Monday, April 29, 2002

Hey, y'all.

I'm in the pre-production crazies for the big art show, (see info below), so I'll be short and sweet in this week's rant.

Basically, I've dedicated the last four months of my life to co-producing this amazing event that will showcase the work of a wide range of NYC artists and performance artists.

100% of the profit goes to a great cause; The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

It's been a wild few months, and there's still plenty more to do, but working with these talented sculptors, painters, photographers and installation artists and combining all our work, (mine, too, YAY) into this one great show has been a life-changing experience.

I look on this as my revenge against 9/11.

You tried to kill us, take our spirit, turn us into darker, frightened people. ...

Well, here we are ... the artists ... of NY Fucking City saying ... we're here ... we have no fear, and our work is more powerful and we are more powerful than ever before!!

Hmmm, ok ... I'm getting into Norma Rae mode again ... gotta stop drinking caffeine. ...

Maybe I'll shut up. ... Just come to the show ... and buy something, for crying out loud!!!

See ya.
REACTION
A Multimedia Art Exhibition and Performance Festival To benefit NYC Art and artists.

At the DNA Studio Gallery
2174 3rd Ave between 118 and 119



Opening night Friday, May 3, from 7-11
Performance art Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Gallery hours Monday, May 6, to Friday, May 10, by appointment

Closing Friday Night May 10th, 7-10 PM, Live Auction at 8:00 PM sharp


This weeklong Art Festival at the DNA Studio Gallery in Spanish Harlem is a chance to celebrate the great surviving spirit of New York artists. Reaction will explore the ripple effects of September 11th on the work of a wide range of New York artists.

This diverse gallery/festival will showcase art created before and after 9/11. Each artist will show a sample or samples of pre- 9/11 work to allow the viewers to note subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes in their style, media, or subject material. The bulk of the work on exhibit will be pieces created after Sept 11th, 2001.

"Without planning it, I and a lot of other artists have seen our work change," said Rossi, co-producer of the show. "It's like, here we are, so many months after this terrible tragedy, and suddenly we realize that the color of our paint is softer or perhaps the subjects we photograph are suddenly dolloped with tiny bits of patriotism."

The show will feature a wide range of media from painting, sculpture and photography to digital art, movie making, installations and performances.

"Our point is to show that creativity could not be stopped by terror," said Dror Katz, co-producer of the show. "We believe that art, in any form, is the way to express emotions, feelings and ideas about the historical events we have witnessed."

The artists in New York were deeply affected by the tragedy: In addition to the emotional toll, artists' funds were cut and grants canceled. In the spirit of the show, the producers of Reaction are giving 100% of all gallery profits to an organization that helps artists in need: The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. This nonprofit organization is perhaps best known for providing free art studios in The World Trade Center.

They are now active in providing workspaces, grants and exhibitions for emerging artists all over New York City .

50% of the sales of art will go directly to the artist, the other 50% to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

The show will consist of visual artists ranging from painters and photographers to sculptors, film-makers and installation artists and an impressive roster of New York City performance artists.

Reaction will begin with a gala art opening Friday, May 3 from 7:00 until 11:00 PM, with catering donated by The Raging Skillet catering company.

The next two days will be an art festival dedicated to showing the works of talented performance artists. The performances on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, will be at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Monday, May 6 until Friday, May 10 will have gallery hours by appointment only.

Reaction will close with a gala art auction and reception on Friday, May 10, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. The live auction will begin promptly at 8:00 PM. Buyers will need checks or cash on hand to bid.

Reaction is being produced by Rossi and Dror Katz

DNA Studio Gallery
2174 3rd Ave., 3rd floor
NY, NY 10035
212-289-8959

www.dnastudio.org

Thursday, April 25, 2002

I've felt more anti-Semitism since 9/11 than in my whole life put together.

Some of it from other Jews.

There was my neighbor (a Jew), who stood with me on the roof of my building on the morning of 9/11, watching the towers burn, and said, "Why don't they just bomb Israel and leave us alone?"

The other day, a artist pal of mine (a Jew). said, "Why don't they just give them back Israel. It's causing too much anti-Semitism. The Jews should come here to America, where Jews control the media and the money."

Spoken like a true neo-Nazi.

Just perusing The New York Times today, I read about the destruction of over a hundred Jewish graves in Slovakia and the possible election of a Nazi sympathizer in France.

