Friday, October 31, 2008

The Met to Forget

Halloween. I showed my spooky photos yesterday. And saved today for my spooky mind.

Today I went to the Met to forget. I had a rough day in my head and so I thought going to the venerable museum to look at the Egyptian collection to get to perspective on how insignificant I am would help.

It did.

Wow, what a joint this is. I wish I took loads more photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to show you what a world class place this is. I live directly across the park from this amazing institution and love to come here just to look at mere pieces, slices of this vast place. I am never disappointed and always amazed.

I took a tour of some of the highlights of the collection and learned a lot. I cared nothing about Polynesian art until today. Amazing what educating oneself can do for ones mind, opinion and outlook.

Well, folks speaking of taking action in ones life, I am off to Columbus, OH tomorrow bright and early with other eager volunteers to help Obama get elected. I am going to be part of history, I hope. We are going to a notorious battleground state to get out the vote. I am staying on the floor of someone I don't know (and who doesn't know me - how amazingly kind she is to do this.) and drive with people I have never met because we all believe in one thing. And we are going to do it legally and non-violently.

Please go and vote. It is important beyond belief. "Belief" - that is a whole other thing.

If this were a better picture you could see the 19th century graffiti on this ancient stone. Look at the middle right. Do you see "1820"? And some dude's name above it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hallow's Eve Eve - UES Art Gallery Style

I passed by this amazing townhouse on the Upper East Side on this lovely Autumn day. Though I lack costume and decorating spirit myself, I am SO appreciative of others' enthusiasm. This "Spook-O-Rama" was put together by Berlin artist Christopher Winter. Macabre, grotesque and FUN! I was filled with joy to see this on my walk to Park Ave away from the park.

Here's what the Village Voice has to say:

The Eve of Halloween tempts even the meekest of us to seek a few spine-tingling thrills. And with tonight's Spook-a-rama exhibit at Edelman Arts, you might just get the hair-raising experience you're looking for. As a precursor to the dark humored works of Berlin artist Christopher Winter, the four-story brownstone gallery will hold a séance in an attempt to summon the spirit of the medieval artist Hans Holbein the Younger. (We're not sure if he'll speak or draw for Winter, but the idea of a really old dead German dude communicating in a rickety brownstone is friggin' scary enough.) Following the séance, you'll enter the "Ghost Train"—named in honor of the Coney Island amusement ride—which shows paintings, sculptures, drawings, and videos of creepy children and haunting landscapes that remind us of artists like Dürer, Picasso, and Kippenberger.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is It Just the Weather?

The weather here has changed. It is Autumn and it is cold. I had to find my gloves! I didn't expect that so soon. And scarf! It is going to be hat time for me in a short while.

I am kind of happy with this season, but sometimes the taking on and taking off and where is that glove? is a pain.

But Fall Fashions. I happened to really look at people on the subway and the street today. I don't tend to notice them in the same way in the Summer. (Lies, really, because there are some really noticeable"girls in their summer dresses" and hot college guys in shorts. Perv.)

Anyway, Fall. I am just going to say it: People in New York just look smarter than people elsewhere. They dress smart. They dress adventurously. They know how to hang a shoulder bag or wear a cap. Women (and men) pull off Glen Plaid wool trousers like champs. They layer well. They stand like they are in a spread for WWD. They walk with those little dogs and look good. How do they do that?

Notice I say "they" and not "we." I have no dress sense at all and my ass sags and I wear t-shirts with grotty sweatshirts and I look like I am hiding. I need a makeover. M nose has acne. Theirs doesn't. That has been my fashion statement for Fall -AcneNose.

And don't get me started on the European families coming here. They all look like they are out of some stunning catalogue that sells sweaters and ginger bread and apple cider.

I dunno. If LA got all the various weather would people look as cool? I don't think so. Four words: Gold Lame Down Jackets And as for San Francisco, I think all the clothing would be too angry. And the rest of the country, who knows.

It was a slow news/nose day here at Man. Hat. In.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Coco, Karl et Patrique

. It is a FREEZING cold day here in New York City. The kind of day the chill goes through you and you feel you are right on the ocean.

I was walking in the park, which is not a good place to stay warm, and decided to go to the Chanel Mobile Art exhibit since I surmised (correctly as it turned out) that there would be few people at this free event today due to the chill.

Cold weekdays are for the hardy unemployed, not the hardly unemployed.

This exhibit with a space designed by Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid contains works by many artists who all use the Chanel quilted bag as their muse.

There are loads of really beautiful lads and lassies all in black Chanel gear milling about to help guide you through your "experience." Everything now is not commerce-masked-as-art or food or a drive or a walk, it is an "experience." It is marketing. It is words.

Hadid's art cube reminded me of Woody Allen's orgasmatron in Sleeper. Going into this womb, I was greated by beautiful Chanelized women with accents who adjusted my mp3 player with the language of my choice and the volume of my comfort so I could walk through this 35 minute aural-gasm narrated by Jeanne Moreau, no less. Jeanne's smokey voice talks you through the various installations. She even tells you when to stand up and when to turn left, etc. I appreciated that. I bet her French was even better than her English, which was excellent.

Jeanne and I spent the next 35 minutes together having an experience that leaves you wanting.

Wanting a Chanel quilted bag.

I even want one now. Yipes.

So there is this negligible fine line between art and commerce. So what? Well, it creeps me out because I feel I lose trust. I did however appreciate that if I decided to give into it it was a nice meditative experience to be had. And I had it. And it was peaceful, but never moving. But peaceful and warm and dry and full of pretty things and restorative sounds.

And this boy still wanted a purse.


My own art piece against the mirrored wall of the adjoining space. I call this "Sans Flash avec pluit." "Avec Flash et moi"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Anti-Violence, Pro-Living Life.

Tonight I was a guest of my friend Jerry's at the Courage Awards put on by the Anti-Violence Project where he is a board member. They are so lucky to have him as he is just a great, great guy.

Just so you know what the organization's function is I print their mission statement:

The New York City Anti-Violence Project is dedicated to eliminating hate violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities through counseling, advocacy, organizing, and public education.

It is hard to talk about violence toward others and gift bags and beet/goat cheese salads and a champagne bar in the same breath, but this evening was wonderful, celebratory and really sent a strong message that violence towards the GLBT dot, dot, dot community is alive and thriving. Shocking really how people can hate that much. But then looking around at this election, I guess not really.

Alan Cumming was presented with the Courage Award and gave a really moving, impassioned speech. The Executive Director also spoke very well. Good speeches, good power point, and good chicken. Really, it was good chicken.

I got to hang with Jerry and my pal Sam and met some other really nice people. There was a dessert bar that was really hard to avoid. I got out with my life and one cannoli which I counted in my Weight Watchers points for the day. What a hit I took on that. (Funny to see how many dinner rolls were cast aside in a room full of carbo-fearful gay boys!)

The event was held at this great space call Espace on 42nd between 10th and 11th. I think it means "really, really far from the subway" in French. I loved the venue, however, because it has these levels and different lights and really lent itself well to mixing and mingling. And I love mixing and mingling. Even with seltzer water, my new drink of choice.

Gosh, I should scrap this whole entry as one can never hit the right tone reporting on a banquet when the purpose is to raise money and awareness for combating violence against others. Sorry if I offend, but I am glad I got to link to this worthy org.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Walk Not Spoiled.

After the window-rattling, thunder and lightening night that just passed, as if leaving the B & W tornado-torn Kansas I awoke to a dazzling OZ morning with glimmering ruby slippers on the feet of a crushed technicolor witch. Today was GLORIOUS in New York City. Yellow, ruby, emerald glorious.

As is my usual on Sundays I met friends in the Village for brunch, but due to the gloriousiosity of the day, I persuaded Pat and John to walk up the Hudson River Greenway part way before they would head East for home. I think they felt the spirit too as "we were living our lives in the City." A feeling, when I have it and I have it often, is never a waste or foolish.

Along the way Pat pointed out the hotel where the survivors of the Titanic stayed. NOT audience members from the original Broadway production, but the ship. Wow. We even saw a picture of the ship that took the survivors into the New York City. We are so only leasing this land, people, there were so many others before us. Wow.

John pointed out, well, he didn't exactly point it out because it is MASSIVE and right in front of you, the aircraft carrier the USS Intrepid. But he did splain me all about it. I was impressed with the carrier and with John. This hunk of steel, sorry not you John, was in WWII, Vietnam and later collected spacecraft when they landed.back on planet Earth. How many of us can say that? She will now be a museum right here where I found her.

John and Pat parted and I headed north to the UWS on what I think is one of the loveliest stretches of the parkway. (Let me leave you for a moment to shout into a paper bag "I LIVE HERE!! OMG! I AM SO HAPPY.) Back. People were biking, strolling, and lovers were doing whatever that thing is that escapes me, and people were reading on benches looking out to the Hudson River. Kids were playing softball. And I was taking it all in for myself.

I did manage to sit with the rest and read my book while looking out at the Hudson. Between the page and the river, so many stories.
Photos cannot truly capture what I feel. It is as if I want to tell someone a secret and I cannot, but it is such good news I am about to burst. I feel that here. Now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wait, Watchers! Look at Me!

Current Weight 222.6 pounds

In yesterday's post I said I would not put up this photo, but I have decided in the spirit of New Programming on the "Man. Hat. In" blog to increase my readership to 12 people by year end, I needed a shocking visual aid in an Oprah kind of way. You see, I started back to Weight Watchers today and I have decided to post my weight weekly on my blog so you can follow along at home and see me arrive at my goal of 200 pounds.
I am a Lifetime member of WW, but that does not apparently guarantee that you won't wedge down gallons of ice cream as a replacement for love. Or something like that. So in the spirit of full disclosure, or too much information, I have decided to post this photo as my NEW Before picture. (I hope Michael doesn't mind. But why would he, he looks great. I will give him veto power as I will tell him I posted it. ) This is the last photo taken of me before I started on WW this morning. I am certain to get sponsors so I will have Michael flown in to reenact this exact pose once I have lost the 22 pounds.

I have to say I was really fearful of going back. I think it was pride and ego...and Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas that scared me off. It is hard to surrender to getting back on a scale weekly AND not eating everything in sight for refuge from life. Getting back on the scale however was such a relief! I felt this huge load (weighing nothing sadly) be lifted from me. I am now back to doing something about this and that can only feel good. Making an effort in one's life is key, I think. And scary for many reasons. The Man. Hat. In. blog readers applaud. "Good for you" they shout from the cyber studio audience.

The rest of the day was great. I met my friend Enrique at MOMA and we saw the Ernst Kirchner exhibit, which I loved a whole lot, and had coffee in the restaurant on the top floor. The cafe was right out of one of those movies where all the walls are white and everyone is in black talking about really important things over coffee in Design Within Reach-esque white china cups.
To add to it all it was a dreich day out and thus perfect for museumyness.

I left MOMA and meandered in the drizzle to the gym. I had to laugh as I was listening to Joni Mitchell on the iPod while walking through Central Parkin the rain. It felt so perfect, yet so cliche. (Enough said about me!) The music is flawless poetry, that could not be topped by anything, but then I was halted in my tracks by my surroundings. The wet and light made this stroll seem right out of a Seurat painting. Though I am never shocked by Central Park's beauty, I am still always astounded.

I have to remember to thank God every day I get to live in New York City and be a part of the fabric of it all. I am so, so lucky with so much. I am unemployed, single and 4 bags of flour overweight, but I am in a place that is beyond functional, it is magical. And with magical, I feel anything is possible. Including me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Real Silverlakians of New York City

My friend Michael is here from LA working on "The Real Housewives of New York City," a show I saw on a plane from NY to LA recently and have to admit I got hooked. I kind of officially scoff at reality TV, but boy they know how to make it. Hours of one's life can be happily given over to hours of housewives' lives in a blink. You have OC, Hotlanta and NYC to choose from. A lot of sitting on your couch screaming, as melted butter runs down your face: "Oh, no she didden!!!"

I secretly have always adored Michael. He is such a fun, funny, sweet and good natured young chap. He even has eye-twinklage. In fact, I kind of want to be him. I am glad we have kept in touch. We lived around the corner from each other in Silver Lake, but rarely borrowed sugar. One of us was always in Europe, shooting.

We had a drink and chatted about dating, working, and adopting babies from countries that are in right now. The usual urban boy chat. Then it was over to Upright Citizens Brigade to catch a show. This is home to many "30 Rock" and "SNL" folk and you can still see a show for a FIVER! No drink minimum! Why am I not here always?

And because we started when most people were still out earning a living, our night ended at 8pm as we air-kissed on 8th Avenue and the cooler one of us headed to his downtown pad, and I, I mean, the other one, headed uptown.

I even have a photo of the two of us to document this most excellent night, but the camera oddly added 22 pounds only to my side of the frame and my vanity will not permit unfortunate double chinnage being exposed worldwide to my 5.5 global readers.

Michael, of course, looks cute as a button.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black Watch It.

Back in the 1980's I worked on the stage crew at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. My dream was to be a playwright. To write brilliant, self-indulgent, messagey stuff and inflict it on others and have them think it was brilliant. (There was the one about the dingy apartment in Venice, Italy whose walls were covered in flood water. This was going to represent my brain and the audience would be in there for 2 hours and never see the canals or the Canalettos. Irony, angst, the works.) All I ended up doing was drinking lots of lager with Craig Ferguson and Peter Capaldi, who both wrote for the Tron at the time, and see a lot of plays.

But the theatre stuck with me and thing I loved about the auld place was that it supported Scottish writers and new Scottish writing. That has always stuck with me.

When I read that the National Theatre of Scotland was going to be realized, I followed it cyberly from Los Angeles, got on its mailing list, and quietly stalked its Executive Producer, Neil Murray (who used to be head man at the Tron).
I have always had this very soupy, odd notion of working with Scottish writers and artists to promote them globally. I have no real background in this. I am from film and television, and have been struggling there myself of late, so how can I help writers? And from Scotland? Not sure. But hey I was the #1 ad sales person in trade publications in Scotland when I lived there, so I have the gift of some sort of international gab.

In 2005 when I went to Scotland with the Prince Charles Pipe Band of San Francisco, I was able to set up all sorts of meetings with creative folk and talk a bit about my idea. Another Yank with the "Gee my mum is from here and I used to live here and gosh I feel so attached to my roots" yawner of a story. But that is that.

So flash forward.

Tonight I was at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn to see "Black Watch" a play by Gregory Burke and produced by the National Theatre of Scotland. I have been seeing theatre in New York for a year and this is probably the best thing I have seen. It is brilliantly staged, gripping, maddening, non-preachy, well-acted and had music that just got into my bones. The space was perfect and the mode of story-telling was just refreshing. I have to say that if you can get a ticket, go and see it.

I was looking for Neil there and managed to meet Stella Litchfield, the NTS's Development Manager. I can tell she is very good at her job as she could not have been nicer. She was so pleasant to me and my friend Pat. She even reluctantly indulged me by taking a photo with me! What people have to endure to raise money!

I saw my old boss at Sundance Channel there and playwright John Guare. I missed the NTS's production of The Bacchae which was in New York. Should have gone since Sundance Channel BFF, Alan Cumming was in it and apparently was brilliant.

I will look out for more, but go see "Black Watch." And tell Stella she is doing a smashing job.

Stella and me at St. Anne's Warehouse. Can't you Just FEEL the bubble over her head thinking "Keerist, I don't get paid enough!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

si-NEK-doh-kee, Nu York

"Welcome to the the 34th St. Loews and the BAFTA EC screening of Charlie Kaufman's new film "Synecdoche, New York." I'd like to..."

Wow, in writing I get that all out fine. But I have to SAY it in front of a theatre full of people since I am introducing the film tonight.

So all day was spent trying to pronounce it correctly. And get it to flow out of my mouth like m social security number. I don't want to be a horse's ass or appear like I don't know FILM! My God. Stand back. I worked at Sundance. Blah, blah, blah.

I had to look up the phonetic spelling on line and then try and try and try to make it part of my list of words I throw out everyday. Can you pass the synecdoche? I practice in the mirror, on Columbus (the street, not the man), in the subway. I was having a mental block and fear was seeping in. It was 4:30pm and I am still Eliza Doolittle from the beginning of the play. Blimey!

"As the sands of time ran down... The hour glass representing my lifespan" -- HEY!! A perfect example of, of ski-nek-toe-tee.


Sin-Neck- Doh-DEE.




On top of the intro I was doing a Q & A with the producer, Anthony Bregman, and I certainly didn't want to screw up my pronunciation when he was there, though I am certain he is used to it.

My God, man, I get the take off on Schenectady, New York and that it stands for "the part for the whole, the whole for the part," but, still, what the hell?!!!!

Whatever you do do not think about the T in Schenectady when you are trying to say synecdoche. Don't! And DO not think about dead comedian Andy Kaufman when you want to talk about Charlie Kaufman. Don't do it. Or even Bergman, the filmmaker. Anthony's name is Breg-man. And the T is silent in his first name. F*ck.

"So Mr. Bergman, when Andy Kaufman approached you about this film and said it was going to called Skin-eck-doo-dee what was your first reaction?"

I am so effed.

Mr. Bregman could not have been nicer and told some great stories. I got the words out correctly and we had a lively Q & A. All went smoothly.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At Someone Else's Expense

I was thinking about writing a blog about being unemployed and give tips on job hunting.

If I WERE to do this, one tip might be: "get working friends to take you out to dinner on expense accounts pretending you are a client." This way you both get a free meal and you get practice at being a client of something. Win, win.

My friend Concepcion McGraw (not her real name) did such a thing tonight. She took me to out to dinner and expensed it. The stress was relieved for both of us. Well, actually just for me. I didn't have to pay and I didn't need to feel guilty that she was paying for me and that I could take her out when I have a job. That thing.

We went to Candle Cafe on Third Avenue. This is a Vegan restaurant. I don't know why I capitalize Vegan, but I fear that if I don't I might piss one of them off like it is a religion or a nationality. But having made that wee dig, the people there were not like that at all. Our server (NOT servant, asswipe, I didn't say that. "Ser-ver") was tall, blond and willowy and really, really nice. With a sense of humor fit for a meat-eater. But her only steaks are made from tofu or seitan. And she had great skin. Pretty, a wry sense of humor and great skin. Oh Jesus, make me a Vegan.

Concepcion had an Indian from India inspired concoction. She threw me the naan bread since she doesn't do bread anymore. (I guess she can one-up Vegans at their own game. Soon she will be gnawing on hemp and drinking her own urine?) I had the comfort platter of weeds, and puree of something and tofu. I have to say it was excellent. We split a quinoa. It was such a lovely meal and a fun time. All at someone else's expense.

Tofu, Quinoa, Seitan. All seem like names someone in Marin would give their daughter. I'm just saying. "Tofu, don't forget yoga class after school."

All in all a perfect night spent socializing with a good friend while Rome burns and we charge her for it.

I need to get a rotation with my working stiffs and sell them on the idea that I am "good practice" for when they have real clients. This way I save money, I get to hang with people I like and they get better at their jobs. Win, win. I am such a good man.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hi, Anxiety!

People tell you, "Enjoy your "time off" because when you're working again, WHICH YOU WILL BE I AM CERTAIN, you will not have time for anything."

This tells me that before I accept a job I should have: abs, written a book, been to Laos and worked with old people. I then look at my stomach and know I am no where near any of it.

Then panic.

Here is my everyday TO DO list:

Practice pipes
Go to a meeting
Learn multi-media
Clutter clear apartment
Clutter clear computer
Take better care of skin
Do something with your surroundings (ie museum, etc.)
Find a job.


I think I blog and go to meetings and the gym (most often, but not daily)

I have such anxiety over all the rest. I am not a good reader, clutter clearer, meditator, skin taker carer of.

And then I feel put upon by e-mails (It is okay if I send them) and phone calls (it is okay if I make them) and just want to keep all the people happy, the plates spinning and get a job in the meanwhile. A good fitting job that is a pay-off for all the calls and emails and books I am (not )reading and all the multi-media I am (not) learning.


Aren't I supposed to be listening to jazz some forgotten Tuesday night? Or having friends over for roast chicken with sage "just because." More like roast chicken with rage!

My plates (that are still in storage) are not up and spinning. I don't have kids. I have no spouse. I have NO FRIGGIN' job. What is my damn excuse?

I get so stressed about fearing meditation that the anxiety built around it is palpably ironic.

