new york

Yous Guys are Ruining Everything!

 

 There’s the obvious. Like education, health care, democracy, civil rights, women’s rights, immigration, free press, our country, the earth. Then there’s the not-so-obvious sucking the joy out of the little things that aren’t so little.

Like language. More specifically, colorful language–cursing, cussing, profanity, swearing, plain old dirty words.  It’s funny, I was thinking about this the other day, mentioned the blog to a friend and gave my usual warning that it can be considered offensive. Then the New Yorker piece came out and oy.   Not just the article itself, but the fact that it was in the damned New Yorker.  The holy grail of culture. A magazine read worldwide, almost 100 years old, a veritable institution known for ethics, fact checking, and intelligence.  I hope they gain 50,000 new subscribers because of that article, and I trusted every word because of where it was coming from, but I can’t help but think it would have been more appropriate for the mooch to call the National Enquirer.

I don’t curse as much in real life as I do as on the blog. Maybe when I’m very angry. Or very drunk. Or very comfortable. *Ahem*  I know not everyone feels as comfortable as I do with the word fuck but well, it’s an excellent word. How many others can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, article, conjunction, preposition, and an interjection?  Some curses don’t make sense to me, even though they’ve become part of the vernacular. I seem to remember it being a really big deal to call someone a douchebag when I was in high school.  Now I hear “douche” coming from the tv.  I still don’t get it.  Ooh, you’re a hygiene product, what a slur.  Isn’t soap supposed to be the cure for a dirty mouth?

There are some words I don’t care for, they make me feel squicky. Not sure why, but they do.  So hey, the official Communications Director can feel free to keep the term cocksucker.

Could I write my blog posts without the curses? Sure I could, but I don’t want to. They’re part of the fictionalized version of me that is Mrs Fringe, and to scrub them would feel like those occasional pieces of fiction I come across where the (usually newer) writer has heard all forms of “to be” are passive writing and should be omitted. The passages that result are often needlessly contorted–anything but fun to read.  The other side is that I generally spend a fair amount of time on each post. Thinking about the subject, drafting, redrafting, editing, choosing photos and songs.  Each swear used is consciously chosen for impact or stylistic choice.  Over the five years I’ve been doing this there’ve probably been about 50 posts that I wrote, rewrote, thought about, played with, and then deleted.  Not because every post is a pearl, but because some things shouldn’t be said.  Or maybe just not said out loud. The transcript of words-ya-can’t-say-on-tv we read about the other day wasn’t about specific, careful thought.  It was a tantrum filled with verbal tics. Beyond all of it, in this political climate, I don’t think we can afford to be out of fucks.

That fudging Commander in Chief just doesn’t have the right ring, does it? However, I can still appreciate the brilliant words of Johnny Carson and wish the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of those down in DC being excused as “just how New Yorkers are.” They are not my New York, and I refuse to let them co-opt my words.

 

Feed It All Your Woes

Through the fountain, Columbus Circle

I don’t know about anyone else, but my short stories always start with a sense. A glimpse, a scent, a phrase overheard, a taste. I used to imagine an eventual book of short stories, grouped by each of the senses. Usually while I’m walking, something will trigger the writing portion of my brain and burrow in. Often I try to ignore it, and over the coming days, weeks, months, I’ll know it’s growing, creating tunnels that connect into a story by the time I sit down to write.  This is not my “process” (could I sound any more pretentious?) for full length manuscripts. I am not a careful plotter who creates extensive notes, charts, and detailed outlines, but a full novel needs more than a whiff.

One of these bristle-worms-of-the-brain began creating a space for itself the other day as I walked down the wet subway stairs to wait for the dreaded 6 train. I’m letting it lie, don’t have an actual story for this story yet, but for whatever reason it’s brought up all kinds of old memories.

For me, old memories are pretty much synonymous with old music, the songs and albums I associate with different people and experiences, from jazz to blues to classic rock, from punk to show tunes to folk rock.   Anyway, I thought of an old friend I haven’t thought of in years. I can’t remember his full name, but I remember hours of poring over used albums in Academy Records and Bleecker Bobs.  He taught me about reggae beyond Bob Marley, and after work I would drag him to the (now mostly gone) hole in the wall folk rock bars of the west Village. We worked with autistic children and teens when autism was still considered a rare disorder, before the definition and diagnosis expanded to a spectrum, and drowning myself in music was the best way to not leave my heart smashed in a million pieces behind the head of a child trying to use his skull like a hammer.

