Tuesday, December 29, 2009

approaching the New Year December 29th, 2009

December 29, 2009

Issues of form and content are haunting me right now. Robert Creeley’s "form is never more than an extension of content," or Louis Sullivan’s earlier dictum: “form ever follows function”—seem accurate, but then the fine tuning of it or the poly-prismatic of an extended form, a form that might reveal the turning of thought, a digressive functioning, or ‘active theory’ [to quote myself] seem challenging and appealing. Allora—we look for an art that might encompass the (w)hole of things, their veritable partials, a four-dimensional fractal that could haunt time, a non-holy perforated segment of glorious and non-glorious moments.

All this as I aim to complete RIDING THE TIGER: Letters from Capitalist China. I have moved from a singular voiceover into a polyphony of voices, each reading [imaginary] letters from the filmmaker, questioning, reporting, theorizing on the events and disruptions/dislocations of life in China today. So many things to consider: tone, pronunciation, comprehensibility, lowering and raising of the voice, where the voice changes, emphasis, establishing the ‘person’, timing. The story, apocryphal or not, that it took 72 ‘takes’ to get de Niro’s monologue for Taxi Driver consoles me. Of course Thelma S. had a recording booth located (likely?) outside her editing station and helpers to transfer (digitize today) into her edit tracks. Still and all, it is pretty fast here and now. I talk tonight to Yael B. in Paris to get her version downloaded by the New Year and try to complete. Yael is coming end of the month January to help perfect, refine, get it mixed —meanwhile I will re-submit the newer more polished version to various fests.

Still searching for that 5th projector for my installation in April 2010. Anyone in Europe who knows where I could get one for free (!~?) would be very welcome. I am having my interns carry back my two big ones (despite increased airport security?!) and one will show up voluntarily…somehow. Nancy here had offered so I am still hopeful on that end.

Have not yet begun the filming of same but it will happen. Want to get Letters done, then script organized for shooting for Shelley film in spring with perhaps a Diodati Frankenstein creation in the winter one afternoon at Villa Aurelia across the way. [I will include a picture of same so you see the grandeur of the place/palace]…and may need a lumbering homo-like-monster as well when the trees are still bare of leaves.

The photos to left are xmas day: the first the vatican through the roman aqueduct in dora pamphili park next door. The second the doors pebbled mosaics of the villa dora pamphili. the last with fountain the grounds on xmas day—you see the sun!

So, then—this time with rain and clouds is good for planning, cleaning up and fine cutting and fine-tuning and thinking of poetics, the ‘how’ of the praxis. Have been asked for a paper for new magazine and a possible April lecture at City College---have to decide when and if I can return to NY. Abby you know you want to!

Leaving it there.

Friends if you read this, please send on emails but also snail mail….so delightful to receive even if sooooo slow. Particularly welcome are dvds with films, third and fourth seasons of Mad Men say....I figure it takes 21 days for a NY packet to reach us here and sometimes longer. I suspect they are sitting on things in the Rome post. But just went shopping with D and bought juice and fruit and veg and yogurt and cheese and pasta-fresh and dried—and pimentos and olives and am very happy. Even in December, Rome is filled with green the ivy still lush and the cypresses and the sun is absolutely if milkily returning. I slept till 11am today (and not particularly late staying up the night before) sleeping and dreaming delightfully through pouring heavy rain, in the hibernation of healing winter—warmer, better weather is round the corner.

Will keep you posted.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dec 24, 09 Xmas in Rome Italy

December 24th

Happy Holidays!
It is 59 degrees here, and yesterday 60F. and sunny! So yes there is Xmas in Rome but it is spring. The leaves gone from many branches, palms and cypresses holding on, very green; sky mild, air fragrant, Monday night mysterious and romantic, clear with stars.

Last of my shopping done today—many delightfuls for families and friends: fabulous prints from Pompei (1810) that capture all the romance and strange visioning of life 2000 years ago— plus stripey socks and rosebud key chains and miniature pens for Writers among us. Very fun and we had delicious fish lunch today with wine after I climbed back from town with 3 bottles of prosecco and food specialties for cooking tomorrow and cocktails tonight. Does it ever stop?!
Nein, non, no.

Meanwhile— in last 2 or 3 nights, I have been involved in completing decorating our gingerbread model of the Academy building. Here it is in all its photogenic glory. A cheer to Jon, Kyle and Anna—our architects and designers.

I have been working intermittently if anyone is interested—finished digitizing and almost completed cutting in new voices for my feature documentary: RIDING THE TIGER: Letters from Communist China. Looking good and soon to submit. Wish me luck of the year here.

As well, folks caroled last night but I will close with a secular solstice auguri and skip all religious imagery.

per mi amici,
auguri per nuovo un anno prosperoso e creativo


Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21st

We welcome the solstice today—the shortest light of the year; sun turning round, to come back and spin our days. My plants in New York visibly respond to the change and I eagerly await here in Roma. My room has had the light move from in front of the bed round 180 degrees above my head and beyond. After today it will begin the return trip. The Italian word for room—camera—makes immediate sense. Like the “shoebox cameras” we make for students—a pinhole at either the long end (telephoto) or short side (wide-angle)—the room functions as “a box for the sun”.

Yesterday was haunting— we visited Etruscan tombs, the tumuli (from which our word “tomb” comes). An hour out of the city, bordering on Tuscany, marvelous blue sky, chilly and we are walking in and out of large, sometimes 50/60 feet diameter hummocks. They are built of tufa, volcanic rock (like one’s bath pumice stone), carved with iron and bronze tools, carved smooth, 10-20 feet high, sometimes 40-50 feet down. One large one has 4 entrances; the interiors: carved arches, modeled beams, decorated beds with stone ‘pillows’ and stone legs. The attempt was to make a house, to carve an imitation of wood and arches. The pumice arches are cantilevered, a far cry from what will come but here—sere, huge, somehow traumatic. And all these hummocks so close, like a growth of mushrooms, outsize, alien and yet very very human. One is polychrome with fading red and black decoration, another a glass wall and inside as it was before being raided in antiquity. We spy helmets above every ‘bed/throne”, rope even, tools, vessels and decorated worlds. In the museum in nearby town we see pottery and perhaps most touching, a double statue of a man sitting up, legs outstretched, his body muscled, holding onto a woman, also sitting up, legs outstretched, tender, happy. The faces are not so finely modeled, but in one of the photographs of the statue, if not of the statue itself, there is molto expression. The town and tombs are in Cerveteri.

