Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shaken, not Stirred

Life is crazy. I mean - all the time, but it seems extra-special crazy these days. Haven't had time to post here. Don't like it.

There's just a lot going on. A good friend of mine said that this January is now, officially, the Worst Month in All of Recorded History. He's coming from a particular vantage point, having lost his father suddenly at the beginning of the month, and his dog (more expectedly, but still) at the end of it. And today is his birthday. Ooof.

But there's definitely something in the air. The politics I won't even go into too much right now (though I'll touch on them) but you know about that anyway.

Some of it is good: I'm working on that project at NYU Law School, and have a bit to do on a short film as well; we've been out to see a bunch of shows and events, including another great Simone Forti happening that hopefully I can post about soon; Cory, Penelope (the big ol' mixer that Cory got me for Christmas. Yes, her name is Penelope.) and I have been baking up a storm. Ok. Yes - this does sometimes take the form of Utility Muffin Research Kitchen-type experimentation, but so far everything has been edible, and some of it has been downright delicious.

On the other hand, some of it just sucks: the aforementioned deaths; other death and illness that has directly affected close friends; the death of J.D. Salinger today;

Howard Zinn's death yesterday. Are you kidding me? Zinn was a personal hero of mine and a huge influence. That Nurses' Strike he went to after his final lecture? I was there with him (and at the lecture too. And FYI - it wasn't exactly a Nurses' Strike - it was actually more of a walkout to protest the closing of the Nursing School)

So let me wrap up with that promised tidbit of political commentary, and I'll start with the bit of Zinn that the obit quotes from his last article in The Nation:

"I’ve been searching hard for a highlight,” he wrote, adding that he wasn’t disappointed because he never expected a lot from President Obama.

"I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

And here we hit a subject very near to my heart: the notion that change (the kind you can believe in, you know?) doesn't happen without social movement. Actual people engaging in actual action. And while it's nice that the President got in some swings last night, the real work has to be done by the people. Always.

More to come... Sometime, when I can breathe...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

She Doesn't Care What You Eat

Gotta Love Natalie Dee.

More Fun with Movement and Art

As promised, here is some more on Cory's Dance Debut with Simone Forti.

First of all, why don't I link to Claudia La Rocco's rave in the Times. One of those love letter reviews that we all dream of. Which Cory gets her first time out. Nice! [They didn't mention her by name, per se, but she was most certainly a part of the "ad hoc group of dancers" mentioned in the review.] Of course, that fits in all-too perfectly with Simone's perspective on dance. She called these pieces "Dance Constructions" and they are tucked into the boxes of sculpture/visual art as often and as fittingly as they are labeled as dance (by those who enjoy putting decals on things - as with most achievements of importance, I tend to see this work as being elusive of pigeonholes, what Duke Ellington would have called "beyond category") A movement artist in the Proto-Judson Era (which term I may be making up, but you know what I mean), Forti was part of the group that presented at Yoko's loft, which is where Huddle was first shown in 1961. She wasn't terribly well known then; she's made her mark more by influence (Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, and of course Robert Morris) than recognition. Until recently! Simone is finally getting her due, and I hope she's enjoying it!

I had the great good fortune to attend this event with Ginger Spivey, a good friend of Cory's from Duke, who is a more than formidable resource on Simone, the Judson school, New York art in the 60s, and art in general. I can't link the full text here (go ahead and support indie press and buy the thing!) but she has an article about Forti in last summer's Women's Art Journal. So I've got some art world cred when I tell you that this show ROCKED!

Here's the promised viddie - it's just a portion of the Huddle that happened during the reception. This show happened on stage, on screen, and among the audience. That's Cory in the pink top. And you don't need to be a dance aficionado to recognize the guy commenting on Trevor crossing the Huddle near the end...

How cool is that?

[ok, here I have an issue with the good people at Blogger. I have tried to upload this video four times now - taking lots of time - and it continues NOT to work. So I'm putting it on youtube and embedding it from there; which is fine I guess, but shouldn't the video app work better?? If anyone has a fix, let me know]

Friday, January 15, 2010

Remember Must-See TV?

And now, a moment of silence to honor the trials and travails of those millionaire late-night comedians whose lives have been thrown into such upheaval. And all that turmoil that General Electric-owned NBC is suffering.

Those poor, poor millionaire comedians...

Dance Debut!

What did you do last night?

I went to see Cory's Dance Debut. Yup. That's right. Not only was she performing live in New York, she was performing with dancer/choreographer/artist Simone Forti.

And not only that, but she did it at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. And not only that, but he (Mr. Baryshnikov) was there.

How many people can say that Baryshnikov attended their dance debut? Not that many, I'll wager.

I have to tell you, this was tremendously exciting!

Can't access my camera from this computer - will try to load up some video later on and post it with a more full account of the evening.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Speaking of things you don't have control over...