Naturally this led me to youtube, listening to music I haven’t listened to in a long time, including the album below, which I’ve been listening to for the past three days.  I know I wore through at least two copies on vinyl and one on cassette, and while I can’t tell you how many years since I last listened, I still remember every word of every lyric. The entire album is beautiful, and some of it is quite dark, but when I was younger it left me hopeful and looking forward.  Now it’s got me looking back, time and opportunities lost. This was Joni Mitchell’s debut album (ancient as I am, it was already long released by the time I “discovered” it).  For all of her albums that I have owned and enjoyed, and despite the fact that when my birthday comes I associate it with her collaboration with Charles Mingus–their rap/scat of Happy Birthday, this is still my favorite.  Song to a Seagull.

Picture This

Exhibition at the Met Breuer

Exhibition at the Met Breuer

Museum Day, brought to you by Mrs Fringe and Art Child.  A great thing about living here in the city is that there’s no pressure when it comes to museums, not a big deal to plan, and no feeling of obligation to see it all in one day.  I’ve been intending to get to this exhibit for three months.  Now that it ends in a week and a half, I finally made it over there, and want to go again before it’s gone.  There is The Met Breuer, a new annex? outpost? of The Met, in the building that used to house the Whitney.  Anyway, I loved the idea of this exhibit, unfinished works of art, both intentional and unintentional, and there was a section of works intended to be interactive with the viewer.  I’m not sure if this exhibit will be traveling, but if so, go see it!

Yes, for someone who is not a visual artist, I love art, but this whole show spoke to me.  Maybe it’s that as both a reader and writer of words, I prefer when stories and characters leave some room for me to think, inject my own imagination.  Not in a choose-your-own-adventure sort of way, but in terms of not needing to know every physical detail of characters, not needing (or wanting) every ending to be neatly wrapped in a perfect, glossy ribbon.

Many wonderful quotes scattered throughout, this was one of my favorites.

Many wonderful quotes scattered throughout, this was one of my favorites.

I, of course, took way too many photos, so even paring down will likely make two posts out of this excursion, so as not to crash everyone’s computers or put my readers into a pixellated stupor.  Some of the works gave me a creative charge, exciting, while others had me tearing up.

I loved this idea, and the variety of ways artists captured it.

I loved this idea, and the variety of ways artists captured it.

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I cut off her name, oops.  Janine Antoni.

I cut off her name, oops. Janine Antoni.

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This next one, on the surface, is the type of painting that might often have me squint and hurry past, because it’s so “in your face” there seems no room to think.  But something in this held me for quite a while, really spoke to me, if you want to be frou-frou about it.  Actually, my immediate thought was, “oh God, it’s Mrs Fringe!” If, yanno, I was blond, blue eyed, and possessed the ability to pick up a gun.

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Next we came to this series, which is where Art Child wanted to sit and sketch.

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I had no idea why, but honestly, I was ready to sit down and continue thinking about the Lassnig painting. I took a few shorts of the panels, and Art Child asked if I had gotten the face.  Again, no clue what she was referring to, it all looked like drips to me, so I handed her the camera.

I'll be damned. This is why she's the artist.

I’ll be damned. This is why she’s the artist. See the eyes?

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While it was very interesting to be able to “see” the process of some of the works and artists, there’s also something…uncomfortably intimate about seeing some of these works in progress, from some of the greatest and most enduring artists.  But that is art, no? To make you uncomfortable enough to think and feel.

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Aahhh, These Summer Mornings

Just me, my flowers, the occasional spider to watch the sunrise.

Just me, my flowers, the occasional spider to watch the sunrise.

Seems peaceful, doesn’t it?  Especially before I boot the laptop, read about the day’s atrocities and most current buffoonery of Trump.

