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Dude-a-palooza

25 Aug
Maude Lebowski bowls

“Your roll, New York,” says Lebowski Fest. Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore), daughter of the Big Lebowski, not the Dude Lebowski.

This weekend Lebowski Fest was scheduled to bring fans of the Dude (Jeff Bridges in the The Big Lebowski [1998]) to Lucky Strike Lanes on far-west 42nd Street and Gramercy Theater on East 23rd Street. Although I have no reason to think the festival didn’t take place, I can’t say with certainty that it did, because I’m not a big enough Lebowski fan to have taken part. My lack of fandom for what’s been called a stoner masterpiece is of no consequence; easily enough without it, “The Dude abides.”

I had to do a Google search to be reminded whether there were any dream scenes. I have a poor enough memory for plot details, and this is a Coen Brothers movie about which, according to Wikipedia quoting an Indie Wire article, “Joel Coen stated: ‘We wanted to do a [Raymond] Chandler kind of story – how it moves episodically, and deals with the characters trying to unravel a mystery, as well as having a hopelessly complex plot that’s ultimately unimportant.'” As Roger Ebert described it, “‘The Big Lebowski’ is about an attitude, not a story….Only a steady hand in the midst of madness allows them [the Coen Brothers] to hold it all together–that, and the delirious richness of their visual approach.” All of which explains this film’s cult-fest worthiness. (Ebert’s review provides interesting backstory about the Coens’ inspiration for the main character.)

It turns out there are at least two major dream scenes, beloved of fans. One is a flying dream. The other is a Busby Berkeley* type of dance number to  Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition (1968). Continue reading

“The Everything Guide to Sleep” . . . Isn’t

13 Jun

New York magazine’s website has a set of articles collectively titled “The Everything Guide to Sleep,” which includes an infographic showing the sleep habits of a number of well-known artists, inventors, and so on. (As a commenter there pointed out, the group is short on women.)

There’s also a short interview titled “In Conversation With a Lucid Dreamer,” which is interesting but a woefully skimpy treatment of dreaming. Go on over and let New York know it’s missing so much! And that a good place to find it is the International Association for the Study of Dreams website, ASDreams.org. (I’m just back this week from IASD’s fabulous 2014 annual conference in Berkeley, so rich with everything from lucid dreaming to neuroscience to collage and poetry to church-based dream groups to Kabbalah. Endless dreaming and ways to work with dreams!)

Nora Ephron’s bedbug dream

30 Jun
Nora Ephron in April 2010 (photo by David Shankbone, from Wikipedia Commons)

Nora Ephron in April 2010
(photo by David Shankbone,
from Wikipedia Commons)

A small item to contribute to the memorialization of New Yorker Nora Ephron, who died this week. It’s been on my list of posts to write for more than a year now, and it comes from a New York Observer article (11/10/10) by Chloe Malle that appeared shortly after the publication of Ephron’s book I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections, which happened to be at the time when New York was experiencing its bedbug panic:

Nora Ephron has many unanswered questions. Is this the beginning of the end? And will they go away or is it like the plague? The director of Julie and Julia adjusted her black booted ankle, pulling it closer to the seat of the white tufted couch in her guest living room. “You know the science fiction ending where the world has only bugs left? Is this it? And why do they say crazy as a bedbug? They seem to know exactly what they’re doing.” Ms. Ephron sat placidly in the living room of the guest apartment several floors below the one she shares with husband Nick Pileggi.

She hasn’t thought about bedbugs today, though she did dream about them recently. “Don’t you think everyone has had a dream about bedbugs?” She asked. What was her dream? “That we had one! I don’t remember anything else except that I woke up and said, ‘I dreamed we had bedbugs,’ and Nick said, ‘Of course you did,’ and that was the end of it.”

What about you? Have you had a dream about a bedbug? I don’t remember having any, and that’s fine with me!

 

Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color

2 Jun

(Read the first and second installments.)

Excuse the cliché, but it’s precise in the case of the dream I’ll tell later in this post as I wrap up this three-part color quest.

Colombia (CIA World Factbook map)

Colombia (CIA World Factbook map)

A good place to hunt for color would be New York’s flower district, although I haven’t been there lately. But watching, on April 17 and 18, a travel brochure–type DVD about Colombia from the library, I learned that a significant portion of the flowers sold in New York come from that South American country. Several Colombian distributors displayed at the World Floral Expo trade show at Jacob Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan.

I learned from the DVD that the Colombian flower trade is old enough to have folkloric customs, among them the silleteros, “artisans who carry elaborate flower arrangements known as ‘silletas’ on their backs as they parade through the streets during Medellin’s annual Flower Fair held in August,” to quote Colombia Reports. Silleteros came to New York to “parade through the streets of Manhattan in New York…as part of the Latin American Folkloric Dance Festival” in 2009. Of course, I missed both the 2009 visit (maybe there’ve been more since?) and the trade show, but I’ve found more about silleteros on the site of Human Flower Project, a nice discovery in its own right (“an international newsgroup, photo album and discussion of humankind’s relationship with the floral world”). HFP explains: Continue reading

Fire in the Sky

6 May

Today is the 75th anniversary of the crash of the airship Hindenburg at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Hindenberg burns (Photo from the Lakehurst Naval Air Station website)

The Hindenberg burns
(Photo from the Lakehurst Naval Air Station website)

(Other views can be seen at Airships.net.)

The Hindenberg was 804 feet long and 15 stories tall, according to the New York Daily News today, and I think if that thing were seen flying around Manhattan in our era, it would induce more than a few nightmares. (The Daily News’s page 1 headline today was “Evil’s Smile,” about the all-day arraignment at Guantanamo Bay of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others.) Continue reading

Joe Bonamassa dreams

2 May

Meaning: both blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa’s dreams (at least he’s written songs saying so) and dreams of Joe Bonamassa (not mine; I didn’t know his name or his music until today).

I get to write about this here because today Amazon pointed me to one of his albums (still not sure why, or what the connection was) when I looked up a book mentioned in some work for a client in New York City. (Bonamassa is also from New York, but way upstate: New Hartford, near Utica.)

“Woke Up Dreaming” is a track on Blues Deluxe. This live version, recorded at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on March 11, 2011, is more fabulous guitar work than vocals—and that’s just fine:

“Woke Up Dreaming,” Joe Bonamassa in Green Bay

Continue reading

Madison Avenue elevator tragedy

3 Apr

News of the elevator accident in a Madison Avenue building that crushed a woman to death in December made me shudder, as it probably did most New Yorkers, since most of us take elevators as part of everyday life here.

Sunday’s New York Daily News (4/1/12) had this story: “Mechanic Michael Hill, who worked on elevator that killed Suzanne Hart, says he’s haunted by her death.”

The mechanic who worked on an elevator that later crushed an advertising executive can’t get the image of her trapped body out of his mind.

Breaking his silence for the first time, mechanic Michael Hill told the Daily News he dreams of the horrifying day when the midtown elevator suddenly lurched upward, killing Suzanne Hart….

Hill insists he has been wrongly accused in the Dec. 14 incident and says investigators are downplaying evidence of other bizarre problems with the fateful lift.

The trauma of that event is likely a heavy burden to all involved–the woman’s family and friends, the witnesses, building occupants, and building and elevator staff. It’s another event that renews my gratitude for the many years I’ve lived in NYC physically unscathed.

For anyone not so fortunate, the Nightmare Help web page of the International Association for the Study of Dream offers some resources to help deal with trauma-related dreams: http://asdreams.org/nightmare/index.htm