"Is there a difference between being anti-Israel and being anti-Jewish?" my editrix asked.

"It depends," I answered.

In the case of all the anti-Semitism in Europe, clearly not. Europeans are pissed at Israel and are taking it out on synagogues and Jewish soccer teams and Jewish cemeteries.

In the case of my Jewish neighbor on the roof, yes, possibly there's a difference. Although I think maybe he's just anti-human, to tell you the truth.

Almost immediately after 9/11, I started receiving "Help the Muslims!" e-mails from a pal of mine who works with an organization of Jews that fights for racial equality and justice for all people. This same organization now sends me e-mails denouncing the violence against Palestinians.

Jews fight for the rights of other people all the time. We are a minority, after all.

But who fights for the rights of the Jews?

Who fights for the right of Israel to protect itself?

Oddly, (oh my *&^$ God) unbelievably ... it seems to be Republicans and the Christian right. I cannot even believe this is coming out of my mouth, but for once, right--wing Republicans are on my side??!?!? Gasp! I don't even have a filing cabinet in my brain to handle the fact that Newt Gingrich and I are on the same page here.

I think I'll just keep this as like a fluke of nature sorta thing, but where are the Democrats?

Helloooooo, Democrats!! Israel needs you! We're still small. You can still like us!!

Damn! Now I'll really be screwed on election day. My lesbian feminist side will be voting Democrat, and my save Israel side will be voting Republican.

The Passover massacre was a turning point for me. Perhaps before that, I was trying, really trying to fight with my Zionist soul and feel the plight of the Palestinians.

Then they blew up a seder.

They walked in and blew up a seder!!!!?!?!?!

I assumed that no one in the world could condemn Israel after that. How could anyone deny Israel the right to defend itself from this kind of cowardly terror?

And yet they did, and they do. ...

If Israel were not a Jewish state, but a Christian state or a Muslim state, or shit ... almost any other kind of religion, I highly doubt they would be taking this kind of shit.

I was not alive in the 1930s when plumes of anti-Semitism laced through Europe like poison gas, easing the way for the discrediting and the dehumanizing of the Jews, which then made it oh so easy to simply slaughter them like cattle.

But I wonder ... that poisonous anti-Semitism ... did it really subside after WWII or did it just go undercover, lying in wait for a time when hating Jews would be all the fashion again?

Israel is in trouble. It is surrounded by Arab enemies plotting its destruction. It is chastised by Europeans who prefer the Palestinian plight to the Jewish one. Only the United States is hanging in there as an ally, however frayed those ally strings have become.

I have this terrible fear that I will witness the demise of Israel, and I will have to confess to my children and my grandchildren that I did nothing to stop it.

"What did you do to save Israel, Grandma??"

"I wrote it about on my website and prayed."

Is it anti-Semitic to be anti-Israel?

It depends who you ask.

If you ask me ... I'd say abso-fucking-lutely.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I went to Miami.

Yep, I did. Had a good time, and I'm tan, too.

I decided it was okay to take a break from worrying about Israel or processing September 11th. ... Well, for a weekend, anyway.

Besides it was my ex-lover's wedding.

I had to go.

If you happen to be of the heterosexual lot, you may not understand that the process of going to your ex lover's wedding in Lesbianland is like a rite of gay womanhood.

It's what we do, we of the tribe of Lesbos. We stay pals with our exes, go to the commitment ceremonies they have with their new lovers. It's sorta the dyke version of that Circle of Life song from The Lion King.

I kept waiting for Elton John to break thru any moment and belt out, the circlllleeee of dykkeeeee...

Anyway, it was great, however weird.

I went with la cubana, my babe and the woman who was my ex, when my ex-about-to-get-married and I were lovers. After my ex-now-married and I broke up, I got back together with my ex-before-my-ex.

Keep up here.

So my ex-now-married, who is a %$#@ genius, I must say, had an ice breaker soiree, which allowed la cubana and I a chance to get over our nerves and my ex a chance to check out la cubana and me a chance to cause trouble by lining up all the ex-lovers of my ex's new wife and get the dirt on everyone, which was my way of covering up for the fact that I kept remembering that the last time I was in this house, things were not very ex- like.

There was a great, diverse crowd at the ice-breaker soiree, including several lesbians from Atlanta, one of whom is a probation officer and just had me on the floor with tales of her many parolees.

