“At the Zoo” was written by Paul Simon about the Central Park Zoo, though it was written for a scene in The Graduate that takes place at the San Francisco Zoo (it was not included in the finished film). Fifty years after its release, it remains the universal zoo tune and is this week’s pick for Listen Up as we go on a “light and tumble journey” to the San Diego Zoo. Performed by Simon and Garfunkel, after its single release the song appeared on the duo’s concept album, Bookends. In 1991, Simon used the lyrics as the basis for a children’s picture book of the same name, illustrated by Valérie Michaut. The hamsters in the book come equipped with headlights so that they can “turn on frequently.” To listen to the song, please click on the image below.
According to the 2015 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, visitors to the world’s zoos have voted The San Diego Zoo the best zoo experience in the world. But beyond the fun of roaming the 100-acre park to catch a glimpse of its 3,700 rare and endangered creatures, the San Diego Zoo has also been lauded for its exemplary humane treatment of animals and its dedication to conservation. San Diego Zoo Global has helped to reintroduce more than 33 species back into the wild and has been a vital partner in growing the giant panda and California condor populations. The organization’s Frozen Zoo is the world’s largest bank of living cells, gametes and embryos that are an important asset to conservation efforts, assisted reproduction and the study of evolutionary biology.
In her best-selling book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, published in 2014, Elizabeth Kolbert makes the sobering case that we are currently in the midst of a human-driven mass extinction that will wipe out 20 to 50% of all species living on planet Earth before the end of the 21st century.The prospect of such a devastating loss puts homo sapiens on the endangered list. Against overwhelming odds, through its conservation programs The San Diego Zoo remains one of the good guys fighting the good fight against what some scientists believe may be an inevitable sixth extinction. Let’s hope that with the help and guidance of organizations like the San Diego Zoo we can alter the course.
Every season in the fashion world designers fall in love with animal prints and every season the press pretends that this infatuation is brand new. It’s really just a matter of what animal or reptile is trending, and for 2017 leopard is king (with a bit of amazing snake patterns from Gucci.)
Leopards immediately bring to mind Cartier with their spectacular diamond and enameled cuff bracelets, watches and cinematic advertising campaigns featuring leopards pacing through their store or window shopping on Fifth Avenue. I remember one Christmas in New York City when Elizabeth and I stood transfixed outside Cartier’s watching rear projected videos of life-size leopards gliding seamlessly from one window to the next as a backdrop to millions of dollars in diamond jewelry. The sleek spotted panther first became the symbol for Cartier in 1914 when Louis Cartier commissioned a painting of a leopard from French painter George Barbier for an invitation for a special jewelry exhibition, the Panthére de Cartier Collection. This early extraordinary collection was acquired by many influential clients including American heiress Barbara Hutton, the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson, Maria Felix (nicknamed the Mexican Panther), and Princess Nina Aga Khan. In 2014 Cartier celebrated the diamond jubilee of the Panthére de Cartier collection.
In 2017 the leopard trend hit the runways at Dolce and Gabbana, Haider Ackermann, Christopher Kane and John Varvatos among others. Both men and women were decked out in leopard in everything from suits to sunglasses, belts, bags, and hats, as well as printed shoes from high tops to high heels. Leopard print was also translated into countless fabrications: chiffon, leather, translucent plastic, silk twill, fake fur, stenciled cowhide and much more.
A little animal print goes a long way, and often works most successfully as an accent. For the brave of heart or diehard fashionista, head-to-toe leopard is quite the statement and takes real conviction to pull off. But don’t be afraid to add a touch to your wardrobe this year, whether it’s a pair of sunglasses or a pocket square neatly folded into a breast pocket. Embrace your fashion beast!