Not this morning.  Yesterday was long and busy.  We’ve reached the portion of the summer where my anxiety begins to rise, knowing before I can weep Nerd Child will be waving goodbye, headed North to school, and I’ll be back to twelve trains a day shuffling Art Child back and forth.  Ridiculous, we still have weeks, but there you have it.  With Facebook friends all over the country and world, I’m already seeing the obligatory first day of school pics.  There should be a way to block those until Labor Day, don’t you think?

With so many guests this summer, I’ve gotten behind on keeping the apartment neat and organized.  Small space, lots of people in and out, packing, unpacking, beach bags galore and the general sloth of long hot days. Time to start getting it together, so I’m not in a complete panic in another two weeks.

Too late!

Man Child’s girlfriend, Miss Music, was here last week, came for a week after her band finished its tour.  Fun.  Except one morning, she was sitting on the couch with Art Child, turned to me and said, “Did you see that?”

“See what?”

A mouse.

In my apartment.

IN my apartment.

In MY apartment.

Sweet mother of fuck, nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In my many, many years of NY living, I’ve never had a mouse in my apartment.  There was evidence of them in our last apartment before we moved in, so we filled every crack and hole we could find, and then put down glue traps just in case.  Big Senile Dog promptly got a glue trap stuck to his nose and each paw.  Good times.

I grew up near the water in Brooklyn, huge wharf rats could be seen regularly on the streets.  Yucky, but outside.  There was also a large population of feral cats, so mice weren’t such a thing, between the cats and the rats I’m guessing mice didn’t have a chance. I see rats all the time on the subway tracks.  Again, meh.  Part of NY life.

Back to the other morning.  We didn’t see anything, but we bought a few traps and put them down, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog only got 3 of them stuck to her, and they were much easier to remove than they had been for the big dog, because she’s used to being held to be groomed, and she’s got long hair.  Plus, not as dumb as I’d expect, she steered clear of them afterwards. Zero interest in the mouse itself.

No further mouse sightings, until a couple of nights ago, eating dinner and holy shit!  I saw a shadow fly over the living room floor.  That was no migraine floater.  The plan was to go shopping yesterday to restock on cleaning supplies and toiletries, both for the apartment and for Nerd Child to take to school.  Needless to say I picked up more mouse traps.

Got home, tore apart the living room, dining area, and kitchen, filled every hole around every pipe we could find, and laid 16 mouse traps.  When I say we, I mean Husband and Nerd Child, while Art Child and I steered clear and washed our hands every time those guys touched another trap.  I am not taking any chances.  I know, they’re a fact of life in NY, in most places, I guess, hence the city mouse/country mouse stories, but they’ve never been a fact in my personal space and I am not ok with sharing.  This apartment is crowded enough, thankyouverymuch. Nerd Child reminded me I’m against the death penalty.  Nope, only for two legged creatures.  Twitchy four legged ones need to be erased. Period.

You know how high my anxiety levels are now, right?  In case I needed a bit more, tonight is that open mic night reading.

So I got up, made coffee, went on the terrace, sat for a bit, and then prepared to sit at my desk.  One of the glue traps under the radiator worked.  But the critter was still alive, and had gotten two of my electrical cords stuck with it.  I woke Husband, went back to hiding on the terrace.  I was heroic enough to dispose of the whole thing, after it was bagged.

Yes, I took a pic of the mouse actually stuck to the trap, but I just can't bear looking at it again.

Yes, I took a pic of the mouse actually stuck to the trap, but I just can’t bear looking at it again.

The day has to go up from here, right?

Sunset, Manhattan Style

I needed a little break from all the ugliness  these days.  “Manhattanhenge” is something that occurs about twice a year, I think, when the sunset lines up just so with the grid that makes up our city streets.  I didn’t make it down to the streets that have the best views, just walked south with Art Child and my Mother-In-Law until we were able to have a decent vantage point.  This amounted to me standing in the middle of the intersection every time the light was red, Mother-In-Law calling out the seconds I had left, and Art Child looking at us both like we had lost our minds.

Mrs Fringe:  “Just this one next light, and then I think that will be it.”

Mother-In-Law:  “Yes.”

Art Child:  “Didn’t you say that last time?”

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Holy Papal Visit, Batman–Gotham’s a Mess!

