Wednesday, June 05, 2013


I have many regrets about dropping off the radar with eastvillageidiot over the winter and spring. I missed the chance to INSIST that you march over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the film installation Street. It is an amazingly cool work by artist James Nares capturing the spirit of the real people of New York City.  Read more:

Street, a new video by the British-born artist James Nares, forms the centerpiece of this exhibition. Over the course of a week in September 2011, Nares—a New Yorker since 1974—recorded sixteen hours of footage of people on the streets of Manhattan from a moving car using a high-definition camera usually used to record fast-moving subjects such as speeding bullets and hummingbirds. He then greatly slowed his source material, editing down the results to one hour of steady, continuous motion and scoring it with music for twelve-string guitar composed and performed by his friend Thurston Moore, co-founder of Sonic Youth.

Originally, I took Ben because he was searching for an exhibit in NY that he could review for his art class. The one hour experience overwhelmed both of us. It's been a while since I've fallen back in love with the City.  The fluid choreography of every day life on its streets hit such a deep chord in me. It felt like coming home. The colors and textures of each neighborhood were so vivid from the lush fruit sold outside bodegas uptown to the polished brass of midtown. Check out a clip:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Space Odyssey 2013

Don't let the title of this post mislead you. I will not be leaving the earth's orbit anytime soon. At least not by choice.

It is simply that I decided to take on a huge personal frontier. Space. Personal space, physical space and if time permits, outer space. Okay, maybe not that last part.

They say all great journeys begin with the first step, which in my case, still leaves me in my apartment. Growing up with my four sisters and brothers in an East Village railroad flat then an undersized suburban home with grandparents, parents and various dogs, cats, guinea pigs and amphibians produced a mixed aesthetic perspective among us.  Most of my siblings left home with an unwavering commitment to minimalism, purposeful design and profound neatness. My younger brother's stunning apartment recently made the cover of New York magazine for that very reason.

Not me folks. I got the roly-poly hippy dippy gene. Stacks of stuff everywhere. Books, instruments, clothes, artwork, sentimental objects that have no rational purpose in my home and papers hailing from all points of the universe. I would not be surprised to find the Magna Carta wedged under my bureau between dog toys and unstrung ukuleles.

Change is in the wind. And as ancient texts suggest, the time has come to put away childish things. Not in the literal sense of toys, silly behavior or a sense of wonder about the world, just all the crap that stops you from growing and evolving. Now I want my home to reflect who I am instead of the clutter or visual static that I hide behind.  There. I said it. The editing process has begun.

So, I asked Brian to paint our apartment bedroom the color of butter. After the paint dried, it looked much more like a stick of butter creamed together with egg yolks. It is a rich color that exudes a sense of fruitfulness and abundance. God had a hand in painting those walls. The color is far deeper in tone than the bucket of paint we brought in.  It makes all the fabric, wood and artwork in my bedroom look ripe. I cast off any stuff I did not need and it feels so liberating.

It's good to be free.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


I'm still coming off of the stress and anticipation of Election Night.  It was not at all clear to me that Obama would win. A beloved colleague of mine at hippie college tried to placate my fears by sharing her spreadsheet of electoral vote patterns and projections that suggested that Obama had the odds on his side and Romney would have to beat the odds. I held on to the spreadsheet like a baby blanket until it was absolutely certain that Obama won.

We New Yorkers are so very fatigued. First the hurricane, then the Presidential election, followed by a snow storm. So many people remain without power all over the greater New York area.  Over 40,000 are displaced from their homes. I have stayed out of the City to avoid straining an already fragile infrastructure. We can contribute donations to families in need at the college, where they will be transported down to Long Island and Brooklyn.

It's going to be a long road back.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bone Dry

I cannot conceive of the damage Hurricane Sandy has cast upon our city.  My words cannot do justice to the damage. See for yourself at the NYTimes link of pictures taken by people all around the city and beyond. 

