Archive for September, 2012

Bring Back This Blog!

September 30, 2012

As I’m into Hasids, I’m also into Hasidic architecture in a so-bad-it’s-good way.  I was thinking that this would somehow figure into my Religion PhD program, but it turns out there isn’t a whole lot of information out there about Hasidic architecture, perhaps because it’s not really a subject worthy of study but also maybe, just MAYBE, no one has thought to look into the ways the architecture reflects the faith –– until now.  There is, however, one blog that I stumbled upon in my searching for topical resources that is just. fucking. hilarious.  You can find it here.  Below are some selections:







Unfortunately this blogger went the way of many others in the -sphere and abandoned his great works.  I thought of contacting him and asking him to relocate his faith, if you will, but I figured the email address he gave –– fudgepacker [at] –– was likely fake.


It Could Be Worse…

September 29, 2012

“Extenuating circumstances” could have caused you to tear up at an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

It’s Hard to Be a Prophet

September 27, 2012

Was it patently obvious to anyone else that J.K. Rowling’s book for grown-ups was bound to fail?

“It’s easy to understand why Ms. Rowling wanted to try something totally different after spending a decade and a half inventing and complicating the fantasy world that Harry and company inhabited, and one can only admire her gumption in facing up to the overwhelming expectations created by the global phenomenon that was Harry Potter. Unfortunately, the real-life world she has limned in these pages is so willfully banal, so depressingly clichéd that “The Casual Vacancy” is not only disappointing — it’s dull. The novel — which takes place in the tiny, fictional English village of Pagford, and chronicles the political and personal fallout created by the sudden death of a member of the parish council named Barry Fairbrother — reads like an odd mash-up of a dark soap opera like “Peyton Place” with one of those very British Barbara Pym novels, depicting small-town, circumscribed lives.”

–– In the Times by… guess who?

The Sad Modern Life

September 25, 2012

You know you’re living a sad modern life WHEN you get a $5 coupon to and you don’t think you’ll ever use it because your favorite sushi place doesn’t accept those kinds of deals and that’s the only place you really use for, and then you wonder if you should archive the coupon in your Gmail inbox or if you’ll risk forgetting about it and never using it then, and then you realize, “Holy fuck, I’ve been worrying about this for ten whole minutes.”

Happy Erev Erev Yom Kippur

September 24, 2012

Eat a lot tonight, folks.  You’re gonna need it.

Puff, puff.

New Poet

September 24, 2012

Many of you (okay, 2/3 of you) know that I’m a big fan of tiny poetry –– i.e. poems, like Kay Ryan’s, that look like toothpicks laid out across the page, or ones that, like Ogden Nash’s, are quip-sized morsels of verse.  That’s why I was so pleased to stumble upon the work of Opal Miller, who it seems is a recluse with a checkered past to boot!  My favorite!  Below is a Ryan, a Nash, and a Miller, just because it’s Monday and I know it’s been tough for you.  (I’ve staggered them as well.  I thought that might be helpful for you.  You’re welcome.)


We turn out

as tippy as

eggs.  Legs

are an illusion.

We are held

as in a carton

if someone

loves us.

It’s a pity

only loss

proves this.


Always Marry an April Girl

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true —
I love April, I love you.


The Balloon

What happens if the black balloon

bursts as the tide goes out and

the wax drips and

she falls?




September 22, 2012

Wail away.

Watch the hullabaloo at the Western Wall live here.

Shulamith Firestone Meets Diane Arbus

September 22, 2012

This is from Shulamith’s second and final book Airless Spaces, which is basically comprised of tiny portraits of “losers,” many of whom meet in mental hospitals.    Followers of the sad prodigal ladies and the art they make will recognize Diane instantly despite Shulamith’s use of a pseudonym.  This is from a title, btw, entitled “Suicides I’ve Known,” which I’m pissed I never thought of first (although I haven’t actually known any suicides so…)


Before I ever met Yvonne Tree I met her in her work: square, straightforward compositions on the grotesque.  I was a young art student then, and I had a Yashica 2 1/4 camera and I enjoyed composing on it.  She had a strong influence on me, though I stopped short of getting into actual carnival grotesquerie as too sensationalistic.  But the static posed quality of some of her frames affected my own photography –– I am thinking now of her famous twin girls staring at the camera.

