Sunday, December 29, 2013

Three Boxing Days Photos 2013 - not in any way related to the holiday

The first time I ever heard that some folks call the day after Christmas "Boxing Day," and not knowing better, I imagined it as a day for people to slug it out. The only reason I could of was that they were angry at their gifts so they'd go over to the person who gave them the gift they didn't want - that fruit cake or absurdly ugly sweater or the socks that were the wrong color, the wrong material and the wrong size - and punch them in the head or the arm, or something.

But all this senseless violence must stop. The gift was given with the best of intentions, so if you hate it that much, just re-gift it, throw it in the back of the closet or exchange it for something you do want. And since then, and I was much younger, I've learned that Boxing Day isn't a day to duke it out with anyone. And just in case you still need to left the person know how you feel, the writers at the "Seinfeld" show invented Festivus as the day to air your grievances, and indeed, the gift you didn't want might be a grievance.

But please don't ask me what Boxing Day is about. That's why they invented Wikipedia, so you could look it up.

Three random photos shot in NYC on December 26, 2013.

The first one - and click on it if you want to see it larger - is a picture of what I nominate for the ugliest large building in NYC. I've seen better looking garbage cans.

The second one is a random graffito at a construction site in lower Midtown West. I asked where I could get my Free J@n D@e, but nobody knew. I guess it's as mysterious as where to get my free range chickens.

 And finally, this. I call it "Mixed Marriage." Their parents didn't think it would work out, but they've been together for years now and they're getting along better now than they ever did before. Mazel Tov and a long and happy life to the two of them.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sidewalk Cafe 12/1/2013 - Breaking up is hard to do.

It's been said that "breaking up is hard to do." When you're in love with the person you are breaking up with, you are doing something for all the right reasons because you wouldn't do it if you didn't know you had to. When you are breaking up with someone who says he or she loves you, but doesn't act it, then you are doing it out of self defense because if the person you are leaving insists that being a piece of shit is his or her way of showing love, then heading in the opposite direction as fast as possible is the best solution to a bad situation. Breaking up with someone that you don't feel much for and who doesn't seem to feel much for you is as easy as not making or taking the call. Which brings us to the woman in this picture.

As is so often the case, I was in Manhattan. I walked to the East Village from Grand Central, pausing along the way in Madison Square Park and Flatiron Plaza. Eventually I walked into the Sidewalk Cafe where I might have a beer, chat with the bartender and perhaps some of the other Sunday afternoon patrons.

Which is how I got into a conversation with Christine and Sarah. They are two friends in their mid-20s who know each other from college. One is from NJ and lives in the East Village. The other is from lots of places and lives in Minneapolis. One of the things they were discussing was how to break up with a guy. Sarah said guys have it much easier. I disagreed. Why should guys have it easier? We fall in love with the wrong women; we fall in love with women who don't love us; we get into relationships that seem to have no direction or meaning. We need to either get out by telling or by walking. Sometimes we get totally dumped on in the hope we will walk away; sometimes we act the role of the shit and do the dumping in hopes that she will break up with us. I've been on all sides of the question at one time or another.

I'm not sure I get the bit about needing to have an explanation after a few months of a maybe something's happening, maybe not type of relationship. Sarah said she's ready to move on but doesn't want to just say "it's over, goodbye." I said "Why not? It's not like you guys have declared the big LOVE THAT KNOWS NO END for each other, but it didn't turn out that way.  You," I said to her, "are at best ambivalent about him, and he, you said, isn't showing any sort of tendency toward commitment. Just say it's over." "But what if he wants to know why," she pleaded. I gave her an easy answer: tell him it isn't going anywhere and you are moving on.

 The conversation turned on how long before you throw in the towel, whether you need to give an explanation, and when do you know that you are ready to commit. Strange conversation but since I was a stranger and someone neither of them would ever see again, it was as easy for them to be open with me as me with them.

I didn't stay very long, but by the time I left, they felt comfortable enough with me to want to snapchat a photo of me - to whom I don't know - and to give me a hug goodbye.

