Friday, November 30, 2007

Highline/Railyards/Josh David

Had an absolutely delightful evening with Randy and recovering-blogger Vasco at the Highline/Railyards reception. Got to meet Josh David one of the two guys who started the Highline Project.

I asked Josh for a photo. Vasco took the camera. When I told Josh that this would be for my partner who is a big fan of his, he said, “Oh well in that case we’ll have to spice it up a bit.”

When I got home and looked at the results, I was eerily borne back to that night at El Morocco with Marilyn and Truman.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Any Wednesday Night

On Wednesday evening, I arrived awfully late to hear those reading at Rapture Café. Late but confident that they’d save Edmund White for last, and that was indeed the case, so my trip south on the W and east on the L was justified.

I also heard the entire delivery of the handsome, intense, and probably slightly-deranged-in-that-good-way SeanBateman9 whose face, body, voice and carriage are etched with the highly charged circuitry of the sexual energy of his past, present and future.

I liked his story, and found him to be more of a gifted performer than others who have held that microphone, but my own relentless inclination to edit led me to telling him (after compliments) that he could have skipped the entire introduction and framery that he had been inclined to supply. Actually, I was not alone in that opinion, having heard someone seated in the dark rows to the left of me shout out “Read!” while SB9 was still working his way through that intro. Goodness, I thought, are we at the Apollo?

One note about this man before I recommend your seeking out his blog and his television program. When he announced that he is into metaphysics, sex and death, I felt apprehension, having done a bit of research into all three and having learned that those three sisters are best approached not in their direct naming but through the following of those mazes that will lead you to them accidentally. But, I am giving him his props: the skewer-de-force story that followed, told almost in gruesome real time, leads the listener to a satisfying destination between its lines. Also, I feel kinship with men who do this kind of "KirkTV" , having had my own local access TV show for a few years in the Wretched Little City.

Oh, and a note to all you Craigslister Misters, if SeanBateman9 shows up at your door, and if you’ve subtracted even one pound from your real weight or one year from your real age, run for cover.

One final thing about this guy urges me to seek him out. He says he has gone through several “deaths”, and that as a consequence of each, has invented a persona that seemed to surface like a mask from the lake of each demise. I, who have gone through four deaths, each made almost painless by the self-administered novocaine of adequate pre-planning, can appreciate this and am always curious about the deaths and resurrections of others.

Back to Edmund White. He has, as is well-known, become quite stout, but what one can learn by seeing him in the flesh and by hearing his voice is that he has made peace with his size in exactly the same leonine way that Rosemary Clooney or Aretha Franklin seem(ed) to have. Dressed in the flattering black sweater that is always a friend to men of some girth, and with polished silver hair, I’d have sworn if I had passed him on an escalator that he was any of a number of benevolent Monsignori from my past. He is unexpectedly and disarmingly attractive.

He was at ease with the room, and he chose to read that passage from My Lives that I was hoping for. The one that he probably wouldn’t read at Barnes and Noble, from the chapter entitled “My Master”. His delivery was matter of fact, but he owned the room during every second of it, reminding me that excellent writing stands up to the variety of ears or eyes receiving it. In theater, it’s called producing a script that is actor-proof. When a story is structured correctly, line-for-line, the funny parts get laughter from every corner of the room, and we are spun in exactly the direction established by their author. That is, of course, the problem with blogging rather than writing: it’s like putting not-enough-quarters into the washing machine of your building. Your clothes look up at you, waiting, unagitated, disappointed.


I'm quite sure the fact that I really like Cazwell was "all over my face" when I found him spinning at Posh on Wednesday night. No hesitation when asked to pose for a blog photo. I like that in a man. (Click the pic to read what is inscribed on his arm. I believe he has it, certainly more than all the others of that school of rumpled wall-eyed children swimming away their youth in the east village. He looks good on the west side, and when he played Please Mister Postman - the original -, the kids at Posh were delirious.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Again at the gym.

