I brought my daughters to Chelsea for a gallery hop. I think they’re bored by these excursions. I think they suffer them for my sake. Hopefully, one day, they’ll be a fond memory. *I* certainly enjoy these days.

This was Leo Villareal’s beautiful light installation at Pace Gallery.

You lucky ducks in London will get to see his Illuminated River installation along the Thames starting Wednesday, November 9th.

This was REASON by Carsten Höller​ at the Gagosian. It’s an oversized mobile you propel. The intertwining mushrooms never collide. My daughter was a bit too enthusiastic. She started running and the security guard had to tell her to hit the brakes.

This is Descension, Anish Kapoor’s summer installation in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s a never-ending whirlpool. I don’t know where the water goes or how it feeds back into the piece. I don’t care. I never peek behind the curtain. Standing next to it you feel a rumble, like a low, constant thunder. The railing rattles. This is the same guy who did the Bean in Chicago.

This necessitated a walk over the bridge. It’s VERY crowded with tourists this time of year. And it’s no wonder. It’s a spectacle. The cathedral window cutouts and cables are distinctive. One of my favorite architectural flourishes in the city.


Andy Warhol
Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)
Estimate on Request
Sold for $27,500,000

Roy Lichtenstein
Red and White Brushstrokes
Est: $25,000,000-35,000,000
Sold for $28,247,500

You’re looking at +$55M worth of art hung side by side. They’re nice, but I’ve seen better for much less.



May 28, 1993

I got the sweetest message from Laura on my answering machine.

[Note: Do you miss answering machines? With their unpredictable joys and sorrows? I do. Voicemail is to answering machines as ebooks are to hardcovers. Same functionality but lacks the poetry.]

It was a last-minute invitation to a stand-up club with some of her friends. She said she’d save me a seat. She said she’d love to see me but if I couldn’t make it, that’s okay, she’d see me soon. Do you know how many people freely admit they’d love to see me? Not many. I told Bonnie and she said I couldn’t NOT go. I’m kind of broke but moments later I was in a cab.

Got there and the performance was already underway. I stood in the back of a dark club and didn’t see her. Then I saw a head tilt up and a plume of cigarette smoke spout towards the ceiling. It was like the Bat Signal. Also, Laura has a very distinctive way of flipping her long hair over to one side. It’s a trademark move. I only saw a silhouette and knew instantaneously it was her. She was at a table with five friends. An empty seat was next to her.

When the acts changed, I wound my way through the club and sat next to her. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face when she turned and saw it was me. She held my hand under the table.

We woke up the way we fell asleep; in each other’s arms. This can’t possibly last, can it? [Note: Nope. It can’t.]


I’m battling sciatica. I’ve tried physical therapy, acupuncture, a chiropractor, megadoses of naproxen and steroids, heat and cold. They prescribed an opiate but I refuse to take it.

I just read a book by a guy named Dr. John Sarno. He says my pain is not physiological. It’s a distraction to prevent me from dealing with repressed feelings of anger, anxiety and worthlessness. Do you know what? I belive him.

63 thoughts on “Kaleidoscope

      • Last time I was at the Phoenix Art museum, I came across a couple with a very distinctive odor about them, and they were deriving much more pleasure from 17th Century art than I thought possible.
        So, yes, I think you should give it a try. You might figure out the REASON.

  1. My bridge!
    “Reason” left me standing.If I walk through a playground with something like that I HAVE to play on it.
    And I hope the girls will have happy memories of these gallery days.

    • What do you mean ‘your’ bridge? That’s OUR bridge. You stand corrected.

      I like the participatory aspect of REASON. You just can’t get too excited or you’ll break it. The good news is that even though they’re bored, the galleries are free. I’m not out a significant amount of money.

  2. The lights in the first pic are fantastic and the best exhibit of modern art, in my little ole opinion, that you have ever posted. Someone has to damn much money to spend on a picture of a Campbell soup can. My God that money would have put hundreds of poor kids through college.

    I’ve had sciatica years ago and went to a chiropractor for years but the adjustments helped about 80-90%. I have had no back pain since I retired from nursing. Suppressed anxiety and anger can make you ill in many different ways. I will offer my un-solicited advice. Find a pro hypnotist and see if that works. It helped a family member a great deal.

    • The light sequence was completely random. You could sit there all day and not see the same patterns twice. It was part of a larger display that contained about seven or eight light panels. Pretty great stuff in person.

      It’s not just a Campbell’s soup can (vegetable). There’s a can opener in there, too. That might explain the high value. Or might not.