We leave and go to the sea—it is 2 or 3 miles away—you see it shining in the distance and we spontaneously dance on the beach, picking up shells---long used beach—not so beautiful as Sperlonga perhaps but the water in the distance such a good prophecy of happiness. When my Dad was alive every holiday we drove to the water; I always think of it as a return to origin—not to my dad perhaps, who was so absent in our lives (working 6 days a week/2 nights) but to the beginning of life. Here waves are slight—we are on the Thyrrenian sea—mild except in storms.

Then we (Giovanna and I) drive on up to Ceri a medieval ‘borgo’, a tiny village settled on a tufaceous spur of volcanic origin. You drive up and up alongside embattled walls to look down on this natural defensive spot— walls pouring dropping 100 feet steeply. It is a tiny square and we talk to a bed and breakfast owner who invites us to see his splendid garden looking out into the distance over the decline (somewhat…. a canyon moat) onto further hills topped with well tended grape vines, scaffolding for the grapes bare now, neat rows, golden, harvest— sea beyond. Built into his tufa, since the owner is originally an architect , is an apt for rent. Americans he says are coming for new year. Very romantic.

We have stopped for food at a country inn, where one family is celebrating a birthday and the owner is dark, covered in gold—miming the Etruscans who were here before her. We eat a fixe prix meal—too much meat for me, but tasty, local, fresh.

It is an emotional journey because the tombs haunt and because it is the first anniversary of Emma Bee Bernstein’s death. I have thought of her recently in many aspects. One of my interns whom I found courtesy of the Keats-Shelley museum is lovely, small, with curly dark hair and grayish eyes and is to take the Guggenheim museum job in Venice in April. She had heard of the “brilliant American artist” who preceded her. These conjunctions these hauntings. In Barcelona last March I saw an Emma at 12, young holding tight to her mother—the same open look, same dusting of freckles writing innocence across her face. Emma perhaps not so innocent? I remember Emma sometime round that age at Fetterman’s apt in the low French housing of NYU mews in an impossibly short bright pink skirt and I internally smiling at youth and my own memory of impossibly short dresses from the 60s. Nothing is lost. If we remember.

Skipping —last Tuesday I went with my architect-studying intern to Andrea Pozzo’s baroque room near the Chiesa de Jesu—a tromp l'oeil 60x20 feet rectangle with irregular end, which the filmmaker Jon Jost urged me to see. Yes the cgi guys in California need eat their hearts out. There is a stretched 2 foot face on the left side that pulls back into ‘reality’ (?) as you move away— amazing and the "capitals" range from a foot to two feet as they move from you. At dinner that night, two Fellows (one prior/one current) were brilliant about it (not having seen yet) asking if it were completed after Galileo [yes 1580; Galileo 1532 approx] and the resultant sense of de-prioritizing a single point of view. There is an eye/planet in the floor inlaid from which the room looks ‘normal’; when you leave the spot however, the room reveals itself as a series of distortions. the work so extreme, self-aware, comic, indulgent, a tour de force— that it is /must be underlining the irony/error of the single point of view that it espouses (officially). Lovely philosophical discussion here at our dinner table. Reasserting (as if it needs this?) that art has at its seed a kind of perceptive ethic/ science-philosophy-cum vision embodiment. At its best at best (at least?)

Thursday —the Christmas play for children of fellows and staff, and I had been asked to do two short videos: a preview of my film on Shelley with a new voiceover text: “in a world without love, one man stands alone: charming, seductive, ruthless…”etc. Read by the inimitable Jonathan C., it was very funny. But perhaps the hit was a short video playing with airplane safety instructions, combining an architect’s comic drawing of the inside of a plane with one of the Fellow’s dressed as stewardess. I had thunder so I shook the drawing as I filmed it, opening the fstop overexposing to make lightening and editing a couple of ‘takes’ together, adding nutcracker suite overture to begin and sugarplum dance throughout. Big hit!

Ahhh I got more positive feedback for this populist trick than for my fabulous art. We live in a world of philistines or just gonna have fun folk I guess. It was an endearing play in any case and Chiara—our Italian fellow is indeed a sparkle-plenty princess!. She was actually malelfo—the bad elf. She has lovely energy, big blue eyes, bleached blonde hair and a darling boyfriend a few inches taller than her. The kids loved the production complete with set design, media (yes), props and gifts at end (certo).

Saturday I went to a party with Giovanna, parties bookending my visit to the dead I guess---food for the soul? Saturday’s was to a Count’s house—filled with l6th century paintings (often bad) and chandeliers (fabulous over the top). Quite a beautiful space, redone with white walls—full of light—bad hor d'oeuvres, great desserts, wealthy Romans. Last night’s (Sunday’s) parties more art-centered: one with delicious food and another at the apt. of the assistant to the Maxxi (the fantastic new museum of XXI century art designed by the Iranian architect Zaha Hadid). Nice people at both places. Some good contacts---and an invite to another dinner party on the 27th.

Giovanna works for the state as an art guide, had attended my show here at the Academy and loved the work—‘got it”— knew right away it was contemporary art. She is writing about it for her master’s thesis—which hopefully will be published. We have bonded on energy and interests. She has two children, separated from her husband, three sisters, a mother, and great intelligence.

Tonight we help decorate the gingerbread house that the architects here have designed—have we become Santa’s workshop?! Thursday D. comes to celebrate Xmas and New Year’s with me. I so look forward to the energy and love and friendship he will bring. Wishing you all a blessed solstice and creative New Year!

Un abbraccio

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dec 13th Roma

The weather changed—cloudy and 48 degrees—what is called "winter" in Rome. Up till yesterday there was still sun and blue sky and staccato light creeping through the blinds.

Went on a motorino last night through Trastevere and the old city—glorious light strips shakey snakes, festive. Xmas has its excitement, though my friend Lauren says this is new—less than a decade old. Xmas was quieter in the recent past. So—the excitement of consumerism?! The lights still ‘get’ me, as the daily dark is longer---these festivities of light give one a smile.

Speaking of which thanks to lobbying (actually an email) by yours truly we will get latkes on the last day of Hannukah. I hope the nouvelle latkes but actually any kind with our bio applesauce will do fine. I could go on about food here—roast lamb with browned sage leaves, a homemade ice cream with bergamot garnished with mandarin orange granita—all at the academy; and a great artichoke a la giuda (the Jewish way) with grilled fish in the ghetto. The artichoke is sauted/fried so that it is almost a chip—divine: roasted taste and salt!

