White guilt

Here’s the Oscar nominations announcement from the New York Times.

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I bristled when I read this. It’s clumsy and inelegant. Nevermind all those other nominations. How about those BLACK ACTORS? We’ve officially solved Hollywood’s diversity problem. So easy! Or is “Black Actors” the title of a movie that received six nominations?

It makes them look like bargaining chips in a score that needed to be settled instead of accomplished actors, which is what they are. These issues should be treated in two separate stories; one a congratulatory list of nominations, the other a deeper conversation about diversity in Hollywood. They’re mashed together in a distasteful and unintentionally comic way. Congratulations, black actors. Oh…and you other guys, too.

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Currently at the Sperone Westwater gallery on the Bowery are these three astonishing pieces by Emil Lukas. Entering the softly-lit gallery space you are greeted by these gentle gradients.

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It’s not until you’re up close that you realize they’re not acrylics or oils or watercolor. They’re made of THREAD.

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Thousands of strategically-laced threads stretched over a wooden frame. I wish I could buy this one.

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I can’t imagine what a painstaking, laborious, time consuming process this must be.

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bins

June 8, 1992

I went for a bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge and stopped at the World Trade Center to look at the towers. Architectural snobs say bad things about the towers but I love them. They have a grandness and nice, clean lines.

Went to Battery Park, sat on the lawn under a tree, took my shoes and socks off and rubbed the bottoms of my feet in the grass. I started A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I watched the tourists board the ferries for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Someone off in the distance was playing an accordion. I could smell the salt water. Sometimes I read and sometimes I just looked at the sun through the trees. I am grateful for these empty days.

I went out with Lucy on Saturday night and had a nice time. I had comps to see Dreamtime at The Ed Sullivan Theater. I had a sneaking suspicion we weren’t going to like it and, boy howdy, was I right. It was dreadful. After the show we went to the Applejack Diner on Broadway and 55th and split a big plate of fries. I walked her home from there. We stopped at Tower Records.

Lucy is so beautiful but she won’t have anything to do with me. We got to the corner of 70th and Broadway and I asked if I could walk her to her door. She said no. She was afraid I’d try to kiss her goodnight. It was pretty humiliating. The fact that we put up with each others’ company must mean that we are two terribly lonely individuals.

While waiting for Lucy outside the Ed Sullivan a homeless guy walked up to me and demanded money. I didn’t give him any so he became belligerent. He was yelling at me, “Where would you eat if you were homeless?! Where?!” People walking by pretended not to hear. He got right up to my face and repeated it over and over, expecting an answer, becoming angrier, more agitated and animated when I ignored him. He was waiving his arms around and got so close I could smell his breath. Lucy and I must’ve been hit up for change a dozen times while we walked up Broadway. It’s an epidemic.

Poo-shay

From our Literary Tidbit Department:

Ian Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952 at Goldeneye, his house in Jamaica where all of the Bond novels were written. He had been musing on a name for his new creation. “I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument…” He looked up from his desk and saw this on his bookshelf:

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“I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought, by God, ‘James Bond’ is the dullest name I ever heard.” That’s right. The real James Bond wasn’t a globetrotting super spy. He was an ornithologist. And, yes, that’s a first edition.

Fleming would routinely name villains after actual people who had gotten on his nerves at one point or another. Hugo Drax, Goldfinger, Scaramanga, etc., were all part of a grand payback scheme. Sweet.

The Bond books were written while World War II was still a fresh wound. The villains were mostly Germans or Asians with hideous physical disfigurements who were hellbent on world domination.

Fleming’s greatest nomenclature creation is Pussy Galore. Talk about a straight white male fantasy! She was the leader of a gang of lesbian ex-circus performing cat burglars. Bond turned her hetro with his superior lovemaking skills. The film adaptation has Bond overpowering her in a bail of hay in a barn. Afterwards, woozy from a proper pumping from Bond, she willingly reveals Goldfinger’s nefarious plans to the CIA.

In a heartfelt tribute, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery features a character named Alotta Fagina, which I find no less absurd than Pussy Galore.

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Would you look at this whopper I bought before work last week. It was enormous! Gerthy, too. Five inches around. I measured.

