Posts Tagged ‘Provincetown’

Letter from Claverack 11/05/2016 All about Hudson…

November 6, 2016

It is fall like but not November fall like.  In Minnesota my brother went to a football game wearing Bermuda shorts; it was 75 degrees there.  In Claverack, it scraped 65 and I was warm in my pullover fleece.

When I left home this morning, I wandered the Farmer’s Market, picking up a few things I craved like the Sea Salt and Onion cashews from Tierra Farms and some of their Free Trade Honduran coffee.  Meandering over to the Red Dot, I had the omelet of the day and then went wandering the streets of Hudson, marching up one side of Warren Street and returning on the other side, an adventure that took me three hours.

There are all kinds of changes on Warren Street and while I have been aware of them, I haven’t walked the street the way I used to when I first arrived here.  Some antique stores are gone and seem to have been replaced by clothing stores.  Several times I thought I could be in SoHo in Manhattan.

A fancy pizzeria has opened and Olde Hudson has expanded beyond belief.  Dena, who owns it, is a friend so I had seen that.

Many of us have been joking lately about the number of expensive cars seen on the street.  Not so long ago I spotted a Ferrari parked on Warren Street as I was on my way to meet Larry Divney for lunch.  We both said it was the beginning of the end.

When I arrived here fifteen years ago there were no expensive cars on the street.  My Acura was an anomaly for the time as was Larry’s Infiniti.

Hudson is becoming a destination.  For better or worse.  Better for my house value but perhaps worse for those who liked the edge Hudson had when I arrived, a little bit of rebelliousness that was a treasure.

The center of it was the Red Dot, owned by Alana Hauptman who is the Texas Guinan of our town.  Don’t know Texas Guinan?  She ran the hottest speakeasies in New York during Prohibition.  After 16 years, the Dot is still here and still a center of life in Hudson.  And Alana is our Texas Guinan.

And walking Warren Street today, I was astounded by the changes.  To think that I would be thinking it was a bit like SoHo, which is where I was living when we bought the house, is something I would never have thought then.  Sometime, long after I am gone, it will be a lot like Provincetown, I suspect.  Or Edgartown on The Vineyard.  It’s becoming that kind of place.

But will never be exactly that kind of place.  That’s what makes Hudson so special.

There were Porsches everywhere on the street today.  When I went back to the Dot after my tour of the street I ran into James Ivory, the director of films like “A Room with a View.”  He’s become a bit of friend,  has been at parties at my home and dinners too, and one Christmas I spent with him at his house.  With Alana…

It has been an interesting escapade to have lived here through all this, to witness the transformation of a community from rough and tumble to almost respectable.  It was and is an artist’s haven, a place where writers and painters and actors gather.

Across the river in Catskill, there is the Bridge Street Theater and I went last week to a performance of “Frankenstein.”  It was brilliant.  And I mean brilliant.  Steven Patterson, who did every role, was as riveting as Paul Scofield [“A Man For All Seasons”] when I saw him in London on my first trip there.  It was a forgettable script but his performance was transcendent.  Steven Patterson’s performance was like that.

Transcendent.

John Sowle directed.  Equal kudos to him.

Tonight, I am not talking about politics or world events.  I can’t tonight.  We are at the near end of the most awful political period I have ever experienced.  No matter who wins, the contentiousness will not end.

 

The creek at night.

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Letter From New York 09 27 15 From Syria to Claverack…

September 28, 2015

The Pope is preached brotherly love in Philadelphia. Putin and Obama will meet. The GOP is in disarray. Watching the Super Moon. Finishing the Tennessee Williams Festival. Death visits while on the Haj. Iraq, Russia, Syria and Iran are all playing footsie with one another.

All of these are things I was thinking about while I was crawling down US-6 from Provincetown, working my way slowly to get home. I left before 10:30, thinking I would miss the traffic. I was wrong.

It gave me much time to think. I had had a more than pleasant five days in Provincetown with my friends Dawn McCall and Gail Williams. I attended four performances at the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, all of them thought provoking.