Backwards, earlier in the week we went to EUR, a planned area south of the old city that Mussolini built in the 30s and 40s (unfinished in war) to be the city of the future. Haunting in many ways: they leveled the land, built modernistic severe buildings, paralleled and white (to reflect the sun) with large flattened stairs, a symmetric church sterile to my eyes and straight streets in repeating shapes of crosses. A museum with the Trajan column stretched out at eye level —plaster casts of the layers. A statue of Fascism in which “facism” has been taken out and become a statue of “sport”—marble boxing gloves added! Our local historians point out that Italian Fascism was not anti-jewish until late in the 30s. The effect of this place had an aftertaste—both modern and artificial, flattening and gorgeous. A strange time in art and architecture.

Earlier last week (Thursday dec 4th) we visited the Scelsi house behind the Palatine. Lovely town house of the famous composer. The guide talked too much (our seats hurt) but then played clips of singing recorded by Giacinto Scelsi himself——rough and radical. There was a recording by a German singer of “ho” (which means “I have” in Italian) that was quite wonderful: light funny extremely futuristic. The house itself was filled with contemporary art—of Cocteau and di Chirico, plates and photos. Scelsi himself was rich and unpublished in his lifetime and curiously grew up near Leirici where Shelley died. Eveything seems to cross-fertilize on this trip—

Friday last the Academy hosted a music concert with a marvelous recital by Anna Caterina Antonacci, soprano and Donald Sulzen, piano. She picked the program which included exclusively romantic songs—the slow ones (one by Toscanini) and another accompanying poems by Ada Negri were best as they gave room for Antonacci to act. Some of the poems were remarkable: Verlaine especially: “Let us soak well our love”
And “To the breeze, rocking and soft,/Which comes to your feet to wrinkle/The waves of auburn lawns.” Such irony and desire. Missed most of the conference that followed, though interested in Martha Feldman’s work on the castrati.

Instead— I had a great massage. The young woman Elena we met on the train back from Sperlonga back in October has proved talented. She has now come three times and each time is better than before. Delightful for these rounded computer-used shoulders.

That evening Fiona Templeton came from London, in time for the masked ball which was a terrific success. Everyone’s masks were inventive: there was a Bach, an Amanda Fox, homemade Pygmalion and everything in between. We danced to Corey’s djing and light show. The crowd was large with many outside (smoking). Fun fun. I will include pix of this too….

Sunday we went to the flea market for last of holiday presents and bought some fine prints and littles, then up the hill for lunch at isole di sicilia---very splendid lamb chops and though our fish never came, we were happy since we were full! Walked the top of the hill till dusk, then showed Fiona rushes from THE PURSUIT (in progress) and talked about what would “mess up” the romantic beauty of the images. Sound, and Frankenstein—the under-topic. We researched via web and found Lady Frankenstein with a terrific sound track in the public domain by Alessandro Alessandroni who did the whistling on Morricone tracks for Sergio Leone. So —more coincidence—what could be better in italy? I will also use images from Frankenstein or perhaps dress up one of the fellows in gauze (!) and have him lumber about….

Monday we went to St. Cecilia to see the frescos which were beautiful and only open between 11 and 12 and then walked onto the Arch of Janus since Fiona has had threshold problems, losing her keys three times and jamming her thumb badly. We paid our respects, watched a wedding, had lunch in the Jewish section—yummy carciofi a la giuda (artichokes the jewish way). Amazing.

Then on to the Quirinale…walking all of the way— for the Roman portrait show. Magnificent wall paintings with delicate figures against red or black. From Pompei and from a house near the Tiber here. Painted walls for entrys and bedrooms and salons. With myths above and plants and animals inside the lines. The black and red were particularly beautiful to me (what’s called stage 1 or 2—3 became more literal). And then at last portraits from Egypt, a Roman colony (remember Cleopatra), at the oasi del Fayyum. Beautiful rendered death portraits of Romans in society—very semitic arab looking painted in encaustic wax on wood. One of a young man has not the typical rough surface but is smooth as oil with pale cheeks, many colors in the cheeks the nose finely molded eyebrows eyes—a person there and you won’t see the like till Goya, 1500 years later! The dark ages were dark indeed.
More to come.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dec 3rd Roma, italia

Wed December 3rd.

There is snow on the mountains ringing Rome. It is glorious, a bite in the air, the first one in a fall that has been unusually dry and mild. Giovanna comes in to try her hand (mixed body metaphors here) at reading for my voice over text for my film RIDING THE TIGER: Letters from Capitalist China. She comes to the line wherein the Chinese value dirt, its smell. She smiles and says, “yes, it’s alive.” She invites me to go to the mountains for the weekend.
—why I dearly love Italy and Italians.

The Borghese pond footage is in hand and looks gorgeous —it is early fall then there and when Eileen and Nick talk and listen, they occupy what I imagine is the life of Percy and Mary. The more research I do the closer I feel to these writers—their sorrows and intentions, their work aholism, their rationalities and craziness, their passion.

It’s been a rodeo week in that last Monday—way back—the US ambassador came for cocktails. He made a fairly political speech which many thought unusual in diplomatic-land. I was underwhelmed. Then Wednesday I gave my 'shop talk', worked hard on 10-minute introductory text, then showed THE FUTURE IS BEHIND YOU and MIRROR WORLD [for those of you who don’t know these works, MIRROR WORLD is on Penn sound, a website; only clips from THE FUTURE is at my web site: www.abigailchild.com]. Then I answered questions and showed pieces from the new piece. Predictably people ‘loved’ the new film that i have shot here—it was all about them. Slowly responses are trickling in about the talk and the completed films. Many did not know what to expect (they are in the main academics or self-proclaimed conservative writers/musicians) and were perplexed, even angry (!)----ah even my late work is a revolution! Thank the ‘goddess’ I guess though it is never so comfortable. One wants to be loved —

Thursday Thanksgiving with Alice Waters—delicious and traditional though the pumpkin pie was squash pie. The chestnuts we had all peeled a day earlier resulting in many scratched and cut and bleeding hands, made into fabulous stuffing. A friend Rosie came as my guest and afterwards, stuffed as we were (not only the bird!) we walked through Pamphili Park into the dusk.

