Almost impossible to get a direct flight out of Memphis to anywhere, but we did finally make it to Newark. Jeff Kelley had been texting us to meet him for dinner, so we dropped our bags at the time share loft/studio in Tribeca and grabbed a cab to Bottino's in Chelsea to meet Jeff and another Alan Kaprow scholar, Judith Rodenbeck, who teaches at Sarah Lawrence. Some of you might ask: Who is Allan Kaprow? He is an artist (recently deceased) who was instrumental in establishing the concept of performance art back in the fifties and sixties, conducting many happenings during that time. What is a happening? some of you may ask; you may be too young to read this email. We all knew that happenings were way cool back in the early sixties.
Anyway, these two scholars of Alan Kaprow are very lively dinner companions, their liveliness helped along, no doubt, by very good Italian food, great wine, and then innumerable glasses of port. It was a very warm NY evening and we were sitting close to an open terrace, where a blessedly cool breeze was gently fanning us. I heard the table behind us speaking about the Dalai Lama. I immediately stood up, went over to them, and introducing myself, told them I had just met the Dalai Lama two days ago. They were lovely people and, after inviting me to sit down at their table, they poured me a glass of wine (more alcohol?). He turned out to be Mario Frangoulis, a well-known singer (at least in Europe) of mostly opera and sort of romantic ballads; his agent, Demetra Anagrostopoulos and another staff, Mary. I watched him on YouTube, beautiful voice, where he's performing in a huge and packed ancient ampitheatre on Thessalonika, I believe. Impressive.
Mario was on his way to perform for the Dalai Lama and some other Nobel Peace Prize recipients at the Dalai Lama Center located in Vancouver. The DL has been going strong since his illness. Somebody else told me her sister was going to a conference on healing with him which was coming up soon.
We are staying in NY, in Tribeca, in an artist's loft which we have bought into for a year; we get 6 weeks out of the year. It is very light, high ceilings and roomy, as an artist's loft should be, however, the bathroom and sink are down a long hall, accessed by a locked door. Not the greatest for aging bladders, and my bladder was never the largest or the strongest in the first place.
Don has been working with Chuck Close, whose studio is within walking distance of the loft, very convenient. Recently I found myself in a surreal situation, sitting on the floor of Chuck's studio, hand-finishing a tapestry. This took over 2 hours; a job which could have been done in less than 2 minutes with our serger at Magnolia. About 15 feet away was Chuck Close painting on his latest canvas. So if I came out of my sewing reverie, I would look over and watch Chuck paint for a while.
The tapestry I was working on is the B&W Self-Portrait on the left wall.
Went to the Met, the Rubin, and a few galleries, including the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, where we saw Hung Liu's elegant show. Nancy had been excited to get Hung's new portfolio of prints with poem by Michael McClure. We were invited upstairs to see and discuss the portfolio. As we stood around, making chit chat with Nancy and her staff, we began to wonder when they would bring the portfolio out. Finally, we realized they were wondering the same thing about us; they thought we had brought the portfolio. They didn't have it. But Happy Result, it turned out the portfolio had been delivered only minutes before. It had gone to the gallery's old address first. Nancy loved it and is very excited to start showing it.
The painting to the right is of a couple young victims of the devastating earthquake China suffered, sitting amongst the ruins. We saw it at various stages of its progress; the result is fabulous.
Later we walked the Highline, what is left of an old elevated rail system, stretching along the West Side from 20th to 14th. Wish it were longer. And I am happy to report that Nancy Hoffman tells us that it will be extended. Literally, everyone told us we must walk this, and they were right. They've done a beautiful job of landscaping it, adding some beautifully appropriate art and design features. It was a little overcast that day. Wish we had better pictures.
One small, but welcome change in the world is that good Mexican food can be found these days outside of Mexico and California. We have eaten at several different restaurants which serve very good Mexican food, more like the kind of food you would find in an upscale restaurant in Mexico. Ate at Rosa Mexicana, at La Esquina with Bruce Velick, both in NY, and getting ahead of myself, but at Oyamel, in DC.
Making guacamole at La Rosa Mexicana.
One of our favorite NY dining experiences continues to be En, where they make fresh tofu every hour and a half.
Love to all,
Era and Don