Saturday, August 06, 2011

There Are No Cats in America

Last Thursday I went down and over to immaculately coiffured Brooklyn Bridge Park to eat a picnic dinner with the estimable Daniel Marks, who as you can see, is way ahead of that bottled water fad you're all still following.

We saw an open air movie: An American Tail, about the transit of some Jewish mice from their Old Country to America and freedom. (I had to ask Daniel, who is Jewish, why the movie was portraying Jews as rodents, which are also known as vermin, and he's still explaining). The recurring refrain, sung with gusto throughout the film, is that "There are no cats in America / and the streets are made of cheese," and despite what we all know, think and feel, a warm glow was radiating from my heart as the movie came to an end. (Or was that because of the Jameson's brought by Daniel?)

But! That was not all.

During the movie showing, I had noticed the hurrying and scurrying of tugs and river traffic, right behind the big screen, up and down the East River -- with lower Manhattan, the green light, the orgiastic future, just beyond -- and as the film ended, I noticed this bloody big barge just sitting there, as if parked, or stuck, or stalled. I remember thinking "what's that sinister big barge out there?" even entertaining the brief, lunatic thought that during the movie, the river had turned to molasses and things like barges were now churning fruitlessly in the grips of sweet glue, but then...
...out of the barge came forth fireworks! Happy 50th birthday, Mr. President!

More Fascinating Fascists

Friday, August 05, 2011

Fascinating Fascists

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Mile From Manhattan

 Less than a mile, in fact, from the big city, across the George Washington Bridge (below), I saw this curious individual (above), who peeked and peered at me for a while through the bushes. I threw him a line from 'Home On The Range': "where the deer and the aaaaaaantelope play!" but he said nothing in return...
 The great bridge, seen from the Palisades, announces itself like a major chord in a mighty symphony. One pushes through the bushes and thorns, and suddenly there is a tiny step of granite, a very low fence, and then the bridge and Manhattan is there, as if you could reach out and touch them, across the Hudson River.
Meanwhile, back on the mean streets of New York, Mr. Rat (above) had his photograph cruelly printed in the New York Daily Asphalt. Had he the eloquence of that deer I saw, what sad words might he have spoken?
“Ay,” quoth Jaques,
“Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens.
'Tis just the fashion. Wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?”
French people were scandalized (aren't they always?) earlier in the summer by the sight of this year's most famous French man, Dominic Strauss-Kahn, photographed during a perp walk, after he was arrested, accused of raping a hotel chambermaid.

The case against DSK, as he's now known in the tabloid press, has been falling apart for weeks, and seems set to collapse -- prosecutors said they caught the chambermaid out lying repeatedly about various facts in the alleged DSK rape or sexual attack on her, also her application for asylum in the U.S.

About the perp walk: in America, and most often associated with New York City's police department, it is common for cops to  walk a famous or notorious person after their arrest past waiting T.V. and news cameras. In France, there is a law preventing such media feasting, and the image of DSK (below) outraged French public opinion, which centered around the thought that DSK would not receive a fair trial, given that  the media circus and perp walk made him appear guilty.

A dear friend of mine was very ill in hospital during the DSK arrest and offered the following amusing explanation for the whole DSK affair:
DSK calls an escort service from his hotel room, and asks for some female company. He is specific: "I want an African lady, yes please, and can she wear a chambermaid's outfit, merci. Aussi, I want her to, errr, resist me at first, a little..."
Along comes the actual chambermaid, enters DSK's room. He leaps at her, naked. She freaks out, fights back, then runs from the room. DSK thinks she is pretending to resist as requested, chases after her, etcetera. She flees.
So, he shrugs, potters around all day, has lunch with his daughter, finally boards an Air France flight to Paris from JFK, thinking: "I can't wait to tell my pals about that ridiculous American hooker chick... she didn't even wait for me to give her a tip!" Then...
"Excuse me sir, are you Dominic Strauss-Kahn of seat A1, First Class, Air France, Transatlantic City?"

Wherefore do you look?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Signs of the Times

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when a work of art so completely resembles something that it also seeks to undermine, a shiver of pleasure runs up my spine. Example: about a year ago, I saw a spiral-bound notebook for sale on a book stall near West 4th Street. On closer inspection,  the notebook, complete with photographs glued on the pages as well as apparently random scribbled notes and doodles in pen, was in fact a vehicle for a line of expensive designer clothing. 

Norm Magnusson has done something similar with historic marker signs, which are instantly familiar, until one reads the text.
Magnusson's signs in fact are critiques of contemporary American society, with some of the sharpness of his social conscience message achieved by the illusion of putting contemporary American opinions or situations within what looks like a historic marker setting, as if to say, future generations will judge the opinions and prevailing wisdom of today, harshly. Thus: "On this spot stood Matt Lucash, a Christian for whom preventing gay marriage is more important than feeding the poor."

Below, an example of the real thing...

Chilling Sight

That is the late Amy Winehouse and her father, photographed about a year ago. She of course died last week, of a drug and alcohol overdose. 

The chilling sight of my title is not Winehouse, however, but something much more mundane -- it's definitely the summer silly season here in NYC, because the New York Post reports that a large refrigerator was found on the subway platform at West 4th Street station, origin unknown: the New York Post ran the news with the headline Chilling Sight...