Manhattan Valley, NYC

Manhattan Valley, NYC




The blend still off, countermelodies still jagged, a trio turns to the topic of dance.

"The problem with a dance," one says, "is that there are three of us, therefore no symmetry. We can fix that." He thinks of undergraduate art history. Something about asymmetry and the Late Baroque.

"The problem with a dance," says the second, "is that I went to Juilliard, ‘06, Jazz Studies. That’s a serious program where you learn to play the notes. Not dance." He thinks of a tour he once took through the Baltics, various waves of applause won in Helsinki, in Tallinn, in St. Petersburg — how this singer’s terrible anyway and why, why, why is he here.

"I don’t see a problem with a dance," says the third. "A dance sounds fun."

*   *   *

The lines sound better. Better, but not perfect, and the big, square window on the rehearsal space wall is purple, going black. It’s just before midnight. The players sit cross-ankled on the natty, bruise-colored carpet with their backs against the wall.

"Let’s revisit the dance thing," says the leader. "I don’t mean a dance dance. Just, you know, horns left, horns right. Just to say we’re having fun. She’s paying us. She asked for a dance. Phenix Horns sometimes danced.”

"She also," says the cynic, "told the drummer to wear shades and a hat. Can you tell me why we’re here? And as for Phenix — this girl ain’t Earth, Wind & Fire."

"Whoever’s in the middle should go opposite," says the saint. "Like when the others go down, he goes up, etc. Can that be me? I’d like for that to be me."

*   *   *

A dance has just been danced, in three ways (determined, despairing, with joy), and the sound of perfect harmony hangs in the air. The men stand sweating and breathing like athletes. It’s morning: light makes lazy passes into the room, makes the instruments glow.

"We’re ready," says the trumpet.

"Right," says the sax.

"This is gonna be good," the trombone says, and later on, come gig-time, the lights go out and it is.

Oh, wow.
Joan Didion defends (but barely) her lacerating take on Woody Allen.

Songs from ‘08. A few detours along the way.

Flora in Los Angeles (December 2013)

Caravaggio, The Adoration of the Shepherds (1609)

Caravaggio, The Adoration of the Shepherds (1609)

In the beginning was the Word. But now the Word can say nothing; not a syllable of meaning. He who was with God before the beginning of the earth, whose speech made the light, is helpless and half-blind; blurred and bound and held in the warm dark. He made all things, and without him nothing could ever have been made; but now he can only grasp a finger and search for kindly human eyes, asking for protection in the big world. God is newborn, newly breathing, a baby; and in him the makings of the universe are only seeds and memories. God the Creator needs love. Breast milk, covering, a cradling arm.

What is his birthright? What will he inherit? The heavenly messenger Gabriel called him the Son of the Most High. He has no palace; not even a bed to call his own. He sleeps in a feeding trough, hastily lined with straw. His mother is poor, and people laugh about his father. He will bring his mother the sorrow of unspeakable loss when he is old enough. Through this child God blesses the weak, the helpless, the poor and the very young. Through him the meek inherit the earth. Through him the light shines in dark places and is not overcome: — because the darker the night, the brighter shines this light, the Light of the world. The weak tonight become the sons and daughters of God. If today you are strong, then reserve your greatest tenderness and your greatest respect for the weakest among you. And if today you are weak, the light is already shining through you, shining now.

That light is the light of all humanity, which God this night made holy through his Son our Saviour named Jesus: poor woman’s son, and the child of the Most High. Thanks be to God.

Unapologetic: Advent calendar 24: midnight sermon by Jessica Martin  (via ayjay)

(via ayjay)

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