Last night, Dawn and Gail invited my friends Nick and Lisa to dinner and we had a wonderful time. We started with martinis and made our way through an extraordinary dinner of steak and grilled vegetables. Dawn works the grill better than anyone I know.

On the way home, I listened to a variety of NPR radio stations, a mélange of music and news.

Pope Francis did preach brotherly love in Philadelphia and met with survivors of sexual abuse. He has, as I write this, departed Philadelphia and is headed back to Rome. I am sure he will be sleeping soundly on the flight; it has been a busy ten days between Cuba and the U.S.

With Boehner leaving Congress it will be fascinating to see what will happen next with the Republicans. It seems John Boehner had had enough of his fractious colleagues and just decided to pack his toys and go home. It probably means there will not be a government shutdown this go round but who knows what mayhem will come next?

Iran is demanding an apology from Saudi Arabia over the deaths at this year’s Haj. I doubt that will happen but it does point out how dangerous and volatile the Haj has become in recent years. It’s the equivalent of a rather large city on the move, all at one time.

Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia have come to an agreement to work together to defeat IS. Russia is out there, working to claim its place in this mess. They support Assad. I’m not sure whom the other players actually support but it now seems like they have aligned themselves with Russia, and Assad.

Tomorrow, Putin and Obama will meet. Neither of them claims to have requested the meeting but they will meet. It, hopefully, will be a good thing.

Returning home tonight, I was peckish and went down to the Dot for a bite. David Drake is the bartender on Sundays and Mondays. When not bartending, he paints. I have two of his paintings in my home. I love them.

As I was driving home, I saw the full moon, huge, low in the sky. I probably will not be able to see it when it turns blood red and there is an eclipse of it. I am home and when the eclipse happens, the small forest of trees that surrounds my home will hide the moon. But the moon was huge tonight.

As I sit here writing, the heat is now on, the first time this year. When I entered the house after my return from Provincetown, it was cool to the point of uncomfortable.

Tomorrow will be another day. I think. There are those who claim that tonight’s Super Moon, the fourth in a succession of them, is a harbinger of the end of the world.

I don’t think so.

Letter From New York 09 25 15 Chasing a perfect sunset…

September 25, 2015

Xi Jinping. Syria. Refugee crises. Pope Francis. Stampede at the Haj. Jeremy Corbin. Greece. John Boehner. And so on…

The world continues to rattle along, mostly badly if you read the headlines. I haven’t for a couple of days, while whiling away my time here in Provincetown. At this moment, I am sitting in the kitchen of my friends Dawn and Gail’s incredible home, sipping coffee and thinking how lucky I am to be alive and in this place today.

It’s the weekend of the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Provincetown. Dawn and I went to “The Parade” yesterday, a little known Williams’ play, featuring his emotional hallmarks. Everyone in the play is slightly or greatly tortured. Set on sand dunes, it was performed on a platform on real sand dunes, as the tide was slowly rising. I was facing west, the sun slowly descending in the pallid blue afternoon sky.

It was a near perfect experience. Sitting with a friend, watching performers, outside, with a light wind blowing off the sea.

Later we chased the most beautiful sunset and I stood at water’s edge to take a photo.

Sunset

Before setting off to retrieve our tickets and to attend the play, we watched Pope Francis speak to Congress. Speaking in halting English, sometimes a little hard to understand, Francis called out to all our better angels. At one moment, I felt tears form in my eyes. As they seem to be doing with John Boehner, Speaker of the House.

Just now, I received a flash alert from AP on my phone that he is stepping down at the end of October and not just as Speaker but also from the House itself.

While I slept the night before last over 700 people died in a stampede at the Haj, the holy journey every Muslim is extolled to take once in their lives. Nearly a thousand were injured. If I were Muslim, I am not sure I could be extolled to make the Haj. I don’t like big crowds. I don’t mean to be flip; this is a tragedy and I have said a prayer for those dead and injured.