      According to Dr. Sarno, your back pain went away after you retired because you were HAPPY. I do believe there’s something to that. I’m perfectly willing to try a hypnotist. I’m too old to start therapy. That takes years.

      • Hmm, I never thought about the happy part just always figured it was stress. But now as I’ve read what Dr. Sarno said, I see that my stress and anxiety led to a great deal of unhappiness. I hope that you are able to find a reputable hypnotist. MY daughter had about 4-6 sessions- not sure and she after that she was a changed person. The lady gave my daughter CDs- I suppose they were part of the package, and she listened to those when ever she needed. In all, if you find a good therapist it would be far cheaper than using a therapist to sit and talk about your past and present life. It does take years and chunks of money. Good luck in getting relief for the pain.

      • I’m a little leery of using a hypnotist. What if she subliminally implants a message and turns me into some kind of Manchurian Candidate? She could call me from a remote location and command me to empty my bank account or eat too much gluten in my diet.

  3. I like the whirpool. He should have called it ‘Charybdis’. It would be even better if you could throw a toy ship or rubber duck in it.

    John Sarno has never met you, right? Why would you believe some generic psychobabble written to sell a book? Try meditation if all else fails.

    • I had to Google Charybdis. What a perfect reference to make. You Brits have superior educations. There were some young punks throwing stones into the pool. What’s WRONG with people?

      I’ve been meditating for years. My back discomfort has prevented me from doing that. It’s hard to reach a state of bliss with little needles running up and down my leg.

  4. A good friend of ours curated one of his works here in SAV and gave us a gorgeous book of his work! Truly exciting to see. Trust me on this one (of many, as you know) key thing, your girls will remember the gallery tours! I know our krewe still do and have passed the museum/gallery experience down to their children. I’m sending you positive vibes, sweetpea! I hope all of the good energy your friends here in Blogville are sending will help you heal! (Anxiety is a muthafucka, ain’t it?) 😉 xoxoxo

    • Which artist are you referring to? I’m assuming Kapoor because he’s the most high profile but correct me if I’m wrong.

      Thanks for the goods wishes. The worst is behind me but it’s still an issue. I still have residual pain. The mornings are no fun, especially when putting my socks on. Ouch.

  5. Your girls WILL remember these trips, and all the whining and “do-I-hafta?”s will be forgotten in their memories, distilled down to, “gosh, Dad was so cool to do that with us.” Mark my words. Mark.

    That Dr. is a quack. Pain is pain.

    • To their credit, they never whine about going. I don’t think I’d take them if they did. But I’m always looking out of the corner of my eye to see if they’re bored.

      The good doctor is not denying the pain. It’s definitely there and not a figment of my imagination. What he’s questioning is the source. People point to disc problems and the like. His contention is that it’s more psychological and related to anxiety than it is a physical affliction.

      • I’m no doctor (although I play one on TV …I’m dating myself, because every time I hear that lead-in I think of a commercial from back in the day for somebody (Marcus Welby? Dr. Kildare?) hawking some crap) but it seems to me that while anxiety and stress exacerbate most bad things, including pain, there must be an underlying physical cause at the heart of it.

  6. I enjoyed both of your notes to the reader. At the time, I think I kind of hated answering machines. I can’t recall why, but remembering how paranoid I was back then, it was probably my concern that a roommate or significant other might hear the message I left. But I have to agree in hindsight that you’re right. There was a certain eloquence about them compared to the automated voice mail. I think I got fancy at one point and had a really bad George Carlin greeting for my callers.

    • I distinctly remember walking into my apartment and checking my answering machine. If the little red light was blinking, that meant someone knew I was alive. I had one machine that showed how many messages were waiting. 3! 4! 6 was bliss!

  7. Sounds like a great trip with your girls. Funny you mention answering machines…I miss them too but also the sound of land line phones ringing. Something comforting there and Also there was that breif stint of years when I was obsessed with standing out by having the most unique ring tone for my cell.

    • Hey, you’re new here. Welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I am always appreciative of a new reader.

      I take my daughters on these gallery excursions a couple times a year. I’m still not convinced they find it as satisfying as I do but I’m not going to stop.

      We are both aging ourselves with all this talk about answering machines. We’d better not get off. We have reputations to protect.

      • Yeah I am new, very impressive that you know your followers so well you can spot a newbie. About 2 months of blogging and so far i think I’m killin it- Only not too many other ppl seem to agree.