Look up, look down, but whatever you do, don't make eye contact.

Look up, look down, but whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.

In case you’re an American who doesn’t know because you’re oh…dead and buried in a hidden cave, Pope Francis is in town.  Now, I like this pope, I like the things he says, I like the things he does even more, and I think he’ll make great strides worldwide with his emphasis on humanity, compassion, and service.  I’m happy for those who are thrilled for the opportunity to see him and hear him speak.

But for the love of all, could you learn how to train before you walk into the subway?  The stations and the train lines are all packed, overflowing with papal tourists and delays.  This morning I think I saw every  outer borough character I’ve ever written.

On the Shuttle:

“Mary, there’s a seat, go sit down.”

Mary clamps her lips together and shakes her head so hard her pin curls are quivering.

“You don’t like that seat? I’ll sit instead of you.”

“I don’t want any seat, Timothy, not just that seat.”

Timothy turns to the man in the seat next to him. “I only ride the train once every ten years or so, what about you?”

Man next to him lifts one side of his headphones, “Every day.”

“You must have a lot of extra time on your hands.  What does it take you, hours to do your hair like that every day?”

Man touches his dreadlocks, looks across at me (guess I’ve got the stamp of a regular subway rider tattooed on my face), and laughs. “I do it while I’m on the trains.”

***

On the platform:

“Steven!!  Get away from the edge, you’re going to fall in!”

***

“Oh my GAWD, is that a rat?”

***

“Is it always so hot in here?”

***

On the 2:

Group of senior women in their very best rhinestone studded Juicy Couture, talking at a young man in workout gear. “I’m tellin ya, they’ve got the best pizza on 18th Avenue, you’ve gotta go to Brooklyn.”

“Uh, ok, thanks.”

“Whaddya telling him that for, Rosemary? Don’t listen to her, honey, you’ve gotta go for the clams at Campagnoli’s.”

Pained nod from the young man.

All four lean in to him before they get off the train. “With spaghetti!”

***

There’re two things regular NYC subway riders get every day, and one of those is religion.  Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to be the most organized, tables set up and staffed at many stations, 3 in Grand Central, politely waiting for those who appear interested. Many different Christian denominations can be found with signs and pamphlets.  Every so often, outside the stations there’ll be a group of Orthodox Jewish men, offering…baptisms? conversions? in trailers.  Last week there was a group of off-key Hare Krishnas singing and soliciting donations, bright marigold robes practically glowing in the tunnels.  Then of course there are those there to alert us to Armageddon.

What exactly is a whoremonger, anyway?

What exactly is a whoremonger, anyway?

The other thing you get in the subways daily? Music.  Often great music.  I’ll admit, I’m not into the guys who’ve made instruments out of saws and violin bows, but they have their followers.  And it would be fine if the trumpets would hold off until, say, 10am.  But yeah, music is the perk of a sizable commute on and around the trains.

I love when these guys pop in.

I love when these guys pop in.

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Yes indeed, that's the back of a one-man-band.  An optimistic one, with a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket for a tip jar.

Yes indeed, that’s the back of a one-man-band. An optimistic one, with a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket for a tip jar.

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I know, I know, for most visiting today it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, an honor.  Couldn’t they have scheduled this for one of the two days off the public schools had this week?

Happy Friday, Fringelings.

 

Washing the Dust Off

The purpose of art is washing the daily dust off of our souls~Pablo Picasso

After the fiasco of our adventures on Friday I was more than ready for a good day.  So, on Sunday afternoon, Husband’s cousin, Miss Sweet Heart, met Man Child, Art Child and I at our apartment and we headed downtown to the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit. Yes, Art Child and I went a few months ago (the show is put on twice a year, Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend) but it’s well worth revisiting. Some of the artists are the same (new work and old) and others were new to us.

Man Child and Miss Sweet Heart haven’t seen each other in a couple of years, so that alone made the day beautiful.  Add in a day trip, trains that ran on time, art that is exciting and inspiring, generous artists, and it was damn near perfect.  One of the things that made it so special was that several of the artists we chatted with last time remembered Art Child.  Made her day, and mine.  I’m continually impressed by how many in the art community are willing to take and make time for a young artist, offer ideas and encouragement.

