by Angeliska on September 16, 2009
(From the collection of Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood)
I arrived in the city soundly,
despite Mercury’s meddlings
(delays, insane turbulence)
and headed straight from the airport
to the Hungarian House where my
beloved Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band
and The Luminescent Orchestrii featuring
my old friend Sxip Shirey were tearing it up.
It was a great show, packed with enthusiastic
dancers of all ages, doing a traditional circle
dance. Apparently they do this every Wednesday
night! Lots of teensy little old elfin ladies and gents
were putting me to shame on the dance floor.
I hope I’m still frolicking like that when I get ancient!
(Stinky Herman the hedgehog hangs out near a Galliano Diptyque
candle, hoping his musty death-smell will not offend passersby)
As soon as I rolled into town, I started going out every night-
dancing until dawn at the Rubulad Boat Party, and the next
evening at Disko Nouveaux, which no doubt contributed to
my run down system. Combine that with allergies, climate change
and general neglect, and it’s no wonder I’m sick as a damn dog.
I’m trying not to be despondent, and just hope to kick it soonly,
but my sinuses are just built wrong or something- and this sort
of thing tends to linger. Acupuncture appointment in Chinatown
is set for tomorrow, plus a visit to Congee Village! The horror
of not being able to smell or really enjoy food, (not to mention
feeling snot-ridden and unglamourous) is a bit of a problem.
How am I going to haunt the hallowed halls of Aedes de Venusta
and I Hate Perfume with a blocked-up nose faucet? Really, now.
(Dana and Mark have more Victorian taxidermy than anyone I know.
Quite an impressive collection, amassed on their various travels.)
Other highlights so far have included an immense steak dinner
at Peter Luger’s, walking home from the train at dawn, hearing
the multitude of birds singing in the eaves of a grand theatre
turned church. Getting very lost with the Tibetan lady who
was my cabdriver- the ineffable experience of connecting
on a deep level with total strangers in this huge/tiny city.
She gave me a yellow rose. The same night, I happened
to sit down next to the lovely Miss A., and offered her a
Choward’s Violet Pastille. Hours later, our wonderful
conversation unabated, I remembered the mantra I set
for myself as I was preparing for this trip: BE OPEN
– to experiences, to people, to the energy of the city.
So far, it’s served me very well indeed, as I’ve met some
wonderful people I never would’ve encountered by being
shut off. It’s so easy to pull down the shade here, to not
interact, not make eye contact. You’re never alone here,
even when you want to be, so people make that privacy
for themselves — so as not to go completely mad!
Too often, however, that solitude becomes complete –
a black impenetrable wall of protection, and we find
ourselves too alone, too isolated. I’ve been reminding
myself all the time to smile, instead of just staring,
and it’s been rewarded every time with warmth
and recognition. Try it and see what happens.
(Dana’s gorgeous wax orange blossom bridal wreath and hair collection.)
Oh yes, I also went to go see Nick Cave do an interview and reading from
his new book, The Death of Bunny Munro. His boy Jethro Lazenby Cave
was there, striding gloriously in my direction at one point, ooh-la!
I must say, the proximity to the Cave père et fils gave me quite a frisson!
More precious treasures, bisque babies, hair flowers.
Did I mention it’s Fashion Week here? Could’ve fooled me.
I’ve been completely oblivious, not gone to a single couture show,
fool that I am. Crikey. I hope I won’t miss it all! Living vicariously
instead through Yvan Rodic’s wonderful photographs, and
feeling The Gawker’s pain. Stupid sinus infection!
Dana and Mark’s tiny kitchen is quite inspiring. It’s like being inside a pastry
shell stuffed with antique lace and snails. They have the most elegant
refrigerator interior ever, lots of crocheted doilies and rush baskets.
I spent all of yesterday languishing in bed. Luckily, the bed is very luxurious-
I have the honor of staying in Miss Jolie Holland’s room while she’s out on
tour (go see her if she comes to your town! You’ll be so glad you did!)
Stefan Jecusco playing his magical banjo (goat-headed, handmade from ancient wood)
and Jolie on her Strohviol at a wonderful potluck here. My dear friend Jana
is taking really good care of me. I’m so glad to be staying here with her!
I’m laying around, feeling awful, listening to city sounds, the neighbor’s laundry
waving at from from out on the line. The tinkling of brass coins, car alarms,
children playing, a man screaming. Slowing it all down, and resting.
Sunlight on the chandelier, reflected over the courtyard from a windowpane.
A whole day passes, and I’m still here. Make a wish that I get better soon?