Between Lightness and Weight / A Winter Gathering at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
~ Virginia Woolf

“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”
~ Epicurus

“Life is so brief that we should not glance either too far backwards or forwards…therefore study how to fix our happiness
in our glass and in our plate.” ~ Grimod de la Reyniere


above ~ 4th street berkeley studio, SF Chronicle cover feature, image by Michael Short.


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts / Winter Gathering
“the art of gathering / edible installation”
Thursday December 17th, 2015 ~ 5-8pm

“Join YBCA for a winter celebration salon installation by anthropologist and artist Cari Borja. Borja invites us to explore the history of the art of gathering and the history of the salon. For centuries, the tradition of the salon has provided people with a physical and mental space to eat, interact, and connect through the act of gathering around a communal table. Borja examines the balance between all of the aspects that go into creating such a gathering, including the “metaphorical lightness of the gathering and the weight of responsibility we have to our community.” Borja, with the help of local winemakers, chefs and designers will bring together images, food, wine, a visual collage of films on and about the art of gathering around food, experimental sound scores, and members of the San Francisco Bay Area community.”


A VISUAL DIARY (with no captions / see below for collaborators and photographers)

1a  1  1b

5  25  14

10a  10  12c

“He wrote me: I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining.
We do not remember, we rewrite memory much as history is rewritten. How can one remember thirst.”
~ Chris Marker, SANS SOLEIL

“What nourishes us comes from the earth ~ a natural process. We would have wine at lunch and dinner at 16 yrs old, with my room mate and his family. I was reading Huxley ~ Eyeless in Gaza, about a european experience. Pagnol came later, Bicycle Thief, 1000 Blows, Marcello Mastroianni, 8 1/2, Fellini. There was this love of Italy ~ La Dolce Vita ~ how it informed me! When I lived in the Veneto back then, there were Veneto wines. Simple, made by friends of mine…But I guess, Piemonte. Paolo Cordero de Montezemolo, La Morra ~ an aristocratic family. I visited him in the early 80s and he gave me the 1978 Dolcetto and Barolo. Also a Barolo, Aldo Conterno who just recently died. Back in the United States ~ a transformative experience? 1936, 1938 La Cuesta. In the mid 70s I drank Inglenook 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 3 were glorious. They could match any great Bourdeux. There was this depth and complexity of the 30s in California…These guys didn’t get in the way and look what you got! I thought, they must have a piece of ground that is the finest for this varietal.”
~ Paul Draper/winemaker, Ridge Vineyards, on wine; in an interview with me…

8  8c  13

13b  8b  13d

20151217-IMGP8147    20151217-IMGP8161

“I sent the 2013 Forlorn Hope “Ukiyo” rosé as I thought it matched your theme of weight and lightness. The Ukiyo is an experiment in bringing weight to the ephemeral. The vineyard that it was grown in produces a rosé of particular weightlessness, a delicate ghostlike presence on the palate that inspired the name (Ukiyo, from the Japanese, translates to “Floating World”. Taking this weightless wine and aging it for a year in barrel with no sulfur and no topping added a depth and breadth to the wine’s presence on the palate without changing its essential weightlessness. The tension between weight and lightness in such a delicate wine is a bit of a mystery and a surprise — how can these two opposites exist together without cancelling each other out?” 
~ Matthew Rorick/winemaker, Forlorn Hope

6h  6b  6

10g  8d  14a

IMG_5775  12375325_10153928199450815_1694860969047652231_o

“We live in a world of extremes. every day, this or that. Eat a lot, drink a lot. In today’s world there are so many things we do and decisions to make, so balance is important. Living, eating, drinking, socializing ~ everyone has a different balance. I’m a Libra, September 25th. So it’s a big part of how I live every day. Yesterday was like this, today is like this; now’s a check, to get back to reality ~ a balance. There’s nothing right or wrong; it depends what your own balance is and to try to live by it every single day.” ~ Raj Parr, on “balance,” in an interview with me…

