The PtB Fragment most directly responsible for control and maintenance issued an email edict on Friday. The subject line read "The Tradition Continues!!" and she sent it marked with Outlook's patented Red Exclamation Point importance indicator.
What, might you ask, could be so important that it ranked not one, not two, but three exclamation points?
The apparently traditional St. Patrick's Day pot-luck lunch, of course. I say "apparently" as, despite the two EP subject line, I've never, in several years of working here, attended any pot-luck lunch function of any kind, let alone a St. Patrick's Day pot-lunch. A quick poll of my fellow cube dwellers confirmed the historical fact. As far as anybody in this section of the company knows, it would be the first pot-luck lunch ever held.
Had to put in almost a full day on Saturday. Work's that hectic right now.
Training uptown to meet May in the village, got stuck standing between a young couple. I was trying to read and they sort of talked past me.
Girl: "The whole dating scene hasn't really been that great."
Boy: "It's tough. Tough, you know?"
"Even in college, I didn't start really dating until college."
"That late? You seem more out going . . ."
"Well, I mean, the first time I was fucked was before college. I was date raped when I was fourteen. And then I really lost my virginity when I was seventeen. But I didn't date that much."
"And after school, in school I met this guy, and after school I lived with him, in DC. And he was, like, a total nutcase. He would follow me. Real dick. Physical, you know what I mean, abusive. He used to piss on me when he was angry."
"Um. Piss on you?"
"Not like a sex thing. Just like, he'd really get pissed at me . . . hey, literally, I guess." She laughed at her own joke. "Anyway, he'd get angry and piss on me, or my stuff. Sometimes I'd come home and he'd have piled up my clothes and pissed on my all my stuff."
They were silent for a second.
"What about you?" she asked.
"Well, you know, it's just hard finding somebody that’s, you know, nice."
May and I met up with Tera at Kettle of Fish in the Village. Tera had spent the day roaming Manhattan, giving the tourist show and tell to Ashley, a woman she knew back in high school and kept in sporadic touch with. She had deposited Ashley off at some joint were she was to meet with other out-of-towners, then Tera made her way to the bar.
We asked how her day was.
Tera: "It was fine. Ashley's just one of those really nice, genuine, lovely people."
"Oh, I fucking hate those people."
"Seriously, and she's gorgeous. I wish she was dead."
"What chance do us fake, ugly bastards got? Raw deal, man."
Went to the Whitney Biennial. The big news this year was the inclusion of non-Americans in what has traditionally been the Whitney Museum of American Art's biggest show. Four floors of hot, avant action is a bit too much for me. The show suffers somewhat from the lack of theme – being young and doing art good enough for the Whitney gets you in. Consequently, you're barraged by styles, themes, and modes; and the crowd keeps you moving, so you've got a just enough time to register a single emotional response before you move on.
Until you've been through one of these shows, you don't realize just how much difference a good curator makes.
That said, there were some standouts.
One on-going performance piece involved a skinny white Brit, baggy clothes, dark Kangol cap, eye-patch, looking like the Welly Club's answer to Slick Rick, walking around the museum, making comments about the art works and the patrons through his bull horn. Things like "This represents the death of art as commodity" or "Answer your cell phone; it's Nicole Kidman and she wants you to know she's not dead." The guy's name was Momus, and he was just improve enough to make gallery-goers wonder if he was, in fact, part of the show, or just some crazy.
Another artist shot a pornographic trailer for a non-existent film remake of the Tinto Blass cult flick "Caligula," now renamed "Gore Vidal's Caligula." Vidal, looking tan, fat, and happy at his Greek villa (all the radical lefties have Greek villa's don't you know), appears as himself. Benicio Del Torro plays a Roman General. Karen Black plays Caligula's mother. Helen Mirren, remarkably well preserved, reprises her role form the Vidal-penned '79 epic skin-flick. Caligula, as far as I could make out, is played by Courtney Love. It was laugh out loud funny and contained the wonderful tagline: "Beyond sensuality is sexuality. Beyond sexuality is perversity. And beyond perversity, there is Caligula." Who needs art films when we can have art trailers?
One of the odder works came from a man who apparently used to keep the emergency obit files updated at the NYTimes. What he does it produce, poster-size, NYTimes obits for people who are not yet dead. This show featured obits for Bill Clinton, Rod Stewart, and Nicole Kidman. They were produced with exacting dedication to the NYTimes house-style and the effect is strange admixture of the banal and macabre.
The two best pieces, in my opinion, are displayed in the same room. The first involves two cast aluminum branches hanging by chains from two motorized mounts. On the ends of each branch, a single white candle burns. The branches slowly rotate and the candles leave two interlocked circles of white, melted wax on the floor of the gallery. The description does not do the work, which hypnotic and genuinely involving, justice.
In the same room, appearing to look down at this obscure contraption, is what at first appears to be a gigantic black and white photograph of a man in jeans, a white button shit, and battered sports jacket. It isn't until you approach the work that you realize the "photo" is, in fact, a mural executed with fabulous control and masterly technique. Textures and tones rendered minutely, anatomy as perfect as an old master; the whole thing an epic affront to the misconception of all modern art as talentless amateurism.
These two pieces are what you are confronted by as soon as you enter the show on the third floor, and the decision to put them front and center was brilliant.
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