Sunday, August 20, 2017

NYC Day 64: Move On. Nothing To See Here, Folks.

A second day in this week, although I did head out to my local supermarket to stock up on grocery items to see me through the next week or so of breakfasts and the occasional evening meal in. Today's expenses are entirely grocery shopping related. Since I need to write about something, I have included my shopping list below. I will almost certainly supplement this shopping expedition with a few other items during the week when my current supply of olives, eggs, and avocados run out.

The most unusual and unexpected item on this list for me is the SPAM. I have a vague recollection of having bought Spam only once before in my life, and I don't think I liked it much at all. So why buy it now? I don't rightly know. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases, and I thought it might be interesting to see whether fried up slices of the stuff with eggs might actually be okay. Oh, c'mon. Where's your sense of adventure? Besides, it's 'Hickory Smoke Flavored' so it can't be all bad, can it? Can it? [No pun intended]

From Wikipedia we learn:
Spam (stylized SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked meat made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was first introduced in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. By 2003, Spam was sold in 41 countries on six continents and trademarked in over 100 countries (except in the Middle East and North Africa). In 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold.
And further:
Hormel claims that the meaning of the name "is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives", but popular beliefs are that the name is an abbreviation of "spiced ham", "spare meat", or "shoulders of pork and ham". Another popular explanation is that Spam is an acronym standing for "Specially Processed American Meat" or "Specially Processed Army Meat".
The difficulty of delivering fresh meat to the front during World War II saw Spam become a ubiquitous part of the U.S. soldier's diet. It became variously referred to as "ham that didn't pass its physical", "meatloaf without basic training", and "Special Army Meat". Over 150 million pounds of Spam were purchased by the military before the war's end.
Okay. That's more than enough information about SPAM.

Today's shopping list 
Friday 18, August | Expenses $47.53 ($59.95)

Any questions, comments or suggestions? How about complaints or compliments? Let me know via the comments box below.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

NYC Days 61-63: In Which I 'Hit The Wall' and Sleep In Late

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New York: Day 61
Tuesday 15, August | Expenses $00.00
After my late night out at the Bitter End (see previous post), and not getting to bed until well after 2:00AM, I spent today indoors, taking it easy. That's it. 'Nuff said.

Above: Images from the Ettore Sottsass exhibition.
New York: Day 62
Wednesday 16, August | Expenses $49.00 ($61.75)
I seem to be sleeping in more and more these days. Today was no exception, but I went out during the afternoon to the Met Breuer for the first time in several weeks. There is a new exhibition currently underway there, Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical.
A seminal figure in 20th-century design, the Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) created a vast body of work, the result of an exceptionally productive career that spanned more than six decades. This exhibition reevaluates Sottsass's career in a presentation of key works in a range of media—including architectural drawings, interiors, furniture, machines, ceramics, glass, jewelry, textiles and pattern, painting, and photography. The exhibition presents Sottsass's work in dialogue with ancient and contemporaneous objects that inspired him, as well as his influence on designers working today. These juxtapositions offer new insight into his designs, situating him within a broader design discourse that reveals him as a true design radical.
Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical
Now through October 8, 2017

The Body Politic: Video from The Met Collection presents four works created between 1995 and 2016: David Hammons's Phat Free (1995), Arthur Jafa's Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death (2016), Steve McQueen's Five Easy Pieces (1995), and Mika Rottenberg's NoNoseKnows (2015). Alternately provocative, poignant, and absurdist, all of them explore the relationships among power, performance, and moving images. Here, the role of the camera is paramount. Besides a mediating agent and a framing device, the camera also serves as a witness, representing acts of injustice as well as moments of rebellion.
The Body Politic: Video from The Met Collection
Now through September 3, 2017

From the Breuer, I took first an M3 and then a M55 bus down to the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (at 126 Crosby Stree, Manhattant), where I succumbed to purchasing two more books: Teju Cole's Open City, and a management book called Everything I Know About Business I Learned From The Grateful Dead, by Barry Barnes.