        I take my kids all sorts of placesa nd I bore them with stories and information they did not want to know…Keep taking them places they will for sure apreciate it later in life-

      • I don’t have THAT many commenters that I don’t notice when a new one comes along. That’d be nice but I’m a small fry in the the blog world. You’d better blog for yourself and because you enjoy it. Trying to chase an audience is kind of depressing. Don’t ask me how I know. Just take my word for it.

  8. All of those were much better than the lunch meat stapled to the wall.

    I like the image of her flipping her hair in her trademarked way and blowing smoke up to the sky. That’s the kind of thing that you don’t forget.

  9. I agree that your girls will remember the gallery tours fondly. My son, who did not assume the bug, recalls HIS museum trips with fondness.

    My husband has been suffering sciatica this past year. He too has done the gamut, but it is easing; I hope that gives you hope. As for the doctor suggesting it is stress induced, let me just say that doctors used to claim Crohn’s is all psychologically based. To them, I point to the toilet. Because they, too, are full of shit. Stress can increase pain, but there needs to be a physiological reason for it.

    • There are many avenues to ease the pain but they’re all temporary. Dr. Sarno offered a permanent solution that I believe in. I don’t want to be a lifelong patient for a chiropractor. I’m not someone else’s revenue stream.

      • Good luck with it. Forgive my skepticism — I got much sicker in the past when I believed that. But that doesn’t mean you will have the same experience.

  10. Really sorry to hear about the pain you’re in. I had sciatica a few years ago and it was nasty. My doctor recommended three days of total bed rest followed by a gentle return to normal exercise. The first day was excruciating (like you, I wouldn’t take opiates) but by the end of the second day the pain began to subside. I haven’t suffered from it since. Good luck – I hope you soon find something that works for you.

    Great light installations – thanks for sharing those photos.

    • Yours started to abate in only a couple days?!? You have remarkable recuperative powers. Mine started in early June. It’s on its way out but it’s been a long summer. I haven’t been able to run since late May and I really miss it. But it’s coming back, thank god.

      Many of these installations I post are more enveloping when you see them in person. You can really get lost in them stepping into the galleries.

      • Yup. But it was total bed rest. One of the worst parts was that I couldn’t lie down much because of the pain – there wasn’t much sleep happening. My doctor at the time insisted that’s exactly what I had to do. I didn’t leap out of bed after the third day – but I had somehow turned the corner.

  11. Nice Chex Mix of a post here. Thanks.
    Your journal entries are remarkable because they feel so fully formed. I don’t know how much care you put into them at the time, but I would hazard most people would just throw it down for the record. Yours feel like compositions.
    There. Feel better?

    • ALL of my posts are a Chex Mix. I’m not confident enough to focus on just ONE THING. I assume I’d put everyone to sleep. Jumping around is a defense mechanism. Works like a charm.

      The journals are not completely raw. I’d say they were about 75% true to form. I have to clean up the punctuation, syntax and clarity a bit. If I pushed them out raw, you all would get the wrong impression. You might think I just threw them down for the record.

  12. Is the sciatica reference present tense? I hope not. I like what Akuokuo said about Exile on (no) Pain Street. And deft moves in this, throughout. Deft! Dope!

    • The worst of the sciatica is over, thank Beezus. At least I can put my socks on in the morning. But its charms still linger. I’m getting old. That’s the problem. No Pain would be contrary to my nature, I’m afraid.

  13. Ouch on the sciatica and I hope you are getting better.

    REASON is an interesting choice of a name for a piece using amanita muscaria. Definitely fatty material.

    • Thanks, very much. As of today, better but not best. How much longer? Can you tell me?

      I had to Google amanita muscaria. That’s quite a brain you’ve got there. I didn’t realize the mobile was based on ACTUAL fungi. I thougtht the design was a contrivance by the artist. Nice work.

      • Thank you.

        No predictions from me. I can say that my two bouts with sciatica were long and progress slow. Things got better more quickly after I could start putting on my socks. Thankfully it has been a while since the last one.

      • Early on I had to wake up a little early to allow more time to put my socks on. So I know what you mean. I was in pain AND sleep deprived. It’s better but I’m waiting for the more quickly part. I still think it’s because of my bad attitude about things.

  14. I like to read medical advice from people, so here is my contribution. Have a coffee colon hydrotherapy. It cures everything. If still in pain, get very drunk. When you wake up maybe the all the uncomfortable feelings will be gone. I know when I retired, my physical and mental character change so much people could see it.
    Keep taking your daughters to these galleries. I still remember when my parents to me to a museum as a kid. There is no better feeling than the woman you love who loves you back even more. The prices for those paintings have to come from a conglomerate. No one has that much money to spend on a painting without first trying to feed and educate the poor with their wealth.