Back on the treadmill in the morbid air of my subterranean gym, I look up at the monitor and receive a news update about our sad little monkey president’s “peace summit”. I am sure that no one in the world suspects that this is something the monkey thought up himself. No, this is obviously the work of his legion of payrolled advisors, the Monkey-Flunkies. They want legacy and photo-ops for their monkey wearing his dazed Anna-Nicole face seated among swarthy fat men who will vigorously shake each other’s hands while baring their teeth. I can’t imagine that any Middle Eastern leader worth his Dead Seasalt would want to sit down at such a table unless of course, some of the monkey’s men have been dispatched to their embassies to make promises of financial assistance to those countries that play along, and financial retribution to those that ignore the invitation. I wonder how much this silly legacy is going to cost us. Cheaper it would be to pay for the carving of a giant granite statue of the monkey holding an olive branch.

I look to my right at the very fit lady who is power-walking on the machine next to mine, rhythmically throwing elbows with her little fists balled up. She is dressed in snug jet black Danskins, and highly reflective silver New Balance shoes (because you never know when the driver of a car might come speeding into the gym and need to see her glowing feet in the headlights in order to avoid a collision). Her hair, a buffet of bottled blonde brilliance is pulled back into a prancing ponytail yanked up and over the back strap of a wide-brimmed teal visor (because we all know how damaging to our skin the rays of light from those long fluorescent tubes can be).

I bet Miss Fit would make a better president than the monkey, despite the fact that I know nothing about her beyond her appearance and her purposeful and disciplined approach to exercise. Maybe she is an extreme right-winger. Maybe she’d fill Washington with her own army of energetic conservatives. What would we call them?

The “Stride-Rights”, of course. Too easy.

Do mothers still buy that brand of shoe for their children? Mine did, and now look at me run. Why, I could run for president with feet that grew in an American-made shoe. I dreamed I ran for president in my Maidenform bra.

I also would not be so bad as president, I think, as I watch the monkey nervously say things with the monitors on “mute”. I’d have to work fast to effect some changes before the inevitable nut-case-with-a-gun got to me. Making this list is easy:
a) Anybody can marry anybody. In fact, you could even marry an eggplant if you want. Why stop people from being stupid, if stupid is what they are and what they will be tomorrow?
b) Gay people may serve openly in the military. And while on the subject of the military, let’s put the balls back into the GI bill and guarantee that returning vets really have our gratitude.
c) More money for national defense. A lot more. That is, afterall, one of the basic reasons to have a federal government: the protection of our assembled states against common enemies. Where would we get this money? I’m getting to that.
d) Discontinue the income tax. It is loathsome, and the successful and accurate filing of one’s return is very close to impossible. Institute a national sales tax. So much easier to manage, and fair, I think. What about the black market? What about the underground economy? I’m getting to that next.
e) End the war on drugs immediately. It’s a costly and colossal failure. Let farmers who would do so grow pot and bring it to market. Let the poppy planters plow their plains plentifully. Let’s tax recreational drugs just like we do cigarettes and booze. Seeing some new revenue yet, my fellow Americans? And, at the same time, let there be strong criminal penalties and jail time for anyone who is irresponsible and antisocial in their drug usage.
f) While on the subject of jail time, all prisoners shall be expected to work an eight-hour day while incarcerated. They will work uncompensated, but their sentences may be shortened or lengthened depending on their performances as workers. If those who run the penal system in this country cannot within ten minutes come up with a list of two hundred items that prisoners could manufacture cheaper and better than do the Chinese, well, shame on them and let them be replaced with more thoughtful leaders.
g) Let there be an end to the daily wearing of garments that require dry cleaning. This is wasteful and disgusting. Fleece made of recycled soda bottles is comfortable and sensible.
h) Let there be windmill farms, and geo-thermal plants galore. Let coastal cities convert to the use of seawater in their toilets and sewage systems.
i) Let the government get its nose out of the bedroom of its citizens. Consenting adults should be free to “Do It” as they wish.
j) Let there be an end to censorship in all its nefarious forms.
k) Let the entire country be Wi-Fi accessible and let the internet be unrestricted.
l) Let there be an end to tax exemptions for organized religions.
m) Let spending for the improvement of our public libraries be increased dramatically.
n) Let vehicles powered by fossil fuels be turned away when they attempt to enter our cities. Let cities develop fleets of small efficient silent vehicles that are available for rental within their borders.
o) Let healthcare be…um…let it…uh. And what about those undocumented illegal aliens? And what about Cuba?

I look down at the display on my treadmill. I’ve run beyond my goal. No need to solve everything today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

At the Gym

At the gym, I mount one of two dozen treadmills lined up like the weaponry of an ancient army about to lay siege to a walled city. Opposing us are one dozen overhead mounted television ramparts all tuned to CNN. I press “start”. Let the daily battle begin.

