the figure of “Expectation” who is standing in front of the “Tree of life” that spreads curly-cue branches over the whole design. The unique and peculiar hand gestures of this female icon are curiously enigmatic as are all the decorative patterns of the “Tree” as well as “Expectation’s” robe. 

Klimt’s designs were executed gold and multi-colored glass, ceramic and marble tiles, along with pearls and other semi-precious stones. These mosaic Friezes are highly inventive and whereas you may recognize some of his references and design presidents the whole work is dense with exceptional invention.

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Vienna is an unabashedly imperial city and nowhere is that more evidently than on the grand staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum where we find this lion rampant brandishing a shield with insignia of the Hapsburg dynasty. Can’t you just hear the ferocious roar emanating from this beast’s sharp toothed jaws?      

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Once past the ferocious guardian lions on the staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and inside the Imperial picture collection we find palatial galleries hung primarily with renaissance and baroque paintings.   The rooms are all furnished with comfortable upholstered sofas facing in all directions and lavish architectural interiors that complement and enhance the art collections.

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This is one end of the coved ceiling of one of the picture galleries of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. All the rooms of the galleries have similar ceilings and other appropriate decorations complementing and respecting the importance of the paintings.

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Accompanying the Kunsthistorisches Museum, across the Maria Theresien Plaz, is the Naturhistorisches Museum which has a large anthropological component to the collections hence this monumental statue representing the indigenous peoples of the American and Australian continents gracing the central entrance to the museum.

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Please click here to see an extensive slide show of Vienna