Monday, October 30, 2006

One Big Wet Dream

One Big Wet Dream
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

One Big Wet Dream

Oui ("way"), que peux-je dire de Stephanie ?

Well, perhaps, peut-être, the most memorable part of our intermittent conversation that evening was when she felt compelled to tell me, "I just want you to know, that I'm engaged." And she said it in a way that sounded more like she was protecting herself from herself, rather than me; in a manner that was more of a reminder to behave than as any sort of cross-bearing gesture against the hungry lecher.

I gave her a knowing smirk in response and professed, “Hmmm, that's interesting," insinuating, if not inciting, more of the same. I went on to explain that simply because she was an extraordinarily beautiful woman and I wanted to take more photos of her—did not mean I wanted to make mad love with her. "Well, I do," I added, "But I really would love to take pictures of you as well."

And that's the rated PG version of what I really said. After all, she's French, I'm an ugly and blunt American, and so I figured she could handle the truth. She laughed, and acknowledged that any typically "American" prudence was unnecessary, and essentially—a turn-off.

She also agreed to give my photos a look online, if only because she thought I was "crazy." I suspect that this is a promising sign.

The second most interesting point in our conversation happened earlier in the evening when she told me about how she might be directing a play soon.

She was partial to The Bard, and so I prodded her with my curiosity, butting her gently, piquing her in just the right way, so that she might get over her fear that I was just another bothersome wolf in a cheap costume.

Eventually, she divulged how her favorite Shakespeare play was, "How do you call it in English...a summer dream.." "Midsummer Night's Dream," I offered." "Yes, that's it."

She went on to explain how she essentially found it to be one big wet dream; a subtle and not-so-subtle orgy of words and inferences and people being amorous people.

At one point she suddenly broke loose of her reticent demeanor and smiled widely, stating with great fervor, "You'd be a great Faunas! Yes! You'd be perfect!"

At this point, I admitted that I wasn't familiar with this character, because I'd yet to read the play, but that I was quite eager to do so now, and so I begged her to tell me more.

"You know the one with the elfins...", which she pronounced “Elle,” as in the L-word, “fanhhh.”
"Ohhhh, fairies. Yes, you mean Pan, half-man, half-goat, the catalyst of lust and debauchery. Music man for the all forest nymphs and playful river sprites..."
"Yes, that's him!"

I suspected that apart from the mischief and make-shift pandering, the fact that I had come dressed as an “avid adventurer,” replete with a mud-crusted chin, and wind-swept hair that was adorned with the seasonal tidings of fall leaves, also inspired her élan and exuberant association.

Moreover, she also told me she was likewise dressed as an adventurer of sorts herself, a
sexual adventurer that is, a certain special lady of the night—Miss Madame X, the all-powerful and all-knowing dominatrix.

Hence, naturally, I made sure to butt her with my horns a few times, and then declared with a drunken slur, "And now for something utterly spontaneous! Because I can tell that you're the kind of person that loves surprises and whims and people who indulge them," which was my way of saying that she I thought she was somewhat of an emotionally-repressed artist.

Then I wrapped my arms around her, gave her a squeeze and a long drawn out kiss on the cheek.

She smiled, she laughed.

And I walked away.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"And you're next, if you don't shut the fuck up," ...

"And you're next, if you don't shut the fuck up," Robert screamed at me, quite convincingly
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Framing My Friend Robert

These photos depict Robert and Rayner fooling around in the vestibule of Robert’s apartment where he and the ever-beautiful Lisa hosted a kick-ass party last night—with buckets and buckets of jello shots, courtesy of their magnanimous neighbors, Heidi and Chug.

Actually, I really don’t know if their names are Heidi and Chug, but one was dressed as a bar maid and the other was a beer keg. So, my makeshift names seem to befit my foggy memory here.

Anyway, Robert and Rayner began role-playing. Robert was supposed to be some tough-guy (faggety-ass) federal agent and Rayner was dressed as “Robert in the 80s” in full regalia with a mullet, leather jacket, “faggety-ass” pants and doc martins.

I kept telling the guys all-night long that all I had to do now was kill Rayner, “A good two shots to the chest.” For now that I had proof it would be a cinch to frame Robert. Especially, since you can see the fire in his eyes in these photos, the intensity with which he’d do it, if he had done it.

Moreover, I can say that I witnessed them smoking crack together before the incident. Robert is pointing at one of the fluorescent green drug vials in the first photo of this set—a little something that Rayner, with wide and wild-eyes, liked to call “Kryptonite,” because “Not even Superman can handle this shit mannn…”

And after they both cracked open the vial and lit up a half each, Robert pulled out his pistol and started getting crazy and shit, yelling and screaming, telling me, quite convincingly, “And if you don’t shut the fuck up, I’m going to kill you next.”

All this tomfoolery and theatrics worked out perfectly to my advantage, because today I’m supposed to help Rayner move out of the apartment.

Alas, after three beers, six jello shots, and a glass of muscadette last night, I’m not really in the mood…

So, Rayner’s dead now.

Robert did it.

I waited until Rayner packed up all the boxes, so that he would be worn down and tired, and would offer little resistance.

Now, I’ve just got to get rid of all his shit, excuse me—stuff, possessions, belongings. Apparently, he’s kept every shirt he’s ever owned since 1981.

Maybe, all the bums on the corner, who line the sidewalks everyday to sell everyone’s else’s crap, will give me a few bucks for them.

And now that Robert will be in the slammer for a while, I wonder if Lisa will let me move into her apartment, so that way I don’t have to pay rent...

I guess that means we’ll just have to get rid of all Robert’s crap too though.

Much like the aforementioned transient folk, he’s been collecting odds and ends of discarded furniture ever since he first moved into this apartment a decade ago. Let me tell you, that’s a lot of crappy furniture. Oh, I’m sorry, “antiques” as Robert likes to call them…

Yeah, so, Rayner’s dead now.

And Robert clearly did it.

Bye bye Rayner. Bye Robert.

It was good while it lasted. And now that you're dearly departed I suddenly realize that I truly cherished your friendships. We had some good times together. Didn’t we?


Cholos Con Huevos

Cholos Con Huevos
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

The Gang’s All Here

Inspired by GillianLeigh's latest gang-banger photo, I'm posting an oldie but goodie.

This photo was taken around 1989 or so while I was in college. My brother Danny, is the hommie with the white t-shirt on the left, and his friend and our neighbor Terry is the vato on the right; I'm the bad-ass in the middle, sporting the poncho and BB gun. We are posing as ganster-slash-homeboys from the barrio, otherwise known as "cholos" in Northern California, where this was taken, and where I grew up.

Moving back into Manhattan in May rekindled this fascination with the thug life for me.

All summer long I had this fantasy of shooting all the characters that carouse about my street at all hours of the night—hoods hooting and hollering, and jus' hanging out in my neighborhood, the Upper-Crusty West Side of Manhattan.

I'm especially keen on capturing all the drug dealers who sit on my stoop all day, especially since they’ll all likely be pushed out into periphery of this increasingly gentrified area in the next couple of years anyway.

108th Street has long been a stronghold of Latinos made of Domicanos, Boriqua (Puerto Ricans) and invading Mexicans (un)like me. However, with the encroachment of greedy developers, el barrio will soon be cleaned up to make room for more Starbucks, banks and Columbia University owned faculty and student housing.

Just today, while having a Coronet slice, I read in the Columbia Press about the demise of Wood-O-Rama, which is directly across the street from me. It was reported that now they have to move out to Jersey, because the new building owners raised their rent and plan to build a luxury apartment building in its place. The small little lumbershop that could has faithfully served this neighborhood for 35 years.

Thus, I have this pressing desire to take photos of the locals before they’re all gone; I’m yearning to capture the grit and surly manners that make New York City such an energizing enclave of mean streets.

