I have had the privilege of working at some restaurants in NYC over the last year, and the last two days have been a blur: yesterday, an early afternoon in TriBeCa, meeting with a potential boss, and today, visiting the floor of one of the finest restaurants in NYC (one of their magnificent preparations is pictured above). This does not mean that I have abandoned ship in my production life; rather, I'm shifting my gaze towards a life that better accommodates my working style. Freelance-wise, I keep my own hours; day job, I like to have a fixed schedule. Workarounds are simple: you trust your team, you swap and make sure the biz runs smoothly. In a production situation, that's not possible. You trust your team and yourself, but outsourcing? Not a chance. This brings to mind the plight of a construction worker who, without a crew of his own, lost a significant contract because a) his boss was incompetent and b) the subcontractors were slow and lazy. Without his own infrastructure, the project fell apart.
So what are we doing for self-care throughout this magnificent mess?
This past summer, I had the pleasure of meeting the inimitable David Byrne at an (as of this moment) undisclosed location, with a group of strangers. It was a delightful experience, and I even got a free t-shirt for my time!
These drawings were created to potently describe our daily stressors during quarantine. An original member of the Talking Heads, Byrne has been a source of constancy in my NYC consciousness, running in the background.
images via artnews.
It's funny to talk about planning. The vaccine isn't global yet - NYC, for example, is running out of doses for the first wave until the government disburses enough; I'm definitely not on the priority list, as I am young, healthy, childless, and unmarried.
So: where do we go this calendar year? For me, I'd like to winter at either this castle on the left (Scotland's Highlands) or the chateau in the middle (Orchard Chateau), which retail for under $200 a night right now (um...?); or, to be honest, a cruise in Antarctica in December doesn't sound so bad, when the eclipse at right will be fully visible.
We have lived up until this moment: Joe Biden's inauguration into presidential office on January 20, 2021. The Washington Mall is dead quiet at 6 AM EST - flags instead of people that would normally crowd the plaza in advance of the noon festivities.
I was born in 1984. I read Orwell's text in high school and cringed; Farenheit 451 and lamented our reality; and balked at Ayn Rand's Anthem. My father worked through many administrations, from 1965 to 2012. My grandfather died in 2004, blissfully ahead of any of this hell. The patriarchy in my family has seen a lot of war and tragedy, and I, the matriarch of my future family, have survived this far.
The TV screen this morning is littered with red white & blue colors - suits, ties, dresses, blazers - and finally, we sigh, democracy has returned to America. But: this will be a slow burn. Just as Congress was stormed some weeks ago, so too will the blogs and internet with paranoia and suspicion for months (years) to come. What gives me some relief is that I trust the news now: CNN and The New York Times are reporting correctly. The videos and images match the text.
So thank you, print and online media, for your tireless work in these times of trouble. We are not saved, but there is grace.
FSG sends the best emails. Mauro Javier Cardenas, a favorite of reporter Dustin Illingworth, is interviewed here. Shout out to Cargo Culture advisory board member Eric M.B. Becker today, who works at Words without Borders! (WWB)
I had the distinct privilege of filming two radio shows late last year: first, my first podcast episode for Cargo Culture (!), interviewing my bud Jonah Rosenberg, which was produced at his home studio, Blooming Lightways; and second, Mike Zellers show on WOBC, Oberlin College campus radio, just released last week! Listen below.
"Out." "Get Out." "Stay out." "NO TRESPASSING." "In the closet." "Out of the box." "Outside the lines." "Over the border."
Where are these lines, these closets, these borders, these spaces? How have they been blurred, signified, created, enforced?
We ask these questions now: for ourselves, for the generations before us, for generations to come. This is our contemporary consciousness.
I went to church yesterday and had a class on "Christian Mysticism." It brought back my studies of Plato's Republic, the teachings of Socrates (and Satie's Socrates, and Cage's Cheap imitation); Galileo's tub displacement; and Homer's Odyssey. These were the texts of my childhood, my early consciousness, my father's voice in English translation (neither of us knew enough Ancient Greek or Latin to get by).
I pulled all my mystical texts from my library: Islam (Quran, Rushdie, Said's Orientalism); England; China; and many more that I have accumulated across my 18 years of adult life. I've traveled extensively and witnessed sacred spaces of many shapes and forms, from the occult to Byzantine Orthodox (thanks, Park Slope!). Priests listen, watch, bear witness. I cry. This is my faith now.
Thanks for listening.