From there I headed off to the Angelika Film Center (at 18 West Houston Street, Manhattan) to see Sofia Coppola's latest film, The Beguiled.

New York: Day 63
Thursday 17, August | Expenses $31.72 ($40.10)
I slept through until 9:30 this morning, and got up thinking I could still do with a few hours sleep. This week has been a slow one for me, and I realize finally that I have 'hit the wall', as long distance runners might say. I am even finding it hard to work up the enthusiasm to write these blog posts. This 'hitting the wall' thing happened to me at around the same point last year, when for a brief time I thought, That's it. I'm over New York City. I could happily leave and never come back.

Of course, by the time I did leave New York, I was already looking forward to my next visit -- little thinking that it would be this year. Now here I am, not exactly over the city, but once again feeling worn out and ready to take a week off from all activities and events. Needless to say, I won't, but I will take it easy this week, and then try and ramp up my energy levels for the final three weeks of my stay.

Today, I returned once again to MoMA, and focused my attention of Pablo Picasso, and an artist I know nothing about Giorgio De Chirico (not that I know anything to speak of about Picasso).

Pablo Picasso: Night Fishing at Antibes, 1939
Picasso, as most people are aware, made his name as a cubist painter, in which his subjects are pulled apart and put together again in fractured, angular pieces. Most art galleries crave these types of paintings and sculptures by Picasso, but few seem to care about his early artistic career when his paintings were executed in a far more traditional style.

Pablo Picasso's Three Women at the Spring, 1921.
The Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris has quite a number of these early works on show, and when I saw them I was surprised by how conventional they were. And how good. But why should I have been surprised? The only reason I can offer is that few people get the chance to see these early works, because the major museums and galleries prefer the cubist Picasso to the conventional one. MoMA is no different to other institutions, but at least the room showing a large number of his works does have a few early pieces that reveal this other side of the artist.

Above (and detail below), Giorgio de Chirico's The Enigma Of A Day, 1914.
Giorgio De Chirico (1888-1978) is described as an Italian, born in Greece, and seems to have been one of the early surrealists. Judging by the works on show at MoMA, he also seems to have had a ''thing' for trains and placing small, isolated figures within huge, towering landscapes.

Above Giorgio de Chirico's Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure), 1914.

I capped off my afternoon at MoMA by attending their screening of Steven Spielberg's 2002 adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report. The film starred Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, the great Max Von Sydow, and the wonderful Samantha Morton.

Late afternoon view of nearby buildings from MoMA 
Any questions, comments or suggestions? How about complaints or compliments? Let me know via the comments box below.

Can I go back to bed now?

Friday, August 18, 2017

NYC Day 60: In Which I Party to The Bitter End (Almost)

The Bitter End is a survivor. The venue has been the nurturing ground for hundreds of the most successful rock, folk, blues, jazz, and comedy acts of the past 50-plus years - ever since it was established in 1961. Many other famous New York clubs have come and gone during this period, but the Bitter End just keeps on keeping on - and long may it continue to do so.

When I was planning this current visit to New York, I thought I would be hanging out at the venue two or three nights a week, but as it happens, there has been so much else going on that I have hardly visited the place. With this, my sixtieth day in the city, it was time to set things right and test my resilience for my first real late night out.

The venue hosts an average of five or six acts each night, and on any visit you might see young soloists working on their music and stagecraft, or professional bands with years of experience in full flight. Also, with it being a Monday, I knew I would be in for a late night because every Monday night sees the saxophonist Richie Cannata pulling together some of the best musicians you are likely to see and hear anywhere for the Monday Night Jam. But before we get to that amazing session, there were a number of other acts to check out.

