Dance Me to the End of Love

Tonight, Barclays Center sports arena is packed almost to limit of its seating capacity. 19,000 people came to hear Leonard Cohen. It is strange to see all these people quietly waiting for a performance to start. Barclays feels more like Lincoln Center than a sports arena.

cohen 1

The overhead lights dim and only cell phone screens glimmer in the darkness below me. The scene lights up in bordello red and blue and the band arrives. Seventy-eight-year old Leonard Cohen sprightly scampers across the scene, like a winner of the octogenarian Olympic Games. He starts the performance with ‘Dance me to the End of Love’. As his voice fills the stage, I am left to ponder on why I like him so much.

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Meet the Subway People

This is a stream of accidental images and encounters describing the people I see in the New York City subway. I will keep updating it.

Comments are welcome. Stories are even more welcome. Add them as comments and I’ll append them to the main file.

A 300 pound guy and a 100 pound girl are holding each other hands.
And gazing at each other tenderly. Good luck guys.

A plastic butterfly rides the black girl’s sunglasses.
Like Benigni in Night on Earth, driving a cab at night.
Nice boobs though.

Fashionable holes on fashionable jeans.
Mosquitoes’ favorite.

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On Girls

It’s Sunday noon. It drizzled yesterday morning, then the temperature dropped. The thousand foot long ice patches on Stratton mountain ski trails glisten harshly and brightly in the sun.

I am watching my ski students with pride. By the end of the second day, the kids are smoothly sliding down a black diamond slope with “I-don’t-give-a-crap” attitude. The conditions, challenging even for Vermont, don’t bother them. The kids have learned how to handle ice; they love the speed.

They are siblings – a 12 year old girl and a 14 year old boy. Their dad trained them well on multi-day kayaking trips in Canada and Alaska. They are motivated, determined and easy to coach.

The kids live together, read the same books, go to the same school, solve the same math and physics problems (they are Russian), skate, ride horses and beat their friends in tae kwon do sessions.

They are so different; they could belong to separate species.

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Goya in New York

goya, etching 55

Goya’s etching 55, titled Until Death

In 1799, the Spanish painter Francisco Goya published a series of 80 etchings called the Caprichos. He used the etchings to systematically illustrate the vices, foibles, and evils of his world. In no way, are the Caprichos easy or pleasant to watch; each etching radiates anger, fear, sorrow, hopelessness and suffering. The etchings are not particularly subtle; Goya drove his point home with a hammer made out of crude satire.

Etching #55, Until Death, shows a Platonic ideal of an ugly old woman beautifying herself in front of a mirror. When I first saw it, I just thought, “Oh, whatever, it’s such a no-brainer to mock a vain dumb old hag.” To me, the etching was one of the least interesting in the series and it faded from my memory quickly.

It took me twenty years to understand that this etching was just as much born of Goya’s genius as any other.

Yesterday morning, I was walking down 6th Ave in Manhattan. As it intersected 30th street, a light breeze playfully blew the rancid smell of a homeless person up my nostrils. As I started breathing with my mouth, I looked around and I saw an old woman standing next to a cart full of recycling and refuse.

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