Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Resevoir

Nothing like running in a brand new presents a rare opportunity to see a place for the first time at one's own speed. Things are observed that, by car - even by bicycle, are not possible. The quality of the light as it changes in the sky, the human composition of a neighborhood (fancy prams/handholding toddlers; big dogs/poodles; speed walkers/joggers); it all opens up in front of you as you slap the pavement and check your ipod nike+ for how many minutes have passed. How far until the curve in the fence?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pickles and Peas

I have a new hero and his name is Daniel Kramer.

His production, at St. Anne's Warehouse via London's Gate Theater, of WOYZECK is incredible. There are peas. There are tricycles. There are Dolly Parton songs. Elvis, too.

By the time the actor playing the title role strips his clothes off three-quarters of the way through the production, it is nearly unbearable. Physically painful, the image of his gaunt body, post-beating.

Sheer lovliness. Breath-taking production design. I don't want to say more, for I urge you to click on the link above.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Late Night, Grand Hotel

Post olive-harvest hike, in Italia, late-October. Me and my nano, a Nanci Griffith tune that struck a cord.

I'm working on a morning flight
to anywhere but here
I've watched this evening's fire
burn away my tears
all my life i've left my troubles
by the door
because leaving is all i've ever known before

it's not the way you hold me when the sun goes down
it's not the way you called my name and left me standing on the ground
it's not the way you say you hear my heart when the music ends
i am just learning how to fly away again

and maybe you were thinking that you thought you knew me well
but no one ever knows the heart of anyone else
feel like garbo in this late night Grande Hotel
cause living alone is all i've ever done well.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"You probably cheated at Choose Your Own Adventure!"

Little chat message from PW to me that seems to bear repeating.

My question, right back at him - wouldn't we all, Paul, wouldn't we all?

Actually, now that I think about it, I do remember carefully flipping through pages whilst holding my place until my fingers were stretched and fanned throughout the book in order to fulfill every possible outcome; and then every possible outcome based on the myriad first possible outcomes; and!

What is it about me and my intense dread of regretting the road not taken. I still have trouble believing another astute piece of observation, cum advice, about the glories of the 'chosen path'. The path is fun. The path is MORE. The path transcends the crossroads. Go down a path and you too will flourish and thrive in your maturity and wisdom....

Ugh. I am the worst decision-maker going.

Here comes the sun. I'm gong outside.

There. A decision.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Name Is Rachel Corrie

Although I've heard more positive responses with regard to my kook-o film dispatches; I feel the need to climb up on my political soapbox once again and insist that you all click the above link and buy a couple of tickets to the Alan Rickman production 'My Name Is Rachel Corrie', now playing at the Minetta Lane theater in New York. Below is an excerpt from one of Corrie's final emails -- one which I find to be particularly stirring and right in line with the sinking feeling I have that yes, indeed, we should all drop everything and devote our lives to making horrible things like this (and much else) stop.

February 27 2003

(To her mother)

Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again - a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women and two small babies. It was our mistake in translation that caused him to think it was his house that was being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army was in the process of detonating an explosive in the ground nearby - one that appears to have been planted by Palestinian resistance.

This is in the area where Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses - the livelihoods for 300 people. The explosive was right in front of the greenhouses - right in the point of entry for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that they were all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them and the tank. This happens every day, but just this father walking out with his two little kids just looking very sad, just happened to get my attention more at this particular moment, probably because I felt it was our translation problems that made him leave.

I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian violence not helping the situation. Sixty thousand workers from Rafah worked in Israel two years ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs. Of these 600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints between here and Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel) make what used to be a 40-minute drive, now a 12-hour or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah identified in 1999 as sources of economic growth are all completely destroyed - the Gaza international airport (runways demolished, totally closed); the border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli sniper tower in the middle of the crossing); access to the ocean (completely cut off in the last two years by a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement). The count of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of this intifada is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance but who happen to live along the border. I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world. There used to be a middle class here - recently. We also get reports that in the past, Gazan flower shipments to Europe were delayed for two weeks at the Erez crossing for security inspections. You can imagine the value of two-week-old cut flowers in the European market, so that market dried up. And then the bulldozers come and take out people's vegetable farms and gardens. What is left for people? Tell me if you can think of anything. I can't.

If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours - do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed - just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how long it takes to make things grow and what a labour of love it is. I really think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I would.

You asked me about non-violent resistance.

