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Leonard Nimoy, aka Mister Spock (1931 – 2015)

Photo credit (for all in this post): Seth Kaye Photography, Courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries

Photo credit (for all in this post): Seth Kaye Photography, Courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries

As a kid I would pretend I was asleep… but instead I’d turn on my teeny B&W TV to watch episodes of Star Trek—and Spock was a big reason why.

“Trek” is one of the last science-fiction series and franchises to actually tell stories, and meaningful ones, that still resonate today. Nimoy was also a celebrated and accomplished photographer—something I’m going to write about in the not-so-distant future.

And I’ll do op-ed post soon with excerpts from my interview with him, but in the meantime:

“Spock’s intelligence, bravery, courage, and good judgment don’t win him the universal admiration of his crewmates or of the world. But he did earn their respect, and over time he accomplished most of what he set out to do, from saving their ship, the Enterprise, to brokering peace with the Klingons, to aiding Romulan dissidents.” – Matt Yglesias​

RIP Leonard Nimoy​, one of my heroes. Matt’s article is here.

Leonard Nimoy Photo Project Leonard Nimoy Photo Project Leonard Nimoy Photo Project

Live long and prosper… 

Here are two tweets that were among his last:

 

And reaction from around the Trek Universe:

Blast from the Past: Gold-medal Winning College Lip Sync

Sometimes on the book blog it’s important to mix it up.

In keeping with that tradition, I give you Gladys & The Thrusters, performing to “Real Love” and “I’ll Be Good to You.” I brought together a bunch of my friends to create some dance moves and kick it hip-hop style, leaving it all out on the stage.

This was for our college lip sync in 1990, and the audience was pumped.

I ripped the video from a horrible-quality VCR tape, and added some graphics and titles. There’s a rumor we might have a reunion of this group at our school this year. If we do, we will of course video tape that as well.

Hope you enjoy!

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Crazy for Kale: Perfect Kale Chips for Pizza [Language NSFW]

I used to despise kale.

Really and truly. I wanted my salad bare and simple, to the point where romaine lettuce seemed like a brazen life choice.

But that was then, and kale is very much now. And not just for me… kale seems to be popping up everywhere—as a power elixir, snack food, bath salts and yes, even on pizza. We have a popular place in Atlanta’s Inman Park called Kale Me Crazy, serving up all sorts of kale-yumminess, including shots of extract, elaborate salads and the like. As Sarah Rosenberg can attest, we heart that joint a lot.

We put kale chips on our “Fun Tina” pizza last year and it was one of my faves of all time. Have a look at that here. She was pretty to look at, too.

the finished "Fun Tina"

the finished “Fun Tina”

Not everyone is convinced that kale is the Second Food Coming; for all fads, remember, there are contrarians. Just ask the Vulgar Chef what he thinks.

Well then. Amidst the noise I’m trying to keep a level head about kale since I’m always the skeptic when it comes to fads. (Writes the guy who still buys $18 Levi’s at Target.)

Anyhoo, kale—despite it’s sometimes annoying hype—makes an already spiffy pizza all the more grand. Here’s my guide on how you can turn your kale in to luscious, ready-to-nomnom bites of goodness.

(I made up the part about bath salts—but you totally believed me there for a second.)

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Ingredients

head of kale
1/4 cup of EVOO
squeeze of lemon
dried garlic (optional)
kosher salt & pepper

Directions

• preheat the oven to 300˚
• wash the kale well. break away all leafy-green pieces from the stem and place in a stainless steel bowl. dry the kale well and then rip the pieces to the desired size. (remember, the greens reduce in the oven.) compost or discard the stems.

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• in a measuring cup, put the olive oil and lemon together with desired pinches of salt and pepper (optional). mix well.
• pour mixture over the kale, one pour at a time, and use your hands to toss. this may be a bit icky to some, but it’s the best way to get the pieces all covered.

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• since heads of kale vary, keep this in mind: you don’t want to go too heavy on your liquid. so, add just enough to cover whatever amount of kale you have. give the pieces a final lashing of kosher salt and pepper. mix one last time.

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• spread pieces out on a baking sheet or a slotted pan cover (shown). bake 10 minutes and turn the pan once; bake for another 15 minutes, but check back to see if it’s done sooner (ovens vary). be patient… cooking at a lower temperature means they’ll be just right after they cool.

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I dare you not to eat half of the chips before they cool. Enjoy! Please post here if you make this at home.

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#QuotableMondays: Patricia Arquette Steals the Oscar Evening

You might call it an “Actor’s Barn-burner.”

