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06/03/2004: "answers to your questions coming soon! but for now..."

Semi-frequent pining for Berlin aside, I've been really, really loving New York these days. On Friday I saw Glenn Branca jam with noise band Tono-Bungay in a basement for five bucks! Branca looks like a kindly old English professor. He was wearing a pale grey blazer and neatly pressed blue jeans with the bottoms cuffed, and these black-framed bifocals. Kinda quiet and studious-looking. Certainly not the sort you'd expect to be thrashing away like a madman at two cherry-red guitars surgically joined at the fretboard. And he was slam-dancing with the guys in the band! At one point one of the other guitarists pushed Branca off the tiny stage and he bounced right back from the fall, unmussed. Then he pushed one of the guitarists!

Then there was a street fair where I got advice from some dudes from the West Indies on how to brew the perfect extra-strength ginger beer (ginger beer is an obsession of mine), and those wonderful and frightening concoctions I remember from when I lived in Harlem that involve sea moss and sorrel.

Then today was the opening reception of the Parsons design master's thesis exhibitions. Go take a look--it's free. It felt kind of like a more grown-up version of a high school science fair. Everyone was so earnest about the art they were making, so completely unpretentious and excited. The best pieces had more good ideas in them than most gallery shows I've been to recently. There were a lot of miserable failures, too, but they were usually spectacular in their awfulness. So still fun to watch.

And also: people are throwing out the best trash right now! I guess everyone's moving. I'm always amazed at what Manhattanites will throw out. People don't want to fix anything here, do they? So many great pieces of furniture lacking just one easily replaceable part. Sofas! Antique tables! Perfectly nice house plants that just need some fertilizer and pruning! Mattresses--sketchy, I know--but it's still fun to jump up and down on them as they lay on the sidewalk, unloved. So many cool books! Some are kind of lame--"Introduction to Business Mathematics at Baruch College"? But whatever, maybe someday I'll need to understand business mathematics. I've plowed through most of the book already.


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