Bess Greenberg
Kicking off performances for the night was Bess Greenberg, a singer-songwriter and visual artist from Binghamton, New York. Bess has a strong, mature, resonant voice, and a bunch of songs that while interesting and engaging enough, never quite lift out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Bess plays guitar, which she pretty much strummed throughout all her songs. This eventually became monotonous, especially when on several songs, she strummed her way through 8-bars of what I assume will eventually turn into an instrumental break in which a good lead guitarist (should she find one), will add some variety to her plain rhythm guitar style. She said she was missing her bass player during this gig, but I suspect that even with the addition of bass guitar, the songs would not have taken off as I would have liked them to do.

Julia Gargano
These issues were not a problem for the second act of the night, Julia Gargano and her three-piece band. Her songs were melodic, varied in pace, had shades of dark and light, and ranged from slow ballads to all-out rockers. Julia played acoustic guitar and piano during her set, and she knows how to fingerpick her way through a song, as well as belt out tunes on piano. Julia was joined on stage for some of her songs by a fine female backup singer. However, this young woman has not yet worked out what she should be doing with herself while she waits for her vocal parts to come around during Julia's songs. Once she has learned to do this, and to relax and enjoy being on stage more, she will fit well into the full line-up.

I first saw Bator-Or Kalo bring her exciting brand of rock and blues to the All Star Jam that takes place each Sunday fortnight at the Bitter End, on one of my visits to the venue in 2012. I became a fan there and then, and I have been happy to follow her development as a singer, songwriter, and as a rock and blues guitarist since that first encounter. In 2012, Bat-Or, an Israeli who moved to America in 2004, didn't have her own band, but since making the move from New York City to Oklahoma City, Bat-Or has been joined by Mike Alexander on drums, and Mack McKinney on bass guitar, and the trio now perform under the name KALO.

While Elfin-like and slight in stature, there is nothing slight about the music that Bat-Or writes and plays. In the five years since I first saw her perform, Bat-Or's guitar playing has become tighter and more exciting than ever to listen to. She has also become a more dynamic performer on stage. It is a place on which she clearly feels very comfortable.

Having seen the great slide guitar player Bonnie Raitt closing out the 2017 season of the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors program the previous evening, I can emphatically state that there are not enough women in rock music! Or playing Blues music for that matter. And Bat-Or and her bandmates are definitely a welcome addition to the thin ranks of past and present female rockers in those genres.

Rabbit's Foot
With the first three acts of the night being led by female performers, it was a surprise to see what I thought might turn out to be a New Directions type group take to the stage. However, I was delighted to see that the all male ensemble, Rabbit's Foot, were anything but another 'boy band'.

This five-piece out of Fairfield, Connecticut, play original Funk, Blues, and Soul music with a passion and expertise that belies their youth (although having said that, with regard to their apparent youth, when you are fast approaching your 69th year as I am, anyone under thirty-five will always be seen as young! But I digress).

The band is ably led by Spencer Bebon on vocals, and has a brilliant lead guitar player in Jad Qaddourah, with Will Corona on bass guitar, Seth Henriquez on keyboard and piano, and Les Gilman on drums. This group has the potential for big things. With the right support and management they may even achieve great things. The songs are upbeat, dynamic, and catchy. The interactions on stage between Spencer, Jad, Will and Seth showed they were all having a great time, and enjoying playing together.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the drummer Les Gilman. While I have no issue with his ability to play the drums and lay down a steady beat for the others to work by, the expression on Gilman's face ranged from bored to disinterested. Occasionally a half smile would pass over his mouth, but he never seemed to be a real part of the group. His interactions with the other four were minimal, and he never at any stage seemed to relax and get right into the spirit of the night.

I mentioned this to Spencer later during the evening, and he said that it was just Les Gilman's personality. That may well be so, but his demeanor simply did not fit in with either the music or with the dynamic performances of his bandmates. They may be happy with his drumming, but they should not be happy with his onstage persona. The vibe is not right. It may seem like a small thing, but it only takes one small thing to stop a band from reaching its full potential, and I sincerely believe that Les Gilman is the weak link in the Rabbit's Foot chain.