Saturday morning we went to the amazing San Clemente with its three churches on top of each other: the 1200 one with magnificent mosaics that rival Ravenna; below an 800 ad church its columns interspersed with the butresses for the church above, frescos fading on the walls; and then below that a 100Ad roman house made into a mithrean temple—amazing patterned brick work and strange pagan light with a stream that fed right into the house—its interior well for 2000 years running bubbling pouring out! beautiful and the newest church has a delicate powerful fresco of St. Catherine by Masolino (1428).

From there with architect Fellow we went to the colosseum, crawling with tourists and yet it conquers that. the brick the brick the work the patterning the stones built without nails, using gravity, immense and thank the goddess (again) for no church in the middle which might have happened, was proposed but did not. truly a power symbol. rome's glory seems large--as large as ny's in many ways. this was bigger than madison square garden, and much more beautiful. it had at one point a covering of cloth with an occulus at center and the bricks that held the posts at the top are still there. naval battles were played out as well as gladiators. the place flooded. animals lifting from below. truly a movie palace of the real.

that night with Rosie and expat women friends for dinner across town. I remember at 20 in Mexico doing ethnography, thinking I could never live abroad forever and here again ---I felt that strongly. Flawed America it is, but I am inside its energy and structure. Interesting to feel that, particularly here where so many fall in love and stay— it is one of the glory places on earth for sure.

and in that regard, with new film, one artist here said it [the film] captured the light that he will remember Rome by. yes!

then sunday to cap a week of food, we did the cheese tasting. the interns in the kitchen had pulled out 7 cheese for us to try....cheesed out though learned alot and must visit this amazing cheese shop near the vatican. what is local: sheep, goat, aged, dried, peppered....

This week marked by some filming, gathering full sound for Pucinella Theater which I had missed before, very wild complete with tango music and the 80 year old using his fingers to make the puppet bend and sway—missing the visit to the Trajan Column that got canceled by the rain [anyway]. Tomorrow headed out to the composer Scelsi’s house and then a dinner and exhibit with a local photographer that I met at Cy Twombly’s relative’s house….ahh the varied ways of connections. I look forward to be off the hill whenever I may.

Last night a full moon, tried to film but it had risen by the time I was ready for it. So now again trying and failing. Trying and succeeding. Persisting —moving forward into the air the continuum against anxieties and afghan troops and false promises and silences, movements. This sadness of killing, this gladiator mentality, this defense and playing to fear in the stern creep of concern and lament. We are looking to repair—but not all and not enough. In Europe, in the breach, among minaret controversy and strikes and guns, we play, and think of spirits that move us, kindle the earth. The dirt, that life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday Nov 22, 09

Sunday November 22nd.

Highlight of the week was our night walk along the Tiber Thursday evening. LA artist Doug Aiken’s install was spectacular in its way but raised issues of: what did it mean? A kind of superficial, ad-like portrayal of Ed Ruscha as arch-typical white Western guy wandering the desert landscape dotted with neon and at one point walking on white marble steps of the EUR here in Europe (the fascist city built by Mussolini). The music was overpowering, uncredited (of course) and seemed a mélange of sounds, at one point breaking into a polka? There were rectangles cut through with fancy glass so that the interior image was smooth(er). I thought initially it was to imitate a blank billboard that appeared in one of the more interesting images, but no, I believe it was to let the light and image out to the audiences up on the bridge above and on the shores—so they could see something: a glowing sharp edged light.

So— spectacular but meaningless, or if meaning-full, with a meaning that simply put a poignant sentimentality onto the West (dying) and heroic white men (rich famous and indifferent—no expression as befits the western hero?).
I guess I could be pleased he chose to focus on an artist but somehow—all the black men, or perhaps only one, shot from different angles? were street musicians! Yikes.

Particularly compelling issue to me since I am to do an install here and have not settled on what….but knowing I want meaning and spectacle. I want to make my audience conscious, not merely ‘feed’ their desire for spectacle, and to relate definitively to Rome itself. Thinking of the gladiators and the way the Empire utilized spectacle to keep the masses in place. Of course this is the origin of popular movies too: once considered only working class entertainments, movies were intended to keep the workers ‘happy.’ Or “Happy happy dogs” as the poet Bruce Andrews would say.

The rest of the trip more startling as we came up to a 2000 year old bridge still in use and one of the architects here Kiel Moe described how it was built with travertine (the white stone) that was stronger than the black (pepe-tine? Something with pepper in it as that is what it looks like indeed. Pepe=pepper in Italian). He talked about the open arches in the middle to let the waters run through when they flood and floods were/are common in Rome. Last fall, the water came up to within a couple of feet of the arches of the bridge which would be a good 15-20 feet higher than last night! We walked on the island in the middle—isola—the only island in the Tiber and saw how the island is built up like a ship. Kiel had the poetic comment that they conceived the island as moving (a ship) within the river, when it is the river which is moving and the boat=island still. There was also a carved caduceus, serpent around a sword in the 2000 year old stones, symbolizing how the island has been a hospital for these years. The island was suitable because it served as a natural quarantine for plagues et al. Then onto the “broken bridge”, as old as the other but ruined. It lasted 1500 years (only); a flood destroyed it. Kiel explained why it went and not the other: in part, it is situated where the island ends and the two sections of the river come together. Since the river is narrower there, it runs faster (higher too I presume) and the bridge itself was made of smaller pieces, thus weaker. Now I want to see how the bridge is built: Kiel said it is originally wood and then stone put on and the wood removed. Fascinating and a bit inconceivable when you are standing under this Piranesi structure.

Friday the political returned with Rachel Donadio, Italian correspondent from the NY Times visiting us and giving an informal talk on Berlusconi and the Papacy. I enjoyed the informality though others wanted more startling news. For me the interest was the book—literally a large quarter inch thick magazine (like a design magazine a bit) —that B. sent out to EVERY Italian before his first election. It’s a gigantic advertisement: B with family, son, workers, soccer teams et al. A lot like Bloomberg is what many of us New Yorkers were thinking! Such is the power of money. The questions at end included a Hungarian woman speaking of this time as post-ideology which has become imag-ology (Kundera coined word) which of course I agree with being completely conscious of meaning and image, and how much this is unconscious in the public mind. Again why the Aiken and much video art is disturbing to me: what is it really saying to its audiences? And why are audiences so taken with spectacle that they become passive automatons? Or at least unquestioning uncritical minds? The question of freedom vs pleasure, or really, how is pleasure defined: as soporific sleep? Or conscious thinking? We need a Karl Krauss to analyze public structure and reaction, in Italia the USA art world.

