Wednesday, July 24, 2013

TBULOER






As I was leaving the studio last night I came across a jumble of plywood letters outside Lite Brite Neon:

TBULOER

An anagram for the urban soul. TROUBLE. I've always been embarrassingly watchful of signs (especially after Hopie and I saw that palmist in Jaipur), so I kept looking over my shoulder as I scuttled along 3rd Ave to the bus stop, waiting for Trouble to sneak up behind me and bludgeon me with a tire iron. (Anyone who just nodded in empathy: we've seen way too much Law & Order.)

But as I boarded the bus and the acid gloaming electrified the muggy Gowanus evening, I changed my mind. I read the sign wrong. Not trouble out-to-get-you trouble, but good-natured trouble-making trouble. The mechanics at the corner motorcycle shop had traded their wrenches for tongs as they barbecued hot dogs on a sidewalk grill, and a gaggle of kids screamed with delight as they streaked through the spray of a pirated fire hydrant. Two teenagers in the back of the bus giggled as they stole sips from a sweating brown paper bag. Dogs roamed off-leash while an unperturbed cop chatted with the pretzel cart man, both of them working on Klondike bars, at the entrance of Prospect Park.

There's something about this outrageous heat and humidity that makes everyone relax, break a few harmless rules, once the sun finally sets. As soon as the western sky edges with pink the city lets out a collective sigh of relief, and we enjoy a few hours of slap-happy communal troublemaking. I went home to our sweltering apartment and P. and I stripped down to our skivvies and celebrated Trouble with ice-cold beers on the pigeon-shit-covered fire escape.





New York summer links for troublemakers:

-Breakfast at Rockaway Taco (before the rush. If you, too, live by the dictum Thou Shalt Not Wait in Line for Hype Food, then I suggest skipping the insane lunch line and going instead for a leisurely, heavenly, worth-the-trip breakfast taco).

-Morning swim in the Atlantic as jumbo jets shudder overhead en route to Kennedy Airport and the destruction of Sandy slowly gives way to a new boardwalk. NYMag urban beach guide here, but we parked by Rockaway Taco and just walked to the beach, which was happily empty at 10am on a Sunday but quickly filled up by noon. One of my happiest New York summer mornings to date.

- This 40-minute stream of Ali Farka Touré's Savane.

-Edith Wharton's deliciously twisted short story A Bottle of Perrier. Like Paul Bowles does horror fiction, but better, because it's Edith Wharton. (With the exception of Wharton's short stories and a weird little Nabokov perversion about chess, I've dropped almost every single summer read in a downward spiral of literary restlessness; any good book recs?)

-This nothing-new-but-worth-a-read article on Slate: Instagram and Self-Esteem. I think my mom put it aptly when she said, a short while after cruising through the feeds on my phone, "aren't all these dinner parties and picnics a bit oppressive? One shouldn't spend too much time slutting around on this thing or one might get terribly depressed. Now unload the dishwasher." Guilty as charged and RIGHT AS USUAL, MOM.

- I mentioned this a few months back but just making sure you've seen the NAT GEO FOUND Tumblr. Counters my self-loathing for posting pictures of my food on Instagram and makes me love the internet again.

- Block Shop is, one week after relaunching, almost sold out of the Herringbone scarves in greyscale and papaya. You heard it here first, so if you want one, giddyup and click over to the shop. (Everyone in Bagru is cheering. This is so exciting. THANK YOU for your support.)

HOPE EVERYONE IS WELL. DO NOT DESPAIR. SOMETIMES WE GET THE SUMMER BLUES. BOURBON ON THE ROCKS HELPS. TELL ME WHAT BOOKS YOU ARE READING. Lastly, thank you all you dear, dear Los Angeles friends new and old who came to my opening at Luis De Jesus. One of the best nights of my life. Thanks for the support! 

36 comments:

  1. i think i know that building in gowanus - my band recorded an album there in june! i took a bunch of pictures of the building because it's awesome.

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  2. i'm reading david lodge's trading places, which makes me gnash my teeth way less than nice work did in college. i wait in line for noontime tacos; my brand of trouble isn't nearly diurnal enough to be at the other end of a train to the rockaways in the morning. i love your fire hydrant; LOB TRUE, lily s., LOB TRUE.

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  3. I want to give your mom a big hug. Or at least a high five.

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  4. TURTLE DIARY.

    Read it up, read it down.

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  5. Ah, great post. Just listened to Artful by Ali Smith on audio and loved it, kind of obsessed with her now, and that's a short one. She's so so brilliant! Can't wait to see what everyone else recommends.

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  6. Hey Lily! I've loved reading this post about the New York summer blues. One book that I loved from this summer is "Geek Love." It was disturbing but lovely. Hope all is well!

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  7. oh man - my love for eva hesse is sincerely bone deep.

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  8. Your mother speaks the truth! :) I'm currently working on 'Independent People' by Halldor Laxness, since I recently had an all-too-brief stopover in Iceland and wanted my reading to mirror my surroundings. I just picked up a copy of 'The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays' by James Wood, but one book I always recommend whenever I get the chance is 'The Other Walk: Essays' by Sven Birkerts - truly wonderful stuff.

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  9. TROUBLE will always have a sweeter attitude to me, after reading this. sounds like ny and berlin are dancing to a similar rhythm these days.

