It seems absurd for me to say that I wish we were in New York City right now, with Hurricane Sandy bearing down, but we are definitely thinking of all our many friends there and all over the East Coast and hoping everyone stays dry and safe.
October 29, 2012
January 12, 2012
Our good friend Edie Nadelhaft (one of whose paintings hangs on our dining room wall) is participating tonight in Changing the World Through Art, an auction and gala to benefit the Time In Children's Arts Initiative.
TimeIn is a unique outreach program that introduces children from some of the most underserved and impoverished neighborhoods in NYC to the arts through activities such as hands on classes, sketching at museums and galleries and listening to opera.
Please make this the first of your 2012 tax deductible donations and enjoy hors d'oeuvres, bespoke cocktails and a live auction of works including my own Cherry Biter No. 12 as well as works by Takashi Murakami, William Wegman, Nick Cave and many more!
September 9, 2011
you are here
the southern tip of roosevelt island
east river easing by to either side
beside your wife astride the bikes
you rode like phantoms through
the hushed streets of queens
over the red bridge at 36th ave
you are here
inside the four mile ring of the
concentric circles of immediacy
and inverse kneejerk jingoism
the two towers at their center
their sides pierced by spears
gushing ash into waterclear sky
you are here
holding hands in the swelling
congregation of silent cyclists
a u.n. of observers stunned and numb
distant sirens the only sounds
besides the murmuring river
or the murmurs might be yours
you are not here
to see or hear the first collapse
you're riding back over the bridge
retracing miles unwinding the clock
restitching time with no success
at home your t.v. sees just one tower
a dustblinded eye about to close
you are not there
January 7, 2011
No, I don't mean dancers smoking pot. I mean dance choreographed on an indoor set of living grass and trees. It's "Wooden," by our good friend Laura Peterson (with sets by Jon Pope), and you lucky New Yorkers can see Part 2 at Here Arts Center tonight and tomorrow night only. Please go, since we can't! Tickets are $15.
Laura's choreography always strikes me as supremely logical, whether rooted in organic forms or technological ideas or a hybrid of both, and entirely superior to the hackneyed vocabulary that seems to compose much of modern dance. Here's a video of one of the improvisations that led to "Wooden" to whet your appetite:
See more of Laura's videos here and here. And here's a past favorite of mine, just because:
November 3, 2010
While Laura and I were in New York City about a month ago, we were introduced to a drink called the "pickle back"a shot of Irish whiskey followed by a pickle-brine chaser. Yes, I was dubious too, but it was the best new drink I'd tasted in ages. Of course, the pickle juice needs to be of high quality. You can't just use the liquid from a bottle of Vlasic dill chips.
We first experienced the pickle back at Sweet Afton in Queens (ecmyers was there!), so imagine our surprise when at Whiskey Tavern in Chinatown the next evening we found two varieties of pickle back on the menu! It's apparently a growing trend in bars in the know, as detailed in this New York Post article:
Time to invest in cucumber futures?
(To my Blue Heaven peeps, don't lump this tasty treat in with the horror that is Gherkinbräu. Here, of course, the pickle taste is deliberate.)
February 24, 2010
Fans of the monthly New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series in Manhattan are used to gathering for good food, good whiskey, and good beer at Ryan Maguire's Ale House, on Cliff Street near the South Street Seaport. Unfortunately, Ryan Maguire's was destroyed by a fire early this morning:
It's great that no one was hurt, but this is a real loss. It was a warm, welcoming place, and I always looked forward to heading there with Jim Freund and a big, interesting, varied crowd after readings while Laura and I still lived in New York. I'm glad I had a chance to go there one last time, in January, when Paul Witcover and I read together at NYRSF. RIP.
January 2, 2010
Hi, NYC friends! Yes, it's a last-minute surprise to me too, but I'll be reading with the excellent Paul Witcover THIS COMING TUESDAY EVENING, January 5th, as part of the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series at the South Street Seaport Museum. Doors open 6:30 pm, readings begin 7:00 pm. Suggested donation is $5. See below for all the details, and we hope to see you there.
Please note, if you haven't been to a NYRSF reading at the Seaport lately, that the location is slightly different than it used to be....