Richie Cannata's Monday Night Jam 
And so to the final act of the night. And what a final act it was. Richie Cannata has been leading these Jam sessions for almost 30 years! And no, that is not a typo. According to the events Facebook page, he began in the late-80s at a venue called the China Club, followed by moves to numerous other city venues before finding a home at the Bitter End.

To say, as I did at the start of this post that he has put together "some of the best musicians you are likely to see and hear anywhere" is one of the great understatements. The jam night kicks off with an extend version of the song, Driven To Tears, co-written by Gordon Sumner and Sting. Each musician (and by my count there were nine of them, including the singer), is given time to shine on their chosen instrument, and by gawd do they ever glow! By the time everyone has had their moment in the spotlight, visitors have been treated to an amazing thirty-minutes or so of ear splitting improvisations that make the price of the modest $10 admission seem like the bargain of the year, which it probably is.

Again, from the Facebook page we learn that the core group consists of Benny Harrison (keys/vocals), Frosty Lawson (Flugelhorn/vocals), Jim Moran (guitar/vocals), George Panos (bass), Kevin Bregande (drums), and of course, the host with the most, Richie Cannata on saxophone. The only other musician whose name I did note during the night was the percussionist Julio Fernandez, who celebrated his 70th birthday that night.

Julio, we were told, played percussion on stage at Woodstock with Jimi Hendrix! At 70 he is tall and wiry, incredibly energetic, and he can pound out rhythms on a pair of conga's in an age defying display that left everyone in no doubt that they were in the presence of an  extraordinary musician.

More Information
Bess Greenberg... 
Julia Gargano... 
Rabbit's Foot... 
Richie Cannata's Monday Night Jam... 

Monday 14, August | Expenses $77.25 ($107.85)

Any questions, comments or suggestions? How about complaints or compliments? Let me know via the comments box below.

An aging poster on the wall of the venue.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

NYC Day 59: In Which We Farewell Lincoln Center Out Of Doors for 2017

Close, but not close enough.
Sunday 13, August | Expenses $39.70 ($50 21)
I had pretty much made up my mind to have another day in today, but late in the afternoon I decided to make the effort and head out to catch the final Lincoln Center Out Of Doors performance for 2017. This featured the Memphis 'soul man' songwriter and performer, Don Bryant, and the multi-Grammy Award winner, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Alumni, Bonnie Raitt.

It was a great last minute decision by yours truly, only spoilt by the fact that seemingly half of Manhattan had decided to do the same thing. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but on arriving in the vicinity of Damrosch Park, the major outdoor performance space at the Lincoln Center, I was immediately stopped by the huge line of fellow hopefuls waiting to enter the site. I was further stopped in my tracks by learning that the line was not for the area set aside with seating (this was already at capacity), but for people hoping to get into the standing room only area. Fat chance

Above: Street views of the Don Bryant, and Bonnie Raitt concert at Damrosch Park.
In the end I gave up waiting in line and walked down the street alongside Damrosch Park, where I stood with hundreds of other frustrated music fans who were five deep along the sidewalk, listening to -- but not seeing --  Don Bryant and his band knock out a rocking set that had people on their feet roaring for more at the end of his performance.

Bryant was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942, which makes him another 75 year old soul man who sang and performed like a man half that age. Don co-wrote the Top 40 hit, I Can't Stand The Rain with Ann Peebles in 1973 (they married the following year). He had previously written 99 Pounds, and Do I Need You, for Peebles and wrote many other songs while a staff writer at Hi Records. Not content to rest on his laurels, Don Bryant recently released a new album, Don't Give Up On Love, to much acclaim.

I can't claim to be a massive Bonnie Raitt fan, and I won't even pretend that I am all that familiar with her musical output over more than 40 years, but I was more than impressed with her performance and her choice of songs, some of which went back to her earliest albums, along with a well chosen selection of songs by other groups and singers, including Talking Heads, INXS, John Hiatt, and others.

