Sunday, December 23, 2007

Contractor Territory

Photo Liza Béar December 19 2007

From the film Squaring Off, work-in-progress, recorded at the Landmarks Commission 2005.

On the night of January 23, 1917, Marcel Duchamp and his friends found the doorway to the staircase and climbed to the top of the Washington Square Arch where they famously issued a proclamation: "Whereas, whereas whereas.......we hereby declare Greenwich Village to be an independent republic. " At the public hearing on May 10, 2005, this quote was met with wild applause by the audience but had absolutely no effect whatsoever on the Landmarks Commissioners (all political appointees). A week later, Landmarks ignoring their own mandate to protect designated landmarks announced their ruling in favor of Parks' bulldozing of Washington Square (the word 'redesign'
really seems inappropriate at this stage of the game).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Washington Square's Trees: After Years of Neglect, "Removal"

Photo: (c) Liza Béar, December 13 2007

Moving the fountain, flattening and shrinking the fountain plaza entails cutting down the trees around the fountain--an absurd proposition on all counts. But that's not all that Parks designer (not a qualified landscape architect) has in mind.

The original bid documents called for removal of 32 mature trees as part of Phase I. Did the Landmarks Commission, the Art Commission realize what they were voting for? Are New Yorkers going to let this happen?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Drastic Developments at Washington Square

Photos Liza Béar December 11-13 2007

This is not some digitized special effects for "I Am Legend", it's the sobering reality following Judge Joan Madden's recent decision. She rejected the community's call in their final lawsuits for Parks to do an Environmental Impact Statement prior to starting construction. Go to for videos about more misrepresentation, at the highest echelons of the Parks Dept, about the cost of relocating the fountain, estimated by an independent study to be $508,000.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Avalanche at Harvard Part Two

Willoughby at Faculty Club dinner in his honor.

The Piper Auditorium presentation consisted of readings of W's biographies short and long. Ironically for someone whose sonorous voice would have filled that 30ft ceilinged auditorium without a mike, W has the throat variety . . .We never knew when we were young that our friends and lovers would be nuked with radiation, poisoned with chemo, lose their lymph nodes, become speechless, yet retain their indomitable spirit, stoicism and sense of humor. "Is there anything that shocks you?" a student asks W during the q and a. "That I'm still alive," is the reply.

Afterwards at dinner at the Faculty Club, a little further up Quincy Street from the GSD, everything seems outrageously normal. A long narrow table, fourteen guests, several authors; intervals between the courses allows plenty of time for conversation in one form or another. and much of it turns to publishing. Across the table is Wayne Anderson who's written books on sculpture of the fifties; W writes to me on back of menu: to compare notes about royalties, le book bizness. To my left, arch. prof. Meredith, also the author of a DVD manifesto: Notes for those beginning the discipline of architecture, sounds intriguing, calls it a scathing attack on the profession. So maybe here's the link to his interest in Avalanche dialogue format as: non-top down, non-hierarchichal, operating outside academe but now reclaimed by academe.. . . the tropes here are site or non-site)

Michael Meredith at Faculty Club; background, Wayne Andersen.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Avalanche at Harvard

Under the rubric "Fighting Institutionalized Formalism through
Ephemerality:" Harvard Graduate School of Design papers wall
with all thirteen issues of
Avalanche. Screens show video views
of Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci and Chris Burden by
my former partner Willoughby Sharp.

