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.
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.
detail from to those who suffer in the Congo, 1961 (watercolor).
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.