Monthly Archives: April 2012

How Did You Get Published? Learning to Submit

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April marked a decent start to my taking over as facilitator for the monthly Submission Mission chats on SheWrites. Now I want to invite you to the May chat on SheWrites. It’s a place where we encourage each other and share info that might have taken each of us hours and hours or years to glean. We talk about staying organized and lit mag reading schedules, contest/submission costs and editorial changing of the guards, and things unimaginable about submitting and the submission process.

Best? It’s free– and priceless.

Share your submission advice and conundrums with fellow writers know at the SheWrites chat. I guarantee you’ll glean a minimum of two pieces of invaluable info. Bring your questions, facts, suggestions, self-promotion, and news of journals, agents, or publishers.

Everyone is welcome to join. You don’t have to yet be published. I do hope you’re submitting, though. If you’re an editor, take a front row seat, please. In addition to our monthly submission goals, our tactics, our recent disappointments and successes, here are some other notions to entertain.

Meanwhile, here are some priceless sources to start your submissions:

New Pages– literary magazine reviews and info on writing contests

Poets & Writers– for up-to-date, accurate, professional information on contests, grants, and awards

C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers– Grants, fellowships, contests, awards

36 Hours in Lima’s Real Arts District

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For those with just a couple days in Lima, Peru, a host of activities can entertain those who favor the arts. It is possible to get a whole perspective of Peru’s diverse culture through its museums in San Borja, Pueblo Libre, and El Centro, the neighborhood of Barranco is the most artistic. It is the bohemian center of the city of eight million.

As Peruvian legend goes, in the mid-18th century, a luminescent cross appearing from high up on Lima’s shores guided a group of fogged-in fishermen to land. Word about the miraculous cross spread among the newly-turned Catholic population, and on the infamous spot, they constructed the La Ermita cathedral and founded Barranco in 1750. More than a century later, Chilean troops would destroy the neighborhood during the War of the Pacific. Wealthy Peruvians and Europeans forged its next incarnation as their summer-home community around 1900. This storied village of three-and-a-third square kilometers is the bohemian center of Lima today, the epicenter of the city’s artistic and architectural heritage. Nationally reputed surfers, musicians, artists, and architects mill about the pastiche of mansions and mansionettes in a range of architectural flavors: Republican, Colonial, Mid-Century Modernist, Gothic, Art Deco, and Victorian. Art and handcrafted home décor galleries demonstrate Peru’s contemporary artistic culture, but go just half a block off the major roads to find its rich artistic history.

DAY ONE

Explore art and furniture design stores alongside restored century-old homes on Paseo Sáentz Peña, named after General Roque Sáenz Peña, who fought in the 1880s war between Peru, Chile, and Bolivia— the very war that would all but destroy Barranco— and later became president of Argentina. At one end of the short block are Yvonne Sanguineti’s gallery, a small space featuring a monthly rotation of contemporary Peruvian artists (Ave. Grau 810; 51-1-257-2999; www.yvonnesanguinetigaleria.com), and PPPPDesign, a multi-room space showcasing furniture and art by an Italian and Peruvian art-and-architect couple (Av. Grau 810; 51-1-247-7976; www.ppppdesign.com). A two-minute walk down the median parkway, past the retirees reading newspapers or sparring in avuncular banter, a doorman unlocks the decorative wrought iron gate into Wu Gallery. Owner Frances Wu displays talented contemporary artists in her two-story minimalist space and is available for a chat (Paseo Sáenz Peña 129; 51-1-247-4685; www.wugaleria.com).

Catch Your Breath…and the Sunset

At the end of the block, romantic couples linger on pergola-covered park benches and surfers ascend from their daily wave-rides up a terrace to this smart place for snapping shots of the Pacific. From here the schism of eras becomes apparent. To the back are century-old mansions while, to the side, is the inevitable, yet not overbearing encroachment of current residential development.

Reenergize with a cafe con leche at Dédalo (Sáenz Peña 295; 51-1-652-5400; dedalomarket.com). At the back of this shop of finely crafted, high-quality works by artists from throughout the country, international tunes and humming birds provide a soundtrack amidst a courtyard setting of lush flora. Pesto pasta and other hearty dishes illustrate why Peru is South America’s gastronomic capital. Hot or beverages, about $3.

In case your trip doesn’t extend to the hinterlands of Peru, fret not. Whittle away hours enjoying Mari Solari’s breadth and depth of knowledge on Peruvian arts at her tucked away Las Pallas artisan store (Calle Cajamarca 212; 51-1-477-4629; http://laspallas.com). Her tales about woven languages in clothing, gourd-carving techniques, gender practices among jungle and mountain tribes, and Peru’s pre-Catholic beliefs turn shoppers into friends.

Night Falls

Peru’s jungle and mountain cultures come to life at Ayahuasca, a bustling resto-bar in a restored casona, or mansion, that reveals the Moorish architecture influence brought by the Spanish. Interiors featuring Ayacucho folkdance costumes and bibulously colored tribal arts stimulate conversation. With small dishes or entrees and pisco infusions from the seemingly endless menu, even a finicky eater will be satiated. Dinner and cocktails, are a bit more expensive in this upscale scene for the in-crowd, around $75. (San Martín 130)

DAY TWO

Start with breakfast at the Café Cultural on El Expreso Virgen de Guadalupe, a restaurant and live music venue on an antique trolley (San Martín 15; 51-1-247-252-8907). A train, which runs only six blocks today to the Museo Pedro de Osma (Av. Pedro de Osma 423; 51-1-467-0063; www.museopedrodeosma.org), used to travel the few miles between Lima and Barranco until it discontinued service in 1965. It now serves up vegetarian cuisine infused with creole and international flavors. Breakfast, $2.50 to $5.

