The New York Times called MORUS an, "East Village Shrine to Riots and Radicals." I believe they thought that was an insult. My dear friend Sheila is the volunteer publicist for MORUS. Pretty much everyone is a volunteer at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space because like most "radicals," they don't have any money. Sheila wrote a great letter to the editor of The NYTimes, eloquently explaining how they were corporate dickheads. They didn't publish it, of course, most likely because everyone already knows they are corporate dickheads. Old News.
Who knows? Maybe my new boyfriend will find me at the fashion show. If I'm reading the signs correctly, Herb isn't remotely interested in me. Since his wife served him with divorce papers just over a week ago, I'm assuming he's drowning in his own personal hell. It happens. Could be he's surrounded by females up there in the Exburban Art Scene and doesn't need to look any farther than the school parking lot or local diner. Could be he doesn't have the strength or the inclination. Either way, it's not happening though - so I may as well walk my best walk on the Lower East Side with a bunch of young, enthusiastic revolutionary minded artists. I love the intersection of Art and Activism anyway.
Meanwhile, the Restoration Project continues. It took longer than anticipated to restore my bank account, so Contractor Andy hasn't walked through the door since I moved in on December 13th. That's just as well because I've been able to unpack and get settled at an enjoyably leisurely pace. He'll be back in a couple of weeks to finish the kitchen and bathroom - and somebody has to repaint the woodwork because somebody touched it up with Ceiling White instead of semigloss Decorator White. You don't notice it from a distance, though. Here's the china cupboard:
When Mother gets here in March, we're going to put wallpaper on the back walls inside the cupboard. A lively print that's sort of like the painting on one of my favorite things - a little chicken pitcher I got years and years ago at William Sonoma. It's on the counter at the moment.
The tile for the backsplash is 3/4" mosaic in shades of denim blue that will pick up the blue flecks in the counter top. Andy has to install a shelf under the cabinets and another under the electric meter, and once that's done, I'll move the fan that's currently on top of the pantry by the stove to the shelf that will be under the electric meter. I figure I'll make a shrine to electrical power since fossil fuels will be the death of us all, sooner or later, one way or another - especially now that the link between fracking and fertilizing GMO agriculture has been firmly established (Mother Jones 01.30.13) I find out about stuff like Fracking, GMOs, Kill Lists, Ecocide, and what's on sale at One King's Lane on my computer.
I brought that mirror on the wall behind the computer up from Texas when I first moved to New York back in the mid-80s. According to what I've read about Feng Shui, your desk really should face toward the room somehow so that people can't surprise you by walking up from behind. The correction is a mirror. But I like the mirror there because it reflects my real image, which is filtered in my psyche and posted somewhere on the internet. Selected Presentation of Self In Everyday Life (Goffman, 1959). As it happens, I was born in 1959, when Goffman wrote that book. Woody thinks it's a brilliant book, and I'm sure it is - from the 40 pages or so that I actually read. It's painfully dry even though the premise remains pertinent today. The Punk Patriot gave me this sticker when he was here during Occupy working on American Autumn: An Occudoc. It remains pertinent, too. It's on the right side of the desk.
One of Velvet's self portraits, circa 1996, is on the left. It counts as presentation of self, too, although art may not count as everyday life. When I get around to it, I'll get a nice poster frame and hang it on the wall. Meanwhile, it can rest there in the corner. In some ways, you could say that Velvet himself is a reflection of myself.
I like the way the size, color and content of Velvet's drawing balance this neon sculpture by Ben Livingston, who we all used to call BeNeon. He's friends with my brother, was at my wedding and still lives in Austin, Texas.
The sculpture was originally part of a set of three masks which my parents bought from Ben long before he was famous. Long before he went to India for some kind of ayurvedic treatment to detox all that mercury from his system, too. Mother says that Ben wished the masks would remain together as a set, but artists' wishes are often ignored. My parents gave one to me, one to my brother and one to my sister. My sister's is now at my parent's house in Houston because my brother-in-law the theoretical physicist doesn't want the toxic particles in their domestic atmosphere. He won't live around overhead power lines, either. Strange, electromagnetic stuff happens around power lines.
