Sandy and Christine Kemper of The Collectors Fund organized a select group to make a road trip to see my exhibition at the Beach Museum in Manhattan, Kansas and then dine together at Cafe Beautiful in Lawrence. We gathered at 1pm at the Collectors Fund offices in Kansas City, boarded our van, and started out on what turned out to be a VERY short two-hour drive to Manhattan and the Beach! Lunch and champagne were served almost immediately — delicious beef and chicken sandwiches, grilled veggies and dip, chips, candy-dipped cherries and more. As the first three bottles of champagne were emptied, the conversation grew a bit… Livelier? LOL! FUN, fun, fun!!!
Senior Curator of the Beach, Bill North, met us and guided the group through a tour of the permanent collection. I THINK everyone got to see the exhibition rooms with my work, but I’m really not sure because a reporter for the K-State newspaper, Hanna Blick was waiting to interview me… I think I talk WAY too much — she had LOTS of questions and I enjoyed looking at the work with her and describing my various processes and techniques and what interested me about each… When we finished, Bill gave us a tour of the museum’s extensive storage for works on paper, paintings, his office which was FULL of books and articles and lots of stuff organized in piles on his desk and bookshelves and floor and everywhere — lots to look at in there! And in one of the file drawers he showed the large 10-drawing proof sheet I’d made over several months with different approaches to “Jessica Paper Doll” — it was a thrill to see that again after some months and I appreciated it much more. I realized that I’ve been missing it!
I was pretty tired as we boarded the van for a 90 minute drive to Lawrence, Kansas for a special dinner at Chef Ken Sukan’s ‘secret’ Cafe Beautiful. Sandy and Christine had been raving about the Cafe for months. Reservations must be made at least six weeks in advance. Even though Cafe Beautiful does no advertising and doesn’t even have a sign out front, it seats only six (seven for us) and is very populer. Now I understand ‘why’! WOW! Chef Sukan was born in Korea and trained there, in Japan, in China, Taiwan, France, and decided to move to Lawrence, Kansas after folding a map of the United States in half both ways and Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas, was exactly at the center. He spends eight or nine months a year serving two to six guests in two seatings daily and the rest of the time he travels and teaches cooking and his special ‘Midwest’ sushi technique.
Cafe Beautiful shares the second floor of a downtown Lawrence storefront at 728 1/2 Massachusetts Street (785-84307423). The other tenant is a very smokey bar aptly named Hookah House where (duh) people sit and smoke tobacco from hookah pipes, drink, and chat away.
Dinner was relaxed and elegant in eight beautifully designed courses. Although I was exhausted when we entered, when the first course arrived I woke right up! It was all delicious and gorgeously plated! Really wonderful dining in an unusual setting and the best company. Chef Sukan made it all look easy and this was the perfect finish to a long and wonderful day. Two minutes after we arrived home, I was sound asleep and felt just great in the morning (which is truly amazing given the mass quantities of champagne, wine, and sake I consumed throughout the day)!!!
THANKS so much Sandy and Christine for organizing this — you were GREAT hosts!