Wed night another kind of politics with Edmund White reading from his latest CITY BOY. A quick glance told me this was a gossip book, each chapter another person. And indeed he read the chapter on Sontag. I was interested, he was witty, skewering her at every point. By the end he spoke of his own “impulse towards treachery” and that seemed to sum up his ethics nicely. He mentioned Robert Gluck for all you writers reading this and told me later I should tell Robert he mentioned him! So much for fame in the city of light.

On this end, shot the rowboat scenes with Mary and Percy Shelley in the pond at the Villa Borghese—beautiful, elegant autumnal colors and motions, and went back yesterday to get the sound for my Puchinella show. But we came a bit later (he had said he started at one but it was noon!) and then somewhere on the way back it seemed I lost my wallet with cards and id, not much money and it has not shown up yet. Wish for me all you non-anonymous readers that someone has found it and will return!

And indeed since I could not post till this morning, a gardener found it this morning! Our wishes are granted.

an amazing night of contemporary music from 4pm to 11pm at the Villa Aurelia this weekend; a great Morricone MULTIPLY in which 12 or more musicians were scattered throughout the first two floors, in hallways, underwindows—haunting and wonderful. Another great complicated piece with voice by a Coen family: father violinist, son clarinetist, mother the poet and much later at 9pm our Fellow Don Byron improved on his clarinet, singing the last verse of a popular blues tune. Glory and play. Magnifico.

un abbraccio

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17th Rome.

Tuesday nite November 17th.

Russell gave his talk tonight. Very fine letter and book designer: funny and classic in his way.

Tomorrow we go to Villa Borghese to film at the pond with the Shelleys. The sunny mild weather has held (some people are still wearing sandals...) and we will be on the water. Last weekend on Saturday the 14th we shot at the carousel by the Castel San Angelo. Very beautiful. Unfortunately (purtroppo) the photos I’ve included were taken by an intern and she didn’t switch from electric light (!) so they are bluer than the real.

The other fotos are from today when I went and got fingerprinted (!) at the police station for my permesso de giorno, i.e. my visa to stay the year at the Academy. Jason, another fellow was at the same time so we walked out with ‘black hands’ (from the ink prints) and had a coffee and decided to visit a local church. The statue is a late Bernini and in the back was a “secret” room, a "camera" in Italian which I now understand since my bedroom has become a kind of clock with the light moving through it, across walls, armoir, now back wall, above the bed, circling. Our guide didn’t know how to operate the machinery of the secret doors so we saw some fine medieval paintings of St. Francis who presumably slept there waiting for the pope to give him his permesso! Ahhh the round.

Now backwards for all you followers (please do comment; it lets me know who all is reading this)

Thursday night November 12th
Before the dire Friday the 13th which turns out to be lucky ( I am sure) this has been a week of hard work on my China film: new title: RIDING THE TIGER: Letters from Capitalist China incorporating new recording Monday morning from my collaborator Danica M. in NYC via web—aiff (sound files to you) via usendit. Lovely and it works! Happiness. Then hours of cutting and pasting and then Wednesday spending most of the day rendering…so that I could play pool after dinner and watch (even) the first show of Mad Men…while my computer grinds away. Felt bad that I missed Maxxi invite Tuesday night, the new architecture marvel by the Iranian that opened with a dance performance by Sasha Waltz, (another great name) a German Fellow at their academy. Ahhh even gave up a walk this morning to Syrian vault in nearby Via Dandolo, a curvy S of a road right round us. But got a version of the film to send to Berlin. So cross your fingers for me. It needs more work but good to get this far.

I did take a break and walk down Dandolo to pool which I am to join—Friday I hope and swim regularly 2x a week say for the next 8 months. It’s down a wonderful flock of stairs. This neighborhood percolates with stairs coming and going in all directions and it makes the trip that otherwise would be 45 minutes only 25 min. door to door, and far more fun. I had to have a doctor examine me but we practiced our mutual broken languages. His English better than my Italian (but of course) and I was declared healthy with 120 over 70 blood pressure— lower than in New York I believe.

But sadly folks no fotos for this week’s report. Unless maybe I put in fotos of my new stairs in Nova Scotia that just got rebuilt and re-sanded to match the 150 year old ones? In a city of 2000+ year old bronze green doors, 150 years seems very young indeed. It’s amazing the relativity of time and also how impressive the empire was— its shared knowledge and civic reach.

We continue to eat well, crepes tonight with cherries and amazing lunches and many interns coming and going . I am beginning to think of the installation I am to do in the basement in March. How to make it match the marvel of the space, with its arched skylights circling the cortile, its sound potential and Rome itself circling in our brains. An old aqueduct runs under the floor—could it be incorporated? Must think and muse deeply here. The space and perhaps films previously shot in Rome will determine what to do.

Reading Holmes from FOOTSTEPS: his: “falling upwards into someone’s arms.”
Or on an adder: “It was small and handsomely zigged, glossy black on soft beige, and moved aside with perfect diginity.” On love and this is Robert Louis Stevenson whom Holmes is following (in his footsteps) a backpack trip through France:

“How the world gives and takes away, and brings sweethearts near only to separate them again into distant and strange lands; but to love is the great amulet which makes the world a garden; and ‘hope, which comes to all’, outwears the accidents of life…”

lovely lovely: RLS again to a friend: “I want—I want…I want to be happy. I want the moon or the sun or something. I want the object of my affections badly anyway and a big forest: fine breathing sweating sunny walks and the trees crying aloud in the summer wind and a camp under the stars.”

On that:
un abbraccio e buona notte.

later that same Sunday November 8th, 3pm my time (no idea how the blog names the time of my uploads—perhaps google California time? Since they are approximately 9 hours off….):
The day has been melodramatic: sun rain then a brief rainbow, now torrents of rain, lovely sound as if we are under a waterfall on a summer day, about to dive in. Exciting rain, trembling rain, rain of details and promises. Here you hear it as if thousands of years of ears have heard it over years. —Okay that was awkward but you get the idea.

I have taken out my video camera at least twice today, as insecure as the weather (whether) trying to catch the last golden leaves before the rains destroy them. Have I missed this time?

