I liked waitresses best


August 5, 1995

I just had dinner with Klinger and Fun. The girl who waited on us is my new obsession. Waitresses are my favorite. They’re sitting ducks. Responding in a cheerful manner when I launch a charm initiative is part of their job description. The more receptive they are to my charm, the bigger the tip. And they know it.

Tonight’s candidate was a heart-breakingly beautiful Italian named Robin. Long, black hair and a body built for steam. She’s a student at Yale who’s in the city for the summer break. Jennifer went to Yale, too. You’re not supposed to think that people who attend Ivy League schools are anything special but I’m telling you, a cute girl who goes to Yale has extra hotness. Naturally, I feel completely inadequate around them. As far as I could tell, Jennifer was crazy about me. But I couldn’t get past the fact that she was a Yale graduate. Pretty smart of me, right?

I made Robin laugh a lot. Or, she was working hard for her tip. No matter. Either way, it was satisfying. She’s only in town for three more weeks and then it’s back to New Haven. Every time she left the table, Fun said we were hitting it off and that I should get her number.

She lives with her boyfriend but he’s moving back to LA in a few days. She didn’t have anything nice to say about him. She’s in desperate need of a sublet because she’s losing her boyfriend AND the apartment. The fact that she’s a) leaving town, b) has a boyfriend, c) goes to Yale and is, hence, my intellectual superior and d) is kind of young for me means that this is an impossibility. So, naturally, I MUST HAVE HER. She grew up on the Upper East Side, where her parents still live. UES + Yale = $$$$. She didn’t come off as being spoiled, but she’s probably never wanted for anything in life.

I didn’t know how to get her phone number without it looking creepy but Fun came up with a plan. Robin needs to find a sublet fast. The idea was for me to tell her I have a friend who works in real estate (a lie) and get her number. Klinger said, “Why can’t she just stay with her parents? It’s only three weeks.” Good question. I wonder what the dynamic is there? I got her number and will call her in the morning and ask her out for drinks.

Klinger is having an apartment sale. He’s too broke to keep his spectacular flat on Jones Street and has to move into a roommate situation. It’s a tragedy. This town is so hard on people. He can’t move in with Fun because her parents are super-strict Chinese traditionalists. They’d kung fu his ass if he even asked. If I were any kind of friend I’d offer to let him stay here but I’m too selfish. Plus, at $535/month, I don’t need the help.

[Note: That neighborhood might’ve been junkie central, but for $535/month I got a rent controlled 950 sq ft two bedroom with wood parquet floors, a sunken living room and two exposures in a well-maintained art deco building that opened in 1930—the same year as the Chrysler Building. It was my luckiest break ever.]

His new apartment is around the corner and it’s a dump. When he showed it to me I didn’t know what to say. His room is no bigger than a jail cell. It’s about three paces wide by four paces long. There’s a small window that overlooks 6th Avenue. I don’t know how he expects to function there. He’s moving in with a woman and her 11-year old daughter. Outside his room the place was filthy. I’d go back to Ohio before I lived in a place like that. It’s uninhabitable.

I’m going to miss sitting in the windows at his place on Jones Street on warm summer days and looking down the shirts of girls as they walked by.

August 10, 1995

I’m bored and lonely. It’s a recipe for disaster 100% of the time. Not having anyone to go out with is awesome for my budget. It also frees up my time so I can think about all the things wrong with me. I couldn’t stand the silence anymore so I called Eve. [Note: Eve agreed to go out with me but I quickly rescinded the invitation because it upset a girl who imagined I was her boyfriend.] I told her I was just back from the hospital where I had a spine implant. It made her laugh but she said no thanks because she doesn’t need another emotional basket case in her life. So that went well.

I went to the gym and when I opened my gym bag and took my clothes out, I saw six or seven cockroaches all lined up in the seam at the bottom of the bag. Stowaways. I ran and got a paper towel and started smashing them but one or two got away and ran into a hole in the bottom of the locker. For the gym’s sake, I hope none of them are female.