Moreover, there's just something very "real" about their iconic nature—their mean streaks, their baggy clothes, their mutha fuck'n bad-ass rep as gangstas—that strikes a chord I me.

However, even though the thug life is often commercially portrayed in movies and music as rather glamorous, in reality, it is a very precarious lifestyle, one that should never be envied.

Albeit, we are only pretending to be rough-n-tumbleweeds from the hood in the photo above, gang violence is really no joke. And although not that all gangsters are murderers, senseless violence has long been glorified in our society, and merely abets the trouble these gangbangers get into.

As prosaic as the suburban haven of San Jose was at the time when I was living there, we were, unfortunately, well versed in violence.

About the same time as this photo, one of my cousins, the youngest of five, Arturo (also known as "Tutti" amongst family and close friends) was shot in the head pointe-blank, simply because he got in an argument with another young turk. Although he was a bit of a hood himself, no one felt that the caustic verbal exchange he had had should have led to this brutal act of utterly senseless violence. His teenage murder was a great tragedy for our close-knit family, and weighed upon us for a long time.

In fact, in reminiscing about all this, I now recall that this event moved my sister so much, that she started a sticker company when she was in high-school with her artist-boyfriend at the time, selling stickers that read — "Stop The Violence."

Although I have no idea what the impact of her campaign was, I do know violence, regardless of where it takes place—the seemingly innocuous suburban streets of San Jose, the mean streets of New York Fuckin’ City, or the war-torn roads of the Middle East—always and often sends the same message—its not worth it.

Life is fleeting, life is precious, life is beautiful, so why cut it any shorter with inane games of machismo, egotism or nationalism? Regardless of our differences—our names, our languages, the color of our skin, our beliefs—were all one in the same, we are all simply human, we all only have one life to live.

And nothing ever gives anyone the right to take away that life away from another.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

From Boys to Men

From Boys to Men
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Saturday, October 21, 2006, Jersey:

Boys Will Be Boys

I love being with my boys.

For they not only remind me of what it is like to be a boy, or a child even, but also a “man,” or at least – male.

Because for these guys it’s all about getting down and dirty, competing against each other, fighting, taking risks, adventure, jumping in and giving it all you’ve got.

All day long at work I often feel like I’m flatlining – making sure no one’s offended by this word or that phrase, making sure no one is somehow excluded, because its all about inclusion or cooperation or teamwork these days; making sure the world is perceived as flat and that our organization has no discernable pulse.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works for a lot of men. Were more apt play by old-school rules – winner takes all, may the best man win, give it all you got, either you’re a winner or a loser. At least that’s the case with your (stereo-)typical type-A-personality, alpha, over-aggressive, extroverted, Scorpio-Sagittarius, American rugged individualistic male like me.

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
– Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach, Green Bay Packers –

All this talk about giving everyone a chance, sometimes means you’re bringing down curve; while you’re creating equal opportunities you’re also stymieing the potential of your best performers and most extraordinary individuals, those that are most apt to make a difference.

That’s why I was rather proud of Nicky today, he was by far the most focused on the field and he knew it. Later in the day he made a point to tell me, “Papa, I’m better than all the other players, because I always kick it on the right goal, but they don’t. They’re stupid

I didn’t know whether to smile or frown upon his thoughts. For although from what I observed today this was essentially the truth, I made sure to try to explain to him that even though it was important to be the best ball-player you could be, that he need not belittle other players in turn.

Because as much as I was excited to see him revved up about the game today, for he was truly exuberant while playing, I still wanted him to comport himself like a true little gentleman. That to me is a true mark of excellence – nonpareil performance combined with grace outside the race, on and off the court, and apart from the cut-throat throes of the game. Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Lance Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Joe Montana, are but a few good examples of this critical combination.

All of these sports heroes exhibited uncommon sportsmanship, which has always been a mark of distinction and a personal aspiration of my own. Hence, I would like my children to learn much the same, and thus I tried to convey that to Nicky this morning.

Nonetheless and allthemore, we’re still men and were still liable to be less graceful and uncivilized then most women, mothers, girlfriends and innocent bystanders would prefer us to be. And today proved to be a wonderful experience and exemplar of why this is true, why boys will be boys, regardless of how often our natural inclinations are batted down, so that we might behave.

This morning I took Nicky to soccer practice. It was a special Saturday morning session held primarily to give many of the fathers a chance to see their children play, because practices are usually held on Wednesday mornings, when the moms bring the kids. Thus, myself and the other fathers bonded this morning when at one particular moment Nicky demonstrated the other side of what it means to be male.

The coach was doing a great job with all these 5 year olds and was rolling through a gamut of playful exercises. At one point she said that she was going to show them various ways to handle the ball.

The first was “Mashing The Potato,” which meant they had to stop the ball by stepping on it.

Second came the “Kick The Potato” where the kids practiced dribbling.

Third was “Juggling The Potato,” which required practicing juggling the ball by bouncing it on their knee.

Finally, the coach asked, “Now, how do you think you do the ‘Stinky Potato’?”

Nicky, didn’t miss a beat, and he immediately blurted out, “You FART!”

Myself and the other fathers hanging out on the sidelines all burst out laughing. It was great timing and the perfect male-minded and male-bonding joke. They all asked me, “Is he yours?” I beamed when I answered affirmatively, and one of the fathers came over to me to give me a high-five.

Now that the ice was broken, with a touch of W.C. Fields, I boasted in jest, “Yesss, I taught him well didn’t Iiii?” Seeing that they were still laughing, I continued in parody of the moment, “So, son what’s the first thing you do in the morning? – Fart!” At this point one of the fathers took it one step further and added “or ssshit!”

Perhaps it was one step too far, for while we were all still laughing, this guy’s wife rolled her eyes and said, “Alright Jake, I’m going over there for a while.”

Thus, as you can see, whether were four-years-old or bordering-on-forty, the inherent thrill of potty talk, fighting, slapstick humor and other aggressive behavior and gestures really rarely wears itself out.

After soccer practice I was really so proud of Nicky that I folded when he asked if we could get donuts. Initially I said, “No,” but then, I spontaneously spun into the Dunkin’ Donuts parking when I reflected upon the morning.

It was bitter cold, and so some of the kids and the parents including myself, were complaining. Yet, even though he was the only one with a short-sleeved uniform and shorts, Nicky never uttered a word about it, I kept on asking him if we wanted his jacket, but he insisted on playing without it. He was so into the game that nothing seemed to bother him.

Moreover, seeing him laugh and run restlessly about and shout with glee continually over the hour made me beam with joy myself. I felt that the passion and spirit, this joie de vivre, that I often see in Enzo and try to constantly stoke within myself, was overflowing from Nicky this morning. Thus, I stopped the car after practice, and ran in to get a small bag of munchkins (donut holes).


At noon, we met Rayner, Zea, and Kaya and drove up the Garden State Parkway to exit 168 to go apple picking. Alas, “all the apples had been picked” purportedly and all they were offering were over-priced hay-rides and pumpkins. We compromised by buying a pumpkin and ice cream for all. Then we went for a whimsical ride in the countryside and not only admired the colorful display of autumn leaves, but also how all the rich people live, for everywhere we looked old mansions were being torn down and castles were being built in their place.

Eventually we returned to my humble abode, a comfortable two-story colonial in the small town of Bloomfield, and we played in the backyard for a while.

At about five we all jumped back in the car again, drove into Manhattan, dropped off the Ramirez family and spun around the corner to eat at La Rosita on Broadway, which is a wonderful little Dominican restaurant that has seemingly been around forever. It is a father-and-son operation, with Don Francisco doing a lot of the cooking and his son, Eduardo, managing the dining room and cash register.

