Monday, January 09, 2006

Oh my. Poor little mite. I love this sweet sad cyclops kitten.
via Boing Boing
Jan 8, 2006
Earlier this evening K and I got a call, telling us our friend Bill was dead. A heart attack. Complained of chest pains, passed out onto his kitchen floor, and never woke back up. As I write this, late at night, curled in a blanket in the darkened living room…I find it hard to believe. Like a kick to the stomach, the death of a friend comes like a sharp sour shock.
I met Bill at the gallery years ago. He came in and we bonded over tikis. He was a huge guy, 6’5 and heavily tattooed. Imposing, yet with a goofy smile and a gentle demeanor. He became my friend. And when you were Bill’s friend, I don’t think there was anything he would not do for you. You felt safe when Bill was around. He set K and me up on our first date. He was our best man at our wedding. He married a beautiful girl a few years ago, became a loving step dad to her daughter. He adored his family. I think he was probably the happiest he’d ever been. I don’t know for sure of course…but you can see it when a person has found a kind of peace after a tough life. He was so kind. Kindness is rare.
He was a glass blower. There is something…poetic… about this giant tattooed man, built like a tree, working with molten glass and heat, coaxing out beautiful colors and intricate swirling shapes, carefully working in a quiet state.
The thing is- as I write this I think about what I’m trying to describe and I think about how it sounds like so many eulogies. Gentle hearts taken so young. Goddamn it. I feel so much welling grief for his wife. I’m not even going to try to be eloquent about it. You know- we just got their frickin' family Christmas letter.

God Bill, I miss you already. I can’t believe someone so big and strong could be felled so easily. I cry and then I feel better, and then I cry again. I worry that in your final minutes that you worried about E and M. I know you know what to do now. Your friends love your family, we will all rally for them. You will be in our hearts, and now I know what that means, in the network of shocked, sad calls that whipped around tonight. I know you loved us, that we loved you. I just can’t believe you are gone. I can’t believe you left like this.

And I can’t believe that life just carries on, that the world doesn’t stop, not for the tiniest second. I keep thinking that I misunderstood…that Bill had a heart attack and is actually just in the hospital- and didn’t we all have a scare? And I think about the when K hung up the phone in tears, the words “ and he died…” lingering in the air…
“ No he didn’t” is how I felt…“ No, he didn’t, it’s a mistake….” The same horrified feeling you get when you see someone get punched in real life…something cruel and shocking that rips the breath from your throat. It took awhile for the tears to start, at first I was very calm, trying to figure out how we could take care of E, what we would need to do for the funeral, very calm and collected.
And now I am tear stained and curled in the living room in the dark, I can’t sleep, and I keep peering down my dark hallway, half hoping to see Bill’s ghost. But there won’t be anything, and that is the worst part.

Bill had his own schedule, moved to his own rhythms. K and I used to constantly say “It’s Bill’s world, and we’re just living in it”…half exasperated, half joking. Now Bill has left this world and god, is there a giant hole in it now.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Would I Nomi Now?
I’ve posted a few things before alluding to my interest in the New Wave scene in the early 80’s. As a teenager in high school at that time period the info I gleaned from magazines like Interview, Details (when it was a NY scene magazine), I.D., and The Face started to inform my own aesthetics…I turned from looking like your average 80’s teen dork into a more theatrical version. Crazy haircuts, wild eye makeup, tons of costume jewelry, leopard skin shoes, skirts made from my mother’s old Indian bedspreads, Edie Sedgwick black tights, and pillbox hats became everyday wear. I went from thinking the clean blondes in Guess ads (they were around even then) were the height of cool glamour, into thinking that the chicks on NY streets with spiky hair, cats eye sunglasses, tight black dresses and combats boots as the epitome of style. I basically worshiped anyone who looked like a stylish freak. Kenny Scharf replaced the Pre Raphaelites, and I junked all my former musical leanings to strictly new wave with a smattering of punk and of course, goth. (I later went a little more full on goth- because that’s where all the theatricality went after New Wave kinda died).
In high school in West Seattle- I was pretty much alone in my interests, which sucked in some ways, but also meant the thrift stores had better crap. This one gal who was sorta hip in a white trash Madonna way and I decided we were going to go full on psychedelic 60’s mod go go girl with our style (neon psychedelic prints, mini skirts, big plastic earrings, weird plastic bobble belts, and white eye makeup) but it never quite happened. I ended up being more interested in Street Urchin Chic (bleached white teased hair, rhinestone jewelry, ratty oversized men’s jeans, converse, white wifebeaters and torn up t’s, always worn with a black lace bra. Think early Bananarama.)
ANYWAY- it was so fun to create these styles. I can’t believe I was like that sometimes, since I’m now older and my uniform has been a black T and jeans for over a decade now. (Of course I like to tell myself that I have tamed my look because I’m more interested in pursuits of the brain rather than the wardrobe, but it’s really that I’m lazy. And the fact adults trying to look mega hip are pretty ghastly.)
I just watched a documentary about Klaus Nomi, which I recommend to anyone interested in the early 80’s NY New Wave/performance art scene. (Klaus: think of a space alien robot who looks like Greta Garbo singing opera to pop music) It made me nostalgic a bit- but also interested in learning more, since I had such scanty info when I was younger. The thing I find so appealing about that scene was that it has a definite lightheartedness about it. Times seemed simpler…we were under the threat of nuclear war (Ah…Reagan…cue “Frankie Goes To Hollywood” here) but it seemed like it was the only fear (this of course was right before AIDS “ happened”) These days there are a million things we are pounded into worrying about. Fashion can be bought at the mall and is dictated by the TV, taking away the FUN of making your own clothes. I know what that sounds like (Grandma) but I would never want to lose the memories of trying to absorb every last drop of info in those magazines late at night, of learning and trying to piece together the characters of those far off exotic, beautiful worlds, of feeling like I could be a part of it in my weird clothes, every insult thrown from a Camero by a mullet a badge of honor. Of looking in the mirror and seeing a wonderful self created work of art, back in those florescent neon lit days.