Christmas memories….

Ah, so many memories crowd my mind as I take a second to think back on that Christmas long, long ago. It seems like only yesterday that it was Christmas 2004, but in fact it was four whole days ago! Where did the time go?

My Christmas was serene and satisfying:

Woke up and made breakfast: the computer was playing Barrios guitar music which then segued into Aretha Framklin’s album “Young Gifted and Black.” I realized what the difference between her and today’s micro divas is: range. Not tonal but intellectual, today’s “diva” singers strive to do the same thing over and over again, whereas on Y, G&B you can hear Aretha trying different things out, thinking her way through the songs. It’s interesting to hear how much she listens to jazz. “First Snow in Kokomo” is her edging up on Billie Holiday territory. The difference between real and lesser artists is what they do with fear – do they reach for the safe thing, or do they walk into the unknown? Shortly thereafter people’s idea of what Aretha sounded like became fossilized, but it was thrilling to be able to hear what was so exciting about that album.

I opened a present from my gallery: the catalogue from a museum retrospective of Scott Burton. Seemingly exhaustive in its coverage of his work, and containing some of his very sharp writing. I leafed through the whole thing and then read his essay on Reitveld. I found myself regretting the the fact that I had never met Burton. Seeing all of the work together made it much clearer how much design expertise and social theorizing was at play in things that I intially took as lightweight.

I worked on a drawing that was part of a present for my mother. Had some Stew on in the background.

Took a quick jaunt onto LJ and was wowed by that music video meme – again people’s exuberance and creativity. It made me want to hang out with alll of them. I’ve obviously been pulling back from LJ some – for various complicated reasons. But this made me glad I had looked in.

Met my mother and sister , plus a friend of hers for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I tend not to get worked up over “experimental narrative” films, since I generally think that that’s how all narrative films should be at this point. Furthermore Wes anderson’s films seem to come so clearly out of my demographic, that I get suspicious of them. But there’s much to like in this movie, which is more about the travials of independent filmamking than anything else. Bill Murray manages to pick another role that seems purely autobigraphical,which combined with the fact that he’s hated so much around Hollywood will mean that he probably won’t be getting an oscar any time soon. (anyone else notice how Jim Carrey seems to be attempting to ape Murray’s carreer?). “Life Aquatic” ends with people forgiving the crazy irritating irresponsible artist because he he made something that showed them something new. A scenario I’d like to believe in (mostly as a way of alleviating guilt), but one that contains that stain of self-satisfaction that seems to me to be Anderson’s downfall – the thing that keeps him out of the ranks of Fellini or Bunuel. All of that aside, this was a great movie for family Christmas time, as nobody had the sense that they were having to “sit through” something for the sake of other family members.

Dinner at Eddies: A retro deli on the upper west side, as my Mom and Sis were craving corned beef. (how did we, Episcopalians all, end up having such a Jewish-style Xmas?) The food was meh.

Back to M&S’s apartment for present opening: No one got anything that induced head scratching and in fact the gifts were touching with a couple verging on the lavish. My Mom broke out the apple pie she had made, and I broke my no sugar rule to down a piece with cheddar cheese which served to throw me totally out of whack later that night, but it was delicious at the time.

Finally, home again. I felt, and feel lucky indeed to have the life that I have, to have the chance to read and hear and see the thoughts of others, to have the will and oppurtunity to make things, to know smart and funny people, to be related to the same and to be able to see them and spend time with them. There is much conflict in my life, and many things I wish were other than they are, but any of my complaints should be read against the background of my deep gratitude.

0 Comments +

  1. shoulds and shouldn’ts

    I think you are part Jewish. Since there seems to be a great deal of analyzing, overanalyzing, anxiety, and even guilt in this post of a otherwise “serene and satisfying” holiday get-together with your family for a movie and dinner.

    Would you enjoy your life more if you thought about it less?

  2. shoulds and shouldn’ts

    I think you are part Jewish. Since there seems to be a great deal of analyzing, overanalyzing, anxiety, and even guilt in this post of a otherwise “serene and satisfying” holiday get-together with your family for a movie and dinner.

    Would you enjoy your life more if you thought about it less?

  3. Dinner at Eddies: A retro deli on the upper west side, as my Mom and Sis were craving corned beef. (how did we, Episcopalians all, end up having such a Jewish-style Xmas?

    Florence King addresses the problem of ‘Piscops and food in her book WASP, Where is Thy Sting? Because we lack a hyphen in our name, we lack any great ethnic food tradition other than overcooked vegetables and roast beast. She creates a sample shopping list for the ‘Piscop mother and items include worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, horseradish, lemons and food – high prominence to cocktail ingredients, and food, generalized, is an after thought.

  4. Dinner at Eddies: A retro deli on the upper west side, as my Mom and Sis were craving corned beef. (how did we, Episcopalians all, end up having such a Jewish-style Xmas?