It so happened that the son, Edie, recognized me, and asked if I used to come here when I went to school up the block at Columbia. I confirmed his intuition and explained why I was now living across the street again, at the very same apartment..

Thereafter we chatted a bit in Spanish, discussing how, although my boys weren’t speaking it right now, they would eventually catch on, and that the exposure would prep them for the time when they would embrace learning and being proficient in a second or third language. He had observed this phenomenon in two of his nephews who initially fought speaking Spanish, but later became very excited about learning the native-tongue of their forefathers.


By the time we got home it was close to nine o’clock and although I fully expected the boys to fall asleep on the ride home, they were still wide awake and began faux-fighting in the driveway. I loved the spotlight that they fought under, and thus ran inside the house to grab my camera.

I had already taught Enzo some basic boxing principles, such as a stable stance, how to hold your hands up in front of your face to block your opponent, and most importantly, that you should always keep one of those arms up whenever you throw a punch yourself. Thus, I thought it was the perfect time to teach Nicky. Of course, as expected, he adapted like a pro and began to throw punches at his older brother more aggressively than ever, now that the lesson had instilled a little extra confidence in him.

The boys loved brawling, and I loved watching them. (Click HERE to watch a 90 second slide-show of street fighting Jersey-style. Make sure to change the speed to one second, and to either play or hum the theme to Rocky).

Of course, eventually, both got a little hurt, Nicky a little more than Enzo, so that Nicky cried for a moment, but he soon recovered after I consoled him with a hug and then grabbed Enzo, so that Nicky could feel better by punching him a few times. The little bruises and scrapes they might have received were innocuous enough that I felt that it was good for them, it would toughen them up, much as it toughened me up whenever I likewise fought with my two older cousins as a boy.

Moreover, in retrospect it makes me proud to pass on the things that my father and the other male influences of my life had taught me. Although the time for me to teach my boys to be “men” per se is still some years off, there is much that must begin now, because God knows its becoming increasingly harder to be a “man” in our society. Times are changing and roles are changing, and although men and women should definitely be given the equal opportunity to develop and prove their strength, character and intelligence, there is something to be said about cultivating those gender-specific characteristics and skills that have traditionally distinguished the boys from the girls, and separated the boys from the men.

Just as I had written in the last piece about why I am grateful for girls, science is continually confirming what we have known all along - men and women are different and the differences exhibit themselves from the very beginning. Not only in terms of color preferences and how each gender subsequently expresses themselves, but also in regards to activity preferences and preferred modes of interaction.

Once again, I’ll cite Dr. Leonard Sax, who published Why Genders Matter (2005), and made the following salient points at a recent conference in DC:

• Most boys are impressed by other boys who take risks, especially if the risk taker succeeds. Girls may be willing to take risks, but they are less likely to seek out risky situations just for the sake of living dangerously.
• Boys are much more likely to engage in physically risky activities.
• With boys it is important to have as many “supervised” risk-taking opportunities as possible. Unsupervised boys together are often a real danger to themselves. As a rule encourage a boy to play any organized sport (even the rough ones), but do not let a boy practice his skateboarding with his mates in the road!
• Boys fight physically about twenty times more often than girls do. Boys, however, find many friends through fights. Picking a fight can be a way of relating to another boy. Controlled aggression can have positive outcomes for boys. This is not true for girls
• There is evidence that some of these differences are biologically programmed. The “rough and tumble” activities of boys are not socialized behaviors. In fact, there is evidence that “rough and tumbling” as a young male can reduce their aggression as an adult male. They learn the rules of the game of life in this way.
• Aggression between girls destroys their relationships. When boys and girls interact their styles can often clash. The proverbial boy pulling on a girl’s pigtail is the boy trying to make friends!
• Pain is processed differently by male and female brains. Males and females perceive pain differently. Stress reduces the male’s pain awareness and increases the female’s pain awareness.
•Girls’ friendships work best when the friendship is between equals. Boys, on the other hand, are comfortable in an unequal relationship, even if they are the lesser party. With boys the hierarchical character of a relationship can define and even ennoble the friendship.
•The best way to break down gender stereotypes is to embrace gender differences.

That’s why some males in particular prefer competition to cooperation, strategic cut-throat tactics over team-building collaborations, being lupine leaders over sheepish followers, keeping calm and taking control in crisis situations, and taking risks while everyone else plays it safe.

That’s why I’m tired of trying to make the world flat again; tired of appealing to the lowest common denominator, because the lowest common denominator is not very appealing; tired of taking exciting and colorful ideas at work and making them bland, baseline and mechanical; tired of having to behave asexually, hide the-man-i-am because I work with four other females on my team, and thus have no true-blue male camaraderie to relate to.

And that’s why, women just don’t get a good fart joke when it happens, or maybe they “get it,” but just they don’t see why its so damn funny. Well, we may not really understand why either, but it just is. Much like women don’t understand why men never get tired of watching The Three Stooges - they’re just funny, you know, like they amuse us.

And much like many men will agree that one of the funniest movie dialogues comes from one of our favorite violent gangster-guy movies, Martin Scorcese’s hallmark bad-guy film, Good Fellas. The scene is when Tommy DeVito decides to test Henry Hill and bust his balls a little in front of all the other fellas. For most of the scene you’re on the edge of your seat, because you’re made to believe that any moment Tommy is about to whack (kill) Henry:

Henry: You're a pistol, you're really funny. You're really funny.
Tommy: What do you mean I'm funny?
Henry: It's funny, you know. It's a good story, it's funny, you're a funny guy.
Tommy: what do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry: It's just, you know. You're just funny, it's... funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What's funny about it?
Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
Tommy: Oh, oh, Anthony. He's a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry: Jus...
Tommy: What?
Henry: Just... ya know... you're funny.
Tommy: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry: Just... you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy: No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!
Henry: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.


I surmise that since testosterone underlies all our actions, and because men have long been the more physically active and aggressive gender, that we put a lot of emphasis on proving ourselves physically. Thus, when an individual either excels or blunders, we get as excited as any little boy might get when watching sports highlights and bloopers.

Seemingly this proclivity has been around a long time. Thus, I can readily imagine that Neanderthals grunted and guffawed much as we do today, scrawling upon cave walls and reenacting the more notable club-kills and fatal falters of the day.

Thus, I truly enjoyed watching my boys play and fight and interact as most men are apt to do, today.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowances for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies;
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it in one turn of pitch - and - toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart, and nerve, and sinew
To serve your turn long after these are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crouds and keep your virtue
Or walk with kings - nor lose your common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count on you, but none too much;
If you can fill an unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth distance run,
Yours is the earth and all that's in it.
And -which is more - you'll be a man, my son.

-Rudyard Kipling -


More stories, musings and poems about and written for my sons:

To Live A Life Uncommon

There’s Always Something (Ode for a Son)

Nicky The Brave (The Spine of Life)

Like Father, Like Son (a paternal self-fulfilling prophecy)

I Love You, Dominic

Three Familiar Faces (Lesson 6: If…)

I’m A Father (Designing My Little Architects

Just The Two of Us (Papa Loves You)

From Boys to Men

The Quiet One

The Boys (Collection of Photo Sets )

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thank God for Girls!

Thank God for Girls!
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Thank God for girls!

Okay, okay, and for girly-men too.

Because without them—there would be no colour in this world.

“Once when my mother and I were coloring, I didn’t have a green crayon and couldn’t figure out how to color the trees. ‘The trees can be any color you want,” she told me. I’ve made that my life philosophy ever since.’” – Bobby Blue –

I was crossing the rain-strewed street this morning, as usual admiring the symmetry and the simplicity of the lines, when suddenly splashes of bright pink, light froggy-green, and a touch of blue scurried before me.

The stark contrast between the black and white geometry against the running splatter of softer pastels, on this dark and dreary morning, was utterly delightful.