“It’s just one. Wine needs food and food needs wine; it’s this little perfect marriage and the only way it gets better than that is when you’re with the perfect person or group of people. And that’s magic ~ wine, food, togetherness. You have to understand food to understand wine, and understand wine to understand food. My goal was to study food. Since I was 10 I loved to cook, and now I love to cook. It never has been apart and it always has been together. During harvest you eat and you drink every day and celebrate food and wine. I just know I’m in the zone ~ ”the happiness wine, the love wine”… Like Cornas, Allemand ~ Every time I have the wine and meet the man ~ that is magic. It changes everything. It is true to where it comes from. The wine is so alive and has so much energy. I love every vintage, every wine. And my favorite food to go with it is Zuni’s roasted chicken; that is perfection right there.” ~ Raj Parr, on “food and wine”


“You may feel that you have eaten too much…But this pastry is like
feathers – it is like snow. It is in fact good for you, a digestive!” ~ MFK Fisher

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ~ Rumi

5a  9e  7a

11  12o  12m

9d  9b  9c

9  8f  13z


“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water,
is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…” ~ MFK Fisher


11f 23a 22a

20a  20c  20

 23ha  22g  23j

22  22d  22e


“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful:
in a word, more alive. ~ Alice Waters


 23ia 23i  24

30  26  27



Alexandra Silverman
Binta Ayofemi
Christopher Willits / composer
Deborah Butler / butoh dancer


Chefs, winemakers, food writers, food friends and designer/artists ~

Adam Sobel/RN74/ Little Italy
Alder Yarrow/Vinography
Andrew Browne/ Gary Danko
Tse/ The House, SF
Angelo Garro/ Omnivore Salt
Anthony Sueuga
Ashley McKinley
August Isidore Bernberg
Carole Borja
Careen Jackson/ Copain Wines
Chad Arnold/ Paul Marcus Wines
Daniel Patterson/Alta
Deb Durant
Diva Pyari/ Linea Carta
Ella Zafrir Ilan
Eric Rocher / Nuubia
Emily and Stephan Schindler/winemakers/Easkoot Cellars
Evan Goldstein
Eve Love
Ezra Chomak/ Terroir
The Grand Meringue
Hannah Hoffman/ Doughnut Dolly
Jessica Theroux
June Taylor/ June Taylor Jams
Reba Konte/ Red Bay Coffee
Kristen and Ted Talley/ Terra Firma Wines
Laura Werlin
Mara Kolesas/ Good Fit Style
Matthew Rorick/ winemaker/ Forlorn Hope
Michael Wallman
Paul Draper/ Ridge Vineyards
Pax Mahle / winemaker / Wind Gap / Agharta
Racheal Matthews
Rachel Konte/ OwlNWood
Rajat Parr/ Sandhi
Royal Borja Bernberg
Shelley Lindgren/A16 / SPQR
Stephen Yafa
Suzanne Drexhage/ Bartavelle
Timothy Felkner/ ORO
Tracey and Jared Brandt/ Donkey and Goat Winery


THANK YOU to photographers/images (above) from Alexander Black, David Coulter, and other friends’ snapshots; Joseph DeLappe’s Mouse Mandala, Kin Khao, and  the “morning after” with the Kitchen Sisters 2015 CD, Angelo Garro’s Omnivore Sicilia and a naughty cream Doughnut Dolly. Below Chez Panisse Collection images by Gabriel Harber, carrots on site at Chez Panisse, Daniel Patterson’s “beet rose” dish at COI, in SF; and a huge thank you to Katya Min and YBCA.



“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”  ~ Tom Waits, 1999.

0a  0c


“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. but in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body.  the heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment.the heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth,  the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air,  to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.  What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?” ~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

0i  0k  0m

above ~ my “lightness/weight collection,” part of Deb Durant’s 50/50 Light installation ~ (inspired by the idea of Adam Sobel’s millefeuill)


“History is as light as individual human life, unbearably light, light as a feather, as dust swirling into the air,
as whatever will no longer exist tomorrow.” ~ Milan Kundera


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