Sunday, December 28, 2008

Postcards of People I Don't Know

Feria de San Pedro Telmo. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

At Christmas. In the kitchen:

Me: My postcard from Argentina!
Mother: I thought these were ours.

The boys could be some of us. They have the same hair-color-eye-color scheme.

I think about the difference between these boys and other blood relations who I have never met, who I have not been told about, or who people in my face-to-face or larger group of blood relations also know nothing about. There are such people. I know that.

Take, for instance: my mother said, “Your cousin is in town. A man on the side of your father’s father’s twin brother who flew to London during the war.”

I said, “Who?”

An image got into my head of our London doppelgängers: Us with British accents and flowered hats at horse races. When pressed, my father was unspecific.

At dinner, I approached the man. He said, “I am not your cousin.” He nodded to a close-at-hand woman. Still, we were very glad to meet each other. We ate lobster. She flew to Sweden.

I am always in search of blood relations. Maybe this is because my parents are so unspecific about them. One of ours might have moved to Argentina and produced the boys in this postcard. I hold close this possibility.

Maybe others raised by the uprooted feel a similar limitless sense of blood relation. It compensates for a life lacking in immediate people.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the Topic of the Inappropriate Question

Frames at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg

He said, "I only ask because you never know what people will tell you." Skills at deflecting inappropriate questions were not yet acquired by me. I admire this ability of other people.

I was eating whipped cream spiked with Grand Marnier --which I had scratch-made for the potluck. The loft was shared by four men. A good friend met his future wife while living there.

Many people in their early twenties have not been engaged. Also, the question of marriage was not important to me. Now, I can't imagine myself occupied by talk, the natural progression of which is the question, "Have you ever been engaged?"

I did not feel invaded. But he was attempting an invasion. These are different things.

I felt unengaged. He was eating Turducken.

Also, unexpectedly, I had a scruple based on little but my sulkiness to answer a question about my prior or non-existent engagements. (I just Roget-ed a word that brought me to page one. That was thrilling.) I was sidestepping some indefinable trespass.

After, I thought, 'There are people who ask questions only to acquire data. These people are successful.' I divide the world's people into two groups. Those who ask questions to acquire data, and those who ask questions in ignorance of the act of acquiring data. I thought, 'Every vouchsafing of information puts you at a disadvantage, if you are not, then, vouchsafed information.'

I blame this man for making me think of talk in terms of advantage and disadvantage. Blame for other divisions is as of yet undecided.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tweet Beat

The “veering off," the “jolt,” and the “bottom-dropped-out feeling,” are covered in the tweets by the man on the plane downed in Denver, though not, as originally thought, while falling through air. Also covered was the glasses falling off in the “mass exodus.” But what I wanted to ask was, "As the plane was dropping, did you feel relief? If so, to what extent? And what quality of relief?"

Of course, I could @reply and ask, since I twitter. But it is an inappropriate question. My sense of propriety prevents me. Or, am I deterred by my sense of being perceived as a person that asks inappropriate questions?

It is unalarming that The New Yorker maintains "American cellphone habits are becoming increasingly Japanese." It is, in fact, exciting.

Dark Horse Black Forest is a Critic's Pick in New York Magazine.

My collaboration with Yanira on Dark Horse Black Forest on Twitter has been written up in an article entitled "Two NYC Choreographers Making Innovative Use of the Web."

A wedding photographer wrote the above post. I like this because, making broad assumptions (which I'm told is wrong but continue to do), I would not expect a wedding photographer to write something about dance or writing, since his stated job and/or passion and/or etc. is wedding photography, as opposed to dance or writing or criticism of dance and/or writing. Because his post was not part of his 'job,' I think it is motivated by sincere interest. And when something you do or are involved in inspires sincere interest (which is usually very hard to discern), in people you least expect (however wrongly) to inspire interest, it is rewarding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dark Horse Black Forest

I'm collaborating with choreographer Yanira Castro on an ongoing dance performance. It is a love story “intensely the most intimate of spaces: your bathroom.” It can be arranged by appointment through the downtown theater PS 122.

The dances happen and I document the thoughts, words and actions of the characters in an ongoing narrative staged on Twitter, the micro-blogging site.

A sample of the narrative can be viewed to the right. If you're signed up with Twitter, you can follow the characters via their Tweets from your home page. Or, for more imminent involvement, you can receive Tweets to your mobile phone...

To follow, just click on these links:


Dostoevsky's umbrellas, cigarettes; St. Petersburg

Nabokov House; St. Petersburg

Tuomiokirkko Cathedral, Helsinki

I erased what I originally wrote here, because it felt fake.

I'm not a very good judge of when I write something not good and this disturbs me because I have to rely on other people to tell me what's good. (This stems from a fear that this is equivalent to relying on other people to tell you who you are). I am a 'control freak,' and it bothers me to rely on other people. My reluctance to rely on other people is sometimes interpreted (I think, based on my analysis of their body language and/or very specific verbal communications) as lack of care and causes people to not want to rely on me or care for me. That makes me sad until I remember that this non-reliance feedback loop probably originates with me. Then I'm angry at myself. I'm frequently angry at myself. But when I notice that I am relying on someone else and it feels good, I think of this as a biofeedback session. I am training my reliance muscle to remember what it is like to rely and be comfortable with it (reliance). When this happens I think that the next time I am about to not rely, I will remember that I can rely and it (reliance) can be good, and I will rely and it will start a positive feedback loop instead of a negative one. At least that is the ideal I'm going for at the moment. Another ideal is aiming for short-range ideal realization. I've realized that recently.

Postcards of People I Don't Know

Izmaylovo Market; Moscow

I feel strongly about these pictures. When I look at them I am intrigued and happy and nostalgic for somebody else's (confusion set in when I saw the word "else" just now - I had to look it up in the dictionary; I found "1. in addition; besides 2. different; instead.") history. It's a deeply satisfying experience.