What a pleasure to view the world in all its splendor regardless of the weather, regardless of whether or not the sun shines to showcase all its hues.

It so happens that today I’m wearing the same as usual—my monkey suit, fairly standard corporate fare; a dark-grey, pin-stripped two-button three-piece with a cobalt blue dress shirt with a wide-spread collar—nothing too colorful, nothing flamboyant, nothing that might bring unnecessary attention to me while I “work.” In other words, I look like your basic and boring heterosexual American male, again, today. And, admittedly, I’m almost ashamed to admit it.

That said, you’ve got to wonder, at least, I’ve gotta wonder, “Who wrote the book of love?” Ooops, sorry wrong discussion…

I mean, “Why pink and blue?” Wherefore and where from did we get the tradition of distinguishing genders via these two colors?

A 2001 study of college students by Ficek and Ellis in the journal of Personality and Individual Differences, found that that “the males had a stronger preference for shades of blue than the females. Findings indicated no color preference differences between self-identified heterosexuals and homosexuals of either gender.”

Hmmm, that’s interesting. But was that nurture or nature? Was this penchant inherent from day one or was it instilled in them over the years?

The year before, a study done by a number of scientists at the Brain Imaging Center and Behavioral Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory, Consolidated Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, concluded that their findings “support a sex and color-dependent differential pattern of primary visual cortical response to photic stimulation and suggest a method for assessing the influence of specific dopamine agonist/antagonist medications on visual function.”

In simpler terms, they found a significant difference in how men and women responded to blue and red light stimulation. Using the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technique, “males and females showed similar BOLD signal change to red light, but males showed a threefold greater increase (0.52%) to blue light stimulation when compared to females (0.14%).”

Thus, once again, it appears that men, males, primates, have a true-blue penchant for the darker hue.

Moreover, more current findings by Dr. Leonard Sax, who published Why Genders Matter in 2005, show that the male visual system (optical and neural) relies more heavily on type M (magnocellular) ganglion cells, which detect movement. Girls, on the other hand generally have more type P (parvocellular) ganglion cells, which are sensitive to color variety and other fine sensory activity. Consequently, boys use more images and action when they write, whereas girls tend employ words that reference color and other fine sensory information.

Speaking at the International Coalition of Boys’ Schools Conference in Washington DC in June of last year, Dr. Sax concluded his presentation with the following:

Adults need to get serious about the question of gender. They need to accept the
responsibility of helping children to develop a pro-social meaning for masculinity and
femininity…the result of our society’s indifference to the deep meaning of sexuality is sometimes resulting in social chaos.

For the past thirty years, any suggestion that there are innate differences between girls and boys, in how they learn and think or interact with one another, has been viewed in many quarters as chauvinistic backsliding. We have been indoctrinated in the dogma that girls and boys should be taught the same subjects in the same way at the same time.

We must create a society that has the courage and the wisdom to cherish and celebrate the innate differences between the sexes, while at the same time enabling equal opportunities or every child of both genders.


As much of my writing has indicated in the past, I tend to agree. There are differences for a reason. Opposites attract and attraction is critical to the survival of the species.

Vive le Difference!

Thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for them all,
no matter where, no matter who
for without them, what would little boys do?

Thank heaven... thank heaven...
Thank heaven for little girls!

- Thank Heaven for Little Girls (Gigi), Lerner & Lowe, best known by Maurice Chevalier -

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Henri and His Leica

I Leica Edit 14
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

This series of photos is an example of the Decisive Moments that I mention in the following musing mulling over the evening I took these photos outside the Leica Gallery in Manhattan.

Henri and His Leica

Tonight, Mia took me to a reception at the Leica Gallery on Broadway in Manhattan. Hosted by the Hungarian Consulate, the show celebrated the work of Erich Lessing and focused on his photos from 1956, in remembrance of the Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

As you may already know, Oskar Barnack revolutionized photography with the invention of his small-format lightweight, 35 mm Leitz camera in 1914, offering unprecedented freedom to journalistic and artistic photographers. However, due to WWI the camera wasn’t introduced to the public for another ten years in 1924 as the first Leica.

One of the best-known and most-respected photographers of all time was Henri Cartier-Bresson, who, for practically 45 years, favored using the Leica camera for his work.

In my upcoming book, 25 Lessons (about photography; Cyan Books, Spring 2007) I elaborate a little on his work and technique. Following is an excerpt:

After I had settled in at the little church and was going out regularly into the city to take photos, I not only realized how pervasive beauty was, but I also realized that every once in a while I was able to capture these absolutely exquisite moments—moments when all the elements simply fell together and created a photo that was utterly a marvel to look at.

Eventually I would come to discover that my pursuit of this type of picture was quite akin to the art of a well known photographer by the name of Henri Cartier-Bresson, a Frenchman whose style eventually came to be known as one that captures “The Decisive Moment,” a term coined by Cardinal von Retz. The American publisher of Cartier-Bresson’s first English edition of his work, Dick Simon, used von Retz’s phrase as the title of Cartier-Bresson’s book (originally titled Images à la Sauvette), the first photodocumentary of decades of his work.

French poet Yves Bonnefoy aptly summarizes the magical quality of Bresson’s style in his description of his photograph Place de l’Europe in the Rain (1932): “How was he able to recognize the analogy between the man running across the plaza and the poster in the background so quickly, how could he compose a scene out of so many fleeting moments—a scene that is as perfect in detail as it is mysterious in its totality?”

Over the year following my stay at the Little Church I continued to hone my own style and art, and found that I too had a knack for capturing such decisive moments, especially as the occurred in the streets of New York City.

In retrospect, I also came to find out that Cartier-Bresson and I shared the same philosophy in regards to the equipment we used. The vast majority of his photos were taken via a 50mm lens, which is in a sense equivalent to the point-and-shoot I have used for all my photos.

This is especially true considering the much more powerful equipment that was eventually available to both us. Although fellow photographers and friends have encouraged me to upgrade to something like an “SLR,” I realized that these heavier, more conspicuous, much more expensive and higher-quality cameras were not suited to my off-the-cuff, hit-and-run, street style. Cartier-Bresson believed much the same thing as he felt that he needed to carry a minimal amount of equipment because it needed to serve him as a “sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously.”

With the aid of digital equipment though, I feel that I have been able to take this a step further by actually capturing a series of sequential “decisive moments,” in which I have documented a moment in time, much as someone might do with a video camera, but in a fashion that stops time, so that one can actually see how a moment evolves or tumbles or explodes with action, energy and color.

Oddly enough, a lot of people don’t see this though and complain that they do not understand why I post so many photos of the same thing.

“The same thing?” I often retort, if only to myself. To me, almost every photo has something new to offer that wasn’t in the previous or following shot—an emerging smile, a coincidental pairing of background and foreground elements, a sudden change in sunlight—all these things and so-so-so many more really do make each photo quite special to me.

Hence, despite the criticism I continued to post photos in this manner from one spring to another, until ultimately, after only a year on flickr I had posted more than 15,000 images.


Here is a set of examples of some of the special moments I have been able to capture with my little Power Shot, Canon A50, point-and-shoot: The Decisive Moment

Unfortunately, they did not serve goulash (I'm sure I misspelled that) or any tasty Hungarian pastries at the reception—just crusty old cheese bread and wine.

Nonetheless, the photos were interesting and the president of Leica was at the reception passing out their new the digital rangefinder LEICA M8 cameras for people to try.


Lindsay, Will You Marry Me?

Lindsay, Will You Marry Me?
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man?

“I want to get married before I’m 30.”
-Lindsay Lohan, InStyle Magazine, October, 2006 –

Oh, boy.

Here we go again.