At last night’s Oscar ceremony, Patricia Arquette won for Best Supporting Actress in a film called “Boyhood.” The film is basically unprecedented in that it was shot over a period of 12 years with the same cast members. (read more)

But it was her speech that charged up the room. She said “the time is now” for wage equality for women in America. Meryl Streep, whom Arquette had just beat in the category, leapt out of her chair as she sat next to a very clap-happy JLo. Not everyone was pleased with her comments, that’s for sure.

The #QuotableMonday moment was not up at the Oscar podium, but rather, something she mentioned on the red carpet: GiveLove.org. She’s spoke passionately about it in a red carpet interview, so I decided to dig a bit deeper. Among many other mission points, the organization advocates and works in developing nations to devise better composting and eco sanitation practices.

The irony, at least to me, is our own situation in this country. We waste a tremendous amount of food, and much of it rots in landfills, which in turn releases methane. From the National Resource Defense Council:

“The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia, up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. This means there was once a time when we wasted far less, and we can get back there again. Doing so will ultimately require a suite of coordinated solutions, including changes in supply-chain operation, enhanced market incentives, increased public awareness and adjustments in consumer behavior.

The U.S. government should conduct a comprehensive study for food losses in our food system and establish national goals for food waste reduction. One key action will be to standardize and clarify the meaning of date labels on food so that consumers stop throwing out items due to misinterpretation. A waste reduction organization in the United Kingdom has estimated this type of clarification could prevent about 20 percent of wasted food in households.”

Source: National Resource Defense Council

Source: National Resource Defense Council

Household and business composting would solve a lot of these issues, but we also have to change our behavior and purchase practices as well. I compost at home here in Atlanta and I wish more folks did it, because rotting food waste accounts for nearly 25% of national methane emissions.

For us in a developed nation, few people are talking about food waste and the consequences to us as a society. For developing nations, though, some of the basic things we take for granted like sewers and sanitation don’t exist.

Quoting the group’s mission direct from the GiveLove.org website:

• To introduce low-cost compost toilets in order to reduce disease and provide dignity for people living without basic sanitation
• To reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers by producing organic compost products that can improve soil and improve food security
• To teach people how to compost organic wastes and protect water resources
• To change attitudes about human waste & increase awareness about sustainable land-use practices
• To promote EcoSan and composting as viable solutions to water-based sanitation systems

Pizza for Good is based upon the notion that it’s in our nature to give back—to our communities, to charity or people less fortunate. PFG gives you a fun and effective way to do it, too. So what are you waiting for? buy now

I’m going to have a number of exciting announcements soon, so stay tuned! ❐

Pizza for Good: Buy it for recipes, use it for community

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#QuotableMondays: Top Chef’s Gregory Gourdet Talks Jacques & Julia

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Although he’s seen his fair share of ups and down on Season 12 of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” Gregory Gourdet has made it all the way to the final three. I interviewed Gourdet for an upcoming piece at TheBacklot.com, which will be posted this Wednesday.

Of all the irreverent weeks of themed shows, Gourdet says the Julia Child episode was one of his favorites. Have a listen to him discussing Child and an appearance by Child’s friend Jacques Pépin:

“It was really exciting to be inspired by Julia and be able to recreate some of her cuisine,” he says. “Definitely one of the highlights of the season because I wasn’t expecting it.”

Below is the episode in its entirety. The audio is messed up on this clip, but I marked it right when the “Cheftestants” are shown what their theme will be that week:

Why is this related to Pizza for Good? Because there’s an entire chapter dedicated to Julia Child called “Only Child,” with my spin on a chicken piccata pizza. So, you simply must buy it now to get the recipe in full and read the full text.

Hope you all enjoy. And make sure to click over to TheBacklot.com on Wednesday for my post on Gregory. He’s a charming and well-spoken guy.

 


Pizza for Good: buy it for recipes, use it for community

 

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2014’s December to Remember

When ARTvision Atlanta debuted in December in 2011 as a stand-alone event, it meant that Pizza for Good, art sales and general fund-raising stretched out the entire month. And in 2014, we had many exciting milestones and happy syncronicities of which we’re very proud.

"Mar Pacifico" by Dee Ruff, which fetched $450 for Positive Impact.

“Mar Pacifico” by Dee Ruff, which fetched $450 for Positive Impact.

1 Dec. 2014
We started the month as we’ve always done, commemorating World AIDS Day with a quote from ARTvision artist Dee Ruff. This day always marks the kickoff of fundraising for Positive Impact. “Positive change can transform disappointment into contentment,” she says. “Positive change can transform PI clients into a state of peacefulness, and it can happen piece by piece, just like a mosaic.” (more)

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“Sea of Prayers” by Gene Rector—$200 to Positive Impact.