Remember the artist with the amazing tree-woman sculpture last time?  Anthony Santella was back with new work.  I didn’t think anything could be more perfect than the last bust I posted photos of, but I was mistaken. Last time we saw him at the WSAOE, he gifted Art Child with a nail-studded heart he had carved, it holds a place of honor on her desk.  Turns out he blogged about meeting her.  Hmm, for some reason the link doesn’t take you directly to the post.  From the about page, click on his blog, and then May 2015 in his archives, Sunday, May 24th, Day #144 of #MakeArt365.  (Spend time checking out his site, well worth it.)  Me, blabberfingers extraordinaire, can’t find the words for how beautiful it is to see my girl in this setting, with adult artists taking her and her work seriously, no one caring (in a good way) about academics, neurological status, sluggish reflexes, size, blah, blah, blah.

Isn't she wonderful?

Isn’t she wonderful?

 

Out of budget for us, but oh how I wish.

Out of budget for us, but oh how I wish.

Looking at the sculpture above got my mind racing, how could I write her into Wanna-Bees, change a character? add a new one?  I was about to ask Mr. Santella if he would mind if I “wrote her,” but then I didn’t.  I’m just not ready to write.

Besides the wood sculptures, he has paintings and smaller sculptures made from 3-D printing.  Art Child purchased one of his paintings from a group he had tucked away, older works.  Funny enough, she was drawn to those he made when not much older than she, and still in high school.  I bought a little 3D printed woman, maybe 2 1/2 inches with the base.  She’s looking down at me from the shelf over my desk now.

The lighting is too harsh in this photo, but it highlights the details.

The lighting is too harsh in this photo, but it highlights the details.

Tomorrow the craziness of a new school year for the girl will begin.  Thank you for letting us wash the dust off, and start fresh.

Sunrise from the terrace this morning.

Sunrise from the terrace this morning.

First Time for Everything

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Labor Day weekend, the last hoo-rah of summer.  I really, really wanted to squeeze in one more beach day, and not over the three day weekend, because the sand is impossibly crowded on these days. Greedy, right?  I have enjoyed quite a few beach days this summer, all of them lovely, was at the NJ beach for an afternoon earlier in the week and of course, an entire week of vacationing on the beach down south.  But, one more on “my” beach in Brooklyn sounded irresistible, especially because Man Child is here.  He hasn’t been able to enjoy many beach days over the last few years, and I’m enjoying spending some days with him before he flies off overseas.

Of course I noticed the clouds as Art Child, Man Child and I walked to the subway, but there was no hint of rain, nothing that seemed threatening, we had actually gotten out of the apartment by 10am (we’d get good spots near the water!) and when you’re lying on the sand a few clouds can offer a bit of respite from the sun.  And of course it was windy when we got off the train, but the weather is always a bit different when you’re actually on the beach.  Besides, I kind of like those days, where it’s just me and the other diehards.

Oh.My.God.  It was a fucking sandstorm on the beaches of south Brooklyn.  First, we teamed up and wrestled the wind to get our towels down. We laid them close together, so we could pool bags and flip-flops to keep them anchored.  Man Child’s went first, and by the time we secured all four corners, the towel was half covered in sand.  He didn’t even try to lie down, went into the water instead. Art Child and I threw ourselves down on our respective towels as soon as we got them down, in an attempt to keep them from flying away, and trying to block the sand from our eyes. I grew up on that beach, and I can honestly say I have never experienced this amount of sand pelting everything and everyone outside of a November pre-rainstorm.

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At first it was kind of funny.  Go to the beach, she said, it’ll be fun, she said.  Man Child lasted about three minutes in the water, it was bizarrely cold for August. Give it a few minutes, surely it will blow over.  Art Child was huddled on her towel, shirt completely wrapped around her head, while Man Child and I laughed, chewed sand, spit sand, and waited.  Inside of 30 minutes, there wasn’t a centimeter on any of us that hadn’t been exfoliated, including my throat and eyeballs.  If you’ve never experienced it, crunchy contact lenses aren’t a rejuvenating sensation. Art Child was now shivering, so we decided it just didn’t make sense to stay, made a futile attempt to shake the sand off our stuff,  and packed up. Ten minutes waiting for the train, another hour and twenty minutes home.