    • Do you mean a coffee enima? I’ve never considered it. I might have to get drunk to do it. That would cover TWO pieces of advice at one time. I bet I’ll feel a lot better after I retire. I’m pretty lazy so I’m sure it’ll make me happy. Finally.

      Why would a conglomerate give money to the poor? They’d just wasted out on stupid stuff like housing and education.

      • I’d like to counter Tom with some homeopathic organic medicine (wtf is that i have no idea) smoke copious amounts of ganja, works when i’m in pain, yeah i know it freaks you out… so maybe you should eat baked goods instead… or look into CBD oil, it’s legal and doesn’t get you high (so why anyone would take it i don’t know lol)… and if it’s repressed feelings that Sarno’s yapping about i recommend some mushroom therapy, the psylocibin (spelling?) type, all organic and being used in studies to help anxiety and depression and those with terminal illness… and what is life but a terminal illness? so Dr. Kono’s advice is get stoned and trip your balls off and all will be well… over and out.

      • How did I know that would be your go-to cure? I haven’t touched that stuff in a couple of decades. I hear it’s pretty powerful nowadays. One whiff and I might need to be rushed off to the hospital. At least I’ll have a smile on my face. We have a medicine cabinet at my office with an astonishing array of meds. I keep telling the guys who fill it that sooner or later weed will be legal and when it is I want to see some joints in there.

        I did mushrooms once while on a rafting trip on the wild Yakagany River in Ohiopyle State Park. Do you know where that is? It was a pleasant experience and the only time I’ve been camping. Ever.

  15. This may seem too simple to be true but after suffering from sciatica for two years a friend asked me where a carried my wallet. When I told him ” in my back pocket like everyone else” he suggested that I keep it in my front pocket for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t work for everyone but it did for me. Apparently the unequal pressure that the wallet exerts on one side of your body can trigger a sciatic attack. Haven’t had a twinge since I switched. I had to trim down the contents of the wallet but what the hey, how many receipts and business cards do really need.

    • Boy, Howdy, I WISH that’s all it took. I rarely carry my wallet and when I do I keep it in my front pocket. An old habit from when I first moved to NYC and the city was rotten with pickpockets. (Whatever happened to pickpockets? They went away along with the squeegee men.)

      What do you mean TWO YEARS?!?! That’s freaks me out a little. Do you mean to say this thing can hang on for that long? This started in early June and I’m already astonished at its staying power. This is very bad news.

  16. “I’m battling sciatica. I’ve tried physical therapy, acupuncture, a chiropractor, megadoses of naproxen and steroids, heat and cold. They prescribed an opiate but I refuse to take it.”

    As a sufferer of chronic pain, I agree that opiates are a terrible option.

    Then again, don’t let anyone convince you that your physical pain is all due to your failed enlightenment. That’s about as much nonsense as saying it is all in your head!

    Try trigger point therapy, maybe? It helps me. Use a tennis ball (or more specific objects sold on Amazon, etc., but they aren’t necessary) for self massage to work deeply into various muscles and joints, including those that don’t seem related. (My chiropractor loved to describe the spine as a seesaw–if your neck hurts, adjust the tailbone, and vice versa.)

    The “Ultimate 6 for Runners” guidebook by TriggerPoint Therapy helped me the most. I also found a copy of the “Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” at my local library. No self-loathing required.

    • HI, Willo. Thanks for the tips. Chronic pain sounds awful and a lot worse that what I’m going through. Remind me to stop whining so much. Without getting into specifics, I’m quite a mess inside. I can easily believe that my ailments come from a place other than philological. I’m familiar with trigger point therapy. A few years ago I got a case of plantar fasciitis from running. I cured it by rolling my foot on a golf ball under my desk for eight hours a day. it hurt like hell at first but the pain went away and I was back to running in no time.

      Self-loathing is what I do best. Are you saying I have to give up the thing I’ve finally perfected? If you insist…

  17. The boyos are getting way into street art aka graffiti, maybe a trip to NYC is in order lol, soon i’ll take the oldest to the Warhol and explain to him the art of the swindle… or is it the swindle of art?

    • There’s no graffiti in NYC anymore. The only graffiti you’ll find is hanging in museums. The subways are sparkling and safe. For the most part. You’re lucky to have access to that Warhol museum. Sure, the guy was a bit of a fraud, but he only stuck it to wealthy people who were willing participants. Hard to feel bad for them.

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