10 am
Fung Wah bus to Boston South Side, almost as excruciating as bus ride from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. 2:15pm Red T Line to Harvard Square. Through Johnson Gate, meander diagonally across Harvard Yard, past fully parked bicycle racks, scissor walking students crisscrossing between red brick bldgs, oak and maple leaves suspended in mid-air, twirling down to still green lawns. 3:30pm Pick up key to place on Beacon Hill where I'm staying tonight from Faculty Club concierge. Find Club lockers for 25 cents but only in Men's Room. 4pm Check Avalanche wall paper exhibit studded with a triptych of Willoughby's early video views on 8 ft by 10ft wall outside Piper Auditorium at bottom of Quincy Street. Embedded in this display of all pages of all issues of Avalanche is a statement of purpose by intrepid curator Michael Meredith,
Fighting Against Institutionalized Formalism through Ephemerality explaining relevance of exhibit to architecture students, but let me double check that, am not too familiar with such weighty terminology, which certainly isn't in the spirit of Avalanche 4:10 pm Take elevator to Architecture department on second floor to say hello to Andrea, coordinator of guest visits, but Andrea is at a leadership training workshop. 4:17pm Take elevator back to ground floor and check e-mails at front desk of Frances Loeb library. Email from KC at publisher's says she will answer any questions directed to marketing ("the untouchables," as per production manager) so I rephrase my request--to remove an item from publisher's cover design--in such a way that hopefully she will understand the context in which it is being made, ie this context , appropriate design and my past history in the art world and in publishing, which so far has counted for zilch for said publisher 4:45pm Leave the GSD and head back up Prescott Street to Faculty Club, this time to change for the evening, and stuff another locker with backpack (repaired for the occasion) and well worn leather hiking boots (not repaired but anointed with mink oil).
5:15pm Return to GSD. Willoughby has arrived, thanks me for coming, the technicians are setting up for the power point presentation, and Toshiko Mori the chair of the architecture department says hello and introduces guests to each other. The auditorium has a capacity of about 350 very hard seats, but the back half is sealed off by moveable partitions on castors. I don't take a seat (enough hard seats for one day) but stand by one of the giant pillars.
Students munching convex whole wheat sandwiches are drifting in in twos and threes and the front of the auditorium is filling up; the left half of the front wall is occupied by a video screen showing a simultaneous live projection of W's show "Retrospection" at the Clyfford Gallery, Colgate University. Possibly an homage to Keith Sonnier's NY-LA gallery interactive interconnect in early 70s, possibly not. Make mental note to ask. W himself is busy snapping photos of audience members possibly with a black Lumix camera. 6pm people are still streaming in; Toshiko says we await some VIPs, among them MIT Press editor and the curator of the AVA exhibit, whom she calls on her cell phone.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Changing Landscapes

Chris Burden's magnum opus arrives by flat rate priority mail. Returning from the post office I place it on the laundromat scale opposite the bike rack to see if it's really as heavy as it feels. And it is: weighing in at seven pounds, it's one pound less than the weight of a baby.

My camera is a lot lighter, though, clasped in my hands, following the movements of dancers, coming together from different points in Washington Square towards the fountain and dispersing in a contiunous flow of motion. Eight different sites and a change of location every ten minutes over a good portion of the park's ten acres means fast work for the camera too, climbing in and out of the fountain.

My neighbor alerted me to this work, Changing Landscapes: A Movement Choir. The choreographers are members of the Laban Institute of Movement Studies; the dancers, mostly from Drew University and responding to the Square's Ohmstedian rolling landscape for the first time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Barcelona to New York

Couple in Snow, 2001. Photo Liza Béar

A friend and former neighbor who got a lot of trees planted and bike racks put up in Little Italy but now lives in Barcelona is in town. When we first met in the early days of Connecticut Muffin she was working as a casting agent.
Today we meet for tea at the McNally Robinson bookstore on Prince and Mulberry facing the cathedral and churchyard which I once overlooked from my perch in the building now housing the Mulberry Street Public Library.
The entrance to the library is on the narrow alley, Jersey Street, a location for many fictitious crimes in student films and unfortunately a dumping ground for a real crime
Upside Down Parrots, San Gennaro Festival, 2002

committed in the basement of the Puck building. It's also where the original Ferris wheel for the San Gennaro Festival would be parked until 2001.
The site of the bookstore was still a Chinese live chicken outlet in the early 80s. Occasionally at dawn a rooster crowed. A murder of as many as 50 crows would congregate on the slate roof and play games jumping over each other;
from behind the computer screen, I watched them through the tall arched windows
My friend turns her head to watch a tall man in a raincoat with a shock of grey hair; she recognizes him as Tom Stoppard (she has just seen his Broadway play, "Rock and Roll"). He crosses Prince Street, enters the bookstore and
prowls amongst the new book displays; leaves, walks a few steps down the street, turns back and reenters the store.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Readings from Grace Paley at Cooper Union

Now that the bike is fixed and travel possible, a party for the soundtrack CD of Downtown 81 at the Tribeca Grand Hotel tonight is definitely an option. It would mean, though, detaching myself from Barack Obama's dance moves with Ellen de Generes, lacing boots and clattering down the stairs, uh, neighbors, so I'm holding out for the Grace Paley homage tomorrow, November 6, at Cooper Union's Great Hall on East 7th Street,7pm. See you there.

