Human Flower Project
Friday, May 25, 2012
Monsieur Oscar’s Fast Food
From “Please, Don’t Eat the Daisies” to “Holy Motors,” devouring flowers takes on a sinister new flavor.
A wild image of French actor Denis Lavant is making the rounds this week. Have you seen it? Eyes crossed and bare chest exposed beneath his jacket, he is running down the street chomping a bundle of red daisies.
Lavant portrays an ogre known mysteriously (and wittily) as Monsieur Oscar in Holy Motors, a new film by Leos Carax that just screened to applause and boos at the Cannes Film Festival.
One critic explains, “Mr. Oscar advances through his list of jobs – an old beggar woman, an assassin, a businessman, a father, a dying old man, a deranged, violent monster who eats flowers and kidnaps supermodels.”
In this age of downsizing, Mr. O demonstrates admirable resilience and quite a lot of energy, a far more entrepreneurial route than our own jagged career path. The list of unremunerated occupations lengthens, but “assassin” presumably still pays well.
Denis Lavant as Monsieur Oscar in Holy Motors
Photo: Cannes Film Festival/European Pressphoto Agency
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Colombian Flowers: Duty-Free Again
The new Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia went into effect yesterday. Colombian flowers are that country’s major export to the U.S. and have gobbled up the U.S. market since the early 1990s.
Sizing and sorting roses: a worker at Elite greenhouse in Facatativa, Colombia.
Interest in locally grown U.S. flowers is swelling into advocacy, “the 50-mile bouquet” gaining the moral high ground from organics (though many a producer who grows for nearby markets uses organic methods, too).
Meanwhile, the machineries of global government and big business roar ahead.
Yesterday, a shipment of 4,200 boxes filled with 1.2 million Colombian flowers arrived at Miami International Airport duty free. On May 15 the new Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia, a deal 12 years in the making, went into effect, and Colombia’s first export was a cargo plane of blooms from nine megafarms.
Colombian flowers had already “enjoy[ed] preferential tariffs” in the U.S. – part of a 20-year strategy to divert Colombian growers from coca production. Augusto Solano, president of the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, said that U.S. market now receives 76% of its exports.
But Miami Herald writer Mimi Whitefield explains that deal “lapsed last year just before Valentine’s Day and wasn’t renewed until October . In the meantime, Miami flower importers had to pay tariffs on flowers imported from Colombia and Ecuador, resulting in an extra $2.5 million a month in duties.”
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Araceli’s Flowers on a Seat of Honor
The patron saint of Lucena inspires a distinctive floral outpouring from the faithful of Southern Spain.
The Virgin of Araceli, patroness of Lucena, Spain, dressed in typical Andalusian costume
Photo: Oracion Año Jubilar
On the first weekend in May, residents of Lucena, Spain, make splendid veneration of their town’s patron saint the Virgin of Araceli.
This year the celebration promises to be especially lavish and well attended as it marks a “jubilee,” 450 years since the sacred statue came to Lucena from Rome. The town stretches out its season of celebration from April 30 forward (May is the traditional month of Mary), though Saturday May 5 is climactic: the major procession, will involve the formal offerings of flowers to Our Lady, as the statue moves from a shrine on the outskirts of town through the city to the church downtown.
“As usual, the procession will depart from Paseo de Rojas, and conclude in the Parish of San Mateo, which is home to the Lady of Lucena.
Friday, May 04, 2012
Hold onto the Moment
Silver trophies are a cinch, but what if your moment of triumph is crowned with flowers? A Danville, Kentucky, florist has a high-tech solution.
Jockey John Velazquez and 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom wearing his wreath of roses.
Tomorrow they’ll run the 138th Kentucky Derby in Louisville with great fanfare and millions of dollars on the line (but let’s hope, not the life of a thoroughbred racehorse as in 2008).
Called “the greatest two minutes in sports,” the Derby in Louisville now stretches to more than two weeks of festivity, and for breeders and trainers, preparing a three-year-old for the event can involve a lifetime of experience, investment and, of course luck.
No wonder winners want to hang onto the wreath of roses, the floral mantle every Derby winner gets to wear after the race.
Greg Kocher of the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote a good feature article on Molly’s Flowers and Things, a Danville flower shop that has been freeze drying floral trophies and other mementos for nearly 20 years. Her first client from the world of racing was W.T. Young. The owner of Overbrook Farm outside Lexington had Molly Jacobus “preserve the white carnations that Tabasco Cat took at the Belmont Stakes.” Two years later, when his horse Grindstone won the Derby, Young hired Molly to preserve the wreath of roses. Many of the winning owners since have done the same.