As the evening, and the performance progressed, some of the people out on the street began to head home, thinking that since they couldn't see Bonnie Raitt and her band, there was no point hanging around. As the crowd continued to thin out, and as a few people chose to leave Damrosch Park, someone made the decision to open the barriers and let those of us still out on the street enter the site.

Truly it is said that Patience is a virtue, and my patience was finally rewarded with a good view of the final 30 minutes of the show.

During her encore, she brought out her surprise guest, Marc Cohn, another Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter. Marc is probably best known for his now classic hit song, Walking In Memphis from his 1991 debut album. Raitt and Cohn only performed one song together, and it wasn't Cohn's song, but nobody seemed to care. The evening ended not with a bang, but with a slow Texas waltz, and a clearly delighted Bonnie Raitt left the stage at the end of a perfect night under the New York stars, by which I mean the light emanating from thousands of windows illuminating the towering apartments and office blocks surrounding the Lincoln Center.

Any questions, comments or suggestions? How about complaints or compliments? Let me know via the comments box below

Museum Memberships $19.15 ($25.15)
AT&T SIM card $16.25 ($25.38)
MTA Pass $30.25 ($39.92)
Accommodation $152.00 ($200.00)
Total Ongoing: US$217.65 (AU$290.45)

Sunday 6, August | Expenses $30.25 ($38.10)
Monday 7, August | Expenses $00.00
Tuesday 8, August | Expenses $106.80 ($135.65)
Wednesday 9, August | Expenses $27.05 ($34.30)
Thursday 10, August | Expenses $72.15 ($92.20)
Friday 11, August | Expenses $95.50 ($125.20)
Saturday 12, August | Expenses $53.35 ($67.55)
TOTAL: US$385.10 | AU$493.00

Total Expenses Week 8: US$602.75 (AU$783.45)
*Figures in brackets are Australian dollar amounts

NYC Day 58: In Which I Play 'The End Of The Line Game' and Visit Wassaic, NY

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On Day 47 of my Big Apple adventure, I wrote about my outing to the end of the Metro-North line to New Haven, Connecticut. In that post I wrote that my out of town jaunt was the result of a travel game I play far too infrequently called, The End Of The Line Game.
The rules of the game are quite straight forward; pick a form of easily accessible public transport such as bus, train or ferry; choose any available route as randomly as possible, and then ride that bus, train or ferry to the end of the line -- which should be a place you have never been. Once you are at your destination, you must spend several hours at least, exploring the surrounding neighborhood, village or town you have arrived at, before returning to the place from which you departed.
With those 'rules' in mind, it was time to embark on a second mystery trip, and for that I chose the final stop on Metro-North Railroad's Harlem-Line -- Wassaic, New York. I should point out that when I chose Wassaic a couple of weeks ago, I knew nothing about the hamlet or what might be waiting for me when I got there. Having selected it, I did a little research and discovered that Wassaic is the location for The Wassaic Project, a non-profit arts organization based in a repurposed grain mill. Further research into the Wassaic Project revealed that the organization's annual festival was taking place on Friday and Saturday, August 11 and 12, 2017. Well, clearly The Fates were lining up events in my favor, and there was nothing for it but to follow through and make the trip -- and I am more than happy with my decision.

Panel describing historic buildings of Wassaic

Above & Below: Gridley Chapel, built in 1873.
Some Brief Historical Facts
Wassaic is a hamlet in the town of Amenia, Dutchess County, New York. The name of the hamlet is derived from the Native American word Washaic; "land of difficult access" or "narrow valley". One of the earliest recorded Europeans to settle in Wassaic was Richard Sackett. He petitioned the Colonial Government on March 11th 1703 for a license to purchase a tract of land in "Washiack". During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington marched through Wassaic on the way to Connecticut.

Among Wassaic's main employers in the 19th century were Gridley Iron Works and the Harlem division of the New York and Harlem Railroad. In 1861, Gail Borden opened a factory for producing a condensed milk that would not need refrigeration. This was a welcome ration for the Union troops during the Civil War. Long sold by Borden, it is today marketed as Eagle Brand Condensed Milk.

