NYC: September 2006 Archives

I was shocked I was

I went to a presentation by the artists and book signing at Aperture on Thursday night, and this is one of many duplicate posters I found clipped up and down parking signs and light posts along West 27th Street when I left to go home. This particular block is all about commercial businesses and galleries during the day and straight clubs late at night.

The sexy bills are part of a marketing blitz for "A Guide To Recogizing Your Saints" which, regardless of its merits or demerits, is apparently not actually a "gay film".


the airline's straights-only security rules don't fly

I have now heard from our friend David Leisner, who was quoted in the The New Yorker story I wrote about on Thursday evening. David was one half of the couple which witnessed the threats delivered to two other passengers seated in front of them, a homosexual couple, by (successively) the flight attendent, the purser and the captain of an American Airlines flight en route from Paris to New York. Both he and his partner Ralph Jackson were quoted in the magazine, but David has added some perspective and one damning fact which makes the airline's confrontation even more outrageous than initially reported.

David writes, in part:

You can assure anyone that questions the degree of affection these guys were showing that it was very innocent - hand-holding, resting one's head on the other's shoulder and repeated kissing (but not French kissing!). Nothing disturbing about it at all, unless it had been a straight couple :-).

Also, the New Yorker writer got the punchline wrong: what the captain said to one of the couple was that he would divert the plane not if the arguing continued, but if he heard any more reports of such behavior (kissing). [my italics - JAW] It made an increasingly weird situation even more surreal and disturbing.

[image from pedalcarzone]

untitled (asphalt siding) 2006

I'm pretty fond of the siding this nineteenth-century house in Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill aquired some time in the next.

I wasn't going to say anything more today about the fifth installment of our annual orgy of mourning and revenge, the anniversary of September 11. But things just got out of hand once we walked into Pierogi this evening and now I can't help myself.

For some this sacred holiday was all about a service held around a small temporary wading pool installed downtown at the bottom of a very big hole (by now the flower-filled tank of water has probably been drained and its parts tossed into some recycling bin), but some of us decided we had to be around other, more thoughtful New Yorkers on the evening of the day which just won't shut up, the drubbing from which most of our countrymen seem to have learned all the wrong lessons.

Barry and I decided to go to Brooklyn, and specifically Williamsburg, always a reasonable choice in stressful times.

Tonight Pierogi Williamsburg threw an opening party for "Matt Marello and Matt Freedman, Five Years After" and it would have been a smash even without the presence of most of Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan's art world working aristocracy and creative yeomanry. Matt Marello was in Gallery 1. From the press release:

Matt Marello's "1968/2001" is an extensive multimedia presentation based on the phenomenon of apophenia [the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data, according to the press release]. A few years ago, while digesting the events of 9/11, Marello began to notice an odd synchronicity between the destruction of the World Trade Center and Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi epic, "2001: A Space Odyssey." His further explorations led him into a strange and murky world, linking together such diverse elements as the moon, apes, 9/11, "2001: A Space Odyssey" and the historically pivotal years 1968 and 2001.

Matt Morello Lenticulars: Ground Zero/Planet of the Apes/Apollo 8 Astronauts/Escape from the Planet of the Apes 2006
2 Lenticular prints 20" x 63" [large detail of installation]

Matt Morello Bone (WTC)/Plane (2001: Space Odyssey) 2006 large format ink-jet print 60" x 158" [large detail of installation]

Matt Freedman's "Twin Twin II" in Gallery 2 was a wonderfully silly and welcome magical antidote to the baneful effects of our self-inflicted twenty-first century affliction: 9/11 24/7. From the artist:

I kept coming around to the notion that the images of the towers were sort of recurring waking dreams, and that collecting them should be a continuing process of perception and manipulation. What I keep looking for in all the material I am using is something uncanny--either in the found objects themselves, or in the nature of the interventions I make--that leaves a lingering sense of unresolved discomfort in the mind of the viewer. The overriding and consciously dumb idea behind the work is that whatever else the towers are, they are definitely not gone from our lives, and they never will be. (Freedman, 2006)

Thumbnails of only a very few of the twinned objects seen tonight in Freedman's ongoing project:










Presto! Exorcism complete.


The old Chelsea confronts the new: The faded remainder of a painted twentieth-century advertising sign for a popular auto body polish faces the sparkling highlights of a nearly-completed Frank Gehry building on the West Side Highway. The top of the painted brick facade of the Anton Kern Gallery fills the bottom of the picture frame.

rushing the turnstiles

happy together

favorite hunky clown

just ordinary commuters

DIY nose jobs

but hard to miss

I knew pretty much what to expect. I was told a horde of clowns would be descending onto a subway platform in Union Square at 5 o'clock this afternoon where they would squeeze into the L train heading into Williamsburg. I thought, "clowns"! How wonderful! And then I saw the pictures of pie fights on the website, and I thought of traditional scenes of eratic behavior, sadism including lots of let's-pretend violence and the the cutting-up-little-babies illusions. Real clowns don't come conveniently packaged for innocent amusement, and they never did. But that's precisely the secret of their universal and historic appeal. I went with this particular, merely mildly-scary bunch only to the Bedford Street stop and then a few blocks further down the street.

They were on their way to the Brick Theater, where the NY Clown Theatre Festival will be headquartered for the next three weeks. If New York is lucky these clowns won't confine themselves to the building at 575 Metropolitan Avenue.

We're told this is New York's first clown festival in twenty years. That probably goes a long way toward explaining why some things have been so messed up around here in the last couple of decades: Some folks need a little constructive provocation to stay in line, and New Yorkers could certainly use a regular extra-strength antidote for the common humbug.

But I'll own up to my own cowardice this evening: I never believed the baby stuff, but I'm still afraid of pie fights.

This page is an archive of entries in the NYC category from September 2006.

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