Monday, September 01, 2008

tourist time

This week, while waiting for my living situation to sort itself out, I played New York City tourist. Fun game! My first night here I just walked around the neighborhood, people-watching. The sunset killed, but I had no camera. Next day I went to the Whitney to see the exhibit on R Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the buckyball (among other things) and all-around cool cat. The display included tons of his drawings and plans, all of which have hilarious annotations scrawled all over them. He was a funny guy. Here's a sketch comparing his "4D" house to the "tailor-made archaic contraption" most folks live in:

He also invented a three-wheeled car (the Dymaxion car) that could parallel-park in two square inches, held eleven people and got around 35 miles to the gallon while hitting speeds of up to 120mph. And this was in 1933.

Recently my grandpa sent me photos of the army hut he and Granny lived in when my dad was a tiny munchkin. It was basically a particleboard cube, so small they could barely all fit inside at once, but housing was scarce at the time and they took what they could get. Meanwhile, Bucky was marketing self-contained home kits that cost hardly anything, went up in a day, and could be transported anywhere cheaply. Orders poured in, but the things never got made. What gives? And what about his floating cloud cities? or the gigantic pyramid community outside of Manhattan, or the geodesic dome over Manhattan?

None of the really cool stuff ever gets invented. We are lame.

Anyway. I also went to Film Forum one day and spent the whole afternoon watching French crime films: Un Flic and The Sicilian Clan, both starring my boyfriend Alain Delon. Pretty great.

Yesterday I hung out at MOMA, which I'm starting to love almost as much as Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The big exhibit now is Kirchner and the Berlin streets - I love his angular prostitutes, all sleek and vivid. I bet they'd be fun to hang out with. They look cool:

Also spent some time in what I call the Freaky Germans room, with Otto Dix, Max Beckmann and George Grosz - the Grosz they had up is SO super yucky, it's a portrait of an old man and the skin on his head is too thin and shiny, you can see veins and blech, it's just gross. Great, but gross. Like the old hacking dude in Prizzi's Honor - extreme nightmares. I love Otto Dix but he's scary; his self-portrait at MOMA is plastic-zombie creepy. Photos of him in real life make him look pretty rad, but the painted version gives you chills, man. Christian Bale in saranwrap.

Mostly though I just walked around and looked at the city. It's huge! I walked past the UN by accident, so now I know where to find a police officer if I should ever need one. Jeez. Later on the doorman at a fancy apartment building tried to get me to buy his Honda Interceptor (red), but it looked awfully shiny and new. I doubt I could afford it, much less ride such a thing. (I miss my little Hawk, though. She is chilling in Zach's garage. And the racebike is chilling in pieces in Jack's garage...more on that later, no doubt.)

I'm dragging my rucksack to the apartment today - the place is in Fort Greene, actually bordering Fort Greene Park. It comes with a nameless fish I'm allowed to kill if things go badly. Updates and photos once I get settled in.


  1. A week in NYC, lucky devil. Rent a bike and zip out to Chicago for my book launch 7 Oct. You know you want to do PA and OH in a total of four hours.

  2. Glad you went to the MoMA. Georg Grosz & Otto Dix (insert your own grade-school-level name jokes here) are definitely two of my all-time favorite artists, alongside other crazy geniuses like Munch, Schiele, and Bacon. The S.F. MoMA is fine, but it focuses so much on West Coast Expressionism and Pop, while I prefer the brooding Europeans and New Yorkers.

    So anyway ... when are you going to invent the Beckyball?


    P.S. I once saw a documentary called "Grosz in America," which was (obviously) about his life after leaving Germany, and how he felt living in the USA. Long story short: miserable. Not because he thought leaving Germany was wrong, but because America's rah-rah capitalist mindset and business-before-art blandness was too much for him. Just like Henry Miller....