When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the family's house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies. I'm having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can't believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. I felt after talking to you that maybe you didn't completely believe me. I think it's actually good if you don't, because I do believe pretty much above all else in the importance of independent critical thinking. And I also realise that with you I'm much less careful than usual about trying to source every assertion that I make. A lot of the reason for that is I know that you actually do go and do your own research. But it makes me worry about the job I'm doing. All of the situation that I tried to enumerate above - and a lot of other things - constitutes a somewhat gradual - often hidden, but nevertheless massive - removal and destruction of the ability of a particular group of people to survive. This is what I am seeing here. The assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities - but in focusing on them I'm terrified of missing their context. The vast majority of people here - even if they had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon's possible goals), can't leave. Because they can't even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because their destination countries won't let them in (both our country and Arab countries). So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can't get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide. Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide. Maybe you could look up the definition of genocide according to international law. I don't remember it right now. I'm going to get better at illustrating this, hopefully. I don't like to use those charged words. I think you know this about me. I really value words. I really try to illustrate and let people draw their own conclusions.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: "This is the wide world and I'm coming to it." I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside.

When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I've ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

I love you and Dad. Sorry for the diatribe. OK, some strange men next to me just gave me some peas, so I need to eat and thank them.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When they kiss you I bet they put their bubblegum in your mouth

Wait a minute. Are there any closet STEALING HOME fans out there - 'cause it's on Cinemax right this very second and I must say I was shockingly jerked back in time to my teenage love of earnestness and Jodie Foster's irresistible blonde limbs (plus that great husky voiced 'I love ya, Billy Boy' right before she prances off to the sure hell of becoming a middleclass wife and her ultimate demise).

What an odd film, it is though. But, can I just put it out there that this kind of earnest wannabe schmaltz, starring Mark Harmon has about a zillion fairly great moments PLUS both Foster and Blair Brown at the exact peak of perfection. Young and soft and round and just...lovely. Dewy - one might say dewy. Anyway, to be sure it has its fair share of cringe inducing scenes; but, overall there's just something about the Jod-ster and her dead-on take of 'that girl'. The one we all, guys and girls included, sort of fall in love with during our adolesence. The cool babysitter who gives us our first puff of a cigarette, our first swallow of rum, our first glimpse at sexuality. And then she goes and offs herself. Well at least in this movie that's what she does. Right off the bat, she's dead and he's got the ashes, not to mention that he's turned into an honest to god loser somewhere between the age of 18 and 40. Or um....right, yeah, somewhere between stealing home and now. So.

Not that I want you to run out and rent it, but...if you could just close your eyes and remember the film and how you felt when you watched it (if you ever did)'s one of those things. One of those evokers of fond feelings and true insight somehow into who we were when we were young. Kind of like all that nostalgia packed together into 90 minutes belongs to us all. Rum and cokes and losing our virginity, singing on the beach while fireworks go off overhead, the weird uncomfortable thing it is to be 17 and just thisclose to losing our childhood. But, not yet knowing enough to be sad about it...

Ah. Tuesday nights with Cinemax

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why I'm more Pro-Black Dahlia today than I was yesterday

O.K., enough already. First of all, I'm sick of hearing it everywhere - onstage last night, while listening to music; on the phone; in the subway; standing on line at the supermarket.

THE BLACK DAHLIA is an awful movie (enter primordial scream of countless accusations - bad script, bad acting, bad, bad, bad! BAD!)

And so it goes. I'm sure everyone has heard this litany of criticism echoing on down the line. People, I ask, what do ya like?! What have you been brainwashed into accepting as 'good film-making'? Sentimental Indy garbage with an earnest story and actors trying desperately hard. Hey look at me act. Hollywoodland is an example of earnest talent at work. Look at them act, look at them make a movie, look at them try and fashion a meaningful story from a film noir script. Look at them try and copy CHINATOWN and fail.

DePalma is fearless, and always has been - that's why any of his films will kick most film's ass any day of the week. Then bust it's head open and splatter its brains on the sidewalk, while following its double as it walks away in a crane shot that swoops up and locates us in the vast wasteland of the Angelika Film Center.

His pretty pop candy, drenched in brainsplattered pools of fake blood and outrageous performances is so damn dead-on American we can't bare to watch it. The same way some of us can't stand the work of Andy Warhol. We don't want to admit that we are what we are, a population whose surface shines with all that is meant to be inside. We live to be looked at, more now than ever before. And DePalma's films begged to be looked at. They shimmer with visual beauty and stunning cinematography.