I need some distraction. Like the sun, the flashy teeth of the enemy anchors of CNN must never be looked at directly. I glance to the right and catch my full reflection in the floor to ceiling mirrors. I practice a better stride. I increase the incline of the machine and try to imagine an uphill aspiration. Jacob’s Ladder. Look! Paradise, just one mile up and beyond those clouds. Look again. You’re on those steep and narrow stairs with the ratty carpet runner at that bath house, Man’s Country, in Chicago, following a bevy of toweled butts up to a different heaven. Look again, and it’s that fantastic helix of a staircase up into the vertiginous tower of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Look again, and it’s the curved glass fan of a staircase inside the transparent crystal box entrance of the Mac store at 59th Street. Look again and you are on the damp wooden stairs of the dark cellar in the house in which you grew up, being pursued in your worst dreams by a man with no face. He never caught you. Maybe you should have let him, just to see what he had in mind.

I glance to the left at the young Hispanic guy two mills over. Where did he get those dazzling green eyes? That fledgling’s goatee in which you might easily count the follicles and they’d barely equal his age. The gold around his neck. That can’t be real. Must weigh at least a pound. How much does an ounce of gold cost these days? No idea. How many ounces in a pound? No idea. How did he make that money? Musn’t judge. Musn’t judge. Musn’t judge. Mantra for the stepping. Like the song of windshield wipers or the metronome on the piano of your childhood. You played “Moon River” incessantly. Holly Golightly. Holly Golightly. Hector Golightly. Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Curious liaison. I look down at the screen. I have used up 13 calories and traveled less than ten percent of a mile. It’s going to be a dreadfully long session.

I look up at the monitors and find that a string of commercials has mercifully replaced our saber rattling CNNemies. They are probably off boiling some pitch to pour on our heads. What’s this ad about? Scouting? Mormons? The camera swoops down some lushly green forested mountains and into a pristine valley, and dives below the surface of a clear lake where a large rainbow trout swims into view and snaps at some bit of food. Suddenly the trout is struggling. He’s been hooked. The camera closes in on his distress and follows him up and out of the water as he is reeled in. A fisherman and his young son are ecstatic with the catch. The father scoops up the trout in his net and then reaches in to grab the wildly flopping fish. He and his son are bent over it, and they examine it, as the horrified trout gasps for oxygen, its gills flaring. The son looks up into his father’s eyes for guidance. The father smiles with benevolence and wisdom as he wrenches the hook out of the trout’s mouth and releases his prey back into the lake. The camera, again under water, catches the last iridescent flash of the trout as it swims away.

Some script then appeared on screen, but I was altogether too frightened to read or recall it. I could not help but wonder what was going through the mind of the terrorized trout. “Never again gonna eat anything in this part of the lake, that’s for damn sure.” Or, “Madge will never believe me when I tell her I was momentarily abducted by aliens. Look, Madge, look at this gash in my lip. Same thing happened to Fred just last year. I’m telling you they were huge. And ugly.”

Do trout remember? Do they learn to avoid the hook? I picture a warm sunny day at home in Manhattan with the windows open. C has just finished the making of one of his perfect omelets, and I sit down at table as he puts the plate before me. Joni Mitchell sings as we sip coffee and thumb the paper a bit before I raise a forkful to my mouth. I swallow, and there is a sudden searing pain in the back of my throat. The heretofore hidden and unnoticed line leading from my mouth , over the table and out the window, grows taut. I am gagging as I try to free myself. My struggling lets the hunters know that they have caught something, and they start to reel me in. Every time I pull back, the pain is unbearable. Within seconds, I am dragged halfway through the window, with C holding onto my ankles and trying to pull me back inside. “It’s no use”, I cry, “You’ve got to let me go. The pain is killing me. Goodbye, baby. Be sure to remember to water the orchids weekly.”

I am yanked outside and swung up and over the rooftops of the Upper West Side. I am dumped into a net and find myself looking up into the eyes of a giant sized Ward Cleaver and Wally, that cute older brother of The Beaver. Ward takes me into his warm huge hands, and I mean, really huge hands. He gently removes the hook, and I shout “Take me home! Keep me in your bedroom, Wally. I’d be much more fun than The Beaver. I could live in your underwear drawer. Tee hee.” They cannot hear my small and alien voice. Reaching down from where they are standing, three hundred feet tall in Central Park, they dump me back into our window where C, who had been dialing 911, picks me up off the floor and together we check my vitals.

