An Artist in Residence Eats Breakfast

I set forth into the sunny morning with purpose. I am (after all) an Artist in Residence at the Gardner Museum. My hotel is slightly too posh, kind of annoying yuppie old-school. The room keys are brass, huge, pocket-consuming. A man in hat and uniform stands by the elevators; he says good morning to my back as I walk out the door. I don’t have time for him. I am thinking of a thousand forgotten tasks, failings, instances of non-adulthood, and I am thinking a horrible thought: being an artist can’t forgive everything.

To exit this loop of artistic self-recrimination, I remind myself: Richard Wagner had a fetish for silk underwear, for pink women’s panties. For God’s sake, he sent Nietzsche out to buy the underwear for him! I can’t believe this is true, that it’s not something I just dreamed. I could totally have dreamed Nietzsche in Victoria’s Secret buying silk panties for Wagner—before meeting Schopenhauer at Cinnabon. How come this didn’t come up in Music History 101? If I had a class of smiling innocent undergraduates, all beamingly in love with Classical Music, that’s the very first thing I would do in the very first class: I would lay out the whole sordid story, then play them some of those hyper-masculine funeral marches and rousing choruses while holding up a pair of pink panties.

I start walking down Mass Ave. My left hand falls to my left pocket—nothing there but leg. Two days ago, my phone entered an insoluble loop. It becomes aware that it has been plugged in, but it cannot make anything of this circumstance. It will not charge, or evolve; it has only useless knowledge that power is coursing through it, reflected in a icon for thinking, then a ghostly battery, then darkness, then screen scramble. Repeat cycle. Uncanny: I was an atheist until my phone began to understand me; now I have the disturbing sense that God may actually exist, that he has plans for me.

Phoneless, I cannot Google pretentious coffeeshops. So I rush immediately into Starbucks, as if it were the only coffee for miles. I sit with my Very Berry coffee cake and do the Ken Ken in the New York Times. But how can an artist in residence do Ken Ken and eat cake in a heartless coffee chain? I flee. I head down Newbury. Only twenty seconds further is a bookshop cafe—salvation! I’m burning to read Kafka’s Amerika. I run back to the shelves, but it is not there.

Meanwhile, in the cafe area, a woman alone in a booth is complaining. No one has taken her order. The black-shirted waiter is unperturbed. “Did you read the sign at the front?,” he asks. His question mark has no meaning, it is just protocol. He cares not whether she read it, or no. “Please wait to be seated, it says,” he says to her. All day people wander into this bookshop without reading the single sentence at the door. It is not her sins but humanity’s he is enumerating, and he isn’t going to go all fire-and-brimstone on her, no no, he isn’t even conceding he’s upset, except to express through his tone the utter lack of faith he has in her as a customer. She defends herself, claiming she’d told the guy at the front. “He probably thought you were waiting for someone,” the waiter says, with no hope that the customer could ever be in the right. “I’ll try to get over to you and take your order,” he says, turning away.

This puts me in an awkward position, my butt almost on the cushion, a criminal but for some small resistance to gravity. He approaches.

I decide to take an aggressive stance, difficult to do half-seated.

“I’m not entirely sure what the procedures are here,” I said, putting all the pent-up stress of the last week of my life into the sarcasm of the key word. But he’d seen sarcasm before. Against my implication that he was an anal Fascist he was unmoved, a perfect brick wall. “The sign at the front reads please wait to be seated.” Pause. “However, at the bar it is first come, first served.” Two other people were at the bar, leaving twenty empty seats. He wanted me to know a vast structure of irrelevant rules existed.

It came time to order. “Huevos rancheros,” I say, “But can I sub something in for the plaintains”? “No, that’s not possible,” he says, with no hint of apology. “They’re very picky back there.” Back where? I didn’t need Amerika; this cafe was becoming more Kafkesque by the moment, with a shadowy they behind the scenes. I try to throw in a curveball, something Kafka could not have foreseen: “well, how about the southwestern burrito?” A withering look contorted the waiter’s face. No, not the bemused grimace suggesting it was not their best dish. It was infinitely more than that. It was “how could you not KNOW that our southwestern burrito is terrible?” There was moral judgment of my quick abandonment of the rancheros; I was a fickle customer, jumping ship over an unwanted side. Life, he implied, sometimes came with sides you didn’t want. Like when you have suddenly the career you’ve always wanted but it comes with levels of stress you never quite expected, and that you don’t know how to tame.

