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CEO of Parasole Restaurant Holdings
I can’t tell the difference between traveling for work or pleasure anymore. You’re in a restaurant, eating great food—are you having fun? Damn right you are. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Berlin (especially the east side)—they have a lot of grit. I love that. The Wolfgang Pucks of the world haven’t arrived yet. I’ll go to these places and have a hit list of about 25 restaurants. Sometimes it’s a bust; sometimes you get a great idea. In Argentina, I spent a lot of time in Mendoza, the base of wine country. Now, I’m a protein kind of guy; I’m not much for nuts and berries. And Argentina is the world’s biggest meat-eating culture. But it’s not just about eating meat, it’s about scale: big and ballsy and bold. They have parrillas, a grill or steakhouse, where they cook these hunks of cow on gigantic grills. You can’t tell if you’re eating testicles or tongues, brains or balls. And the scale carries over to the flavors. So it’s fitting that they use a gigantic carving knife, almost a machete, to cut the meat. About two years ago, I was at Cabaña Las Lilas, a restaurant in Buenos Aires, right on the water. There’s this primal attitude there, very lusty—it’s not embarrassing to eat with your hands. And I was watching the butchers use this enormous knife. I was so impressed with these guys whacking that meat. It was like Manny’s on steroids. After a couple bottles of Malbec, I decided to bring that knife back. In my broken Spanish, I bought it right from the restaurant. It has more to do with fantasies of being covered with blood than actually using it. I keep it in a big drawer in my kitchen. And I make sure to keep the blade covered.
Dr. Eric Jolly
President, Science Museum of Minnesota
In February 2009 I was invited to Brussels for a meeting of the European Union on the role of science education. The available hotel was the Metropole, the site of the first Solvay Conference in 1911. It was remarkable both for who was in attendance and for its suggestions of the future of science. Madame Curie had won her second Nobel Prize; three more attendees would get their Nobel Prizes soon, including Einstein. I noticed the room where the conference had been held and inquired about it at the desk. They had copies of the photograph taken of the attendees and I bought two prints, one for my office and one for my stepson. The photograph has so many rich storylines: the passing of the torch between scientists, the seedling of great ideas. It was a time when the public was still involved in science, even as a hobby, the days when Edison was doing demonstrations in his living room. We’re starting to see that again—a public that cares about science education.
Director and president, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This is a reliquary from probably the late 19th or early 20th century. A lot of religions use parts of the body to represent the whole, and reliquaries are often in the shape of whatever the piece of the body was. I’m assuming this would have been for part of an arm bone. Obviously, when I acquired it, the saint’s bone was long gone. I assume it is a far-removed, lesser saint, keeping in mind that there are relics literally everywhere, all over the world. You can buy saints’ relics on eBay—not that I have! There are lots to go around. When I go? I’d like to be left someplace meaningful, as long as it’s legal. I’m such a rule-follower. The idea of someone putting me where I’m not supposed to be—you’d think by that point in my life I wouldn’t care. I acquired the reliquary in 2006. I was in Mexico City with a group of museum directors, having our annual meeting. And I was looking around some stores that specialized in antiques and folk art. I remember taking it back to the hotel and running into some of my colleagues in the lobby and sort of unwrapping it and saying, “Look what I found!” None of them were that impressed or running out to get one for themselves. In my living room, I have a Blu Dot shelf that’s filled with body parts: the reliquary and Brazilian ex-votos—carved body parts. Someone who breaks their leg will buy it in the street from a craftsman, very inexpensive, and leave it in a church in the hopes of healing. You’ll find stomachs, breasts, arms, legs, heads. Nobody has ever said a word about the fact that I have this collection.