Affectionate Pink

February is already here and, as always, tinted with a strong touch of red and pink dictated by Valentine’s Day.

I consider pink as the “gray” of red and white because of its gradations from pale to hot pink. Pink is not diluted red, but the transition from pink to red. Consequently, it does not symbolize for me a diluted love, but rather the possibility of growing into love. It has a strong association with the affectionate feelings of mine: for places, for persons, or for groups of people. Considering that Valentine’s Day is coming soon, this post is about my feelings colored in pink.

The first stream of my warm pink goes to Bohemia, a colorful shop which was always filled to the brim with art and crafts created by local artists of Tucson. I was proud being one of them. Tana Kelch led this small enterprise with great gusto for an entire nine years. First in the Lost Barrio and most recently on Broadway Boulevard near Country Club.

Sign and parking lot in front of Bohemia, Tucson, Arizona

Outside Bohemia

Inside the former Bohemia, Tucson, AZ

Inside Bohemia - from their website

I had always strong affection for Bohemia because of its spirit, philosophy and hospitality. I was happy to see its large logo visible from a distance while driving on Broadway towards downtown or back from it. I was happy with its success and I thought that Bohemia would be there forever. When I shopped there for last Christmas, I did not realize that it would be my last shopping there, but it was!

On January 19th Tana announced in her newsletter the closing of Bohemia:

“There are so many emotions as Bohemia was more than just a business to me and, I hope, to you. Alas, it was a business and the end is an unfortunate sign of the times. These years have been an incredible journey and I thank you for the lessons and successes and experiences that were part of the Bohemia world.”

I was shocked and terribly sad. How could this be? It was hard for me to imagine this spot on Broadway without Bohemia…so I went there and took some photos.

Bohemia entrance door and closer view of stickers on it

Bohemia's front entrance and closer view of spirited stickers

I will miss dropping by to pick up Zócalo and Tucson Weekly and to browse for a while among the amazing and amusing objects that people can create. I will miss buying them for a variety of occasions, excited that my friends will enjoy receiving original gifts created by local artists. I will miss the parties there with music and wine, its eclectic crowd, and true bohemian atmosphere.

Farewell Bohemia, thank you Tana! The memory of Bohemia lives in several charming objects in our house — like a colorful bench, some small ceramics and my funky bracelets. They are more valuable for me today than I ever anticipated.

Alicja Mann's image twice in shop windows of Bohemia, Tucson, Arizona

My double image and double sorrow

Bohemia’s closing made me sensitive to the possibilities of losing other things I love. My thoughts flew immediately to the KUAT-FM Classical radio station. Ever since I moved to Tucson, 11 years ago, I have listened to their music every morning. I was “conditioned” for this by Morning Pro Musica of WGBH while living on Cape Cod. Robert J. Lurtsema and his signature openings with chirping birds did bring a smile every morning. So discovering KUAT in Tucson was a happy event for me. Although I am a jazz fan and like all kinds of music, my mornings, while still in bed, have to start with the smell and warmth of a cup of coffee and sounds of classical music announced by James Reel or another pleasant voice of this station. And KUAT sure does have a great “collection” of terrific radio voices! I have never met any of the announcers, but their voices have become part of my life.

10 classical CD covers

Some of my CDs

I know how easy it is to take for granted the reliable, stable elements of life. I was reminded of it most recently when I did not hear James Reel for several mornings and I started to worry, “What has happened? Is he on vacation? Maybe he had to travel somewhere? Maybe somebody in his family is sick? Perhaps he is ‘under the weather’ as I was a couple of weeks ago?” Then a series of “what ifs” entered my mind. “What if this program would disappear? What if the station does not have enough money? What if…?”

David had a little laugh about all my worries, but for me imagining that this program might not be available was a truly scary thing — I saw it as a huge black hole, a dark void in my life.

I deal with small voids like that every time I travel, especially because hotels provide only lousy clock radios, totally useless for listening to good music. Of course, one can carry one’s own collection of music downloaded onto a computer or an iPod, but it is not the same. Not at all!

The element of surprise is missing. The element of discovery of some unfamiliar composer or new piece of music is missing. The entire concept of adventure with music is missing and, of course, the comforting presence of the announcer’s voice is missing! So when I hear “Good morning this is 90.5 classical, I am James Reel,” I feel secure, calm, and very much at home.

For the coming Valentine’s Day my affectionate pink goes to all at KUAT-FM with many thanks of being there — every day.

Have a warm pink day on February 14th — Alicja

Chair, table, gauzy curtains, pink flowers

* * *

Text and photos (except of Bohemia interior) copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Explore posts in the same categories: Arizona, Feelings, Photo essays, Photo stories, Places, Thoughts

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

12 Comments on “Affectionate Pink”

  1. Christina Says:

    Love this. One of the things that drew me to Tucson was the pink moment — that precious blush of pink that illuminates the Catalinas for just a few moments during the transition from sunset to twilight.

  2. Vince Radzik Says:

    …aahhh – the journey is the destination.

  3. Marge Says:

    James Reel is also a writer!

  4. Connie Graham Says:

    I could not agree more about so many things said… James Reel in both his talents, the wonderment and surprise of listening to a good collection chosen for you rather than your own list, and classical music in the morning, in the car, while working, and sometimes while falling asleep.

  5. Lesley Says:


    I just noticed the Bohemia sign for the first time a few days ago, though it reminded me that I had recently heard about it from someone–maybe you. Unfortunately, I have now missed it altogether. And I usually start my mornings with NPR, but your description of waking up to classical music has convinced me to try something else at 5am.

    Your point about taking parts of our lives we love for granted is so true. I recently lost one of my absolute favorite such “pink” places when the Grasslands Cafe in Sonoita closed. It was always at the heart of my visits down there, and I was Incredibly sad when a friend and I drove up one Saturday noon anticipating a delicious lunch in a charming atmosphere only to find it closed for good. The owners were elderly and are now very happily spending more of their time hiking the beautiful landscape of the area, so I am happy for them, but very sad for those of us who knew and loved the place.

    I appreciate your reminding us to savor those elements in our lives that bring us so much pleasure, as they may not be there tomorrow.


    • Alicja Mann Says:

      Thanks for your response. It is nice to hear from my readers about their pink moments, pink feelings, and pink places. It is nifty and maybe it will become a trend to describe such affectionate places that way. I like that a lot!

  6. Marina G Says:

    Alicja, I am so sorry to learn Bohemia is gone! I was last there in the fall. I wish I had spent more time there. It was a special store and I understand how you feel. I recently drove by a special Tucson place that meant a lot to me, and also had the experience of discovering it was closed. I cried in my car!

    It did make me think about the special places I take for granted — just as, upon experiencing the recent deaths of two friends, I have naturally been prompted to think about the remaining people in my life and how I would feel if they were gone.

    Another wonderful blog, of which my favorite part was how you verbalized your reflections upon what is missing when you substitute recorded music for the radio-listening experience. LOVED that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: