Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cloistered in Connecticut

Before leaving New York City, I went up to the Cloisters, a medieval monastic complex financed more than a century ago by Rockefeller. Much of the sprawling Romanesque building is made up of parts of various defunct monasteries in Europe. It's a lovely spot, high up on knoll overlooking the Hudson. Walking around inside, I felt like I often do in a beautiful spacious place...I could live here. But it was something more. I really felt like I wanted to live there. I think I found my perfect fantasy house, a monastery made of stone. Before this, I'd always favored Craftsman homes. No mas. Stone for me. Maybe it's yet another level of faun-consciousness as it's cave-like and ancient, and a cave figures prominently in Faun....but not until the end, so you have to read it all the way through!

I wouldn't furnish it, just a futon...I could pace endlessly in such a place




Looking the other direction from the Hudson, one sees the brick behemoths of NYC. As a west coast person, I just have no familiarity with these giant brick structures, so they sort of fascinate me...and yeah, as you can see, it's freezing...I'm still getting by with a sweatshirt and my velvet coat (thank you Tindo...but had to add a thermal undershirt)


Glass art in the park outside the Cloisters by
Alan Binstock, reminiscent of some of Ernest Posey's cosmic geometric work from the 70s (Ernest was a painter and sculptor, and a good friend and mentor:

Interior courtyard Argentine

Hunting the unicorn...and oh how I felt a pang for the mythic creatures of yore, hounded by the the sequel to Faun, Gilberto will face such travails

I gotta get back to my altar-making. I've made altars to my ancestors with old photos, another to safe sex, and one to my mythic animal, the turtle, among others. It's time for a Faun shrine.

a kinder, gentler God the father than what I've usually seen. He looks a little "oy vey" about things below in his creation

Spanish saints

Alien Jesus? Stand back and let the mule make the call

St. Roch, patron of plagues. It is claimed his asceticism began as an infant when he would refrain from suckling from his mother...oh those catholics

These are called roundels...they are like stained glass but made from silver...I'm guessing the same silver gelatin used later for photographs? Interesting looking devil, eh?

a rather hot emo St. Michael

Great face made from wood

Santa Barbara reading from A Horse Named Sorrow

Faun-spotting...stories about Pan in the bookstore

An interesting pieta, with a whole group of women...reminded me of war and the mothers who lose their sons, as the other day I spoke with a young Marine on the subway. I admit, he was very cute and I sat next to him on purpose and we struck up a conversation. Belying the long eyelashes and innocent eyes, he turned out to be a tough Italian kid from Coney Island who had joined up while floundering at the local JC and was just back from Afghanistan for his grandfather's funeral. He showed me where he'd been the finger and shoulder. He told me he was having a hard time walking around, that he was used to watching for IEDs and it was more or less impossible to not freak out constantly... he seemed a little fragile and I felt for him as he sort of opened up about his whole experience. I felt sad and kind of angry that a young person has been put through this...I sensed some regret in his decision to sign up but he was in it now, and he was probably going to join the green beret next. He didn't feel like college was going to work for him and since there are few good jobs left in this country without a college degree, he signed up. I told him about my work with LAANE and the importance of good middle class union jobs. He very much liked this idea and was glad to hear that such efforts were being made. I thought about how economics is driving people into the military and it only strengthened my resolve to support the labor movement, and remind those who don't that among other things, they are sacrificing their sons and fellow citizens to mammon. I know it's not that simple...a similarly cute innocent-looking 19-year-old who seemed to be doing fine in college took it upon himself to become a half-baked warrior in Boston. Man, do young men need guidance...and not from other young men! I've tried to think of the proper response to such a mess, and all I come up with is to make friends with young men and help them sort things out, and give them some perspective...what the @#$% was he thinking? Even his argument that he was angry about the wars in the middle east and acted out of solidarity with his people...that's a legit motivation, but didn't anyone mention activism, a law degree, love? These guys aren't's frankly embarrassing. All that results is carnage and fear.

then there's violence and fashion...the whole society glorifies violence. Why do they hate us? They don't, they're just responding to your messages of what it takes to be cool and noticed..they want to be cool, to be loved, to be noticed...they're just reading the cues....maybe that's human nature, some will protest...well, we have many of them is our better nature. We could choose as a society to promote that.

Better nature:

Subway card poetry :)

...and readings. That last night in NYC, Emanuel Xavier and I went up to Spanish Harlem for a book party for Rigoberto Gonzalez who I was on a panel with last week at the Rainbow Book Fair

Next morning it was off to Connecticut to visit Loretta. We met in New Haven and went to the Yale Museum, which is impressive


Elizabeth Klieg

Hans Hoffman, one of my favorite artists. .. he taught at UC Berkeley and left a lot of his paintings to the University Art Museum there. I used to go there all the time to be with those paintings...they had a big effect on me If I can't have the Cloisters, I wouldn't mind living in the University Art Museum:

arggh, I'm forgetting who the artist is...but I like it...




LA artist Larry Pittman

corrugated cardboard chair by Frank Gehry

Edward Hopper...I liked this one because it's more abstract and less realistic..that door opens right into the ocean

I thought this was a very good depiction of Hamlet and his whole indecisive dude schtick

feet of the Buddha :)

  Below is Loretta's cool old house in Waterbury,'s a nowhere town with serious economic blight. Use to be the brass fittings capital of America...all gone to China of course. Now everyone scrapes by on retail while drug use grows. Loretta pretty much follows her intuition, so she moved other way to explain it...and the house is magical. Loretta is an amazing person who has done a myriad of things. We met at a small design firm in SF years back. She then went on to found her own design firm in NYC. She's also a sculptor and painter, and most recently, she went back to school to become a social worker and therapist. 

This is one of Ernest Posey's assemblage pieces. Such a great place for it. For those of you who don't know, he was not only a mentor to me, but I am the executor of his estate, so I have lots of great art like this!

Loretta, enjoying my tofu scramble. We named it Jane Russell Scramble

I'm gonna murder this dish's name: Omotozaki? It's like veggie/egg pancake with fish...incredibly good

 Loretta has loads of books and we spent much time sharing them and looking through them. While at her place, I read W G Sebald, James Hillman, Silvina Ocampo and Borges, Kathleen Norris and Carl Jung..and came across a book on Picasso....Many of you know I like clowns...I was happy to learn that so did Picasso, so there are at least two of us :0)

We took a drive out to Litchfield where the wealthy folk live. We saw the below spiral in a window and thought it was sculpture, but it just turned out to be a deconstructed spiral staircase

Since there are nothing but restaurants and antique shops in such locales, I went searching for clowns

And of course, coconut art

Back to NYC






Staying with my friend in Astoria, Queens for this two day drop-in before heading north to Portland, ME and on to Montreal


Bill sent me out to Flushing, which I enjoyed...random wandering is my favorite form of tourism

Flushing reminds me of a neighborhood I like in Buenos Aries called Caballito...they both are a mishmash of different periods of architecture and the streets are packed with pedestrians

A Sikh temple in Flushing. There is a huge Chinese community here as well

This is what happens when you think a screwtop bottle of wine has a cork. Off to the Ferro-Grumley and Publishing Award ceremony..wish me luck!