Thursday, March 29, 2012

st. patrick's day parade 2012: portraits, lakeland high school

"there'll be no desafinado"

(getting in tune...)

i wish i'd taken video, so you could hear just how good they are. but i hope you like the set as much as i enjoyed making the photos:

 all photos © anita aguilar

Friday, March 23, 2012

haiku: time of joy

celebrating spring with some new york state plum blossoms ...

(after Buson)

Spring means plum blossoms
and spotless new kimonos
for holiday whores.

-Philip Appleman, via the poetry foundation


happy friday

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

read a good poem: today (and happy spring)

the first day of spring, 2012.



If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

--Billy Collins, via the poetry foundation

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

art seen: linda stojak

on view at the stephen haller gallery, as part of the paper rocks scissors group exhibit, linda stojak's haunting and stunning self-portraits, including:

untitled, 2000
oil on paper
26¼ x 41¼ inches

untitled, 2000 (detail)
oil on paper
26¼ x 41¼ inches

untitled, 2000 (detail)
oil on paper
26¼ x 41¼ inches


and...because you know i can't resist the experiment of pairing visuals and verse :

Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed

Lie still, sleep becalmed, sufferer with the wound
In the throat, burning and turning. All night afloat
On the silent sea we have heard the sound
That came from the wound wrapped in the salt sheet.

Under the mile off moon we trembled listening
To the sea sound flowing like blood from the loud wound
And when the salt sheet broke in a storm of singing
The voices of all the drowned swam on the wind.

Open a pathway through the slow sad sail,
Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat
For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound,
We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.
Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,
Or we shall obey, and ride with you through the drowned.

--Dylan Thomas via the poetry foundation

paper rocks scissors is on view at the stephen haller gallery through march 31, 2012
542 west 26th street (between 10th and 11th avenues)
gallery hours: tuesday - saturday 10am - 6pm

Sunday, March 11, 2012

art seen: dan flavin at the morgan library & museum

dan flavin
untitled (in honor of harold joachim), 3. (1977).
at the morgan library, march 9, 2012

i had the clare eddy thaw gallery --- and this groovy dan flavin scultpure-- all to myself for many minutes on friday night. i was so excited, i took a few photos (and was sharply reprimanded afterwards. though, i didn't know i wasn't allowed).

it's a fun, entrancing piece. the lights seemed to change as i held my gaze -- it was especially true when i watched it through the camera. some colors grew bolder, then the intensity shifted. did it truly change or was it a trick of the eye? i don't know, but i liked it.

the sculpture will likely be up for the duration of the excellent "dan flavin: drawing" exhibition, which runs through july 1.

dan flavin
detail from to those who suffer in the Congo, 1961 (watercolor).
at the morgan library & museum.

Monday, March 5, 2012

the good-bye, for now: bill's gay nineties

a sad sigh was heard--and tweeted--around town last week, when it was confirmed that one of new york's original speakeasy's, bill's gay nineties bar, was set to close.

i'd been there only once a couple of years ago, on a tour with the architectural historian, francis morrone. the highlight for me came when i stole away from the group (as they waited for their cocktails on the second floor) and slipped into the bar on the first floor. it twinkled from the mix of novelty lights and amber overhead lamps, but it was mostly dim. a nice spot to hide for a while. it was a little crowded, with the business casual/happy hour crew. elliot paul, smiled from behind the piano. i would have liked time to sit and try figure what kind of place it really was; i was on a tour after all and wondered how much of the clientele were people like me who stopped by to soak in a little of its history as a "retro-retro" bar (a 1920s bar with an 1890s theme), how many had come to know it merely as "the bar around the corner from the office," how many had been going there for years. but there wouldn't be enough time that day.

on my way back upstairs to reconvene with everyone, i met aldo leone. he diverted me from my plan and the rest, and walked me around the bar for the next several minutes, charming me with stories from his life, before and since bill's. he told me about his years at mama leone's restaurant, palling around with frank sinatra who he knew before he became "frank sinatra," (they stayed friends), and his many acquaintances in the boxing world. he would interrupt himself from time to time, to stop to shake hands or wave to people that came and left, but would pick up again with me with the same smile, the same shine in his eyes. he was sweet, really. i had the feeling he must be one of the reasons people become regulars at bill's.

i had meant to return for more stories --and a burger and a coke-- but didn't.

you and i will have until march 24th to make it back again to say hello and good-bye (for now. bill's is likely to reopen at another location). it will be worth it, to make the time to see it where it first and many thought would "always" live. if you're lucky, aldo will be there that day, too.


bill's gay nineties is at 57 east 54th street new york, ny (between park and madison avenues)

here are the hours:
lunch: mon-fri. 11:30am -5:00pm
dinner: mon-sat. 5:00pm - 11:30pm

dinner: from 500pm- 11:00pm

the piano bar stays open til 1-1:30am.


aldo, giving me the scoop on who's who...

the 2nd floor dining room

ziegfield girls

mr. paul, at the keys...

aldo, with chris doherty