1. My neighbors seem to take real glee in New Years fireworks. Standing out under a cold onyx sky at midnight; hearing and seeing the bombardment was exhilarating. I set off all my old bottle rockets with some real joy and watched others with child-like intensity. After-words for about two hours some demented souls detonated what sounded like real bombs. I suppose these were the work of boys just demonstrating how much explosive power they could unleash. Not a good idea says I, in times of terrorism. I know I reacted to them as more threat than celebration. Still, boys will be boys. When I go our I half expect to find craters.
2. Esther Williams radiated a wholesome sexual magnetism on the tube this morning. Too bad she predated the era of compulsory movie nudity. One wonders what several of the old screen goddesses actually looked like as God made them. I think Ava Gardiner, my favorite, may have been just a bit narrower in the hips than the ideal. Elizabeth Taylor definitely so. Taylor always seemed very neurotic and "high maintenance" to me. Ava on the other hand would be worth walking over ground glass to reach. I've never seen a woman who looked like Ava Gardener.
3. The Hopper show at the National Gallery was a revelation and a joy. His technique is clearly an elaboration of his work as an illustrator. But how he elevated it to that mysterious thing we call art. I foolishly asked my dearest friend for a copy of the picture book accompanying the show. But no book can show the brush strokes and depth of paint applied that reveals the technique of a master. Now that would be a challenge to the new gods of technology. Find a way to render paintings as clearly and in as much dimensionality as they are in one's actual presence.
I was truck by the mat quality of the work. there didn't appear to be any gloss to any of it. His watercolors and oils seem interchangeable in this as well. An early portrait was done so poorly that i might of done it myself. His second portrait was very very fine in both anatomy and in the rendering of expression and overall vividness. I should try to get to see this show again somewhere less crowded.
Of course I couldn't resist playing the clown, remarking within earshot of very earnest tourists,..."But I thought it was Dennis Hopper we came to see!"