Fierce and powerful and I am told there was a storm last night. I can’t remember if I heard it since there have been a number of thundering storms in the early mornings. Now a plopping sound; the storm passed in 4 minutes. My trusty heater purrs. I bought a large electric one mid week last for the hours the heat is NOT on—presumably the city of Rome allows only a certain amount of total hours—[this is not New England nor Minnesota!]—thus, from 11:30am to 6pm and after 10pm there is no heat.
Toasty though with heater at feet and sun burning through again even as I watch grey clouds roll in in my heroic arched windows. What did the painters do? Skylights for the brightness of diffuse light? Likely.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

sun November 8th 2009

Sun Nov 8th

The Indian films Thursday night convinced me once again that form is politic. A “TV style” frames reality in a particular way that governs, freezes, your response. A Dutch artist Roma Pas (great name) at the Academy said to me she doesn’t believe art is political. It strikes me (again) how small a definition of the political we have–our very denial a kind of politic and definitely an ideology—i.e. that art has no public relevance, that politics is government, that art is private space. So many assumptions here whereas it seems to me art is about the bringing of life to the overlooked, restoring energy and attention to all parts of existence, making it come alive.

I read in a wonderful book that Catherine Payling director of the Keats-Shelley house loans me: “while the names of the dead are carved on gravestones and gradually wear away, the names of loved ones are also carved in living materials and slowly bite deeper into our lives.” It is Richard Holmes talking about Nerval in FOOTSTEPS, his memoir of writing biographies of writers. Wonderful and especially relevant to me when he discusses Mary Wollstonecraft who experienced Paris during the Revolution and the Terror. It was there she has her first lover and gives birth—wonderful detail and poignant sleuthing on Holmes’ part. My characters become not only richer and denser to me, but their lives begin to entwine with mine, their obsessions and mysteries reaching into hauntings, below fallen leaves, into the bark—

It is fall now, the rains have come shot with sun. Many mornings I find my familiar sun-shade staccato on the wall above me, and then it disappears into the day’s clouds. Saturday the sun is strong, full, present. We shoot at the carousel opposite Castel. S Angelo in the morning. It is glorious: the carousel an early 19th c. copy, gilded with half-clothed nymphs on painted ceilings, horses going up and down, spinning tea cups for lovers and hopefully hid from view: cars! Nick (who plays Shelley) brought his daughter who will be (perhaps) a stand-in for William or “Will-mouse”, the son of Shelley. I called to “Mary” with no response since I was addressing Eileen who plays Mary S–so, the real and the hauntings entwine in the present—as well.

On the way back we pass a Punch and Judy show that I hope to film upcoming. One of the wonders of this project is whatever delights I see, I can record. Re –cord from the heart, a re-reading of heart. At its most satisfying that is what the camera can do—re –member, re-embody if not replace nor replant. All these repetitions in language and in my films. The students last Tuesday grew either confused by the fact that things repeat with different conjunctions or delighted in it. Of course I mean both, or rather find pleasure in the messes, in the messy, in the conjunctions, ever shifting, shifty shafts of emotional and physical embodiments that change and swirl and resonate. How to be calm midst instability, or rather how to embody instability to its fullest ration? Complications and ambiguities, intricacies---the mess. The way chance and fortuity provoke happy conclusions.

On that—I too conclude for today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

wed November 5th, 2009-Halloween

Wed November 5th:

Saturday was Halloween and I include photos of the magnificent and ridiculous costumes we all wore. The march around the cortile was marvelous—mostly the hysteria of the sound of the children. Three of us went as paintings: john the Baptist (Stefano), Caravaggio’s Bacchus (Elena) and Domenichino’s Sibilla (yours truly). The other fantastic ones included our friend Barry the architect as an anarchist (?), parrot heads by Anna, and various witches and ghosts. We cooked at night together as the next evening we were off to lo Scarpone again as guests of Heather (lo scarpone was not as good that evening to our mild sorrow; the night was fine). I have made a new friend with Rosie, an aspiring and definitely–to-be art curator completing her doctorate.

At lunch this weekend I watch sparrows who have made grand groupings of their fellows circling in the wind on the Rome horizon. They are a forbidding form resembling oncoming locusts but at the same time, miraculous fast moving shivering clouds—an impermanent unexpected installation. I wished I had my camera but couldn’t move. Sometimes it seems too much—to film all this beauty. You want to breathe and let it pass by, through you, purely. But that word has its own problematic. All is impure. Unlegislated. So I let it go by and remember here.

Monday night we make off in the rain—that has begun the fall season —to go to the German Academy for Antonioni’s L’Eclisse. A taxi, then a walk up a line of Mediterranean junipers (?) cedars (?), magnificent entrance to a building completed round same time as ours: 1914, German Jewish industrialist funds for the arts. The Germans have 3 academies, this one for artists—only 8 or 9 in residence. Two other academies house respectively the art historians and the ethnographers. Here in a small room off the entrance the dvd is projected. It is wonderful, touching, a women’s film in a way---Monica Vitti bored by here older communist lover and repulsed by the gorgeous youthful wall street guy (played by a very young and pretty alain delon). Monica Vitti is amazing and the walking woman theme here playful: running after a lost poodle, stopping to hear the metal poles of the sport palace make music in the night winds. Chilling, childish, touching. The bourse (money market) scenes modeled after fra angelica’s war paintings—magnificent contrapuntal movement of shapes and faces and sound. References to neo-colonialism throughout: thrilling and jarring play by three women—without men—going wild, playing at being negro. Elegant, painful. We all sat there thinking of loves that could not be. The men as well as the women, the gay as well as the straight. Antonioni’s referencing of racism is pointed and subtle, his closure an avant movie, with sound peeled up and off, enlarged and reframed. No action , only emotion. Now there’s a recipe for a movie…..
Filled my nights’ dreams.

Tuesday I do a presentation for Cornell architecture students. Only 6 affiliated and one regular Fellow come along for the morning ride. It is fine. The films look quite good—elegant complicated—draw many questions and compliments. The students though have trouble with them, think they are “too fast”. I think as does Barry—did they never do drugs?
Strange but at same time, the students are open and hopefully I have shocked them from lethargy and habituation. How can films 20 years old still be ahead of their time? How? They are. That is the fact.

