Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
For this year's Obscura Day, we once again joined the folks at Underwater New York, this time heading to Staten Island, where we clambered amidst the remains of the St. John's Guild Children's Hospital and gazed in sad wonder at the decaying bungalows of the Cedar Grove Beach Club, whose residents were evicted in 2010.
Friday, April 27, 2012
It's rare that when a director says, "Thanks for coming" at the start of a Q-and-A, the audience bursts into laughter. But for our first foray at the Tribeca Film Festival, we selected a romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator, so guffaws abounded. Hysteria stars Hugh Dancy as young Mortimer Granville, who gets a job masturbating bored, sad, disappointed, and otherwise frustrated women of all ages thought to be suffering from "female hysteria" in London. He, and other doctors, would massage a woman's "most secret area" until she experienced "paroxysm," what we now call "orgasm." Back then, though, this release was in no way considered sexual.
He starts to suffer from agitation, in the form of the fictional Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a passionate do-gooder and suffragette, and from carpal tunnel. His tremendous pain prevents him from doing his job properly, until he discovers relief from his friend's latest electrical invention, the "feather duster."
According to the movie's epilogue, hysteria as a medically validated diagnosis stayed on the books until 1952. We've made many advances in vibrator technology since its invention in the 1880s, but these days it often seems as if our thinking about women's sexuality hasn't changed at all. The movie isn't as fun as a paroxysm, but it's a cure for what ails us.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Café Sabarsky ranks as perhaps the most elegant place to eat breakfast in this town. ("Indulgent," as our friend Howard described his morning repast, also fits perfectly.) Attached to the Neue Galerie, the cafe is modeled on those paeans to relaxation and civilization found in Vienna, with wood paneling, softly lit sconces, and windows overlooking Central Park. In settings such as this, it hardly matters what we ate, but for the record: scrambled eggs with bacon, a bread basket featuring sweet ring cake and nutty startches, Bavarian ham and cheese, and a kaffee crème. We read the papers on offer, sipped slowly, and thought seriously about never leaving.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Built as a refuge for elderly rich folks who had lost their fortunes (really), the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx is currently hosting This Side of Paradise, a site-specific installation put on by the artists' group No Longer Empty (which fills unused spaces --- like Tower Records --- with temporary exhibitions). Featuring work by more than 20 artists, This Side of Paradise explores the tensions between this peculiar bit of the Bronx's past and its contemporary circumstances.