The gentleman to my left asks for his check. The waiter stops what he’s doing, and instead of responding, stares into space for ten seconds. The man grows uncomfortable. Finally the waiter says, in a tone of absolute weariness and impossibility:

“I have absolutely no idea how I would go about doing that right now.”

The customer laughs nervously, waiting for an explanation. Eventually the customer blurts “well I only ask because I have to get to work” … as if he had to justify himself, apologize. The waiter glowers. My mind reels in this world of reverse responsibility. No progress towards a check. At last a manager emerges from the back, and through his intervention we learn the missing fact: the computer system is down. He is a heterosexual, slightly shorter version of our waiter. They are astoundingly similar. But one radiates pure artistic snippiness, the other boring efficiency.

“I’ll pay cash,” the customer says desperately. The manager claims it should be only five minutes till the computer restarts, but the man wants to make his escape. I don’t blame him; the woman in the booth has vanished long since.

All my worries about life are beginning to fade away. I am entranced. The waiter must now create a receipt by hand. He searches out a notepad, rustles around for a pen. He makes a wonderful show of consulting the menu to see what everything costs, flipping the pages, holding his face close to the pages as if made nearsighted by inconvenience. With what delicious sense of injury, with what spectacle of martyrdom he implies that numerical concerns are below him! My head gets hot, flushed with coffee and appreciation. I remove my Cookie Monster hat. The waiter gazes for a good three seconds at my ungodly bed-and-hat-head, to be filed among so many other disappointments.

The rancheros arrive. They are delicious, the tortillas crispy, the sauce tart and hot, the plantains decadently burning the roof of my mouth as I wolf them down. I begin to realize it may be a long time before I decide to replace my phone. The emptiness in my left pocket is pleasant, a liberating death. I recollect all the stupid text messages I have sent over the last six months, all their emptiness and all their striving to be what they are not. I have a real doozy of an Artist in Residence notion, to make a poem or a piece or some absurd pretentious installation out of my least favorite text messages. I will write one of the world’s most annoying blurbs about my installation. Analyzing them, in all their half-assed failure to communicate. All the ways in which I have allowed technology to scatter my forces, to email myself to a million recipients and get nothing back.

These thoughts go on and on as I eat, maybe twenty or thirty minutes. The waiter comes by and refills my coffee. At last I too require the check. The computer is of course still dead.

“The computer’s down, but it’ll be back on in five minutes,” the waiter says in his best heterosexual accent, his eyes rolling leftwards towards the manager’s office. An iceberg of sarcasm over an unfathomable ocean of employee resentment. If I’m not entirely mistaken, he’s warming towards me. He makes my receipt by hand. I leave him a twenty, ask him to just give me two dollars back. I gather Cookie Monster, my bag, my thoughts, my jittery soul, I make to leave this place.

“Do you need your receipt?” he asks as I’m leaving. I shake my head. He grabs it, stuffs it in his apron. I look at him quizzically—why does he want my old receipt?

“…I want to use the paper for the next one.”

I try a wild gambit. “Oh, too bad. I thought you wanted a memento of our time together.”

He is manipulating limes, glasses, forks behind the counter, doing a million waiter things all of which seem to be unnecessary. He does not look up. He says “you can tell yourself that if it will help you get through the day.” I am silently giving him the Bitchiest Gay Man Of All Time Award, smiling; I walk outside with a spring in my step; this Artist in Residence is in love.

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33 Comments

  1. Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Jeremy: it’s good to have Think Denk back in action. Congrats on being in residence at the Gardner museum. We had a fun couple of days there with ICE last Spring when they performed in the new cubic concert hall.

  2. Kate
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Please write a book.

    (and have the publisher do a Moleskine edition)

  3. jen cluff
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Love this. Kafka and I are like “this”.