Am I the only one astonished that I can buy fresh tropical fruit from a street vendor in Manhattan the middle of winter? Isn’t that a cause for wonderment? I’m certain that option didn’t exist not long ago. Only 50 cents.

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I have tried for years to develop an appreciation for Gerhard Richter’s work but it’s just visual noise to me. It’s big. You can say that much for it.

Abstraktes Bild (809-2)
From the collection of Eric Clapton
Estimate: $18,000,000-25,000,000
Sold for $22,087,500

Oh. And Eric Clapton owned it. You can say that, too. And say it they did. Over and over and over. That was thought to be one of the painting’s key selling points. They sure couldn’t sell it on its artistic merit alone. Clapton bought it in 2001 for $3.4 million.

$22 million. Give me a break. It was fugly in 2001 and it’s fugly today.

This was AIDS

bins

Would you look at this? Exactly 25 years ago to the day. Almost. Where were you?

January 7, 1992

Had lunch with Kat at The Brasserie. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to the Four Seasons. I had a club sandwich. She had a spinach salad. $43. I picked up the tab. I have to once in a while. It’s emasculating to never pay.

I don’t think she’s happy with her girlfriend, although she claims she loves her very much. She doesn’t think she likes having sex with women and all she ever wears is sweats. They’d better get that shit sorted out before they do any more house hunting. She told me about a house in Lido Beach they’re interested in. She said it’s an up/down and the bottom half can be rented out. In describing the bottom unit, she kept saying you have your own entrance and you walk out the door onto the beach and you have your own private terrace. You, you, you. I don’t think I was imagining it. I’d have to give it some thought. Commuting from Long Island has never been a dream of mine although wearing sweats 24/7 is.

I visited Elvin last night. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since his mother passed. He doesn’t seem to be taking it well. He’s lost a lot of weight and didn’t have much to start with. I mentioned how sorry I was for his loss but he clearly didn’t want to discuss it so I dropped it.

He had a friend over I’d never met. Tim. I think I’m the only straight person Elvin knows personally. That goes for ALL of my gay friends. It seems gay people ONLY hang out with other gay people. I think I’m a token. One of Oscar’s friends called me a breeder. Nice.

We sat in the living room and chatted like a bunch of mature adults. Elvin lit a fire. One day, I would like an old Brooklyn brownstone with an old Brooklyn fireplace that still works. There’s a photo of Victor on the mantle just before he passed away and he looked really, really bad. Elvin and Tim listed all the people in the neighborhood and friends of friends who are sick with AIDS. It was a long list. I was thinking to myself how lucky I am to be straight. Not that I’m immune, but I like my odds. For dinner he made chicken marinated in teriyaki sauce. It was very good. I left a little heavy-hearted because of all the talk about death.

Oscar threw a party for a friend who was just accepted into law school. I’ll tell you what…my gay friends sure know how to host a shindig. Loud, thumping music, dancing, scrumptious food and lots of laughing.

The next day I was watching the Cowboys/Lions playoff game and the two guys below me were having loud sex. It’s annoying. I cranked up the TV so I couldn’t hear them. Listening to gay sex while watching the NFL left me discombobulated. I don’t understand gay sex. There’s no part of a man that I find even remotely enticing. Poor women.

When I lived in Arizona my apartment shared a thin wall with newlyweds. That’s was pretty great. They went at it day and night. The girl was a screamer. I remember once, between moans, she said, “You shouldn’t. Remember what the doctors said.” That didn’t stop him. Can you imagine if he’d dropped dead right in the middle of it? I’m certain that it happens all the time.

Lucy and I saw a play at the Walter Kerr. Crazy He Calls Me. About a Brooklyn mama’s boy who falls in love with a Polish immigrant. It was just awful. Lucy didn’t like it either. It’s a two-hander and I felt bad for the actors. Polly Draper from thritysomething is in it. Lots of Hollywood folks come out here slumming on Broadway to burnish their resumes. She should run right back to LA.

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I would display this in my grand foyer if I had one.

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Yue Minjun
The Last 5,000 Years

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Estimate: $120,000 – $180,000
Price realized: $199,500

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Manhattan sunrise. I caught this just before they extinguished the lights on the Chrysler Building. It’s my favorite skyscraper.

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