shopping 01.26.11

Walking Off the Big Apple

Stylish protection bags for your laptop, cell phone, iPad, camera, and the rest of your gear.

Boa Push, $89.95
Booq makes so many cool-looking bags, it's hard to pick one.
This design holds an iPad and iPhone.

Asian Umbrella and Asian Cherry Blossom, $69.99 each
These distinctive and appealing camera and lens bags are from Janine King Designs. Many other styles, too.

Laptop Sling, $50
Built NY sells this neoprene, Alexander Girard-patterned design
with the hourglass shape.

Ritual, $180
Matt & Nat's vegan leather laptop bag, with 100% recycled suede lining. Comes in blue, black, and red.

Muzetto, $179-$259
No one makes more durable bags than San Francisco's WaterField, combined with great design and equally superior customer service. Seriously, worth every penny.

Funchico Vintage Laptop Case, $99
It's pink and beige herringbone tweed on the exterior but, of course, it's the shape everyone will notice first. For all its retro goodness, there's a padded laptop sleeve.

Europa Messenger, $99
The grandaddy of the messenger bag trade, Manhattan Portage still makes rock-solid, road-tested goods and occasionally steps out with an offering like this 100% waterproof vinyl tarp design by Andrea Rosso.

Dreadful Embarrassment, $105
The funniest bag names, reliable quality, and irresistible designs are the hallmark of Crumpler. Not interested in the Embarrassment line? How about The Brazillion Dollar Home? The SoupanSalad? The Headaitch?

The Designer Flair, $99.99
The San Fran company Acme Made has an unmistakable flair. This is their most popular bag, using designer textiles in six styles.

Checkpoint Flyer, $220
This popular briefcase from Seattle's Tom Bihn is checkpoint ready: it allows screeners a clear view of the laptop while it's still in the bag.
Top quality, made in the USA.

Where can I learn to samba? Answer

Travels to Acapulco

Cultural and literary notes, plus self-guided walks, courtesy of Walking Off the Big Apple, a strolling guide to New York City.

At the Morgan Library and Museum:
The Kasper Collection and The Diary

Mannerism and Modernism: The Kasper Collection of Drawings and Photographs
Through May 1, 2011

The New York-born fashion designer Kasper (Herbert Kasper, b. 1926) may be best known for his collection of feminine dresses for Joan Leslie, but his private collection of drawings and photographs, a selection of which is currently on display at The Morgan Library and Museum, celebrates his keen eye for art. In building the impressive collection, Kasper did not acquire works indiscriminately but focused on three primary areas - Old Master drawings, mostly in the sixteenth century Mannerist period; twentieth-century drawings of the likes of Picasso, Degas, Matisse, and Dubuffet; and works of contemporary photography by emerging artists, many of whom became established art world names.

The latter collection of contemporary photographs is quite stunning in context. While we would expect to see a fine drawing from a student of Raphael or of Caravaggio at the Morgan, a museum with a deep collection in Old Master drawings, it's a pleasant jolt to walk into the West Gallery at Mr. Morgan's place to see works by Ed Ruscha, Vera Lutter, William Eggleston, Jenny Holzer, Adam Fuss, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Furthermore, they've mixed it up in the East Gallery, so an Italian drawing of an angel circa 1598 by Andrea Lilio shares wall space with a 1997 Vik Muniz chromogenic print of a work made with chocolate syrup. Why not? Splendid, too, are the cubist drawings, grouped together, by Picasso, Gris, and Léger.

The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives
January 21 through May 22, 2011

Not that we like to invade anyone's privacy, but it's fun to peer through the Morgan's glass cases and read the innermost thoughts of famous writers and artists. In an age of blogging and status updates, the ubiquitous habit of public over-sharing of private information in the digital realm makes an exhibit of original diaries particularly relevant. There's a great variety of form and content here, including Charlotte Brontë's minuscule handwriting and storytelling, John Steinbeck's large ledger tracking his progress on The Grapes of Wrath, war diaries, artist sketchbooks, Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne's mutual marriage diary, Bob Dylan's sketchbook for a 1973-1974 tour, and Tennessee Williams's restless wanderings filled with self-doubt and Secanol. Many life lessons are found within these pages. My eyes happened to land on Steinbeck's handwritten words of wisdom - "Simply can't have people around on working days." That's something best shared only with a diary.

The Morgan Library and Museum is located at 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street. Check the website for visitor information and special events related to the exhibitions.

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