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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Here's Lookin' At You Gorgeous

Uploaded: Jan 1, 2015
If you raised a glass in celebration of the holiday or New Year, think back.

Did you actually look at the person whose glass you ching-chinged? Have you ever looked into the eyes of others at your table while toasting to their health and good cheer?

It's a new practice in my circles. I don't remember who started deep eyes, but it's fast become a fun, silly, important part of the tradition. "Meaningful eye contact," someone called it. Friends still respond awkwardly with big eyes and silly faces, but clinking glasses wouldn't be the same without it.

We can see clearly now.

The Wall Street Journal reports nothing specific about the toast, but in a 2013 article it does say "adults make eye contact between 30% and 60% of the time in the average conversation, instead of the 60% to 70% (preferred) to create a sense of emotional connection." San Francisco-based Decker Communications suggests, "holding eye contact for 7 to 10 seconds in a one-on-one conversation, and for 3 to 5 seconds in a group setting."

I tried this all out on my family over the holiday. Wine, water, whiskey, milk - it doesn't matter.

"Meaningful eye contact everyone; look directly at the person you are toasting."

Every time, same response: wide eyes, nervous laughter, but with better connection somehow. Lasting. I want to do it more. Deep eyes reach in and touch souls.

So gorgeous? Is that fun and joy I see sparkling up your 2015 eyes?

Here's lookin' at you kid.

Speaking of eyes worth staring into, below are a few, recently photographed at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Saved from being sold to pay off a city recovering from bankruptcy, the DIA houses a surprisingly accessible and extensive collection of impressive art. Guess what famous DIA housed artist or painting these eyes belong to, or return to The Food Party! in a couple days for a list of the answers.

It did my heart good to drive around and see all the great things happening in downtown Detroit. Though parts still look like a war zone, other parts are really cleaning up. The city has terrific old buildings worth preserving. Go Detroit!

What is it worth to you?


Posted by A Single Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 1, 2015 at 10:02 am

Happy New Year, Laura!

Okay, I'll submit my DIA guesses, didn't consult the Internet.

1. Dutch/Flemish master
2. Post-modern
3. Impressionist, maybe Monet
4. Andy Warhol, portrait of Chairman Mao
5. Picasso
6. Impressionist, maybe Mary Cassatt

Thanks for another entertaining column!


Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Jan 1, 2015 at 10:24 am

A Single Guy, Happy New Year to ya! I love the fact that you didn't consult internet. You are spot on with the Andy Warhol. I'll let/hope a few others weigh in before we add more info.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jan 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Lacking more art aficionados, the paintings and artists will be coming up here: Web Link

Posted by Gene, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jan 2, 2015 at 10:05 pm

I can't name the paintings, but will take a guess at the artists, (based on the technique/ type of brush strokes used, an what I remember of them.)

1. The eyes look familiar, but I cannot place them. But my guess it is from a Reuben's.
2. No idea.
3. Van Gogh, I think maybe a self portrait.
4. I agree with he first post, Andy Wharhol.
5. An impressionist, my guess it is a Matisse.
6. For some reason, for some reason, I am thinking it is from a Renoir.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jan 3, 2015 at 7:17 am

Ooooo Gene Geney, you are what we are looking for. #3 is the famous self portrait - Van Gogh. Let's let a few others weigh in on the rest.

Posted by A Single Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 3, 2015 at 11:48 am

Well, I got the style (Impressionism) right for #3, not the author.

I'm changing my guess on #1. I say it's a 19th century American painter, not Dutch/Flemish.

#2 just seems to be on the tip of my tongue, it would likely be a well-known 20th century European, somewhere between 1925-1945 my guess.

Gene's guess of Renoir for #6 is good, another Impressionist like Mary Cassatt. Hard to tell so close up, but it looks like a child's face.

A little more of the painting would make it easier, but it's fun trying to guess with so little to go with!

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jan 4, 2015 at 8:14 am

Ok Gene Geney, (your new David Bowie + Food Party! pen name), I have to give you kudos for your next impressive guess. #6 is Renoir - The White Pierrot. See info here: Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jan 5, 2015 at 7:38 am

For our next reveal - #1 - the hardest of all, and A Single Guy - You pegged it! Not as famous as the rest - but those eyes! Flemish painter Frans Pourbus the Younger, Portrait of Giovanni Battista Marino, c. 1621. See painting here:Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jan 6, 2015 at 8:07 am

Today's reveal is #2. Though none of our Food party! Art History Experts pegged it - A Single Guy got the year. (Food Party! readers are smart) It is Pablo Picasso, Girl Reading. See photo here: Web Link

Posted by A Single Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 6, 2015 at 8:52 am

Well, I was close, but many art historians consider the start of post-modernism at the end of WWII (starting with abstract expressionism), so I missed it by a few years.

Not surprised to learn this is Picasso as he was very prolific and explored more styles than any other artist in history.

I'm pleased that my original gut feeling about #1 being a Dutch/Flemish master was right! Trust your instincts!

Posted by da benjamins, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Jan 6, 2015 at 12:55 pm

#1 says "Ben Franklin" to me, though the artist was clearly ahead of his time!

Guessed 3 was Gogh.

oh, well....

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Jan 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

For our last reveal, #5 is Coffee, Henri Matisse, 1916, oil on canvas. Nice job Gene. See painting here: Web Link

Posted by A Single Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 7, 2015 at 8:41 am

Congratulations Gene, you're the champion!

Posted by SP Phil, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Jan 7, 2015 at 4:21 pm

What ever happened to the comma between "You" and "Gorgeous" that belongs in the title of this article?

The comma sets off the "name" of the person to whom the question is directed.

More and more I see this important comma omitted.

Are there editors/proof readers at the Voice? At least the title should be correct.

Posted by Gene (Geney), a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jan 8, 2015 at 1:31 am

I never would have thought the extra time I spent one day at the Jeu de Paume, waiting for the rain to stop, would have helped me so many years later.

I started to second guess myself on some, but thought it better to not make any ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Glad I didn't.
As A Single Guy stated, "Trust your instincts!".

The eyes of the first painting, which I thought looked familiar, I was trying to remember what they were similar to, in the portriats I've seen at the SF Legion of Honor. Like A Single Guy, I was thinking either the American portrait artists like Copley or Church, or the Flemish artists. But the level of detail kept me thinking Flemish/Dutch. Went with one of the three names I remembered (but misspelled). It turns out there is a portrait by Pourbus the Younger in the collection. I didn't remember his name. Still would have guessed the wrong artist.

For #2, First thought it might be by a Fauvist, but the colors didn't seem right. For some reason, I didn't think it was a Picasso. So it stumped me.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Jan 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

I am really impressed with you guys for your art knowledge, and your party play. Thanks for making this week fun! Gene Geney - love the new name :)

SP Phil: You are right (and my editor by the way - The Food Party! is made whole by our community editors.) However I write for the visual and for the word. The comma just doesn't look good in the title. Crazy, eh? But at least there was a comma that time!

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