  4. jean
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath last night; read every word of it, love it; still, came out with mixed feelings….I’m going to get Kafka’s Amerika today. Thanks for the idea! Yeah, you should write more.

    God Bless You!!!

  5. jean
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Have not had time to find Kafka’s Amerika today. But i mentioned it to someone and he said he’s read Kafka’s before, and in his opinion, Kafka’s writing is very strange. However, he will check out this Amerika which he has not read yet. This revelation from him gave me apprehension. Hope it’s not too hard to read. Guess it’s like music; sometimes you get stuck in some passages….

  6. anna martina sodari
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    hi, jeremy, i googled the gardner museum and it sounds really cool. i like to garden, it’s great that they consider gardening an artform:-) now, you’re going to sit down with the fbi and find those 13 or so wonderful (and very valuable!) paintings that were stolen on st. paddy’s day in 1990, right? especially that wonderful vermeer, ‘the concert’! i like the way isabella chose to display the art, in actual room settings with furnishings. i wish i could see the floor tiles they made for the italian palace-copy building. what a great setting for concerts!!! a perfect place for you on many different levels! your friend’s comment about the things we say to ourselves to get through the bad days, whatever it takes. the interesting thing is that the power of suggestion can manifest and if you say to yourself things like ‘oh, no, the oceans are not allowed to rise another milliliter, over my dead body!’ the funny thing about that is that if you put your foot down, that really does set a limit in the world of chaos theory, which some might consider magic. so, i have to disagree with the new yorker’s david remnick’s recent blog on global warming about no more magical thinking. yes, it does make a big difference if we cut pollution, especially china, and russia used to be very bad, too, they’re better now, and we could sure make a difference if we cut down our vehicle emissions, but if we visualize the rising of the land mass of the continents with a powerful magnetic force field vortex, and it IS possible, we can solve the problem in a different way. years ago i bought a young teenager’s book about a boy and his father in africa, their small plane crashed, the father was injured and the boy had to go for help, he had many adventures along the way, one of them being two warring tribes and one of the tribes cut off the other at the pass by raising the level of the tribe’s homelands. very interesting. maybe a parallel universe has collapsed on top of ours and there are vast amounts of pollution and emissions from those civilizations that we can’t even quantify that are causing the runaway global warming. and maybe that is the same phenomena that caused earth’s previous ice ages. in any case, my point is that visualization is a very powerful alchemical tool and your friend at the cafe probably uses it frequently. some believe that our reality is only a description, it isn’t ‘real’. the point being, we are being taught how to change the description so that we can eventually attain ‘utopia’. okay, that word came up when i pulled up the link for the london philharmonic’s upcoming concert with the works of beethoven, shoenberg (the piece, a survivor of warsaw) and luigi nono’s music about the czech journalist julius fucik and his utopian visions of ‘political renewal and social justice’. ‘social justice’, huh, we wish! but if we tell ourselves the dream to get through the day, we’re a little bit closer to changing the description of our reality, methinks. ergo, your feeling as you left the cafe . . . . :-) sure wish i could go to that london philharmonic concert or find a way to source the pieces by the three composers . . . . best, anna martina

  7. jean
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    My friend just sent me your Ligeti/Beethoven CD. I’m going to dissect this instead of thinking about Amerika. I’m stuck with “Gone with the Wind” anyway….

    Have a great day!!!

  8. Posted November 22, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I wish your phone would die more often if that’s what it takes to get you to write. BOOK=great idea……..but too late for stocking stuffers this year :( Can we have some more please?

  9. Anne S
    Posted November 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I am listening to you wincing deeply. You are dying to tell the ” excellent players in their own spheres” that they are butchering the Brahms trio. I would laugh if their sound wasn’t maiming my ears, yeah? Now they are sounding positively militaristic. I have to admit to my shame that I do not like Brahms much: he works too hard for one’s attention and he wanders too much.. But these guys (all of them really high on testoterone) are making me feel sorry for tubby Brahms.
    While you are at the Gardner, read about art heists. Kafka is dead. But, somewhere someone is sleeping next to a Rembrandt stolen from the Gardner. I envy him/her. I am hoping, after you got me into Ives, that you will explore Elliot Carter. Cheers and watch your Cholesterol. (“can you make the top note more painful?”) :)

