Nine years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist and was hired by artist Jana Leo de Blas. Jana was a tiny woman of indeterminable age with a dandelion puff of hair. I arrived at her bright, high-ceilinged studio in the old I.S.C.P. building in midtown Manhattan; she had built a platform in the middle of the room. I climbed the few steps, settled at the desk with my laptop and coffee and tried to remember some poetry to quote in case I choked. That morning was the start of a weekend of open studios, but Jana wanted to be sure we didn’t limit ourselves to visiting art fans, so [...]
Brooklyn had about 12 craft fairs this weekend, with four or five taking place in Williamsburg-Greenpoint alone. There was the 3rd Ward Fair in Williamsburg, and the Hearts and Crafts Affair at Cafe Grumpy, in Greenpoint. These are often grandiose affairs, like Etsy on acid, with DJs and gift bags, and someone serving happy hour-priced mixed drinks and Colt 45 in juicebox-size bottles. For sale, everything from clothing to recession-based holiday gifts, like keychains for keys to things you do not have. It makes sense, of course. With so many struggling artists per capita, why not connect them with the masses desperate to buy that one unique [...]
Nick Cave's Handwritten Dictionary, And The Love Letters Jamie Shupak Gets From Her Boyfriend Every Day
You know Nick Cave must write the best love letters in the whole world. Because pretty much everything he writes is the best of its kind in the whole world. Well, now we know his secret: a handwritten, not-quite-exactly-alphabetical dictionary he made for himself and kept in the '80s. Here are two pages of the "A's" (wherein a certain very important "A" word is for some reason omitted.) And here is a page of "M's" ("Micturition," "Murk," "Mordant," etc.) Also, oddly, traffic reporter-cum-relationahip columnist Jamie Shupak is currently dating a man who she says had never eaten eggs before they met. (This is an assertion that [...]
A love letter can stir more emotion than any other literature the human race has produced. But take one out of a lover’s hands and most of them become embarrassing, boring and absurd. They’re full of minor events reported as if they’re the opening skirmishes of a great war and small favors received with the thanks due a profound sacrifice. They’re riddled with inside jokes and lousy with clichés.
Love letters tend to fail as literature because love’s hallmarks are also the hallmarks of bad literature: lack of perspective, repetition, superlatives. But strangely, these flaws are part of how we measure a love letter’s sincerity. If we remove them, [...]