I bumped into Sheila while walking up Lexington. I was tortured over that woman for so long. We chatted for a bit and, I swear to God, the entire time we spoke I was thinking to myself, “What did I ever see in this woman?” What a waste of time suffering is.

Uptown R train, 6:30 a.m.

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
starlight and dewdrops are awaiting thee.
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Led by the moonlight have all passed away.

subway sleepers

Mr. Sensitive

This wasn’t exactly my finest hour. I was calloused and self-absorbed. I don’t blame my Ohio upbringing. New York City did it to me.


July 29, 1995

We’re in the midst of a horrific heatwave. Baby, there’s no heat like New York City heat. The subways heat the sidewalks and the glass buildings reflect sunlight onto the streets. The air is a thick, dead, goop. It’s not good for my hair and my underwear sticks to my ass. The worst part is all these fucking cockroaches. I keep a clean apartment but they’re everywhere. In the cat food, crawling on the bathroom towels, in my shoes, laying eggs in the cutlery drawer. The exterminator has been here TWICE but those guys are useless. There’s too many of them. This morning, I opened a box of Q-Tips and two crawled out. I was half-asleep and they scared the shit out of me. It was a new box, too. This is the worst part about living in an apartment. All you need is one dirty pig in the building and everyone suffers.

Colleen and I were supposed to take the train to Philadelphia today. Neither one of us has air conditioning so we had this great idea to sit in the Philadelphia Museum of Art all day and night. You should always take a bona fide artist with you when you go to a museum. They teach you stuff. Anyway, she called this morning and said she’s not going because she can’t be just friends with me. Her voice was quivering. I think she’d been crying. Jesus Christ. Really? I have LOST COUNT of how many women have told me not to expect anything other than a friendship. You rise above your stupid hurt feelings and move on. Now I have to sit in this goddamn hot apartment all day. It’s like being inside a pizza oven. I should’ve gone out with Eve. What an idiot. [Note: I met Eve at a party Colleen took me to.]

Kris glided past me up Avenue A on her rollerblades. She didn’t see me but she wouldn’t have stopped even if she had. She hates me. Early on, I think she wanted me in the biblical way. But that all changed when I told her I’d never rent my apartment to a girl because I thought the neighborhood was too dangerous. She said that was sexist and I wasn’t be fair to women. The moment the words left my mouth all the air was sucked out of the room. She changed how she felt about me in a New York second. You could feel it.

She was with another girl who I didn’t recognize. She wasn’t wearing any protective head gear. Just a black baseball cap on backwards. Her hair flowed behind her. It was like watching a slow motion Gen-X Lower East Side angel. That’s what she is.

After that, I was waiting in line at the ATM and Austin bumped into me. He called me Mike. That’s pretty much the impression I leave with everyone. They can’t even get my name right. I’m like a wisp of vapor. People sense my presence but I’m easy to look through and I leave no impression. His teeth were kind of yellow and his clothes were a mess but it was nice chatting with him. He said the band might go to Japan in September. I’ll believe it when I see it. He asked what I’ve been up to and I told him I just got out of jail for assaulting my landlord. He got the joke but everyone in line was eavesdropping and you could tell they took me seriously. I think God put other people on the planet for my own personal amusement.

I just saw Sedaris on a cable access show. They were talking about ‘One Woman Shoe,’ the play he did with his sister at La MaMa a few months ago. Holy shit, it was funny. His sister acted in it but he didn’t. I wonder why? The New York Times reviewed it. I think that guy might actually make it. [Note: I’ll say, he did.] This is the second show they did at La MaMa and I’ll bet it’s the last one they do there. [Note: It was. The next one was at Lincoln Center.] I left him a note at the box office to say hello and tell him how much I enjoyed the show and he wrote a gracious thank-you letter back, which I thought was classy. [Note: No texts or emails. An exchange of actual hand-written letters. A lost pleasure.]

Whenever I hear someone in the hallway, I run to the peephole to see if it’s anyone fun. It’s usually for that asshole across the hall. Cindy and I hate him. We always stomp on roaches in the hallway and then wipe our shoes on his welcome mat. There are some good bands playing at Fez tonight but I don’t have anyone to go with.

