Stare at this pocket watch. You’re getting sleepy…

bins

May 14, 1993

I took Laura to see Angels in America. It opened last week and it’s the toast of Broadway. A new play about AIDS. It’s kind of upsetting to sit through. A young actor named Jeffrey Wright was particularly good. I was waiting outside the theater beforehand feeling sorry for myself because things didn’t go so well in the bedroom the other night. The play’s depiction of the afflicted’s suffering, and the suffering of those who loved him, was so vivid and so true-to-life that it made me ashamed for wallowing in self-pity over my little problem. My problem is temporary. AIDS is a death sentence, and a particularly gruesome one at that.

The pair of tickets cost $129, which I have no business spending. I’m between gigs and just marginally employed, but when she turned the corner and walked towards me, the money seemed unimportant. As she got closer, she slowed her walk and looked me in the eye. Step. Step… Step…. She put her arms around my neck and kissed me. She’s so beautiful. She couldn’t come home with me because she had to be at Baby Gap at 8:00 the next morning. Dropped her off at her apartment. The taxi driver had such horrific B.O. that we settled for a kiss on the cheek.

I didn’t want to sit around the apartment all day because I thought I might put my head in the oven so I rode my bike to Battery Park. I was in the sun for over three hours without sunscreen and got a terrible burn. I think the tourists discovered my little nook. It’s preposterous to think I can go anywhere in New York and avoid a crowd. I read the paper and thought about her, then went home and did laundry. Spent time on the phone with Bonnie. She’s got relationship problems, too.

I am so vexed about what happened the other night, and so convinced it’ll happen again, that I went to a hypnotist. Desperate measures. It cost $80. That leaves $73 in my checking account. He put me “under” but all I felt was ridiculous. He thought I fell asleep but, honestly, it was all I could do to keep from laughing. He said to envision peace and calm and then took my money. I don’t know if it’ll help. It would help if Laura dumped Dave back in Nebraska. I should visit Ann and her coconut oil. I’ll bet that’d restore my confidence in a jiffy.

Laura and I like to have “questions sessions” in bed. We create a safe space and are allowed to ask each other anything, no matter how personal or erotic. And many fantasies were learned. On that day. It’s a lot of fun. I found out about Dave during one of these sessions. Unsafe space.

CBGBs this Friday. Fang Records showcase featuring BOX and Very Pleasant Neighbor. Two of my favs. Cindy said she’s going, which is a bonus.

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Artist and rabble rouser Ai Weiwei’s new public installations are a commentary on the worldwide refugee crisis. As with most conceptual art, its meaning in relation to the actual piece is beyond my ken. I only ever enjoy this stuff for its visual splendor (or lack thereof). Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is a citywide installation that consists of hundreds of pieces. The most fetching are these two cages.

I took these at 6:30 in morning. I wanted stark, empty streets and early light.

Arch is in Washington Square Park.

The center cutout is polished mirror and in the shape of two figures.

Gilded Cage sits at the southeast entrance to Central Park.

That’s The Plaza in the background. Once an elegant hotel, it’s now a Trump property and, hence, polluted.

You can walk inside. It’s the closest I ever hope to get to jail.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

bins

May 30, 1993

When I hear Laura’s voice on the phone I feel it physically. In my gut. In my bones. We saw a horrible production of Romeo and Juliet in the basement of a church in Midtown. Juliet looked to be about 30 years old. We checked the playbill and she was the producer. It was a vanity production. It was particularly painful for Laura, a classically-trained actor who can’t find a gig. It made her sad so we left at intermission and drank in a Russian restaurant. She got kind of loud.

The next night I went to the brownstone she shares on the Upper East Side for a party. It was a big deal for me to be invited. I want to be accepted in her world. I hate walking into a party all alone where I don’t know anyone. I feel vulnerable. But Laura buzzed me in, met me in the stairwell and kissed me. I felt a lot better after that.

I was the first one there. In New York, nobody shows up to a party until 11:30. It’s obnoxious. I brought 12 bottles of Dos Equis to endear myself. Her friends were gracious and welcoming. Her roommate, Eleanor, is gorgeous. She’s dating an attorney who is also the landlord. He seems psychotic. I think he uses drugs for more than just recreational purposes. He gives off a bad vibe. How he landed a tomato like Eleanor is a mystery.

At 3:30 we grabbed a couple beers and went up to the roof. It was beautiful out. The city was quiet. I sat on a kitchen chair someone left up there and she straddled me. We kissed for a while. She was wearing a flowered dress with shoulder straps. She reached behind her, unzipped her dress and pulled the straps down. I asked her to come home with me and she said alright. “But,” she said, “I need to tell you something. There’s someone back home I care very much about. David. He may come here for a visit. If he does, I won’t be able to see you. I’m going to tell him about you, too, because I don’t like sneaking around.” She said she couldn’t promise me exclusivity. I was noble and said I understood and appreciated her honesty but I’m wrecked.

We came down off the roof. It was a little after 4:00 a.m. Eleanor and some of her friends were at the kitchen table. We chatted for a bit and left. The fact that Laura left with me in front of all her friends was tremendously gratifying. We got a cab to the Lower East Side.

She brought an atomizer in case she had a cat allergy attack. The previous day, I’d spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning the apartment and kept the cats out of my bedroom, which they did not like one bit. There was much complaining on the other side of the door.

It was both glorious and horrible. We fell into bed and intertwined but I was unable to deliver the goods. We’d been drinking for quite some time and she attributed it to alcohol but I can assure you it had nothing to do with Dos Equis and everything to do with David. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’m not in this recreationally, like she is.

We laid in bed for hours alternately kissing and talking. At one point I was sitting in the director’s chair opposite the bed and the morning’s first light started to seep through the blinds. I could barely see her outline. The light was magic. It spilled across her body, a slow reveal as the sun rose. Her hair flowed across my pillow. It’s exactly the kind of thing that fills the Met with great art.

We fell asleep at 7:30. I woke up first around 11:00 and watched her sleep. She is as pretty in the morning as I am ugly. She woke up and I thought she’d leave straight away but we stayed in bed for a while. She pressed her body against mine. I made some coffee. We sat for a couple hours and talked. She commented how nice it was; just sitting and talking.

She left her atomizer and leather jacket here, so I think she’ll be back. But I’m worried. You can’t un-ring a bell.

She got a job at Baby Gap.

Margaret called. She wants to know why I haven’t called Samantha, the blind date she set me up with a couple weeks ago. Is she kidding?

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put me together again.

~~~~~~~~~~

I came into work last week and saw this shadow on the blinds.

It’s a boy! Or a girl. Either way, it’ll peck your eyes out.

*     *     *

43rd Street Parking Garage

*     *     *

Chrysler Building; midday/evening

Kaleidoscope

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.

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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.

~~~~~~~~~~

bins

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.

The Artist’s Medium was Baloney

I’ll bet you’re thinking the post title is a metaphor for bad art. It can be taken both metaphorically and literally. From this year’s Whitney Biennial, I give you Pope.L’s Claim (Whitney Version). Or, more accurately, The Baloney Room.

The Biennial is always ripe with hyper-modern art begging to be ridiculed. This year’s show was actually quite accessible and there were many pieces I enjoyed. But where’s the fun in discussing those?

There were 2,755 slices of bologna pinned to the interior and exterior of freestanding walls. The slices were carefully arranged in a grid. The number of slices represents 0.25% of the total number of Jewish citizens living in New York City.

Each slice has a small, black and white image of a (supposedly) Jewish person pasted in the center.

As time passed, the slices dried and the portraits distorted. The exhibit was quite smelly. There was some ARTNews-worthy mumbo-jumbo explaining the MEANING of a slice of baloney with a portrait on it but I wasn’t buying what they were selling.

Pope.L is also known as William Pope.L. A pretentious name to go along with his pretentious art.

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On the other hand, we have Robert Rauschenberg. There’s a fine retrospective currently at MoMA. I’ve always been a fan of his work but this exhibit gave me a deeper appreciation. It restored my faith after the Biennial circus.

In Hiccups (1978), Rauschenberg gathered images from magazines and transferred them to 97 sheets of handmade paper using a lithographic press. The sheets are connected with zippers.

The sheets can be disassembled and reordered. You can change the flow and texture of the piece. I didn’t get the sense this was participatory, so I didn’t try to rearrange the sections. When he was young, Rauschenberg briefly worked as a zipper inspector for a bathing suit company.

Hiccups wasn’t participatory, bur Black Market was. When first exhibited in 1961, Rauschenberg placed objects in the suitcase. Viewers were invited to take an item out and leave one of theirs in return. They were instructed to draw their item on a clipboard attached to the canvas.

He closed the exhibit when he discovered items were being taken but nothing left in return. You can always count on humanity to let you down.

This is Canyon, one of his Combines. These were works made from found objects. The stuffed eagle was given to him by fellow artist Sari Dienes. She found it in a hallway of the Carnegie Hall studio building in 1959.

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 wanted $29.2 million in inheritance taxes. 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. Thank you, IRS!

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bins

May 18, 1993

Bonnie has viral meningitis. She calls it fire on the brain. She got it from kissing the guy who owns the company she’s doing work for. How about that Bonnie? Always sleeping with the help. I paid a visit and brought some groceries. She wanted hummus, beef bouillon cubes, Georgia peach juice, macaroons and some other stuff. Why can’t she just get milk and bread like everyone else?

She didn’t look too good but was in high spirits. I gave her a back rub and that made her feel better. She always loved my back rubs. She said they have a medicinal, healing quality. I picked up a bacon cheeseburger deluxe from the Greek diner for myself. We sat at her glass kitchen table and talked. I ate my delicious burger and she picked at my fries and drank water.

