November 6, 2015

Donnie in NYC


My brother Donnie dropped in last month for a visit, it was great to see him again and wonderful that he had another bite of the Big Apple. Writer, poet, philosophy major, ceramicist, there was a lot that NYC had to offer him. Our family has been exploded and scattered several times over, an emotional story that I can only bear to sketch furtively, we were united for the first time only a couple of years ago. We have different mothers but even so, I can see the genes of our father shining through.

He stayed in my studio, a great crash pad for creative types, the subway is close and all of NYC is at the doorstep. He didn't tell me this at the time, but he wrote a few notes on my iPad during his stay. I asked him if it was ok to publish it here. He was open and generous to give me the thumbs up. The writing in this blog is a series of first drafts, and this is even more true for his observations about NYC. I like the raw truth of it, I hope you do too:

I'm feeling crazy in a good this area (over 8 million), the energy is psychic--people are always on the street, the subway, the energy of the continual sea of cars, sirens, spreads out like an ocean until the Atlantic puts a stop to it (oceans without end!) like a riptide pushing back the swimmer. But I have the feeling that eventually they'll build there too: huge floating skyscrapers, armed to the teeth as a first line of defense. They'll have Trump build it because he'll make it "fantastic"...

I've been getting the best 20th century art education, not just by going to the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, various galleries on the east side of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Museum (the M.E.T. will be the last) but also, listening to artists perspectives on art history. For instance : Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry. It's a play that came out in 1896, French, absurdist (maybe one of the first people self-labeling with that word) and seemed to play a significant role in what we call post-modern style. He died young from pneumonia complicated by alcohol and inhaling ether. When he first found out that he was going to die, he posed in a casket so he could make postcards to send to friends.
I never knew about Jarry, even a hint, but his stage props DO look like Picasso sculptures (showing now at MOMA) and they did know one another.

This morning I went to Coney Island and just walked around the beach. I watched the waves fight through each other, fishermen (and women)--mostly Russian (every other word was affirmative "Da...Da")--on the pier and seagulls snatching what bits they could grab. I watched one grab a crab from the ocean, crack it open on the beach, and inhale everything that was the crab in three bites.

The D Train takes me to most places I need to go. I've been enjoying the subway, even when there are aggressive crazies wandering for spare change--demanding it--in their paper cups, hands, or mariachi hats. The only guy who has gotten money from me had a sign reading "Need money for weed. Just being honest". I've seen that angle from bum-types before but he had a kind vibe/coolness about him. He was outside of Rockefeller Plaza. I ended the night by going to Times Square and walking around there for hours. Blocks of super bright lights pulsed, making its own day--an A.I. Version of daylight--pulsed and drew sapian upon sapien in rows. I was faced with another ocean, one I was swimming in, hadn't taken the full impact until submerged. The Hasidic types were protesting in the center of against pro Isreal state types. These Pro-types were singing, dancing, and antagonizing the stoic-like beard, hat, and curls guys. "The particular Hasidic emphasis and interpretation of this earlier Jewish and Kabbalistic concept, became one of the ideas that singled it out from non-Hasidic Judaism." While the Isreal flag wavers danced to their cause, these mystics looked on, still, shoulder to shoulder, with signs like ""Israel" (they always put those quote marks around that word) is Zionism"...hmm, what is an anti-Zionist? I put this question to the Internet:

"From the start of political Zionism in the 1890s, Haredi leaders voiced objection to its secular orientation and before the establishment of the State of Israel, the majority of Haredi Jews were opposed to Zionism. This was chiefly due to the concern that secular nationalism would replace the Jewish faith and the observance of religion, and the view that it was forbidden for the Jews to reconstitute Jewish rule in the Land of Israel before the arrival of the Messiah.
According to Judaism, this guy hasn't showed up yet and only he can establish a new "Isreal"--or at least according to the Torah and Talmud...or rather, after a fashion of interpretation. So many arguments are at substance style and showmanship.

a full day
Posted by Dennis at November 6, 2015 5:06 PM

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