Sandra has to catch a later train, so I’m sitting here in Gigi’s in Rhinebeck with my favorite soda ever —Sanpellegrino’s Pompelmo flavor!! Waiting on my lunch….
On the train, heading up the Hudson River! 10:40 AM
First, allow me to complain a little bit!
In no particular order:
- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds sent out an email this morning listing the upcoming listening events for the new album, Ghosteen, and apparently they accidentally left Crazeysurg off that list and so now I have no idea where I’m supposed to go! It looks like maybe Belgium is my closest option.
- I am really, really tired of the lousy air quality in NYC and cannot wait to get back to Rhinebeck this afternoon. My throat is, like, raw.
- While the audience at Town Hall last night was really fun and enthusiastic, they were the most fidgety bunch of people I’ve ever been anywhere near. First of all, at least half of the balcony arrived “late” — and I put that in quotes because they weren’t late, they were out in the upstairs lobby drinking and ignoring the flashing lights. So about 700 million of them came in and tried to find their seats after the Conversation had already started. And then I have never seen so many grown up people get up & down and go in & out— going for more drinks, going to the use the bathroom, etc. I really just wanted to smack all of them throughout the entire show.
- The man in front of me — who arrived late and then left early to catch his train out of Grand Central— was really tall and it was a constant challenge for me to see around his head until he left (early) but then 10 minutes later, the show was over.
- I have never seen so many people get up and go catch the last train out of Grand Central at the very same time as I saw last night (meaning: 10 minutes before the show ended).
- Overall, while indeed enthusiastic, the audience last night drove me a little nuts.
Other than that, though, the Conversation itself was great. Very different energy from Lincoln Center, yet both were somehow equally great. And even though I was in that balcony with all those fidgety, constantly moving people, I still had a really cool view— dead center. I could see everything easily— except for having to contend with that tall guy in front of me.
I still think it’s better than being on the main floor if you aren’t seated right up in front. And even though Nick Cave himself seemed to be in a different headspace last night as compared to Lincoln Center — where he was sort of more subdued or something— Town Hall is now just a really sucky place to be in the audience after experiencing that specific theater at Lincoln Center, which was just incredible.
Okay, so I’m gonna get a Lyft here in about an hour and try to get through the insane Midtown traffic in time to catch my train out of Penn Station at 10:20am. Sandra is taking a later train but, truthfully, I just can’t get out of here quick enough. I just feel like I need some decent air.
I did spend a few hours with Valerie yesterday afternoon and that was really nice. I have had a ton of quiet time during my stay here in the city, so it was just so great to spend some time with someone who knows me so well, who laughs a lot, and who is such a huge part of the “old” New York. That old vibe— meaning, not militantly-politically correct. And Valerie is a really tall, butch dyke who drinks and smokes and is extremely liberal and has been for 60 years, and yet she, too, has to contend with the constant onslaught of the intolerant zealously-politically-correct hordes. It gets so tiring.
I’m not sure if I prefer the Mongol hordes to this current horde of zealously PC liberals or not. I have to give it some thought. I’ll get back to you.
After lunch, we hung out on the stoop so that she could smoke and we did indeed discuss Mick Jagger’s weird inability to age— how it was sort of spooky. (And I wasn’t the one who brought up this topic, either, so clearly, I am not the only person who’s kind of creeped out by him nowadays.) But I did fess up to my recent discovery that, like Mick Jagger, I, too, prefer the idea of having sex with much younger women over having sex with 70-year-old women, and so I can’t really call that particular kettle black anymore.
And, of course, she concurred. Which, in itself, is kind of weird because we were lovers for 20 years, and now I guess we’re agreeing that even we are too old to seem like an appealing sex option to each other.
(I’m sort of just kidding. However, under our breath, so as not to be overheard by the PC militant zealots scurrying around us, we agreed that when it came to girls, we liked them “really young.”)
Wednesday, I make that drive back to Ohio and I’m not 100% psyched for that trip yet, but I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the day and evening in Rhinebeck and I guess spending some more time discussing the theater projects with Sandra in person.
Sandra works a lot, mostly in television in Canada, and it can be really hard to get her complete attention (or to even get her to reply to a text) when she’s working. So I need to get as much out of her as I can whenever she’s directly in front of me.
