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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

Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color

1 Jun

(Read the first installment, “March flowers brought May showers.”

My next ventures in search of color tended toward more pluralistic sources than Macy’s or Merriam-Webster, 3M Post-it Notes or an educational institution the size of New York University.

For a more heartfelt depiction of Brazilian color than the Macy’s flower show could offer, the next day (March 31) I finally checked out of the library a DVD I’d been seeing on the shelf for many months, Colors of a Creative Culture, by David Zucker.

Continue reading

Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers

31 May

“May flowers” came in March’s near-record warmth here this year, and long before Memorial Day, New York’s flora had replaced much of its flower color with leaf green in shades of spring and even summer. Combined with the stretches of gray overcast we’ve had since March, the weather left me longing for more color at times, although I didn’t realize it until I noticed that color was on other people’s minds, too.

Around March 6, looking something up on the Huffington Post site for a NYC client, I stumbled upon an article about a Hindu festival of color called Holi. It looks like a a holiday I would happily embrace. I went to one of New York’s Little Indias to see what I could see, but I was too late.

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

Continue reading

Stickwork

18 May
Stickwork, by Patrick Dougherty

Stickwork, by Patrick Dougherty

Saw this book. Stickwork, by Patrick Dougherty, when I stumbled upon a Dick Blick Art Supplies store on Bond Street between Broadway and Lafayette recently. I don’t know how long it’s been there.

The book caught my eye because I’d seen one of Patrick Dougherty’s installations in, I guess, 2010. He created it for the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s 100th anniversary. I love this, although at first I was ambivalent: 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

From a quilt to a dream: Double image

30 Apr

My most recent post was about a quilt by Luke Haynes that depicts, in a single image resembling a double exposure, both Jay-Z and Kanye West. I wrote the post on 4/27 and yesterday added the observation that this effect is “so like a phenomenon that’s common in dreams—the conviction that something is both this and that. An apple and a tomato. Daytime and nighttime. Jay-Z and Kanye.” Here’s a slightly different view than what I used in the previous post; this one shows the double-image effect better.

Luke Haynes's quilt, different view

Luke Haynes's quilt, different view
(image from LukeHaynes.com)

(FYI, I’m confused about the title; on the other view, it’s given as “The Throne,” but on this one it might be “Rags to Riches.”)

This morning my dreaming mind provided me with an example, in which the person I’m talking to is two ex–significant others from waking life in one dream person. It can be difficult to get this type of double exposure down in writing, because the image and identification get slippery: At any given moment, is the dream character K. or is he L.? He’s both.

After-Sick Coastal Drive (4/30/12)

At home: a many-story, crystalline atrium. It’s gently lit throughout; the effect is uneven, because of its crystalline angles. For an atrium, it’s relatively narrow. It’s nighttime. Continue reading

Food as dream

26 Apr
Empellón Cocina

Empellón Cocina (photo from the restaurant's website)

The premise of this blog has been to explore how New York affects our dreams, how our dreams can help us appreciate New York, and what we can discover about dreaming while out and about in New York. Now, in “A Taste of Mexico, as in a Dream” in the April 24 Dining & Wine section of The New York Times, Pete Wells demonstrates one more angle: how the dreaming experience can help us express our experience of New York.

Wells reviews the restaurant Empellón Cocina in the East Village, whose chef is Alex Stupak:

A 32-year-old former pastry chef, he has read the classic cookbooks and spent some time in Oaxaca and the Yucatán, but he hasn’t studied this intricate and endlessly complex cuisine with an anthropologist’s intensity, as Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy have. If everybody with a similarly brief education opened a Mexican restaurant, the world would be full of foolish empanadas, pretentious moles and goofy adobos.

But some beginning students of a language can wake up to discover they’ve been dreaming in it at night. At its best, Mr. Stupak’s cooking at Empellón Cocina resembles the food of Mexico the way a dream resembles life. Everything looks familiar, except that the light seems to be coming from a different direction, and did that river always run right through the bedroom?

When you slice into a gordita, does it always gush with warm egg yolk? The one here does, the deep-fried flying saucer of masa giving way to the yellow yolk that curls around smoked plantains and a crumble of chorizo.

There are a few low notes on the menu, but overall, Wells seems intrigued and satisfied with the results of Stupak’s relatively casual education in Mexican cuisine.