Saintly Furnishings

Angelo Colombo, a missionary with the Italian NGO Artesanos Don Bosco, recently gutted and reconstructed this two-story 1900 house (San Martín 135; www.artesanosdonbosco.pe) that functions as a store/showroom for products made through the NGO. Don Bosco trains Andean villagers in carpentry and carving skills, and sells their works, sturdy wall hangings, desks, bed suites and other items, in this multi-room space. They designs bear an Art Deco influence– yet not at the expense of their makers’ mountain arts vernacular. Columbo excitedly gives tours of this piece of architectural heritage to those who speak Spanish or Italian.

Take a Walk

Local Dutch ex-patriot Ronald Elward, a former design magazine editor, has proven genius at constructing culinary, historic, and architectural tours in Lima. He offers group or private tours through Barranco’s architectural timeline in his two-and-a-half hour walk that even the locals enjoy (www.limawalks.blogspot.com). Along the way you’ll see homes of famous historic and current Peruvian writers, poets, and sculptors, and discover sometimes war-related reasons behind the district’s many architectural styles. He can also regale you with funny tales of present-day NIMBY activities. $10-15 per person.

Drink It Up and People Watch

Admittedly I have mixed reservations about Santos Café and Espirituosos (Jr. Zapita 203, Puente de los Suspiros; 51-1-247-4609). Of the half dozen times I went before my one bad night, I always went with the company of a man and remained quite safe. The happy hour kind of two-for-one pisco sours rock my world. One expat put them this way: “Pisco sours are like breasts. One is too few; three is too many.” Evidently he doesn’t have the tolerance I do, as I can easily put down four and want more, but these are not American-sized cocktails. They’re, in fact, more like a despertif in size. Beyond the drinking, however, you can smoke from the bar’s terrace. That’s also the perfect vantage point for watching bridal parties, lovers smooching, and tourists lingering on the Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs. The constructed wooden bridge, built in 1906, passes over the Bajada de Baños, a steep, wide walkway leading to the ocean below. The Bajada is flanked by parks, other bars and restaurants, and hidden passageways. This area illustrates the country’s European influence. Cocktails for two, about $15.

 

Jazz up the Night 

Every Limeno, or person native to Lima, is or has been a musician. La Noche, Lima’s premier jazz club, is where they show they chops (Av. Bolognesi 307; 51-1-2471012). Mondays are the club’s official jazz night. The rest of the week features a wide array of musical styles from new and veteran bands. The schedule changes constantly, and some nights feature multiple bands. Entry $3.50 to $18.

LAST DAY

Before departing the city, you might tough it out like the locals with a surf session. Peru features some of the longest swells on the planet and breaks remain uncrowded compared to names more commonly associated with surfing (Circuito de Playas; www.wannasurf.com). Experts and neophytes both find fun here. The water does shrink even the heartiest, so a wet suit is mandatory. 2004 female word champ Sofia Mulanovich and Cristobal de Col, the 2010 world junior champ, hail from Peru. Lima claims over than 140 surf spots, so, ask any of the ubiquitous descuidados (disheveled young men) carrying their long boards through Barranco for access spots to your size of wave.

Our Lady of the Good News Brings Stunning Architecture

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A graceful, elegant project started like something akin to a Blade Runner plot. For a decade the residents had watched over the “End of the World” from their neighborhood. Then it was time for them to gather, to discuss how best to address one of Estroil, Portugal’s last slums. The result was a project called the Senhora da Boa Nova, or Our Lady of the Good News.

 

Photos Courtesy Joao Morgado - Architectural Photography

This precise project includes a church, a community center (providing jobs and childcare to some of the slum’s former residents), a primary school, and an auditorium. The church contains 1,200 seats, while the auditorium contains 600.

“The key conceptual elements were two empty spaces: the courtyard, a place where the community could meet; and the nave, a sacred space presenting that which could not be presented,” according to the designers, the Lisbon, Portugal-based Roseta Vaz Monteiro architecture firm.

 

The designers’ respect for context is one of the most redeeming aspects of this project. The program surrounds a courtyard and opens to valley and sea views. The courtyard connects to the city’s nearby public spaces. From beyond, the church’s tower stretches upward to become an iconic reference. Meanwhile windows placed mindfully along the horizontal and vertical axes throughout the building’s interiors allow more of the compound’s outdoor essence inside.

 

 

Photos Courtesy Joao Morgado - Architectural Photography

The more I take in the building, the more its cleanliness reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright. Yet its sweeping geometric tension reminds me of Mexican architects such as Luis Barragan. The strict whiteness of its facades mimics the purity of any deistic belief. The curves possess godly grace like the moments after mass. The character of the building doesn’t blatantly bespeak its religious purposes nor the often bland aesthetic of community centers; therefore its composition appeals. It harkens to visitors. I, for sure, want to ramble along the campus, to listen to sermons reverberating off the walls’ curves, to witness light bouncing off the ceiling’s ripples.

The Senhora da Boa Nova might surely be a journey into something divine.

 

This originally published in Perspective, a Hong Kong-based international design magazine.