by Angeliska on October 9, 2009
Summer’s dwindling has brought the storms:
this one was coming for me before I began my journey.
I outran it in high-heeled boots, the wind lashing at my
leftover locks, head newly half-shorn, walking through
the drive-through at the bank. A vagabond.
“A series of letterpress prints, the black cloud, will be presented in the gallery.
Late in life, the English writer and art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) became
obsessed with what he called variously the black cloud or storm cloud
or plague cloud or black wind or plague wind or evil wind or black fog,
a new and unexplained weather phenomenon that cast a pall over nature
and human affairs and had something to do with the advent of modern times.
It was a purely meteorological occurrence, to his mind, though no meteorologist
had noticed it, and it was not produced by his loneliness, his failure in love,
or his increasingly common and sustained bouts of madness. He brought
all these observations together in his essay “The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century,”
and his journals from this period contain minute descriptions of this phenomenon
and its effect on the landscape and his mind and spirit.
Working from his journals, fragments of text relating to the black cloud were traced,
made into printing plates, and printed in an edition of ten on a Vandercook proof press.”
I found a strange correspondence between the apparition of looming
thunderheads above and Ruskin’s black clouds, as far as my sudden
malaise in New York was concerned. It was brought on by a vicious
encounter with cheap, poisonous incense and sustained for weeks
by an acute wind-fire deficiency. It really put a cramp in my style.
This pretty much sums up my feelings for the duration of my journey,
sad to say. Between falling horribly ill and being hog-tied by one of
the most brutal Mercury Retrogrades in recent history, it was kinda
one of those trips – with incredible flashes of magic and wonder
interspersed amongst the chaos and stress. I met and connected
with some incredible new friends, and that made it all worth it.
Also, I had a gift from the universe in being blessed, every single
time, with the kindest and most magical taxi drivers. It was amazing.
They helped me over and over again, even if we were totally lost.
Thank you, universe, for helping me flag down the most generous
and convivial cabbies in all of New York. They consistently
under-charged me, were great conversationalists, and showed
me much sweetness. Thank you, especially to the Tibetan lady
who gave me a yellow rose at 5am – it was an honor to meet you.
Public transport, I have not so many nice things to say about.
Usually, I love the trains. This time, well- they were not functioning
properly, and it was enormously frustrating. I did love crossing the
Brooklyn Bridge everyday, and seeing the sun shining on the water.
Speaking of kindness, my wolf-nurse-magic-friend-sister, Miss Shine Earnesty
made me brunch in bed! She took care of me when I was sick. I love her.
We went to see the new works at Socrates Sculpture Park
on Governor’s Island. There were many fine pieces there, my favorites
being the huge flensed vinyl whale, the subway stop and David Brooks‘
wooden path through a copse of trees. Still, it was this sloppy concrete tower
of cakes that stuck with me- mainly because of the lyrics inscribed on the side:
“MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no! “
Well, it was only a tiny excerpt really, but it was enough to jog
my memory… Miss Violet used to rhapsodize about that song,
which is constantly stuck in my head lately.
It is so weird, and so great- especially when sung
by Donna Summer, in an insane disco extravaganza!
I also really love The Three Degrees,
performing it live in London, 1975.
Headed out to Disko Nouveaux, for a night of dark-sparkle
dancings. I met the fabulous Shien and Miss Allison, as well as a whole
bevy of beauties. This is one of the only pictures I took of myself while I
was in New York, except for the languishing in bed photo, and one I took
of myself in Frida Kahlo’s mirror, which really didn’t turn out, alas.
There’s this one, though, taken by Gabi, in which you can see my shaveness better.
I love the beavers of Astor Place.
Oh Topshop, why are you so evil? I so wanted all your insane platform shoes
and sequined leggings and beaded shrugs. Why can these minty metallic
sorcerous shoes not be mine? There were so many things there to drool over…
While we’re on the topic of shiny wonders, if you happen to be flying into
or out of Austin anytime soon, check out my sweetie’s amazing organisms.
His nickel plated hand-forged steel sculptures are on display at the airport!
Coming home in my silver capsule. Flying is so surreal.
Oh New York, next time I see you, things will be better.
We’ll have coffee, and talk and it will be like no time has
passed at all. You know I still love you, right?