I cannot sit still to read. I have stuff TO DO. Wait, reading is on my TO DO list. But I can't right now. I have to check the stove.

Oh, the phone calls. More and more. I am not saying I want no one to call me. Please don't do that, but I can't call you back.

I am Amy in "Company." Today I am her.


No. Stop. I have to do the dishes and then think of ten jobs I could see myself doing.

Oh, I forgot to call... Wait, I have to take out the garbage. I will do that and then meditate which will clear my head to find work.

I think I am going to watch "The Daily Show" from last night.

I hate Sarah Palin. Rage. I hate her. THIS is a good use of time! Here we go. I will send out 100 e-mails telling people in CA to vote NO on 8.


Wait. Did I get back about that? Did I arrange someone to speak at this? Where are my bagpipes?

Wait. It is nightfall I have to go meet so and so.

Ahhh, I am home. I can still make calls to CA. Wait I want to be alone. I don't want to speak.

I will watch some sitcom I recorded.

No, this is not doing it. I am going to watch Rachel Maddow. There I am wallowing in rage and it is too late to call anyone OR look for a job OR play pipes. I am happy.


OMG. I should be reading the New Yorker on the subway!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cooperstown, NY

Three gay guys go to Cooperstown and go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to use the restroom and check out the gift shop. Sounds like the set up for a joke, but it was true today. I hang my head halfway in shame that I am in this Mecca of Baseball and had no true interest in spending 2 hours in the museum, though I am sure the history and memorabilia would have been half fascinating. And half wasted on me. Okay, I feel so undeserving and wished my friend Scott or my brother-in-law Rick could have been here instead.

Yet...though the mainstreet which contains the massive museum is lined with baseball-themed shops, bars and restaurants, there is loads more to Cooperstown than baseball. And I LOVED the damn place! I am a big ass Cooperstown fan in one fleeting moment of part of a daytrip. John and Aris have their place in nearby Cherry Valley and took me to this county seat to show me this incredible town. It is stunning, people. I can't speak for the other three seasons, but here I am in Autumn looking at blistering reds and yellows and vibrant greens popping against a deep blue Otsego Lake. The 100 year old give or take elegant homes are so well maintained. It is just a slice of glorious Americana that even a liberal who gets accused of hating freedom can love and appreciate.

James Fenimore Cooper, the famous local boy author and giver of my first C+ in college in a paper I did on him, has an art museum named after him. There is the GRAND Otesaga Hotel that confirms this town as a place with bygone era elegance as it sits massively and proudly lakeside and has those turn of the century rocking chairs where one can sit and bliss out on the hotel's giant porch overlooking the lake. And the buffet. I gotta stop. I walked through that hotel like a hodad who didn't know how to act around proper folk. I wanted to take it all in. We even got the doorman to mind our car after I said we wanted to check out his hotel for future lodging. Not original, but he obliged and indulged.

This weekend has been so amazingly tonic-like and restorative for me. John and Aris are just wonderful and though we live across the hall in town we got to really know each other a lot better over our weekend here. I cannot thank them enough for their kindness and hospitality. They really showed me the area.

And as night fell and we knew we had to leave this Technicolor leafy wonderland, we all agreed it would be best to go back to Manhattan in the early morning. And like a kid whose parents decide to stay in Disneyland for one more day, I say "YAAAAAYYY!!!!!!!"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Leaf Peeping Toms

We awoke late and Aris had coffee ready like he was a B & B master. Much appreciated. The dogs were up and I looked out at the Technicolor wonderland covered in light frost that I could not see in the black of night when we arrived. I know I love it here!

I took a wonderful shower and the three of us headed out for breakfast at the Black Cat Cafe. This is a wonderful place right across the street from the quaint American Hotel in Sharon Springs - a once great sulfur springs resort town 25 minutes from Albany. The food and baked goods were wonderful. John and Aris know the owners and their kids and we spent some time blethering about life over coffee with them. Fantastic place. Go there.

Driving through all the hills and dales and seeing all the different colors of Autumn was a thrill to this urban west coast boy. I know I have lived in NYC for a year now, but I have not really been out and up to see these magnificent colors. Stupendous in that fantastic so real and perfect it looks phony way. I don't mean to cheapen it at all because it is really one of the most beautiful things.

