Things I’m Doing Instead of Going Out There

– Learning one of the dance routines for National Dance Day. Last year even the so-called “easy” one was too hard for me. Talk about an esteem-crusher. But I must not have been alone because this year the easy routine actually looks do-able.

– Participating in an International Standard Pitch survey. The standard pitch is the A above middle C, it’s used in tuning. The survey is being conducted by the Levitin Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University. I came across their work while researching my book, so anything to contribute to their wonderful investigations! “The objective of this experiment is to investigate whether the general population has a preference for one pitch standard over another.”

Actually, I did go out this morning. On my way home I passed by a photo shoot a half a block from my apartment. Note to model gawkers: Hang out on Perry Street. The thing is …

Model Shoot on Perry Street

… this model looked so fantastic every shot I took came out great. I wonder how the photographer will be able to pick just one. The suit she has on is incredibly beautiful, but completely unwearable.

Model Shoot on Perry Street

Secret Gardens of New York City

There are tons of secret gardens all over New York City, but these are on the water and they have a particularly special feel. I passed them by on my walk up the east river. I thought I might continue that walk today, but it might be too hot.

Now I wish I had done these shots differently. I wish I had included the buildings in the photographs. Although, maybe to do that I would have had to been hovering out above the water.

RIP Nora Ephron

I gasped when I read that Nora Ephron died. It’s a cliche I guess, but she always wrote in a way that made you feel as if you knew her, so it was like an acquaintance had died. (She wouldn’t have liked me though. She didn’t approve of whining, and let’s face it, I’m a bit of a whiner.)

I’m always comforted when really smart people give their take on the mundane things of life, and I’m going to really miss Nora Ephron weighing in. Even if the news was bad, because she was always realistic, but she was realistic with compassion, and with humor that didn’t feel like denial. It had an edge.

Oh well. Fuck. Another one gone.

I walked up the east river yesterday. It was a problematic walk. On my side of town you can walk up and down the river non-stop. On the east side there are patches where there is no place to walk, it’s either blocked off or there’s only highway. I stopped at 57th Street, so I have to go back and pick up where I left off.

All of that said, there were many more pockets of beauty than we have on the west side. The tiny parks scattered along the river are greener and more lush and have a feeling of quiet and peace, and in some places apartments buildings come right up to the water and there are raised parks alongside overlooking the water. The west side is lovely too, but it’s the beauty of a nice lawn, vs the east side’s beauty of a secret garden. I’d say the west side is better for walking, the east side is better for sitting in a beautiful spot with a book.

Also, the rich have a far better deal on the east side. I saw some places that blew my mind.

I’ll post a couple of shots today, and more tomorrow. This was leading up to a park and a dog run.

This is the dog run taken from the other side of the highway. There is nothing like this on the west side (until you get to Inwood and above, I should say). Inside there you feel like you’re in another world.

Bieber Fever is Not a Symptom of Fear

For as long as I can remember, girls going crazy over a teen idol has been explained as evidence of fear of sex, and a way to have a crush from a safe distance. Like this from a recent Wall Street Journal article:

“Boys also develop musical tastes in this phase of life, but adolescent girls are far more likely to become infatuated with pop stars, experts say, because they are awakening to romantic and sexual feelings that are both intoxicating and scary. Having a crush on a celebrity they are unlikely to meet is a way to try out such feelings at a safe distance. “A lot of girls I know practiced their first kiss on a poster. I don’t think that’s changed at all,” says Mark Rubinfeld, professor and chair of sociology at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

“Boys are more likely to follow athletes intensely—partly out of a desire to emulate them and partly because rooting for a team conveys a sense of identity, psychologists say. Some of that carries into adulthood, as men paint themselves with team colors or skip work on game day.”

That has never rung true for me. Have any psychologists ever challenged this interpretation? As a former teenage girl I think it’s bullshit and I would explain it this way:

Yes, the girls are young and don’t know what to do, but they’re not scared. Or, maybe they are, but they are also eager to try and experiment. The teen idols are usually good looking, and talented, and living exciting lives, so they become this romantic fantasy of what we think it all could be. But it’s a fantasy born of desire, not fear. It’s sexuality and the hope for love bursting at the seams, not a toe in the distant waters of romantic-life. There wasn’t a girl in my circle (at the time) who wasn’t ready and looking forward to trying out those fantasies on someone real, and as soon as humanly possible. However nervous we might have been we were ready to begin. But boys that age are a mixed bag of availability and readiness, aren’t they? Plus, parents and society encourage girls to slow down, be careful, wait to have sex, etc. Teen idols are a stop-gap measure, not a means to provide safety.

Boys may not develop these kinds of crushes because it is not socially acceptable for them to scream and cry over whoever they might idolize. Perhaps it is still more acceptable after all this time for girls to be open about expressing their feelings (actually, girls are actively encouraged to act out in this way, come to think of it).

Anyway, I took it as an insult to teenage girls everywhere then, and it still feels condescending to me now. I wasn’t some timid, shrinking-from-boys, have-to-love-from-afar delicate flower then, and I’m guessing this doesn’t fairly describe the girls of today.

Update: I was just mulling it over. In many ways there is nothing more terrifying than a teenage girl (and a bold, risk-taking teenage girl). People are both scared of them and for them. Perhaps this interpretation is popular because it’s a safe and comforting way of looking at girls and what their actions mean? Perhaps we’re the ones who crave safety, not them.

The aftermath from the parade on Sunday, which was completely cleaned up by the time I woke up on Monday.

I Didn’t Drum

I stayed home and worked on my author photo. By the time I was done the parade was long over, but I went out for a walk. On Saturday I’d taken a picture of an empty-but-barricaded Christopher Street, and that was going to be my “before” shot. But they weren’t letting anyone walk down Christopher Street. So …

Gay Pride 2012

I turned and faced the sidewalk. I’m pretty sure I made a big mistake not drumming this year. This is always the happiest gig we ever do, but the mood this year was even more joyous.

Gay Pride 2012

Everywhere I looked were smiling, friendly people. It’s always like this but I swear it felt even more so this year. Oh! Maybe everybody got married this past year!

Gay Pride 2012

This guy totally looks like a samba dancer! I should have asked him if he danced with any of the samba bands, or mine in particular, Manhattan Samba.

Gay Pride 2012