Potpourri!

Sun. Sand. Seclusion.

beach1The perfect atmosphere for…

beach2…yammering into a phone for HOURS while simultaneously texting into a second phone. PLUS, he wore a collared shirt. Double-douche bag beach fail. Somewhere, Nero is tuning his fiddle.

My Bride (the voice of reason) asked, “Why don’t you just mind your own business and enjoy the beach?” Seriously? Why didn’t our Founding Fathers mind their own business? Or Louis Pasteur? Who’ll be the arbiter of acceptable behavior if I sheath my sword? Mind my own business, indeed. Where’s the fun in that?


Web Site Under Construction

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Archie is a Gateway Drug

I fed my girls a steady diet of Archie comics early on in the hopes an addiction would take root. Comics are a vital part of growing up, so you’ve got to start their craving as early as possible.

We were in the city to see a big Broadway musical (Aladdin—expensive and dull). Before the show, we visited Midtown Comics. You can lose track of time in that place. 13-Year Old Daughter walked up to me with a comic in her hand and said, “Dad, I think I’m going to buy this with my own money.”

WWShe acted without any encouragement from me. And look what she’s going for. Girl power. Mission accomplished. At least I got that right.


Web Developer

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My friend’s marriage imploded. Do you know how they say it takes two? Well, not in this case. She didn’t do anything wrong. She’s a gem. He was a creep. Anyway, they sold their two-bedroom co-op in the Bronx and she just bought a co-op in Manhattan.

It’s located on Riverside Drive, across the street from the park. It’s in an old, elegant, impeccably maintained, highly desirable, doorman building. The asking price was $359K but she ended up paying $375K thanks to a heated bidding war. Add another $487/month for maintenance.

It’s 250 sq. ft.

Here’s the listing if you don’t believe me. Scroll down and check out the floor plan.

http://corenyc.com/310-riverside-drive-609

I’m writing about this because it’s sensational. I’m sure most of you think it’s an outrage, which, of course, it is. Another zany New York story. But she’s not paying for a 250 sq. ft. co-op (or, as she put it, coop).

When I walk out my front door, I’m in suburban New Jersey. When you walk out your front door, you’re in (fill in the blank). When SHE walks out her front door, she’s in Manhattan, on Riverside drive, across the street from the park, a short cab ride away from so, so much.

THAT’S what she’s paying for.

I’m sure it doesn’t seem like a fair exchange to most of you. But do you know what? I GET IT. I understand that for a person who desires a very specific lifestyle, a lifestyle that’s not a popular choice with the masses, it’s totally WORTH IT.


Web Site Up and Running

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Last month I did a post that featured some superhero illustrations that were done with spray paint. Remember? Well, I bumped into that girl again on 42nd Street at 6th Avenue. These are new and they are badass.

art1 art2I chatted her up a bit. Those illustrations are only $20 bucks a piece! What a bargain! Here’s her contact info if you’re interested. She ships worldwide. This stuff is even more fetching in person.

Iuliia Koloskova
sprayart.nyc@gmail.com
(646) 255-7358


“We’re all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing.”

Charles Bukowski (of course)


Is anyone interested in Gothic architecture? They just finished a multi-year restoration project of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue. Years of soot and grime were blasted away. The stone is pure and pristine.

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You don’t have to be Catholic or spiritual to be moved by this (although, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt). Catholic diocese all over the country are closing churches because they can’t afford to maintain the properties. Congregations are shrinking. I wonder what this restoration cost? And if any churches could have been saved with those funds? They did a nice job.

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What a lazy post. Gimmie a break. It’s August.

Vincent’s Faded Flowers

I dragged everyone to the Met on Sunday afternoon to see Van Gogh: Irises and Roses. I’m pretty sure they would’ve preferred a trip to the beach instead but that’s too bad. Stuff like this is once-in-a-lifetime.

vang5This exhibit gathers four works that Van Gogh painted shortly before taking his life. All four masterpieces were completed in just ONE WEEK—an incredible burst of creativity and energy, done at the height of his madness.

They were conceived as a set and intended to be hung as you see here, vertical orientations on either end and landscape in the middle. Each vase is slightly off-center. They’re set on a table whose horizontal line runs concurrent through all four works, anchoring them. This exhibit is the first time all four paintings have been seen together since they were executed in 1890.

vang1He carefully selected colors that would compliment and play off of each other. He used paints that had unstable pigments and knew the colors would fade over time. In a letter to his brother Theo, he wrote that, “Paintings fade like flowers.”

