11 June 2001
- A Bad Trade
- My very dear friend, the late Morrie Camhi, told me a trillion great stories. I shall repeat one of them, more or less.
Morrie once found himself in the company of the singer Jan Peerce. It may have been on an airplane flight, or perhaps a long ferry ride. I dont recall, and, sadly, I cant ask Morrie.
Anyway, Morrie and Peerce were talking, and Peerce asked for some of Morries prints. Morrie politely explained that his prints were of some value, a point Peerce acknowledged. Peerce said hed send Morrie something of great value (or words to that effect) in exchange for a set of Morries photographs. Morrie, forever generous and optimistic, agreed.
Some time later, Peerce honored his promise and sent Morrie a package.
If I recall our conversation correctly (an improbable proposition after no small amount of Bunnahabhain), Morrie said he thought he might receive a collection of Peerces recordings.
After Morrie opened the package, he found an eight-by-ten inch, black-and-white photograph of ...
But this wasnt any eight-by-ten inch, black-and-white photograph. No, Jan Peerce hisself had apparently signed it:
To Morrie Camhi
Morrie was duly unimpressed. He posted Peerces photograph on the wall of his studio in order to remind him of the perils of trusting people who may not be worthy of such trust.
My dear friend Morries gone, but the eight-by-ten inch, black-and-white photograph of Jan Peerce is still tacked to the wall of his studio.
- 12 June 2001
- An Abysmally Hot Day
- This cannot be, yet it is. Today is an uncomfortably hot day in San Francisco.
This unfortunate turn of climatic events has, of course, led my learned laboratory colleagues to discuss strategies for keeping cool. And thats when Nelson amazed us all by reminiscing about his childhood in the Bronx.
We didnt have much money when I was a kid, Nelson explained, so we just sucked on frozen rats.
Ive never seen anyone terminate a conversation so quickly.
- 13 June 2001
- What the Wife of the Wealthy Clothing Magnate Saw When She Walked into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Store
- Heres what the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate saw when she walked into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store. She saw a museum employee wearing a Hawaiian party shirt.
And thats the exact moment when the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate had a five-alarm hissy fit.
As it turns out, the husband of the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate has contributed a large amount of money to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The husband of the wife of the wealthy clothing magnates largesse gave the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate a great deal of clout with museum administraitors.
The wife of the wealthy clothing magnate wielded her power like the blunt instrument it was. And thats why the employees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store now wear uniforms. And not Hawaiian party shirts, never ever.
Never trust people who try to market art and/or fashion.
- 14 June 2001
- Listening to Something Perfect
- I assumed Id have a great dinner with Arthur and Sandy tonight. After all, thats the only kind they serve. When I walked in and saw a piece of salmon the size of a large baby, I knew I would not be disappointed.
After Sandy poured me a drink suitable for a professional, she asked Arthur what kind of music hed like to hear.
I should like to listen to something perfect, Arthur replied.
And so we did.
- 15 June 2001
- Almost all of the beautiful women I know dont wear makeup. Perhaps thats one of the reasons I think theyre beautiful.
On the other hand, makeup is not without some merit. I fondly remember attending a wedding at a castle in Germany with Sabine and Thomas. It was such a festive and loving event that by midnight I felt very festive and loving indeed. I borrowed Sabines lipstick, and smeared more than a little on.
I then proceeded to kiss every frŠulein and frŠu I could catch. (That wasnt very hard; they werent moving very fast after drinking even more wine than Id enjoyed.) I was quite pleased with the visual and visceral pleasures of lipstickissing.
- 16 June 2001
- (Probably) My First Art Buy
- One of the very few disappointments about getting older is that there are increasingly few things I can do for the first time.
I thought of this today when I met Barbara Schubert. Barbara impressed me as a remarkable artist for two reasons. First, she does remarkably good work. And second, shes one of the few artists I know whos even more clue-free about business than I am.
I visited her at her studio, where she was selling framed reproductions of her drawingsunder glassfor twenty dollars. I told her that her prices were ridiculously low, and that she should at least quintuple them. (I wanted to advise her to charge six times more, but I wasnt sure whether sextuple was a real word.)
Barbara shrugged and told me thats what everyone told her. I liked her even more after that; ignoring good advice is always a good move for an artist.
I bought one of her prints as a gift for a friend without thinking twice. (For twenty dollars, I rarely even think once.) On the way back to the laboratory, I realized that this was the first time in my life that Id ever bought art.
(I wont get into the semantic morass of discussing whether or not Rainier Ale is art.)
- 17 June 2001
- Two Radishev Lines
- Tanya was amazed that Id never heard of Alexander Nikolaevich Radishev.
Theres not a Russian who hasnt heard of the great author, she said. Surely you must have heard about From St. Petersburg to Moscow?
I must not be a Russian, I admitted.
Tanya then went on to tell me all sorts of things about Radishev, who died a couple of centuries ago. Tanya, being Tanya, told me much more than Id ever want to know. Nevertheless, I did manage to remember two of his great lines.
The slower you go, the farther you get.
I went to bed with an empty head.