"Oh, it just fell into my bag. I didn't take it!"

There was the totally tattooed NYC DJ, also an ex of my now-married-ex, whom I forced to strip in the bedroom (it was innocent I swear) the professional bridge playing mom of bride No. 2, who refused to give me her secret Caesar salad ingredient, the sister of the bride No. 2 with her boyfriend who had perfect hair. Twas fun.

The next day was the big wedding..very sweet, very, very sweet. Tears and white tulle and blue ocean and lots of black mascara going to hell. It was so sweet that it started making la cubana twitchy. I think she thought I was gonna hold down the minister and scream, "Come on!! Marry us next!"

Please. I do have some class. I planned on waiting till after the reception and then holding our nuptials in the women's room.

The reception was fun, light, easy with none of this boring sit-down breakfast stuff. It was early, so we sipped mimosas.

La cubana and I fell into easy chit chat with two Cuban dykes, one a fellow ex of my ex, who seemed to almost ... ALMOST ... talk her into going back to Cuba for a visit.

... and I got the secret ingredient from Sweet Pea, the bridge mom. It's Worcestershire and -- GASP -- I can even spell it.

There were some weird moments for moi over the weekend, I mean I was at my most recent ex-lover's wedding, after all, and I did have to spend a big chunk of the day after the wedding reassuring my babe that I did not have the minister hiding under the bed, ready to marry us the second she let down her guard, but it was gorgeous. All in all, it was downright nice.

I never saw my ex look so happy, not with me, not without me. She looked radiant and in love and I guess that's just what everything should be about.

As for moi?? Well I'm tan, as I mentioned, and the Cuban and I will patch things up probably by the time you read this.

But I'm keeping that minister under the %$#@ bed ...

My moment will come. I know it!

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

I think I've become the Norma Rae of 9/11.

Seriously.

I'm starting to make myself (and evidently all or most of my friends) rather ill as I stand grim-faced on a table and hold a sign that reads, "WTC!"

It's not that I'm not interested in moving on.

It's just that, the more time goes by, the less other people talk about it, the more I feel obligated to fill in the gap.

... and there's still lots of stuff going on.

Hello!

There are still firefighters going down to ground zero and digging up bodies.

There are still victims of 9/11 in total emotional ruin.

Sigh.

And I'm still going to sleep and dreaming that the Empire State Building gets hit by an airplane and starts falling toward me.

You might say I've had a bit of a 9/11 week.

I spent Friday at this great warehouse run by a mother and daughter who have been running supplies to the rescue crews since day one and are committed to being there till the last bit of rubble is gone.

The babes have got it going, man!

This is a great operation; really, really high quality stuff comes in, brand
new name brand work boots, Carhard jackets monogrammed with a 9/11 logo, glistening new tools, pocket knifes, gel insoles, heavy duty sweat-shirts, over-alls.

This was not the pile of crap I sorted through on September 16th; vast amounts of somebody's old socks and stained T-shirts.

To tell you the truth, the latest stuff was so primo that I started drooling all over it.

I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah, I was there to support the boys, but hell I wanted everything I saw, especially those jackets. Phew, they were sexy!

Is it wrong to admit that after all my experiences on ground zero and in other 9/11 non-profits, I feel a real need to have something I can wear to remind me of my time down there?

Come on, ground zero babes! Send me a Carhard jacket!! Puleeease!

Sigh. Ok, well, I never said I was a nice person. I just masquerade as one.

Anyway, I worked away the day by doing exciting things like filling plastic bags with cough drops, hand lotion and lip balm and then sorting through a kazillion of those aforementioned Carhard jackets, which had already been specially sized to fit each of the firefighters on the new tour.

I think the highlight of my day was when this huge, burly, mustached fireman came in just to give me and the other lady volunteering with me a hug.

"I just love to hug the ladies before I go back in," he said.

I thought, "So do I," but didn't say a word. He was sweet, really. I liked the hug.

On Saturday I went to my orientation at The September Space (no web site yet, but ask for info at septemberspace@aol.com. There I met the goddess Lisa, with whom I have been e-mailing with back and forth, and who aside from looking exactly like Sandra Bullock is probably the nicest person I've ever met.

Seriously, I couldn't find a single nasty bone in her body.

It was weird!

