Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Your dad wanted to go into business and I protested. When I married him I thought he was going to be an artist or an academic. I said, I didn�t marry you so that you could go into business, but he got his way, and he was right.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A detail of construction, 9th day

Vogue and Casa Barata

Yesterday as part of “work” for 212 Society, Maya and I went shopping briefly at casa barata with Vogue writer Mark ---. Maya and I were the guides. The team of five (+ photographer + assistant, section supervisor + assistant) is here for three days. The article is about model Jacquetta Wheeler, who is Treasurer of the 212 Society (http://www.212society.org/) of which I am also a board member. The article is to raise awareness for a grand fundraiser we will be hosting in November to help Darna (http://www.darnamaroc.org/) build a center for girls. They currently have a center for women and boys. The article, however, to fit into Vogue’s type of article, will be on Jacquetta, Darna, and Shopping. Of course, whatever works.

Shopping in Tangier is difficult, especially for clothes. Casa Barata is great though, for the adventurous shopper, and the relics of the past you can find there are amazing. Last time we came upon a pile of bathing suits from the 50s-70s. The hard, irrationally shaped plastic cups would have been unbearable though. There were even wool versions, entirely impractical for around here, but maybe they came from Iceland? All the clothes come from Spain to Tetouan, and are sold by the kilo, then brought to Tangier. I explained to Mark that since there are absolutely no mirrors at Casa Barata, and anyway, we are the only people who actually try things on over our clothes, we take digital pictures of each other in everything we try on to see if it looks good. Sometimes we take multiple pictures because we have faith in a garment, but the photograph is unflattering. Sometimes the photograph reveals a hidden character inside the dress, like for instance one where I become Aunt Sam(antha) recruiting woman, telling you to come to the factories, your country needs your help. Something very proletariat about it, though the fabric was half silk. A pre-pubescent shaped dress with a tiny strawberry print sends Maya back to the midwest, where she’ll always be at heart, but I said: it’s not necessary to wear it on the outside.

What were you thinking while you drew this?

A drawing made by Said, an artist in Tangier and secular muslim, from a photograph I took (as a secular jew) of a section of a stained-glass window in the Cloisters in New York City, New York. Said is a lively one and came back with a whole philosophy of symbols I had never heard. I personally though of puppetry when I saw this. I was involved in a puppetry show at the time and this exemplified a puppet when not animated by its creator or pupeteer. Puppet are always used as allegory (if not slapstick) I thought the relationship between religion, storytelling and allegory were worth exploring, to see what allegory people from different religions would cull from this image. Said was most interested in numbers and in the dove with a halo that is at once part of god's beard and as if pecking at Jesus' head.

Conceptual Project

Said's Rant
The right can't be beaten by the left (that easily)
the right has no power to make them sick or dead.
The left is closer to god than the extreme right
or even the regular right, even the extreme left.
There are more right than left, splitting them up
between themselves and their own intentions,
see three against two.
When you slit the lamb's throat you send the children away
because at that moment enters the devil.

The first life on earth was a bird, not a dove,
but a parrot. Because it can repeat words, then
seperated animal from the phenomenon (humans.)
Rain comes from the sky so life comes from the sky,
so birds come from the sky.

The artist had a farther reaching perspective
For the right-one's own religion
For the left, the devil for some, really closer to god
than any of you.

If I had the end of the world in my hands right here,
is holding a crumpled piece of brown bag,
the reverse big bang
held it out towards anyone, said "take it,"
and they did...
Private things pass at 1100 kilometers a second

Why do our looks look the look they look?
No one can explain, Darwin explained,
but an artist can draw a baby before it is born
Da Vinci did it.

Saying excuse me

If Moroccans bump into each other, sometimes they say sorry, but usually they take an extra second to pause in this sensuous interaction, put an extra hand on the other person’s arm where they connected, and stabilize themselves and the other person. I always did that too. It seems the only way you can make up for the sudden jolt is to heal it with your own body and touch.

July 12, 2005--Some journal notes

The cat exploded out of the dumpster. We all thought it was a piece of cardboard blown out by the wind, but when it hit the ground, it ran along the street and jumped into a window.