  10. anna martina sodari
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    today was obviously cooking day, i made a big pot of soup with 3 chicken thighs, 2 knorr mexican chicken bouillion (good for 2 cups of water, each), garlic, diced onion and carrots, celery, 2 very large jalapeno peppers, diced, large cubes of 5 potatoes, frozen peas and elbow macaroni and rotini pasta with a can of hunt’s mushroom pasta sauce. i’m set for the week:-) then i sauteed garlic and diced onions with sliced mushrooms and added frozen spinach for an omelette. i used french tarragon salt and fresh ground pepper in the saute and the eggs and shredded mozarella and medium cheddar. all the while listening to tucson’s classical music radio station. when i went to my nephew’s house in tucson with my sister and her family for thanksgiving, she had the local radio station on and i sure don’t miss that sound . . . . . . 11 yr. old jessie was rocking to the beat. i did take jessie and 6 yr. old sydni to ‘the nutcracker ballet’ on friday night. those little munchkins that hide under the dress got the loudest wolf whistles from the crowd of parents and kids who were free at curtain call. the prince and his partner, not clara in this version, got the loudest applause, of course. little clara was an onlooker in the scenes where the prince and the much older ballerina danced. which means that we saw some very good dancing, a real treat in our little town. i want to take jessie to a concert this season, i should pull up their schedule and pick one. i was jessie’s babysitter until she was one year old. my sister wanted me through kindergarten, but i must have gotten bit by a west nile virus skeeter, i couldn’t stay awake for love or money!!! she went down for her naps on my shoulder as i walked her around the room listening to a classical music cd put together by a columbia university pediatrician. i wish i could afford to take her to see the tucson symphony and joshua bell in february. maybe next time, if i save my pennies, and maybe that will be a recital . . . . the soup has a smorgasbord of spices in it, the williams sonoma blends of tandoori, chinese 5 spice, a pinch of zahtar, curry, ras el hanout and even some bay seafood seasoning since i ran out of bay leaves and that is an ingredient. so, united nations soup:-)

  11. C. K.
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I want to find this coffeeshop! And I think I may have an idea which one it is…

    I want to wear black, spike my (remaining) hair, relive the 80s, and practice anew those glances of withering scorn that were so popularly affected then – enough to make Boy George proud, and to confuse the Bitchiest Gay Man of All Time waiter, cocooned in his blasé certitude.

    Or perhaps just live vicariously through the prism of you.

  12. anna martina sodari
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    i forgot to mention that i use kosher salt . . . . . . i got it the first time to brine pork chops and it really does do the trick, they turn out great on a stove-top grill pan.

  13. jean
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t get to open the Ligeti/Beethoven CD until Thanksgiving Day morning, thinking maybe it’s a good idea to listen to it while making the apple pie. The day before I was very happy with the individual French meat pies I made for the out of town guests at a gathering, and was asked to make a big apple pie for the Thanksgiving dinner the next day….I popped the CD in without really reading anything about it then went on to measuring the ingredients for the pie and proceeding the steps to make the dough. After placing the dough into the frig I started to peel, cut, and add all the extra goodies into the filling. For the whole time it seemed like I was minding my own business of making the pie and you were minding yours, playing Ligeti just a few feet away, but somehow I was aware of the complicated sounds coming from there, but still, that didn’t affect me one bit. Suddenly I noticed a change in the music; I stopped the apple mixing and listened to the sweet tune, thinking and doubting if that’s from Ligeti’s, sounded like Beethoven’s instead. I flipped over the CD cover using my elbows to take a look, indeed, it’s Beethoven’s Sonata No.32 in C Minor, Op.111. I don’t know everything Beethoven. I’m glad you sandwiched Beethoven in between the Ligeti’s Etudes. Good idea! One thing for sure that my feelings always got resolved one way or another in listening to Beethoven which I don’t feel that in Ligeti’s. Maybe I need more time with it. Anyway, my apple pie came out huge ’cause I used up all the apples; it’s so rich and humongous. I didn’t feel like eating it afterward; should have sold it by the slice at the coffeeshop you went to. Next I’ll have to read the CD’s leaflet which you wrote, probably never get to Amerika as planned before.