8 Dec.
We sold our first-ever birdhouse, crafted by first-time AV artist Gene Rector. The piece, “Sea of Prayers,” is made of reclaimed wood and makes the perfect addition to anyone’s backyard. The piece sold for $200 to Jd Isaacs upon being posted to the web, ahead of our Preview Night and Main Event.

11-12 Dec.
Our VIP Preview & Pizza for Good book signing was abuzz and alight with new connections, friends and about $2,000 in donations for PI. The Main Event featured #AVSquared winners and a presentation for Michael Baker and Paul Plate, who will be departing the agency this year.

We were lucky to have AV sponsor Lorikay (Stone) Photography on hand to capture some of our proudest moments.

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ARTvision’s Main Event sales/donations

Event Pictures on SmugMug: VIP Preview | Main Event

Midway through ARTvision's VIP Preview Night

Midway through ARTvision’s VIP Preview Night

17 Dec. 
I met with a TV development rep (I won’t name her since we’re still in discussions) to discuss adapting Pizza for Good in to a series. More on that as the year unfolds, but it certainly is an exciting possibility. Keep your fingers crossed!

20 Dec.
Someone mentioned to me how much they love fontina cheese, and it got my wheels turning to develop a pizza based on that type of cheese. The result? “Fun Tina,” which is an olive-oil-and-lemon base, with grated fontina cheese, caramelized shallots and crispy kale. This pie became my new favorite in our arsenal; I’ll post the full recipe very soon.

30-31 Dec.
Cooking for The Annual NYE Gourmet Pizza Extravaganza is just as much fun as hosting the party itself. My co-host and sous chef Michele Segré and I churned out some super-tasty offerings. In addition to “Fun Tina,” we also crafted a wacky pie called “East Meets West,” which is an Asian-inspired glaze topped with mac ‘n cheese bites from Trader Joe’s, and

the finished "Fun Tina"

the finished “Fun Tina”

mozzarella. Pretty yummy stuff. We had a number of generous donations and great sales—all of which we’ll total up and post next week.

This event could not be a success without sponsors, volunteers, artists and attendees. My co-host Michele; our sponsors Baraonda, Rose Squared, Metro Gallery & Framing and Lorikay Photography; displaying artists like Leesa Brown, Greg Davis and Dee Ruff, among 20 others; and our many attendees of both the first ARTvision event and the New Year’s Eve pizza party—have all transformed a small gathering in to a change-making annual tradition.

Cheers to a fantastic 2015! This year, ARTvision will celebrate its 10th anniversary with “ARTiculate: Global Expressions.” More on that in the coming months.

For now, here’s how you can get involved: buy Pizza for Good | subscribe to Will’s mailing list | follow the PFG book blog

PFG: Buy it for the recipes… Use it to boost your community

 

"Closed on Sundays," right out of the oven

Our New Year’s Eve Gourmet ‘Pizza For Good’ Menu is Set!

For the 13th consecutive year, we’ll be gathering at my house in midtown Atlanta to ring in 2015 with lots of spiffy gourmet pizzas. We’ll be taking donations for Positive Impact and selling ARTvision pieces to close the year in style.

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We are eternally grateful to Baraonda Atlanta, which has graciously agreed to dough-nate again this year and is one of our official sponsors. Please make SURE to patronize this local restaurant—for locals and folks who come in from out of town. Special thanks to Baraonda manager Alin Cruceanu for always supporting us enthusiastically.

We have some our themed-pizza greatest hits, as well as a few new topping recipes as well. Here are the new ones:

the finished "Fun Tina"

the finished “Fun Tina”

Fun Tina
• Olive oil & lemon zest
• Fontina Cheese
• Caramelized shallots
• Crispy kale

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Asian glaze base for “East Meets West”

East Meets West
• Asian glaze
• Mac ‘n cheese bites
• Mozzarella

And some of our returning champions:

“Pesto Perfect,” “Closed on Sundays,” “The Carnivore,” “Lexstacy” and more!

Please consider making a donation in support of Positive Impact. You can click right to PI’s donation partner, Network for Good, by clicking here.

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Click logo to go directly to the PI donation page

 

In total, there are three ways you can get involved and support the mission:

1. Buy Pizza for Goodin print or in digital form. If you purchase the print version for $20 I’ll donate $5 to a charity of your choice.
2. Support Positive Impact directly. Any size donations welcome!
3. Purchase an ARTvision piece! For more on the selection, click here.

Happy New Year! Pictures, video and a recap coming soon.