Sunday, June 26, 2011

Born That Way, Gay Pride Parade NYC 2011

My first Gay Pride Parade...That's kind of embarrassing to say. I've lived here twenty years...Why did I wait so long? It was by far, the best parade I've ever been to. Unexpectedly, there were a few moments that had me tearing up. Parents and Grandparents walking the parade to show support for their gay children and grandchildren. Couples walking together with signs showing how long they have been committed to each other and now, finally, after Friday's vote, they can marry. That's why I went, to show my support. Equality finally! 

I told my son I was going to the parade and explained Friday's Marriage Bill passing to him. The kids, they talk, I wanted to make sure he knew what had happened. The basics, "You know that you can have two mommies or two daddies, right? Men sometimes fall in love with other men and women with women, you can't help who you fall in love with, it's completely natural. So shouldn't everyone be able to get married and have legal and financial rights?" The kid's response..."only criminals shouldn't have rights" Exactly!

Next lesson, define criminals....

The policeman beside me said he might need a permit for this kayak on NYC streets

J'adore Les Chauds Lapins: Homegrown Music Festival, Stuyvesant Town, June 25, 2011

Les Chauds Lapins, Homegrown Music Festival

Kurt Hoffman, Les Chauds Lapins

Sometimes you get more than you think...

An impromptu invite for a picnic in the oval in Stuyvesant Town with the kids. "They're having some band thing...let's have a picnic." Then Les Chauds Lapins starts to play. I think to myself, "Paris is stalking me." Ok, I haven't bought my ticket yet...I said I was buying my kid and I a ticket to Paris last week after watching the first five minutes of Woody's latest Midnight in Paris and I haven't...yet! 

Paris knows I'm slacking and sent me here so this band can mock me, singing in French like an "I told you so." Ok, I get it.

Hand me that cigarette, dance around my make shift picnic blanket...pour another glass of le's too early yet!

Go see this band....Les Chauds Laupins, they're playing Barb├Ęs in Park Slope (9 St and 6 Ave) next Thursday at 8 it's the next best thing to being there (Paris) least tonight it was.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Redneck in me: The Tractor Parade, Callicoon, NY 2011

For the past 15 years on a June Sunday at noon, tractors have paraded down Main Street in Callicoon, NY, just as they did this past June 12th. 

Originally from the South, this sort of pageantry is comforting and reminds me of my childhood summers...wearing daisy dukes, walking barefoot on scorching hot pavement, patiently waiting on honeysuckle nectar to drop into our mouths and when seeing pastures filled with pretty horses and cows chewing grass on dairy farms was a common sight. 

This was our second year attending the parade and we've decided it's now a tradition. Approximately 218 tractors came down Main street, last year there were over 300. 

Sometimes getting out of the city is just what one needs to get recharged for more of the city. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Politely stalking, Bill Cunningham: In MY New York

Turning the camera on Bill Cunningham,  57th and 5th Avenue, Tuesday June, 16th

You might not have known who Bill Cunningham was six months ago, but by now you should...The success of the documentary that filmmaker Richard Press and Philip Gefter of The Times produced last year, Bill Cunningham New York, about a New York Times Fashion Photographer, opened in one theater in New York early March of 2011 and is still showing on 22 screens nationwide. Destined to be an Oscar nominee for best doc this year, this film is so much more than just following around a fashion photographer in NYC and that's why it's infectious. And it's not a New York film for New Yorkers as I've heard a few people say. It's about people, loving what you do, passion, dedication, finding inspiration in the everyday and never growing old.

The northeast corner of 57th street and 5th Avenue is a common spot for Cunningham to shoot for his On the Street NY Times column. Bergdorf Goodman on one side, Bergdorf Men across the street, Tiffany & Co to the south and every major fashion house steps away, it's a prime spot for people watching. I've worked two blocks away from this corner for almost 12 years and I've seen Bill many times, and on occasion he's photographed what I'm wearing and I smile and think just once I would love to find my picture in his column, but so far, no luck. He does admit in the documentary that most of what he shoots is never published, but I keep walking by with hopes of some day, some day. I'll even walk a few blocks out of my way if I think he might like what I'm wearing on a particular morning, but he's not always there so it's hit or miss. Am I stalking Bill...yes, politely, I am.

In the documentary Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, states “We all get dressed for Bill Cunningham”. I do.