Obstinacy, Teenage Characters

For his first film as a director, Chris Menges directed Shawn Slovo's screenplay A World Apart,
set in South Africa in 1963. The story is told from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl trying to reconcile herself to her activist parents, a theme taken up more recently by Julie Costa-Gravas in Blame it on Fidel, though with more humor,less narrative drive and perhaps fewer dramatic peaks. The dilemma being that activism demands time and dedication that children feel belongs to them. A World Apart is particularly successful in foregrounding political situations while developing strong characters.
There are separate full-fledged interviews with both Slovo and Menges in the book done after the film was screened at the NYFF; in spite of huge critical acclaim for it as a political drama, the film was only kept in theatrical release for a month. At the time I had just started teaching at Columbia, or was about to, and once a year selecting films that especially moved me
from the NYFF to write about. next on this topic: Why this one and not that...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

"I want to ride my bicycle!"

Still frames from Protectors of the Bike Lane, bike clown protest filmed in
Washington Square
for "Squaring Off", (c) copyright Liza Béar, 2005

Rushing to the cramped Soho post office on my bike to mail a late bill bursts an inner tube, so I head for Time's Up on Houston Street with some bread: two baguettes in exchange for tools and maybe mechanical help to fix the flat. The place is surprisingly devoid of fellow cyclists.
At the center of the large storefront and former antique furniture store which serves as HQ for the environmental activist group, Steve, the owner, a man in a striped grey shirt with a mustache plays his guitar.

"I can't do anything without my bike," I say.

The bicycle clowns have been out on a demonstration to guard the bike lanes against incursions by motor vehicles. They have the tools.

"They'll be back any minute," he says."You can listen to a song."

Seated on what must be the cat's chair, the cat, claws out, jumps on my lap and claws through layers of clothing to reclaim territory.

Steve sings a ballad he wrote about the new police parade regulations limiting groups of cyclists to 50.

I'm number forty-nine
Please don't pull me out of line

On the very first Pink Floyd album one of Syd Barrett's more whimsical numbers was a bicycle song.

I've got a bicycle
It's got a bell and a basket
I'd loan it to you if I could
But I borrowed it ....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Shifting Gears

To work phone magic with the production crew compositing my book, I have to use up some precious author-interaction credit (limited by company policy). This is where their understandable budget/schedule constraints clash with my responsibilities to photographers, agencies, distributors who have supplied photos. Understandable, because the outsource crew has to prepare prepress materials for 54 other books at the same time. But just a bit of voice-to-voice interactive (long overdue) cuts through the
fog of a dozen emails; a ruler and a specking wheel squash a dispute over the aspect ratio of a photograph; finally,
the facts on the page dissolve dissent. Sort of in gratitude, I learn some Adobe electronic editing acrobatics to save them time entering corrections.

Mottled clouds over Mott Street. Facing each other at the café's adjacent window tables, the foursome resume their tete a tete or cross talk, pick up the threads from the previous week. The first November chill brings out warm weather winter plans to swoop down on relatives in the Caribbean. A gaunt dark-eyed thirtyish Italian approaches Rachel on the bench, her back to the street, and shakes her hand. "Cadaques," he reminds her by way of introduction. "Oh yes." Cadaques, once a small fishing village perched on a rocky promontory on the Basque coast, beyond Figueroa and Barcelona, is Rachel's second home and a place in common for all the others. Because the Hotel Port Lligat, next to Salvador Dali's studio, was an early discovery of my mother's and a summer childhood haunt, Cadaques has become a conversational beachhead.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Fall-Out

During the night of Halloween,
a friend's bike gets bent out of
shape by a parking misfire, a kerb jumping vehicle. I don't, but almost do. Hitting the cc button in error can do it, launch
a flurry of misunderstandings. Ouch! A virulent attack. Unfounded accusations lurk under cover of cyberspace. Another's hysteria creates a dark pool of apprehension.

At lunch a solicitous friend makes me trade the cup of soup for the bowl. Her daughter is getting interested in typography, typefaces, she says relieved, not just in Facebook.
I tell my friend I'm at the center of a Bermuda Triangle. It's complicated. Someone wants me to drop the project. Now? she asks. But no, I say, I don't support the print equivalent to late-term abortion, which is what it would be. Don't worry. It's good about your daughter, though. She says, yes, but for them a larger font just means having to write less homework on the page. The school wasn't impressed. Their buttoned up traditionalist choice of typeface is strictly Times Roman.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Book Jacket, Author's Choice

The image is a production still from Samira Makhmalbaf's
Blackboards, a dramatic feature about itinerant schoolteachers who travel across the mountains of Kurdistan looking for students, blackboards strapped to their backs. The woman in the foreground is not being chased by a mob of people. She is the director with a message for the crew. Cover design by Michael McClard.