Random Hello:

This is part of an ongoing project of photos of people I randomly end up photographing with their knowledge an approval.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Unbearbles reading at St. Mark's Bookshop 11/25/2013

Definitely not the Deccan Traps but this will be a stepwise series of postings of fossilized lava beings.
This is the people who held the mic. Subsequent posts will be candid audience shots and a few frankly not so candid

Three Unbearables hosted by Margarita Shalina and emceed by Jim Feast:
Ron Kolm
Yuko Otomo
Steve Dalachinsky

In one of the photos, Steve's holding up a copy of A Superintendent's Eyes and you can see the author picture which was taken by me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Random Hello No. 1

When you stop something because you think you are done, it's a very different feeling from stopping because you know you're done. A painter daubs the last stroke on a painting and turns away, brush in one hand, a rag or a palette or nothing in the other, her back to the canvas. What's going on in her mind as she steps away? Will she retune in the morning, satisfied until she looks at the work in the morning light flooding through the skylight? Will she look at it with doubt and desire, the fingers of her painting hand twitching to hold a brush? There's some doubt, but she knows she's done. She smiles at it and thinks about her next work.

Will the poet, with a flourish only he can see punctuate what he hopes is the last word of the ultimate line of the final stanza of a verse he's labored over for years, returning to it again and again, a lover who can never satisfy him. It's been published twice but he keeps revising and rewriting. Does he feel somewhere, in the back of his brain, that maybe when he's done, he'll be done?

The same goes for me. Sometimes I'm done, sometimes I'm not sure, and sometimes I know I'm not.

This is only the first batch. These were taken on Avenue A outside the Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village of Manhattan. I was with a friend have ing a drink when these two women sat down nearby. Iasked the woman at the top if I could shoot her tattoos, and then her friend said "you want to shoot mine?" She hiked up her skirt to show me this one. Pretty damn serious. She was one a topless dancer in other cities and got interested when I told her that it is legal for a woman to go around topless in NYC (a special shout out to Holly van Voast for helping the police to acknowledge this.)

 It must've been around Halloween because a bun of costumed superheroes wandered by and I grabbed a couple of shots of them, too.

 The East Village is changing, but I think it always was changing. The only things that don't change are dead.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do cats rule the internet? A few cat photos.

And now, for me, something completely different: cat pictures.

Cat videos are said by some to be the biggest time waster on the internet. This might be true, I don't know, since I don't spend much time watching them. After all, I live with two cats so why would I need to watch other people's cats?

 I adopted them from a shelter when they were about 5 months old. They adapted rather quickly to me - the other one stuck her nose out of the cage, sniffed my hand and confidently crawled into my arms and began purring. This one was a bit tentative but seeing that his sister was okay, followed suit a moment later.

Thirteen years later, they seem pretty happy.

 I occasionally take photos of them, usually because they are doing something so quintessentially feline that their actions - or inactions - call out for a photo or three. So on a sunny Sunday morning, this one opened one eye as I came into the room where he was sleeping, yawned and stretched. There you go.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Standard Time Sunday NYC 2013 - Sidewalk Cafe

It was the day the New York State Lottery was worth nothing. It was the first Sunday in November and everywhere people celebrated the return of standard time to the US. Who needs to save daylight? Can you bank it and earn interest on it? Not a chance. By the time Nov. 1 rolls around, people who work for a living are getting up in the dark and going home in the dark. So what's the point? This whole clock changing thing is annoying anyway.

At the Sidewalk Cafe, artists and writers gathered for happy hour like a clots in the carotid artery.

No writers in the photos below, only artists.

Shalom Neuman, Istvan Kantor
Shalom Neuman, Istvan Kantor
Istvan Kantor, Fly

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company: As Sleep Befell

As Sleep Befell

As Sleep Befell
Choreography: Lar Lubovitch
Music: Paola Prestini "As Sleep Befell"
Costumes: Reid Bartelme
Lighting: Jack Mehler
Sound: Garth MacAleavey
Conductor: Ransom Wilson

Jonathan E. Alsberry, Anthony Bocconi, Clifton Brown, Tobin Del Cuore, Oliver Greene-Cramer, Reed Luplau

Guest Artists: Helga Davis, vocals and Le Train Bleu


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