That said, though, I’m still not ready to tackle the next round of rewrites on the play. I can tell that all of it is gestating inside me, so I’m not concerned. I just know that I’m not quite ready. I know I will be once I’m back at my own desk, with my Muse suffusing my entire room. Although, Peitor texted, wanting to know when we can get back on schedule with the micro-scripts. So I guess I’m getting ready to be really busy again.
Well, needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, it has been so great to be able to see Nick Cave in the Conversation environment— twice. It really was just the best time and I’m feeling a little misty over having to move on. But on we must all move. Who knows when I will ever see him again in that specific, focused way. But it was just so wonderful. I just love him so much. And last evening— I can’t recall which song it was that he was singing; maybe “Love Letter,” maybe “Shivers,” — but for several fleeting moments, I saw the young Nick Cave coming through in his face, his expression. It was really interesting. Beautiful, I guess.
And now I must open the Lyft app and get that underway. Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!
It’s actually a dead center view!! And I got a tea towel!!
I was just sitting down to do the blog and I checked my email, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? A Red Hand Files newsletter (two, actually) announcing a new double album from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds coming next week.
It sounds like it is going to be sort of intense. As if Skeleton Tree wasn’t difficult enough for me to listen to. Of course, it’s worth the emotional payoff. In spades, but still. A tiny little voice, deep in the center of my mind is fearfully fretting: oh no, now what?!
Because I don’t ever just listen to Nick Cave; I react on every level.
It’s funny, during the night, I awoke and was thinking about the Conversation from Saturday night and when a guy in the balcony asked him when a new album would be coming out, Nick Cave didn’t reply to it. I can’t recall now if he literally did not reply or if he said something that was not a reply. Anyway, I was pondering that during the night; wondering why he didn’t reply. And now, voila. The real reply.
I was also thinking last night how interesting it is that the 2 songs I remember most from Saturday night were 2 songs that he didn’t write. I remember all of the songs, but just the 2 that stood out most for me emotionally were songs he didn’t write: Cosmic Dancer and Shivers.
I think that Shivers is such a beautiful song. It seems like it always bothered Rowland Howard a lot — how people responded to that song. I don’t think he wanted people to like it so much. He seems maybe to have written it from a perspective of ironic contempt and then people responded to the ironic beauty of it, instead. (Well, there’s irony for you!) I personally think it’s a song of truly timeless relevant beauty. I really do. I was wondering if Rowland Howard has a different perspective on it now from where he’s at. I’m guessing he does. I think that when we die, we immediately embrace and embody the love of everything beautiful that we created while we were physical, even if we were at odds with it and couldn’t see its beauty while we were alive.
Anyway, Nick Cave sang it so beautifully on Saturday night; it was spellbinding.
Last night, I looked it up on YouTube and there’s an extremely old live version of it. I don’t remember now if it was the Boys Next Door or the Birthday Party, but it was really cool to watch it.
There is something sort of cosmic in just that process. You know, on the one hand, experiencing the emotional beauty and intensity of hearing Nick Cave sing that song live right now, at his age now — a song of such precise teenage angst; and then holding a little phone in your hand and watching him sing it so differently but no less beautifully when he’s so young. Maybe close to 40 years ago — something like that.
Perhaps you can see that I had sort of a strange evening last night.
I was determined to just rest and not go out walking. It was hot out and of course teeming with people everywhere. Plus, I really was just exhausted. So I forced myself to stay in and go to bed early. And I probably really and truly did relax for the first time in a year. But I did find my thoughts going to strange places. Or unexpected places, is more accurate.
For instance, I listened to an old audio interview with Tom Petty from the late 80s, when Full Moon Fever first came out. Back in the days when he only just barely tolerated interviewers and you can always hear his contempt for the person and the whole process bobbing just under the surface of everything he says. The guy asked him a question about perspectives in songwriting and Tom Petty replied re: using all three perspectives at various points— first, second, and third perspectives. And I found myself feeling a little surprised that he knew about terms like that! But you know — he was actually really smart. I’m not sure why I find it surprising that he could express concepts and stuff like that. How weird, right?
Ah well. It only made me start missing him a lot, so I stopped listening to it.
And then I was also thinking about certain streets from my past that are right around here. For instance, this street I’m staying on — W.53rd. MoMA is on this street, but a few avenues east. I used to work at MoMA a long, long time ago. In fact, that’s where I met Peitor and we became instant friends. It was an important time in my life— working at MoMA. Frank O’Hara is probably my most favorite poet. I first fell in love with him when I was 15. And so for me, working at MoMA was my way of trying to absorb his spirit, his essence. (He worked there as a curator when he wrote pretty much ALL of his best poems and when he died, he was still working there. Modern Art was a huge part of his emotional sensibilities.)