Ode to Connecticut Muffin

At the window table closest to the door facing the street, Steve Turtell is proofreading the copy for his first book of poems, Heroes and Householders, out in December. He shows a poem written at the very same table two years ago to a group of us, women friends at the other window tables--most of whom met here too. From 1987 to that tragic day, October 13 1999, when one of the two owners of the café lost his life as the victim of a botched robbery attempt, Connecticut Muffin was a magic place with a magic vibe, where serendipity reigned and small miracles occurred daily. The low-key, sympatico oasis in a drastically changing neighborhood functioned as the local Buena Vista Social Club of Little Italy, for many part of their routine. Running into friends, whether seasoned or brand new, was welcomed as much as, or more than planned rendez-vous. In the pre- laptop and cell phone era, Prince Street was still paved with cobblestones. Scores of varieties of muffins, including the famous cheese dill scone, were lovingly invented and baked by partners Gary and José in their bakery around the corner on Elizabeth Street. Utter privacy or shared conversation at adjacent tables coexisted peaceably. There were fresh flowers on every table. Conversations between acquaintances would remain site specific to the muffin shop or grow into friendships lasting decades. With no pressure of any kind being exerted by either the owners or the staff, this mindfulness of others was echoed by the café's visitors. Today, some of the old magic was revived.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Burmese Film, Total Denial

Despite its subject matter, a very upbeat film opens today in New York. It's Total Denial, Milena Kaneva's bold, courageous documentary about
lawsuit fought--and won-- by 15 Burmese villagers against UNOCAL, in the State of California . The plaintiffs invoked an Alien Tort law that dates from 1789 in which human rights abuses (9 counts) committed by a US corporation in a foreign country can be prosecuted in the US. The villages were destroyed and the villagers forced to perform slave labor for UNOCAL during the installation of their pipeline.

Bermuda Triangle

In California fires are raging. One
million people evacuated and counting. I
n an increasingly menacing cyberspace, barbed emails fly, triangulate
between Crown Heights, Madison and Connecticut defending the corporate process over the last prepress details. Brush fires all day from all quarters. I'm checking the 38-page index for the book which the indexers spun from 19 pages of suggestions I submitted at their request. Under United States, there is a curious entry which says, US filmmaking vs Iranian filmmaking. I examine the page number of the entry. The words "United States" are not on the page at all. The page, page 79, is an introduction to Jafar Panahi's first feature film "The White Balloon" and refers to the collaborative tradition of Iranian filmmaking, specifically in the context of how that film came about. In fact the only reference to anything stateside on that page is the New York Film Festival where the film was shown.. No comparison with any other filmmaker of any nationality was made or intended.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Shipped dog-eared stack of pages to Madison; received voluminous index file from publisher's outsourcee. More close scrutiny of antlike colonies of tiny type. Meanwhile ....

in Burma thugs crush monks' heads against the wall, so what's a broken pull quote in the overall scheme of things? Orphaned lines? Or a mean, saw-toothed typeface showing battle fatigue? The Casablanca "hill of beans" syndrome kicks in. Embroiled in the minutiae of page proof mark-up, I'm on Greenwich Mean Time while across the Atlantic in northwest London, Golders Green, friends mourn the harsh passing of a mutual friend, writer co-worker from the Sixties and situationist, urging us to the Paris barricades in 68. Bye, Dave. You made us laugh and we'll miss you.

Photo: David Robins, June 2005, 37 years later,
all too brief reunion with Dave in David Bieda's Soho garden,
London. The two friends were editors of Circuit,
known in the 60s as a subculture 'zine;
I joined the ranks on several issues before
leaving for New York. Robins went on to write
several books about troubled teenagers, including
"Cool Rules" .

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Rake's Progress

Photo: Dick Connette

Mary Forrester, a fellow gardener, and I rake leaves from the bocci court in M'Finda Kalunga Community Garden at Chrystie and Rivington.

Cleaning up sheafs of papers, residue from eight months working on the book, is much harder than raking leaves, which is partly why I'm not at home doing just that. Outdoors, there are bright skies and white rumps of mocking birds flashing through sycamore trees: it's the citywide parks clean-up day.