  14. anna martina sodari
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    hi, jean, that apple pie sounds scrumptious:-) i have to buy a bushel of apples from beatty’s apple orchard in miller canyon next year to cook down for apple butter. i think the labor party in england has said ‘to hell!’ with the industrial world and is moving back to small farms where they will make gourmet cheeses, sausage, smoked hams and heaven only knows what other goodies. others are going to do flower and herb farms for the very popular dried flower and herb wreaths. and others are going to grow great fields of lavender, the demand for good lavender for aromatherapy is HUGE these days! j.r.r.tolkein would have celebrated this return to the land, he bemoaned the industrial age and the loss of the simple life. last year, barack obama’s theme song for his inauguration was the shaker tune, ‘the simple things’. tons of corporate women in america are leaving their desk jobs to go back to the earth as well, organic farming, the very smart way. and the disabled american vets are going in that direction, too. something tells me that this is the silver lining in the global economic crisis and it’s a very good thing!!! after all, what do people with money do with alot of it? they go to very expensive restaurants for wonderful meals, now they will have the time to cook and enjoy the wonderful farm products they produce EVERY DAY! it’s that old recurring agrarian vs. progressive theme. i’m sure this is the seed of some very good walden pond thinking, as well. and the spirits dropping in on us from the cosmic dust cloud really like concord thinkers, i’m sure they are from greatly advanced civilizations, our future will soon by knocking on our door and it is a future that will foster zen. alot of our crazy weather could be from brain waves run amock from the frenzy of the rat race. i can’t do the ligeti. my bi-polar has enough of that vibe for 20 people, at least. some of us are called to break up the existing order into chaos so that it can be reorganized into something better. i think i fall in the second category these days . . . . . but the world can’t survive without both types . . . . . the tune that kept calling me back to a cd while i was cooking was ‘the polovetsian dances from prince igor’ by borodin off of my father’s rca victor cd of the ‘fiedler greatest hits’ recording. it gets me EVERY time! good thinking happens when you’re cooking, they’re called ‘poincare moments,’ fushian (sp?) moments. the brain disengages so that it can take a break from information overlord and then the world becomes crystal clear. ah, zen:-) have a great week-end, blessings, anna martina

  15. jean
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I just finished reading the Ligeti/Beethoven CD leaflet. Thank you for explaining Ligeti; who knows, I may end up liking it….One thing for sure I don’t have to practice that, ever! But I’m sure I have more understanding of his craziness on this piece, and hopefully feel it the way you described. Oh, I remember a while back you wrote of practicing The Devil’s Staircase- the last Etude, while baking a chicken and got it burned and smoked all over the kitchen or something. I also love the Tartini Devil’s Trill Sonata which Joshua Bell played. Now, I’m getting a chill on my spine….

  16. anna martina sodari
    Posted December 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    i received my fruitcakes ups from williams sonoma yesterday and they are as delicious as i remember them from last year:-) they are made by the trappist monks of assumption abbey in the foothills of the missouri ozarks. the recipe is that of world class chef jean-pierre auge, who once served in the employ of the duke and duchess of windsor. he provided the recipe and ideas for production when the monks sought his help. sale of the fruitcakes helps support the monastery. here, in cochise county, we have a monastery in st. david, they make baked goods for sale. i was so sad last year when i had the last slice that this year i ordered TWO fruitcakes-) they are my birthday present to myself, which is coming up on the 23rd. i think it is wonderful that my seat for the tuscon symphony concert with joshua bell is d9 since 12/9 is his birthday. i hope he got lots of hugs and kisses from his 3 children on that day since they must adore him. i am looking forward to my trip to portland and seeing my young grandchildren, olive, who goes to waldorf school, is learning how to knit at school, maybe i can crochet with her after we do some art at the big art table in her room. she loves to draw roses!!! she is learning japanese and spanish, i will speak spanish with her, too! i can’t wait to see what musical instrument she chooses when waldorf starts her music program. when she was in preschool there, i walked around the halls of the building while we were waiting to take her home and the older children had some amazing artwork up. flowers and trees and they had a wonderful luminosity about them in the way the children used their art medium, you could almost feel a gentle wave of light emanating from them. waldorf focuses on holding on to the innocence of childhood and a child’s natural instincts as long as possible, which i think is wonderful. i get that feel from the music of aaron copland, i don’t think he ever lost his, he blends it with the reality of our human existence, it is ethereal!!! native americans have banishing ceremonies that they perform when you get that chill up the spine from the dark worlds. i invested in linen clothing and linen sheets for the same reason, flax is a natural inhibitor, as is the flax oil. as the physicists make more headway into how the universe works even more nasty doors are creaking open. it is good to let those entities know that they’re not welcome and destabilize that wormhole into annihilation!