The title link will take you to an A.O. Scott primer on this DePalma split we've got going on around here. I can't say anything better than it's said here (though I'm sure you'll notice he never references his own opinion, which I gather is the opposite). Read it and weep.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lost and Found

Last night I went to Montclair, New Jersey to see this piece of theater - so damn good and I highly recommend it to everyone. Not difficult to get out there at all, especially with the bus. So no excuses. The Bierce story on which it is based is a masterwork of simplicity and Jamesian spookiness, capturing a specific 'America'. The piece (a staged chamber opera) does the story proud, by mirroring its sensibility along with its sense.

My friend Laurie designed the projections (her theater company creates a deeply layered look using scrims, projected images and film).


Thursday September 14- 8PM
Saturday September 16-7:30PM
Sunday September 17-3PM

Kasser Theater Montclair State Univeristy Montclair NJ

All seats $35
OR contact MSU Box Office (212) 655-5112

Complimentary Round trip Bus Service
with ticket purchase from Maritine Hotel
9th Avenue between 16th & 17th Street

Composed By David Lang, Written By Mac Wellman, Directed by Bob McGrath
Set Design: Jim Findlay, Film: Bill Morrison, Projections: Laurie Olinder
Costumes: Ruth Pongstaphone, Lighting: Matt Frey

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The top

As all of you who read that email know, I am totally sick and way out of it at this point. See, my headlamp is still switched on. It's 7 a.m. and I've been climbing straight up, begging my guide to lie and tell me it was almost over, for the last 7 hours. I thought for sure I had frostbite on my fingers and my face is covered in tiny splinters of ice from my breath. The darkness of the night had been so monumental that the sunrise became this kind of holy grail. I thought for some reason that it would dispel all chill from my bones, all that was exhaustion and bad. In general, make the world a better and more hospitable place.

And, boy was it beautiful. No one has lied - it is one of THE places to witness a sunrise.

But, it was also not quite the answer to my every prayer. The air remained as cold as before and all I could think of was how desperately I wanted to get down and get off of the mountain.

Onward and Upward

After my day of acclimatization, we travelled out of the moorland and into the alpine desert. This was the day of not just the 1000 meter ascent to the next campsite but the beginning of our summit attempt - which was to commence at midnight. All in all on this fourth/fifth day we climbed 2200 meters. If you look closely, you can make out the switchback trail we used to get to Gilman's Point (the entry onto the crater rim). It is dark grey and barely visible but quite definitely there; scary upon first sight. I think my exact thought was "No fucking way."

While I'm on the subject of film....


Shameless, shameless, shameless.

Let it be said that I went under duress and already expecting to hate what I saw - however, to be fair, I allowed myself to be talked into the thing, if only to confirm my suspicians. Such sentimental trash. Disheartening to read a review in The Economist which says "the film contents itself with a tribute to the working-class heroism that shone out of the black hole of the event". Our poor working class Nicholas Cage, just as painful to watch as ever, with his Long Island accent fading in and out; his special family moment, doing what working class men do - sawing wood with his son, smiling up at his wife who is contentedly cooking dinner; the heartwrenching worry over another mouth to feed.

All this adds up to is an elitest idea of what it means to be working class. A film that, in a sense, denigrates the individual men and women who responded to the World Trade Center disaster by lumping them into a 'class' and presenting them as one-dimensional stereotypes, in the form of wincing actor who daydreams of jesus and prays.

What else. Besides the absolutely juvenile film-making. An empty subway train to represent the people who were lost. The excruciating attention to providing a viewer with nothing more than the images we all saw on the nightly news, or heard about from New Yorkers. It was almost a primer to the day. Beautiful morning. Check. Shadow of a plane. Check. Papers falling. Got that. Man falling. In the can.

All in all, a film meant to become a classic. Shown to schoolchildren of the future - forever linking the attack on the World Trade Center with a call to American Patriotism and the war on Iraq. (Where is the natural conclusion to the tag about the religious Marine going on to serve two tours of duty in Iraq - namely, 'a nation that had nothing to do with the attack".

I only write this out of frustration with all of these positive reviews that I keep seeing.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Quick and probably obvious universal lament to follow.

Michael Heneke has finally gone the way countless fairly good European and Japanese filmmakers before him; he's agreed to remake his terrific film FUNNY GAMES in English, with Naomi Watts and Hollywood backing.

Why remake something that exists so perfectly?

Exasperating. Are we so U.S.-centric that we can't watch something with subtitles - all signs point towards yes. As with THE VANISHING, this is sure to disappoint, due to audience testing and a general lack of imagination among the movie going public. If it were to end the same, would it need remaking. In the HAMPTONS no less!

