d and i recently went to one of the most moving performances at joe’s pub. martha redbone (singer, songwriter, performer, and all around talent) brought to life her family tree on a brightly lit stage. the story unfolds with her thirteen year old great grandmother liza of the choctaw indian tribe being sent to work at a british home in kentucky. martha redbone rightly defines what the forty five year old british man of that household did to her great grandmother — child rape. her great grandmother liza bore ten children. only four survived. when the british man died, the british mrs. threw liza and liza’s four children out onto the streets. redbone guides the audience along her family tree, tracing her roots down to the present day. through redbone’s mesmerizing performance, we learn of her mixed heritage and the day to day struggles (not to mention layers of prejudice) her family faced deep in the mining town of harlan county, kentucky. redbone artfully injects humor and surprise throughout for one of the best performances i’ve seen in a long time.
i would not do well in a war zone. or riot. as in, if a war or riot were to break out and i were to have to get from point a to point b, i would fail (miserably).
i was to meet D in dumbo to see the brooklyn festival of lights. meet, we did. see, we saw. but survive? barely. (D survived just fine, by the way. by barely, i’m referring to yours truly).
i don’t have a pic to post alongside this entry. if ever i were to get stuck in a war or riot, there would be no pictures of the experience. you see where this is going.
the “war/riot” starts at the york street F train. as i step off the train and onto the platform, throngs of tourists approach out of nowhere. they’re apparently here to see the same lights. police buzz about, announcing that this train stop has reached maximum capacity. undeterred, the tourists keep pushing ahead.
finally emerging from the subway tunnel and into the night, i dash towards our meeting place. i run smack into what must be the center of this light festival. it is surreal. instead of pretty colored lights or lanterns draped around this part of town, i see crazy flashing lights and people screaming for more (of what, i don’t know). this is what a war or riot must feel like.
somehow, i make it to D.
“how in the world were you able to get here?” i ask. “oh, i didn’t have much trouble at all. it was quiet the way i came.” he says.
i’ve recently started prancing to (and in) adult ballet classes.
i love the names of the different movements – pas da bourree, demi-plie, and even fondu(e). that last one makes me laugh (and actually goes with this whole ballerina mouse concept).
being sick is generally awful, but being sick in new york adds a whole new kick to the stomach.
to be sick in a city that is already awful this time of year is well, just sickening.
there is nothing more deflating than shivering and coughing through a city that has been gray and dreary since january. you don’t even have the energy to be annoyed at this winteriest of winters. now that’s scary.
the mta becomes that much more overwhelming, the steeliness of the streets that much more surreal. and you wonder: when the hell will spring get here?
i hear these three words way too many times as an excuse, explanation and/or answer to way too many things.
“why is it so loud outside?” – “it’s new york.”
“why is someone yelling right outside my apartment?” – “it’s new york.”
“why are there so many drunk people running around?” – “it’s new york.”
“why are there bags of garbage just rotting on the streets?” – “it’s new york.”
“why does my money not go very far?” – “it’s new york.”
“why are my neighbors so weird?” – “it’s new york.”
“why do girls wear a pound of makeup when they’re jogging?” – “it’s new york.”
“what is going on over there?” – “it’s new york.”
“why did that pigeon almost attack me?” – “it’s new york.”
the list goes on.
when i lived in california, no one ever responded with “it’s california” to anything i or anyone else said.
somehow, new york itself – its very being – seems to suffice as an explanation for most everything.
i detest the mta [see earlier post]. part of moving to my new neighborhood [which lies safely below 14th st. but well above the wasteland of the financial district and tribeca], was to minimize my reliance on the mta. in other words – avoid hopping on the mta at all costs unless it is to commute to work [that part’s unavoidable].
everything i could possibly need, want or desire lies beneath 14th street [and above spring st.] and within walking distance of my new dwelling.
some reactions i’ve gotten:
“wow, 14th street – that’s really specific. what about 15th or 16th? why 14th?”
“what’s wrong with tribeca? why above tribeca? i live in tribeca!”
“you should start a second blog about fun activities to do below 14th st. wait – i’ve changed my mind – fun things to do *above* 14th st.”
seriously, people. is any explanation necessary?
once you cross the 14th st. border, all cuteness vanishes.
and if you venture even further north, God forbid … you may run into baby strollers and children too large to be sitting in them [but nevertheless squashed into them].
i intend to stay within a mile radius of where i live, venturing only within that safe orb.
hello, new york MTA. you greet me every morning and [most] evenings.
you always bring something new. the other day, it was a pair of random shoes in the middle of your platform – as if someone had carefully taken them off and left them there.
today, it was a woman wearing a crazy christmas sweater in 90+ degree weather. i mean, it *is* A/C’d inside the subway car, but a ridiculously thick xmas sweater? does she carry that large sweater in her purse when not wearing it?
new york can surprise you with its beauty, but the mta is not the place to be looking for it. especially in the summer.