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Poe-try for Halloween

18 Oct

To inspire some Halloween dreams, why not visit Poe Park in the Bronx? Edgar Allan Poe Poe rented the white farmhouse that’s there for a few years, and it’s conveniently located along the Grand Concourse. The visitor’s center keeps a full schedule of creative-arts events. Or take the walking tour of Poe’s Publisher’s Row. We all know about the famous, scary stories Poe wrote. But there’s his poetry, too—and yes, “A Dream” and even “A Dream Within a Dream.”

The cottage at Poe Park in the Bronx

The cottage at Poe Park in the Bronx

It’s gonna be a strange and wonderful weekend

2 Aug

Trying to be disciplined about staying on theme here, I don’t indulge much in posts about things that are dreamlike. But a selection of activities in New York City this weekend (and honestly, I’ve searched only Thursday and Friday at ClubFreetime.com) is too quirky to pass up commenting. And anyway, there really are some dream-titled ones among these events.

And me with a camera that’s refusing to work. Assuming I’m in town, I plan to get to as much as I can; thanks to the apartment search that’s become never-ending (and no further word from my landlord), I’ve been missing summer in a big way! Regardless — If you get to any of these events and find truly dream-related material (or have resulting dreams yourself), report back here!!

THURSDAY

Arctic Summer, Part 1, National Museum of the American Indian,several times during the day (and Friday, too)

The Owl and the Lemming: The quick-witted lemming outwits the hungry owl. Puppets made of sealskin by local artists act out this Inuit folktale.

The Twenty-First Annual World Eskimo-Indian Olympics: Competitions in strength, agility and traditional skills highlight this 1982 event. We see such events as the two-foot and one-foot high kicks, the knuckle hop, the blanket toss and the four-man carry.

The Owl who Married a Goose: An owl falls in love with a goose, but has a tough time adapting to life on the water. Continue reading

Lever House and Laos, linked by a dream symbol

14 Jun
Carol Cassidy

Carol Cassidy

On April 14, I was struck by the synchronicity of discovering that Carol Cassidy was here in New York, halfway around the world from where her traditional weaving company, Lao Textiles, is based in Vientiane. It was just a couple of weeks after I had first heard of Cassidy while reading online about Laos, which I was doing because I’d been contacted by someone based there, a friend of my late friend Nicole Carstens.

A Weaves of Cambodia weaver

A Weaves of Cambodia weaver
(photos from Weaves of Cambodia)

Immediately after seeing the calendar listing on the 14th for Cassidy’s appearance at the Asia Society, I hurried into Manhattan to meet her. Later that day, I wrote a post about her and the “meaningful coincidence” I had experienced.

Unexploded land mine (Photo from CSHD)

Unexploded land mine (Photo from CSHD)

That post included some information I learned about her after meeting her. The post mentions that Cassidy also runs a textile workshop in Cambodia, Weaves of Cambodia, which employs local residents who have had limbs amputated after being injured by land mines still buried in the countryside from the war in Vietnam and the Cambodian civil war.

A few days later, I emailed Carol Cassidy to tell her the post was up, and she replied on April 17 with this observation:

So much of our traditional weaving is animist imagery. They are complex designs and have layers of meaning. I have come to believe that many of the designs are graphic depictions of dreams, dreams shaped by beliefs and how the weaver interprets the universe. Most Lao see this world and the spirit world directly linked. I often refer to the complex brocade imagery, like the noble Siho or the agile climbing monkey that represent this link as “Woven Dreams.” Lao-Tai weaving is about as close to dream imagery in weaving as you can get. Creating these woven masterpieces, thread by thread has helped me understand the thoughts and beliefs of their creators. Continue reading

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

In the wake of my Hollis hip-hop post

24 Apr

Except where noted, all of this happened on April 18, the day of my most recent post, about a dream that led me to watch a DVD about the Queens neighorhood of Hollis, birthplace of hip-hop (“What my German great-aunt and Run-DMC have in common“).