Just the other day I was sitting and sipping and chatting, having a beer with my dear-dear friend and art dealer, Michele, when we started talking about one of the holy grails of life—“relationships.”

I don’t recall now, nor did I recall then, but for some good reason I had realized an epiphany earlier in the day, I had realized that everyone’s looking for love—in the wrong way.

We’ve got it all messed up. For we’re putting the cart before the horse, the wagon before the mule, love before the damned fool. For ultimately, people fall in love with people, not their ideals.

"One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry."
- A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde -

In other words, we’re placing the institution, the tradition, the ideal, before the person that we’re futilely seeking to fulfill these intangibles.

Any quick perusal of the personals will find platitudes like:

“I’m looking for a LTR (Long Term Relationship).”
“I want to get married before I’m 30.”
“I want a committed relationship.”

Although there surely ain’t nothing wrong with pursuing perfection per se, actually expecting it is another matter entirely.

A long time ago, there was a man by the name of Plato. This guy was good friends with another guy named Socrates. Inspired by his good friend, Plato started his Academy, a school of philosophy, which, amongst other things, contemplated The Forms.

Over the years people took the theory underlying these ideals and fucked it all up, because ultimately a whole lot of people were convinced that these ideals could be manifest in the here and now, that somehow one might really find “the ideal other,” somewhere, at some point, during their brief stay on earth.

Alas, the archetypes we strive to ascertain are not really ascertainable in this world, if we adhere to the original line of thought as proposed 17 centuries ago. For Plato actually taught that these ideals were only truly possible once we died and were reunited with the form of whatever we idealized as mortals.

Professor Higgins:
Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair.
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Why can't a woman be like that?
Why does every one do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do everything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up, well, like their father instead?

Why can't a woman take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please.
Whenever you're with them, you're always at ease.

Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?

Colonel Pickering:
Of course not.

Professor Higgins:
Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?

Colonel Pickering:

Professor Higgins:
Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?

Colonel Pickering:

Professor Higgins:
Well, why can't a woman be like you?

-A Hymn to Him (My Fair Lady), Lerner and Lowe –

If you’re looking for love don’t look to hire, don’t seek someone to fulfill a role or position in your life; pursue those things that interest you as an individual—be passionate about something and you just might find someone who will be passionate about you.

Then again, not that this advice has worked for me

Thus, I give in. Lindsay, I’ll marry you.

Just give me a few more years to accomplish a few things, and I think I should be available by 2016— when you’re turning thirty.


For, I'm gettin' married in the mornin'
Ding-dong the bells are gonna chime.
Kick up a rumpus, but don't lose the compass;
And get me to the church, get me to the church,
Be sure and get me to the church on time!

- Get Me to the Church (My Fair Lady), Lerner and Loewe -

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Six Degrees of Fashion

Six Degrees of Fashion
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Six Degrees of Fashion

Let them eat cake!
- Attributed to the scandalous Marie Antoinette, who purportedly uttered this infamous phrase in response to the report that the peasantry had no bread to eat—and who was ultimately led to the guillotine as punishment for her part in the royal excesses that resulted in the French Revolution.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006, (NYC) USA:

The US Census Bureau has just reported that the burgeoning population in the US hit 300 million this morning at about 7:46 AM.

Admittedly, I am guilty of abetting the alarming growth by shamelessly feeding the baby in my belly with a few-too-many chocolate-strewed French pastry cream puffs and about five glasses of Dom Pérignon last night at the book launch for Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber, with my friend and editor Stephanie Staal of Cyan Books. Caroline happens to be an Associate Professor of French at Barnard College, where Stephanie went to school.

The party was held at Christies, apparently in conjunction with the movie launch of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, and the auction house's own sale of French furniture, objets d'art and Old Master Paintings from the Parisian gallery and private collection of Maurice Segoura, “one of the most respected dealers in French furniture.”

Strangely enough, all these 18th century pieces were simply out in the open while all the guests sipped champagne, and many of them sat nonchalantly on these antiquities, which were tagged at anything from $30,000 a chair to $300,000 for an auction lot.

Amazed at how risky it all seemed, I asked an employee of the house that I met that evening “How or why they were willing to put all these antiquities in peril?” She smiled and answered, without any touch of irony, "We take out a lot of insurance."

Yikes, I'd hate to be the insurer.

Anyway, the launch party was rather extravagant, lots of girls dressed in bee-hive wigs, long corseted gowns, and silk stockings. There were even a number of effete men dressed likewise in costume.

At the reception, Stephanie introduced me to a former schoolmate of hers, Damien Dave who works for The New York Times in the Metropolitan News section.

Oddly enough one of my best friends is also a graduate of the School of Journalism at Columbia, and I know half a dozen other alumni or people affiliated with the school.

The stepfather of one of my own classmates, Alec McCabe, from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) also happens to be a former dean of the J-School. And his family also happens to be the original source of the play that became a movie, and now is a new television series—Six Degrees of Separation.

I wrote about them the last time I saw Alec and his wife Kirsti, also a SIPA alum, at a soiree at the Waldorf~Astoria. Click HERE to read the story, click HERE to see the photos from that evening.

As often as these run-ins occur, I still find it quite uncanny how small and intricately interconnected the world really is.

I also find it quite strange how, despite the obvious consequences of my own excesses, somehow I still find it all-too-easy to eat cake.

Sagittarius, October 24, 2002

As you enter a more unpredictable phase, your fantasy life may become rather, uh, experimental.

This'll be good -- you're sure to dream up inventive solutions to problems -- but you'll also have to guard against getting carried away.

To curb excesses, I'm providing you with help from Sagittarian cartoon character Bart Simpson.

If you start edging towards loopy intemperance in the coming weeks, repeat the following affirmations, which he has at one time or another written on his classroom's blackboard:
"I will not eat things for money. I do not have diplomatic immunity. I will not teach others to fly. Organ transplants are best left to the professionals. Underwear should be worn on the inside. I will not sell miracle cures. I will not spank others. I will not do anything bad ever again."

- Rob Brezsny, Free Will Astrology -

Madonna, My Hero

Madonna, My Hero
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to he man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt -

Please Note: The following material is meant for a mature audience only. Read at your own risk. Really, I’m warning you, good down and dirty, very human stuff…Don’t blame me if it riles you…

Madonna, Please Have My Baby

I was making love to Madonna.

Well, actually, I was schtooping her, giving it to her really good.

And yet, then again, in the heat of the moment, it felt more like an amalgamation of both pure tenderness and rabid lasciviousness.

Half-naked, she was on top of me, riding-grinding slowly, smiling, when, along with a good old-fashioned erection, I felt a sudden pang of affection swell up inside of me.

Whimsically I professed, “I love you Madonna,” and we both laughed, for it felt strange to address her by her popular mononym, even if it really is her given name. I smiled and was about to whisper something endearing into her ear when all of the sudden—
the bloody alarm went off.

“Fuck,” I thought.

“Just one more hour of sleep,” I subsequently decided, as consolation.

So, I reset the alarm for 5:30, fully intending to reunite with my Norma Jeanne in the sleepy and serene pocket of deep somnolence.

Alas, as I lie half-awake, struggling to remain still enough to regain that blessed connection, time flew by so fast and unnoticed that when the alarm went off again it felt as if a mere five minutes had passed.

Accepting that my opportunity to sleep with Ms. Ciccone had all but slipped and land-slided away, I lied in bed—“just for a few more minutes”—to ponder my fate.

I thought about how truly fond I am of Madonna, someone I consider to be a contemporary heroine of sorts. For regardless of how many people make fun of her and deride her publicity stunts as tasteless, I think she’s fantastic, truly an exceptional human being who constantly strives to achieve more while fulfilling her potential and inspiring others to do much the same.