We walk into our building, laugh with the security guard and super that it’s a good thing they didn’t come with us, go upstairs, and…can’t get inside.  For the first time in my entire life, I had locked myself out of my apartment.  If you’ve ever lived alone, you’re cautious about that kind of thing. I moved out of my parent’s house when I was 18? 19?, lived alone for years, and in those years, often worked a swing shift.  You cannot ring the super or landlady’s bell at 2am and ask for them to let you in.  I guess those habits get ingrained, so in all these years, I’ve never locked myself out.  I also gave up on making sure anyone else had a copy of my keys.  Apparently when we switched apartments last year, we didn’t give the super the new keys either. We live in a large, post-war but not new building.  This means there’s no jimmying the lock with a credit card, bobby pin, or other MacGyveresque maneuver to break in.  No external fire escapes on these institutional-style buildings to be climbed.  Sure we’ve got a terrace, but it’s 16 floors up, the terraces don’t begin until the fourth floor, and shockingly enough, I am not Spiderman.  Hell, even if there was a way to climb up, it’s rare that I can get the windows open from the inside.  From the outside? Hah!

Husband had gone to work.  In New Jersey.  Friday, of Labor day weekend.  No way he could run back home to let us in, and ludicrous to think of taking the bus to NJ and back in sand-filled bathing suits so we could pick up the keys. It would have taken 6-7 hours roundtrip in holiday traffic.  He was going to be home in another 8 hours anyway.  So we went to Mother-In-Law’s.  Thankfully she was home and a good sport about the whole thing, though I suspect she was done with us by about the 6th hour. Husband was a mere hour and a half late getting back into the city, and we were home by midnight.

Speaking of midnight, the moon put on quite a show over this past week, and I was able to get a few good shots.  If anyone knows why it was so red/orange, I’d love to know, but in any case it was beautiful.

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Celebrate with Mrs Fringe

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Yesterday was my 3 year blogoversary.

3 years isn’t that long and my number of subscribers isn’t very large in the context of the “big” blogs, but I can say, without reservation, it all feels pretty damned fine to me.

When I began, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted Mrs Fringe to look like, or exactly what it would encompass.  I said from the beginning (and have continued to say) I wanted a space to be honest, to feel like a whole person, and a spot to prompt myself to write with just enough pressure but no actual, strict obligations.  Maybe I thought it would scratch my writing itch.  It hasn’t, in terms of fiction; instead, it’s an addition. I didn’t know how much I needed it, or how important this blog would become to me, my sense of self, or the growing number of fabulous people I’d meet through blogging.  I didn’t know I’d grow bold enough to post fiction, organized enough to create multiple pages with permanent links under the header in hopes of making navigation easier for readers. I didn’t know if it would attract any readers, let alone regular followers and commenters, but it has, and I thank every one of you for taking the time, making the effort.  A huge thank you to WordPress, for offering a platform that even a luddite like myself could navigate.

It’s funny how blogging has become such a part of my world.  As I go about my days in real time/space, each experience becomes a possible post, every oddity that catches my eye something that has me reaching for the camera.

The other day I took Art Child downtown, for a free workshop for teen artists, sponsored/presented by Sprite and Complex, hosted by Pen & Pixel.

While we were on line waiting to meet Art Child’s friend and her mom, I thought this is what life on the economic fringe in New York means, this is what Mrs Fringe is about.

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Life on the fringe has its own set of stresses and stressors.  There are so many, many opportunities here in New York, often closed to those of us on strict budgets.  But sometimes you fall into something that’s cool, and free, and you actually get your shit together and register early enough to get your kiddo into this cool, free opportunity, and haul yourself on the 2 train to the N train to the J train, to a neighborhood that can’t quite decide if it’s going to gentrify or remain industrial, and it’s worth it. They’re running several events out of this pop-up storefront this summer, this one was a Photoshop/Design workshop, but they’re sponsoring others in music, comedy, cooking, and film.  It’s about supporting and enabling creativity in young people.

Tattoo while I wait?

Tattoo while I wait?