  17. Janet
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I have been longing to hear you play the Davidsbündlertänze for quite a while (since your July 2005 blog entry to be precise). It was worth the wait.

  18. jean
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    My friend sent me a link of an article which she read from your fb about your review of Paul Elie’s “Reinventing Bach” in The New Republic mag on Dec 6th. I clicked on the link but the page was not found. I’m glad to find it here on this website under “writings”. Although I could only read the first page of the review ’cause it’s time to go to work; I already like it. Will continue later….

  19. jean
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Hope you will record some more of Bach’s compositions soon. I told you I really like the Bach Partitas 3,4,6 album. What happens to Partita 2? Too sad?

  20. jean
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Only read a short movie review but I will probably go see “Amour” on Jan 25th. He (Georges-the former piano instructor) probably plays beautiful piano music for his dying wife. If that were me I would request the husband to play all the classical pieces I love. That list will be long. Then maybe I wouldn’t die ’cause he revived me….

  21. jean
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I listened to Bach’s Partita 5 which you performed somewhere, heard the applauding….

    Happy New Year, Mr. Denk! Hope it will be one of the best.

  22. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    came home from portland with a cold on a plane for the first time. yowza, the ears! as the voices around me faded out, i thought of beethoven . . . . . .

    happy new year, jeremy!!!

  23. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    awake,
    alive,
    with eyes wide
    open
    to everything.
    grimace,
    frown,
    smile,
    a whole sea of smiles,
    open the door
    to yourself
    and
    greet
    another you.

    i wrote that MANY moons ago in high school sophomore english class, but it still holds every new year’s day for the coming year:-)

  24. jean
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    “I leave him a twenty, ask him to just give me two dollars back.” I’ve been wondering how much the amount was? Customers give me the twenty a lot. The amount is 13.95. Some say just keep the change. Many wait for the change of 6.05 (and me kinda wait for the tips for my best service; that’d be nice, but never really count on it). Some take back one dollar bill and leave me 5.05. Some take back 5 and leave me 1.05. Some say “just give me two dollars back”; this causes me to think more about the math while I’m still clicking things on the computer screen (luckily the computer is not down, has downed before and it’s a mess when busy since doing it manually and to be entered into the computer later).

    My co-worker said to make it easier for them to leave tips, give back six singles dollar and a nickel. That way you can get two or three, even four dollars tips. But sometimes the customers just scoop up the whole singles change thing and leave. Sometimes it’s nicer when they leave 21 dollars then take off out of there, as if 6.05 tips isn’t enough….

    Any amount of tips is wonderful, especially sometimes it’s from a kid.

  25. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    hola, jeremy, i read your book review after jean mentioned it. i have the keyboard that my niece gave me when my sister bought her a piano, maybe i will have time to learn to play in 2013, i’m sure it will be a good while before i can play any bach! we should all take up a collection and buy a keyboard for jean! maybe next season i can fly out to one of your california concerts. best, moi

  26. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    i got my new wool over the knee socks from garnet hill yesterday. they are made in latvia. i made a mental note to google latvia and i forgot and just a moment ago i remembered that mikhail baryshnikov was born in latvia, in riga, i just googled it. in my next life maybe i will be a dancer, the beautiful music, but probably not a ballerina, all of those bloodied toes and wrecked feet! they should buy coriander oil to massage their feet with that blended in olive oil for the pain of those poor feet! with eucalyptus oil. the aromatherapy will clear their heads of pained thoughts as well. i added the coriander oil to the essential oils blended with sweet almond and canola oil for my tub as an added comfort. eucalyptus, rosemary, clove, grapefruit, spearmint, orange, grapefruit, lime peel. 3 black tea bags, 1/4 c. of epsom salts, a spritz of witch hazel, and a dab of walmart’s pain relieving cream and i’m ready for bed after i dry my hair. it is good to renew every night!