Moreover, she’s courageous, unafraid to expose herself and make bold commercial moves; she’s tenacious, at 40 still performing and traveling on relentless the tour circuit, still recording albums and writing (children’s) books and raising Lola; and she’s beautiful, not only because she maintains her health, not wiling to give into middle age and easily retire from the arduous and audacious life of the celebrity, but also in the spiritual sense she is seemingly highly evolved. For not only is it well known that she practices Kabbalah, but along with her integrity, public poise and highly-developed individuality, she demonstrates an impressive feat of self-actualization. And so, despite the onslaught of puritanical criticism, she appears to be is as true to herself as each one of us should be to ourselves.

That said, even though in my fully conscious life I sincerely admire her, admittedly, I was slightly disappointed when I realized that I wasn’t really in bed with her after all, this morning.

Ah! But I did get to sleep an extra hour, and a little more even before a phantom concierge “called me” to wake me up again and make sure that I did not oversleep. It was an eerie experience, because as I sat up I had an intense feeling of gratitude, wondering who the mysterious character was that had graciously stirred me. But after putting on my glasses and focusing my senses on the present I realized that it was all part of the dream.

As I stood before the bathroom mirror and mentally shook off the lingering stupor, I came to realize how easy it would be to sleep one’s life away—just an endless supply of opium and surely time would pass wholly unnoticed.

“Wow,” I thought. No troubles, no struggle, just me and Madonna making love in dreamland.


“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.”
- Benjamin Franklin -

I wrote that ode ages ago, and I still feel very much the same for Ms. M, especially now that she is embroiled in this latest controversy over the adoption of a Malawian baby.


It really-truly perturbs me when things like this happen. For Madonna is doing more good for this child, whose two siblings died of Malaria; for the poor-poor and drought-ridden nation of Malawi, if not the entire impoverished and AIDS-ridden continent of Africa; for the practice of adoption itself; and for the ideals of family, love and parenting—than any prospective harm that any critic can lambaste her way. Sometimes making people aware is everything.

Granted, she was made an exception of the usual laws and by-laws of the state, but then again, she is truly exceptional. She was able to cut through the standard bureaucracy to achieve something positive.

I work for a Fortune 500 corporation and day-in and day-out I see, I witness, I know that it takes a certain amount of courage to make positive changes when everyone else is either set in their ways or to afraid to speak up, say their peace, or be perceived as “uncooperative.” Sometimes, it takes a rather brave and well-meaning individual to make a difference.

Madonna, I applaud you. Madonna, I love you. Maggie darling, please have my baby.


“So when you are kicked and criticized, remember that it is often done because it gives the kicker a feeling of importance. If often means that you are accomplishing something and are worthy of attention. Many people get a sense of savage satisfaction out of denouncing those who are better educated than they are or more successful.Schopenhauer had said it years ago” “Vulgar people take huge delight in the faults and follies of great men.”” – Dale Carnegie -

Monday, October 16, 2006

Determine Your Self

Determine Your Self
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Being The More Richly Endowed, More Varied Man

“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”
– Abraham Lincoln –

I’m feeling it today.

The vestiges, the woes, the subsequent pangs of run-away gluttony.

Uncomfortable, “fat,” bloated, hot and bothered, and generally unhappy—I feel your pain.

I feel, “This is what it must feel like to be a woman” when she’s catamenial, in the throes of her menses, clawing and riled like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Empathy can be so enlightening, and quite frightening too. For now, I understand what you go through, your moods, the brood and broad repeal against reality.

For whether or not I’m really “fat,” I’m feeling it, and that, my friend, if only for this intense moment, supercedes everything.

My suits may be a little snug, I may have to tug at the belt to close the loop, I may look in the mirror and think, “God, you’re starting to look like Alec Baldwin,” but in reality I know that I’m really okay. I know I’ll bounce back—the sheer will to not succumb to apathy, sloth, mediocrity and all the other mortal sins will take care of that—eventually.

Yet, once again, it’s not going to be easy, especially with the holidays coming up, especially with all those parities, with all the open bars and the passed hors d’oeuvres and the smorgasbords that I’m likely going to gravitate to and loiter at an indulge in—all-nite-long.

Moreover, lately, it feels like I’ve been hooked up to an IV of vodka.

At the beginning of August I drowned my camera in a bottle of Kettle One; in September, Rayner and I brought home four bottles of 750 ml. of 267 premium fruit-instilled vodka, they’re gone now; last week I thoroughly enjoyed a few—free—shaken Grey Goose martinis at the Photo Fair; and this weekend, I “spontaneously” replenished the cabinet with a liter of Absolute Peppar.

Thus, I’m beginning to wonder—am I a boozer? A rummy, sot, a souse?

Alas, the vices only begin here.

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” – Elizabeth Taylor –

For there’s also the 9 bars of Lindt dark-dark chocolate I purchased last week upon a whim (intense mint, intense orange with almonds, intense pear and 99% cocoa—yum), the screwdrivers, the mojitos and late nights of revelry and diner grubbing, and the experimental smoking (my first hookah at the Casbah, and the like).

Libertine, lush, glutton, rebel-rousing hedonist, cosmopolitan Corinthian—I’m feeling like its high-time I crawl back into my cave of austerity, seal myself up and one-by-one pare down the luxuriant indulgences, study a little philosophy, maybe.

Besides, I’m almost forty. So, shouldn’t I be slowing down—not, speeding up?

Who knows, if I don’t pull on the reins I might end up like the lonely guy I saw in Port Authority some time ago, shamelessly airing the woes of his ways in public.

Okay, maybe not. But it’s romantic to think that I might go astray as such, to waywardly roam about the world, wandering in lust of everything.

So, yes, certainly, as an artist who lusts for life, I’d love to go on thinking that the secret to living a full life is to ignore our senses. But, then again, I also know that the secret to living a better one is to gradually heed their sensibility.

Pan here broke in on the Philosopher.
“Virtue,” said he, “is the performance of pleasant actions.”
The Philosopher held the statement for a moment on his forefinger.
“And what, then, is vice?” said he.
“It is vicious,” said Pan, “to neglect the performance of pleasant actions.”
“If this be so,” the other commented, “philosophy has up to the present been on the wrong track.”
The Crock of Gold, James Stephens –

Otto Weininger once wrote:

The man of genius is he who understands incomparably more other beings than the average man. Goethe is said to have said of himself that there was no vice or crime of which he could not trace the tendency in himself, and that at some period of his life he could not have understood fully. The genius, therefore, is a more complicated, more richly endowed, more varied man; and a man is the closer to being a genius the more men he has in his personality, and the more really and strongly he has these others within him. If comprehension of those about him only flickers in him like a poor candle, then he is unable, like the great poet, to kindle a mighty flame in his heroes, to give distinction and character to his creations. The ideal of an artistic genius is to live in all men, to lose himself in all men, to reveal himself in multitudes; and so also the aim of the philosopher is to discover all others in himself, to fuse them into a unit which is his own unit.

So, maybe what I really need to do is merely change my perspective here. For, perhaps, talvez, peut être, I am merely losing myself for the sake of understanding others than?

Quizas, quizas, quizas…

If anyone ever wants to join me for happy-hour, I’m available to discuss and debate the merits and faults, the vices and virtues, of such self-imposed restraint. For, as Weininger wrote, experience is key to true understanding!

Other Tales of Drinkin’, Depravity & Debauchery:

A Touch of Evil

In the Blink of An Eye

This Diurnal Yearning

Three, Things I Like

Brain-Picking, Mind-Blowing and Just Getting Drunk
(Hanging with Hizoner at Gracie Mansion or
“A Married Woman and A Thousand Gay Men”)

Half-Crazy Wild Women

Being The More Richly Endowed, More Varied Man

Love, Lust and Other Things

The Lush Life

Having A Drink

Living The Lush Life

Vanity Fare
(Series of drunk self portraits taken after a black tie dinner)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Going to Bed with Gill

Getting Down, Going Home
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Going to Bed with Gill

Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly, focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself)…
- A Lover's Discourse, Fragments, Roland Barthes -

Friday the 13th, October, 2006, New York City:

Tonight I went to Bed with Gill—literally, alas, not figuratively.

