We had a houseguest for five nights last week, a Polish girl who comes to the states every summer to do something or other. She was here last year for a couple of days, and I don’t remember what she’d been doing in the states but this year she spent some time with the Bread And Puppet Theater in Vermont. She lived in a tent all summer and was allowed to shower once a week. I’m glad I wasn’t there.
You would think the day of the hippie commune was over, but I guess if we can have survivalists we can have hippie communes. I was never one for roughing it; I’ve done my share in the Boy Scouts and the U.S. Army. Kaya, our guest, spent the first day with us extolling the virtues of living in a Yurt.
Kaya showed us pictures of yurts online and told us we could buy one for less than $5,000 in Vermont. Or buy the land and build one for five grand, or something; as the discussion had lead to Danusia and I wanting to buy a house.
“I don’t see a bathroom or running water in any of these.” I said.
“Oh, well, you have to have an outhouse, and get water from a well or some other source.”
If it doesn’t have a bathroom or running water I’m not living in it. Our camping trip through Nevada and Big Sur last fall was it for me.
The next day Danusia took Kaya on the Staten Island ferry for a look at the New York skyline, harbor, and the Statue Of Liberty. I passed on this trip; I’m very familiar with all of those things.
For the last night together Kaya wanted to go see something called Midnight Moment in Times Square.
Midnight Moment is something sponsored by the Times Square Alliance, one night a month for three minutes starting at 11:57 a good number of the giant digital screens in Duffy Square show the same thing.
But before the midnight moment, which is way past my bedtime, I suggested we go to a movie, because if I was at home waiting for the right time to go to Times Square I’d just fall asleep on the couch. We all decided on the new Brian DePalma movie, Passions. I’m not even gonna talk about the movie except to say it’s Brian DePalma’s homage to himself. It was fairly entertaining, with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rappace in a sex and hate triangle where the catch phrase is; “It’s not backstabbing, it’s just business.” Something we are all familiar with.
We saw the movie at the Elinor Bunin center at Lincoln Center (I know, too many centers) on Monday night, and I thought we were going to be the only ones in the theater. A few more people showed up, including two gay boys that sat right in front of me and tittered through the whole movie. Ten people in a 200-seat auditorium and they have to sit there.
Kaya and Danusia ham it up in Damrosch Park
After the movie we walked over to Damrosch Park where there were a bunch of seats set up for one of the Fashion Week events and we goofed around and took pictures while we waited for the midnight moment. There was a lot of discussion about walking down to Times Square; we had plenty of time, but with torn cartilage in both knees and a heel spur I demurred.
“I’ll tell you what, you walk, I’ll take the train and meet you there.” I told them. On second thought, it would be a big hassle to find each other, so I convinced them to get on the train with me.
We got three quickly and ended up having to walk up to Duffy Square to see this thing, Kaya had the streets written down. Leave it to a visitor to get it right. We walked through the brightly lit streets of Times Square, and I marveled at how much it’s changed since my youth. Gone are the soft and hardcore porn theaters, the peep shows, strip joints and mob-operated gay bars that lined the strip.
Gone are the hustlers, pimps, and prostitutes, the phony drug dealers hawking oregano and baking powder to tourists. Oh, yeah, there were tourists then, who wanted to see the show, and that’s still the same. The tourists.
11:57 arrived and we all looked up from the crowd to watch the leader count down to the animation, a brightly colored thing of a woman walking down some stairs and petting a cat. It was done by something called The Nature Theater Of Oklahoma. Even the talent is a tourist nowadays.