Wassaic is home to The Wassaic Project, a non-profit arts and music organization and the Wassaic Artist Residency. They provide summer programming as well as run an artist in residence program.

The organization makes use of restored historic buildings in the hamlet including Maxon Mills and Luther Barn. Maxon Mills, a seven-story former wood crib grain elevator, has been converted into exhibition, office, and studio spaces, including Art NEST, a free drop-in creative space for kids. Luther Barn is home to artist-in-residence studios and the old cattle auction ring is used as a film exhibition space during the summer festival. The organization currently offers year round programming as well as an education program focused onsite and at the Webutuck consolidated school district serving the Towns of Amenia and Northeast.

Above: The magnificent former Maxon Mill, now home to The Wassaic project.
Wassaic Project August Festival. Wassaic, New York
I was up at 7:30am, and with the house cat and myself well fed and watered, I headed off to the Metro-North Harlem Line station on 125th Street, to catch the 10:00am train for the two hour trip to Wassaic.

The day's events were divided into four main streams: Dance, Music, Film and Education. The Dance component of the day featured nine dance companies, and one soloist, performing new and original modern dance works, while the Film events included the Weird and Wonderful, and the Strange and Beautiful, programs of short films. Other films included the Star Wars Mixtape, and something called The Whole Shebang, as well as a mystery classic film.

The Music component of the festival took place in the evening at which three local area bands took to the stage at the nearby Lantern Inn. These were to be followed by a late night dance party with music provided by a DJ.

The education events were the briefest, and consisted of a "family friendly Garden Party with art activities," and "Avant Garde performances by Camp Wassaic youth."

Finally, I should also point out that a major exhibition coincided with the festival. Called Vagabond Time Killers, the exhibition "features the work of 53 emerging artists, the majority of whom have come to us as artists-in-residence and have lived and worked here, in Wassaic. The works included depict each artists relationship, perception, and interpretation of our current location in space and time, and how art and its context can transform people, places, and ideas."

Above: General views of the gallery spaces within Maxon Mill
The first thing I did on arriving at the event was to work my way up and through all seven floors of the former Maxon Mill. Built in 1954 by the Maxon Mills Company, the mill was an active feed elevator until the 1980s. Today it is one of the last remaining wood-crib grain elevators in the country. By the early 2000s Maxon Mills was abandoned and on the verge of demolition. Happily it was saved when it was placed on the New York State Register of Historic Places in 2005. However, it was only when Zutaloria & Associates, led by Richard Berry and Anthony Zunino purchased and renovated the building, that the former mill has now been transformed into one of the most unique art spaces that it has been my pleasure to see and walk through.

Above: Scenes from three dance performances, and Below, part of the audience. 
I must confess that I am a poor correspondent when it comes to documenting all the events at this day-long festival. At one o'clock I sat down to watch the first of the ten dance performances scheduled for the afternoon in three hour-long sessions. Out on the large porch, Leonard Cruz, Amanda L. Edwards, Jasmine Hearn, and the Amirov Dance Theater/Alexandra Amirov, ran, crawled, rolled, spun, leapt, pirouetted, puffed, panted, and challenged the assembled watchers with choreography that baffled, moved, excited and ultimately delighted a very appreciative audience.

Once the first series of performances had concluded, rather than see what else I might take in at the festival, I decided on an exploratory walk through the hamlet. Wassaic is nestled in between rolling hills, with areas of forest or woodland, and lush green pastures appearing beyond the main thoroughfares that pass through the hamlet.

From what I could see, almost every building in the area was of timber frame construction, and while some were quite small and often rundown, others were well maintained and surrounded by huge swathes of lawn and well kept flower beds. The biggest brick constructed building in the village (see below) is one that appears to be shared between the Pawling Corporation, and the Presray company, which provides "Critical Containment Solutions", though for what and to whom I don't know.

Above: The Pawling Corp and/or Presay Co., building in Wassaic

Below: Homes in the village of Wassaic, New York. 