Personally, I don't care about electromagnetic shit from art or from microwave ovens - but overhead power lines are just ugly. More importantly, Ben's neon mask reminds everyone in my own domestic environment that we present a mask to the world daily through the personas constructed by our egos - and hopefully our real self, or our essential spirit, shines through that public persona like the light shining from Ben's art. Here's a close-up:
Here's the chandelier, with many little artifacts hanging from the metal tulips:
My favorite (besides Granny's love beads) is still Tinkerbell because she's not only magic, with copious amounts of fairy dust, she's also capable of very bad behavior. Of all characters in every fairytale I've ever heard, I'd like to be Tinkerbell. Here's the stuff on the window sill. Flowers, a marble Ganesha and his buddy Hunuman, the Monkey King, a little dish of chocolates from Cafe Luxembourg, ceremonial candles (99 Cent store variety), and a replica of a little stained glass window by Frank Lloyd Wright that was a wedding present from some friends of my parents.
The window sill must be another example of my tendency to create Little Altars Everywhere. I really should read that book by Rebecca Wells since I really do have little altars all over the place. There's another one in the living room - also with a mirror. I'm satisfied that I like the mirror there so I'll probably get Velvet to hang it on the wall pretty soon.
I found that dresser in the trash outside my former home on Central Park West. As it happened, my parents were there at the time and my mother refinished it herself using some smelly stuff out on the terrace. The mirror was a wedding present from one of Buzz Kill's friends, but I kept it. There's also one of those little Angel-Go-Rounds people typically reserve for Christmas, but I like having mine out all the time, a buddha we got in India, a candle Gigi brought back from her trip to Spain, a vase that was a sample in Buzz Kill's old showroom, a mister from Gwendolyn Holden Barry, my alchemist friend whose sells her blends at Daughters of Isis/Ancestor Aromachologie, and a ceramic wall piece of the Tortoise and the Hare, which I've never once hung on a wall.
No doubt about it, I'm loving the new HQ. I especially love being so close to work that it takes roughly 20 minutes to get from my own kitchen to the coffee pot in the teachers' lounge even when I do need to wait a little while for the bus on Broadway. One of these days, I really will manage my morning time well enough to walk - which would probably take 30 minutes if I didn't dawdle. Being close to work has always been a high priority for me - but it's becoming even more important these days since Climate Change will certainly start fucking up my commute.
Now that Velvet and I are establishing roots in Harlem, both work and home are on high ground. There are two bus depots in the neighborhood, so when we have another extreme weather situation like the Hurricane, the buses will be handy for us. Our subway service was among the first to be operational too. Once you get below 42nd Street, though, you're literally sunk. South Ferry is still fucked up - and like many people living in the 212 area code, I have no idea what's happening in the boroughs. I'm pretty sure they're still fucked too. Actually, given that the US has no official intention of changing our consumption habits with an eye toward a sustainable life style - so that we'll continue to suck down way more than our fair share of resources and destroy the environment every which way we can - Climate Change will be fucking up commutes from sea to shining sea.
Graphic from EarthJustice.org
It won't be pleasant, but I still believe that once this empire has finally collapsed, all the innovative thinking The Establishment has been ignoring for decades will flourish - necessity being the mother of invention and all that. I just hope war and ecocide don't turn the planet into Book of Eli or Mad Max. It could happen, though.
As Scarlett always says, "I'll go crazy if I think about that now." Whatever happens in the world, I'll remain focused on creating a harmonious environment at home and in my classroom. To do that, I need to be internally harmonious since it's all a reflection of self anyway. For me, that means being able to curl up with a good book.
Or enjoying the view from the window by my desk. The red brick buildings across the street look nice with the snow.
I image it will be very nice when the trees start to flower in the spring, then leaf out in the summer and change colors in the fall.