Thursday, February 18, 2010

Inter mission

Chinese, Italian, its all the same when you can't understand it...

Couple of months ago, our class went to see the Aida dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera (that's when they rehearse in costume, not rehearse the costumes.. just sayin cause i had no idea myself prior...) I think I may have enjoyed it somewhat if not for the skyhigh expectations that preceded.
Anyway, looking around at intermission, I noticed that I was not the only one feeling out of place in 18th century Italia. One guy caught my ear when he said to his friend "...when I found myself asking what the hell am I doing here, I told myself, there are people all over the world that would want nothing more than to be right here in my seat.."

Now havent you heard that line at a farbregen before?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Crown Heights Picture Blog

In recent years, our community has been blessed with a tremendous influx of photographic talent from the Holy Land. In general, the amount of talent that comes from such a small country is astounding, but israeli photographers are really something. Chabad is no different. I don't know what it is, but when they come to Crown Heights they seem to see everything in a different light. Our nuances are always obvious to them, even when they can't speak a word of our language. It never ceases to amaze how so many young photographers can make a "living" out of shooting ordinary life stills in a community in which so many people unfortunately find the redundancy and predictable lifestyle so stifling (SO not true btw... join our writing group for more info, cough, cough). Yet, through their lens, every street corner has it's own story... every black hatter wears it differently, every snowfall is a milestone, every farbrengen is historic, every rabbi is an influence, every child is unique.

One such talented individual started the Crown Heights Picture Blog I particularly enjoy his "ventures" past the green line, AKA the "Jewish border", or the grid we relied on as kids as "the safe zone". Many local photographers have focused on these and other parts of crown heights, bringing to life the dynamic dichotomy that the Heights is famous for. (One such guy is Hanan Ohayon, he's absolutely brilliant, look him up on facebook). The picture blog focuses on a lot on the architecture in the area. One of Brooklyn's best kept secrets is North Crown Heights and towards Clinton Hill and what survived of BedStuy. Its a very interesting place to explore. although it can get real sketchy in places, there's some interesting gentrification going on, where you'll see projects neighboring new hipster havens. The old homes are beautiful and unique. One can only imagine what a magnificent place this used to be.
Here are two links to the pictures:

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Bachelor's Prayer

In my life, G-d
let me not
forget you
what I meant to you,
you to me,
together we completed
what the world was meant to be

In my final days
let me not
look back in remorse
what would have been
for joy was lost
in fantasies
of irreversibles
and people I envied

most of all
In my final days
Let me not
see the writings of my youth
My dreams and quests, my truths,
and laugh
at the innocence
of an idealistic life
of hopes
destined to fade
as my father
from my mind

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Registration Day

"Kingsborough: School by the sea"
the poster (sails billowing and all) declares.
Old and fading
A novelty for too long?

"Please enter your Social"
She commands with care
Another semester, another year
She's seen us come and gone.
Ghetto Prodigies, bashful drop-outs
a revolving door of hope and promise
never staying
never lingering
Community College 101:
Get in, get out, get smart
Just get going

Someone mentions the weather.
I think,
I can think of worse rooms to work in
The view is the endless blue of the bay
not the eternal brick wall
Her work is simple
albeit methodical
Yet isn't all work, so?

So how bad can it be
to smile at people and say
"Please enter your social young boy"
"Would you care to dream
in the school by the sea
about becoming a man
of the world
with knowledge to power
a journey
That is yours
all yours?"

I don't know how
we got to talking about how once back then
way back when
Oh perhaps it was the seventies
yet she talks as if 'twhere yesterday
One year the school had sailing
and oh how nice it was
to look out the window
for just that one year

What a shame they discontinued
She says
a bit mournfully,
and I realize
that in 30 years
nothing had changed in the room
nor the scenery
Could it have been
the last significant event since?

And I think
how sad must it be
to stand here every day
and smile at people
and say
"Enter your social young man
and pray you grow
to dream outside of this school
on the sea"