An Intimate Gallery

By Marina Rybak

If you are born in the sign of Cancer, precisely on the fourteenth of July, you may be thrilled to find out that you share your special day with Gustav Klimt. An Austrian Symbolist artist and co-founder of the Viennese Secession art movement at the turn of the 20th century sealed his world fame with The Kiss – a painting, considered as popular as Mona Lisa.


A recognizable evocative image has transcended time and continues to fascinate modern viewers. The Kiss is the crown jewel of the artist’s “Golden Phase”, inspired by his trips to Italy, especially the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna.

On a  perfectly square canvas,  rendered in oil, gold and silver leaf depict the lover’s embrace in a field of flowers.  The emotional intimacy of this eroticized moment, both sacred and profane is intensified by the ornamental contrast of two and three-dimensional realities. The world … ...Read more

By Marina Rybak

I have been in love with Paris as long as I can remember. Being here is a wish come true, and in July the city, minus a few locals, is as spellbinding as ever.

place-saint-sulpiceThe trade fairs are over, but while stepping away from the trend forums, why leave the city? The month is bookmarked by two quintessentially French events, steeped in pride and pageantry. What is left in between is an abundant cultural overload for personal picking and choosing.

La Fête Nationale or Le Quatorze Juillet ((the fourteenth of July) celebrates the storming of the Bastille. The festivities of Bastille Day, as known to an English speaker, commence with plenty of pomp and circumstance around the Champs-Elysées, culminating with fireworks spectacular.

tout-de-france1The final day of Le Tour de France on July 21 promises to be exhilarating, especially this year, the 100th anniversary of this prestigious … ...Read more

By Marina Rybak


There are very few places left in this brave new virtual world of ours where the values set for the entire community is built around the support of artistic expression, channeled through the hands of an artisan.  The enchanting island of Madeira is such a haven, renowned for its distinct style of hand embroidery.

“The Pearl of the Atlantic” was discovered and settled during the Age of Exploration in the 15th century. Situated in the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean on the major sea routes between Europe, the Americas and Africa, this lush, natural wonder with the best temperate climate in the world, is a picture-perfect template for Fantasy or Treasure Island.


Its tradition of hand embroidery goes back to the Madeira historic origins, but it is during the mid-19th century that this handcraft gained its international acclaim. The unique examples of the local embroidery were … ...Read more

By Marina Rybak


My summer meanderings in Harlem, the hippest destination of savvy globetrotters, were long overdue. My stars were lining up. An enticing underpinnings exhibit lured me into the oldest New York residence just above Sugar Hill, The Morris-Jumel Mansion.


Sylvan-TerraceI always wanted to teleport myself into another place and time in an instant.  I had my lucky break. I felt like Alice in Wonderland when I took a left turn from St. Nicholas Avenue up the stone steps to Sylvan Terrace on the edge of Washington Heights. For a split second I thought I was in the Artist’s Village of Alésia in Montparnasse. A few steps up the original cobblestones along 19th century raw houses, I was approaching Colonial America.


George Washington’s bedchambers in the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion

The historic Morris-Jumel Mansion was George Washington’s headquarters during the autumn of 1776. On the eve of Independence Day … ...Read more

By Marina Rybak


“Who is Carol Doda?” – I asked when her name seemed to pop out of thin air in the fleeting chitchat with a friend. The revealing bits of her cultural “pedigree” were too irresistibly provocative to skip and pass by. I had to know more.


Equipped with my inquisitive sleuthing skills, I embarked on the trail of the San Francisco homegrown, groundbreaking striptease artist who shook up the city in the 60’s, officially placing topless entertainment on the national map.

Claiming, “I am kind of shy”, Carol Doda was not a typical blond bombshell. A 19 year-old cocktail waitress and an aspiring actress turned lounge entertainer whipped up a revolution of sorts on the night of June 19, 1964 at the fabled Condor Club in the North Beach area of San Francisco.

It all began when she wore famed Rudi Gernreich’s Topless Swimsuit to spice up her … ...Read more

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