It was during this walk that I passed the home of Hugh, who was sitting in his yard drinking beer next to a large fire pit filled with burning logs. As I was walking past his timber-frame home munching my way carefully around the core of a Golden Delicious apple, he called out to me, complimenting me on my choice of cap -- which identified me as a Yankees fan. I made a suitable reply, and then, as he seemed to want to continue conversing, I entered his fence-less yard, and with words to the effect that 'there is no point traveling if you are not going to meet the locals', we shook hands and I introduced myself as 'Jim, from Australia.' I then sat down for fifteen minutes or so, making small - but pleasant - talk with him.

I must say that as humble as his circumstances appeared to be, Hugh seemed happy with his lot in life. My guess is that he was well into his 50s, currently unattached, and probably happy to be in that state, but then I didn't ask him, and he didn't ask me about my relationship status! Despite owning three cars, he said he had a well-paying job within walking distance of his home, and the stream (or branch of a larger river) that ran along the edge of his property apparently had abundant large, edible fish within easy reach of a fishing line (although they were not always easy to catch). And then there was his fire pit with which to cook them should he choose to.

Natalia Nakazawa's Eye Flame, 2009

Above: Detail from Enrique Figueredo's If I Could Build Anything I Wanted 2, 2015

Detail from Tatiana Arocha's Impending Beauty, 2017.
Taking my leave of Hugh and his fire pit, I walked back to the Mill for the three o'clock dance session, where I watched the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, the Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, and Esther Baker-Tarpaga present their modern dance works, and then, instead of heading over to Luther Barn to the Weird and Wonderful film shorts program, I went for another walk through a different part of Wassaic, just to see what I might see.

Two of the houses pictured below must surely be among the grandest homes in Wassaic, although while the first one is clearly well maintained and occupied, the house in the second image, of an equally grand house, appears to be abandoned and falling into disrepair. And then there is the third image of a  'fixer-upper' as these houses are euphemistically called. I don't know how 'cheap' the house is going for, but I suspect you would need lots of time, money, and energy to get it back to a livable condition.

I was back at the Maxon Mill site in time to see the final round of three dance performances beginning at 5:00pm. These were presented by Racoco, Bryn Cohn + Artists, and Rina Espiritu. It was during the last of these performances that the Metro-North train roared past the Mill - which stands alongside the track - and I had to make a snap decision: take the 6:30pm train back to Grand Central, or wait until 8:30, or even 10:30pm to make the two hour trip back to the city.

As a vacillated over my decision, I noticed a group of visitors boarding the shuttle bus for the run to Wassaic station, and in that moment I made my decision to leave. It is a decision I now regret. Now I wish I had stayed to at least see the first of the local bands, Upstate Rubdown play at The Lantern. If I had remained I may even have stayed on to see the other two bands, Madaila, and Midnight Magic. In the end, the only music I did see and hear snatches of was provided by two other local musicians going by the name, The Goldenhour Piedmont Boys. With a name like that you might guess they were either a Country or Bluegrass duo, and if you said Bluegrass, you would be right.

The Lantern appears to be the only entertainment establishment of any real note in the village, and seems to be a combination of pizza restaurant, bar, live music venue, apartments, and who knows what else.

Above: The Lantern, and Below, Calsi's General Store 

You might assume that with my truncated visit to Wassaic, I was disappointed with my mystery trip to the end of the Harlem Line, but no, on the contrary this outing may very well turn out to be the highlight of my three month New York stay - though don't ask me to explain why just yet. I still need to process the experience.

And with that outing, dear reader, Day 57 drew to a long, train ride close.

More Information
The Wassaic Project...

Saturday 12, August | Expenses $53.35 ($67.55)

And Finally, the views from the top floor of Maxon's Mill are well worth the effort of climbing the seven storeys necessary to enjoy them.

Any questions, comments or suggestions? How about complaints or compliments? Let me know via the comments box below.
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