That Pain in the Ass Kid

DAVIS, a 16-year-old, delivers the newspaper to a grey stone house and then crosses a low slope onto the driveway of the next house. 20140914_112815A young boy, JESSE, is at the far end of the driveway near the back of the house. DAVIS glances at him, delivers the paper to the front door and continues to the next house.

JESSE (Coming around from the house): Hey!

DAVIS (Only half stopping): Hi.

JESSE: Since when have you been delivering our paper?

DAVIS (Still walking away): Since today.

JESSE: What’s your name?

DAVIS doesn’t answer him, delivering the paper to the next house. JESSE rides up on his bike beside DAVIS on the street. JESSE is 10 years old, thick dark hair, with chubby arms and a dirty striped shirt; he has a dog, a standard poodle, tied to his bike.20140914_112235

JESSE: What’s your name?

DAVIS (Frowning at the poodle tied to JESSE’s bike): Davis.

JESSE: My name’s Jesse.(Gesturing to the poodle) This is Silver.

DAVIS goes to the next house.

JESSE: Where do you live?

DAVIS: I don’t know. Up the street.

JESSE: You just move in?

DAVIS: I can’t talk, all right? I got to work.

JESSE: I’ve lived here my whole life.

DAVIS walks up the walkway to the next house and delivers the paper. When he looks back, he sees JESSE riding away fast, the dog desperately trying to keep up.

DISSOLVE TO: EXT. DAY. DAVIS delivers newspapers to the same houses on another bright sunny morning. 20140914_112328JESSE appears again, the dog still tied to his bike, from the same driveway.


DAVIS ignores him.

JESSE: I can deliver some, if you want.

DAVIS: No, thanks.

JESSE: I can do it.

DAVIS: I’m sure you can.

JESSE (Reaching for a paper from under DAVIS’ arm): I mean it.

DAVIS (Pulling away): It’s my job.

JESSE: I want to help.

DAVIS (Seeing a basketball net in JESSE’s backyard): Tell you what. I’ll play you 21.

JESSE: Okay!

DAVIS: You win, you can deliver papers with me. 20140914_112916JESSE:All right.

DAVIS (After a pause): I win, and you leave me alone

JESSE (Frowning): Okay.

They play. DAVIS wins and walks away. JESSE rides past him, over the front lawn, the poodle still desperately trying to keep up.

Thin Lizzy, The Cars & Babe Ruth: My Soundtrack of the ’70s

As I  work through a screenplay set in the days of my ill-spent preteen years –  the mid/late 1970’s – I have been unearthing the music that I obsessed over. Surprisingly, it’s still strong, especially the direct guitar leads and plaintive lyrics, to say nothing of the awesome cartoon album covers.

Babe Ruth’s The Joker: “A quarter ounce for a five dollar bill?!?” babe_ruth-first_baseThin Lizzy’s Jailbreak: “Like the game, if you lose, go to jail.” ThinLizzy JailbreakThe Car’s Candy-O: “I need her so.”The-Cars-Candy-O

A Tree Swinging Upside Down and Marine Animal Noises in the Park Avenue Tunnel

Kris Salmanis installed an upside down tree that swung back and forth in the Latvian Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. A Tree Swinging Upside Down and Marine Animal Noises in the Park Avenue Tunnel

Carnivalesque and thrilling on first view, the work entitled North by Northwest, eventually becomes macabre, offering only mechanical doom.

Jana Winderen’ installation Dive – staged this August in New York City’s normally congested Park Avenue Tunnel – also had an initial amusement park feel.TA Tree Swinging Upside Down and Marine Animal Noises in the Park Avenue Tunnelhe multi-layered recordings of marine animals from rivers, lakes and oceans from around the world creates a trance-like sound-scape that is intensely thought-provoking.

Indeed it occurred to me in both venues that, no matter how hard we try to wipe everything out, life on our planet just keeps hanging in.

