Floated into New York City dead tired after a 4-hour squalling baby symphony. Que Horror! as Ezequiel would say back in Argentina. I feel like I've earned my passage. I think maybe they need to have soundproof baby sections in planes--at least on redeyes.
Fauns are out and about already. Since I arrived several hours previous to my ETA due to a changed flight connection in Nashville (nicely it worked in my favor, so no layover, just a sprint from one gate to the next), I was early for my lunch date in Queens with Bill and Mark, old friends from SF. So I hunkered down in a Greek baglery where I met Konstantinos
who ID-ed my Faun cover as Dionysis (close enough)
Babies with bottles don't squall
Konstantinos told me that if I ever went back to Greece, I should go to the island of Mylos, at which point he showed me amazing pictures. Greece is calling, and faun and satyr research requires it
K's father is from Lesbos and his mother is from Crete. He teaches Krav Maga, an Israeli marshal art, thus the shiner...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hXjr_7bSdg. I like the multiculturalism here...I've already heard more Italian and Greek than English, and next to me on the plane to NYC, after dropping off the squaller in Nashville (where squallers go to rot), was an African guy who just couldn't get comfortable and kept contorting around and falling asleep in odd, almost yogic positions. He had initiation scars on his forehead, but I didn't feel cool about photographing them. They looked a lot like these:
Rather faun-like, no?
Mark and Bill, who are actually the first gay couple I ever met way back when...they've been together at least 25 years
I'm staying in this apt. building in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn..I love how the subway station is literally part of the building. It's the apt. of Glen Winston James, author of Shaming the Devil, who has kindly rented it to me for amazingly generous cheap on my last couple book tours. He's a wonderful friend and brother to me
I met Emanuel Xavier for lunch, poet brother of the east..not to be confused with Horehound Stillpoint, poet brother of the west (see SF blog entry). Manny now works at Random House, which is funny if you knew his whole long story. Suffice it to say, he is now changing the world from both within and without now
Manny and I had sushi and he graciously not only handed me a bunch of books as (my favorite: a new book of the saints), but he got me a free ticket to get into MOMA down the street, where I spent the afternoon..
Mine and Richard Nauman's sentiment....among others
MOMA is an overwhelming museum, with just gobs of enormously famous paintings..Picasso, Monet, Pollack, Matisse, Van Gogh, et al. I gained a new appreciation for early Mondrian at the Inventing Abstraction Exhibit
and always love the Russian Abstract painters..Kandinsky...and saw several I'd never seen before.
This is an amazing interactive page about idea exchange (made me think every author could do one as well): http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/inventingabstraction/?page=connections
But it was so crowded, I kept thinking about the intimacy of art, and how I really like to experience it in solitude or at least quiet. People crowded around Starry Night...? It just doesn't work for me. Art is like wilderness, it's not meant to be grasped after. Maybe we need to issue wilderness permits with trailhead limits like they do in the mountains to reduce crowding. Dissonance, Exhibit A: people crowding around Edvard Munch's The Scream, all smiles. Exhibit B: a guy going up to painting after painting with his camera, never actually looking at the art, except through his camera..then moving on to the next one. End of history...not with a bang, but with a tagged facebook photo.
OK, it's still a great museum, Trebor's just a princess
Much to my surprise, upon perusing one of the books Manny gave me, was yet another faun at work :)
As long as there are fauns about, all is not lost and hope springs eternal....
It's been briskly cold here and even a bit rainy..thank you Christian for the last-minute 99cent store umbrella, which did turn inside out several times up near Columbus Circle, but I was able to drive it back into the window and get it to revert to form....it will likely expire soon, but it's hangin' in....
I headed uptown toward my reading on the Upper Westside where I spent some time in a little old school bakery/coffeeshop ... increasingly horrified by the Starbucks phenomena..always packed to the gills and no room at the inn...imagine if Mary and Joseph were looking for a cup of coffee after their long journey? And why does it seem like Mary would order an americano and Joseph a triplewhip caramel macchiato or whatever those things are....Jesus would have been born in the subway no doubt....or a bookstore, there's always room there
Then it was off to Barnes & Noble for the main event where pagans outnumbered all other religious affiliations...a crew of my friends who I met in Ohio at the Between the Worlds Gathering showed up en masse
left to right: Chris, Robert, Omri, Gary, Langston
Brilliant poet and walking/talking magical realist, Sterling Silverhorse at right, and economic justice activist extraordinaire and Buenos Aires brother, John Goldstein on left
The sweet and always brilliant and delightful witchlet, Langston
Robert Alvarez, psychic witch, and that's Carol Rosenfeld (in blue blouse at left), a wonderful writer and selfless servant of the Publishing Triangle which does so much to keep gay lit rolling and supported
This was the "in conversation" part which was spirited and fun. Tom is a wonderful and witty guy
Next day, I attended the Rainbow Book Fair, which has grown huge...something is up...after years of decline, it seems gay lit is coming back...maybe lit in general...this fair keeps growing, and whereas in recent years there has only been one LGBT book fair, there are now 3, another of which--Saints & Sinners (the one which has been ongoing for over a decade now)--I will attend in New Orleans in late May
My publisher at Lethe (Faun), Steve Berman (left), with his assistant at the fair
The kindly Tom Baker, author of The Sound of One Horse Dancing, who offered me half his table to display and sell my books. He's always so generous and supportive..thanks Tom!
Below is our panel on prose and poetry and how they inform each other, meld together, etc. All of us on the panel write both, or some combo of the two. Great panel, hosted by Perry Brass with left to right: moi, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Alfred Corn, Leslea Newman and Perry
The always delightful and elfin Jonathan Harper, just back from a harrowing writers retreat in Arkansas where he was assailed by all manner of wildlife in his little cabin
Next day, met a great group of guys for breakfast in the West Village. It looked like Recoleta to me, the wealthiest neighborhood in Buenos Aires...which sent me musing into a weird space, realizing I am comparing places to Buenos Aires as if it were the place I knew best, or my home, which it sort of is...I haven't really returned to LA, or I've already severed myself from it, and/or I need to figure out what to do about Buenos Aires
...all the while reading Roberto Bolano's Amulet on the subway, which I think is his best of the 8 or so of his books I've read. Just an incredible poetic, magical realist masterpiece which puts me in the Latin American mood and that I highly recommend. I'm also reading Bury Me Standing, a history of the Roma, or Gypsies, by Isabel Fonseca...a really great book I can't put down. Thank god for the subway, I'm getting tons of reading done
A Jamaican man just sold me this bag of cashews. Lefferts Gardens is a Jamaican neighborhood, and in fact, Glen's family is from Jamaica
Anyway, back to the breakfast date...
left to right: Manny, Richard, Draper Shreve (a filmmaker) and Christopher Bram, an important and very accomplished gay novelist whom I admire a lot
Skylar, where Manny was sitting. Skylar reminds me so much of my wonderful Uncle Tom. It was uncanny and sweet. Skylar wrote for Sports Illustrated for many years
Townes and Christopher
The guy on the end right (uggh, I hate my inability to remember names) is an amazing landscape painter. That's his partner to his right.
We took a walk along the High Line, which is nice and my fantasy for what to do one day with LA's freeways.
London Terrace, built in the 1920s, which I think is the biggest apt. bldg. I've ever seen. Skylar told me they had huge kitchens in the basement and you could order your meals by dumbwaiter
Looking down 7th Ave. to the new Freedom Tower, an embarrassingly unoriginal, unpoetic and jingoistic name.With all due respect, I still think they should have made the whole thing a park with trees planted for each person who died there. Seeing another giant tower go up feels somehow disrespectful and stubborn to me. But very American I suppose. I'll reserve judgment until I get down there in the next day or two to see the memorial, which everyone says is well done.
It's not really spring here yet, but every once in awhile you see a tree in bloom...I think Ghandi must have inspired these two. This statue I would definitely keep putting back up if someone knocked it down
Langston met me at the Greenwood Cemetery for a lovely afternoon discussing all manner of interesting topics, especially "focusing, which we did together.
I really got a great deal out of this process. Such a generous good dude.
I also read at Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village..a lovely spot that hosts jazz shows and readings. I read with a poet and an amazing Welsh guy...we all envied his accent. I failed to take photos, but you get the idea. Thanks Dean Kostos for hosting!
Loretta came down who I'll go visit in Connecticut this coming weekend...stay tuned for lots of pics of her, her sweet little house and the job mart! (my favorite east coast discount emporium)