Sketch of a plate on a desk in my November 11, 2010, dream

Sketch of a plate on a desk in my November 11, 2010, dream, which reminded me of a radio studio turntable

"2 Turntables and a Microphone: The Life and Death of Jam Master Jay"

(image from Amazon.com)

What happened between the time I started writing that post earlier in the day and the time I published it is an example of the small coincidences that can add up to a complex web of synchronicity:

"Free Stylin': How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry," by Elena Romero

(image from Amazon.com)

  • I turned on the TV while I worked out and came in on the middle of a movie (Tell Seconds to Hell) about German soldiers in Berlin at the end of World War II forming a bomb disposal squad to rid the city of unexploded bombsContinue reading

200,000 descendents of Nieuw Amsterdam’s miller

25 Jul

This past week I finished reading the novel City of Dreams, by Beverly Swerling, which traces several generations of surgeons and apothecaries from the Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam through the English takeover (making it New York) to the American Revolution. (Vivid and fascinating. It was frequently my bedtime reading, and to my surprise, few or no nightmares resulted: the era’s surgery, medicine, and public punishments were all gruesome, and all vividly and copiously described.)

After six months of that, I’m highly alert to anything Nieuw Amsterdam…such as a June 22 article on The New York Times website: “The Van Dusens of Nieuw Amsterdam.” The Van Dusens in question are the numerous descendents—now spread across the country—of “one of Manhattan’s first few hundred settlers, the operator of a windmill where the Dutch ground grain….

It all began with Abraham, whose forebears were from the town of Duersen in northern Brabant. Known in official documents as “Abraham the miller,” or “Abraham Pieterszen,” as in son of Peter”….Two of Abraham’s progeny — Martin Van Buren, a great-great-great-grandson; and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (add four more greats) — served as presidents of the United States. A third, Eliza Kortright (Generation 7), married one, James Monroe.

Another is the current mayor of Astoria, Oregon. (Lots of multimedia with the article—including recipes from a 19th-century cookbook, Civil War diaries, and a bucolic 1814 view from 110th Street.)

I wanted to blog about the article, but I had to come up with my own excuse, because there’s no mention in it of dreams. So naturally I Googled: “‘Van Dusen’ and dream.” I was handed plenty of news hooks. From just the first page of search results: Continue reading

A happy synchronicity: Two receptions and a book

25 Jun
Exploring Historic Dutch New York - book cover

Exploring Historic Dutch New York, edited by Gajus Scheltema and Heleen Westerhuijs

Tonight (June 24, that is) is/was the opening reception, in Kerkrade, Netherlands, of the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams which continues through June 28. Having attended every other IASD annual conference since 1997, I’m sorely disappointed about not being there.

So it was a happy surprise and exciting synchronicity when I received an email announcement yesterday of a reception tonight at The Netherlands Club, 3 West 51st Street in Manhattan. The occasion was twofold: a farewell to the current consul general, Gajus Scheltema (who’s headed for a new assignment in Islamabad), and a book signing for the newly released travel guide Exploring Historic Dutch New York, which he co-edited with Heleen Westerhuijs.

Continue reading

The Nieuw Amsterdam of “Mad Men”

11 Apr

Returning for a moment to my Dutch fascination because of the upcoming International Association for the Study of Dreams’ 2011 conference in the Netherlands…a small synchronicity:

Back in January, when I was in the midst of sending out emails announcing Robbie Bosnak’s “Nieuw Amsterdam and the Golden Age” talk, I watched episode 4 of Mad Men‘s first season (on DVD). The episode title is “New Amsterdam.” It emerges in the story line that Pete Campbell, the obnoxious junior account executive trying alternately to suck up to creative director Don Draper or to show him up, is a descendant of the Dyckmans. Continue reading

Taiko & dance, and then a tsunami dream

3 Apr

Two weeks after the multiple disasters in Japan, they finally began seeping into my dreams, although mildly. The first was the 3/30/11 dream that was the subject of my most recent post. It was essentially a snapshot of a small-scale (sort of miniature) nuclear plant with spherical towers (more follow-up on those in a later post).

This morning (4/2, that is) I had another dream reflecting Japan’s disasters. I don’t suggest that it has any meaning for the situation in Japan—it certainly doesn’t seem on the face of it to be a healing dream; much more likely the meaning is entirely personal.

This dream was clearly influenced by the performance I attended Thursday night (3/31) by Tamagawa University Taiko & Dance. It was a fabulous performance of traditional Japanese drumming and dance inflected with the students’ modern affinities, including jazz and hip-hop. More visibly, the style turns drumming into aerobic exercise. Continue reading