In a cursed moment of rage, during an exciting but toxic romance, I wrenched angrily out of a taxi and left a sketchbook I had filled over three weeks, never-to-be replaced moments in a freewheeling festival of discovery as I fell in love with Istanbul. I had arranged with Turkish Tourism to draw Turkey and put it up on my website in return for accommodation from cooperating hotels. So, as always, all depended on my art. Horrified and bereft, I began this new sketchbook, drawing frontically in an attempt to replace the lost child.
These drawings were the beginning of a spectacular drawing experience, to flower in the following sketchbook, Book 3b: Kapadokya.
Am early take on the famous lamps of Kybele Hotel. The collection was started by Mike, who started Kybele Hotel in the early 1990s with his brothers. The collection is now widely imitated, but not with such unique and beautiful lamps. The hotel, under different owners, still has over 2000 lamps hanging from most of its ceilings.
Disaster!! In a cursed moment, I wrenched out of a taxi in front of the Yerebatan Sarnici and left my sketchbook… from the last 3 weeks. Despite all efforts it has not yet turned up. Drawing this new one has been like trying to conceive after a miscarriage. Yet I must continue… I have left Istanbul to placate the gods… this has ceased to be anything but serious. — Kapadokya 9 October 1999 — Kubilay & Serkan over Chess. Waterpipe Cafe, Istanbul 4 October ’99.
Mike watching me draw him @Antique 4 October ’99—— At Mike’s restaurant. Everyone was very upset over the loss of my sketchbook, which they had proudly watched evolve. We mourned it for years but it never turned up.
—Has been in Istanbul 1 1/2 years. Took all information on my ill-fated cab-ride & gave me this meditation mantra for the return of the sketchbook — LA ELAHE ILLALLAH La Ilahe Illallah — LA-None ELIHA-But ILLALA-Allah Some argument bout spelling, but I think Allah can hear even if it is misspelled.——First meeting with Edip, a devout and much-respected Dervish. He became a cherished and valuable friend for years, running interference with two landlords and encouraging my art in every way. He is now whirling with his fellow Dervishes in Paradise.
THE BOTTLE SHOP
—Like holding a bit of air — 5 October 1999 — Shop in the Bazaar — Mike & Braunwyn — Actia; size Gaia figure (traced.)—— Mike, who owned Kybele Hotel with his brothers, went to the Grand Bazaar every day for thirty years, often trailing a group of bedazzled Western tourists. This was one of them. Here’s my Roman Tear Jar, which I bought that day in the shop. The top rotted off, but I repaired it with papier-mache.
—Blue House Mavi Ev — The view @ breakfast: Blue Mosque from the Blue House (Mavi Ev)——My arrangement with Turkish Travel included free hotel stays in return for my work, which encouraged Tourism. The Blue House is owned by The Pudding Shop, and I lived there two weeks. At right, Nizam dancing.
Kurdish tribal dancing — Caveman: There’s a popular theory here that Turks are descended from Neanderthal Man rather than our Cro-Magnon ancestor. This gives them their legendary… Strength & valor & is the reason some proudly call themselves “cavemen”— I don’t know what these people are made of but they can keep up with anything in life——-
Built on the Bosporus by Sultan Abdulaziz in the mid-19thCentury, Çirağan Palace is now a swank hotel.
FAMILY AT A WEDDING
—Wedding at Çirağan Palace party — Ibrahim & Family—— I don’t know who this fellow was, but I was told it would be politic for my friends if I drew him. I didn’t mind, he had a nice family.
ÇIRAĞAN (pronounced “Chiran”) PALACE: Ottoman splendor, now a hotel. Friends had one magnificent wedding——
“I want your daughter” — This adorable little 7-year-old flirt asked his handsome father how to say this to me in English- one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever had. I don’t have a daughter. — Nizam — Ibrahim —-
Abidin in Tango with his daughter — A seven-course dinner with cutlery to match. “Didn’t you tell me you grew up under a bridge in Sultanahmet?” I asked Nizam, “where did you learn these beautiful table manners?” He hunched over, cut his eyes sideways to right and left, and said, “Along the way.”
Impossible to describe the loveliness of the balmy night, the moon, the gorgeous panoplied palace, the distant lights over the water, and at the top of the wide staircase, this voluptuous violinist.
— Grabbed the sketchbook out of my hand & scrawled this — Actually looks like this—— Now I hold on harder to my sketchbook.
BRIDE & GROOM
— Hussein & Katherine—— And two rows of crossed swords under the fireworks.
—“Baba* ABIDIN has Dedem, a fish restaurant in Kumkapi & dances a mean tango — *Means “Papa’ —— Nizam’s first boss from when he was a kid in Sultanahmet.
AT THE RECEPTION
— Nice girl. How can anyone be expected to belly-dance in platforms? Really!! But nobody cared. Why are all the belly dancers blond? — Abidin & the father of the groom—— Actually it’s much easier to quiver your hips when up on your toes. The real experts dance flat-footed which is infinitely harder but builds better muscles and looks infinitely more graceful.
I quite liked Katherine, who had grown up much like I did, but in France rather than in Los Angeles. At the reception, the groom’s best friend, my boyfriend Nizam, held up my gift to her, which he had chosen at a cruise-type store, and loudly announced what it had cost. Mortified, I said to her, “I was not raised this way.” “Neither was I,” she said. They didn’t stay together— and neither did we. But it was a glorious wedding.
CAT TRIBE & ALEXANDER
— SIDON’S TOMB: “The Alexander Sarcophagus” This bas-relief is so deep that most of the figures practically stand alone. — Snoozing poots – whoops— cats- Month-old kittens from the archeology museum — Cat tribe of 30 or so… they hang out in the sculpture garden next the WC & are well-cared for —ALWAYS ALEXANDER—— This famous bust was created in the century after the death of Alexander the Great, probably a copy, but the Sarcophagus is contemporary with Alexander. The bust shows traces of golden paint in the hair.
— Archeological Museum — 470-480 [BCE] from Sidon KNEECAP MUMMY CASE —- All I can say is “why?”
ÇIÇI & THE WATERPIPE CAFE
—*pronounced “Chee-Chee” Your host at the Waterpipe Cafe — “Enjoy your life! Now boys, don’t be jealous!” Octavia?* In the Archaeological Museum: *Walled her daughter, Livilla, up alive to punish her for an affair with the captain of the Paretorian Guard (Patrick Stewart in the 1976 miniseries “I, Claudius.”)
ÇIÇI & THE WATERPIPE CAFE
— Only in Turkey! Green & purple velvet cellphone cozy — Presumed OCTAVIA, ÇIÇI, &THE WATER-PIPE CAFE——Juxtapositions like these kept me coming back. Çiçi moved on. The Waterpipe later changed its name to Enjoyer Cafe.
— Portal of Sultans, maurauding Crusaders, Empresses… & me. These great center door is original, built from wood: part of Noah’s ark, as legend has it, and also include a piece of the True Cross.
These doors have been much in the news since Hagia Sophia’s conversion to a mosque in 2020. We must hope that they are repaired and protected. They’ve survived far worse since 537 CE.
AYASOFYA ENTRANCE WEST
— AYASOFYA – DOORS —— The great Western entrance of Hagia Sophia, Church of Holy Wisdom, built from 532-537 AD under Emperor Justinian, consecrated in Christianity in 537.