OK, I'll shut up now, eat a fig and bicycle off for some skim milk

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

through the first view....

With some time having passed, my body generally recovered and all of my more mundane concerns having filtered back into my conciousness - I think back on my week on Kilimanjaro like someone might remember an episode from one's childhood. Save for the physical exertion, the monotony and the exhileration I felt at being truly alone in my own head is my only real souvenir. It is something not easy to recreate. Walking for days on end is an almost mindless activity - it became, for me, a true exercise in endurance of a sort completely different than I had expected. With this in mind, along with my impressions of Ethiopia, I started - last week - to read Rory Stewart's book about his walk across Afghanistan, THE PLACES IN BETWEEN. I highly recommend it.

But, I digress.

The main point of this entry is to give anyone who didn't get that long, long email a quick photo essay on my recent climb. Now, you too can witness how a girl can go from smiles to complete done-in-ed-ness in less that seven days!

These pictures are of the first two days - see, I start out looking all outfitted and collected, shorts and waders. We move to our first night's encampment on the border of the rainforest and moorland - it was very misty, wet and chilly when the sun set. Not, too horrible though - and, exciting as it was the first day. The next day gets even more misty - we ate our dreadful boxed lunch (fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a tiny banana and sugary water) at a small circle of metal tables positioned just about halfway through our day's trek. The last picture is of our arrival at the second group of huts - our first view of the summit, covered and snow and impossibly high and far away.

This is where we stay for our extra acclimitization day....

Thursday, July 20, 2006

From Roth to McEwan

More for the summer reading list....

One sitting and wrap yourself up in that almost perfectly pitched prose. Read it on the bus from Langano to Addis; all save last three pages. Damn. Had to be called out on that by Erin who wants me to personally ask redemption from LA book critic who suggested the read all in one place job! matter how ya read it, just do. Then go and listen to your Goldberg move!

mountains as high as plane windows

Goodbyes and breakfast of porridge; onto a plane and onto a runway.

Hours later, the pilots voice. Look to the left. To the left is the biggest damn mountain I have ever seen. Am I out of my mind?!

Bit of a tremble, than compose myself.

Land and fall in love with the landscape; different, so different than Ethiopia. So much less poverty; I gawk at the stores that seem as if they've seen westerners more than once. My heart races at the wide, wide fields of burnt corn and sunflowers.

I arrive in Moshi. Settle in. Get this great DSL line and write. I leave tomorrow at 8 a.m. with lots of warm clothes; feeling great at this point. So ready for this and excited. I am here in the middle of Africa alone and it feels so fucking great!

a sky so black

An hour on the sand, staring up at the blackest sky. The most star-filled sky I've ever een under, it seems; think of navigators and people on ships. Lack of light from any source other than those far pinpricks and I'm stretched out on the sandy beach of Lake Langano. Not alone, but flanked to left and right by quiet thoughtful lovelies who break the silence every now and then with a sonorous voice. A comment about the universe, Bill Bryson, the ozone being as thick as two layers of paint. Back at my room, I can't bear to go inside and instead stand alone on the edge of the small porch - my handwashed socks and underwear strewn over the railing. My breath thick in the wet air.

These three days, post-work. This small section of this vast country. Wandogent. Awassa. Langano. They mean something to me now and Ethiopia as a concept has disintegrated into a thousand bits. Roads and huts and people. Mountains. Lakes. Each with their own distinctive smells, people, attitudes. A month ago AFRICA seemed a single monolithic place. It all breaks apart - kind of like artistic style, from the precise and pseudo-real to the abstract all too real shadow filled life of it.

So I stand on my balcony and wait. And listen for a click.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Apologies to anyone who has looked on this lately expecting a post. Due to lack of any kind of internet infrastructure in the Shashemene area, I've been keeping a journal and will publish it on my blog once I am back in the land of DSL.

Right this moment, I am sitting in Awassa - the clouds are heavy and grey overhead. Trees are blowing around in the wind, looks as though a rainstorm is brewing. But weather here is momentary. It comes and goes in a matter of moments, clouds give ways to blue expanses of sun and puffy clouds.

Today was the last day of my Habitat work proper - we've been, for two weeks, building homes (well mostly carting dirt and rocks - I have personally carried over a TON) in the same area of the Shashemene, Ethiopia. We have gotten to know the people, gotten to know the land. So much to tell. Mostly, I want to say that this experience is a great one. I have been happy here, uncomfortable here, triumphant here - felt so many things. A bit homesick sometimes, not for home per se - for familiarity.

