The Unbearable Banishment: March 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A horse is a horse, of course, of course.

The past week, artist Nick Cave (Not Nick Cave from the Bad Seeds. This one is African American.) along with Chicago-based choreographer William Gill and students from the Alvin Ailey Dance School presented HEARD•NY in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station. 30 ornate, life size horses were created to gallivant and frolic around the hall.


At the beginning of each performance, dancers would line up, two per horse.


One dancer would don the back half of the horse...


...then the other dancer would attach the head and they would join.


The horses promenaded around the hall, welcoming guests, delighting children and, in the case of a few wee ones, scaring the hell out of them.

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A harpist played. Notes gently filled Vanderbilt Hall and the horses pranced and glided in a choreographed routine.

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Then a drum kicked in. The front and back halves of the horses separated and a wild rumpus began.

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The drumming and dancing became more frantic.

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Until, finally, the rhythm died and the two halves found each other a joined once again.

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The piece ended about :20 minutes later as it started, with the gentle wandering of the horses.

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The music stopped and the exhausted dancers shed their equine skin.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gay friends and other ruminations

I've decided to poach from my recently excavated journals for another post. This one is from September 28, 1992. Long time gone. I have a cripplingly poor memory. Consequently, these journals have been a revelation to me.

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P said there's a woman in his office who wants me to take her daughter out on a date but first she needs to see a photo of me. He said it's because she doesn't believe I'm white. [Note: At that time, I was virtually the only white person living in a black neighborhoodFort Greene, Brooklyn—which has since been gentrified and is now overrun with white people.]  That's insulting! Who is she that I can't meet her on my own merits? Has her vagina been dipped in platinum? Still...I gave her the photo of me on the balcony in Cozumel and felt stupid doing it. On Saturday, I'm taking M to a matinee. I jokingly asked her if she was going to "require a feeding" and she said, "What am I, a cow?" No, my sweet, you are definitely not a cow.

On Sunday P and I got on the G train and paid a visit to D for dinner. [Note: D owned the top two floors of a beautiful, old, Brooklyn brownstone, which included a roof garden.] The train skipped Bergen Street so we had to get off at Carroll Street and catch the Manhattan bound F one stop. Fucking subway. When we got there it started to downpour. We sat in the kitchen while D cooked and you could hear the hard rain fall against the greenhouse on the roof. It sounded like bacon frying. We smoked some pot and had a few beers. I faded into the background and listened to the two of them talk. Let me tell you something; everyone should have a few gay friends. They are endlessly entertaining. Especially after smoking some weed. They were arguing about the proper way to cook a pot roast, calling each other bitch and slut and all sorts of other horrible things. Yelling about adobo seasoning, whatever the hell that is. God, I was laughing my ass off. Some of the funniest, kindest people I've ever met are gay. It's too bad I have no proclivities towards experimenting.

I didn't have to work today so I made a good breakfast with three cups of strong coffee because it's getting chilly out. The sky was crisp and blue so I went for a walk on the Lower East Side. As I passed Delancy Street, I was propositioned by a hooker, of all crazy things. I approached this cute Latino and she gave me that look and I thought to myself, well, this is kind of nice. Then as I passed by she said, "Do you want a date?" Oh. That. I got really embarrassed and checked to see if my shoelaces were untied. They weren't.

I sat at a sidewalk cafe on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street to read the Times and watch the big parade. There was a really old guy sitting in front of me and everyone seemed to know him. They all stopped to chat. Cops. Old folks. Club kids. Blacks. Whites. Latinos. Everybody! I wonder who he is? I walked to the Orpheum and bought a ticket to the new Mamet play that's in previews. $27.50. I'm surprised it's opening down here and not on Broadway. [Note: That was Oleanna with William H. Macy and Rebecca Pidgon.]

I ended up shooting pool at Julian's. That stairway has the most God-awful stench in all of NYC. And that's saying something. Urine, body odor, vomit and Olde English 800 malt liquor all in one noxious whiff. Blame it on 8-0-0, indeed. [Note: That was the ad campaign slogan at that time.] I'm going to start using the rear entrance that lets out onto 14th Street, even though it kind of dangerous. The guy forgot to turn the timer on so he only charged me $3.50. I always feel stupid because I'm such a bad shot and I assume everyone is watching me but the truth is nobody cares. The guy behind the counter came out and taught me how to rack the balls for 9-ball. He also tried to explain strategy but I didn't understand him. It's not that his explanations were vague. It's just that I'm as dumb as a brick when it comes to geometry. So I still don't know how to play the game properly.

Ate dinner at an Italian deli/cheese shop that has a few tables in the back. Ate off a styrofoam plate and used plastic utensils. Low key but so damn delicious that I almost passed out from bliss. Took the 6 train to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and walked home over the bridge. Stopped midway to watch the sunset over the Hudson River. All alone, but not lonely.



Friday, March 22, 2013

5. Wu. Five. V. 5th. *****. Go. 5ive.

This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of my idiot blog. If I'm being painfully candid (and what else can I be with a group of complete strangers?) I have to admit that I don't have the healthiest relationship with my blog. Nuttycow, one of my original readers who has hung in with me all these years (I hope you don't mind my quoting, dear) recently said in her comment section:
I tend not to worry about people’s thoughts on my blog. I write for me, when I need to, about things that I need to get off my chest. If people enjoy reading it, all the better. Don’t worry about what other people think—write what you want!
Are you kidding me?! I wish I was HALF as evolved as she is. The fact is, I burn too many brain synapsis obsessing over stats, page hits, comments and the like. I perform comparative analyses until I'm nauseous. Daisyfae, another original from Day One, has taken me to task offline on more than one occasion for this pointless and unhealthy exercise. But since my pathology is here to stay, I've decided to consider it part of my boyish charm.