When I came to New York and began organizing women’s liberation groups, we were to do publicity for a major piece in the New York Times.  We were offered a choice of photographers and she was one of them.  I was flattered to have such a great photographer assigned to us, and convinced the others that we should go for her.  So we got her.

She was delicate-boned, thin and pretty, if in a mousy sort of way.  What I mean is she did not stand out as strong among the rest of us strapping girls.  One night she accompanied us on  an “action” to retrieve my pay from a withholding boss.  (I was working as a waitress at McGregor’s Garage on St. Mark’s Place.) We ganged up on the boss and I threw a glass of water in his face.  We got the pay.  But Yvonne had stayed outside the whole time, quaking for possible damage to her expensive camera.

When the piece for the Times finally came out, the women were outraged at her photographs, which were of zombielike dykes all alone in a room.  She had used one or two women from another group (who were not even typical) and distanced them in the space.  I guess you could tell they were photos by Yvonne Tree.

I realized my poor judgment in swaying others in her favor when she apologized for the strangeness of the photographs, pleading that this was her “eye” and she was incapable of shooting a normal journalistic picture.  I had rather thought she was doing this assignment for commercial reasons and that she would adapt her style accordingly, but I was wrong.  Anyway, I believed her that she couldn’t help it.

Later she destroyed a whole roll and only that which had been printed with the article on women’s liberation remained with the New York Times.  She, however, gave me as a casual gift one unused print that remained, ruined for any practical use by a large crease across the left corner.  “You’re not a beautiful girl,” she said, “but somehow in this picture…”  And it was true, I looked stunning in the picture, a whole aura surrounded me; I was circled by other women who looked supplementary.  I was wearing a long silver ring on the first finger of my right hand, my “Jupiter” finger –– when I seldom wore a ring –– and generally I read as the leader of the group.

In a taxicab once she had talked a little about the breakup of her long marriage –– she seemed to be about forty at the time –– to a young guy who had launched her on her career as one of the few significant female artists of that era.  Otherwise I had no clue that she was deeply depressed, other than her tearing up the roll of women’s lib shots which were neither fish nor fowl –– neither her usual strong grotesques, nor a good journalistic visual account of what was developing in women’s liberation.

Anyhow, a month and a half later we heard a shocking story: her body had been found in the bathtub, drained of blood.  She had apparently chosen to go by cutting her wrists and then hastening the flow of blood by letting it seep into warm water.  It all sounded gruesome.  I had had no idea she was in such a desperate state.

I held on to the picture as exceedingly valuable.  I hid it in some newspapers behind an old trunk, and then later decided to put it in a cardboard roll in another place I had.  When I came out of the hospital, I had no money, so I called a curator at the Museum of MOdern Art to see if they might not want to buy the picture, one of her last good shots.  But they were content to settle for the New York Times shots, in which I had (gratefully) not been included.  In any case, I checked for the roll of cardboard, and it had been thrown out in my absence.

~Shulamith Firestone, OBM

What Does Your Brain Look Like, Yayoi?

September 19, 2012

In the latest issue of Bullett magazine, my friend HG interviews Yayoi Kusama (“Don’t be too jealous –– it was just an email interview”) and asks the all important question: what does your brain look like?  For the record, Yayoi’s answer isn’t nearly as good as the answers of my participants, found here.

HG: What do you think your brain looks like?

YK: The image of it is always changing, and it’s difficult to explain my own brain.  I think it would be much easier if someone else describes the image of my brain. (footnotes 2 and 3)

2: “Oh, to be a neuron in Kusama’s brain.”  ~Joshua Jackson, actor [ed note: what?!]

3: “And if we read her installations as images of her mind, then the dots could be taken to represent the millions of neurons that exist in the brain.” ~From Walking in My Mind, Hayward Gallery Publishing, 2009

And Just Like That, Your Day Turns Around

September 17, 2012

And you see an ACTUAL SHIP CAPTAIN in a Morton Williams supermarket buying eight containers of Greek yogurt, two heads of lettuce and some cheese!

Pipe not lit, fyi.