Anyway. I had nearly forgotten all about that. And then W.50th Street. I’ve walked across it numerous times this trip, and only last night recalled that I used to live on it —just around the corner from here — and that my song, “Breaking Glass,” was written about a relationship I was in while living there. My first husband proposed marriage to me in that apartment — one afternoon while he was visiting me.
And then on Saturday, on my way to that incredible meeting with the director re: my play, the Lyft driver drove passed E. 66th Street on 3rd Avenue and it was in an apartment on that very block of E.66th Street that my one and only baby was conceived.
I thought last night about how strange it was that I have always retained that. Not the actual apartment number. I would not recognize the building if I saw it again. I just always remember that it was on E.66th Street, between 3rd and 2nd Avenues. So sad.
Well, anyway. I must say that blogging on a phone is a wee bit annoying… this one-finger typing business.
Okay, so I’m gonna close this now. I’m gonna try to wash my hair before Valerie arrives. And then I will be indescribably eager to see Nick Cave in Conversation again tonight. I think it will be an entirely different experience from up in the balcony, though — even though, normally, I actually prefer the balcony at Town Hall. (Tonight, however, I think that I will not be preferring it.) (If only I were one of those people who felt really comfortable defying public convention; I would look to see which seats remain empty down on the main floor and go sit in one! But I’m just somebody who totally behaves in public and does not wish to draw undue attention to myself, ever!!)
All righty!! Have a great Monday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!
At 9:10 pm
Lunch was great. Sandra was awake and up and about, so she hopped a Lyft and joined me & Wayne.
We went to the West Bank Cafe. I hadn’t been there in maybe 25 years— something like that. From before my marriage to Wayne. Back when I was having an extremely intense short-lived affair with a bass player who was engaged to be married. He mistakenly thought I was a dyke so he used to flirt with me rather recklessly. I guess I turned out to be not such a dyke…
Anyway, it turns out that— lo! — these many years later, Wayne is friendly with the owner there and he introduced me today as his wife!! It was weird. Both Sandra and I were, like — actually we didn’t know what to make of it. Right away, I said that I was his ex-wife, and then I felt kind of bad — you know, the blinding speed with which I clarified that. Like, you know, please don’t think for a fraction of a second that I’m married to this perfectly reasonable, well-groomed man sitting here or anything. I did feel kind of bad.
Yes, I did talk a little tiny bit at length about Nick Cave during lunch, but only because they FINALLY got around to asking me how the show was last night. Wayne, of course, knows at least some of Nick Cave’s music, so that was cool.
Now I am back in my room. I have been quite busy! I’ve taken about 30 naps; looked for photos of Nick Cave on Instagram— of which there were many; not just from the show last night but because it’s also his birthday today, so everyone’s posting his photo and wishing him a happy happy.
I also spoke at length on the phone to Valerie, even though I’m spending several hours with her tomorrow. Luckily, even after nearly 40 years, we still don’t run out of things to talk about.
I’m not sure I will make any progress on rewrites of the play today. I just want to lay in bed, drift in & out of sleep. Listen to all the crazy traffic outside.
Here is what it looks like directly across from my (extremely filthy) window at the Airbnb.
Okay! Have a terrific evening, wherever you are in the world, gang!! I love you guys!
There’s nothing at all wrong with this Airbnb. As Midtown Manhattan apartments go, it’s totally okay. But hotels are 100 million percent better.
For instance, another guest is here and sharing the bathroom with me. I don’t know who it is, but it showered during the night and used my one and only towel!! Now I can’t shower again until the magic towel fairy mysteriously shows up from wherever she actually lives and brings me a fresh one.
I would rather remain my own unshowered person indefinitely than use a damp towel after some total stranger in NYC used it.
But other than that, it’s a perfectly serviceable room. The bed isn’t terrible but it’s incredibly noisy right outside the window, so I only slept 3 hours. I have nothing to do today but write and have lunch with Wayne, so I’m guessing I can just nap off and on all day if I want to.
NYC has gotten so crowded and so congested with traffic that it’s really just a pain in the ass kind of city now, with no charm, no character. All the things I used to love about it are gone, but it’s still fun to visit for brief little periods.