    *     *     *

This is the last Picasso sculpture. I promise. This is his young daughter, Paloma, jumping rope. He made it with found objects.


Another sensational New Jersey parking job. How do you live so deeply inside your own head that you’re oblivious to the world? In a way, it’s enviable.

NJ Parking

Two fun stories about two odd paintings

Everyone was out on Friday evening so instead of going home to an empty house I walked over to MoMA. There’s a modest Jackson Pollock exhibit.

Jackson Pollock
Full Fathom Five 1947


This is considered to be one of his first ‘drip’ paintings. What a mess! But I like it. I wonder what possessed him to take his canvas off the easel and lay it on the floor? He used traditional oil paint but he also used house paint. He threw a lot of other junk in, too. You have to get close to see the other stuff. So close that you’ll be yelled at by the museum guard. Take it from me. It’s like a treasure hunt. Within the folds of paint you can find:

A skeleton key.


Paint tube caps.




Some nails.


A cigarette and another coin.


Pushpins and thumbtacks.


The title was suggested by Pollock’s neighbor. It’s a quote about a shipwreck from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

“Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes.”

Isn’t that beautiful? People stopped paying attention to him after the drip paintings. It’s as if Led Zeppelin sang ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and nothing else. Poor Jackson. It drove him mad. He wrapped his car around a tree in a drunken fit. Is it better to have known greatness, only to have it snatched away? Or are you better off never knowing?

Robert Rauschenberg
Canyon 1959


He used a little bit of everything. Oil, paper, metal, photos, fabric, wood, canvas, buttons, a mirror, a pillow, cardboard and, yes, a taxidermied bald eagle. It’s a combination of painting, collage and sculpture all balled into one using found objects. He called these pieces Combines. He’d walk around downtown New York (we’re talking 1959 downtown) and pick up items that inspired him. Clearly, the centerpiece is that bald eagle.


It was given to him by fellow artist Sari Dienes. She found it in a hallway of the Carnegie Hall studio building. The rumor is it was killed and stuffed by one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. I wonder how it got to Carnegie Hall?

Bald eagles are a protected species, so selling this would be a felony. Consequently, when the owner passed away and bequeathed it to her children, the appraisers valued it at $0. The IRS disagreed and said it’s worth $65 million and they wanted $29.2 million in inheritance taxes, thank you very much. To get the IRS off their backs, they agreed to donate it to MoMA and MoMA agreed to always have it on display for the public to enjoy.

Four people sitting on a bench texting.


And where is this bench? In front of this:


Why bother to let one of Monet’s most vibrant tryptics wash over you when social media beckons? I wish I could report that they were absorbed MoMA’s museum app but, sadly, they were not. They were texting.

The bigger question here is: What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I in their lives? They’re not blocking my view of the painting. Why do I give a damn what they’re doing? This is the opposite of Zen detachment. I feel like a bitchy old man complaining about those damn kids and their newfangled technologies.

It is a shame, though. If I could un-invent mobile phones I’d do it in a second.

It was the last weekend for the monumental Picasso sculpture exhibit so it was pretty crowded. I’d like to propose a new rule: If you have a stroller, you can’t come into an art museum. They banned selfie sticks. Why wouldn’t the ban strollers?

Pablo’s clever guitars on a table.


Picasso guitar2


Picasso guitar1

Mixed media

Picasso guitar3

Children of alcoholic parents

Six powerful paragraphs from my UK blog buddy, Graham, about the hard road he, his wife and daughter traveled to his sobriety. A beautiful piece. Everything I know about alcoholism I learned through this guy’s URL.

Guitars and Life

Recently highlighted by BBC news is a campaign by Liam Byrne MP who is trying to get a national strategic plan and more helplines for children of alcoholics to get support from.  My daughter brought this to my attention as she had heard an article about it on the radio yesterday.  The figures quoted are that currently in the UK there are 2.6million children living with a parent who has a problem with alcohol.