I signed up for a seminar that all their volunteers need to take. It's called "reflective listening," and sounds a lot like the way therapists listen to you. I think for moi, the toughest thing about this process is going to be listening without interrupting.

I wanted to ask Lisa if they had a seminar in "shut-up and listen," but I didn't have the chance.

The September Space, FYI, is awesome; it's this huge space in Midtown with the most spectacular view of the Empire State Building (hmm hence the dreams, perhaps). They are going to offer everything from art therapy to children's groups, to spouse support, to just a cafe with free Starbucks that the early
responders to 9/11 such as rescue workers and volunteers and the victims of 9/11 can come to.

Lisa herself was an early responder, running supplies down to the hole.

Evidently I was an early responder, too.

Who knew?

Anyway the place is great, and they need your help so email them and say Norma Rae Rossi sent ya.

Meanwhile, how the hell do I get interested in anything that's not 9/11 related?

Everything in my apartment is starting to look like twin towers.

Last night my bath bubbles started forming two peaks. I'll be building them out of mashed potatoes soon.

Oyyyyyy.

Do you think they'd give me when of those ^%$#@ Carhard jackets???

Thursday, April 04, 2002

I think there's a chance I've become a boring old fart.

I don't know how it happened.

I mean, I wear leather pants, orange sneakers, vintage '70s shirts and live in the East Village.

But evidently, I've become, somehow, some way, a boring-old-fart.

I know this now because my 17-year-old nephew just came to stay with me and he seemed to think I was about as thrilling as ice in Antarctica.

I assumed he'd want to see ground zero. He didn't.

I suggested a boat ride in South Street Seaport. He suggested ... not.

I offered to take him to see a Janus Joplin musical. He offered to vomit.

I tried to show him fun, global fusion restaurants. The only thing global he wanted in his food was the shape of his hamburger.

... and so, just when I beginning to think that absolutely nothing in Manhattan besides sneaker shopping and girl watching would interest him, he suggested the WWF-theme restaurant.

World Wrestling Federation ... restaurant.

Doesn't seem to quite go together, does it?

Our first pleasure at the WWF was standing in line. We got there early -- 6:30 p.m. -- so we only had to wait an hour to get inside, and 15 minutes more to get to a table. Once seated (at 7:45) it took us another hour to get our food (which disappointingly, wasn't entirely terrible).

The place was huge. There musta been about a thousand people there, and television screens everywhere. Our table was surrounded by television screens. All the TVs played continuous footage of wild wrestling moments and WWF commercials.

The idea, Andrew explained, was to get in, grab a table and then hoot and holler as much as you could at exactly 9 p.m. to try to get on television. From 9 to 11, you get to watch the wrestling live. Well, live on TV. Monday night is something called Raw and Thursday night is something called Slamdown or Smackup or something. As an added bonus, just before the show starts, they bring out a wrestler to talk to the crowd for a few minutes.

OK, so am I missing something here?

We stood in line for an hour, then paid a $10 cover to have the pleasure of eating mediocre food for a ton of money, all so we could watch wrestling on TV?

I guess it's all about the ambiance.

Andrew loved it.

He rushed the stage at 9, screamed and waved and was convinced that he wound up on television, although I didn't see him, unless that speck of red shirt and brown hair was him.

He chanted with the rest of the motley crew.

Evidently, this wrestling thing requires some audience participation.

Like when the guy with the shaved head and leather vest comes out, everyone screams "What ... what ... what!" over and over again. I don't know why ... or, ummm, what.

There's another guy with platinum hair who I think tried to pick up my sister in the late '70s. When he comes around, everyone screams, "Woooo!"

It's sort of like The Rocky Horror Picture Show ... with tights.

The liveliest moment was when the two women with very apparent tit jobs, wearing nothing but bikinis, wrestled.

The men at the bar went nuts.

"Yeeeeahhhh, babyyyyyyy!"

Yecch.

I hadn't seen that much white trash since my family went "camping" outside an all-night convenience store in South Carolina.

Oddly enough, it was fun (the WWF, not the camping) in it's own rather sad and twisted way. It certainly was something I'd never done before, which doesn't happen that often.

After three hours of wrestling screaming through my ears, I was ready for two aspirins and bed.

Andrew was mildly disgusted.

"Tired out, old auntie?" he asked, teasing.

"What ... what ... what!" I replied.