She has a book idea. “How to Commit Sexual Harassment.” She’d show two photos. One photo, captioned “Correct,” would be a man and a woman in business attire, holding brief cases standing with their hands extended to shake. The other photo, captioned “Incorrect,” would be the same woman with her hand extended and the man would have both hands on her breasts. The humor seems kind of broad and obvious to me. She wanted to know if I’d pose for the photos and I said sure.

We talked a lot about Laura. She seems genuinely happy for me and told me to be careful not to smother her. I got home around 10:00 and Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was on PBS. I went to bed. At 1:30, my doorbell rang. It was Laura. I let her up. I opened the door and watched her walk off the elevator. She was wearing a red tee-shirt, a black/white jacket and blue jeans. She’d spent the day in the sun and was glowing. She was a vision. I’d never seen her look more ravishing and told her so. She stepped into my apartment and closed the door behind her. She put her arms around my neck and said she couldn’t sleep. She kissed me.

Animal Planet: New York / New Jersey Edition

I was sitting on a bench in Central Park reading a book and these two shady-looking dudes walked out of the bushes.

It was 6:00 p.m. Raccoons are nocturnal animals. Typically, I only see one when it’s splattered across the roadway. NYC wildlife is so accustomed to handouts that they come out at all manner of the day and night.

That woman was lucky she didn’t have anything to give them. If you feed them, they follow you. And if you stop feeding them, they can get a little crusty.

City animals are conditioned to rely on the kindness of strangers. You can hand-feed sparrows. Try hand-feeding a sparrow in your neighborhood.

These horses were at Christie’s.

Deborah Butterfield
Maliʻu
Est: $300,000-500,000
Sold for $367,500

Ahona
Est: $300,000-500,000
Sold for $307,500

I stood next to them and could’ve sworn they were made of wood but the lot descriptions said they’re bronze. I wanted to wrap them with my knuckles but there was a security guard posted nearby.

As long as we’re on animals, I’ll rerun these from last year. Manhattan has a few peregrine falcon families. There’s sufficient shelter and an unlimited food supply. I’m up on the 50th floor and they occasionally survey the city outside my window.

No other bird flies up this high. We never see pigeons or sparrows up here. I do love these shots. The urban backgrounds stand in stark contrast to the wild predator.

Back in New Jersey, guess what we have in our back yard? Bunnies!

Coco, the evil canine, found this nest. She had one in her mouth but dropped it when it squeaked. I think she mistook it for one of her toys. The previous day, the lawn service guys ran over the nest. Good thing the bunnies are dug into the ground deep enough. What a mess that would’ve been.

This is Corn. We’re cat sitting her. Isn’t she beautiful? Cats are elegant. Dogs are needy.

The daughters were walking through the woods with some friends and found this skull. It’s a deer. Well, we presume it’s a deer. What else could it be? I set it on this stump in an attempt to Create Art and two of its teeth fell out.

This is some genuine Circle of Life shizzle. A good lesson for the kids.

Speaking of the woods…see this giant pile of pulp?

Until last month, it was some woods down the street from me. Unfortunately, they were in the way of nine custom built luxury homes, so they had to GO. Coming soon: Hiddenwell Estates. First they decimate the landscape, then they give it a bucolic-sounding name and complain about the deer eating their flowers. I despise the real estate developers out here. They’re dirty, stinking, parasites.

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bins

May 11, 1993

Margaret set me up on a blind date. She said this girl was blonde with great legs and came into a lot of money, but didn’t elaborate on how much or where she got it. Margaret cares about that stuff but I don’t. I told her as long as she has a sense of humor we’ll get along. I wondered if she’s a psychotic racist, like Margaret.

I called this girl, Sam. She sounded pleasant enough but wounded. She said something about men being rotten and, in particular, men who get caught fucking their ex-girlfriends. We arranged a date and she told me to look for someone wearing jeans and red boots. I told her to look for the whitest white man she’s ever seen. She said, “What do you mean? Are you a vampire?” I said, yes, I am.

We met at the Garden and saw the Knicks get their asses kicked. She wore a lot of makeup and ostentatious jewelry. Diamond bracelet. Diamond rings. Diamond pendant. The game ended, I put her in a cab and went home.

All I could think about was Laura.

This feels like when I almost drown in Mayport. I was swimming alone and got caught in an undertow. I could feel myself being dragged out to sea. The beach was deserted. There was no one to yell to. It would’ve been a particularly humiliating death since I was in the Coast Guard at the time. I remembered to swim parallel to the shore and then in. I almost didn’t make it. When my feet touched sand I cried.

How do I swim out of this undertow? I can’t even type a complete sentence without stopping midway to think about her. I’m drowning. This girl is too young, talented, pretty and smart for a fraud like me.