Archive | City Matters

In the Storm She Shone

The night before Tuesday’s blizzard, I emerged from a critics’ screening into midtown Manhattan. The sky was heavy and violet; the city, already abandoned. The only other people on the street were hurrying along with big bags of laundry and groceries–everything they needed to lay in for the storm. But the film I’d just seen had been much better than I’d anticipated, and I felt the happiness that good work, natural or human-made, has inspired in me since I was a small child; it’s hard to be despondent when beauty in all forms gladdens you this way.

In that burst of cheer I decided to walk rather than surrender to the weirdness of east 30s public transportation. I bundled up more seriously—double-wrapped my scarf, donned the velvet gloves my mother had sent for Christmas, and took off, knowing it might the last time in a while I’d walk so easily on NYC sidewalks. The air was so cold I could hear little ice crystals forming on my lungs when I breathed; this felt cleansing rather than unsettling. I walked faster, not to hasten my return home so much as to visit with all of the world at once. Continue Reading →

Desert Flowers: Object D’art O’Keeffe

Pictured here: three images from Living Modern, the Brooklyn Museum exhibition of work by and about Georgia O’Keeffe—the twentieth century’s most un-objectified object d’art. In gallery after gallery, this womon artist’s (quint)essence shines through others’ lens, myriad ages, and various iterations of her self-expression, including paintings, hand-made garments, and girlish fashion drawings. You can see how her physicality informed the shapes she created; in that stirring far left image (a 1918 photograph of her by husband Alfred Stieglitz), she’s austere, flat, concave; the only traditionally womanly mound is that seriously fulsome bush. In her fashion drawing at bottom right (check out those extraterrestrial fingers) and cityscape at top right you see echoes of those verysame shapes. This is womanbody as subject with a heathy slash of steel, a big blowsy flower, and the blood red and pale pale pink that Venus Retrograde in Aries and Pisces demands. Georgia is the eye of the beholder and, I’d argue, of twentysomething centuries, too. I expected a lot from this show but still am happily surprised. The clothes especially are something else: bleached-out and exquisitely detailed. I want them all.

Word to the wise: The Museum is charging major mandatory buckos for the exhibition. Though it’s a worthy institution, city museums are meant to be pay-what-you-wish, so on general principle I fished one of the O’Keeffe entrance bracelets from a trashcan and sailed right in.

You Say Valentine, I Say Vagina (Wicked Witch)

I saw “The Lady Eve” at Metrograph; I wore fur and red lipstick with zero compunction; I ate oysters and duck; I drank champagne cocktails and big red wine; I walked miles and miles with a kindred spirit in the shadow of the Empire State Building’s red-harlot lights. I heckled men walking down the street carrying red roses–“Are those for meeee?”–and sniffed at a swain who tried to pick me up at the mail box. “You post things? How elegant!” “Oh, take your Valentine goggles off!” Most of all, I smiled at everyone who smiled at me, and batted my lashes lasciviously at the rude boys on the subway. This year’s V Day had a different vibe–less materialistic, more conspiratorial. It suited this love witch just fine.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy