Thursday, June 26, 2008

18 inches

All true things that happened during the 3 weeks I spent in NYC and on my way towards Williamstown (I wrote them in my little notebook and am posting them here a little after the fact)

Oh, I 'm sure it'll come to you-- just write from the heart, from here (hand on chest), that's what counts, right?" A security guard at the New York Public Library

The homeless guy with 12 shopping bags and a journal. He was focused so intently on his collages and writing carefully in his speckled composition notebooks-- my mother uses the same ones.

The same Asian man who's been on the N/R/W platform at 42nd Street playing the long string instrument, always and forever playing Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee -- he has gotten older, I guess I have too.

The prepubescent boy turning around to watch an especially curvy older lady walk away

The tall black man offering to help the tiny Philipino lady carry her baby and carriage up 2 flights of stairs coming out of Grand Central

An older man on the train looking a little teary reading the headline "Teddy Boldly Sails into the Rest of His Life" after Teddy Kennedy had a seizure and it became apparent that he has a brain tumor

A Middle Eastern man on his cellphone: "New York City is the center of the universe" (! I swear! No joke!)

my cousin Katie dancing so beautifully with a dance company she is in it almost made me cry with pride

A UPS guy talking to a FedEx guy: " Oh shit I gotta go, I go go call my moms and wake her up for work"

Listening to French tourists get excited about the Brooklyn Bridge as we fly over the Manhattan on the B train

"It's all... pretend I said something smart" Darrell Hammond in rehearsal for Beyond Therapy

"I mean, I do crunches and stuff, I don't look bad or nothing I mean I look sexy but the way this dress is it comes out sorta lumpy so what I did, what I had to do was to get a girldle, no back looks fine" A teenage girl on 125th Street

The pregnant woman pushing a baby carriage on MLK Blvd. who I asked for directions to the train: "Just come with me, you're good-looking... where you from ... Oh yeah, NICE... Can I get your number? ... Do you have a cellphone?... I could come over?..."
Yes. Also true. The whole thing reminded me of a joke Christian Harloff tells about expecting something normal, I think it was the baby carriage and the pregnant belly, but when I got up close I saw she didn't have a 'normal', healthy face... she was cross-eyed and the baby carriage had the Elmo doll in it. Not a baby.

Two octagenarians at the Harvard Club walking out of the dining room, the man gestures to a photo on the wall and says, "There's the new President," the woman replies, "well, there's a change for you." She walks over to take a closer look and stands there smiling at it for a moment. The new President is a woman.

A four year-old girl in a stroller on the 1 train says, "Look mommy, the lady from Sex and the City" when a striking woman with blonde hair gets on the train

The Down-Syndrome guy on the Amtrak train to Albany telling the older man he was with of his idea to take a motor from one of his motor boats and put it on this train and then just "Whoosh!! It could FLY!"

The Hudson and the green out the window of the Amtrak made me want to take pictures, even live in these beautiful serene places-- I can't believe I grew up in places like this (Vermont) ... I didn't even know it was so spectacular until I went away for some time

People out the window really sitting on their porches, drinking beer and lemonade and just watching, watching the train go by...

Favorite new-to-me haunts: The upstairs speakeasy on Avenue C, Rao's, McGarren Park & Picket Fences in Flatbush

Old haunts: Motor City, Prospect Park & the Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO

Shows: August: Osage County, Top Girls, Johannes Wieland at Ailey, Jollyship at Ars Nova, and Katie's dance show

what a great city. I am always happy to be back.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a little something is still more than nothing

it has been nearly a month since I used this template and that is partly because I didn't have easy internet access but also just because I was really really busy and in New York City and being a sponge and writing little notes, jot-downs, in my little notebook on the train or in a corner of the park but I didn't want to miss anything. I wanted to do, and listen to, and see, and take in, as much as possible. And it was pretty exciting and effective I think. I mean, I accomplished what I set out to do in that sense of it. I made a list of some especially extraordinary items that I will type up here pronto... but first, a detail I just read in the paper that made me bolt up and say, "I can't believe it! Really? Is this true? This is TOO weird. I've got to tell people about this."
Werner Herzog made a first-person documentary about his trip to Anarctica and in a write-up on the film it says Herzog finds "such banal appurtenances as a bowling alley and A.T.M.s," and "abominations such as an aerobics studio and yoga classes." REALLLLLLLYYY?
I find this very hard to believe but also not. I have nothing against bowling or aerobics or especially yoga for that matter but it is scary don't you think? I mean, is everywhere going to be the same? To me Anarctica represents all that is wild and strange and unknown and very very cold, and DIFFICULT, some untouched/untainted NATURE. Not so much anymore I guess.
And that makes me scared. And also a little sad. I mean next thing we know we might have the Concorde to Antarctica and it might be a giant winter wonderland playground and then at some point in the distant, distant future, they will make an amusement park that will try to re-create the Anarctica of a few decades ago, and there will be the last remaining polar bar on display, locked-up like some freak show, and the whole thing will be picked and pruned and fake-snowed and wildly popular and to think-- all to just imitate the very thing we seem to be ruining today.