My friend John Davis, impresario of a well-known DJ group called Body & Soul, is now the resident DJ at Bed, located in the pit of New York City’s club row, 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. He was kind enough to invite me to check out his new gig. And so, I invited the lovely-lovely Gill to come and check it out with me.

The evening began at my apartment with a few glasses of vodka and OJ to nurse the ailments that ailed us. We listened to some of the new music I had recently cut for her. I played one of her new favorite songs, In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, over and over again.

Apparently, this made us hungry, so after rummaging through the cupboards for lil’ sumthin’-sumthin’ to snack on (By the way, I learned an important lesson—“Never-ever get between a girl and her snacks.”) I found a brand new bag of salty nuts that I had bought an evening ago. Saline and quite crispy, because they I had stored them in the fridge for whatever strange, spontaneous reason, they seemed to satisfy our urge, our sudden hunger pangs, at least, for a while.

At midnight, we jumped into a cab and headed downtown.

As anticipated, the lines were a mile long. I reminisced a bit about my pushes at the velvet rope during my younger years, basking in the glory of what a little feigned hubris can do for a man, which is essentially the equivalent of what a little leg can do for a girl.

John had given me a specific name to mention when we got to the door, but of course, I had completely forgotten it. So, although we were legitimately on his guest list, we didn’t know the magic words that would afford us that coveted smooth passage inside.

Thus, for a moment, we were ushered aside, into the longer line.

Unsettled and unwilling to succumb to such circumstance, for a long moment Gill and I futilely stumbled at remembering, “Was it Paul? Jake? Matt?”

Ultimately, I goaded Gill into working her wile, to ask them about “Paul.” Although, it was really “Matt” after all, somehow that guess sufficed, and we were immediately transferred to the other side, to that place where the chosen ones get to go, to wait and ride the magic elevator.

We entered onto the first level and were immediately lavished with the plush sound of house atop a swath of hip-hop, complemented by a festoon of flashing lights in deep, dark hues, hinting at coupled revelers dancing in the dark.

Bed is one of the newest clubs to rock NYC. Replete with king-size cushioned canopied platforms that resemble beds, the in-crowd now has yet another venue to play in, whenever they feel like spending a ridiculous amount of money to have a few drinks in the lap of luxury.

Being that neither Gill nor I were inclined to recline as such, after a while we moseyed on up to the rooftop in search of John. We discovered that while the kids were really jumping downstairs, upstairs was apparently where us old folks go to pasture.

We immediately found John tucked away in his booth.

A gentleman nonpareil, John greeted us with a smile, his charming British accent and two complimentary drink chits. I gratefully thanked him and we sauntered on over to the bar.

We ordered Mojitos. Ever since this Cuban drink of rum, seltzer, sugar, lime and freshly crushed mint became the hit cocktail of last summer, I’ve had quite a few, surely enough to acquire a good sense of what makes a good one. Thus, I must say that Bed’s Mojito last night was definitely, if not, absolutely, one of the best I’ve ever had.

Slowly sipping our refreshment, we toured the rooftop a bit, and took a few photos of the moon over Manhattan, until we decided to embrace the spirit of the evening by returning downstairs for a bit of dancing.

A little Latin pop, Hip-hop, mixed in with sum bumpin’ Reggaethon got us quickly in the groove.
Reminiscing upon that moment, it is easy to see why Cahn and Van Heusen wrote “What is Dancing, but making love set to music playing..." in their hit Sinatra song Come Dance with Me.

We ended this special evening, the night I went to Bed with Gill (God, I love saying that…as empty of an allusion it really is…), by going to the Empire Diner on 10th at 23rd, for some killer late-late night potatoes and eggs.

I think my momentary obsession with my lurid allusion is simply sparked by the fact that I am such good friends with Gill that there is an inherent thrill with being on the edge of spoiling amity with lust, of blurring the lines between trust and desire, of lighting the fire with the flame that sustains our wonderful amistad.

Besides, why would a man in his right mind want to spoil all that just because he’s a man, just because men are all the same, just because we all just want one thing

Uh, hello….

It is no irony, that earlier in the evening, at the apartment, we had debated the age-old question: Can a man and woman just be friends?

In other words, “Can a man just keep his hands to himself?”

“Uhhh, no,” was my immediate answer, “Not if they are attracted to one another.”

“Okay, let me modify that slightly. Not if the man is attracted to the woman. Because men are plain and simple, men are wild beasts at heart, and all you have to do is pass a pair of legs before him and you’ve got trouble in River City.”

“We leave all the high-minded stuff up to you,” I added. “For women are the idealists; they are the evolved ones, the true intellectuals. The only reason men are scholars and bankers and lawyers…and photographers, is because they need to pursue other things in order to get our minds off what they really want, at least, for a while.”

“You see, women came first, and because you were the original creators, you have the power to purport and fathom and sustain lofty ideas like “friendship,” “companionship,” “partnership,” “cooperation,” “forever,” and of course, that most divine of all ideals love.

“The appeal of the good is rational, that of the beautiful is passionate. Friendship is human, while love is divine.”
- Love and Friendship, Allan Bloom -

I continued by adding, “If you left it up to us guys, we’d all be war-mongering—all the time, pounding our chests, and hanging from trees still….Gill.”

“Yes, men love too. But often they love because they lust first. Which is why women need to tame us first, civilize and subdue us, bat us down, before we can actually behave a while, just long enough for us to share a nice, quiet meal together. That is, at least, until the wine kicks in, and you let go, and then, well than—we’re back to being animals all over again.”

“So, let that empower you. Know that with a mere flash of skin you can wield the world if you want to, make men slaves with a wile of promise and hope and desire fulfilled. Keep us on a string, a tether that you pull every once in a while, so that we might follow you, wherever you might want to go.”

“So, you see, its really all too simple. Men are simple, hopeless creatures, we’re still hairy primates at heart, and there ain’t really nothing you can do about it Gill. Like Billy Joel says, just accept us just as we are and be empowered by this truth. This is the way it has always been, this is the way it will always be. The Beauty and the Beast living together happily, as long as she holds it all together with a little bit of love and a lot of good lovin’.”

Gill just rolled her eyes, for although she seemed a little surprised to hear me say that men, in truth, are such simple creatures, it seemed that in the tick-tick-tick of her mind her myriad experiences were verifying what I was saying.

Alas, as crass of a purview onto mice and men as my opinion-rendered might be, might have been, by evening’s end I was softening up.

Weary and worn down by my trials and errors, I was beginning to see and understand and feel how it is that men are felled down from their mountaintops and are dragged through the valley of desire-cum-love. As Roland Barthes once wrote, “My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly, focuses upon a single signified, which is ‘I desire you.’”

Thus, my blather. Thus, my self-effacing wit about me and all that I am and all that the lot of men are prone to be. Thus, the babylon, the noise and the trouble men make—all subterfuge, all signs, all spew, indicating how weak we truly are.

Thus, four hours later, with the Pisces now piqued in me, I was in that sentimental brood.

So, as we sat on the edge of once-drunk and tired after another long week of working in The City That Never Sleeps, I merely smiled at Gill, as we scraped at our meal—a perfectly sized plate of lightly scrambled eggs, a delightfully browned and smothered-with-butter English muffin, beautifully-barely crisped potato chips, and a couple of strips of a little-crispy, a little-greasy bacon.