I look down at the screen. 210 calories. 1.6 miles. More than I had planned. Thank God that’s over for another day.

Getting off at Dyckman Street

Not all Manhattan subway stops are maintained equally.

Here is the sign that lets you know you have reached the Dyckman Street station. (It is in one of the last "affordable" neighborhoods on the island.)

At least the MTA (Manhattan Transit Authority) has graciously provided a double blanket of rusted chain link to keep the adjacent mountain of debris from spilling onto the walkway.

And, here is the helpful sign providing route and directional information.

I can't understand how the residents who get on and off at this station everyday, while also getting on and off the tidier and showier downtown stations, tolerate this.

Station aside, within walking distance is one fantastic park, "Inwood". Its hilly and forested terrain is the last remaining "natural" land in Manhattan. More, and pics, to follow.

Taking Marriage Private

C called my attention to this startling article in yesterday's Times in which Stephanie Coontz takes us on a worldwhirlwind tour of marriage. Here's support for my thinking that the only reason for that license is the facilitation of rights and the distribution of assets and that government ought to grant it to whomever wants it, or, ought to get out of the business entirely. There is one thing she doesn't mention for which I was looking, and therefore about which I remain curious: the amount of public revenue generated by the issuance of marriage licenses. These days, it can't be significant, and newer "records retention" rules add to the cost of maintenance. Next up for battering: that other institution that hasn't been around for very long: the income tax.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More on the railyard proposals

Nicolai Ouroussoff, who appears to have become the Times' new Herbert Muschamp may not be up to the task, as is disclosed in his review of the five proposals for the railyard in today's paper. He wants to use words like urbanism and density in his evaluation of the five proposals, but he wields them simplistically, like a little girl spinning out romantic dialogue for her dolls. He's studied the concepts, but seems never to have really experienced them. He petulantly longs for originality in the proposals but does not suggest what form that might take.

Yesterday, C and I walked down to Grand Central to view the models of the five proposals and had our initial feelings confirmed: Brookfield Properties has made the best of the lot. Here is their articulate and intelligent Director of Development, Kate Collignon, fielding our questions.

While discussing the dismissable Ourossoff review with C, I ridiculed the way he (Ourossoff) wishes that the proposals related more strongly and imaginatively to the railyards that will continue to operate below the surface. I said, "What, does he want the grass replaced with glass?" C looked up from his coffee and said, "That might be nice." Anyway, we both love architectural models which have really evolved in recent years. So much more than balsa, these, lit-from-below models glowed and shimmered like quartz. If not for the fact that I have seen enough such elegant models translated into actual dreary buildings, I would be more easily taken in by their promise.

I suspect Mr. Ourossoff hasn't seen much of this type of development. Has probably never pushed a project through the development process, has probably never built anything of this scale (may have never even replaced a toilet in his apartment). I fear he is an academic, and is to urban architecture what a coffee table book of prints is to painting. Oh well. And for the record, yes, all five of these proposals could have been more imaginative, but the firms that comprised the assembled teams who made these pitches know full well that governments and entities with authority to permit or deny cannot stand too much imagination and originality. If you want the green light for a public project of this size, you need to dumb it down a bit. Here are some shots of the display models, including one that proposes a large outdoor movie screen on which is shown Julie Andrews as Maria (on perpetual loop?).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bergdorf Goodman window No.5

The lighting in this window is particularly masterful, making that which is not gold shine like it, and making what are probably poured resin creatures glow like crystal statuary.

susana said...
did you notice the small windows with Duquettes stuff? did you watch Princess Mononoke, the Japanese animation? i am almost sure those characteres were taken from there: Mononoke and the wolf, the woman in charge of the iron melting factory and the horns of the deer (which was the forest god).

Please tell me if i am inventing all this?


Susana, I did look briefly at the small windows but they were cryptic to me. You may have the key to the whole display, and I will be checking on it and will report, as is my duty as Conveyor of the Shallow Shine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The stars are out @ The TimeWarner

For a third year, I would judge this to be the best holiday decoration in Manhattan. My vid doesn't do it justice, not capturing the color saturation, the richness of the music, the dramatic height of the space or the enormity of the stars, so you'll get your holiday butts into the City and see it for yourself.

