Thursday, December 21, 2017

In a Place of Make Believe: Dahlonega

And here are the "Dahlonega Scarecrows!!"

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Edvard Munch at the Breuer

coming soon!

"Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) attained fame early in his career for his depictions of human anxiety. Throughout his career, Munch regularly revisited subjects from his earlier years, exploring them with renewed inspiration and intensity over time."

"Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed (1940–43) was one of his final such works and it serves as a lens to reassess Munch's oeuvre. This exhibition features 43 of the artist's landmark compositions created over a span of six decades, including 16 self-portraits and works that have never before been seen in the United States. More than half of the works on view were part of Munch's personal collection and remained with him throughout his life."

A Girl Named Anthea

In about 1957, when I was in the 5th grade and living in Valley Stream LI, I began a correspondence with a pen-pal named Anthea who lived in Nottingham. I was given her letter during one of the Hebrew classes I attended when the teacher held in her hand many letters that children (who were looking for pen-pals) from all over Europe had written.

I remember how excited my mother was the early Saturday rainy morning when Anthea's first reply arrived. She awakened me and sat on my bed and we both read the letter written on fine blue stationary. And so, Anthea and I began to exchange letters and our friendship lasted for some time. She was an interesting girl, a few years older than I, and talked a great deal about her love for Cliff Richard. I remember how devastated she was when he "got hitched." Today, that confuses me because his bio states he never married...

Well, one day Anthea said: "Marjorie, I never asked you about your religion. Do you go to church?" Without any hesitation, I told her I was Jewish and sealed the letter. I walked down Westgate to place that letter in a mailbox that stood on a grassy patch. That mailbox is no longer even there.

I remember telling my mother that I thought I would never hear from Anthea again after my "big reveal." Even at that early age, I knew. And I was correct. I never received another letter from Anthea. That did not surprise me at the time, but now I wonder why she was unaware of my religion especially since her first letter reached a Hebrew School. Sometimes when we are young we just don't connect the dots I suppose.

Well, Google maps allowed me to view the street where Anthea lived at that time so long ago. I looked at that sort of dark and grey street which was covered with low clouds and where so many decades ago a postman walked with my letters and delivered them through the mail slot on her front door. I think the house with the red doorway was her home.

The passing of time is so sad really. Nothing remains of her letters from long ago because as it goes, I threw them all away when I moved to NYC. But, they exist in my memory as does the address I wrote on the envelopes of my own pink stationary with red hearts in 1957.

I laugh when I imagine how Anthea's jaw must have dropped and her eyes widened when she read my last letter. She must have been horrified to realize she had been interacting with "a Jewish girl." The hatred must have lived inside her bigoted head and my disclosure must have made her furious. I enjoyed you Anthea, but that's right.... you talked to a shayna maidel! Mic drop. 

Nevertheless, this is Anthea's Nottingham, in all it's glorious and somewhat mysterious beauty:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

at FIT

Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme 
"Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme examines high fashion inspired by clothing made for survival in the most inhospitable environments on earth and beyond. Today’s luxurious parkas trace their roots to the “heroic era” of polar navigation (1890 to 1922), while down-filled “puffer” coats and backpacks were originally perfected for extreme mountain climbing in the mid-twentieth century. Experimental, high tech materials made for exploration to otherworldly realms — such as neoprene (deep sea) and Mylar (outer space) — made their way onto the runway."

The Body: Fashion and Physique
"Fashion is inextricably linked to the physical form of the wearer. The cut of a garment draws the eye to zones of the body, simultaneously accentuating and concealing in order to achieve a desired silhouette. Elaborate undergarments, diet regimens, exercise routines, and even plastic surgery have all been promoted as necessary tools for attaining the ideal fashion shape. However, the idealized fashionable body is a cultural construct. Over the last 250 years, full hips, narrow hips, feminine waists, and boyish frames have each, at different times, been hailed as the pinnacle of beauty. According to a Vogue article from 1950, “A ‘figure’…is considered good or bad only as related to clothing generally, and current fashions specifically.” The Body: Fashion and Physique  explores the complex history of the “perfect” body in fashion."

These are random photos taken at both exhibits: 

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol

at The Morgan Library

"Every holiday season, the Morgan displays Charles Dickens's original manuscript of A Christmas Carol in Pierpont Morgan's historic library. Dickens wrote his iconic tale in a six-week flurry of activity beginning in October 1843 and ending in time for Christmas publication. He had the manuscript bound in red morocco as a gift for his solicitor, Thomas Mitton. The manuscript then passed through several owners before Pierpont Morgan acquired it in the 1890s."

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Marvelous Helen Weaver

Here is an encore, from April 2010:

Shortly after I read the heartfelt and bittersweet memoir, "The Awakener," I contacted Helen Weaver. I was enthralled with her memories of her love affair with Jack Kerouac. We began to communicate in E-mails... and today, I am happy to call Helen my friend.

Helen met Jack Kerouac in November 1956, when at 7:00 on a Sunday morning he arrived with Allen Ginsberg at her apartment in 307 West 11th Street. This is a photo of that building that I took after I read the book. Helen was delighted with the photo, and she told me her window can be seen on the left, right behind the blue balloon hanging from a branch of that tree.

This is a view of the White Horse Tavern from the front of 307 West 11th Street.

This is 454 West 20th Street, where Jack Kerouac, in 1951, wrote "On The Road." I stood in front of the door through which he must have passed so many times.

And this is the southwest corner of West 20th Street where: "Dean, ragged in a motheaten overcoat he bought specially for the freezing temperatures of the East, walked off alone..."

"and the last I saw of him he rounded the corner of Seventh Avenue, eyes on the street ahead, and bent to it again."

This is now 325 West 13th Street, which is the location where Helen lived when she met Lenny Bruce. I do not know when this building was built... and it looks fairly new. The building where Helen lived may have been torn down for the construction of this newer apartment house.

This is 346 West 15th Street and it is where Allen Ginsberg lived from 1951 to 1952. It is where Jack Kerouac was introduced to Gregory Corso.

And this is a view of the block.

This is 149 West 21st Street and it was where Lucien Carr lived from 1950 to 1951. He and Jack Kerouac were friends and Jack visited him often. Bill Cannastra also lived in a nearby building that is now a parking lot.

And this is a view of the block.

This was added on January 21, 2010:
This is the front door of 421 West 118th Street, where Jack Kerouac lived with Edie Parker in the early 1940s.

This is 421 West 118th Street.

This is West 118th Street, looking toward Morningside Drive.

"The Awakener" is a beautifully written memoir that takes the reader to personal and heartfelt places of great joy and bittersweet memories.

Helen Weaver talks about her relationship with Jack Kerouac, and the book is so richly developed and defined that I felt the scenes were unfolding like a well-directed independent film. I was very caught up in the story.

I also had the feeling that I was becoming part of a wonderful time gone by... and I was motivated to visit several of the addresses mentioned in this book to put a visual to the text as the pages unfolded. 

Helen Weaver also discusses her other relationships from long ago... and she writes with honestly, clarity, and sincerity in terms of the direction of those relationships as the decades passed.

 Jack Kerouac, in "Desolation Angels," wrote: "So I actually felt like marrying Ruth Heaper and moving to a country home in Connecticut."

 If you are nostalgic for a time gone by and you want to hear "Ruth Heaper" tell her story, this book is a must!