Nirmala Nataraj

SF Station Writer

Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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Say Goodbye to Yesterday’s Pampering
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 17, 2007)
So you’ve been around the block a few times: you’ve done the speedy 45-minute mani/pedi combo, you faithfully visit your neighborhood aesthetician every four weeks, and you’ve found the perfect massage therapist (one you’ve decided to keep a secret from even your dearest associates). In short, you have all your pampering bases covered. But even the most discriminating spa connoisseur could benefit from a one-stop place to indulge -- whether you want a quick lunchtime fix or an afternoon of luxury -- that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Muni accessibility doesn’t hurt, either. More »
Not Tame Enough
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 19, 2007)
Of everything in Shakespeare’s oeuvre, "The Taming of the Shrew" tends to score the fewest points among the modern literati. Never mind the rollicking, ribald humor and the pun-y gesticulations of what may be the Bard’s most audacious set of characters -- the play is caustic and misogynistic, which automatically calls for a little bowdlerizing, at least in most contemporary versions. More »
The Perfect Out-of-Town Recharge
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 19, 2007)
Mendocino County has become one of the most vaunted areas in California for romantic weekend expeditions, and for good reason. Take Heritage House Inn -- a beautiful cliffside hamlet in the diminutive borough of Little River, California, that offers 37 acres of majestic solitude from the riff-raff of city life. More »
Prepare for Enchantment
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 13, 2007)
Whether or not you were the kind of kid who practiced pulling a bunny out of a hat ad infinitum for third-grade show and tell, most of us have likely been indoctrinated with the idea that magic is a serious business. That would, after all, explain the pinched expressions of concentration that have graced patricians of spectacle like the Davids (Copperfield and Blaine) for eons. And sure, there’s virtue in spectacle -- particularly when accompanied by Las Vegas pyrotechnics and nubile assistants -- but it’s hard not to extricate megalomaniacal stunts from the hyuk-hyuk ridicule that’s invariably heaped upon their makers. More »
A Glimpse into an Icon’s Closet
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 29, 2007)
Coquettes and style mavens, take note -- 2007 has been a most fitting time for exhibitions that feature clothing. The de Young Museum recently enjoyed a popular exhibition on the legacy of the doyenne of hipness herself, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Now, the museum dovetails on the success of the Westwood event with an exhibition celebrating the very impressive wardrobe of another aesthetic arbiter: Nan Kempner. More »
Summer Away from the City
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 29, 2007)
Summers in the city are always hit or miss. Weather reports often augur gorgeous weather after a day or two of unexpected sunshine, but we all know that just because it’s June, it doesn’t mean diddly-squat. A few hours of balminess might give you gleeful intimations of the French Riviera, but I dare you to drive to the other side of the city, and the banks of fog will make you feel like you’re marooned on a Scandinavian fjord. And don’t even get me started on the necessity of dressing in layers. More »
An Authentic Taste of San Francisco Luxury
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 06, 2007)
While the summer months may have some of us all prepped for vacation plans in balmy coastal areas or more exotic terrains, others are more than a little accustomed to the occasional stream of visitors who find themselves strangely entranced with the City by the Bay. More »
Wellness Beckons
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 01, 2007)
For harried city-dwellers, Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue is like a sojourn to another time -- one where residents stop to greet each other to chat about the weather, and it’s safe enough to keep your doors unlocked. But the quaint, small-town feel is assuaged quite a bit by the spattering of chicness: hip yoga studios, used book stores, antique shops, and stylish fine dining populate the area with a relaxed elegance that make Piedmont Avenue an apt backdrop for a place like Meditrina World Healing Spa. More »
A Dark Rendition
By Nirmala Nataraj (Apr 24, 2007)
If you’ve never actually read Charles Dickens’ [b]Oliver Twist[/b], which is perhaps the most paradigmatic rags-to-riches story ever written, well…consider yourself at home. As adulated as Dickens is among the populist echelons and the fusty literati set, his erudite moral fables of industrial England gone bad are a little timeworn, a little too simplistic in our postmodern era of six billion people and clashing metanarratives. And with all the sentimental stage and screen revivals (particularly the 1963 film version, with its hum-worthy ditties and loveable rapscallions), it’s easy to write [b]OT[/b] off as just another feel-good yarn. More »
Open for Interpretation
By Nirmala Nataraj (Apr 17, 2007)
Walking up the stairs to the Intersection for the Arts gallery, potential spectators might be somewhat bewildered at the sight that greets them; coating the steps is a sheet of white felt, covered with ostensibly Persian names, in dispassionate block letters. Among the more obscure appellations, one can pick out “Saddam” and “Osama” almost instantly, as the eye’s natural tendency is to wander to what’s recognizable and fill it out with familiar meaning. In some ways, you can say that’s the very crux of Taraneh Hemami’s collection of installation work, "Most Wanted". More »
Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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