I have two favorite scenes in the film, one, it's Paris Fashion Week and while all the other photographers are fighting to get a shot of Catherine Deneuve, Bill doesn't photograph her claiming, “She wasn’t wearing anything interesting” and second when Cunningham tells the story of how he received his first camera: It was given to him by a photographer friend, who told him, “Use it like a pen.” This just warms my cockles.

This past Tuesday morning I thought Bill might like my sequined camouflage skirt and he just happened to be on the corner and yes, he shot my skirt, I shot him in his signature blue jacket and we both laughed about it.

Camouflage Sequin Skirt

Cunningham has snapped a few times when I've passed him recently and I think it might have been these two other items that caught his eye:

UNIQLO +j  Spring Collection

A sample tote designed by a friend

I heard through a friend that due to the success of the documentary, Cunningham is having a bit more difficulty doing his work for all the congratulations on the film and interruptions for pictures. So I promise not to interrupt him again for a picture, but I will be on the street, frequently passing by his corner, hoping he notices that I'm dressing for him and a shot on his column.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sommelier surprise me...Terroir in the East Village

 (Disclaimer: the girl above the "O"with the black eye, I can't promise she won't be there when you go, but it's highly unlikely)

You know that moment when you're standing on the street corner in NYC and someone says "Wanna get a drink?" and you say "Yeah, sure, where?" Well, I despise the indecision that comes after. So I started a list and Terrior is one of those places you should have in your phone notes as places you won't get pissed off in when you want to have a glass of wine and conversate...If you're in the East Village head to 12th street between 1st ave. and Ave A to Terrior...(pronounced Tear rar and yes their splash screen is ridiculously annoying)

And this is why....

Terrior seats approximately 22 people. There's no standing room, so have a seat or don't come in. There's no scene here, and the seating is communal, so you should be open to meeting new people. The lighting is ambient and warm, so you'll look good, but be careful if this is a first date, they will too, hold your judgement.

The Menu at Terrior

Don't even bother picking a wine off the extensive menu. Yes, there are plenty of wines to choose from, but it's best to leave it to the sommelier. Tell them what you like and let them propose something, they'll bring you a taste and if it's not to your liking you'll discuss other options. I have yet to be disappointed. However, the menu itself is what sold me on Terrior. Reminiscent of a high school notebook, with lined paper,  it's smart, current and ever changing.

If Jesus and Satan had a son..... The Terrior Menu

The Terrior Menu

If things aren't going so well with your date or your friends are boring you and you've read through the menu, then just hang out in the bathroom, it's bigger than my son's bedroom and there's a library of books on wine and such, that will surely kill some time, but I can assure you it won't be necessary. And some how it seems important for others to note there is no phone at Terrior, but who has a landline anymore, huh? It seems appropriate. Oh and I almost forgot they serve little bar snacks and I must say they looked delicious!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Not so happy endings...Edward Mapplethorpe: The Variations, Foley Gallery NYC

Edward Mapplethorpe: The Variations, exhibiting at Foley Gallery through June 18, 2011

Edward Mapplethorpe's latest body of work, The Variations, inspired by Glenn Gould's interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations, reveals his growth as an artist, leaving his title of photographer in the wake. The show is a must see, but there are just two weekends left, as the exhibition ends on June 18th. 

Edward Mapplethorpe: The Variations, Installation View, Foley Gallery ( Photo Credit: Temporarily Unknown)

I've happily watched Edward's work evolve over the years. I'm very fond of his portraits, especially the baby portraits and nudes and over the last 10 years his work has changed dramatically, pushing the boundaries of photography while working in and out of the darkroom, the work is now about process and abstraction, though I see his perfection, sensitive touch and eye for detail; which has been consistent through out. 

Edward Mapplethorpe: Baby Portrait

For 21 years my inspiration, occasional mentor and one of my dearest, closest friends, I met Edward on my first visit to New York City. He and my soon-to-be husband had met previously through a mutual friend. It was 1990 and it was the way New York should be seen. I cried in Washington Square Park before the taxi ride to the airport. I remember saying I didn't need anything from home, NYC was home now, why can't we just stay. Within a year, we did return and Edward opened up his loft to us until we could establish ourselves.