--> The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings
South Street Seaport Museum present <--
Amy Goldschlager -- Guest Curator
Tuesday, January 5th -- Doors open 6:30 PM
$5 suggested donation
South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton Street -- Fifth Floor
(directions and links below)
A new year is upon us, and we continue to celebrate our 20th Anniversary and look forward to new horizons at the same time.
William Shunn -- a past Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon Award nominee -- is the author of over two dozen short stories, which have appeared everywhere from Asimov's to Salon. His novella, CAST A COLD EYE, a ghost story co-written with Derryl Murphy, is just out from PS Publishing. His memoir THE ACCIDENTAL TERRORIST can be heard as a podcast via his Web site at http://shunn.net.
Paul Witcover is the author of the novels Waking Beauty, Tumbling After, and Dracula: Asylum. His short-story collection, Everland, was released last spring. He is a former curator of the NYRSF reading series, and will be guest-curating a reading later this year.
Amy Goldschlager was the fourth doctor, er, curator of the NYRSF Readings. (Sorry. Regeneration's been on my mind lately.) She is a print and online editor who has edited science fiction, children's, and craft books for several major publishers. She has also written reviews for Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Audiofile magazine, and ComicMix.
The New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series is celebrating its 20th season of providing performances from some of the best writers in science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, etc. The series usually takes place the first Tuesday of every month. We have been known to move from one venue to another within the museum, so check each time. Sadly, we will be seeking new digs as of March.
Admission is by a $5 donation. If circumstances make this a hardship, let us know and we will accommodate you.
Jim Freund is Producer and Executive Curator of The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings. He has been involved in producing radio programs of and about literary sf/f since 1967. His long-running live radio program, “Hour of the Wolf,” broadcasts and streams every Saturday morning from 5:00 to 7:00. Past shows are available "'on-demand" for about 6 months after broadcast. (Check http://hourwolf.com for details.)
Doors open at 6:30 -- event begins at 7
The South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton Street -- 5th floor
Take 2, 3, 4, 5, J, Z, or M to Fulton Street; A and C to
Broadway-Nassau. Walk east on Fulton Street to Water Street
Take M15 (South Ferry-bound) down Second Ave. to Fulton Street
From the West Side: take West Street southbound. Follow signs to FDR
Drive Take underpass, keep right - use Exit 1 at end of underpass. Turn
right on South Street, six blocks.
From the East Side, take FDR Drive south to Exit 3 onto South Street
Proceed about 1 mile.
2/2/10: Sheree Renée Thomas presents Ama Patterson & Daniel José Older
The New York Review of Science Fiction magazine is celebrating its 21st year!
Subscribe or submit articles to the magazine!
New York Review of Science Fiction
PO. Box 78, Pleasantville, NY, 10570
NYRSF Magazine: http://nyrsf.com
To add someone to this infrequent mailing list, change an address,
or remove yourself, please send a note to NYRSF_Readings@hourwolf.com.
This is not a listserv or automated service, so no need for geeky 'subscribe' commands.
September 10, 2009
I consciously realized something this evening that has been nagging at me for a few weeks now, which is that tomorrow morning, when the new episode of my podcast goes live, there's going to be a line on the front page of my web site that reads "September 11." I'm not looking forward to seeing that.
It helped this evening that Laura and I had a good friend over, and that date was one of the subjects we chatted about on the back deck amidst the wreckage of banana daiquiris, white Russians, and Tomintoul 27yo served neat with water back. I was glad to hear that I'm not the only one who gets so angry that he has to withdraw from conversations of the sort that I had a few weeks ago, when a random stranger at a bar I like to frequent on Friday afternoon tried to tell me that the American government was behind 9/11. (It's not exactly a counterargument, but my favorite statistic to trot out in such circumstances is that Manhattan [a/k/a New York County], the very borough that was attacked by foreign nationals, voted 80% for Al Gore in 2004.)
Anyway, if you have some time, browse over to my survivor registry tomorrow, read some of the posts from that confusing day, and try to remember what it was like to feel the world changing around us.
April 16, 2009
My scotch-loving friends in New York will want to hear about an email I just received from the Brandy Library. (Yes, I can't bring myself to unsubscribe from their mailing list.) The 16th Annual Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza is coming to the Roosevelt Hotel on Thursday, May 7. Find all the information you need here. And if you go, knock one back for me.
September 11, 2008
Seven years on, what does September 11th mean? Nothing.