These roses were originally pink. Now, they’re a pure white.

vang4The irises, once a deep purple, are now blue.

There was an accompanying video that attempted to recreate the original colors. They used pigment analysis and detailed notes Van Gogh kept regarding his color and process, but they were just educated guesses. Nobody alive knows what these originally looked like.

vang2The girls weren’t terribly impressed with this summer’s rooftop installation but I thought it had some artistic merit. The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe starts off with a somewhat confusing displacement of paving stones. I thought it was a construction project but it’s part of the exhibit. It felt disengaged from anything having to do with art.

huyghe4On the far corner of the roof is the primary piece. The meat of the exhibit.

huyghe3Inside a giant fish tank floats (floats!) a bolder of Manhattan schist—the unique and powerful bedrock that allows skyscrapers and transit systems to be anchored to this small spit of land. The tip of the bolder peeks above the surface. A pile of sand rises to a few inches below the bolder.

huyghe5The glass randomly toggles from clear to opaque. I’m not sure how this is accomplished but it’s a nice effect.

huyghe1huyghe2Inside the fish tank are creepy, alien-like tadpole shrimp. I don’t know if they’re there for aesthetic reasons or f they provide a cleaning service. At the end of each video, you can see the glass cloud over.

The exhibit brochure is full of some artistic babble regarding the dynamic gathering of different elements—plants, stones and animals. That stuff never sinks into my thick skull. I just enjoy the visceral thrill it provides (or doesn’t). I require nothing more from the artist, least of all an explanation.


Daughter + Frank Stella’s Die Fahne hoch!

When Stella first showed this painting in 1959 people were baffled and looked for a deep meaning. He responded by saying:

“What you see is what you see. Painting to me is a brush and a bucket and you put it on a surface. There’s no other reality for me other than that.”

That sounds kind of shallow but that’s how I feel about it, too.

Jobs + Girls + Crippling Pain

More fun from the store.

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December 14, 1994

Laura called and that made me happy. She’s got a boyfriend now—a devilishly handsome med student—and I was pretty sure she’d dump me but that hasn’t happened. Yet. She was eating dinner while we spoke—a bowl of rice. She’s so broke that she can’t afford proper groceries. Right after I hung up, Cindy came over. She gave me a little bamboo box that was filled with condoms. She said she’s through with men. [Note: A decision that, 20 years later, has stuck.] I don’t know why she gave them to me. She knows I don’t have anyone. Plus, she knows I hate condoms.

I lost my assignment at Sudler. I came in at 8:30 and the doors in the elevator lobby were all locked. I got tired of waiting for someone to show up and let me in so I picked the lock on the mailroom door with my pocket comb. Someone saw me coming out of the mailroom and tattled. It was a stupid thing to do. Tattle, that is. I hated it, anyway. The relationship I had with that agency is ruined, so I’m sorry about that.

I found a new assignment right away. Unemployed on Friday. Back to work on Monday. I’m at Lehman Brothers on the 4:00-midnight shift. The hours are terrible but the offices are beautiful, the people are all freaks and the pay is good. My window looks out onto the crown of the Woolworth Building. In A Farewell to Arms, Lieutenant Henry tells Catherine he’s going to bring her to New York to see the Woolworth Building. My view beyond that is the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River. It gets dark about an hour after I start work. I sit at my desk and watch the city slowly light-up.

Pete, who sits next to me, is an undersexed single male who espouses astonishingly sophomoric views about women. On the other side of me is Karen, who I’m already in love with. That didn’t take long. It never does. When she gets up from her desk, Pete always comments on her breasts—one time referring to them as “watermelons”—and makes the most bizarre claims. He said she’s a big tease who stands in front of a full-length mirror at home and practices provocative poses just to torture us. I’m tortured, alright, but I doubt she’s that calculating. My supervisor is a huge Jamaican woman who likes to mama everyone and protect us from the asshole investment bankers. I love her.

January 4, 1995

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I missed a few weeks because I broke my back. I got up off the kitchen stool funny and twisted it. I went to work and the next morning I woke up paralyzed with pain. A stabbing pain like I’ve never experienced before. Unimaginable agony. I’ve lost weight because I couldn’t get out of bed to go to the kitchen for something to eat. I had to crawl on my hands and knees from room to room and wept for days. At one point, I pulled myself up on the bathroom sink and looked in the mirror. My eyes were puffy and red and my nose was running. My face was so sad and my expression so pathetic that it made me weep even harder.