In discussing this with my daughter she stated that she frankly didn’t even consider me as being part of her life until she was about 10 – 11.  I got sober when she was 8.  How did I feel about that?  Firstly it didn’t surprise me.  I have very few memories of my daughter as a small child.  I was into my last few years of heavy drinking, I was avoiding responsibility and was frankly simply zonked…

View original post 730 more words

There is peace and serenity in The Light

Enough ranting about racism disguised as serious theater and Asset Management douche bags. Back to art galleries and woeful tales from my past.

Instead of eating lunch, I took the C train down to the Bortolami Gallery in Chelsea for the Ann Veronica Janssens exhibit. There’s more than one kind of nourishment.

Janssens’ primary medium is light. For sheer trippy spectacle, it’s going to be impossible to top James Turrell’s MoMA show from two years ago but Janssens has a few nice ideas here.

Untitled (gamble)
Fluorescent light connecting two spaces
Dimensions variable


It looks like a light saber. This is a single, eight-foot fluorescent light. A hole was cut in the wall dividing the gallery lobby from the main space and the light passes through which, I reckon, links the two spaces. It’s nice enough but I don’t think it’s too far removed from the fluorescent lights that illuminate the gallery.


See what I mean? You could almost say this is derivative of Duchamp’s readymades. The gallery rep pointed out that Janssens’ light is far brighter than the ceiling lights (which is true) but sometimes a light is just a light.

Untitled (blue glitter)
Blue glitter
Dimensions variable


Untitled (blue glitter) is exactly that. A pile of blue glitter on the floor. It’s sparkly under the gallery lights.


She took about 12 pounds of blue glitter, poured it into a mound on the floor and then just kicked it a few times. How it lays is how it stays. The floor is her canvas. I wish I could’ve watched her install this piece. I’d have given it a kick or two myself. There are indentations in the glitter where people have poked it. You can’t blame them. It’s practically begging to be touched.


Attention all artists: don’t call a piece Untitled and then provide a parenthetical title. That’s the title. I see that a lot and it’s a distraction. Knock it off.

Seven spotlights; artificial haze
Dimensions variable

On the far side of the gallery, a warm, red glow beacons to you.


You enter a small room that has misty air and seven spotlights arranged just so.


It’s a “haze sculpture,” which I liked quite a lot. You slowly walk around the room and the shape changes with the angle you view it from. This view is dead-on.



This view is from the back wall facing the entrance. I like the geometry of this angle.


I wish I still smoked weed. I’d dig out my bong or roll a big fatty and go back for another look.


July 27, 1995

I got a call from home. Iggy died. [Note: Iggy was my pal Barry’s dog.] They kept Iggy tied up in the garage whenever they went out for the evening. The garage door has three windows about half-way up. Last week, while they were out to dinner, Iggy took a running leap and jumped through the center window. The leash wasn’t long enough for him to reach the pavement so he hung himself. They came home late and as the car pulled in, the headlights floated up the driveway, across the house and alighted onto Iggy’s corpse hanging out the garage door window. Jeff [Note: Barry’s younger brother.] started screaming. It was a terrible scene. They don’t know if he died from asphyxiation or if his neck snapped.

Molly is leaving. Her company in Bayonne is closing and she’s taking a job in the Philadelphia office. I feel nothing. She had me over for dinner once. She took a few pork chops, doused them in ketchup and then broiled them. It made me sad. I told Austin and he said, “That’s poor people food,” which is horseshit. We were poor but mom was a spectacular cook. A Master Chef. We made out for a bit after dinner and it wasn’t very inspiring. There’s no subtlety in her kiss. It was like having too big a piece of yellowtail sashimi in my mouth.

The last time I was in Cleveland I met her mom. Oh, holy Christ. She reminded me of the Chicken Lady from The Kids in the Hall.


She stuck her big, homely face a few inches from mine and shrieked, “I heard you’re dating my DAUGHTER! How do you LIKE HER?!” It was awful. Her breath was blowing my hair back. All I could see was Molly 40 years from now. Next.

“My people! My people!”


Newark, NJ. Sunday, January 31, 2016, 11:00 p.m.