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July 29, 2014
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River Muse

The Weather Project?

The first dozen times I heard about “The Weather Project” I was confused. What did they mean by “Project?” What was a piece of theatre about weather going to be? Why was it going to go on for two years? Lots of questions. And I should have had answers. I am on the board of directors of The North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL), the sponsor and creator of The Weather Project. But every time I tried to explain the project I stumbled, uttering vague allusions to climate change, community projects and ensemble theatre.  Read more

‘Year of My Sign’

My call time was 10 a.m. Saturday morning in Brooklyn. The day before, I met with the director to finalize my costume and props. The vintage Burberry trench coat fit well, and I could wear my own black slacks and sensible brown shoes. “As long as you can run in them,” he said. He said nothing about jumping.  Read more

Forty years and a bar

Six large crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling of the lobby of Le Pavillion Hotel in New Orleans. Two oak-leaf gilt mirrors rise above marble consoles on either end of the room adding infinite repetitions of the highly decorated scene. At 10 a.m. on the last Monday morning in April, Jazz Festers slowly tumble from the elevators looking for some chicory-laced coffee to rouse them. Most have imbibed more liquid cheer in a weekend than a bartender pours on New Year’s Eve.  Read more

Breaking through (the ACA)

The ice dam has broken, finally. A huge berg twirls in the eddy, unwilling to float downriver to the sea. Chunks disengage, spiraling off from the mothership. I imagine a huge umbilical cord of ice holding on to the riverbed below like a tether, but it doesn’t sound likely, or scientific. I am witnessing the end of a long winter. The night’s rain has turned to frost on the lawn. The only color is the dull gray of tree trunks and the bright green of the Narrowsburg Bridge. My imagination is as dull as the landscape. But, look!  Read more

What was I thinking?

Sheila is in Costa Rica with friends, where the sunsets are “spectacular!” John and Robert are on their way to Jamaica to rest their heads in Noel Coward’s bedroom. Barry and Tony are just back from Cabo. What am I doing wrong?  Read more

The heart of Art

My friend Art Peck was not a simple man. What he knew about the world, he mostly learned from experience. When he wanted to know more, he turned to a book, or the Internet, or to someone with more experience. With less than an 8th grade formal education, he built a small empire, several boats, a few cars and a house. He was born smart, not raised smart. He had his own ideas, whether about politics, or the environment, or business, or art, or the way a mutual friend kept house.  Read more

The need to want

I am writing from the early hours of Cyber-Monday after what the New York Times refers to as a “gloomy Black Friday.” I have a confession to make. I didn’t shop on Thanksgiving (I would never!), nor on Black Friday. I didn’t even shop on Small Business Saturday (although I meant to). On Sunday, I browsed the catalogs that managed to find us, even after two moves in one year. I almost clicked on a pair of moto-boots in black leather that were drool-worthy and on sale, but instead I closed my iPad and rested my eyes before going to sleep.  Read more

Keeping up

You never know what you can do until you do it. This was reinforced for me recently on a cycling trip in southern France. My friend Kara had suggested this trip as a way to see part of Europe in an intimate way on a budget. We have been cycling since childhood, often together, but neither of us had pedaled farther than the length of Manhattan in many years. We picked a tour company that offered “easy” itineraries on relatively flat terrain. Still, it was an ambitious plan.  Read more

They paved paradise

During the 20 summers we spent at our little bungalow near Monticello, we would occasionally wake to the sound of Bobby Somer’s tractor revving up to mow the communal property. If it was a weekend, when the 11 families that comprised our co-op were likely to be in residence, I would make a mental note to ask Bobby to hold off on mowing until the weekdays. But then, in less time than it took to put on a pot of tea and shower, the tractor would be back on its trailer and peace would once again reign in our little patch of paradise in the Catskills.  Read more

Survivor

Sometimes you have to go back to go forward. Forty-five years is a long way back though. When I was a young teenager there was a lanky English lad who was new to our high school. Somehow I nabbed him for my boyfriend. He had rosy cheeks and dark hair and an easy laugh. He also had a ripe body odor—unaccustomed as he was to the use of American deodorants. He liked science-fiction and the BeeGees and Phil Ochs. He took me to see “Hair” on Broadway. We didn’t talk about ourselves much, but then, what was there to know? We had hardly begun to live. Or so I thought.  Read more