1. niagara

     
  2. Not that one should ever apologize for sigur ros, but i needed music to cover all the dumb shit i’m saying in the video. 

    Watching the edge of the Falls, I thought about this passage I read in a Milan Kundera book a couple years ago:

    “Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” (unbearable lightness of being)

    song: ”Andvari” by Sigur Rosh

     
     
  3. Syracuse, New York.

    This kid’s Chris United (his parents were nearby) and you can find him on YouTube.

     
     
  4. What is it, then, between us?

    What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?   

    Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not.

    -Walt Whitman, On Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

    The last I was here, everything felt silver bright and frosted. So it’s really nice to be out in Brooklyn and feel it when it’s warm, full of bare skin. It comes as no surprise that these ample hills (where Whitman loved everyone in the street and sent his soul into both past and future) change their personality along with this new weather, stepping out of the shop into the street, with an entirely freshborn life.

     
  5. What is it about this city that makes me believe i am suddenly rich and full of disposable income? It’s like the fumes of the train imbue the lungs with a Holly GoLightly virus and by the time it reaches the brain, it seems completely sensible to drop $700 on a jacket, $300 on a pair of jeans. I did not buy the $700 coat, but I came so dangerously close, if it weren’t for Sharisse talking sense to me through the fever.

    I opted for a $60 blazer from Top Shop, though. Even sixty dollars on clothes stretches me too far out of my budgets but….show me the gal who does not ever need a blazer, and I’ll show you my sworn enemy!! 

     
  6. A NOVEL MUSIC TOUR: BROOKLYN

    DAY 90

    Lee and Sharisse met up with her old comrades from college days in Paris (*sigh* and, like her, the whole lot of them are as amazing, smart and With It as that description suggests) and they go to the Cherry Blossom festival in Prospect Park. From the peak of another park overlooking it, I see throngs of people in the hot sun, some dressed in costume, wandering underneath canopies of trees exploding in whites and pinks. That’s our view from the cheap seats since Randy and I decided $30 was too much to drop on trees. He knows someone who brought the first cherry blossom seed from Japan to American soil. I say this only because, like most people I’ve met from Michigan, he’s a really cool dude (including my dad, who’s the coolest kat I know). So, we pop into the Brooklyn Art Museum. He goes to check out the Sargent exhibit and I go to the Ancient Egypt section and look at the long scroll of the Book of the Dead, browse hundreds of pieces of canopic jars and totems and jewels and hobbit-size mummies and all kinds of rare artifacts that bring my hand to my neck while I browse because it feels as though all it’s hardcore Ancient World-ness, it’s dark rites and holy incisions would reach out from their glass cases and rip my throat out. But it’s really cool! 

    I walk through recreations of living rooms from Colonial Rhode Island, Antebellum South Carolina, etc and then through modern art.

    Now, Art is one of those mediums that’s entirely lost on me. When in Italy, I stand like a dumb wooden post beneath the Sistine Chapel, before an original Rembrandt. I can only snicker and blush at the amazing ass Michelangelo grafted onto David. I’m the worst Art appreciator. I feel about Art the way a lot of people feel about poetry or Manga or country music - it’s a form of expression that’s not intuitive to how I look at the world and try as I might, it hardly ever moves me. And most of us line ourselves into two camps when confronted with a medium that just lands like a dead fish on our feet: we either pretend we “get it” in order to fit in and save face, or we criticize the medium itself in order to save face (those who can’t do, criticize - that old chestnut). I work very hard to nestle myself snug in between these two camps when I find myself dragged to a museum - trying my best to neither slag it off or nod in appreciation as though I perfectly understand what the hell is going on with this red dot on the white wall (this lack of art appreciation once sparked a tiff between my best friend and I in Rome. A great lover of Chagall and Klimt and painting, she wanted to see the museums and I wanted to see where lions attacked Christians and it all ended with us steaming off separate ways along the Tiber river with no means or desire to find each other ever again).

    I stand below a long dripping line of cubes - which look to me like a pricey bookshelf at IKEA, or I stare at a heap of skateboards on the ground and work like hell to open my mind to it. What does this have to do with the Brooklyn Art Museum? Well, a non art appreciator like me - a simple brain full only of trivia, the sex lives of long dead authors and a tome of memorized, movie dialogue from the 90s (all useless!) - I thoroughly enjoyed the spread here, exhibits that made me smile, groan, sit, think, and wonder….but, of course, not too deeply.

    As I turned the corner onto The Dinner Party (waiting empty for all goddesses from Virginia Woolf to Sappho), I was hit with sheer delight.

    And these others:

    Prints from “War” and “Death" Portfolios

    A Little Taste Outside of Love

    and this, which hangs in the lobby, both irreverent and extremely relevant all at once.

     
  7. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn….

     
  8. what i love most about manhattan is that there’s no way to give it justice, except to walk inside all it’s pumping chambers. it’s the kind of city, as silly as it sounds, where I notice that when i say something, make a declaration, i actually believe myself, believe I can do it.

     
  9. A NOVEL MUSIC TOUR,

    DAYS 83-86 (thereabouts): Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    I wish I could’ve enjoyed the City of Brotherly Love. The Homeland of the Fresh Prince. The Namesake of Bruce Springstreen’s Mid-90s Come Back Hit.

    Unfortunately, on our way there we stopped in Valley Forge and on the bus, I came down with some random, ghost dysentery, phantom food poisoning/stomach bug, where i cannot get warm even in direct sunlight. It lasts for days and I spend our stay in Doylestown in chills, nausea and…well, I’ll end there. We park at one of Sharisse’s relatives’ in a lovely Home Alone kind of neighborhood. They open their doors to us with large brunches, neighbors coming by bringing Lee & Sharisse gifts, a white dog named Buffy and a low-ceilinged sitting room full of books on Shakespeare. I spend much of our stay sweating through my pillow at night, rolling around in delicious kind of fever dreams (you know the ones where you think you’ve hit on the truth of human existence) with a barf bag nearby and in the day, eating only tangerines and chicken broth while keeping within sprint distance to the bathrooms. Everyone catches up on laundry, exercise and work, visits into town and I sit under a tall, beautiful tree in the front yard, in the sunlight, reading a little chapbook on Abraham Lincoln and Harold Bloom’s Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.

    From page 253. 

    "Hamlet rarely means what he says or says what he means [so] he anticipates Nietzche’s dictum that we find words only for what is already dead in our hearts, so there’s always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking."

    Amen to that, Mr. Bloom!

    From Doylestown at least, there’s no straight highway to Philadelphia. It takes us an hour just to get to one and, when we finally do, it shoots us straight into South Philly and we get cheesesteak at Tony Lukes, right underneath a freeway overpass where we park the car by a chain link fence that separates the diners from the mounds of clothes and abandoned shopping carts left behind by the drifters. Long lines of brick houses standing high, straight and packed close like matchsticks. Kids running from school with their backpacks huge on their little bodies around old bums, on door stoops, drinking beer bottles in broad light of day and, we notice,about every other block or so, people washing and detailing their cars right there on the street, hoods open, in congress under the hot sun.

    I forced half a philly cheesesteak down because, stomach virus or not, I’ll be damned if I don’t eat a philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia. 30 minutes later my stomach hates me for this defiant act and I take a queasy walk with the gang around the historical downtown of Philadelphia. Men in white wigs and tri-cornered hats ride horse-drawn carriages, click their reins and spout cheerful little monologues about the birth of our nation. Indeed, there is a kind of awe walking around the courtyards, pillars and cobble streets where Ben Franklin founded a college, and where America’s forefathers engaged in the massive intellectual tug of war that yanked it’s way to one side, all those ideas and discourses tumbling atop each other in a heap known as the Declaration of Independence - the greatest middle finger ever flipped in western civilization. I say “greatest,” in that it is akin to Woody Allen waltzing into a jail yard and declaring the convicts a bunch of pansies, unfit to lick his loafers. And…getting away with it. 

    I mean, read this thing! Taking King George to task!


    (they should have put a strong word in there for BBC iPlayer’s lack of availability in the U.S. How much abuse can this here colonist take??)

     
  10. Photos courtesy Sharisse Coulter