Tsipras of Greece is pledging to enact the necessary reforms for Greece’s bailout quickly. He needs to move quickly on several fronts. Greece is the center of the refugee/migrant crisis as well as having huge financial issues.

As Pope Francis left Washington for New York, President Xi Jinping of China arrived. Obama is having a busy week with international leaders. It’s being said that China and America are going to strive for cooperation, especially over cyber affairs, after a period of tension over that and several other things.

Russia is settling into being a player in Syria and seems to be working on beefing up its communications with Iran on how to deal with that country.

Jeremy Corbin is the new head of Britain’s Labour Party. He is a staunch Republican and has an upcoming audience with the Queen. He has not decided whether he will kneel, as is traditional.

At his very moment, I am listening to Francis speak at the United Nations, speaking on the environment. He has given so much hope to so many and I am hoping that his words echo with life long after he is gone.

Letter From New York September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

As I begin to write this, it is a quiet night. I am sitting in the kitchen of my friends Dawn and Gail’s home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. They are out with friends and I am sitting putting together my thoughts about the past week.

It was another anniversary of 9/11, the 13th. There was for me a certain symmetry to this one. On September 10th, 2001 I spent the evening with Jon Alpert, the visionary filmmaker, at a screening of a film he had done about the election in New York that was about to happen, Mark Green versus the billionaire Mike Bloomberg.

An early review of the film said that it would topple Bloomberg’s chances of winning the election. Mike Bloomberg came across as arrogant, privileged, ill-mannered, capricious and not a good candidate for Mayor. But then 9/11 happened and the world changed and a billionaire businessman seemed the best person to take over a city that was reeling from a great catastrophe. And, it turned out, he wasn’t a bad mayor. He may have been capricious, ill-mannered, arrogant and privileged but he brought the city back from the brink and carried it through the dark days of 2001 and 2002 when the city was so wounded it didn’t understand how it would survive its pain.

So on September 10th, 2014, on the eve of the 13th anniversary of 9/11 I found myself back in the company of Jon Alpert. He and I had dinner with our mutual friend Diana Sperazza, currently an Executive Producer for Investigation Discovery. Before that, she had been at Discovery Times Network and had been the EP on a project we had done ten years ago, OFF TO WAR.

We laughed and reminisced and talked about 9/11, 2001. Diana had been living in Washington. I had been in New York. Jon had been in New York, too. Filmmaker that he is, he grabbed a camera and headed towards the catastrophe and caught poignant images of that day. He had marched from his organization’s headquarters in the oldest firehouse in New York, mere blocks from Ground Zero and managed to get past the barricades. His footage ended up in an HBO special.

The weather has been eerily like that surrounding 9/11. Beautiful, sun kissed days. All summer I have thought about how like that time this summer has been and have had an uneasy feeling. 9/11 in New York was the most beautiful day and we have had the most beautiful summer. Some part of me has lived in fear that some terrible event would befall us this beautiful summer.

We made it through. There was no repeat of 9/11. No mass terrorist event.

But we now live in a world that is the child of that day. Since then, we have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and made a bloody mess of them. ISIS has just killed yet another Western hostage. The Caliphate rises; Arab states want to stop them but are tepid in their support of our desire to stop them. Various terrorist groups now seem to be starting to cooperate, lending their “expertise” to each other. Beheadings are becoming a trend. Egyptian terrorists have started using the gruesome practice in hopes of getting as much attention as ISIS or ISIL or IS, whatever they are being called.

The world feels like a more dangerous place these days. Our outrage against beheadings doesn’t stop them. Sanctions haven’t tempered Mr. Putin’s expansionist tendencies. And our response to Ebola has been slow and strangely muted.

A strange exhaustion has fallen upon us. Everyone seems tired on all sides of the political equation. Boehner seems reading a script as opposed to acting from conviction. One pundit described Obama as a bird in gilded cage, waiting to be let out. Like many Presidents, the office is aging him rapidly.

So we go on, living our lives as best we can while the world seems whirling out of control. Here at home our infrastructure is decaying as we fight wars to keep the barbarians from the gates.