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

I thought there would be a spot where I could sit out of the way, or go in for coffee, while the girl was in the workshop.  Hmm, my choice seemed to be browsing industrial-sized cooking appliances or blowing a week’s budget in a chi-chi juice bar.  But then one of the execs came over to my friend and I as we were saying goodbye to the girls (I get it, parents hovering over the kids at the computers isn’t exactly the photo ops they’re looking for, plus he wanted to confirm Art Child was within the age group they’re insured for, she looks younger) and offered to buy us coffee. Nice.

By the time we were seated and our orders were taken, coffee became wine and a lovely food plate, and I had put in a plug for Mrs Fringe–I really need to get better at this, if I’m ever going to truly grow this blog–and we spent an hour talking about parenting, cyberbullying, encouraging teens and young adults, raising girls, and S&M.

Sometimes life in Fringeland leads me to some pretty interesting moments and people; thank you for sharing them with me.

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Taking it to the Streets

Art in the Village

Art in the Village

Yesterday I took my cane and my girl, and went to one of my favorite New York events, the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.  It’s a biannual outdoor art show that’s been running as long as I can remember, Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, with a lot of amazing art and artists. This is not a street fair, no sausages, zeppoles, blow up rides or knock-off handbags. I’ve heard the original idea came from Jackson Pollack when he was broke, and took some of his paintings and sold them on the street. Something about being in the midst of creative people who are living their art, and others coming to see, appreciate, and purchase the work is inspiring.  Plus, it’s fun and free, leaves me near all the places I used to frequent when I was young–can’t beat it. I’ll share a few of the highlights here, but if you’re in or around New York this weekend, or Labor Day weekend, go!

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As much as I’ve always loved this show, there’s an extra dimension to it for me now, attending with Art Child.  She chats with the artists and asks questions I wouldn’t think of.  She responds to this type of venue and it shows. No less than five artists commented on her style, a couple asked to take her photo for portraits. I could see her wheels turning, wondering when she can set up a booth and sell her own work.

Like Art Child, many artists use trees as subjects for their work, and we saw quite a few styles and interpretations.  We even found an artist with both paintings and sculptures of what Art Child calls “treeple,” trees with human features, and something she draws frequently in her charcoal sketches.  The artist, Anthony Santella, was lovely and patient, with work ranging from realism to surrealism to fantasy.

If I had the money and the room I would have purchased this piece.

If I had the money and the room I would have purchased this piece.

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One artist, Lisette P, was showcasing jewelry that was all made from New York photographs she has taken, resized and set behind glass.  How can you not love jewelry you can Windex to keep clean?

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We spent quite a while at her table, and I was happy to see many other people were doing the same. There’s just something about New York street photography when it doesn’t look like a cleaned up postcard.

One of the first booths we stopped at was marvelous, a mix of paintings and jewelry that we both loved, and it turned out the two artists are mother and daughter.  Olga and Daniella Bacskay. Perfect, no?  I’ll admit to being a bit envious. I appreciate art, and thrill in Art Child’s joy and accomplishments, but can’t share the experience in quite the same way.

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Art Child purchased a small print of this powerful mixed media painting. The original has volcanic ash in the tree limbs.

Art Child purchased a small print of this powerful mixed media painting. The original has volcanic ash in the tree limbs.

Moving on, we spent time chatting with another artist, this one with the kindest smile. I loved the work, another person displaying both paintings/prints and jewelry. Handblown, painted vases that blew me away.  Dudley Vaccianna, the scenes he paints just seemed to radiate female power. The earrings were all hand painted on brass, beads from Nigeria.

I think I could grow ten stories from his pose.

I think I could grow ten stories from his vibe.

Sadly, the show is much smaller than it used to be, but even still, my back and hip gave out before we were able to see everything.  So we walked back around the park to the west side.

So clean nowadays.

So clean nowadays!

And of course, because by then we were hungry, and so close, getting a late lunch was mandatory.

The peanut butter restaurant, simple and brilliant.

The peanut butter restaurant, simple and brilliant.

By the time we got home, I was unable to stand up straight, but completely inspired. There’s a story I’ve been playing with, building in my head for months. I now have the opening completely in focus.