My blog hasn't always been such a great friend to me. It's gotten me into trouble a few times. Anytime I'm in crisis mode, I shut down with the intention of never posting again. But three or four weeks will pass by and I'll start formulating paragraphs in my head while on the subway. I'll take a photo and ask myself, "What are you going to do with that? You're not going to post it to your blog, are you?" And then I do.

Despite all that angst, do you know what? I love doing this. It's important to me. Once in a great while I'll cough-up a paragraph that's so well-constructed and so beautifully articulates my point, that I'll stare at my fingertips in amazement. How does it happen? I have no formal eduction beyond a diploma from a below-average high school. It's a magic trick. And if you'll pardon my saying so, I think some of my photos have genuine artistic merit. I live for those fleeting sparks. And if someone takes the time to post a comment? Or actually writes to me offline? That's as good as my day will get. Where does this yearning for attention come from? Is it simply a part of the human condition or is it more complex than that? It's a conundrum.

This blog has afforded me a few meet-ups. They're great. If you get the chance, do it. Having New York City at my disposal helps. I love showing off this big, dirty, stupid, old town. It still feels like home to me, even after a decade of being unbearably banished.

So thank you for your attention. It means more to me than you can imagine. [He takes a bow and doffs his derby.]


Your 'umble author + sprog

Sunday, March 17, 2013

An unprovoked attack

I was taking pictures of our neighbor's beautiful white cat, Smudge, when, for absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER, Skippy walked into the frame and BIT HER IN THE EYE. It was an hilarious unprovoked attack. I could not stop laughing. Cats are the best.


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On Friday nights, 11-Year Old Daughter and I watch that old 1960's chestnut I Dream of Jeannie. It's great! In Friday night's episode, Tony went on a date. Jeannie got jealous and turned his date into a chimp. Oh, my God, we laughed! On Saturday nights we watch Batman. Last night, they did that bit where they're climbing up the side of a building and a celebrity pops out of a window. This time, it was Jerry Lewis. I had to explain who he was. Man, I'm going to miss these evenings. I've got maybe another two years, max, and she's not going to want to sit around with her old man on a Friday or Saturday night watching reruns of sitcoms from 45 years ago. 

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6-Year Old Daughter is utterly and irreversibly addicted to books.

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She's as bad as her sister. Those two get so lost in reading that you can't talk to them while their faces are buried in a book. They, literally, don't hear your voice. I've done so many stupid things but this is one thing I'm kind of proud of. Reading is the the key to a lot of different locks. I often wonder how far I'd have gotten if I had been introduced to reading at six instead of 20. Better late than never, I suppose.

Recently she asked, "Dad, how come all the guys who play basketball on TV have brown skin?" I was stunned. I didn't have an answer. I guess she's right, but I wasn't going to step on that third rail.

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I recently posted some photos of Central Park after a snowstorm. I always limit the number of pics I post because I don't want to turn my posts into a giant file dump. I wanted to post one more because I love the composition of this one so much. It's hard to believe it's the center of NYC!


In the interest of fairness and full disclosure I give you the following. I call it "Deck of Playing Cards in a Pile of Vomit Under an Ad for the Time Square New Years Eve Ball on 8th Avenue."


I'm just trying to keep it real. Look...this is still New York City. Sometimes I think I wax a little too pastoral about this place.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The road to hell is paved with blasphemous limericks

British ex-Pat Emma [Who inexplicably left London for Baltimore. Baltimore. ?!?] invited me to enter her Spectacular Easter Limerick Competition. It's no joke. The prize is a smooth, creamy, deluxe chocolate egg from Hotel Chocolat. I'm posting my entries here. If I don't win the damn egg, at least I'll have gotten a blog post out of it.

There once was a prophet named Christ.
On a cross he was soon sacrificed.
Will he come back
From being whacked
As a man or a poltergeist?

And in case that wasn't offensive enough:

Hung on a cross by decree,
Romans pounded the nails in with glee.
Well, that really sucks.
I loaned him five bucks!
First resurrect, then repay me.

Happy Easter, Christian soldiers.

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"That's all you got. You got love and you got death. Death will find you...it's up to you to find love. That's where most people fall down at. Death got room for everybody. Love pick and choose. Now, most people won't admit that. That's cause love cost. Love got a price to it. Everybody don't want to pay. They put it on credit. Time it come due, they got it on credit somewhere else. That's what I learned all these years."

August Wilson
Two Trains Running

Perhaps it's because I heard those lines spoken by an accomplished actor who embraced the role. Simply reading them might not have the same impact. August Wilson was a fucking genius. He wrote a 10-play cycle, one for each decade of the 20th century, all centered on the black experience and all taking place in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood. And every one of them is great literature. Man, I'll never write that well. It's depressing. And I don't mean metaphorically.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Adieu! Adieu! Adieu!

Dear Central Park:

Here's one final blast of frost up your bum before I leave town. See you in nine months.

All my best,

Old Man Winter



















And, finally...


...because it's all you need, they say.

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"You know those days when you've got the mean reds?"
"Same as the blues?"
"No," she said slowly. "No, the blues are because you're getting fat or maybe it's been raining too long. You're sad, that's all. But the mean reds are horrible. You're afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don't know what you're afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don't know what it is. You've had that feeling?"

Truman Capote
Breakfast at Tiffany's

Yes, Holly, my sweet. I know what that is.