Alphabet City with Fred

Today is the birthday of my very dear friend Fred Hatt. Happy Birthday Fred!!!! 🙂 Fred and I are both celebrating significant birthdays this year: 60 for him, 50 for me (July). So to commemorate our milestone decades we plan to prolong the party through the summer and deal with aging in the best possible way; by having fun, appreciating each other, and enjoying the big city we both call home.

Last Thursday night Fred and I attended an event in the East Village; “I Ching Alchemy” sculptures and video projection show by our mutual friend Lili White. It was held outdoors in Le Petit Versailles Garden between Avenue A and B – the section of downtown Manhattan known as ‘Alphabet City’. Nobody is better at converting dumpy urban lots into community gardens than East Villagers. They have a gift for it. The space of the Petit Versailles garden was, decades ago, an auto chop shop. Now it’s flower beds, trees, little rock-lined paths, pottery shards, empty picture frames, glass balls, mirrors, ribbons, strings of skull head lights, Tibetan figurines, loose tiles, and any quirky found object that occupies a spot. A busted ceramic urn? Stick it in there. It’s a garden folks, East Village style. The residents down there are fiercely civic-minded, and they will take care of things themselves if the city ignores them. Actually, they prefer it that way. And if raising rents force some thrift shop or vinyl record store out of business they have a collective meltdown 😆

Hanging out with Fred means seeing him suddenly whip out his camera to snap a photo. Nothing escapes this man’s eye! He spotted the shadow shapes that formed on the brick face of the building, just around dusk. With the warm glow of the light strings it created an interesting vision. So I took a photo myself:

The 1958 baby and the 1968 baby 🙂 Fred and I, selfie in the garden. My brilliant, beautiful best buddy whose friendship I value beyond words. The very first friend I made as an artist’s model.

Drawing of me by Fred from 2015. Created at Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn:

It’s not a Music Monday but we’ll have a Music Tuesday instead! As Lili’s video installation projected onto the side of the building, a fantastic old song accompanied her images. A great choice that truly reflected the spirit of the evening. Please enjoy “Wake Up Everybody” by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, a classic R&B song from 1975. Buoyant, catchy, uplifting, meaningful. So good. You’ll be up and dancing by the end. 🙂

Friendship, Blogging, and the Art of Motherhood

Six months ago, a surprise appeared in my email inbox, from a sender I didn’t recognize. I opened it, and it turned out that the words within were heartwarming, touching, and uplifting. By the time I got to the end of it, my eyes were filled with tears of joy, my heart overflowing with fond remembrance. What brought about such an emotional response? A note from a dear old friend. A note 20 years in the making. A note from Stephanie.

We met in the 7th grade, at PS 216 in Queens, and became fast friends. The best of friends. We shared many interests, possessed similar talents and academic aptitudes – we were both A students. We came of age together, in the 1980s Reagan Era, from adolescent girls into mature young women. It was a transformative time, and we witnessed it all together, the good and the bad.

I could recount all my recollections of mine and Stephanie’s friendship, and while it would delight me to do so, and bring many a smile to my face, I won’t. The rest of of my readers would have to know both she and I personally to fully appreciate it. Plus, a lot of it is between me and Steph. But because I can’t resist, I will mention that both of us were obssessed with Duran Duran (hey, as far as I’m concerned, they’re still cool!), excelled in Mr. Cusimano’s English class (where it seems we always were), got the “pre-Beverly Hills Cop” Eddie Murphy’s autograph after a live SNL broadcast, and were die hard Met fans. This was back in the early 80s, mind you, which was the depressing dark ages of that franchise!

Although we attended different high schools, Stephanie and I remained friends. Then we drifted apart in college, largely due to my stupid decision to go out of town, to a shitty school I ended up transferring out of. In a few years, Stephanie and her family moved to Florida, and sadly, we lost contact for the rest of our adult lives. Until now.

Thanks to some creative, persistent Googling on Stephanie’s part, she found me through Museworthy!!! And we are reunited as friends. Our regular emails over these past several months have been nothing short of delightful. And fun! I look forward to all our exchanges. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because Stephanie just gave birth to beautiful triplets! Words cannot describe the happiness I feel for her, her husband, and her whole family – a loving, close-knit one much like my own.

If there is any woman who can handle raising triplets while maintaining her sanity, it’s Stephanie. She is an immensely capable person, responsible, compassionate, down-to-earth, funny, and smart. She was a “multitasker” before that term was ever coined. Anything Stephanie chooses to do, she does well. She is up to the challenge of three newborns, I have not a shred of doubt about that. Even now, with her hectic life, she still manages to read Museworthy on a regular basis. She rocks! I want to tell her, right at this moment, that I love her and respect her very much, and am so thankful that we are communicating again. It’s augmented my feelings about many things, magnified my perspective of life, and even made me a better blogger! (Stephanie, by the way, would make a fantastic blogger. Should she ever decide to start one, I will support her with great enthusiasm. She’s insightful, witty, perceptive, and an excellent writer. That would be a must-read blog!)

To honor Stephanie, I decided to post three images of work by the American Impressionist, Mary Cassatt. Why three? One for each triplet of course! Cassatt is famous for her sensitive paintings of mothers with children, and for conveying the tenderness of maternal love. And what makes a better muse than the vulnerable, trusting eyes of a child? These are exquisite pastels, done between the years 1889 and 1900. I hope Stephanie sees a little of herself in these works, along with all the emotions she’s feeling these days.
From me to you, dear friend 🙂