I spent a lot of time on the floor self-medicating. One night, it got so bad I took several ibuprofen, drank almost an entire bottle of Champagne intended for New Year’s Eve and smoked some weed. I was completely numb. The pot made me paranoid (as usual). I was convinced that even the slightest movement would exacerbate the pain ten-fold, so I laid there on the floor like a stone for HOURS and didn’t so much as wiggle a pinky.

I finally crawled to the TV and turned on Howard Stern. He was interviewing Chuck Norris and bamboozled him. Norris was defending his TV show, Walker: Texas Ranger, against charges that it’s too violent and should be yanked off the air. While Norris argued that the accusations were wildly overblown, Stern would cut away and intersperse scenes from the show that were so horrifically violent that I started laughing and hurt my back again.

I enjoy my solitude. I’m irresponsible and immature. I’m barely employable. Nobody seems to want me, but none of that bothers me. I don’t have to make any compromises and I’m happy. But this has been a sobering episode. There was nobody around to help me. To be with me and make me some soup. I was on the floor for days and nobody knew. I was broken by the pain in my back but also by how utterly alone I was.

I’m still wearing a back brace and had to use a cane for two weeks, which was a weird experience. I’d walk down Houston and people would make room for me. I got to sit in the gimp seat on the M21 and when I dropped my newspaper, some show-off with a good back picked it up for me. I couldn’t masturbate for almost two weeks. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore so I did it while lying perfectly still. Try jacking-off without moving your body. It’s not that easy.


NYC wildlife parade. I was having my morning coffee in Bryant Park and these two guys strolled by.

This peregrine falcon alighted on a beam outside my office window on the 51st Floor. Manhattan is good to falcons. Unlimited shelter and food supplies. She was teaching her eyasses how to dive bomb for pigeons. First her, then her young one would follow. We could hear her screech.

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City of Narcissists and Art

I. I’m Breaking Up with New York

New York is suffering an epidemic of narcissism. Maybe I’m just old and naïve and don’t recognize a new wave when I see one. Perhaps what I consider to be socially abhorrent behavior is, in reality, the new normal. I’ve always has a jolly laugh at the sight of geezers wrestling with new technologies. The way they fumble with mobile phones or botch their DVR programming. Who’s laughing now?

A few weeks ago, there was a disruption at the evening performance of Hand to God on Broadway. After taking his orchestra seat, just before the show began, a stupid boy noticed his mobile phone battery was about to die. He saw an outlet on the set, (a PRETEND outlet) jumped up on stage and plugged his phone in. He was immediately descended upon by the ushers. He later explained, “I saw the outlet and ran for it. That was the only outlet I saw, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ Girls were calling all day. What would you do?”

Shortly after that, at an evening performance of Shows for Days at Lincoln Center starring Patti LuPone, a young girl sitting near the front was texting throughout Act One. She was so disengaged from the performance that she shared her texts with her date sitting next to her. While walking off stage at the conclusion of Act One, LuPone walked over and grabbed the phone out of her hand mid-text and walked off stage with it. It was returned after the show.

Later, in a statement, LuPone said, “I am so defeated by this issue.”

But if you really want to take the pulse of the self-absorbed narcissists in this town, look no further than the Style section of The New York Times. Last weekend, they featured an article about women (wealthy, of course, because, apparently, money makes you insane) who are so worried about their appearance in their Instagram/Facebook photo taken immediately following childbirth, they hire hairstylists and makeup artists to come to their hospital room for a postpartum grooming. These services cost upwards of $700.

This is the photo that accompanied the article. She’s a lawyer who lives in the Financial District. (That figures.) The unintentionally hilarious aspect is that you CAN’T SEE THE BABY. She might just as well be cradling a loaf of pumpernickel or a bag of cash.

hospital selfie1Those are surgical instruments on the right and tools of the beauty trade on the left.hospital selfie2I’ve had it with these New York idiots who are incapable of living outside their own heads. To paraphrase, I don’t want to be a part of it, New York, New York. I’ll go back to Cleveland. The people out there are real.

II. I Love New York

Currently at the David Zwirner gallery in Chelsea is an exhibit by DeWain Valentine. I grabbed a cab on my lunch hour and ran down to see it. Valentine was part of the Light and Space movement in the 60’s and 70’s. The work focuses on using light, transparency, reflection and texture.