And I’m thinking that the plays will bring me back to NYC more and more, so I’ll deal with it. But seriously, it isn’t even the tourist season right now and it’s just wall to wall people.
I’m not sure yet how much of that meeting that I had yesterday is suitable for posting to the blog. I guess right now, the only thing I can say about it is that it was nothing like what I was expecting— in essence, the director hit the ground running, in terms of the things that will be coming quickly into place to begin getting the show off the ground. It was the start of a dream coming true, gang.
In the cab ride after the meeting, Sandra said, “Do you know how lucky you are? To have someone doing all this for your play?”
Yes, I do know. But it’s not luck. It’s a lot of prayer and it’s several years of paying really close attention to everything imaginable. 3 and a 1/2 years ago, I first saw a play he directed and I knew he was the director I wanted to work on Tell My Bones, which I hadn’t even adapted satisfactorily yet. Then it was all about connecting with him on social media; talking to him during the intermissions of every other play I saw that he directed.. Saying hello to him every single time I ever saw him anywhere, even though I knew he didn’t know me. Interrupting him at dinner once to tell him I was a writer. Then getting to know his significant other, meeting him for cocktails in NYC and in Ohio , when the director was too busy. Then telling the significant other that Sandra and I had a play I wanted the director to direct and, after he googled both me and Sandra, he said, “I’ll talk to him.” Finally, 3 years on, I emailed the director my script so that he could read it on an airplane because it was the only free moment he had….
I don’t really think of that as luck. It’s 3 and a 1/2 years of just staying incredibly focused. And also spending an enormous amount of time writing and rewriting and rewriting that play. But that aside — wow, gang. I could not be happier. We haven’t even raised one dime yet in production costs and yet he already has his game plan in place to get the play off the ground. By the time I came home from seeing Nick Cave last night, I saw on my phone that the director was already beginning the social media campaign.
And that said!!
Wow, Nick Cave, gang. I am so glad I get the chance to see him again on Monday. It was so wonderful and the time just flew. I will be up in the balcony on Monday so it won’t be the same but at least I’ll be there. The venue last night was really just a fantastic place to see him In. Sort of small. Great acoustics. Really comfortable. The reason why my 4th row Orchestra seat became the 7th row, is because 3 rows of seats were set up in the orchestra pit, since there was no orchestra last night. But it was still a great seat — and it wasn’t over to the side; it was dead center.
Anyway, it was just perfect. A totally perfect night. And his fans are really interesting people. I’m not saying that to flatter myself. But they really do seem to be a whole different type of person. A lot of foreigners were there. Really different fans, overall, from the old days. Still there’s also something about some of the old days that I kind of miss.
But I’m just so glad I got to go. I just love him so much.
Okay. At some point within the next 30 days, Edge of Humanity Magazine will publish my new installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa. I’ll keep you posted! And any day now, that excerpt of my new novel, Blessed By Light, will appear in the Exterminating Angel Press Magazine, so I’ll keep you posted about that, too.
And now I will scoot! I’m leaving you with a shot of my Airbnb room at dawn — my carry-on exploded. And then I did take one photo at Lincoln Center last night before the show started.
Have a wonderful (Nick Cave’s birthday) Sunday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!
The meeting with the director was AMAZING! I am so blessed, gang. This show is gonna happen. I will keep you posted.
We are aiming to do the first staged reading in April. So there is so much breathing room here and it also gives Sandra the time to do an important role up in Canada. So everything is awesome.
I am at Lincoln Center — quite early, for some reason. I walked and it was a lot closer than I thought it was. Anyway my seat is in the 4th row of the Orchestra but there are 3 rows in front of the 4 so what is that??? I’m actually in the 7th row but for some reason, they don’t want to call it that.
Okay, well anyway. Gonna turn off my phone now. Yes, the one I said I wasn’t gonna bring…. Have a super Saturday night, wherever you are in the world, gang! I love you guys!! See ya! ❤️
Getting ready for the meeting. Gonna take Lyft. One subway ride per day (or perhaps less)! is enough.
Its certainly not the Algonquin but I guess I’m not going to complain. It’s a great location. It really is. My old stomping grounds from the days of my first marriage — Hell’s Kitchen. (Back then, it really was Hell’s Kitchen, though,)
One of the book’s in this room I’m staying in is “Mating in Captivity.” How truly bizarre for it to be in my room. If you don’t know this book, it’s all about how to keep eroticism alive while married…. Jesus. Anyway!!
Here is the view from the bed!