Friday, April 25, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

'Cause we got him on the spot

I was tickled in no small way when my son and I were riding the Prospect Park Carousel and the calliope played the theme from "Welcome Back Kotter."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Guy on chair

2005, acrylic on paper, 30x22in.

To make myself perfectly clear

If it seems like I might be down on the Mets, I'm not. Am so glad baseball season is back. I love following baseball day to day, on radio, on tv, in the papers, and at Shea. I genuinely like this group of guys, too, and can't wait to see them put it all together and go on a tear. We are seeing some good signs, I think.

Don't get around much anymore?

My wife and I had concert tickets last Sunday, for the Paul Simon 'Under African Skies' show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (great show. gorgeous music all around, and an electric performance from David Byrne). Some neighbors sat our son as part of a reciprocal deal we have with them and their kid, and before the show we had reservations at a little restaurant in Fort Greene that we love. Crowded place, tables close together, those low ceilings that you have on the ground floor of brownstones -- in short, the kind of place where you have to make an effort not to overhear the conversations of those eating around you.

In the four years since our son's been born, we don't get out to dinner or music or even movies nearly as often as we used to, of course. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it does mean you have to sort of readjust yourself to an adult evening and try to resurrect your adult conversation skills. Or maybe you don't.

I overheard a little conversation at the table next to me, betwixt two attractive younger hip folks from the neighborhood. The guy was sitting about ten inches off my right elbow, the gal across from him, right about one or two o'clock from me. She wasn't saying much but she was rapt, and he was leaning forward, speaking earnestly, profoundly, saying something like this:

"So they all live in a farmyard. Yeah. No, a farmyard. And she was there. She lives there. And she finds this grain. She wants to make bread, starting from this single grain. Which is a process. A lot of work. And she asks for help. But no one will help her. She keeps asking. But then after she's baked the bread she tells everyone. Look at this bread I made. And they all want some. But she won't let anyone have any. They didn't help, so they get no bread."

Have I missed something in the last four years? This is the current state of NYC conversation? If so, then I'm in pretty good shape with it because my kid lit knowledge is pretty solid. On the other hand, maybe, after four years in the parent game, my brain's been permanently rewired, so that everything I hear somehow gets babbled in my head and translated into the most basic kinds of nursery tales (my wife didn't hear this conversation, I found out later, so as far as I know it could very well be my own messed up brain). Maybe this hip young pair next to us was actually talking profoundly about something adult and New York like Hilary and Barack, or the Whitney Biennial, or the Tribeca Film Festival or bagels or shoes or whatever, and I heard the Story of the Little Red Hen instead. Whoa, dude. That's heavy, right? I love New York.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flyers have fallen before.

I'm not a big Charlton Heston fan, and not just because of the whole NRA thing. Sure, I loved anything to do with Planet of the Apes as a kid, and like everybody else, I'm not above saying the famous Soylent Green line for a laugh. And, as I've become more aware of movie history, I know enough to say, and believe, that Touch of Evil is the Best Charlton Heston movie (even though it's an Orson Welles Movie).

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite bad movies: Cecil B. de Mille's The Greatest Show on Earth. A star-studded, melodramatic, over the bigtop circus story. It's Heston's circus, see, and he runs it with his trusty fedora and bomber jacket (he once panics when he can't find his hat) long before Indiana Jones co-opted the look. The flick is chockablock with plot and subplot and and cameos and real circus folk doing real circus things. One subplot is Jimmy Stewart as a doctor on the run hiding out as a clown. Gourmet cheese. And the main plot is a love triangle betwixt Heston, Cornel Wilde, and Betty Hutton. Wilde is the Great Sebastian, trapeze artist extraordinaire and lothario with his sights on Heston's gal, fellow trapezer Hutton.

Sebastian falls one night when he's working without a net. As they carry him out on a stretcher, past a blubbery Hutton hanging on Heston's shoulder, she looks to the stoic leader for some comfort. There is none. This circus boss has seen it all. Steely resolve written all over his face, he says, in perfect Heston angry, defiant voice: "Flyers have fallen before."

What a jerk. Always cracks my sister and me up, man.... When you say it, you really have to sell the "f's." FFlyers have ffallen beffore....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Woman with gun

2005, oil on canvas, 20x14in.

It's a long season

And you get a new 9 innings every day. But man, that was no fun yesterday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Last Home Opener at Shea

Right field, Shea Stadium (2006-7), oil on canvas, 50x40in.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hard hat

2001, oil on paper, 15x11in.

First series of the year against the Braves starts tonight.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happy Birthday

Valley of Gwangi (1998) oil on canvas, 22x36in.

Bee Ride, Coney Island (1994), charcoal on paper, 22x30in.

My son turns four today. What says 'Your daddy loves you' more than cowboys, dinosaurs and giant bee rides?

Home Run Calls

Untitled (2007), oil on paper, 22x30in.

I often wonder, 'If I were a Sportscenter anchor, what would I use as my home run catchphrase?' You know, sportcasters have their home run call shticks, the crazy phrase or voice they use when a ball leaves the ol' yard. There was the guy who'd say, ‘Say hello to my little friend’ in his Tony Montana voice. And when I was a kid there was a guy who’d say ‘That dog will hunt!’ Chris Berman says ‘backbackback.’
Gary Cohen, who does the Mets on TV with Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling ( a great team), will shout 'It's OUTTA HERE!!!' as if his head were about to explode. (And I'm not gonna even mention John Sterling's ridiculous radio calls for that other New York team. Those games are unlistenable.)

So if I were a Sportscenter anchor, I would use random lines from opening theme songs to old television shows. For example, ‘It’s a high fly ball and it looks like, it could be, yes….

…THAT’s a three hour tour!!!’
…we’re moving on UP!!!!’
…welcome back, Kotter!!!’
…it’s love! Exciting and new!!!’
…the kinfolks said, "JED! Move away from there!!!!"’
…you’re gonna make it after all!’
…it takes diff’rent strokes to move the world!!!!’
…just a good ol’ boy never meanin no harm!!!!’
…I’m livin on the air in Cincinnati!!!”
…can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street??’
…good morning, CAPTAIN!!!!’
…that’s a dimension not of sight and sound but of MIND!!!!’
…but I took them away from all that!! My name is Charlie!!!’
…it’s a beautiful day in the NEIGH-borhood!!’
…Car 54, where are you??’
…what a crazy pair!!’


I recommend, as you read along, to shout each one at the top of your voice, so you really get the full effect.

Left Fielder

(2006-7), oil on canvas, 28x22in.

In My World

--"Anyhoo" is never used in any kind of conversation.

--You eat the cookie, then read the fortune, or the fortune is worthless.