Then today the schedule does not stop. I am up early, direct my intern to Kodak and I head out to Keats/Shelley house to meet the director. She is tough honest Brit, allowing me to film there without “kits” and then bring on my characters a second day. She will vouch for me at the cemetery which required 4000E for the shoot! Mind you that’s a quarter of my year’s income this year so it’s a definite no go. We shall see. The place itself has a nice feel, smaller than I thought. The director gets the third floor apt. very very nice and there is really only one floor of the museum. It will work though to film the dust motes, have my characters walk through it. It is not authentic from the period anymore, however. After Keat’s death there, the entire furnishings needed to be destroyed by Italian law. Which is not such a bad thing as consumption is infectious—even if they did not know that then.

Speaking of which we will all have flu shots soon. I never do this back home but here I will. There is so much illness being passed back and forth forth and back.

We have begun once again our Italian lessons this week and plan a lunch table where we only speak in Italiano. It is so wonderful to try, to catch the lilt, speed, to learn they have a word specifically for “shopping for food”—fare spesa—different from shopping for anything else. And in the book we use here there are cultural pages every so often, which our teachers completely ignore but one popped out at me yesterday as I was studying—“the importance of wine in Italian culture” !! absolutely.

Last weekend, drinks after dinner at Carmela’s the director, in her fantastic craft style house with tile patterned floors and futurist wood planks across the thresholds. Beautiful and simple with a great garden!

Tomorrow the Asian festival and party after at one of the directors’ house. I am excited to see more film. It was very inspiring the Antonioni. We shall see if same can be said about contemporary Indian films for the morrow.

Buona notte
un abbraccio
a mis amici

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday October 28th—Rome

Thursday 28th
We go to the Columbarium near us here on Tuesday morning. It is a crematorium of sorts, a burial ground in Doria Pamphili Park, where many of the Fellows jog. We turn a corner and they check all our passports—this is a state site—and we cross and enter a fenced in yard. Downstairs, steep ones, we see niches for burial urns and ashes. All the decorative plaster has been stolen—lime for fertilizer one of the scholars suggests —and the urns too are missing. What is left are holes---like a bee cage with a few incised epigraphs on marble. The letters are beautiful: fine, sure, handmade. One of the fellows in book design photographs them all over the city. These are especially lovely. Then the prize—we go to a columbarium still in the park but one discovered in 1984. Thus it is intact!

We go down, very similar but the plaster is still up and the tiles on the floor: it is from a collegio—a community of freed greek slaves from 2000 years ago. The paintings are nearly folk art, with images of life—fruit, birds, a mirror, a garden and then a long series of figures –that work around the smallish room 15 ft high perhaps 15x 10 feet long and wide—to tell the story of court and justice done: the defendant is found guilty, his hand is put in fire (the man becomes a lefty). The floor tiles are marvelous, three different designs in a small space, with the threshold marked---un patterned largely, fragmented, looking like modern post world-war 2 paintings. Very full of feeling and delicacy. This in the Pamphili backyard, a grand villa with formal gardens and a fantastic 6x6’ vase (I will include photo) and lovely shy marble woman. Touching, emotional.

Wednesday is another walk, this time to artist studios downtown, the first few in the neighborhood where our lab is (take the 75 to Colosseum and get out). The galleries are small with quite good work: in the first using men’s shirts and cloth to make landscape paintings, heels to make decayed orchids (?); in the second full of pattern and print, strong graphics and a large variety of materials and processes that are held together to excite the room (this man had just shown in NY). Then we go to Gagosian in Rome—other side of town, large white space with Alexander Calder exhibit. The Calders are glorious—delicate and not, mobile and stabile, humorous and very human. There was also a series of drawings that were beautiful—Miro influenced and reminding me of Picasso’s notebooks from Barcelona—starry starry nights. The opening is tonight. They were nice enough to show us the day before; the director quite generous and walking about on 6inch heeled purple suede boots! I remain amazed by Rome’s women and their foot capabilities.

Later this morning I thought about that white space and how cut off from life it was, how unlike Rome it was. The artificiality of the museum and gallery, the division between the real and aesthetics, the sacral in art. Feeling uncomfortable with these conclusions. Remembering my 10 year old self, un-theorized, sensing that sculpture was more in life than painting sitting in frames on walls. Of course, I love painting but that child perception was not wrong. It is still an issue. How are things seen? How are they sold?

Today, third walk in a week. Almost too much but always interesting. This time down to the papal palace along the via garibaldi. I had just been down this way but without knowing things that made it so much richer. Richard, one of the scholars (and our Byron) led the talk with many interesting facts about our locale, both inside and outside the gates---how this was the site of the French incursion and finally defeat of Garibaldi in 1849. Seeing the arch and the way the path into the pamphili park is a direct route—on which the French army made its way. Learning that our Galileo building was taller and the key building that could see over the wall. Once the French breached its walls, the fight was lost for the Italian army. Walking down the via, the busts are of Garibaldi’s officers and men and were paid for by the families of the revolutionary warriors. Then finally to Anita Garibaldi statue created by the fascists in the 20th c.: she is riding sidesaddle with a pistol raised and a baby at her breast! The style is l9th c. and purposefully; the emotions are meant to raise fascist hopes.

On to St. Peters, not inside but checking out the walls and an early hospital—one for 500 years and then Bernini’s columns---how they form an irregular ellipse to correct the weirdness of st. peter’s façade---built as popes' tore down each others' prior work. On up another set of newly discovered stairs to a well-earned lunch.

This weekend many celebrations: drinks after Friday dinner to celebrate one of the academy’s funders—nice (very wealthy) guy from Cambridge; Saturday Halloween with kids and our adult party—what will I be? And Sunday a dinner at Lo Scarpone. Yes.

In between —work and more work. I must finish the China film! Get more film from Kodak, Italy and present films to Cornell architecture students on Tuesday. buona notte

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26th, 2009

Monday October 26th

I believe I left off with Thursday’s concert and my illness. Things looked up from then on.

Saturday I had lunch with the Coen Brothers and Frances McDormand. They were here for the Rome film festival and their distributor Focus Features knows the academy's cook Mona —ahhh the way to everything must be through food (at least in Rome). So there they were and Marty so nicely and unexpectedly invited me to sit at the table.

I am telling Ethan about the film I am shooting with my 20 year old Beaulieu and he keeps asking are the Fellows actors? Frances is getting in baby time, picking up the gorgeous 4 month old Caroline who starred in my film as MS’s new daughter while Joel talks about his mother being a professor at u of Minnesota in art history and his dad at the same university in economics. I comment that the two sons followed in a way; he demurred, saying— in such a different field. True enough. For the record their mom joined a feminist class action suit in the 70s, won and spent her winnings redecorating the living room! We had a laugh about that. They live and work pre and post production out of NYC and Joel commented that Rome of all of European cities feels the most NY to him.