The man threw the grey bird up in the air, it hit its climax and plummeted like an old lady, wings fluttering frivolously like the frills on a dress. A little boy picked it up and handed it back to the old man. The man held it in his palm and petted its neck. The bird never slowed its jerking head. “Is it hurt?” I asked. The man nodded. The man decided it had rested enough and threw up again, to my surprise. This time, after what looked like a downwardslope, the bird caught a breeze and went over the rooftops. It must be difficult to catch a good breeze in the medina. The alleys are so narrow.

The secretariat general of the region lost the letter that yto made, after months of waiting for them to make it, she got their letterhead and made the letter herself. All they had to do was sign it. Finally, after four days of coming back for the letter, the man said, what happened to the letter, my office is so disorganized, what did you incompetents do with the letter. And Yto said, I gave the letter to you, not to anyone else. The problem was it had to go to the President for him to approve it. It went to him on Wednesday, but he couldn’t sign it after he approved it because it wasn’t his signature day; he has one day a week when he can sign things.

Senhaji, director of the cinema for 35 years, does not know the safe number by heart. He asks Maya to find the little slip of paper in the desk drawer that was emptied yesterday. “I am the only one who knows the code” he says, but even he does not know it. And what if we don’t find it? I say, totally bewildered at the prospect. That’s OK, he says, there’s nothing in there anyway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Cafe Comparison

This is the painting I was talking about that reminds me of the photograph in the posting of Monday May 30--it is a strange coincidence.

The cinema stands proud to be undergoing minor surgery. Note the metallic demarkation signifying DEMOLITION AND CONSTRUCTION. It's VERY exciting to see the project moving so physically. Plus I've always had a thing for construction. It makes me feel good. And you?

The cinema blocked off

The construction workers are sleeping the in the cinema for the duration of the work (approximately three months)

There is already blood on the floor. The first day one of the workers slashed their arm almost clean through on one of the large metal sheets the city provides to block off the construction from the street (from the first picture)

The alley where the cafe will be is broken, the bathrooms are gone.

The team from left to right :Yto Barrada, Mr. Iraqi from Casablanca, and Jaouad Khattabi, one of the two architects (the other being Jean-Marc Lalo.)

The stage is a wasteland

The chairs are in order

Simona and Le Figaro Magazine

My picture appeared in the Figaro Magazine (a weekly in France) last week. The article was about the Gran Cafe de Paris and its super collection of regulars made up of some of the greatest writers and artists of the 20th century. Apparently I am a good example of just that type of clientele. See the article at http://www.lefigaro.fr/magazine/20050701.MAG0003.html. You can also see the picture on this blog at http://photos1.blogger.com/img/104/3518/1024/simona_%28Franck%29.jpg

In the caption in the Figaro “Un mythe a ses songes et ses vigiles,” (A myth has its dreams and guardians) a myth refers to the Gran Cafe and the songes and vigiles (dreams and guardians) implies that I am either a dream or a guardian or both. I am not however, a myth. This reassures me. I thought I might be the myth that had dreams and guardians--a tragic figure, or just one who explains some mundane phenomenon, but who is immediately replaced by science (especially in this modern world, who needs myths?) The article itself was very negative on this note though, and the reporter (with whom I was none too impressed) wasn’t digging the scene, actually he was damn well aggressive about it (as much as his sloppy, dumbstruck, jadedness would let him be) about his assignment, and even chaining to this interactive monument to some of the literary giants. He took the attitude that the Cafe is only what it claims to be because it claims it, not because it is. He had missed the point, however. The cafe is what it is because of what happens inside of it, and the people who choose it and revel in its tranquility and timelessness. I am not a guardian of the myth except that I am there to enjoy the cafe for what it is, its brown leather seats, envy green table cloths, professional waiters in crisp red jackets, and engaged crowd of well-to-do loafers, those who seem to be doing nothing, but in fact do all their business out of the cafe. Thankfully the photographer was great and got a great feel for the place, as evidenced by his spotting me.