The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘David Berman’

What We’re Loving: Fires, Isolation, Whispering Gallery

February 1, 2013 | by

Walk in New York - NYC Vintage - Postcard - Grand Central Terminal

Remember Rod McKuen? He’s the one who wrote those illustrated books of free verse with titles like Come to Me in Silence and Listen to the Warm. In the 1970s, McKuen called himself America’s most popular poet, and he may well have been. Since then he has faded into obscurity, without an heir—until now. For reasons best known to themselves, the poet and singer David Berman, the photographer Michael Schmelling, and the painter-sculptor Friedrich Kunath have created You Owe Me a Feeling, an unlikely late masterpiece in the McKuen mode. “Love is the 51st state,” Berman writes. And: “The whole country is turning / into LA (so let’s move to LA).” And: “Golden / retrievers / aren’t dogs, / they’re dogs / about dogs.” These aperçus appear between portraits of a rugged artiste doing his thing on a Kunath canvas, hefting a giant Kunath shoe, or nuzzling one of Kunath’s human-faced tangerines. It’s kind of hard to describe, but we all loved it, and (even though one of us [Nicole] has an e-mail address borrowed from a David Berman song) none of us happened to be stoned. —Lorin Stein

What better way to celebrate the Centennial of Grand Central station than with a dozen bivalves at the Oyster Bar and a visit to the Whispering Gallery? While there, check out the New York Transit Museum’s exhibit “Grand by Design: A Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal,” on view through March 15. —Sadie Stein Read More »

1 COMMENT

The Topographical Soul

March 5, 2012 | by

I was at the last show of the night in a movie theater in New Orleans, and I stepped out midway to go to the bathroom. The movie was loud, cacophonous, upsetting—a documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. As I peed, I stared absentmindedly at a tile in the wall in front of me.

There was nothing remarkable about this tile, but I felt an involuntary shiver. I was alone in the bathroom, but it occurred to me that the bathroom itself had once been alone and empty—for days, weeks, maybe months during the hurricane and evacuation. It had been frozen in time like the figures in Pompeii but without any bodies to be captured in mid-life, mid-gesture. Instead, what had been captured, what resonated, was a stillness that persisted even now, after the city had ostensibly come back to life.

Cities are not meant to be emptied. Most of them never are. Even in their quietest hour they have a rustling sense of breath. But I had once spent time in another city that had also been emptied: Phnom Penh, which was evacuated under the Khmer Rouge.

Phnom Penh was, from the moment I saw it in 1994, a place that refused comparison. At first I accepted this. I had come for new experiences and I was happy, if often unnerved, to let new experiences prick me with their unfamiliarity. But then I began to feel a certain resistance in me, an effort to corral all the stimulation and make it adhere to a context with which I was familiar. I was trying, as I always did, to see Phnom Penh through the lens of my hometown, New York. Read More »

6 COMMENTS