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  10. Your Mom is so right, and yet, I can't stop looking at Instagram! I just finished Pym from your recommendation list, I loved it! I was slow to get into it, not a fan of part one, but it pulled me in. I loved Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton. If you haven't read Come, Thou Tortoise, you should. It is amazing.

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  11. SLUTTING AROUND!!!!

    I think your mom and I are kindred spirits. I also think that one bit of insight should be made into a plaque and installed permanently in a prominent location in all of our homes.

    Have you read, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" Granted my standards for reading are a bit lax at the moment (something has to grip me in the 4 minutes before I nod off in bed), but it was so modern and fun and smart and just NOW. I adored it.

    Will be stopping by your show when we return from vacation in a few weeks.

    xx

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  12. Currently reading Blood Meridian: or The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy. Nothing cheerful, but brutal/beautiful in a way that leaves your tongue hairy for want of drink but your heart-in-the-throat is in the way.

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  13. I love trouble. I hope you find some more mischief very soon.

    I was reading Contagious, it was good, but not exactly summer reading.

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  14. An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazer (only if you haven't seen the movie already - that ruins it) A year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Chronicle of A death Foretold by G G Marquez, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salmin Rushdie, The Cat's TAble by Micheal Ondaatje

    I am right now reading "waiting" by Ha Jin.
    and always reading
    A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

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  15. that sounds like such an amazing day! also, your mum is right - i spend way too much time on IG, and not enough time cleaning my room/house/dishes. geez.

    i wish i could say i'm reading something new + amazing, but i've got my plath biography on the go (rough magic) still, and i'm going to start re-reading 'stranger things happen' by kelly link (my favourite writer in the universe). hopefully i'll get to my 'scotland: the autobiography' soon, sigh. the library won't keep renewing it forever... :)

    allllso, i have a wee giftie for you, so this is me trying to remind myself to email you ('self! how hard can this be! you are already on the interwebs! just DO it!') to get an address to which to post it.

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  16. Your Mom!!! So good. Just get on with it already. That other one too. Those paintings don't paint themselves. Your scarves are simply luscious, color, design, cotton/silk. Summer is still wagging it's tail. Living at the beach with the summer crowds is not so fun to one whom likes silence and desert skies. It's all in the perspective. Trouble! or Trouble?

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  17. Great post!

    Have you seen the Parade of the Painted Elephants article in the current Nat Geo? I thought of you when I saw it. The photos are gorgeous - I might have to frame a few! (And put them near my beloved Block Shop scarf!)

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  18. "slutting around" is a great phrase. she's totally right.
    cosmicomics by calvino. "for a project." but mostly just my own shitty drafts of proposals and grants.
    summer blues, summer blur.

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  19. Your mom is brilliant. Apple didn't fall far!

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  20. Just re-read The Sun Also Rises, which was helpful with summer emo-doldrums. Also, if you haven't, Light Years by James Salter, but everyone is reading that. I am so pleased with your mother.

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  21. I just have to say, I love your mom's comment. Maybe I'll set up my phone to have an automatic pop-up saying that after more than 5 minutes on Instagram.

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  22. Books I've enjoyed this summer: the new James Salter novel "All That Is", "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter (the definition of summer reading), "Cooked" by Micheal Pollen, "Prosperous Friends" by Christin Shutt and "Joyland" by Stephen King. Just started "Son" by Phillipp Meyer, well reviewed and very promising. If you haven't read "Gone Girl", you should get to that.

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  23. Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser is brill!

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  24. Reading Rec: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah'. I basically love everything she's ever written and pounced on this as soon as it hit the shops, half-fearing disappointment in that way you do (films of books you love anyone?) ... but encountered none. Loved it, from start to finish. Also Donal Ryan's 'The Spinning Heart' is amazing but may not have the same resonance for anyone not intimately familiar with pre- and post-crash Ireland (I'm Irish). Worth a go though, i'd say...

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  25. Ah, the oppressiveness of summer....yet, I never want summer to actually end. It's a love/hate relationship. Glad your L.A. show went well - although I'm only a couple of hours away, with my three kiddos it might as well be across the world! Hopefully I can catch your next CA show.

    And AMEN to what your mama said about Instagram. I plan to keep my slutting around to a freakin' MINIMUM from now on!

    p.s. Currently working my way through the weird and twisted short stories of William Trevor.

    xoxo
    c.

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  26. Yes Mother Stockman!!! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is CHARMING. Also I second Where'd you go Bernadette. Maria Semple wrote for Arrested Development. I rest my case.

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  27. Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle.

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  28. Just finished reading Great Expectations again, a fave. Now onto the Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - all her books are wonderful and grip you from the first few pages all the way thru to the end.

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  29. Haha, your mother sounds like mine!

    The Imperfectionists (Tom Rachman)
    Flight Behavior (Barbara Kingsolver)
    Falling Upward (Richard Rohr)
    The Big House (George Howe Colt)
    This Side of Paradise
    A Moveable Feast

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  30. Maravilloso tu blog: ¡todo un descubrimiento!!!!!
    Saludos desde Madrid
    Piola

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  31. Congrats on the shop!! The site is puurfect. LOVED the pic with the puppy. Hey I was wondering, do you know a good source for a medium/large paisley wood block? I'd love to have one and do my own duvets, pillow cases, etc. Thanks Doll! Hope you're having a relaxing and happy summer :)

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  32. I’ve been searching for some decent stuff on the subject and haven't had any luck up until this point,
    instagram likes

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