To me, Rome also feels like San Francisco with the hills and secret staircases I keep discovering. I traveled up and down on some of them Friday when I had to go to a notary. The office was Kafkaesque—notaries here are like lawyers —with bad art on the wall, on his desk a bronze statue of a young girl (14?) jumping rope, her sheer (bronze) top with nipples and budding breasts quite prominent. The guy himself a politely dressed bureaucrat, he sees me for a minute and then the secretary comes in and out and charges 50 euro (that’s $75 us dollars for a signature and pressure seal!) They wanted to see my passport too. So much for Italian bureaucracy. I got off easy. Next week I go to be fingerprinted for my permesso di soggiorno—permission to stay the year. I’m looking forward to seeing the inside of the police station.

Sat night I have my first motorino ride ! with my friend Lauren Sunstein who gives me wine and dinner at her house. Turns out her mom wrote a book on Mary Wollstonecraft and another on Mary Shelley. Am reading the first while LS tries to get the other back from a friend. A fun night in a Roman apartment. Looking forward to going to the movies with L and attending one of her parties, and shocked again at the charmed interrelations that keep happening here.

Sunday was quiet, yoga, walk to the bio market on via giula, naps to cure my cold and great communal cooking in the evening. I did al dente green beans with a light tomato sauce (fresh of course).

And today see/saw the 11 rolls we shot last week: they are gorgeous. I am going to have to edit them some before moving on to more large scale shooting. They are so gorgeous I fear them: how to interrupt the gorgeousness? Sound will be part of it? And the text…..Its a nice challenge.

Even as we plan a trip to Jerusalem, Cairo and the pyramids for February when its cold and rainy here. I am pinching myself again. 71F in the day all week here.Wish you were here?
which leads to: Hey folks--is anybody reading this? please comment if you are. for now

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wed October 21
First day of shoot without MB. Went really well. Shot at Martin’s, first days of film’s characters when Shelley shows up and chats with William Godwin. We are lucky and the SUN appears! after many days of cold cold freddo cold! People here previously say this is as cold as it gets, but I don’t quite believe them. Even so, the government refuses to allow people to put on heat until November 1st so my studio—40 feet high—has been colder than outside. I need space heaters, maybe two. Many people are getting ill. Not I yet, but I am fighting with garlic and water and ginger and honey.

Some other (more) lovely coincidences: met up with friend from 20 years ago at Monday music concert at the Villa Aurelia, a splendid chandeliered room with 5/6 musicians playing modern music from Feldman and Glass through contemporary Italian composers—even one woman—Irma Ravinale. Who is she? Must look her up. I liked it. Too crowded but meeting my friend was fortuitous—my question: are you an American? She lives in Trastevere nearby, has for 15 years and we are headed for an English movie on Friday night. It will be a large change after the dearth of movie-going in face of last month’s constant movie-making.

Yesterday we visited the gallery at the Villa Borghese. You need an appointment. It was fantastic: a glorious bedecked villa (winding turret-like staircase like the villa Aurelia—no elevators in these ‘country homes’), filled with Caravaggio and Bacon show, plus their ‘regular’ Raphaels and Bernini. Truly glorious—the Caravaggios are dark darkest Vermeers—his concern with light, his ability to mold it, paint cloth as white streak, his humanity in gesture flesh emotion unparalleled. I see in my mind’s eye Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes, the surprise in her mouth, the strength of her arm, a honeyed light against the dark; the Magdalane so beautiful and wistful, solitary with a great swath of canvas above in two colors: ochre/grey ; the whited Jesus taken down from the cross in Caravaggio’s last months—so strange it seemed the painting had been too cleaned, but no the Raphael of the same subject matter (in another room)—layered with a mob of folks in green and red and black also surround a whited Christ figure, blood drained. Magnificent!

Too the Bernini-we have been seeing them all over Rome but here you get the chronology, the sweep of his ambition and precociousness. Elena the young art historian was with us and gave us the backstory and pointers. Here an awkward Shepard with sheep from when B was still a teenager. Then an Aeneas fleeing Troy—more large scale, still Hellenistic: a figure carrying another. Still mannerist. Then, 2 years later he does the Rape of Persephone and it is glorious sculpture. In marble, he shows the flesh bending underneath the hand; he shows the fold in the drapery where the fabric was folded, as if just bought— before it is washed —how fabric retains the fold from being on the shelf! It is intense and impossible. You do not believe it is marble. You want to touch it and I am not even talking about the balance and amazement of the figures in action. Three years later he does Apollo and Daphne, where Dapne is becoming a laurel tree. Bernini here lets the process show—where the toes are clinging to the tree becoming simply stone. He takes us from rough marble through bark through flesh through flesh returning to roots (of marble). Then a David where marble is made into a rope and here the face, not of the gods, is human, determined modern. Inexpressible the power of these works. The shock and skill and passion. Bernini is showing off but his talent is nearly inhuman; Caravaggio on the other hand is all human; the Raphael ideal. Such a stretch of elegant immense and deep and true feelings. One is dazzled walking above the ground

Then as we walk out Queen Noor is visiting (wife of Hussein, Jordan’s king). Lots of paparazzi. Light is late afternoon, long shadows, rich with oncoming sunset. We wander through the park, discover the lake where I hope to shoot, alight with ducks and rowboats (perfect for Shelley and his women) and walk on home.

Today we went to the French institute—beautiful villa unpainted so its bones showed. Lovely Versaille-like formal garden and view, its back to the Borghese gardens, its front to the city with a long promenade. I thought of Incognito, the novel which gail scott gave me this summer and wondered if it were still like that—difficult cold, bad food et al. but we didn’t get a chance to really meet anyone. They wanted to lecture us and we left walking back through the city---stopping at a store S had seen and buying yes buying finally a pair of shoes! Very cheered at dinner.

More to come: tonight Marty performs for us. The first piece was interesting for its structure. It was for a program in which Beethoven proceeded and Messian followed, so Marty took that as a structure—moving his piece from one to the other. I thought what an interesting type of bridge ( I wrote bride). The second piece put a poet to music, long vowels beautiful.

To end: I am sick. Late last night my body capitulated. So broad all day and garlic and sleep now.
sogni dell'ora. (version of sweet dreams; literally "dreams of gold")