I send you all love and promise to write more soon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The world's first vaguely touristy activity that has ever worked out to anyone's (much less my) satisfaction

It almost defies believability - the notion that a place everyone says is SO beautiful really is SO beautiful. But, the Cinque Terre hike is proof to the contrary. I don't even want to say too much, other than that you can link to the website using my title to this post and if you are in Tuscany, don't miss it. Not one step. And, make sure to dive into the crystal clear, cool water at the end of the road....salty heaven.

Monday, June 26, 2006

New York

It always takes about a week for me to shake it off - to get used to not doing a thousand things in a day, to get used to there not being a thousand things to do in a day. It's like going through caffiene withdrawl (see below); my body gets all jangly and ennervated. I feel disconnected and lonely. Lonely for turning the corner at LiLac and crossing Hudson to get a coffee and a muffin. Lonely for the annoyance I feel when there are slow-walking, dare I say strollers, in Chelsea Market (even for the strange ballroom dance classes that block the western exit). Lonely for K and lonely for J and lonely for the thousand and one dinners, films, plays, concerts and readings that a person can fill an entire calendar with.


The one thing I'm not feeling lonely for do I put this....the feeling of feeling lonely. Introspection. Doesn't happen alot when a person's running from place to place, just doesn't. So, I'm crossing this river from one bank to the other, both seem to be dry land. It's all the rushing current in between that seems tricky to navigate. Yesterday, I saw the other side for the first time and it was full of flowers and slowness and time.

It's good, forcing oneself to do things that seem counterintuitive at the time - they often prove to stretch a person somewhere in the vicinity of the right direction.

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Full many a flower..."

Oh yes.

"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air."

- thomas gray

Walking today, amidst all of the dying cooler air flowers of spring; the blackberry blossom wilting and turning into the hard green burr nettle that will ripen with the sun throughout the summer. Others, too. Glorious. Ruddy pink Azaleas that will last throughout the summer with their sharp, long leaves. Sporadic shoots of Poppy and clumps of Scotchbroom. Yellow Thistle and purple Trumpet Plants, holding strong - low to the ground, shaded by the jagged grasses and blackberry bushes that cling to the steep side of the hill. Listening to songs about flowers and songs with fiddles and songs with slowness to them. Solitary walks in the countryside.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Coffe, Cafe, Espresso and Latte

God, how I love it. And, God how I hate to give it up for a second.

I'm an addict, OK. There I said it. Damn.

Having just arrived in Italy, I'm taking the first step in my temporary back-turning on caffeine. I think it's (supposed to be) bad for altitude adjustment - which seems strange as it grows at altitude. Hey, someone tell Ms. Levin that! This anti-caffeine platform was promulgated by an art critic, to whom I had the misfortune to sit with, at a dinner in Vegas. (double damn Vegas now). By the sorbet she had me swearing to quit by the time my foot hit the lovely coffee-crop dependent country to which I am travelling.

Right now, I am having a coffee.

But, it's only one cup. One cup a day until, well until I see fit to take the next step. Methodone.

xo to you all - I miss you each and every one, already. More on that later.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Arthur Murray

Rhymes with 'flurry'...used to great effect in a Vic Chesnutt song.

Accurate description of life this past week. I've recovered from the 'most fake boobs ever' capital of the country and now have to get used to leaving the 'so many great things about it you don't want to leave ever' capital of the country. Mixed feelings about heading least I get to go and see MacBeth before I go. Not Polanski, sadly. Schrieber.

Speaking of Polanski, I want to go on record with my wholehearted support.

So, there!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

T-shirt update

When it was suggested that I wear my new 'Rachel Cory' t-shirt out to get ice cream at my most favorite gelato place I knew there was bound to be trouble. I just knew. I mean, I know my ice cream guy. He's smart and Argentinian and Jewish and I knew....I just knew there'd be trouble enough to threaten my entire summer's worth of coconut cones! Sure enough....

Viva Las Vegas!

Mixed feelings about the whole Vegas or bust scenario - definite highlights including that hike in the Red Rocks with the great K and our dawn drive across the desert. Damn fine time with the two lovliest families around these parts - Mulls and Rosenfelds neck in neck for the title of 'Family We'd Be Most Happy to be Stuck in A Car with for Many Hours'. Robyn and her lion-cub-having new boyfriend might help to edge the Mulls out, though.....