The stars are scarily huge over your head as you enter the four story glass-walled atrium of the TimeWarner Center at Columbus Circle (Central Park South) where an escalator also brings you down into the WholeFoods market in the basement. The stars change color in time with the Christmas music and occasionally they burst into a crescendo of white shimmers. When you turn to look through the soaring glass out onto the circle around the statue of Columbus with its corona of fountains and tree lights, you see those reflected stars suspended in the night sky over the passing traffic. I am usually immune to this kind of thing, but this I love and wish they would keep it up all year.

Bergdorf Goodman window No.4

This one has lots of typically Tony Duquette whimsy: sea shells, sunbursts and musical monkeys. Her dancing partner is a "dinosaur" in a tux. I bet he paid for that dress, but she'll be paying for it before the night is over.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bergdorf Goodman window No.3

In tune with the Duquette vibe, the window dressers have used what I suspect are metallic bisazza mosaic tiles to frame these windows.They are primarily used in bathrooms and kitchens (where they are now almost as passe as avocado appliances or blue pearl granite), and therefore it's Duquettish to weave them into this kind of arrangement. Bad pic, but that's a vintage boxing-ring microphone hanging in front of the mannequin's face. Boxing ring/Boxing Day/Buy it. Am I over-reaching, or do good window dressers really think it through that far?

It's taken me a while to figure out the object-of-sale in these windows, but I think they are highlighting their beaded dresses and accessories. Here's a detail of the dress shown above. I bet it's heavy, and I wonder how many 110 lb Upper East Side "social x-rays" (thnx Tom Wolfe) could walk to their limos in it without breaking a sweat.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bergdorf Goodman - next window

Much Better than a Football Stadium

The competition is on for the development rights to 26 acres of priceless midtown Manhattan over the railyards that ride 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets. Any of these five proposals is preferable to the Mayor's failed efforts to place a football stadium/convention center on this site.

Although I have not yet seen the models on display next to Grand Central (open for public comment through Dec 3rd), at first glance, I like this one because of its "Jetsons" landscaping while feeling uneasy about how closely clustered the towers seem to be.

But this is my favorite for a few reasons. I like the way the greenspace approaches the water. I like the idea of the running-track-in-the-sky. I like the fact that they propose the restoration of the street grid. And, I trust Diller Scofidio to do right by the last section of the High Line that is part of this plot.

Sorry, Robert Stern. I hate to say it, but your proposal is the least appealing.

We raced.

More than 5,000 completed the course with registered times. Many thousands more attended this event, some cheering and some walking. Once we were engulfed by the crowd, we barely noticed the cold wet weather. At the start of the race, we took our place in the section marked for those who anticipate running nine-to-ten minute miles. Up until that moment, this had been a bit of a lark for a worthy cause. Suddenly, I was among some serious runners doing their stretches and warm-ups. These are the very focused faces of the runners lined up behind us:

Here are those ahead of us who had anticipated a faster pace for themselves (including the race winners who were doing five-to-six minute miles!):

When we got up to the starting line, the high spirited Joan "Can we walk?" Rivers was there to greet us, turning the race into great fun. She ran some of the course herself and then welcomed everyone at the finish line.

Running with camera. C who is fleet of foot could have gone much faster but kept with me, playing paparazzo.

Paul at the Finish Line:

Afterwards, we adjourned to brunch at Cassis with David and Stash and Paul who is working his way up to doing a marathon. My thanks again to all who made donations. Next year. Again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Style is Substance

J'adore Tony Duquette who is posthumously enjoying, I hope, yet another fawning resurrection (and he's only left the building a few years ago). The New York Times rightly counsels us to emulate the way TD followed his gloriously messy instincts. Meanwhile, the gorgeous holiday windows of Bergdorf Goodman (and there really is no Christmas beyond their ten foot high glass) are this year an homage to that same overletop decorator. I wish the pics were better. These arrangements are packed with intricate dazzle that even the click-to-magnify won't entirely disclose. in this one, we find TD's signature polyps of coral surrounding a floating elephant carrying a laconic princesse de vitrine. I don't know what they are selling but who cares?

Race to Deliver

We each finished the four miles in less than 10 minutes per mile. (My time 38:12).