While it's tempting to use this image of a bank in Haiti as an illustration of the financial system in general, it's too palpable an illustration of too immediate a disaster.

Please send thoughts, prayers, wishes, dances and songs of goodwill, whatever you can muster. And maybe click here for some ideas of more concrete things you can do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There's No Moral - It's Just a Bunch of Stuff that Happened

A quick parable about the vagaries of fortune...

Went home last night and decided to move Lola (my well-used and much beloved car) because she was parked in a Tuesday streetcleaning spot. Thought I'd take some time and find a Monday spot so I wouldn't have to think about moving her again for a while (longer than usual, thanks to the grassroots activism of Martin Luther King, Jr.)

What followed was probably the worst parking luck I have ever experienced: I drove around the 'boken for a half an hour looking for a Monday spot, seeing a couple near misses, where someone else got to the spot a few seconds before I drove by; then spent another half hour looking for any spot, before finally finding one that was no better than the one I left in the first place. An hour (an hour!) of driving around, only to end up needing to move Lola again in the morning.

Kind of wrecked my mood. "O Fate, you spotted whore - why do you mock me?!?!" kind of thing. I got over it, but still ended up doing nothing all night but making myself dinner and watching a shitty movie on tv. It was a very delicious dinner, but still.

Then this morning, the complete opposite: went to the car and drove her down the block and through one intersection to a perfect spot. A Monday spot at that. There was a huge long line for the bus into the city, so I thought I might have a long, slow, crowded commute - but a bus came within 5 minutes, and it was nearly empty so we all got seats, and the traffic wasn't even bad - I made it to work early.

SO what's the message of this story? Well, that's for you to interpret of course, but I think it has something to do with Fate being a mocking harpy one minute and a benevolent angel the next, for no reason at all. I know that there's a school of thought out there that says you make your own luck, and I actually agree with that to a huge extent. On the other hand, I don't think I did anything, or failed to do anything to make this particular morsel of luck; or that my "vibration" kept parking spaces at bay last night or drew one to me this morning. It just happened that way. It seems to me that maybe there are some kinds of luck you make for yourself, and some kinds that just happen. To amplify this point to a grander scale - I don't think anyone can make themselves the luck of being born with certain innate qualities (be they gifts or curses or neither.) Extreme height, for instance. Or skin color. Or congenital good health or disease. Or being born in a society where indoor plumbing is the rule, rather than the exception.

And that brings us to the Homer Simpson quote that provides the title for this entry. (You all saw the 450th episode on Sunday, right? And the 20th Anniversary Special? In 3-D! On Ice!)

Now, what you do with those given circumstances is another matter entirely...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Music for Pleasure

Perfect for baking and prepping the night before.

The people who came by last night got:
  • Pumpkin Coconut Soup
  • Yassa Poulet
  • Yassa Garbanzo (couldn't leave out the vegans!)
  • Molly's Wick Awes Broccoli Casserole
  • Peanut Blossom Cookies
  • Mom's Fudge and Peanut Brittle
  • Buche de Noel - chocolate cake w/mocha filling and chocolate bark frosting.  And cherries on top.  And a candle for Daniel.
We drank a toast to Fran Wagner, with all respects and love and condolences.  We sang Happy Birthday to Daniel.  We stayed up too late and drank too much.  The way you do.

For the post-day-after-brunch, Dirty Projectors.

And a little Can Banging is up next.  Not too bangful.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Estonians

Mad props to TV3, Talinn, Estonia.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Bruce Gets a Medal

Ok, it's a pretty good medal. The Kennedy Center Honor went to Springsteen last year, as well as to a more-than-usually bitchin field including Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry and Robert De Niro.

I realize that none of this is exactly news, given that it was announced back in September and the actual ceremony was a month ago. But what is news is that it's been broadcast, and some clips are available on the internets, including this one featuring Jersey Boy Jon Stewart.

It's nearly 10 minutes long, but I actually really like it. At least check out the first few minutes to hear Jon's beliefs on the Origins of Bruce.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Goodbye to the '00s

Hello to the Tens. The Teens. The Twenty Teens. Something.

I've been taking a page from Colbert and been calling this year '010. Oh Ten! Or sometimes I take my cue from Dudley Moore and Bo Derek and just call it '10. As in: Perfect Ten. I suspect that Roy Scheider will win the day, and 2010 will grow to common currency. Twenty Ten. Rolls trippingly off the tongue, no?

So, to start off with a celebration (a little late), let's acknowledge that yesterday was Michael Stipe's 50th birthday.

And, lest that just, you know, freak you the f*ck out, drink a toast to Issac Newton's 467th

Oh, and remember what Tony Wilson said: "No one beats gravity." Watch out for falling apples (but don't let them slow you down.)