Languishing in New York

by angeliska on September 16, 2009

(From the collection of Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood)
I arrived in the city soundly,
despite Mercury’s meddlings
(delays, insane turbulence)
and headed straight from the airport
to the Hungarian House where my
beloved Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band
and The Luminescent Orchestrii featuring
my old friend Sxip Shirey were tearing it up.
It was a great show, packed with enthusiastic
dancers of all ages, doing a traditional circle
dance. Apparently they do this every Wednesday
night! Lots of teensy little old elfin ladies and gents
were putting me to shame on the dance floor.
I hope I’m still frolicking like that when I get ancient!

(Stinky Herman the hedgehog hangs out near a Galliano Diptyque
candle, hoping his musty death-smell will not offend passersby)

As soon as I rolled into town, I started going out every night-
dancing until dawn at the Rubulad Boat Party, and the next
evening at Disko Nouveaux, which no doubt contributed to
my run down system. Combine that with allergies, climate change
and general neglect, and it’s no wonder I’m sick as a damn dog.
I’m trying not to be despondent, and just hope to kick it soonly,
but my sinuses are just built wrong or something- and this sort
of thing tends to linger. Acupuncture appointment in Chinatown
is set for tomorrow, plus a visit to Congee Village! The horror
of not being able to smell or really enjoy food, (not to mention
feeling snot-ridden and unglamourous) is a bit of a problem.
How am I going to haunt the hallowed halls of Aedes de Venusta
and I Hate Perfume with a blocked-up nose faucet? Really, now.

(Dana and Mark have more Victorian taxidermy than anyone I know.
Quite an impressive collection, amassed on their various travels.)

Other highlights so far have included an immense steak dinner
at Peter Luger’s, walking home from the train at dawn, hearing
the multitude of birds singing in the eaves of a grand theatre
turned church. Getting very lost with the Tibetan lady who
was my cabdriver- the ineffable experience of connecting
on a deep level with total strangers in this huge/tiny city.
She gave me a yellow rose. The same night, I happened
to sit down next to the lovely Miss A., and offered her a
Choward’s Violet Pastille. Hours later, our wonderful
conversation unabated, I remembered the mantra I set
for myself as I was preparing for this trip: BE OPEN
— to experiences, to people, to the energy of the city.
So far, it’s served me very well indeed, as I’ve met some
wonderful people I never would’ve encountered by being
shut off. It’s so easy to pull down the shade here, to not
interact, not make eye contact. You’re never alone here,
even when you want to be, so people make that privacy
for themselves — so as not to go completely mad!
Too often, however, that solitude becomes complete —
a black impenetrable wall of protection, and we find
ourselves too alone, too isolated. I’ve been reminding
myself all the time to smile, instead of just staring,
and it’s been rewarded every time with warmth
and recognition. Try it and see what happens.

(Dana’s gorgeous wax orange blossom bridal wreath and hair collection.)
Oh yes, I also went to go see Nick Cave do an interview and reading from
his new book, The Death of Bunny Munro. His boy Jethro Lazenby Cave
was there, striding gloriously in my direction at one point, ooh-la!
I must say, the proximity to the Cave père et fils gave me quite a frisson!

More precious treasures, bisque babies, hair flowers.
Did I mention it’s Fashion Week here? Could’ve fooled me.
I’ve been completely oblivious, not gone to a single couture show,
fool that I am. Crikey. I hope I won’t miss it all! Living vicariously
instead through Yvan Rodic’s wonderful photographs, and
feeling The Gawker’s pain. Stupid sinus infection!

Dana and Mark’s tiny kitchen is quite inspiring. It’s like being inside a pastry
shell stuffed with antique lace and snails. They have the most elegant
refrigerator interior ever, lots of crocheted doilies and rush baskets.

I spent all of yesterday languishing in bed. Luckily, the bed is very luxurious-
I have the honor of staying in Miss Jolie Holland’s room while she’s out on
tour (go see her if she comes to your town! You’ll be so glad you did!)

Stefan Jecusco playing his magical banjo (goat-headed, handmade from ancient wood)
and Jolie on her Strohviol at a wonderful potluck here. My dear friend Jana
is taking really good care of me. I’m so glad to be staying here with her!

I’m laying around, feeling awful, listening to city sounds, the neighbor’s laundry
waving at from from out on the line. The tinkling of brass coins, car alarms,
children playing, a man screaming. Slowing it all down, and resting.

Sunlight on the chandelier, reflected over the courtyard from a windowpane.
A whole day passes, and I’m still here. Make a wish that I get better soon?


it might be time for some of that behind-the-counter druggery to dry you up 🙂
lovely pix! I covet that pink wall.

by alita on September 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm. Reply #

Feel better soon, beautiful girl! You can give your immune system a boost with a garlic/apple cider vinegar/honey drink. And enjoy the congee–I used to live just about a block from that place on Allen St. and it was yummy and cheap.

by Nica on September 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm. Reply #

JOLIE HOLLAND!!! *swoon*

by karenleigh on September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm. Reply #

so much beautiful beautimous nooks and treasures. nick cave is reading in my hometown tonight and i cannot be there, but i am glad you saw him in new york (heavenly!). how is the new book?
feel better, bella, soon soon. !

by annie on September 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm. Reply #

YOU give me a frickin’ frisson! I wish I could be with you! I know the excessive powa between us would find your sinush shriveling in terror!

by Scott Revo on September 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm. Reply #

Awww, hope you’re feeling better soon. Are you sure it’s not the dreaded swine? Regardless, many blessings.
I recommend a hot ginger compress (kidney area should do it) and a regular helping of Source Naturals Wellness Formula (most vitamin & health food stores carry it).
Inspiration for when you’re feeling better:
Film Decors by the Quay Brothers exhibit

by OdetteOdile on September 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm. Reply #

My favorite scent at CB I Hate Perfume is “In The Library” I believe it is- smells of old books… Do let me know if i can aid u with companionship to that fine store and be your descriptive olifactory translator… I work in Alphabet City and the trek would be short…

by Hannah Cranford on September 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm. Reply #

Go to the healthfood store and get thee a neti pot!!!
Flush! Drink hot ginger tea from fresh ginger and megadose on Vit C!!!Airborne for the trip home is a good idea too-If you have down time email me and I will take you to The Dia in Beacon, a beautiful train ride up the Hudson about 45 min-to see Louise
Bourgeois Spider installation and the Storm King Art Center.Also FRESH air!

by Rose on September 16, 2009 at 2:29 pm. Reply #

wish for health!

by suzanne on September 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm. Reply #

get better soon! raw garlic and lemon! i feel the weather change illness arriving and my lymph nodes are giving me warning signs, take care of yourself and have a blast. looks like youve already done a lot of wonderful stuff, wish i was there! alas my passport expired and i was very, very sad that i didnt notice earlier. cant wait for your update/review of the show. xo sending you magical fairy dust for your sinuses!

by katja on September 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm. Reply #

If you babies can manage to come down, do–plenty to show you. Even have kayaks.

by Whimsy on September 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm. Reply #

so lovely! thanks for sharing the beautiful images and stories with us.

by garconniere on September 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm. Reply #

I loved what you wrote about listening to city sounds while you were not feeling well. I could really feel that, just from reading it.

by Sue on October 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm. Reply #

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