Harder too is keeping hold of New York's few remaining public
meeting spaces. Like the landmarked northern plaza at Union Square, which Union Square Business Improvement District threatens to scale back with its belligerent development plans. There's nothing deciduous about public space; it doesn't regenerate itself year by year. (See Jack Taylor's letter to the editor in this week's The Villager , and also M'Finda Kalunga co-chair Kate Webster's letter re : the Bowery. )

While we rake--
a Sisyphean task in early fall--we talk about Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis, Mary Jordan's very good documentary. Mary Forrester, a performance artist /urban anthropologist who has lived on the Bowery for decades, worked closely with Smith in the 70s. After 9/11 she held salons in her loft with live French music and sweet crab apple shishkebobs to cheer people up.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Serra Armada

EAST VILLAGE, NEW YORK--As I was locking up my bike at the bike rack in front of the 24-hour deli on the corner of Third Street and Second Avenue just before 2am today, I witnessed an amazing sight. A fleet of oversized tractor trailers with blinking lights each carried a torqued section from the huge Richard Serra sculpture at MoMA. Dismantled in this way, each section looked almost weightless like a gigantic steel sail, stealthily gliding down the avenue like a giant Armada. It's making its way in this fashion to Los Angeles.

Yes, I forgot to mention. One of the trailers has a camera rig on it and although the operators denied they were making a film about the Serra transport, (said they were making a commercial) the evidence was right there. A girl running on the sidewalk trying to take still photos of the trailers at the traffic lights also confirmed her friends were making a film about the cross-country trip.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Taking the One Train

After the party, everyone else took cabs to Brooklyn.
Photo (c) Liza Bear 2007

Fabulous Films. Page Proofs Arrive. A Party.

Poster for first New York Film Festival in 1962.

October 14, 2007--A strong week of fabulous fiction films at NYFF including this year's Palme d'Or from Cannes, Cristian Mingu's 4 Weeks, 3 Months, 21 Days from Romania, Alexander Sokurov's Alexandra from Russia easily overshadowed débacle over book's index with publisher. Pure unadulterated early Bob Dylan in Murray Lerner's concert doc of the Newport Folk Festival 1963,1964,1965 also featuring Joan Baez, twenty years in the making was well worth the wait. Photos here are from the time-honored mid-festival omelette and tiramisu party at O'Neall's on the Upper West Side near Lincoln Center.

Writer Nancy Ramsey.

Writer Jurgen Fauth, above; Marcy Dermansky, below, author of the novel "Twins".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Managing Marketing

Red slide turtle in Liz Christy community garden on Bowery and Houston. Photo (c) Liza Bear 2001. My plot is at M'Finda Kalunga on Chrystie St. Despite good intentions I garden about as much as I blog.

Publisher pays lip service to book as joint venture with author (sic), but the reality is elsewhere. Literary chores and email pleadings take up all week. So I miss the Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol and Abel Ferrara screenings at NYFF. It's hard for DIY ers to give up freedom of choice. Marketing rules the roost! Still, I chip at the fortress. Production manager breaks silence and agrees to meet author half-way on use of sans serif for display type and sizing of photos. :)

I'll let the rain water my plot.

Of the bewildering array of people supposedly responsible for PR (here they call it "marketing product management") one is on maternity leave, another has broken her wrist, a third is on vacation. So the task of writing the copy for the website falls on my editor and me. We ping pong drafts furiously across the internet. By Friday at five, when it's a wrap for the corporate world, we've agreed on the wording, but now marketing says copy has to fit back cover of book as well .... I go to my bookshelf and study closely the Penguin edition of Gertrude Stein's Writings and Lectures.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Writing a Book, One Blink at a Time ...

Yes, a very sobering way to write a book. Try blinking your eye for each letter of each word of each sentence you are thinking. And not just a paragraph to fill the blog cage but for an entire book. That's how Jean-Dominique Bauby, a former editor of Elle, dictated his redemptive memoir, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Letter by letter, blink by blink on hearing continual recitations of the alphabet. Julian Schnabel directed a screen adaptation of the book, oui, en Français, with Matthieu Almaric in the lead and a mostly French supporting cast and crew.