The Con Ed Power Station on 14th Street and C had two massive explosions. Just a few blocks away from our building. No electricity or cell service below 26th Street or so.

Our building was not flooded. The basement was bone dry. Unbelievable, since the water was at mid- car height just a block away on Ave. B.

Is this the new normal for New York City and the surrounding region?  Last year we had a snow storm in mid-October, the year before that it was Hurricane Irene.  Mother Nature keeps bitch slapping us...maybe it's time to listen. Watch out New Orleans, we may soon be writing songs about meeting each other down by the levee...we just gotta build one first. Or order one from Amazon. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zoning Out

So Hurricane Sandy is due to arrive tomorrow...I think. I can't really get a handle on a solid time frame.  The East Village family homestead is perched curiously at a point where Zone A, Zone B and Zone C converge.  These warnings bring me back to conversations I had with my dad who once reminisced about the wharves by the East River. They were located where Avenue C and Avenue D are before they took their position atop landfill.

Those New Yorkers living in Battery Park City (Zone A) have been evacuated. Deep down they must feel extremely stunned and annoyed. For the most part, they are too rich to be displaced and they must be struggling with this urban truth as they pack their bags. This is a tough crowd. The twin towers fell right next to them and many stayed on despite the smoke and destruction, perhaps as an act of loyalty and defiance. Hurricanes are small potatoes to these people.

My beloved sister is being a typical New Yorker and vaguely acknowledging the fact that there is some sort of natural theatre about to take place tomorrow. I'm sure she has stocked up on several cans of diet coke and.....well she doesn't eat much more than that. She is probably too busy thinking about a business conference call she has scheduled for tomorrow at 10 am. Apparently people in LA don't seem to understand the implications of hurricanes on one's daily commute.

Here in Strawberry Fields it is midnight. Another ordinary peaceful evening. We got back from our house up in the woods at about 7 pm. We did all we could think of to protect it from wind and rain. Falling trees and flooding are beyond our control but not beyond our prayers.

Work at Hippie College is closed for Monday and Tuesday. Ben's school is closed tomorrow. Let's hope Hurricane Sandy gets distracted by the full moon and trails off over the horizon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Busch League

Charles Busch is magical. 

If you live in NYC or somewhere nearby, you owe it to yourself to go see Charles Busch perform. I was lucky enough to grab two tickets in December to see his annual holiday show Times Square Angel at Theatre for a New City.  It was so creative, funny, beautiful, authentic...the list goes on. At the end of the show, he came out on stage, wished us all a very happy holiday and sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I nearly burst out in tears. 

Charles Busch is an actor, playwright, screenwriter, director and drag legend. He is perhaps most familiar to larger audiences as the author of the Broadway play The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.  But for me, he will always be the author and star of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. I will never forget seeing that play in 1980's with my then girlfriend. Everything about it was so outrageous and well crafted. It left me speechless.  I'd never seen anything like it. My girlfriend didn't get it. Some people get lost in the camp aspect I suppose. But I hesitate to describe Charles Busch as primarily a drag queen. That performance element doesn't dominate my thoughts when I'm watching him on stage.  His work is so much richer than a quick laugh or spectacle.

I am so excited to see his upcoming biblical comedy Juidth of Bethulia that's slated to premiere on March 30th through April at Theater for a New City in the East Village. Go and tell me what you think!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Monkey Mind

If there was no such thing as a state of Monkey Mind, then surely Buddha would have created it upon my birth. The term Monkey Mind refers to a mind that is highly distracted by multiple thoughts, memories, emotions, sounds....

Who am I kidding? I have far more than one monkey in my mind. I wonder what Buddha would think about a Monkey House mind? Would he just shake his head and throw up his hands? Or would he embrace me with infinite compassion? Probably both.

And so I begin my humble first steps into the realm of the lotus blossom. While I am meditating for a few minutes, please keep an eye on our country. We appear to be in the midst of an emerging social revolution. Back to a more balanced people loving society I hope.