I had the privilege to video a few of The Variations come to life, with a bird's eye view I watched as Edward drew with the fluidity of a conductor's hand gesture with color-less chemicals on traditional B&W photographic paper to achieve abstract images with multitudes of metallic and color tonalities, it absolutely blew me away.

The Variations, still from video, March 2011

The Variations, still from video, March 2011
The Variations, still from video, March 2011

Edward Mapplethorpe interviewed by Katja Schmolka for Zip Magazine regarding his current exhibition, The Variations

I wasn't aware of Glenn Gould or The Goldberg Variations, if you aren't either here's a video extract.

Friday, June 3, 2011

This is not a love song, The Subway Series...Walker Evans, Edin Velez: Subterranean Portraits and Chris Marker: Passengers

I loathe the NYC Subway! This feeling has been building for years. I managed to go two years with out riding it at all, but in this past year, I've ridden it more than ever, but with distaste, unless the person I'm riding with is charming enough to distract me. Obviously, with this aversion for the underground, although a visit is possible, living in the outer boroughs of Manhattan is off limits for me and that's a shame.

Public transportation however, fascinates me. We all use it to get around these big beautiful cities. We enter for an undetermined amount of time creating a kind of citified symphony of genders, ethnicity and temperaments as we make our journeys.

I've taken pictures on the subway for years, but I prefer shooting on the bus, which has it's own ridership, certain set of rules and most importantly the natural lighting is more interesting to me.

Strangers, M50 Bus, NYC

Same Separate, M15 Bus, NYC

Subway photography is popular enough that Flickr has two groups that one can join, NYC Subways and Subways and Underground with over 5000 members each.


Walker Evans' Subway Portraits, from the book Many Are Called, which was first published in 1966 has always been an inspiration to my shooting photos on public transportation. One doesn't know how long the chosen subject will sit for the portrait or become suspicious of a stranger's intentions so the opportunity is fleeting, there is no control of the situation which is part of the thrill. Walker's portraits are unguarded and historical. That he thought to take these photos in the late 30's, early 40's by hiding his Contax camera in his clothing shooting riders as they were unaware; which was then a much more difficult task than it is today, was brilliantly executed and a novel concept. 

Evans wrote “even more than when in lone bedrooms (where there is a mirror), people’s faces are in naked repose down in the subway.” The subway series, he also wrote...was “my idea of what a portrait ought to be: anonymous and documentary and a straightforward picture of mankind.”

Many Are Called:  Walker Evans  (Yale University Press, In Association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

"It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." Walker Evans

Two groups of work have captured my attention recently in NYC with regard to Subway Portraits. 

Edin Velez: In The Margins: Subterranean Portraits (Priest)

Edin Velez: In The Margins: Subterranean Portraits (Priest Detail)

The first, Edin Velez, known as a pioneer for his work in video, started showing a few of his Subway Portraits, which are shot in the NYC subways, this past spring. I had the opportunity to meet Edin late last year. When I viewed one of the pieces from his subway series, which he shoots and then manipulates digitally, I was jonesing to see more. It made me question how I perceive photography and it's applications in a digital world. The painterly elegance of his technique, when viewed close up, is absolutely stunning. 

Back in March, Velez started hanging some of the portraits in the NYC subways which he documented in the video below. I can't think of a better place to start
an exhibition of the portraits, but I await more and perhaps a show coming soon?


Second is Chris Marker's Passengers; which I happened upon at Peter Blum Gallery while walking to the 50 American's, Robert Mapplethorpe show on 29th street...

   Chris Marker: Passengers,  Peter Blum Gallery

                                      Chris Marker: Passengers,  Peter Blum Gallery

This show is a case, where Less Is More...more is never more...there are 134 images in this show and even more at the Soho 99 Wooster location, (which I've not seen by the way) 200 total images. STOP! Edit! By my estimation there are 5 or 10 photographs here that are really worthy. BUT you know what sold me? Chris Marker.

Chris Marker, a celebrated French filmmaker, is 90 years old and this is his first series in color. Are you kidding me, 90 colorless years! Ok, he's won me over with that and when asked for a picture of himself, he usually offers a photograph of a cat (jinx) and the subway in these images is the Paris Metro, bonus points, but I've also looked over his black and white images and feel that's where his strength lies.

So, if you find yourself in Chelsea this weekend, stop in and see his work, as this show is ending this weekend, and just to note, there is no subway close by.