Monday, March 1, 2010

Bicycle man, N.Y.C. revisited-story fragment

Bicycle man and I lived in a 3000sq ft ground floor loft in the East village in New york city.This was when rents were still pretty cheap. I worked as a bartender in Chelsea and he was a carpenter who scrounged around for discarded broken furniture that he would fix up and sell out of the loft on weekends. Bicycle man had a tandem bike that we would ride on with me in the back, all over new york at night, the whizz and whirl of traffic and colors and flashing neon lights coupled with the fear and danger of squeezing in between cars was exhilarating, and heightened the effect of the visual imagery that softened and blended together in a liquid manner that resembled a blurred painting.It was a Bohemian life we led, with a big picnic table for a kitchen table that all sorts of eccentric characters would stop in, and pass through, and chat away the evening over tea or beers. We both had our own eccentricities, I wore very brightly colored clothing in an attempt to brighten away my inner emotional deadness, my brightly colored clothing really bothered his environmentalist sensibilities, but we agreed to disagree. He was a vegetarian who fed his cats expensive premium tuna from the Big Apple Supermarket, and was so environmentally conscious that when he sent me out for coffee I had to bring his own mug for them to fill, and I was such an artist that I liked the Greek printed paper coffee cups and had to have my coffee in them or I wouldn't want it at all. He had a dog that he believed should be free, even though we lived in the city. He'd let it roam off leash and it once ate some kind of corruption and grew sicker and sicker and I told him "you need to take the dog to the vet" and he said it would heal from it's own natural healing powers, and I'd sit on the floor with the dog in my lap stroking it's weakened head, and he kept saying if it doesn't get better in the next few days he'd take it to the vet and it wasn't my dog or my decision and I was young and he was older than I was and the dog didn't get better and it died. We were two different people, roommates, friends, but we had a love for the bohemian life. There were improvisational music jams and dance sessions in the open room we had in the back . Other people would stop by, people involved in the Living theater and street performance and the jams were fun and took on a life of their own. Bicycle man new Adam Purple, an old man who built what he called "the garden of Eden" on a vacant lot in the lower East side. A huge organic vegetable garden complete with a yin yang symbol in the middle of it. Adam lived in a squat and we had to climb through a window to go into his apartment, and we were like kids going to a friends fort in the city.

I took a lot of dance classes at the Clark Center for the Performing arts and art classes at The New School. There was a Nuyorican poet guy who had kicked drugs and was hanging around a lot and couldn't understand the nature of the feminist art I was making and thought it was all hogwash, and I remember there was an artist at the time, who put a basketball in a fish tank and called it art, and I thought that that was a bunch of hogwash, and there were more people who lived in squats in alphabet city- lower east side. only we we went through padlocked doors to get into their apartment and they had some kind of unauthorized electricity set up and had to take baths in their kitchen sink and I don't remember much more about them other than they were a couple, and friend's of the bicycle man. At the time people were living in tents in Tompkins Square park and it all seemed so odd to me the nature of people and habitation in the city. There was a performance artist named Nam June Paik who spent somewhere's around a whole year living outside in New York as a performance art piece, and I wondered how in the world he got away with that.

There was an old vaudeville actor named Ben who the bicycle man felt sorry for and he'd sometimes let Ben crash out on a trampoline the bicycle man found and kept in the loft. We would drag the trampoline out onto the street at times and the Armenian priests from a local church,with their long beards, dressed in black frocks would come and jump on it and that was a site to behold. I remember seeing Quentin Crisp once in Soho. I was looking at him thinking "what an eccentric fellow that is with his hat with a feather in it, ascot, and colorful dress.I guess I sort of recognized a fellow eccentric only later to have it register in my mind who he was.


  1. interesting fragment nicely supplemented by the videos

    much love

  2. What a great story Lorena. You just gave me a craving to get to NYC for some jazz and art. Thanks.

  3. Fui pesquisar. Vida livre - suponho. Arte é mais - desejo.

    Gostei de conhecer.