We drove to Willy's Farm and Cider Mill where they have chain saw wood carvings, a cornstalk maze, hay rides, and famous/delish apple donuts and hot apple cider. We bypassed all the activities and headed straight for the donuts and cider. It was all kind of wonderful eating and drinking apple goodness as we coasted through an orgy of yellow and green and red on our way back home.

And back in Cherry Valley we stopped at Rury's Food Store where I got to meet Mr. Rury, a WWII vet who keeps an old fashioned grocery with wooden shelves and hand cut bacon. I was back in time and that was fine by me. The next stop was Celtic import shop that had bagpipes! and bagpipe CDs. Who would think it? The woman who owns the shop is a piper and she knows people in my band!! I get "small world," but upstate NY small world for me? That is amazing.

Back home to greet the dogs and kick back.

"Leaf Peeping" as they call it, can be exhausting.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cherry Valley, NY

My landlords John and Aris who are just the greatest invited me to be their guest for the weekend at their house in upstate New York. I told John that it was just great, great timing for me as I really wanted to be out of town after last weekend. We got in the car at around 8:30pm - 3 boys, 2 dogs, and supplies in the back. We made it to our first stop, Starbucks, around 8:32pm.

I always love road trips as they are license to eat crap, as if healthy food is forbidden along any interstate. Every Ding Dong, Cheeto and gooey whatever is fair game to provide much needed energy for a 4 hour drive. We stopped for pizza at a truck stop and it was delicious. And one giant slice will not do the trick as much as two giant slices. Washed down with ice cream at the next stop when we refill the tank. Mmmmm, road trips and broken hearts go well together.

We got to Cherry Valley around 12:30pm and I was just amazed at how warm and beautiful their place is, but when I think about how warm and beautiful my place is in town, which Aris decorated, I shouldn't be.

Ahhh, sweet slumber in the country. G'night.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Double Dutch + Eskimo Salami

Patricia and I were in plays together in high school in San Francisco. We went to university together in Los Angeles. We both lived in New York at the same time in the 80's and she came to visit me in Glasgow, Scotland about 20 years ago. And then she moved to Amsterdam and we figure that 20 years ago is about the last time we saw each other, or even spoke. Amazingly we have had a long history and POOF! (ahem?) we don't see each other or keep in touch. It happens and it is okay, of course.

But what is better is today we met for lunch in New York at Taralucci e Vino by Union Square. I have to say you never know how these "This Is Your Life" meetings all this time later are going to go, and it was just like yesterday. In fact, Patricia has perfect skin. Seriously. I think it is the same sheath she had on 20 years ago! She looked great and it was HER! And as an added bonus I got to finally meet her partner of 20 + years, Ym (pronounced "Eam"). I took to her instantly. She was funny and charming. A total delight of a visit. I am so glad we got to catch up. They are both blog-shy and I hope this is not too painful for them!
Patricia and Ym

Patricia is a professional singer in Holland and she gave me a CD she had recorded. I am so excited to hear it. You can check her stuff out at Multi-talented woman she is. And Ym is a painter. She showed me some of her work in a portfolio. It is amazing stuff. I loved it all, but especially the folk art. Someday when I have money I think I shall fly to Holland and be painted in a folk art way with my bagpipes. Tasteful, huh?! I would promote Ym's work as well to my 5.3 readers, but she won't cough up the website. I will GOOGLE find her, I will!

We walked to Union Square and said goodbye. 20+ years and a 2 hour lunch and it was all moments in time. I am so glad for it.

Tonight my pal Sean and I went to a screening of "The Visitor" at the IFC. It Thomas McCarthy's new film. He wrote and directed the amazing "The Station Agent." I really enjoyed and lead actor Richard Jenkins was there. He was great.

After the screening we walked around the village and had some yogurt meets whatever you want concoction at the London-transplant Eskimix. It seems like the a faddish place that won't be there in a few months. But whatever store in the Village has benches in front makes it all worth it just to watch the world and super models go by.

Sean took me to this storefront that looks like a pet shop but is really an art installation. You MUST check out the website and see the video of the big cat! And all the rest. Amazing. It was set up just like a pet shop. There was a leopard lolling on a branch in the window, but when you go inside you realize it is just a leopard coat. And there is a bunny applying the makeup that it usually dies for in animal testing. And there are hotdogs feeding on French's mustard in aquariums where you usually see turtles and garter snakes. There is even a chimp masturbating while watching Discovery on TV. Ahhh, culture!

Wanking over primate love on Discovery. Something for everyone.

Fish sticks in a bowl.

Chicken McNuggets on a farm. Eeeeee-eye! OHHHHH!
Sausage Aquarium. Keep in mind all the meat animatronically moves. Gross!!

So today in New York, I met up with a friend I had not seen in 20 years, I went to a screening and got to hear Richard Jenkins speak, I hung in the Village with a good friend and watched an animatronic ape masturbate to Discovery porn. I know this can happen in any city, but not really. New York has that special way of unfolding itself in the moment and at the moment. And at the moment, in my life, I am here and grateful to able to receive its bounty.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Culture, Politics, Fashion: Life in New York

Two of the most important events of our lifetime occurred tonight: the final presidential debate between Obama and McCain and the final of Project Runway between Kenley, Korto and Leanne. An all-male debate and an all female Runway. Things could have been different in both arenas if Hillary and Jerrell had gotten through respectively. Her downfall was polarization, his was too much taffeta. The parallels and compare/contrasts between the two events are too rich and numerous to go into here, ie: Obama and Korto both have African roots, Kenley is Palin-snarky, Leanne makes waves/McCain is a Maverick...

Thank God it is a TIVO world where we are able to see both or it would have been too scary to have to accept where eyeballs went between the two programs on offer. All I can say is it SCREAMED for a merger where Project Runway finalists get to dress the debaters and America polls on content AND style! Think about it, we are already a declining world power and why don't we just spell it out that politics and art and reality TV are all one in the same, really.

But friend Sarah invited me to come all the way to Brooklyn to hear The Grand Street Community Band in concert. I am so, so glad I did. Sarah plays the clarinet and her husband David plays the Trombone in the band. How cool is that? I want them for parents! I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and hope more people will come to their next one in December. I especially loved "Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo" by Malcolm Arnold and "October" by a very young composer, Eric Whitacre. I say that because it makes me sound like I have an opinion on classical music.

The Grand Street Community Band at play


Being in that hall listening to this all-volunteer orchestra made me realize that this is what makes the world go round. This is actually important: the fact that people do this stuff. THIS is the stuff. Once we lose community concerts, theatre, little league, bagpipe bands (!) and art classes at the Y, it is all over. I say this because it makes me sound thoughtful, civic and compassionate.
Tried to capture the shiny silver shoes, but iphone camera was not up to their brilliance

Sarah and I air kissed after the concert as one would and she and David invited me and clarinet #3, Miranda, back to their house for Taco Night. The name is based on what they were serving, of course, and they made it sound all official, but this was the first time they ever did it. We got to hunker down with excellent tacos (hard shell with soft shell mortared to the outside with guacamole, Ymmm) and watch the debates AND Project Runway in HD! Sarah served freshly-baked black cat sugar cookies for afters. She made and served and hosted the whole event in a simple black concert dressed. Not sure who designed it. Didn't ask. It was a great night and I am so, so glad I went.

I do have to plug that Sarah is an excellent writer and very quick on the wit. She has a blog which I link to on mine called So Ricarded with Ricard being her last night. I hope this plug shames her into writing more as it has been ages since she has had anything to say. Blogwise.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

From Broken Heart to Frozen River

Tonight I went to the screening of "Frozen River" at the 34th Street Loews. It is really an excellent film about female illegal alien smugglers along the Eastern US/Canada border. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. I can see why.

I got to interview the director after the screening on behalf of BAFTA and moderate my first Q & A. The director is Courtney Hunt and she could not have been nicer or more engaging. Smart, articulate, bright and engaging. I was lucky. I am going to look out for what she does next.

It felt good to be out there and doing something like this. I am energized and want to do more. That is a good sign and a huge difference from post-date-end the last time. I hope it is a sign of growth and not Frozen River Heart!

So see this film when it comes out. The lead Melissa Leo is really excellent. I could watch her a whole lot.