  27. jean
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Ooh-la-la, my Goodness, Anna. Thanks, but I don’t have the time to practice the keyboard although I always want to; also don’t want to be too greedy since I’ve many other interests which I can not cover them all. I had lots of piano lessons way back. I had an upright model. I could only practice every evening for about three hours each session. Later I didn’t want to bother my parents so I moved the piano into the garage. I remember when the weather was so cold I had a blanket over my shoulder to keep me warm when I was in the garage practicing. After many years I quit because of a personal reason- moving many times and it’s hard to drag the piano along. Once it was really scary for me to watch the two guys were trying to slide it down the steep and narrow stairways. Anyway, later on I took up the violin for a while thinking it’s easier to bring it with me everywhere, then stopped practicing three years ago. Funny, since Jeremy said Bach’s music is pure; I had the courage to open up the music book to play Bach’s Minuets without trying to reinvent anything. Can’t believe I’ve forgotten already how to play many pieces….But it was a good feeling to make some pleasant sounds inside when it’s so gloomy outside; expecting the downpour in the next two days.

    Hope I can go to Jeremy’s concert in Austin next month; have to ask for that day off first. You mentioned knitting earlier & wool. I knit & crochet sometimes and been looking at Jeremy’s hat in the pic above. I just discovered “The Crochet Dude”. He’s amazing. This guy knits too.

  28. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    i ordered stollen from williams sonoma with some of my christmas $. maybe a whiff of robert schumann will be in it, two loaves, since it is made in dresden. the knitting is interesting, i pulled up lorenz attractors the other day since i was googling the founder of the waldorf school, one of which my granddaughter attends, and lorenz is one of his names. an interesting balance of the spiritual and the intellectual. lorenz attractors are about convection weather. ‘the butterfly effect’. maybe an alchemist could control our global warning by knitting an interesting shawl of vibrant hues. so much that we don’t know . . . . . jon lomberg, carl sagan’s illustrator, sent me 9 of his art prints as an xmas present and one of them was pen and ink of a giant shell with lines demarcing the time line of olaf stapledon’s book, ‘the star maker’. to reciprocate, i will make a copy of my 482-pg. sci-fi manuscript written in the early 90′s and send it to jon for his entertainment. ‘the legend of the perfect eternals’. it has songs i wrote for it as well. i lost one of the songs, but it was a very sad song, so just as well. i did record it on tape for a couple of people but i failed to keep it for myself, very manic timeframe. the melodies would come in 3 minutes or less and then the words would follow just as quickly . . . . . maybe seti could tell me what i was channeling . . . . . the tunguska event in siberia is in the shape of a butterfly. i started panting butterflies in 1996.

  29. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    i think it’s time to splatter some more outdoor paint on my 2″ awning stripe apple green and cream pottery barn rug, it’s 8 x a little over 4 1/2 feet since i washed the cotton and it shrunk a bit, ala jackson pollack. i am splattering the colors to go with a large 2′ x 3′ abstract that i painted a good while back. joshua bell has pictures of it. it’s the focal point of my very small living room:-) i was the artist of my graduating class in our little military intelligence town way back in 1973, the year that the peace in vietnam was announced, on january 28. all of jackson pollack’s work ended up being real dusty nebulas, go figure:-) what’s in each of our squirelly little brains is amazing!!! one of russia’s top cosmonauts, yuri malenchenko, says there is nothing nearly as valuable as a human brain. yup. the stollen is scrumptious, i now have two christmas gourmet items that i will order every year from williams sonoma. of course, i wait until they go on serious sale. we are in a little deep freeze in sierra vista, we’ve had a hard freeze for 3 or 4 nights now with another 2, possibly 3 to go. at least it’s killed zillions of the dustmites out there that i am deathly allergic to!!! no snow. i may not make joshua’s concert in tucson next month with my expensive ticket, my clutch is going, i have to save several months to get that replaced . . . . . . i was lucky to make the drive to tucson for my flight to portland and back home again. it’s not totally toast, it was running normal when i got home, but i have to REALLY baby it to keep the high revving down. i’ll have to find someone who wants a single ticket to give it away . . . . it’s a damn good seat . . . . .