    Florence King addresses the problem of ‘Piscops and food in her book WASP, Where is Thy Sting? Because we lack a hyphen in our name, we lack any great ethnic food tradition other than overcooked vegetables and roast beast. She creates a sample shopping list for the ‘Piscop mother and items include worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, horseradish, lemons and food – high prominence to cocktail ingredients, and food, generalized, is an after thought.

  5. It’s interesting to hear how much she listens to jazz. “First Snow in Kokomo” is her edging up on Billie Holiday territory.

    That’s not too surprising if you’ve heard her old Columbia-label material. That stuff was far more in a jazz singer/piano player mould. They seemed to be shaping her to be the next Nancy Wilson or Gloria Lynne, when in fact her strengths lay elsewhere. But she was nothing if not versatile.

  6. It’s interesting to hear how much she listens to jazz. “First Snow in Kokomo” is her edging up on Billie Holiday territory.

    That’s not too surprising if you’ve heard her old Columbia-label material. That stuff was far more in a jazz singer/piano player mould. They seemed to be shaping her to be the next Nancy Wilson or Gloria Lynne, when in fact her strengths lay elsewhere. But she was nothing if not versatile.

  7. Re: shoulds and shouldn’ts

    Would you enjoy your life more if you thought about it less?

    In a word, no.

    I actually enjoy my life hugely. I think it’s more my Irish legacy that has taught me to talk about my life as if I didn’t enjoy it. But if you look to my last paragraph you’ll see that I’m trying to clarify exactly that issue: it’s easier for me to write when there’s bad news so it seems like I’m always depressed but the truth is Im a pretty dang happy person.

    Here’s the hardest thing in the world for me: admitting to being happy while I’ve been out of touch some one. Not because I’ve been out of touch with them but simply while I’ve been out of touch. It’s ok for me to be overwhelemed by work or depression but never by happiness.

  8. Re: shoulds and shouldn’ts

    Would you enjoy your life more if you thought about it less?

    In a word, no.

    I actually enjoy my life hugely. I think it’s more my Irish legacy that has taught me to talk about my life as if I didn’t enjoy it. But if you look to my last paragraph you’ll see that I’m trying to clarify exactly that issue: it’s easier for me to write when there’s bad news so it seems like I’m always depressed but the truth is Im a pretty dang happy person.

    Here’s the hardest thing in the world for me: admitting to being happy while I’ve been out of touch some one. Not because I’ve been out of touch with them but simply while I’ve been out of touch. It’s ok for me to be overwhelemed by work or depression but never by happiness.

  9. Re: shoulds and shouldn’ts

    Would you enjoy your life more if you thought about it less?

    In a word, no.

    I actually enjoy my life hugely. I think it’s more my Irish legacy that has taught me to talk about my life as if I didn’t enjoy it. But if you look to my last paragraph you’ll see that I’m trying to clarify exactly that issue: it’s easier for me to write when there’s bad news so it seems like I’m always depressed but the truth is Im a pretty dang happy person.

    Here’s the hardest thing in the world for me: admitting to being happy while I’ve been out of touch some one. Not because I’ve been out of touch with them but simply while I’ve been out of touch. It’s ok for me to be overwhelemed by work or depression but never by happiness.

  10. Talk about forgiving irritating artists, Scott Burton was as irritating as they come. Or at least that was my experience of him: arrogant, disrespectful, and rude. But somehow that only seems to enhance his reputation as a great artist, n’est-ce pas? I never did forgive him, though…

  11. Talk about forgiving irritating artists, Scott Burton was as irritating as they come. Or at least that was my experience of him: arrogant, disrespectful, and rude. But somehow that only seems to enhance his reputation as a great artist, n’est-ce pas? I never did forgive him, though…

  12. In the catalog everyone seems to be using the polite terms for just what you say. As for his reputation these days I think it’s pretty non existant: I doubt if a single one of my students, graduate or otherwise know who he was.

    Sometime you’ll have to tell me about your encounters with him. The forgiving is something that I think pretty much only happens in movies.

    And it’s nice to see you online again – Hope the holidays have been ok.

  13. In the catalog everyone seems to be using the polite terms for just what you say. As for his reputation these days I think it’s pretty non existant: I doubt if a single one of my students, graduate or otherwise know who he was.

    Sometime you’ll have to tell me about your encounters with him. The forgiving is something that I think pretty much only happens in movies.

    And it’s nice to see you online again – Hope the holidays have been ok.

  14. In the catalog everyone seems to be using the polite terms for just what you say. As for his reputation these days I think it’s pretty non existant: I doubt if a single one of my students, graduate or otherwise know who he was.

    Sometime you’ll have to tell me about your encounters with him. The forgiving is something that I think pretty much only happens in movies.

    And it’s nice to see you online again – Hope the holidays have been ok.

  15. I found Scott to be luminous and elusive and someone I would have liked to know better, but that was before his career really took off. Every time I see one of his works I get sad.

    Mute, like tombs.

  16. I found Scott to be luminous and elusive and someone I would have liked to know better, but that was before his career really took off. Every time I see one of his works I get sad.

    Mute, like tombs.

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