Sunday, December 2, 2012

Amber and Fog

I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to post your beautiful postcard.  It brought on a vision out of the fogs of the past, the fog of SF in the 80s.

It's been a week since we got home from Phila.  We were driving from the airport to my aunt's and had barely gotten on the road when I felt like we were in one of my grandfather's paintings.  He painted Philadelphia landscapes in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s: timeless, a place caught in amber, still waiting to be woken up, sleeping on and on through the years.  Every time I go back there it's like time travel.  It's at once horrible and wonderful, scary and exhilarating.  And the torpor.  I think amber is the best metaphor for the home of the Liberty Bell and other assorted Americana.

Back to your postcard!  I don't think this is the first time your work has reminded me of Odilon Redon.  Have you looked at his work?  I hope you do.  It's very haunted and shrouded in mystery.  As opposed to amber, fog would be the operative metaphor, an atmospheric condition that is at once obscuring, but also freeing.  Which is how SF felt back then.

I remember reading about Karen Finley, but I never saw any of her performances.  And instead of the White Lady, I remember the Red Devil Man in the Mission.  He was scary.  It was difficult to tell what his deal was and it never occurred to me to talk to him.  I don't think I would be able to talk to him now, either.

1 comment:

Miss Lisa said...

Thank you for the nice scan. I forgot to document this and then I forgot I had sent it to you. Way to go, short-term memory!

I never saw Karen Finley perform either but she spoke to a graduating class at SFAI and everyone said she was very inspirational. I missed that speech too. I just heard the aftermath, which was art-career positive. I was surprised that someone with such polarizing work could be a motivational speaker. Contradictions!

The White Lady of the Mission was a rare sighting. I think I may have seen her no more than three times total. She used some kind of heavy pancake all over her skin and eyelashes and lips. Her hair was white too. She was overwhelmingly white.

The red man hung out in cafes in the Mission for years but sadly, the ink he used on his skin was toxic and I think it gave him cancer. He died some time in the 90s. A lot of musicians kind of adopted him and made sure he had something to eat or drink when they saw him in public.

I'm gearing up for a writing adventure this week! Sounds like Philadelphia was really thought-provoking. I remember some of your Grandfather's paintings you showed me. They were beautiful. It's so cool that you got his art genes in a big way. DNA! DNA! (I'm chanting).

To bed!