Juxtaposition is when two contrasting items are placed in close proximity to one another for heightened effect. In concert, a band will play a raucous song followed by a quiet one. Springsteen does it a lot. It’s Beethoven’s favorite device. His music is ether bombastic or delicate. Movies, literature, art—it’s everywhere. Juxtaposition is used to tweak your perceptions.
After the humiliation of watching a derelict violently berate two young girls and not lift a finger to help, the rest of my day unfolded in a narcotic euphoria. It was like watching a sped-up film of a flower opening.
I unpacked the guilt I was carrying for calling in sick (when I wasn’t), and the guilt for not helping those girls and left it on the marble steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Forgiveness is a snap under the right conditions. I came out of the subway at 86th Street and a gentle snow was falling. It was purifying.
Curves within curves.
The key to a museum visit is to get there when it opens. You float through the quiet corridors and empty galleries unmolested by crowds and noise.
The empty Met Café with snowstorm outside.
People have their churches and cathedrals. Their synagogues, mosques, ashrams and shrines. I’ve visited a few of those places with an open heart and have never experienced any of the things you’re supposed to—an epiphany, a swelling of the spirit, becoming flush with joy. Mostly, they bore me. There’s only one place that fills my empty cup o’ essence to the brim and that’s an art museum.
Lovers steal a kiss in the Temple of Dendur.
Art museums restore my faith in humanity and fill me with hope and forgiveness. It’s the only evidence I’ve seen that there might be a God. Listening to a sermon has never convinced me. They’re all slick-haired, television evangelists to me. Art museums are filled with kindred damaged souls.
“His fleece was white as snow…”
I never understood Cubism but this exhibit was an historical gathering of paintings, so I felt compelled to see it. I did a smart thing. I bought an audio tour. If you stand in front of a jumbled mess and someone carefully explains the artist’s intent, the mess dissolves into a new clarity and a deeper understanding. Its meaning is unearthed and something that, at first glance, you never thought you could like, much less understand, suddenly makes perfect sense. It turns out I love Cubism very much. What a surprise! I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that an old dog like me can still learn a thing or two. It makes me sad that I didn’t have any teachers in my youth. What else have I missed?
Looking down into Central Park from the 2nd floor of the Met.
I took a walk through Central Park. Walking through a snowy Central Park will make you glad to be alive. It’ll make your heavy heart light and put a big, stupid grin on your face that will make you look disturbed to people walking past you. And that thought will please you.
“Have I gone mad?”
“I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”
Alice in Wonderland
Beyond those trees, some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.
After the Park, I saw a movie. Bridman, with Michael Keaton. It’s about actors. Then I saw an off-Broadway play. A one-man show presented by a guy who spent 10 years in prison. He performed 18 different and distinct characters he met there, oftentimes in conversational clusters where you had four or five individuals coming out of one mouth.
All that happened within a 15-hour period. A near mugging, an artistic revelation, a stroll through a wintery Central Park, a move and then a play. During that entire span, I was alone. I didn’t talk to a soul and do you know what? I loved it.
I love my wife and daughters. Read the back-posts if you don’t believe me. But I’m content in my own skin. I always have been. I’ve never been lonely a day in my life and I don’t look to anyone to supply my happiness for me. I hang on my cross for lots of things. [Here’s one nail: Though my father lived with us until I was 16, I never had a conversation him.] But I’ve got independence, and that’s an awesome weapon to have in your arsenal.
Darla recently announced that she just obtained her 10,000th follower. A few days later, Elyse said she hit 4,000. Congrats girls! Well done and well deserved. I’d like to announce to the world that my follow meter just clicked to:
Pretty good, right? And I’ve only been doing this for seven years. Just wait until I pick up a head of steam. The sky’s the limit, bitches. [EDIT: I just reread this. Yikes. I’m not directing “bitches” at Darla and Elyse. Do a search. I call my audience bitches. All apologies if it was taken the wrong way.]
All kidding aside, I have a small, but vocal, following and I’ll take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Thank you, one and all.
This magnificent window was made by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1924. NO PAINT was used in its production. Instead, the color comes from tiny bits of colored glass—he called it “glass confetti.” It throws light and is luminescent in a way paint is not. The water’s mist was made by layering thin panes of glass on top of one another. Other textures were created by wrinkling glass in its molten state.
Now do you believe me?