These four magnificent disks are made of polyester resin. They’re about 6′ tall. Crossing the threshold into the bright, airy gallery provided a genuine thrill.

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Valentine3I was lucky enough to have the galleries all to myself. People are okay to drink and hang out with, but I don’t want anyone around when I’m enjoying the art.

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The urge to reach out and touch them was overpowering, but since each piece was free standing, a monitor was on hand in each gallery to discourage close encounters. I like when you can see the room’s architecture through the piece.

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They’re several inches thick at the bottom but taper towards the top.

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This translucent wall reminded me of Richard Serra’s iron oxidized sculptures. I stood in this room for a long time, not realizing until afterwards that I’d completely forgotten what was bothering me that day. Art can take you someplace else.

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The gallery monitors weren’t Zwirner employees. They were employed by the artist to answer questions and provide insight into his process. They were knowledgeable and lacked pretense. They also instinctively knew when I wanted to be alone with the art and faded into the background.

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These more modest, but still fetching, pieces were in a side gallery.

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An even more spectacular example of the Light and Space movement (and one of the best exhibits I’ve ever seen) was two years ago when James Turrell turned the rotunda of the Guggenheim into a hallucinatory spectrum of light.


Being able to enjoy this sort of frivolity on my lunch hour is a privilege. It’s a lucky break I fell into—none of this happened by design. Who am I trying to kid? You guys or myself? I can’t leave New York! I guess I’m stuck here. I just wish people would learn to disengage. They’d see some interesting things if they’d stop spending so much time gazing lovingly into the mirror.

Death! Destruction! Pestilence! Some light summer reading.

From the publishers:

Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces…an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers, police officers and isolation.

When a school bus accident leaves sixteen-year-old Jessica an amputee…

Ten concentration camps. Ten different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. …it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

Fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp.

Jack Baker…is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. [Maine!]

…sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Will is one of only a few people who is able to see the growing number of corpses invading his town…[he] is suddenly in the middle of a war between the living and the dead.

In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations… [Punk-ass bitch Canadians.]

A group of fourteen-year-old boys who make a living picking garbage from the outskirts of a large city find something…that brings terrifying consequences.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight…she is forced to work as the King’s thug.

No, these are not future episodes of The Walking Dead. Believe it or not, the preceding plot summaries were culled from my 8th grade daughter’s summer reading list. Tales of dystopian societies, death, abandonment, war and despair. Is the Board of Education out to wreck their summer? I blame The Hunger Games. It spawned a slew of imitators (as success is prone to do).

I’m a bit peeved about this. I read the one about the meteor hitting the moon and it wasn’t pleasant. Am I being a big baby?


A sprig of premium catnip is placed before a sleeping, unsuspecting Stinky. He suddenly awakens!

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Oh, rapture! Oh, joy! A narcotic-induced smile.

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The end result is always the same: the junkie nod.

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The summer outdoor art installation season got off to a creaky start with Teresita Fernández’s Fata Morgana at Madison Square Park. The six-section canopy sculpture of mirror-polished disks are mounted on supports over the winding walkways.fata5fata7There are some interesting angles when you’re underneath…

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…but upon approach, it looks about as artistically fetching as scaffolding around a construction site.

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The light and shapes can say something, but only from very specific angles.

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People are complaining that the sculptures are blocking sunlight to the walkways—which is true—but I’m willing to accept the temporary sacrifice for art’s sake.

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Here are two past Madison Square Park exhibits that dazzled from all angles:

Orly Genger constructed walls of colored rope in Red, Yellow and Blue.

My fave, Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon, was a series of life-sized statues of the artist strategically placed on roofs and ledges surrounding the park.

Do you know what I liked better? These.

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A girl was selling these on a table on 42nd Street near 6th Avenue. Her medium is spray paint.

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I asked her if I could photograph these and she told me to go right ahead. Afterwards, I noticed a donation can and I threw two bucks in. I wish I’d have asked her how much they cost.

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I think they all have merit but you know which one is the best, don’t you? That one of Harley Quinn. Look at that sharply-defined mask against the rest of the chaos. Fantastic. I’d love to see what she could do with Batman.


I know I’ve posted far too many photos of the Flatiron Building, but I was passing by late in the evening and the light was hitting it just right. If you’ll indulge me these last two, I promise not to post any more. iPhone cameras are the best. Who needs an SLR anymore?

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