Vegas itself, however. Well, that's another story. Yikes. Tough crowd and smoke and sad people at slot machines. Not even the least bit Romantic these days of the Bush administrations war against the middle class.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Laziness and a Lack of Ideas

As we move from spring to summer....

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to get fired up about anything. There, I said it. I have tried to come up with a post for quite some time, but there's nothing in my head except endless details as I prepare to leave for Africa. Africa. For everyone who has asked and not gotten a good answer out of me...yes, I am going to Ethiopia in July. Ethiopia and then on, to Tanzania where I plan on climbing Kilimanjaro. Not a technical climb, so don't worry - the difficulty is in acclimatizing to the altitude. Kilimanjaro is over 20,000 feet above sea level and the trek up takes one through five distinct climatic zones, from rain forest to snow and ice. And yes again, I am going alone. And, no no no - no one should worry about me once I'm there. What people should worry about is getting me out of New York - with another draft of the screenplay to write, kids to play with and visa issues - the mountain part is seeming like pure pleasure. So that's where I am and that's why I haven't been moved to write anything in awhile...

That said, you should all go out and buy a copy of Philip Roth's latest book, EVERYMAN, immediately. I was literally breathless at points, and I'm in my early-thirties so mortality is not the most pressing issue on my mind at this stage in life. Oldsters, beware! (for those of you above fifty and men...double beware).

Friday, May 19, 2006

Peter Viereck - Founder of mid-20th Century American Conservative Movement Dies at 89

"The liberal sees outer, removable institutions as the ultimate source of evil; sees man's social task as creating a world in which evil will disappear. His tools for this task are progress and enlightenment. The conservative sees the inner unremovable nature of man as the ultimate source of evil; sees man's social task as coming to terms with a world in which evil is perpetual and in which justice and compassion will both be perpetually necessary. His tools for this task are the maintenance of ethical restraints inside the individual and the maintenance of unbroken, continuous social patterns inside the given culture as a whole."

-"The Unadjusted Man" (Beacon Press, 1956)

For those smarty-pants among you who think they know the difference between Liberals and Conservatives, read a bit of Viareck before you align yourself with the propaganda-based definitions commonly accepted post-Buckley. Check out the Times obituary, as linked to this post, for a quick overview. I recommend reading his book, "Conservatism Revisited". Us 'liberals' would do well to revisit his theories.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Things I've Learned Today

1. Insta-families, much like sea-monkies, are possible, minutely lovely - and pretty damn cute, as witnessed this afternoon in TioPol, after a patient wait for my erstwhile Parisian, by way of New York, friend J and his new brood of multi-lingual boys. The changes a year can bring, here's to a future generation of voices booming out 'Heath' from afar.
2. Seven shots are also possible. Innoculations. Without fainting, but aching arms and hot headed.
3. An addendum to above: A vast collection of arrowheads gathered during the ill-fated, Stanley-led Emin Pasha Relief Expedition are on view at my new doctor's office at 5th and 66th Street. Fun for girls who've been engrossed in Colonial history and expeditions (much the way a teenage boy circa 1952 might have been).
4. JS is alive and well and resting (?) in Brussels.
5. Goulders alive, well, spawned resting in ........ (bad news for my autumn solitude - no laughs K, no laughs).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ViviaN GiRlS on the RuN

I wanna be the Henry Darger of the jogger/gator battles to come....


Walking through Chelsea today, looking at the various new art exhibitions being installed around town and found myself in a silent scream. The fucking mediocrity in this world - in areas we consider sacred. Pathetic, really and maybe not even worth talking about. Maybe we're all mediocre at our core, as we sit back in our comfortable SUVs, turn on our airconditioners and have a muffin while there are treacherous things happening to other people on our planet. So, should we expect more from our 'art', from our movies or from our music. The cultural decay, the moral decay is such that it is almost as though we are sinking in some disgusting bodily fluid each of us afraid to climb out because, hell, at least it's warm in here. I'm starting to obsess over political martyrs, writers who point out our irrevocable fall (o.k. I've always been obsessed over political martyrs and writers who point out our human shortcomings but stay with me here)....I would like to refer back to my previous post about characters of wally shawn and tony kushner, real life people like rachel corrie and and and.....I think we cannot live with ourselves, deepdown in our souls. We know enough of the horror on the periphery - ignoring it has made us rot, and this is reflected in our current popular culture. So, there.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Speaking of Leni Riefenstahl.....

Recently, this came up - influential film directors who happen to be female. A few came up, including Leni and Agnes Varda; Vera Chytilova from Czech new wave. Influential American....? P.S. In terms of acting, I am coming around to the fact that Sissy Spacek made American film in the 1970's not only generally better (in a muse-like way) but just plain gorgeous....can anyone else's face hold light the way hers seems to?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My New T-shirt / I Still Love Leni

Thanks to KL's uber-browsing skills, I will return home to my spanking new, self-created, neo-political, ultra-contrarian two-tone orange 'Rachael Corrie' T-shirt. Why is this my new cause-celebre - what happened to my passion for Leni Riefenstahl you might ask. I'll tell you. It got old. It got obvious. It got too damn acceptable. This leads me to believe that five to seven years of quiet support for a dubious personage or cause will inevitably lead to a shift in social trends ie. acceptance. Time to move on. Corrie, in death and within the current theater season, is a bit more shifting sand. Just because I support PALES...T...I....well, you know, Ms. Redgrave and all....well, most people don't. Surprising after one looks at the facts, I think. So, hence, my fun new T-shirt and the five to seven year path. So. Leni, leni, leni.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Friday, May 05, 2006

Summer Assignments / We should all read Roth

Who can answer the central conceit of this novel!?

What would we give for a genius response. Larkin, cast aside your damn Melville and get on it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Like Scuba Diving and Not Quite Being Able to Reach the Surface...

You can see the sky above. The boat, even, looming up.

It's like that here, with everything just across the line separating that which is tangible from that which is not. There is a cultural move westward. America looms large. Hollywood larger. In Mumbai there seems to be a big business in keeping all that is truthful in the background and thrusting forward new KFC franchises.

I had almost given up hope of anything else.

Then, finally, in the most unlikely of places - 'India'. There it was. And, everything you've ever heard turns out to be true, the way it always does, in the end. I got my connection.

So, yesterday morning Donald and I were jetted out to an odd resort/development (the site of a future Bollywood style Universal Studios - it looks like the Wild West all looming mesas and deep gulches). The bad part is the planned city about two miles away. More on that later, but let's just say that I was by turns aghast, contrite and fascinated. On our drive back to our quarters - a brand new resort facility that somehow evoked an Orson Welles type Macao (has anyone seen that weird short film with him as the Colonialistic General?) Oops, Ok. Focus. Drive back.

I saw this looming hillock topped by an ancient fort. Fascinated. Climb it? Yes. Six a.m. today, I set off. My guide, upon first sight was not impressive and even a little portly? What am I doing in this place....then, presto, a half an hour later he's pulling me up and out of the deep entrance of a handcarved cave. My doubts vanished. Like some pack animal, I am totally impressed by any show of strength. (this led me to drink, on his suggestion, pooled water from an ancient resevoir - so if i get some ungodly parasite I reserve the right to change my opinion).

3500 feet above sea level later...up and looking over the valley. Incredible views. But, there was more than that...I walked the parapet of the fort and listened to him talk about the history of the valley. The tribes located within were the longest to hold-out against British invasions, falling in March of 1818.

On our walk, I told Rayjin (my guide) that I was off to Africa in July with Kilimanjaro hopes and a rather inconvenient and haphazard case of vertigo - he urged me outwards. The perimeter of the fort was about a mile and a half in circumference with no guard rail....out I went. Onto the tallest precipice, I looked down the sheer face of the rock into the valley below. I touched his arm, but let go as he talked about fear. And nature. And the nature of fear. Finally, I was steady and I stood still for a long time. Exercise repeated often on walk.

There were other things. Families of monkeys, big guys. Medicinal plants and berries. A shrine to the goddess of the fort, Kuriamati. Bell ringing. More caves. Bats and beautiful, hot sun. I thought about my last post and those swimming thoughts of fictional people. The huge restless groundedness in us all.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Miss Quested

'Tis true. I am here drinking a Kingfisher on Marine Drive at some ungodly hour after a damn long time on a plane. Far from the Malabar Caves in body, but not in spirit. I've been thinking lately about Homebody/Kabul that Tony Kushner piece that has the killer opening monologue before utterly falling apart in the second and third, with A Passage to India on my mind it's there again, that Kushner, bubbling underneath my surface. And, too, it's along the lines of Wally Shawn - The Fever, definitely. What is that slighly masochistic, slightly adventurous, drenched in humanity commonality between those three characters. Our homebody. Our Adele. Our first-person narrator in a hotel room. Trying to explain it makes me think of a Martin Amis blurb on the back of Nabokav's Ada - it goes a little something like this - If I could sum it up there'd be no need for the text.

