Thursday, July 10, 2014

concerts in the parks

Yesterday, Ilene and I found an orchestral concert in Prospect Park - by chance, as one does. It was the New York Philharmonic playing Strauss and Tchaikovsky as the sunset turned to dusk turned to night. We found a spot on the grass to the side where we could stretch out - close enough to see the wrist twitches of the violins, which is important to me. I loved how quiet the crowd was, watching the sky, listening so carefully to the harp solo, the muted strings at one point, the woodwind swells at another. There were at least a thousand people, possibly a lot more.

It was the first of a short series of free park concerts happening now - the remaining schedule is as follows:

Pieces by Strauss, Smetana, and Tchaikovsky

Thursday July 10 (today), 8 PM, Cunningham Park, Queens
Friday July 11, 8 PM, Great Lawn, Central Park

Pieces by Nielsen, Bruch, Grieg, and Liszt

Monday July 14, 8 PM, Great Lawn, Central Park
Tuesday July 15, 8 PM, Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx

There is also an indoor concert (program TBA) scheduled for Sunday July 13 (3 PM) at the Center for the Arts at CUNY Staten Island.


Images of decorated staircases in Tehran and Morlaix (France) found here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ample hills

Whenever I ride my bike up Vanderbilt Avenue to the park - EVERY time - I think of the Ample Hills line from Crossing the Brooklyn Ferry. Oh, the ample (painful) hills of Brooklyn! Then I think of ice cream.

Do you live in Brooklyn, love Brooklyn? Do you love New York? Whatever the case, read the poem today. It was written for you.

And thank you, dear Lizzie, for making me read it awhile back! (also for the bike!) Basically, this post was ghost-written by you.

photograph by André Kertész, 1964

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Have you seen Martin Provost's Violette? No? GO! Right now, tonight, don't wait.

We saw it last night at Village East, though not in the main theater, which is beautiful. I go to VE on Tuesdays for the student discount ($7 and free popcorn!) and the nice foreign selection.

But Violette. I loved every bit though it was long, and I loved her (the character) though not everyone did (we could all agree Emmanuelle Devos was phenomenal, however) and though she was difficult. I loved Sandrine Kiberlain as Simone de Beauvoir, and all of the small, sublime details spread throughout: feet in a wash basin, sun slowly coloring a face or a ceiling, the clumsy, determined way she walked. And I thought the screenplay (and the translation) was good. All very good. All very worth our whiles.

Because I enjoy caricatures (of myself), I went home and re-read the introduction to The Second Sex. Wonderful. And then, to take it further, this morning on the train I read the beginning of A Room of One's Own. Which I had bought yesterday because it winked at me as I was passing the sidewalk booksellers on West 4th. That was before Violette, before I was consciously (intentionally, maybe) thinking about the condition of being a woman and a writer, both of those things together. Because I like to go to movies without knowing much about them, which doesn't always end well (sorry, Lizzie!) (The Immigrant) (don't go), and sometimes ends magically (We Are The Best) (fantastic) (go!).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

after some time away

Some inspiration for Sofy, from the journal (April 2014):

I challenged myself today, tonight rather, when I came home. As I stood in the elevator thinking about unfinished thoughts and the need to finish something (a thought), polish it, (or was it in the train I was thinking that, or possibly the platform, yes, the platform), I determined that when I opened my door, after being greeted by Nola (cat), I would not waste time the way I usually do, lingering, languishing, spreading myself around the apartment, on the sofa or bed, flicking through my phone, lazing on the internet, doing nothing of worth (any), not even nothing at all (which is worth something, a lot really). Instead, I would turn the kettle on, put my clothes away, the ones I had tossed around before I left, but also the ones I was wearing. Turn on the reading lamp, maybe the radio, clear the floor, close the drawers, wash my face (thoroughly, with the cloth), and here I am.

And another passage (March 2014) on returning:

A great comfort, to be oneself, to return there after some time away.

photograph of my mother, taken when she was younger than I am