Monday, September 26, 2005

Letter to Jamie

Dear Jamie,

It has been more than three years and I am still
not earning a living in Brooklyn. Yesterday, on
the list: "finish 2 kick-ass paintings for Art
show. Mail CD to RA. 'Therapy' page on
website. New splash page on website. Call
Jerry's and re-order out-of-stock linen canvas.
Finish Arts Circle poster. Grant apps: NYFA,
Greenshields, CFEVA. Laundry.' This was for the
week, not the day. I spend too much time sitting
in the kitchen window, fussing over houseplants.
The city gets on top of me.

So after working on paintings until they need to
sit and dry, I hop on my bike with laptop, bike
the long way around the park, breathing in the
trees, and wind up at the Tea Lounge, to work on
the poster. 'Make the poster, like, over the top
fussy, stuff stuff stuff, old-fashioned fonts,
really long and intricate,' says Grigorio. Only
he has not finalized the program information;
thus I can only go So Far.

Then I go to opening at TablaRasaGallery (not
'Tabula Rasa'--no Latin scholars in Brooklyn)
because Horley invited me, and when I checked my
email there were no less than three invitations
to same, coming from different sources. I still
hate art openings. Artists are weird and
squirrelly, and one day they talk with you
candidly and the next they snub you, and one of
the in-crowd at this gallery used to be my
ex-boyfriend's fuck buddy. Usually we pretend
not to recognize one another and edge out of the
room. My ex-boyfriend used to go on and on about
Ursula's erotic magnetism, and then one day we
ran into her in the train station; after she
shook hands and went away my ex-boyfriend
exclaimed, "my God, Ursula has turned into a
shriveled-up old hag, I would NEVER fuck a hag
like that," which gave me pause, on a whole lot
of levels. But of course I didn't walk away
right then. You never do.

Horley didn't show up at the opening until an
hour after I did. I spent the time avoiding
Ursula and edging my way back into Gerard's good
graces; Gerard turned squirrelly after I passed
him on my bike in the park one day and yelled
"hi, Gerard" but didn't stop to chat because I
was late. At least I think that was it. When
Gerard thawed out he launched into an idea for
forming a virtual gallery in order to obtain a
booth at the Emerging Art Fair, then declaring
bankruptcy immediately afterward. There are a
lot of reasons why this isn't a good idea, but he
didn't want to listen to any; eventually he
laughed and gave up when I agreed to participate,
as long as he did the paperwork. He will never
do any paperwork.

Serendipitously I met the mystery artist who did
an installation on the wall of the overpass by my
apartment. It was a whole rainstorm of aluminum
teardrops, in shades of silver, copper and brass,
stuck to the concrete. It was beautiful and
exactly the right thing for that corner, an
exceptionally bleak one which I have to pass on
my way to the subway station, and I loved it and
was heartbroken when the city took it down. I
had already caught the guy's eye a couple of
times, first at BWAC on Sunday and then at this
opening, because he seemed nice and not too
squirrelly. Then I opened his artist book and
discovered photos of aluminum installations on
overpass walls, and went up to him and gasped,
'did YOU do the teardrops on Prospect and 4th
Ave.? Where did they go?' He doesn't get
permission first, is the problem, and the city
follows around after him and scrapes them down.

Later, when Hawley arrived, I found out that this
guy is a friend of hers. We talked about the
other street artist who does intricate paper
cut-out figures and pastes them on walls, where
they slowly disintegrate. I thought about doing
a web page, "Cool Street Art in Brooklyn." It
surprises me how few people notice these things.

After the opening I schlepped out to the Empire
Diner in Chelsea, where Grigorio plays jazz piano
from 7 to 11, in order to get a Final Decision
from him about the damn poster, already. The
benefit for New Orleans Musicians is scheduled
for October 7, and the printer turn-around time
is at least a week, and you can't print something
until you have accurate information, all of which
is obvious to me but not to Grigorio. Since I
last talked to him the plan has changed utterly,
including the name of the concert, which is now
"Mardi Gras Resurrection Party." In the end it
was established that we'd save the long,
intricate poster for the Bowery Ballroom concert
on October 19, and print a color postcard with
minimal information for the October 7 event.
After he stopped playing at 11 we walked to
Kinko's to take care of it Right Then.

On the way, for some reason, I started ranting
about the fact that all these men over 60 with
bad teeth, no money, and fatuous conversation
keep hitting on me, and not taking 'ack!' for an
answer. Grigorio said, "Men of any age want smooth skin in
a woman. Should men over 60 just be lonely?
Where's your compassion?" Grigorio himself has
got to be at least 45, but emotionally he's still
about 7--ingenuous, earnest, quite astonishingly
naive. Whenever I get into long discussions with
him I come out feeling like a jaded, cynical old
bitch. Many retorts flooded to mind, but I
contented myself with saying, "Women deal with
the aging/attractiveness issue sooner and to a
greater degree than men do." Which is
politicizing the issue unnecessarily, in my
opinion, but it shut him up.

We stood at the counter at Kinko's until 12:30,
bickering like siblings, until it became apparent
that Kinko's was incompetent and ignoring us, and
Grigorio had to make the Staten Island Ferry at 1.
He asked if I would stand there alone and deal
with Kinko's; I said no, I'm exhausted and
Kinko's SUCKS. After more bickering we settled
that I'd email him the postcard file, he could
stand in line at Kinko's all day tomorrow, and
the thing would be out of my life.

This morning I slept late and had a bizarre dream
about running into Marc Webb and Jamie Berger at
a gallery/library sort of space in Chelsea. I
remembered that Jamie had sent out a long letter
and decided to write back.

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