More after we've recovered. Thanks David and Stash for cheering us on.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Change of Season In New York City

Here's a bridge in Central Park looking very Fallular. A few steps away, the Wollman Rink was already full of skaters. A few steps beyond that, the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel was waterless and stuffed with Christmas trees. And, here is a detail from the fabulous holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman, just a few steps beyond the Plaza. All of these taken today, the seventeenth day of November, 2007, and the postcard quality and the "David Davidson" coloration is intentional. (We returned in the evening and photographed each of the windows of Bergdorf Goodman. The relections in daylight make them impossible to capture.) I think I'll post one of those a day and we can all be done with the festive stuff even before Thanksgiving. (Click to feel it.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Zealous Townhouse

My opinion about the propriety of plastering the façade of one’s townhouse with bible verses is neatly expressed in the face of the neighbor’s jack-o-lantern. (Click on the pic for your personal salvation.)

As we continued our walk through the Fort Green section of Brooklyn, I was thinking about some people’s need to proclaim their faith. To proselytize. To convert. To save. I have often been irked when hearing the eulogistic phrase “He was zealous for souls.” Why is that so admirable? I think real conversions take place because someone sees something in another person that is irresistibly attractive, and wants it in his own life. If you have to “get out there and sell it”, how good can it really be? Just another phone service, but this one promising a line to God.

I guess I never felt the premise that is necessary for the business of pro-active converting: that all men need to be exposed to the “Good News” so that they can join God’s family. And, that if we don’t get out there and spread the faith, others will somehow be deprived of God. He’s God, for God’s sake. If he wants to be known to all men, he can do the canvasing a lot better than I can. He does not need a yenta to make his introductions. Also foreign to me is the adjacent concept that those people who don’t have the gospel preached to them will be in some way deprived of the presence of God. Honestly, does that make any sense at all?

Anyway, I’m lumping this townhouse in with this one, and I am guessing that their occupants would hate having each other as neighbors.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

God's Love We deliver (Update)

The sly Tater has made a second donation bringing me to within one penny of my established goal.

Anyone with a spare penny can get me to my goal by donating it here.
UPDATE: Mike just put me over the top! What a guy!

On Saturday, I ran some of the course in Central Park. Did two miles in just under 16 minutes. Rather respectable.
Today, on an indoor track, I did 4 miles in 38:15. No sweat, but left knee complained for awhile.

I must admit to feeling really pleased about having used this self-indulgent little jewelbox of a blog to do some good, and I am in awe of all the fine folks (listed below) who donated. I sure hope I didn't miss anyone. And to the person who wondered whether that was a photo of my calves, I assure you it is, and you may view the proof this coming Sunday (or any day, sub umbra nocte, in other less "plein airy" venues of the city).

(Entering its fourteenth year, the Race to Deliver is God’s Love We Deliver’s largest annual fundraiser. Since its inception, over 55,000 New Yorkers have come to Central Park to raise nearly $8 million, providing more than three million meals for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.

Last November, the Race to Deliver was not just another walk in the park for the 6,000 participants. It brought over 1,800 supporters of God’s Love We Deliver to Central Park. The event was hosted by the ever-topical Joan Rivers. Sponsored by their friends and families, participants walked or ran for the benefit of God’s Love We Deliver.)

UPDATE: Ted, whoever you are and wherever you are, thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: David, it starts at 10AM. That should get you on stage on time, and thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: Tater, third time is the charm, and so are you. Thanks for your generous donation. (TWICE!!)
UPDATE:SuperDaddy, I'll do an extra lap forya. Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:evilganome, Come on down and bring your running shoes. Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Lynette, send me that bread recipe. I'm gonna need to carbo-load next Saturday. Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: David B, wherever you are and whoever you are, thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, please start blogging again, and thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Stash, see ya Sunday, and thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Blithering Knitiot, a high fiber blogger! Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: Mike Missya. Will you be home for Christmas? Thanks for your generous donation.

Two white buildings in Manhattan

These two very white buildings have not much in common other than the color of their skin, and therefore, are illustrative of the fact that not all whites or blacks look alike.

The IAC building is new and situated in a sunny open area of Chelsea on the dry side of the Westside Highway where it meets 18th Street. You pass it on foot or on skates or bike and you feel its respiration: that of a jelly fish washed up onto sand at the beach, perhaps already dead but still glistening and inflated and quivering at high noon. You want to kick it. You want to tap it with a spoon as you would a molded Jello. The people inside it seem motionless, suspended in aspic.*

The Condict building is old and sandwiched between dour neighbors in the grimey shade of the jumble below Astor Place. You turn a corner at just the right time of day, and for a few brief minutes, the sun lights up its façade and you feel as if you have come across the corpse of a bride kidnapped at altar and thrown away between dumpsters in an alley. The elaborate finery has outlived its creator. Outlived its occupant. Outlived its celebration. You feel what you feel when you pass a Christmas tree tossed out on the curb in January with shivering tinsel still clinging to the branches.**

What is it that a building is supposed to do for us? At the very least, it should contain us with convenience. Both of these do that. At their best, buildings should tickle us, and should make convivial those places that had been nothing but the space between destinations. Both of these do that as well. I always anticipate seeing them as I approach their addresses.

Really, they have a lot in common. I love them equally, if that is possible.

*This is the headquarters of IAC, the holding company for Barry Diller’s internet ventures. It is the first freestanding structure to be designed and built in Manhattan by the architect Frank Gehry. While Diller did not get his wish to be able to view the Statue of Liberty from his desk, Gehry was able to provide him with that view from the private roof terrace accessed from Diller’s office. Unlike other well-known works by Gehry, it is not clad with metal scales, but with air-brushed milky glass. At night it is an entirely different spectacle.

**The Condict Building, a confection of lofts, was later called the Bayard Building. It is located at 65 Bleecker Street between Broadway and Bowery. It was built in 1897-99. Louis Sullivan was its architect.

From the AIA Guide to New York City :

“This was a radical building in its time, a direct confrontation with the architectural establishment that had embraced American Renaissance architecture after the Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair) of 1893. Sullivan, the principal philosopher and leading designer of the Chicago School (the antithesis of the American Renaissance), was the employer and teacher of Frank Lloyd Wright (who referred to him romantically as lieber Meister). The sextet of angels supporting the cornice was added at the request of his client, Silas Alden Condict. The building had little influence in New York for, as architectural historian Carl Condit wondered, ‘Who would expect an aesthetic experience on Bleecker Street?’”

Friday, November 09, 2007

Star Child

Our friend John in Salt Lake thinks to have identified galactic debris as the forensic reason for why I am how I am.

True enough, those grapefruit-sized things were everywhere in my hometown. Our lawn looked like a bocce court. It made autumnal leaf raking impossible.

One crashed into the kitchen and splashed down in the large pot in which my mother was always boiling spinach for me and my brothers. (No lightly wilted leaves for her. She'd boil a mess of it right out of the can until it had lost all color, and then serve it doused with white vinegar.) "Leave it in! Leave it in!" we screamed.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Never ending source of amazement

To whomever got to my blog earlier today by googling "purple shirt guy surrendering to jesus over a bridge", I've really tried hard to imagine what you were looking for, but I can't come up with anything. I hope you found it.

On the other hand, you who googled "boardwalk bar lauderdale 'private dances'"? I know exactly what you are looking for, and watch out. Those guys are fond of slipping things into the drinks that are intended to make you open your wallet. In my case, I simply got sick and ended up discreetly vomiting.

And you who googled "gay dog own tie "? What, are we having a full moon?

"Let us show you the light at the end of the tunnel"

That's the best ad line I've heard in ages. I've lifted this text from a regular email that arrives from "HX Insider". Here's the full ad and the picture:

Face to Face NYC

For the guy with a 'dark side,' Anal bleaching is all the rage!

Try our new Anal Bleach Treatment. This Chelsea day spa is tucked away in an unassuming office building providing super discretion. If you decide to bleach, wax or enlist in the Betty Ford Body Treatment, your privacy will always be respected.

Still in the dark? Let us show you the light at the end of the tunnel:

face to face nyc - day spa 20 west 20th street

suite 603 new york city, ny 10011


Not Always A Bridesmaid

Although the results are not yet official, I'm going to declare that congratulations are in order.
He's the 2007 Weblog Award Winner - Best LGBT Blog

Early Thanksgiving

For many years, our families have adjusted the celebration of holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas to allow for the fact that we are never around at those times. This is incredibly kind of them and it turns inside out what could have been an ideal opportunity for them not to have the discomfort of "gay" at their table or by the festive tree.

This year, I decided to be helpful, given my domestic loungesse, and announced that I would bake the bread for our Friday early Thanksgiving at the home of C's mother.

If it was bread for us, I'd have been more exotic and spicy in my choice of what to make, but when baking for a variety of tastes, ages and teeth, I take the hand of culinary caution as I enter the kitchen.

After consulting a number of my dusty cookbooks and searching the web for multi-grain recipes, I was tipped off that Hodgson Mill puts out a fine boxed bread mix that doesn't really save you any time but guarantees a savory while broadly tested and acclaimed flavor. I chose their nine grain mix and also their European cheese and herb mix.

I still had to proof the yeast, which, like riding a bike, came back to me after all these store-bought years. I had almost forgotten what "luke warm" water from the faucet should really feel like on the fingers. Suddenly, I saw myself remembering to heat the bowl with hot water before pouring the water, pinch of sugar and yeast into it. I watched it foam up like alchemist's gold. I cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork just like my grandmother used to do (while muttering about how none of her twelve children cared enough about her).

And then, that sense of elasticity in the dough as you knead it, adding some of the conserved flour mix to keep it from sticking to your hands. Letting it rise covered with a damp dish towel next to a mug of hot water in the warming drawer under the oven. Punching it down and letting it rise again before the baking.

C's family is fond of dinner rolls so I made sure to produce some. They look OK. I suppose I ought to try one to make sure they're done. I tapped the loaf on the bottom. It sounds right. Hope they like it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

God's Love We Deliver

Having trained these calves by moonlight in the Central Park Ramble, I am putting them to good use by participating in the 14th annual "Race to Deliver", on Sunday November 18th in Central Park. If you're in town and want to join us, let me know.

You can help me reach my goal by donating here.

(Entering its fourteenth year, the Race to Deliver is God’s Love We Deliver’s largest annual fundraiser. Since its inception, over 55,000 New Yorkers have come to Central Park to raise nearly $8 million, providing more than three million meals for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.

Last November, the Race to Deliver was not just another walk in the park for the 6,000 participants. It brought over 1,800 supporters of God’s Love We Deliver to Central Park. The event was hosted by the ever-topical Joan Rivers. Sponsored by their friends and families, participants walked or ran for the benefit of God’s Love We Deliver.)

UPDATE: Ted, whoever you are and wherever you are, thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: David, it starts at 10AM. That should get you on stage on time, and thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: Tater, third time is the charm, and so are you. Thanks for your generous donation. (TWICE!!)
UPDATE:SuperDaddy, I'll do an extra lap forya. Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:evilganome, Come on down and bring your running shoes. Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Lynette, send me that bread recipe. I'm gonna need to carbo-load next Saturday. Thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE: David B, wherever you are and whoever you are, thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, please start blogging again, and thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:StashSee ya Sunday, and thanks for your generous donation.
UPDATE:Blithering Knitiot, whoever and wherever you are, thanks for your generous donation.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Boston Less-on

This is Boston:

And therefore, I am quite certain that the neighbors on Dwight Street object to this display:

I'm conflicted about the lesson to be learned here.

Half of me says that people should fall in line with and celebrate the "melody" of their street, reining in (as inappropriate) any desire to turn "inside out" the bubbling creative spirit of one's own personality. This is the half of me that agrees with a friend's mother who once counseled "Dress to please others. Eat to please yourself."

Half of me says that gloriously "gaudy" and childlike free expression is the central ingredient to visual richness, and that conformity breeds death. This is the half of me that will always choose whole wheat over white. Chocolate over vanilla.

Sometimes when driving through the historic town centers of Connecticut in which clusters of historic homes are all painted pale variations of white, you find a house saturated with festive lime green or vivid acqua, and research tells you about acrimonious town meetings in which neighbors band together to pass ordinances forcing such a one to repaint according to "the look" of the district. Pink flamingos may be fine for South Beach, but...

When one first begins painting, or taking pictures (or blogging?), one has a tendency to use all the colors in the box, and to depict and to say as much about everything as time and personal appetite allow. After awhile, a more calm sense of direction prevails, and we each edit our expressions to that which has, through fire, become most truly our own voice.

Is this a good thing, or is it just a sign of age? If they are both "stages of development" through which we all pass, is there room for both on the same street, or, oughtn't they be clustered separately?