You could feel Burroughs’ words – and the emanations of all the other notorious lodgers – resonating in this place.
Over the course of an evening and afternoon at Pleyel he and his collaborators presented the complete works of Varèse in two concerts seen as a single autonomous work, designed for interactive dialogue involving the hall, artist, musicians and audience. I first came to Varèse via Frank Zappa, who always cited the composer as a major influence. It was wonderful to hear all of his music in live performance.
I went to the champagne after party, hung out with Gary and Magdalena, his bride. She and I laughed about the fact that we both have the same (non-)job: slacker. People underestimate us, I explained to her. One cannot pull off the boulevardier thing without a heap of style. Magda and I also share the same birthday: January 11. Now we're bound by natal forces!
Special thanks to Angela Di Paolo for photos of The Mirror Points.
The old man never had much money but that didn’t deter him from enjoying travel, laughter, food and music. Whatever writing abilities I may have are derived directly from his love of word play. For a Depression-era kid who never graduated high school, he could rock The New York Times Sunday crossword. No blank squares at the end of the afternoon. I had all I could do to keep up with him. Amazing vocabulary, self-accumulated.
My favorite memory: when I turned thirteen he took me to my first rock-and-roll concert!
I picked up on Dad’s style I suppose, but more importantly, I learned from observation how to express emotion, literally how to love. Maybe it was that Mediterranean heritage (he and my Greek uncles always embraced, kissed), but Dad was never reticent about coming up to my mom at the kitchen sink and planting a kiss. Or putting his arm around her on the sofa while watching TV. Small things at the time, but a virtual primer when I think about it now.
I’m heartened that he got to hear my first commercials on the radio before he passed. I had just started working at a small advertising agency and was writing and directing spots for Sears with voiceovers by Tony Marvin -- the original voice of Tony the Tiger (Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes). Dad of course knew of Tony from his longtime stint as Arthur Godfrey’s announcer on radio and TV. I guess he figured that if his punk 25-year-old son could hold his own in a recording studio with an old pro like Tony, I was on my way.
Marti and I were talking the other day about how sometimes you incorporate aspects of people you love into your own persona after they die. My dad spoke endlessly about wanting to retire in Europe – specifically, in Greece – when his work life ended. I like to think that in some way Marti and I are living his dream.