20 August 2007

she could have danced all night ... with librarians?

Mrs. Brooke Astor, great patron of the New York Public Library and other ventures, died last week. In the "Sunday styles" section of Sunday's New York Times, Bill Cunningham has a nice tribute entitled "She could have danced all night." When Mrs. Astor was asked whom she wanted as guests for her 100th-birthday luncheon, "she replied without hesitation: 'One hundred librarians'." And the potpourri of pictures was a collection of Mrs. Astor photos.

I finished Michael Tolliver lives, the latest novel by Armistead Maupin, on Sunday morning. It was good to be back in the company of Mouse, Anna Madrigal, and the crew from Tales of the city. It was especially poignant for me as it deals with death of parents (blood and "logical"), aging (I love Tolliver/Maupin's comment about the pursuit of boyfriends getting so "old" and undesirable though if one falls in your lap, no problem), memory, growing apart and coming together.

Mac and I went to "Los Jornaleros" at Cinemarosa yesterday. It's about Mexican day laborers in southern California. The characterizations are pretty stereotypical and the three "brothers" (actually cousins) end up fine. One moves in with a gallery owner, gets his green card, and accepts (more or less) his homosexuality. The other two get a truck and do some sort of work that involves them helping new day laborers. "Welcome to America." Despite the fairy tale ending, the overall impression is positive. If you google "jornaleros," the Amazon entry (a few hits down the first Google page) has a decent overview of the film.

17 August 2007

John Cage has a secret

A colleague -- thanks, Tom -- passed on this clip from an episode of "I've got a secret" with John Cage as guest. I've been trying to imagine John Cage on a reality show. It just doesn't compute, to use some old jargon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSulycqZH-U

10 August 2007

deb said "buy the bookstore"

It's been a bucolic week in Alfred. Maybe "bucolic" isn't really the right word for the week following my father's memorial service. Dad's memorial was very rich with memory and perspective. Doug gave a magnificent tribute along with music (hymns; musical tribute by nephew Michael Baumgarten; duet of "Eili, Eili" by Michael and his mother, my sister Cathy; organ version of Lord's Prayer played by Larry Philbrick whose partner is a colleague of sister-in-law Jeanette) and words (tribute by ministerial colleague of my father Tim Bancroft; presiding by Rev Pat Bancroft, current pastor at Alfred SDB Church; printed memories by Becky Prophet and by Hongyu & Xiaojie Wang).

After the reception and supper for family, most of us gathered at Doug and Jeanette's house on Hemlock Hill for a memorial bonfire. A whole bunch of cousins (two generations and more) circled around us and the fire. A friend of Doug's took some pictures and I'll put the link here when I get it (that's for you, Deb).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/seton-droppers/ [the David S. Clarke memorial set under "the rest of the sets"]

Since my siblings left on Sunday or Monday, Doug, Jeanette, Ian and I have been enjoying each other's company, figuring out accounts, celebrating Jeanette's birthday, looking at the bookstore in Wellsville, and a variety of other things.

I guess I should explain about the title of this entry. I had mentioned glancingly to Deb that my brother has been talking to a woman who owns a used book store in Wellsville, about 10 miles from Alfred. She would like to retire and Doug has been thinking of buying the business (stock and lease on space). The last time he mentioned it, I was feeling the weight of a dysfunctional office and not high hopes of getting out of the gully, along with the perspective of Dad's death and thinking about what matters. I whined to Deb about something and her simple response was "buy the bookstore." Well, Doug and I have been thinking a lot about it. It's not now where we'd want it to be, e.g., hardly any non-fiction, no name beyond "Used Book Store," no space that could be used for readings or signings (put wheels on those cases, silly). It will be interesting to see how the dreaminess of a rural week will play out when I return to the City tomorrow. Lots to think about but there's hope in my spirit.