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Q&A with Judy Kameon, Landscape Designer and Bonne Vivante

July 21st, 2014

Plenty of eye candy and great advice here from Judy Kameon, an LA-based landscape designer who knows from hardscaping and employs a mid-century modern aesthetic in ways that are fresh (rather than fussy). She recently published her first book, Gardens Are for Living, thus occasioning our conversation (and a gorgeously laid-out slideshow) on the 1stdibs website.

Check out Kameon’s book.

 

Interview with “Intermarriage” photographer Yael Ben-Zion

January 12th, 2014

Lise Funderburg interviews INTERMARRIAGE photographer Yael Ben-Zion in the New York Times Sunday Review From today’s interview with photographer Yael Ben-Zion in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times:

Q. In what ways is your own marriage an intermarriage?

A. The obvious thing would be that I’m Jewish and he’s not. He does not define himself as Christian, but we celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday. We had a Christmas tree. If you’d asked me before the boys were born if I’d ever have a Christmas tree in my home, as a good Jew I’d have said no.

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 10.46.03 AMOn paper, we cannot be more different. We come from different countries, religions and professional backgrounds, but there are many things that connect us. This is something that was repeated in my conversations with a lot of couples: When you have a relationship with someone not from your own group or where you expect there might be difficulties, you think of the difficult questions in advance. If there weren’t values that were important to us both, we wouldn’t have been together to begin with.

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 10.45.10 AMI speak to my kids only in Hebrew and Ugo speaks to them only in French. I understand that they’re not going to be Israelis unless they grow up in Israel, the same way they’re not going to be French. They are probably going to be New Yorkers. But it’s still important to me not only that they speak Hebrew but that they read and write it.

In both Israel and France, if they aren’t completely proficient in the language, they will be treated as outsiders and will have difficulties talking to families and friends. It’s another challenge to deal with.

Read entire interview and see photo gallery by clicking here.
[all photographs by Yael Ben-Zion]

 

Black, White, Other Flashback: Nya Patrinos

December 19th, 2013

Here’s an excerpt from Nya Patrinos’s original 1992 interview in Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race and Identity (now available in a 20th anniversary expanded ebook edition):

“I really never found a community of people in college. I lived in a group house off-campus for a while, with eight people. I guess I knew all the fringe elements, the people who were writing, the painters, the acting people, the people in the philosophy department—all the people sort of falling off the edge of the mainstream. But I still don’t know what frat house was which, which you’re supposed to know at Penn [University of Pennsylvania]. I failed. I failed.

The African-American community at Penn is pretty militant, and they don’t want you to hang out with white people. There was a W.E.B. Du Bois House where you lived if you were a ‘progressive’ African-American. I could never find out when black student union meetings there were because I lived in High Rise North and they didn’t want to put signs there because they were afraid that white people were going to come. I know because I asked the guy who was the president of the African-American student union, and he said, ‘We can’t get anything done with those people crashing the meeting. You know how those people are.’

I feel like I can never be a very militant African-American person who hates white people because I’d hate fifty percent of myself. So I couldn’t really participate in that world at Penn because I’m not going to hate white people; it’s just not what’s going to happen. I can’t accept that, being mixed.

I think the black students just wrote me off. I’m sure people knew who I was, because African-American men on the campus kind of know who the African-American women are. I’m not overweight, I’m okay-looking, so sometimes I would walk home from the library and some guy would come and talk to me and say, ‘Are you a graduate student?’ And maybe I’m making this up, but I think they saw me a lot of times with white people and I got blacklisted. Maybe it wasn’t as intentional as that, but nobody talked to me besides the one guy I asked about the meetings.”

Nya’s 20-year update will be posted in the next week or two. Meanwhile, you can read the rest of her original oral history in the BWO ebook.