Sonnet in the Village

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Culminant, Manhattan

This video is an interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 76. Words can still resonate even hundreds of years later and in strikingly different contexts. It was recorded at the West Village institution, Kettle of Fish. A moment with Shakespeare on a winter evening. Certainly culminant. A fine actor and no better words written.

A Block Party in Brooklyn

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Culminant, Holus Bolus

Block Party

The sounds, rhythms, and feelings that are heard, felt, and sensed being outside in New York City during the summer is one of a kind. Being at a block party captures all of these sensations, HOLUS BOLUS. I had never been to a block party in Brooklyn and when I did finally go, I was torn between enjoying the moment (sans technology) or shooting a quick video to capture the moment and share with my friends and family later. I chose the latter. In this video, everything is captured. Though in a hasting fashion, from the stoop of the brownstone, at a sort of CULMINANT, you can: palpitate the sound of the speakers, the rhythm of the hip-hop music playing, the urge to dance from your street, and the need say nothing–just watch, listen, and record.

Audiles unite unsilently

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Audile, Culminant, Manhattan, Typhlology

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERQejtpld-Y

A few hundred audiles braved the cold to unite at the Washington Square arch in the early evening of December 15, 2008 to help create Unsilent Night. In Phil Kline’s annual non-sectarian holiday happening, a cloud of people carries the recorded sounds of bells, thumb pianos and gamelan like audio in boomboxes on their shoulders, under their arms, into a moving soundplay.

I particularly experienced this audio walk from Washington Square to Tompkins Square, as a lesson in seeing space with ears. In the openness of park one hears the auditory beauty for what it is, becoming instantly aware that the movement of people within the cloud will add a texture not conceivable at the Met or most any other sound venue. Once this urban highland band of MP3s and cassettes enters the canyon of Washington Place the spatial awareness lesson #2 announces itself: the block had become boombox. We heard what we heard before with reverb. How I wish my clone could have walked on Waverly crossing Greene and Mercer. How I wonder if he’d heard Washington Place in stereo.

Broadway came, and added its honks and squeaks, St. Mark’s Place its vaudeville rumble, and all along there was the chatter of participants, punctuated by the silent awe of people just coming upon us.

The chatter stopped when Tompkins Square Park summoned to form a huddle for a culminant Grand Finale. And if cell phones were still used, it was to expand the audience.

After the crowd dissolved, the night was cold again, but I had received new eyes. At next year’s Unsilent Night, I may come blindfolded.   

Jerry-built: No longer culminant

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Culminant, Jerry-Build, Manhattan, Welkin

Eddie Boros’ Tower of ToysEddie Boros’ Tower of Toys grew and stood for a few decades on 6th and B. It was taken down in May 2008, a year after its creator’s passing. At my first encounter with the tower, the garden was closed. It was a cloudy day. It drizzled. The tower stopped me in my tracks. I lingered to take it in, looking through the bars of the fence. As a recent art school graduate, the Tower of Toys mesmerized me. It both honored and defied design theory. The structure was showing honesty in how it was built, starting on a broad base, tapering towards the welkin of this skyscraper city. It showed clarity in how it was created. If there is a comparison worth making with an architect-built structure it might be San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid, while in the realm of outsider architecture the structure has evoked Simon Rodia’s Watts towers for many. Eddie Boros defied what I learned in design theory in his construction and connection details. Although his tower looked and stood like a tall structure, its details did neither suggest that it should, nor assure its stability or longevity, where Rodia’s creation does. But Boros wasn’t a designer or architect in that schoolish way. He built from passion, with intuition, using that rough-n-tumble New York grit as the tower’s backbone and his own longevity as mortar. How cool is that

A photo album:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jschumacher/sets/72157605010716901/show/with/2485379258/

An elegy: http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/47237/

Taking it down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBY0Vk6wyrU