Perhaps it would be less confrontational to say it means everything, or anything.
I had a terrible argument with a relative of mine during those bleak last months of 2001. I said something to the effect that a person's experience of September 11th was more valid if he or she was there, or at least that's how, in my clumsy way of speaking, my words came across. My relative took great offense at the idea that he wasn't as affected in Utah as I was in New York City. "You're telling me," he said, "that you wouldn't feel bad if someone blew up the Church Office Building in Salt Lake?"
"Of course I'd feel bad," I said. "But I wouldn't feel the same way as a person in Salt Lake. It would be more abstract for me."
This got me nowhere, but I stand by the core argument I was trying to make. I was in Queens when the planes hit the towers, and as much terror and horror as I felt watching from the seat of my bike at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island as all that black smoke roiled into the air four miles away, my experience was nothing like that of the people who had to run for their lives through the debris cloud when the first tower collapsed, or, God forbid, like that of the ones who had to choose between burning to death or jumping to death. And my experience of that dayof seeing the city where I lived and worked and played be attacked and disfigured and transformed, of losing the ugly but somehow comforting giant landmarks that made orienting yourself in the urban maze so simple, of ghosting through the otherworldly hush of Manhattan in the days that followed, of rolling through the deserted and darkened subway station at Cortlandt Streetwas quantifiably different from someone whose experience of that event was entirely mediated through television, radio, print, email, telephone, and word-of-mouth, and who maybe had never been to New York City at all.
This doesn't mean someone two or even twelve thousand miles away could not have been affected as significantly by September 11th as someone who was in one of the target zones. I can't even call the spheres of experience concentric, because someone in Japan who lost a family member that day is no doubt still more affected by it than I was. I don't think there's a person in the world who wasn't affected somehow, and to graph everyone's comparative experience would call for the most complicated Venn diagram ever devised.
Only if you grant my proposition that September 11th is in and of itself meaningless can you possibly say that John McCain and Barack Obama appearing together at Ground Zero is not political. Maybe I suffer from a lack of imagination, but I can't see how the sight of opposing presidential candidates, one young and black, one old and white, sharing a stage at the site of the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil can fail to be political. What that political meaning will be will of course be different to each person watching, but it will be there because of the individual emotional freight we all bring to such images as contrasting skin color, American flags, snapshots of the dead, and giant holes in the ground.
And that emotional freight will dictate how we feel, and how we feel will, in most cases, dictate how (or whether) we vote in November. The more I read and listen to voices on the radio, the more elections I live through, the more I'm coming to believe that we vote because of how we feel, not because of what we think. And I think we are feeling our way blindly into deeper disaster.
With Bush's approval ratings so dismal for so long, there is no logical reason for McCain and Obama to be so close in the polls. A Republican administration got us embroiled, bogged down, and distracted in Iraq, wrecked our economy, rolled back our civil rights, and ruined our standing in the world, and yet it's still working for Republicans to say that only they can fix the mess they got us into. McCain's recklessness in picking his running mate is confirmation of his "maverick" credentials, while Obama's long and fruitful relationship with his is swept under the rug. Obama's long experience is dismissed as non-experience, while Palin's non-experience is pumped up to levels of Jeffersonian statesmanship. Her family demands that its pregnant teen daughter's "decision" remain a private matter, while stumping for judicial change that would take that same private decision away from other families. McCain's erratic record is seen as consistency, and Obama's consistency is seen as dangerous. Outward signifiers like flag pins are more important than inward qualities like reason, compassion, and integrity. The levels of Orwellian doublespeak are remarkable, and the mind-bending contradictions make natural sense to way too many people.
Reason does not rule us as a species. The heart does, or some deeper, less specific organ of instinctual decision-making. That's why we're more likely to swallow big happy lies than sober assessments, galloping cowboys than careful blueprints, loaded buzzwords from an old white man than reasoned conclusions from a young black man. It's the same organ that tells us God can cure our cancer even though we know He will never restore our severed limbs. It's because we make our decisions with our guts, not our brains.
Of course, that's just my gut talking. It's just what I see in the meaningless image of those twin smoking towers, the greatest and most crucial Rorschach inkblot test in our nation's recent history. If I hope anything today, it's that we can all see through the inkblot, and not let our vision be clouded by it.