I don’t know what the error was or even if there was one. I don’t know what sources are reliable, or unreliable, since people tend to answer questions when they have no answer. I DO know that we now have an expanse of plate glass covered with brown paper where Schwartz Bookshop once stood in the heart of the Oakland Avenue shopping district.
Perhaps a combination of factors caused the store’s demise: two large Schwartz bookshops only two miles apart, stiff competition from Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes & Noble, high rent when the lease came up for renewal, other issues that those of us who are affected know nothing about.
I walked over to the wake on March 31, the wake for putting Schwartz to sleep, wanted to cry, so did everyone else. And
instead we all smiled, together one last time. Ellyn brought a cake, and when that was eaten, Bill went out to buy some more. At three minutes to five, we sang Auld Lang Syne, one more era to which we’d never return.
Another April, another spring, another Gallery Night, Earth Day, Poetry Month...Adolph paints his sculptures, plays chess. I draw dancers, wake at 3 AM with a poem written in my head. Guests come and go, time to start planting again, the usual green onions have sprouted in my garden. Life continues, repeats itself, yet is never boring.
Nothing’s the same the second time round, nor the 70th. No face is perfectly symmetrical. No actor plays his part identically each night. And I imagine my hair’s a bit greyer each day. I appreciate the unpredictable: what thoughts I’ll wake up to, what news on NPR, what weather out the window, the quality of sunrise and sunset, the people I’ll run into around town.
This Friday, April 17, once again is Gallery Night, and the surprise is who will stop by and what amusing or interesting conversations we’ll have. Adolph repainted his WE ARE ALL MAKING ART sculpture. The pieces haven’t changed shape, just color. Are they still the same sculptures? And even if the color hadn’t changed, do we ever see things the same way twice? As always I have the walls in Rosenblatt Gallery, Adolph has the floor, Eli has added new work to his show in the back of Artasia, and photographer Aliza Ksobiech has a show in the revolving gallery.
Details: RECEPTION: Friday, April 17, 5-11 PM at ROSENBLATT GALLERY, 181 N. Broadway: Art by Adolph and Suzanne & guest artist, Aliza Ksobiech.
At 4:30 this morning it struck me that TEMPUS breaks down into TEMP, short for temporary, and US. Temporary us. Temp us.
I'd awakened about an hour earlier with the phrase TEMPUS FUGIT bouncing around in my mind as I contemplated the speed of time: the twenty-second annual performances of the Earth Poets and Musicians will take place on April 24th & 25th. Twenty-second annual! It makes me, temporarily, feel not quite so temporary. In fact I feel con-temporary, as concern for Earth becomes more and more mainstream (we can’t twice step into the same mainstream!).
I’ve participated in every Earth Poet performance, once even skipped a New York bat mitzvah and another time left my own art opening to do the gig. After all, being an Earth Poet changed my life. It made me more environmentally aware, forced me to write eco-poems every year, gave me innumerable opportunities to perform, and provided me with a special community of friends, critics, and collaborators.
Here we are before our first performance in 1988. Left to right, in front of the tree: Jeff Poniewaz, me (holding our dog, Lilac), and Angela Peckenpaugh. In the tree: Rick Ollman, Ann Megisikwe Filemyr, Craig Kowalkowski, Cristina Herrera, Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Sue Silvermarie, and Harvey Taylor. Antler performed with the group for its first few years, but was away when this photo was taken.
We're all left holding the bag, the fascinating, scary grab bag called life. Step by step we can't predict where each foot will land, whom we'll see, what we’ll say, whether we’ll fall flat. Today’s a surprise, tomorrow's one too.
If I can't project myself into tomorrow, I certainly can't project myself into the mind of the endangered Chinese alligator! There are less than one hundred left worldwide, and at least one of them lives in the United States. Does he harbor in some nonverbal form such concepts as surprise? today? tomorrow? alligator? extinction? Does he differentiate himself from the surrounding humans?
Moo-Shu the Chinese alligator and some rare Tibetan Temple Dogs will be among the honored guests at the Dragonwood Benefit on Friday, May 8th, 6 PM to 1 AM, at 181 North Broadway. The entire building, Artasia Gallery, Rosenblatt Gallery, Exclusiva, and Cuvee, will come alive with surprises: Chinese Acrobatic Dancers, Tibetan Dancers, the endangered alligator, the rare Temple Dogs, various musicians, a fashion show, fortune tellers, food, and who knows what else. The tax-deductible $10 donations at the door will all go to conservationist Terry Cullen’s Wildlife Conservancy which works to save these alligators from extinction. And what will Moo-Shu be thinking?