The film was
screened at the NYFF yesterday. Whatever you might have thought of Schnabel's press conference showmanship--I was a bit taken aback-- his Best Director prize from Cannes and his cameraman's Janusz Kaminski's Prix de la Technique are well deserved. They successfully told the story from the point of view--both visual and psychological-- of a character who has "locked-in syndrome" ie almost complete paralysis, except for the movement of one eye, while remaining totally lucid (the result of a massive stroke). Kaminski's camera brilliantly rose to the challenge of recreating monoptic vision. The voice-over of Bauby's ironic interior monologue works well, and the decision to use the original northern French seaside hospital location and medical personnel who had treated Bauby add to the film's authenticity.

So no more kvetching about literary chores.

[I would post a clip from the pc here, except that I just shipped my camera back to the repair shop for a "redo" and can't upload.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A film about a typeface

For some reason the publisher outsourced the copy-editing, design and production of the book to a conglomerate in Madison Wisconsin rather than doing it in-house. Author interaction is strictly rationed, but I made my suggestions anyway.

Correction: design decisions are made by publisher in Connecticut, to the extent that they are made at all.

To console myself, after fedexing the mss back to Madison
on time, I go to a screening of Helvetica, a fascinating documentary by Gary Hustwit about the origins and ascendancy of the famous typeface, and a good examination of graphic design in a social context. Watch for it at the IFC if you are in New York, or later on DVD.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Samira Makhmalbaf

Samira Makhmalbaf dropped out of high school at
15 and got her father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, to teach
her filmmaking. Her first feature,
The Apple,
which she made at 18,
was shown in competition at
Cannes, as was
her second film, Blackboards. I
originally interviewed her for Elle and later for
Boston Globe.

Photo copyright Liza Bear 2000

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Moscow Literary Lion

I saw Gleb Panfilov's hilarious film Tema [The Theme] at the NYFF after it was released post-Glasnost.

It's about a Moscow literary lion not too happy with having to toe the line. In the depths of the Russian winter he seeks out a country retreat to write only to find, to his chagrin, that everyone in the little town, from the traffic cop to the museum tour guide, is also a writer.

Immediately after seeing the film, I rang Betsy at Bomb from the payphone at Lincoln Center.

The interview with him is the first film interview that I did and the first in the book. The title is from a quote of Panfilov's,"beyond the frame of the permissible". My friend the great photographer Jimmy de Sana took the portrait of Panfilov, and it's not in the book. But de Sana's portrait of Inna Churikova, who stars in the film, is . . .

Photo copyright Jimmy de Sana.

laboring on labor day

My bedside reading right now happens to be
Max Perkins: Editor of Genius.
The book fell open at the page where Hemingway takes off for the Ambos Mundos Hotel in Havana to read proofs at his
leisure. I made it to Fire Island for four days but without the mss, so I'm back at the local café with the red pen to meet my deadline.

Photos: India Amos

Friday, August 24, 2007

Coming Home to Roost

Pub date is December 30 with

simultaneous paperback
and hardback

editions. Hardback is destined

library shelves, maybe even the shelves

of the brand new 271 Mulberry Street

, which is on the ground floor,

cellar and sub-cellar of the Hawley

Hoops building next to the Puck building

in Little Italy.

That would be coming home to roost, so

to speak, since the sixth floor of the

Hawley Hoops building is where I wrote

most of the non-fiction stories in the

and all of the fiction stories

not in the book.

To write the early ones in the late

I used a DEC pro 350 computer

with a
clean white screen and a black

font just like this and

absolutely no
icons or other visual

claptrap of any
kind on the desktop,

just a very
simple menu.

The DEC was neither Mac nor IBM

compatible. When the editor at

the New York Times complained that

she personally had to retype

my stories to put into their

data base, that's when a kind

friend gave me a MAC SE and I

would take the floppy disk to

Unique Copy on East 4th Street

and pay for them to e-mail the

first draft to the NYT.

Book, What Book?

It's in the works.

Today I missed the Max Roach memorial

uptown and had lunch with my editor

downtown. It was our first meeting

after 15 months holed up in cyberspace,

if you count the nine months spent

tumbling the contract language.

We met by the Ghandi statue

in Union Square and walked

a couple of blocks in the sun.

It was hot and muggy.

We picked the corner table

in the front porch

of an Italian restaurant

frequented by Ed Koch, certainly

not out of deference to the former Mayor

but because it was the furthest from

the traffic.

Three ceiling fans kept us cool.

It was a working lunch. The editor

brought an Excel chart and I brought

some black and white 4 by 6 prints

of the photos in the book, because

I was quite sure that he knew the

photos only by their file names

and not as glorious images.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Cow










Poem (c) Jimmy De Sana 1988 published by Pat Hearn Gallery