By the way - check out this cool Polish movie poster for the above referenced film. Says alot more than Judy Davis face, no? Though I like that face....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I am in full support and welcome it anytime, anywhere!

It seems my sis is full of her own irrational hatreds. Tucked away in my blog is where you'll find them spelled out. Check out why bandanas and short jackets are untenable and worthy of disdain by checking comment sections below.

And, just in case you missed it - the two cutest indy record label gurus this side of the Mississippi were profiled in The City Paper (Baltimore Style). Follow the link below.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The wall behind me in high school english

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…"

Sometimes, lying in bed at night, I think of this - how unmistakably AMERICAN Fitzgerald made it seem to smash people up. How sexy he made vast carelessnness with just this one line.

Funny how certain things resonate - how sometimes high school English can leave lasting peculiarities of preference on one's sensibilities. I die in empathetic mortification for people who don't know their Greek Tragedy - those poor souls who can't quite keep track of their Antigones and Iphigenias. And, that quote. It just rings in my ears at the strangest times. I remember it printed in this overly prettified handwriting, on a bubble of orange contruction paper tacked up to a temporary wall. Four years running.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Irrational Hatred

Oh, you'll get it, ALP! You'll get it!!!!!

Coming soon to a blog near you!

Something 'Bout Trains....

Something 'bout love.

Something about listening to Jane Siberry while running down a dirt road in Georgia.
Something about pondering M. and her ten year plan.

In my own version, I'm expanding to twelve. Anyway....random thoughts, here down south. I think it might have something to do with the sun and the past converging. I can feel both beating down on my head, giving rise to relationship radicalism. So Ms. Ten-years per relationship, then poof! (credit where credit is due M! Claim it if you'd like) I'm talking to you!

Also, you of the 6-month on 6-month off variety (you know who you are Ms. Flip-flop...hey, never put that together before!).

Too bad you two didn't meet last month, who knows what kinda manifesto might've been whipped up over the course of an evening.

Anyway, thinking a little bit about traditional ideas regarding relationships lately (culturally speaking). Why do we subscribe to this mate for life principle? Are we geese? Penguins? Birds of any sort? Wouldn't we all be happier with a ten to twelve year deal at the outset - a realistic light at the end of the tunnel. Not that it's a tunnel mind you....

Ummmm....sorry, sweetie.


More on this as it develops. Full conversation with both of you scheduled for the first week of May - maybe that manifesto is not as far off as one would like to think....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"The life you choose..."

"When you rolled out of bed this morning, did you think you'd be spending the afternoon watching Meryl Streep rhumba with a ventriloquist dummy?"

And, by the way, did you think you'd be ending your evening with Peer Gynt? (You know who you are and I want a full report!)

But, back to Meryl and the dummys (as illustrated in miniature to the left, in a photograph titled THE BAND made by Laurie Simmons). We watched and watched, take after take, without losing much interest in the playback screen. Kind of like standing in front of a Van Gogh, the experience of seeing that woman at work. Every gesture meant something - technical expertise mixed with an absolute ownership of one's body. Admirable traits.

From Washington Street onward to Fort Greene. St. Matthew Passion.

That and the warm spring sun.

Friday, April 07, 2006

And for the record people

Why Merkin, why?

I mean really now! But, what does the donut have to do with it all....

Not Since Strawberry Nekkos.....

...has there been something we'd all like to pop in our mouths as much!

I think the sweaty-backed blonde man to my left thought he was at a Jethro Tull concert - or maybe Bon Jovi - the mood was apparently catching, as a trio of similary moist ladies pressing in from behind caught the mood. Not since FreeBird have so many fists been pumped and lyrics screamed. Chorus aside though.....let's rehash. Great set. Merkin Donuts. Something about licking and a Sugarcubes reference, positing Jon Rauhouse in the role of Einar. We all love lobsters, N.C. We all do.

And we all love Ms. Martha Wainwright - whose underpants and voice are not to be missed in this lifetime. All in all, quite a fine assemblage of chicks on stage. Kelly Hogan, she of the dirty mouth and The Jody Grind (check her out and buy a record at; some sexy girl from New Jersey whose name I didn't catch; and, Ms. Case herself, who, despite a 'hole in her esophagus' (hmmm?) didn't shirk from throwing back her head and belting out those swampy gorgeous swirling words. Sex on a stick, as my southern friend Helen used to say.

A late, fine end with a Buffy Saint-Marie () classic. Buffy. We're putting you up there with lobsters.