Frankenthaler Reminder (Tag: ‘Right-Wing’)

I haven't read each and every worshipful Helen Frankenthaler obit, but of those I have seen, only the Los Angeles Times version mentions that she was one of those responsible for gutting the National Endowment for the Arts, especially the visual part: eliminating direct grants to artists.  She worked with those who earlier had defunded those pathetic hangers-on, art critics. Frankenthaler was proud of her conservative stance, as this 1989 piece by her in the New York Times opinion section makes clear. A sample: "I feel there was a time when … [Read more...]

Learning To Cook: Meatloaf

meatloaf jewel

Neither my brother nor I can recall sitting down to eat meatloaf when we were Brooklyn kids.  But we must have, because we share a childhood "meatloaf ghost." "It had something red and burnt on top," he told me on the phone. "But I can't remember anything else about it." That must have been tomato sauce or, more likely, ketchup -- probably Heinz in our conventional household. We have no idea how the ghost's corpse tasted. I wouldn't blame Mom's particular meatloaf for that. No matter how good the food she gave us every single night … [Read more...]

More About Old Menus

New York Central wartime menu, c. 1943

My favored outside writing-home of the moment, the cheerful Obit Magazine, just published a piece and a slideshow, What the Dead Once Ate, about old menus and the stories they tell that partners last week's Out There post called Menu Time-Travel. Both include links to the New York Public Library's collection of 10,000 examples of past gluttony -- the library has massed 40,000 -- that are definitely click-worthy. Do you wonder, as I do, what every faded stain once tasted like? Oh, the captions for the Obit slideshow seem to have slipped … [Read more...]

Menu Time-Travel

Uncle Tom's Cabin Fried Pies

You need not ask me to explain the piles of old restaurant menus and food ephemera loaded into boxes and bags in my closet, because each item is more than glad to tell its story. The 1920s candy wrapper with crumbs of ancient chocolate hiding in the creases or stained S.S. Lurline dinner card (to and from Hawaii) are straining to brag about their former flavors and who last sampled them. Vintage object are patient in the long run, but they ultimately demand total attention. When I brought that candy wrapper home from the flea, it forced me … [Read more...]

The Google Ghost in the Window

Google-Bugs-thumb-350x262

Who among you onliners has not Google Mapped your own address? The satellite bird's-eye shots are thrilling enough, especially when you see how your neighbor's yard looks like hay while yours is a plot of emerald. But city folk can make street-level swoops up and down stoops and even jaywalk without being mowed down by taxi or bike. You may guess in what season the image was grabbed by checking trees and clothes, though NYU "boys" in my East Village nabe wear fetching shorts at all times, even in the snow. The other day I typed in my … [Read more...]

Occupy My Wallet?

"Protest Stencil Toolkit" pages in a gallery

Late last week I received this email: Attn Jeff Weinstein, Blogger Out There In light of the current Wall Street protests, the PROTEST STENCIL TOOLKIT could really come in handy. A clever book of die-cut stencils, each page reflects a concern (financial, environmental, political...) while including examples from the great protest movements of the 20th century. An interesting resource for designers and artists, this book is also a serious look at the powerful graphics of protest. J-pegs and books are available upon request. Thanks for … [Read more...]

Ciao! Ray’s Pizza Bows Out

Ray's Pizza, 27 Prince Street, New York -- but not for long

If you read the New York Times, you may know that Ray's Pizza is about to bite the dust. I'm going to direct you to a piece I wrote for Obit Magazine on that very subject in just a minute, and all the pertinent links are there. But first, I need to say some things to those few who hadn't heard the tremendous news and are now beginning your slow swoons of nostalgic regret. Ray's isn't that good. It never was. It's just OK. Ray's, the first one on Prince Street and not the many famous original first authentic namesakes around town, isn't … [Read more...]

Writing: My 9/11 Time Machine

Like many of my colleagues, I am quesy about the full-scale media attack on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Of course, I understand the civic need to weight the event and personal need to recount our losses, but I am less sure about the form any media memorial should take. Still, I'm going to take a risk and post a piece I wrote right after 9/11 for the Philadelphia Inquirer, if only to demonstrate to myself how words can erase a decade. I was then a back-of-the-book arts editor, and though departments dissolved as we all pitched in to … [Read more...]

Storm Food, or Why Beefaroni Matters

Beefaroni and sunflowers

Well, on the Friday before Irene was to devastate Wrong Island (friends, that's Long Island to you), I realized that we hadn't prepared for disaster.  So I exhumed our limp flashlight and menorah emergency candles, tested the 1985 Sony shortwave ("skies are clear in Pacific Samoa") and drove to the drugstore for a life-saving flat of water-filled plastic. But what if we lose power for days on end? Bulbs flicker when even the shadow of a smile clouds WIPA, the Wrong Island Power Authority; our Costco meat-bounty would be fly-encrusted in no … [Read more...]

Facebook Writes a Piece for Me

How Obit Mag piece writes itself, step one

Facebook has been taking so much of my time, funneling the long, elegant, profound writing I am sure I would be doing into a digital kiddie pool surrounded by a classic backyard fence. It's as if, by adding my occasional two cents, I can claim the whole Facebook fortune. No jokes, please. But I really like my loquacious Friends, and so, I thought one recent lazy morning, why don't I ask them to tell me about stuff, things, objects in their past like girdles and 8-tracks that they are glad are gone. (I was really thinking about Facebook … [Read more...]