  30. jean
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Lately I’ve been going to bed with earphones to listen to the classical radio station Austin 89.5FM. This really gives me a peaceful time. There’re some amazing classical guitar pieces, at times the guitar sounded like piano; wondering if that’s possible, or it’s just my perception in the wee hour….Learn of the pieces from the introductions, see the differences in different performers and different music arrangements than the ones which I’ve known. Wow, there’s a sea of talented artists out there. The difference is the ones you have chosen to love and to follow….

    Btw, The Artist in Residence had breakfast since last Nov 15th….

  31. anna martina sodari
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    listened to john cage’s music on the classic radio station last night and they said something about multiple ‘big bangs’. i have to agree. the other day i noticed the pottery barn nautical rope theme carpet on my living room floor in a different way. i used the same ‘flame’ type graphics in a couple of my oil pastels on sand paper coated with dark varnish many moons ago in 1991 or so. in 2000, when i was going to the library every day and googling the astronomy picture of the day and links and printing out articles on the cosmology of the universe, i found that that flame graphic is used for the ‘inflation of the universe’ after the big bang. so, looking at my carpet, which has been on my floor for several years now, with new eyes, i realized that each rope represented the inflation of a parallel universe, and there were EIGHT ropes, so EIGHT parallel universes on my living room floor!!! yes, i am a balloon-head, totally discumbuberated, OMG. but i would call john cage’s music BRAIN MASSAGE. and i’m sure the same goes for charles ives and ligeti, forgot his first name. we have so much junk DNA in our chain, i imagine that brain massage turns some of that on, more gently, than, say, a bi-polar manic. anyway, 12 of the german museums in bonn highlighted john cage’s music during a festival, i didn’t catch when. my dad served in germany during the korean war, he was taken to the sister altar of the altar of bastogn (sp?), that one at the battle of the bulge where patton and the scottish general were, henry kissinger fought at that battle. they fought like cats and dogs at that battle, geesh. the sister altar to bastogn is in germany. an ancient saxon altar. they must have seeded multiple big bangs to up their chances of survival. i still think it was a noah’s ark DNA bank. back when i emailed a scientist at mullard science lab at university college london and he told me who mullard was when i asked, because i always want to know who things are named after, he developed the cathode ray tube, radio. and when i saw a picture of the universe taken in i can’t remember what rays, it looks like the yin and yang symbol, so the universe is just a VERY LARGE cathode ray tube, i him. what i still can’t figure out and can’t imagine in my squirrelly little head is what is BIGGER than the parallel universes? are we just a radio in some kind of a box? oh, a little thought just cropped up. the box might be a form of the Ark of the Covenant, communicating with that much more intelligent beings. eek! we must be very small potatoes, if that’s the case, but apparently, we are still worthy of their interest and care. we’re baby somethings. wish john cage was still alive to see what he thought. it will be interesting to see what new music, art comes out of america, the melting pot, tolerance of all.

  32. Liz
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I love that waiter, too.

  33. CD
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    It can only be the Trident Booksellers & Cafe.
    BTW, heard you at the Gardner playing Ives’ Concord Sonata a couple years ago – or was it last year?

One Trackback

  1. By A Pianist Walks into a Coffeeshop – The Stray World on November 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    [...] that’s the pre­lude to Jeremy Denk’s blog post on eat­ing at a pre­ten­tious cof­fee­house after his phone died. More Friday, 16th November, 2012 – 1117 | By Rewarp | | Tagged Jeremy Denk | Comments (0) [...]

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