The Small Great Moments of Cheap Trick Trick’s “Live at Budokan”

Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan is an album short on expertise, but long on show and full of small great moments. cheaptrickIt deserves a brief revival for these ten reasons:

  1. Emcee announcing: “All right, Tokyo! Are you ready!? Please welcome Epic Recording artists Cheap Trick!”
  2. Relentless screaming of 12,000 Japanese teenagers
  3. Drumming transition by Mr. Bun E. Carlos between “Hello, There” and “Come on, Come on”bunECarlos7
  4. ‘A’ list pop crooning by Robin Zander on “Lookout”
  5. Final slide note by Rick Nielsen on “Big Eyes”
  6. Attempt at rock epic song on “Need Your Loverick-nielsen-with-pick-corbis-630-80
  7. Instrumental opening to “Ain’t That a Shame
  8. Echoing call-and-response with audience on “I Want You to Want Me”
  9. Lyrics in “Surrender” including “Mom and dad were rolling on the couch”
  10. Robin Zander yelling in the finale, “Cheap Trick says good night!”20130429-cheaptrick3-600-1367245640

Occupy Wall Street’s Fourth Anniversary

Occupy Wall Street’s dramatic days seem much further back than four years ago. Occupy Wall Street's Fourth AnniversaryRemnants of the movement gathered on Broadway yesterday to promote “a flood on Wall Street”. They had banners and bears.
Occupy Wall Street's Fourth AnniversaryAnd lots of singing. Occupy Wall Street's Fourth AnniversaryAnd yelling at the powers that be.Occupy Wall Street's Fourth AnniversaryWhile the police watched and waited.

Occupy Wall Street's Fourth AnniversaryAnd made their arrests in the end.

People’s Climate March in New York City

The People’s Climate March was crowded, the New York Times reporting 311,000 people in attendance, a walking mass stretching from 86th to 34th Street and many avenues in between. People's Climate March in New York CityThe message was clear. People's Climate March in New York CityThe best moment of the event was the silence at 12:58, a full two minutes, no speaking, no one at all, the only sound a helicopter hovering overhead.People's Climate March in New York CityEveryone seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the five-hour tour. People's Climate March in New York CityPeople's Climate March in New York CityPeople's Climate March in New York CityEven if many realized how futile it all may be.
People's Climate March in New York CityPeople's Climate March in New York City

Kimsooja’s Needle Woman at Cornell University

Nano-technology, used by scientists in the past to isolate cancer cells and purify water, is now the key to a towering figure of art. 20140919_175836Artist Kimsooja’s Needle Woman was unveiled this week on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The effervescent glow of the plexiglass, produced by two polymers in active conflict, creates a hue akin to abalone and butterfly wings. 20140919_175927And offers a light that is always changing.

Surprisingly, the needle does not dominate Cornell’s Arts Quadrangle but blends in, as Kimsooja says, “like a needle among paths of thread”. 20140919_175916Originally the idea was for visitors to visit the space inside, one by one, but the artist came to the realization that the piece was better appreciated from without, forever outside.

It is on display until December 22 at Cornell University.

This Is Our Youth: Inert and Amusing

“You think what you think and I think what I think and there’s no way we’re ever going to convince each other, so my suggestion is that we just drop it.” This Is Our Youth: Inert and AmusingThis is Our Youth, a play about spoiled Manhattan kids adrift in their inertia, opened on Broadway last week to some acclaim. Starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, the story doesn’t go anywhere – something like Waiting for Godot but with more of an actual plot – but offers oddly astute and amusing moments. This Is Our Youth: Inert and AmusingCera’s deadpan delivery and Gevinson’s overwrought performance flesh out the writing of Kenneth Lonergan with an effect that is surprisingly both grating and thought-provoking. While the message isn’t a new one – bombastic youth pontificating on truth at each other – it does remind us of our own confused aspirations, something best paraphrased by King Oscar II of Sweden in 1923. This Is Our Youth: Inert and AmusingOne who has not been a socialist before 25 has no heart. If one remains one after 25, he has no head.

You Can Go Home But It Will Be Landscaped

My childhood home had a wide open front yard; there was a stone wall and a low bush that came straight across the front. That’s all been sculpted away.

20140914_112837The new people created a precise maze of flowers and trees.

Many years ago, my parents commented that all of our neighbors were landscaping like crazy. So now it’s come to where I used to live. 20140914_112812But the biggest thing was that none of us were home; we had all moved – or died, leaving this place all but forgotten. 20140914_112833Except for the fire hydrant; it’s not like any of us could forget that.

New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica Station

We were coming home from the airport last night, waiting for the E train at Jamaica Station, but the wait wasn’t bad. New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica StationA street artist, in a helmet horned with fiberglass, performed a crucifixion of sorts with odd moaning music in the background, as the passing people gaped and laughed. (Click to view!!)New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica StationThe message was unclear, except that street art helps pass the time.New York Street Artist Performs Mock Crucifixion at Jamaica Station