We both reveled in the fact that for a few dollars we were having an awfully delectable meal in the middle of Manhattan, at 3 AM, on a Friday night.

At one point I wrote a few thoughts upon my napkin—“Years,” I wrote. A moment later adding “I lament time, when it feels as if it is all that lies in between.” I sighed, and then I shyly smiled at Gill. She asked me what I was thinking. I puttered, I pattered, but eventually I told her.

All night long I had been looking her straight in the eye, proud to be blunt, proud to speak the truth as I saw fit. This time though, I was compelled to look slightly askew, awry enough to appear and feel a bit demure.

There happened to be a piano player on hand to abet this suddenly reflective, suddenly affectionate, suddenly sullen, suddenly sleepy-eyed mood I was in.

Thus, toward the end of our mutual indulgence, I got up to place a dollar in player’s cup, and asked her if she knew In a Sentimental Mood. She said she did, and proceeded to play it as her closing number.

It was the perfect way to end another memorable evening with Gill—the night I went to Bed with her—if only in my dreams.

“Justice is loveliest, and health is best, but sweetest to obtain is heart's desire.”
- Ethics, Aristotle -


Note: All the photos in this set were created collaboratively. Some were taken by Gill, some were taken by me. Gleefully, we passed the camera back and forth, to and fro, in a frenzy of creative undulation all night long.


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Forthcoming! 25 Lessons: The Art of Living, to be published by Cyan Books in August.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wisdom: Application is Key

Wisdom: Application is Key
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Application is Key

Keith Yeung asked me to be an administrator for a new group that he has created called Wisdom.

Albeit I usually veer, steer and stay clear away from anything that requires me to administer or manage anything, Keith asked kindly and convincingly enough that I thought I'd give it a try and see what I might be able to do to pitch in.

Thus, my first action was to add a few key search words in the description: wisdom, sabiduría, sagesse, Weisheit, saggezza, wijsheid, sabedoria, мудрость, visdom, 智慧

Secondly, I created a new proposed icon for the group. The original one had English words on it, and although English is a relatively "universal" language, I think images, especially photographs, speak louder than words, are worth a thousand words themselves, and truly serve as an universal language that everyone can understand. It's kind of like love.

So, here it is. I've separated the two hemispheres to create a sort of flickr ying and yang, man and woman, a whole of two where one cannot do without the other. Granted, Phineas Gage might have begged to differ with me, but I think (ergo sum) you get the point.

If I may quote from one of my all-time favorite books, Symposium by Plato:

Haphaestus, with his instruments, came to a pair lying side by side and said to them, 'Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another's company? For if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one ~ there is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.

So, once again, I guess wisdom (or at least this icon of) is a lot like love.

In closing, although there is much to be said about what wisdom really is (or whether it is only the fool who tenders that love is wise itself), I believe there is a distinct difference between intangibles like knowledge, common sense and lessons learned—and wisdom. For wisdom is all those things applied.

Common sense is knowing the right thing to do. Doing the right thing yourself is wisdom—at least, in my mind.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Art Means to Me

We Are The Shadow People 046b
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

What Art Means to Me

This morning I had reason to ask myself, “How important is art to me?”

I was already late to work, but I came upon this exquisite scene of shadow people, and I knew, I knew, that I had to stop, pull out the camera and take a few photos.

I also knew that indulging this compulsion was going to make me even more late to work, again.

“Huh!” my alter ego huffed, “Now, how could you be so damned irresponsible?”

Nonetheless and allthemore, I ignored my subconscious prodding and pressed on with what I had to do. For art is important to me.

So important that I am willing to risk being tardy at the office; so important that I consider it essential to living my life as it should be lived; so important that it is essentially—my daily bread.

In fact, I often find myself forgoing meals for the sake of finishing my art work. I rather starve a little, than not see a project through from start to finish, even when I can barely keep my eyes open, even when “just one more photograph, just one more paragraph” means getting only 4 hours of sleep again, even though every night I swear to myself that I’m going to go bed early, even though I know I have rarely heeded such lofty resolutions.

If I was stranded on a deserted island and could only have five things to survive, art would be one of them. Or at least, the impulse to create art would have to be part of my survival kit along with air, water, food, and…a pretty partner.

For I’ve lived and loved and died a million love-deaths on this Manhattan Island for the last 15 years now, and I’ve come to realize that creativity helped pull me through, creativity pushed me on despite the odds, despite the nonsense, despite what seemed like a dead end over and over again; art sustained me, because art brings meaning into my life.

And so, late or not, I had to take these pictures of the shadow people.


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Similar Sets Exhibiting the Glory of the Sun:

Behold, The Sun

Dining Amongst The Gods

Sun Strokes

The Long Shadow

March of the Shadows

I Love You Sunshine

The Fantastic Light of Summer

Saturday, October 7, 2006

You Talkin' To Me? (Talkin' to My Self)

You Talkin' To Me? (Talkin' to My Self)
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

This is a drunk self portrait.

Not that I have to be drunk to take a self-portrait.

Actually, maybe I do.

It had been a long day, half a day of work, the new Scorcese movie at noon, the Art Photography Fair in Chelsea, a quick run-around tour of the International Art and Design Show at the armory on the Upper East Side, and then drinks at the Phoenix Cafe with Michele.

I had a couple of freebies at the photo expo because after I asked the good-looking bartender "How much?" he said, with a little lean toward me, a slight hint of a squint and an ever subtler smile, "Free, if you're on the tour.."

Of course, he folowed his answer-offer with "So, are you on the tour?"

It took me minim of a moment to compute the right answer, as I had to mediate between his subliminal text-messaging and my brazen self-determination..."Yes," I realized, if that's what it takes to get a free drink...Why, "Yes, I was on the tour," I emphasized as I reached into my jacket pocket to draw out a few dollars, which I promptly slid into the tip jar.

That first swig of pilfered gin taste so good that after my first tall glass, I made sure to run back for seconds, just one more for the road, right before getting in the cab to meet Michele at the design show.

A lot of fun taxi-ride photos are on their way...

Friday, October 6, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Art World

Darlene, My Darling 14
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Art World

Darlene, oh, Darlene.

Darlene was the first of many people I spoke to at Photo New York , The 3rd Annual International New York Contemporary Photographic Art Fair on Friday afternoon.

I love Darlene.

Okay, maybe I don’t love her, but I surely do like her, or at least my very first impression of her.

She was kind, she was genuine, and she answered all my questions. I often have lots of questions for people I just meet, because I am fond of people in general and I am usually truly interested—unless, of course, they immediately turn me off with some arrogant gesture or act of pretension, than, well then, I usually just smile and get anxious about moving on.

Well, unfortunately, and fortunately, at the Fair you had a lot of folks on the extremes of this spectrum. You had those gallery owners that were effusive as long as they believed you were a potential buyer, as long as they were convinced that you weren’t another dreaded photographer. And then you had those people who were willing to set aside their agendas for a moment and would talk with you person-to-person. Coincidentally, a lot of the latter were from California. Go figure.

Alas, apparently this is the art world. There is a lot of genuine beauty and a lot of bullshit; just as much glossy surface, as there is wholesome substance.

In stark contrast to Darlene’s pleasant welcome to the fair, were Heckle and Jekyl, the Hyde and the Pride of the art world, two art dealers who apparently liked feeding off each other like cannibalistic sycophants.

FoS was the first proprietor of the very first gallery I came upon. B.S. was apparently just hanging around, seeing what she could siphon off the other.

At one point FoS began talking about one of her featured artists, when B.S. butted in with, “Oh, I know him!” FoS, apparently didn’t buy it, because she glared at her and then said, “Oh, yeah? I’m having dinner with him tonight.”

“Well, I was supposed to see him last night. I know his wife,” retorted B.S.

“You mean Zia? You know Zia?”

“Well, his wife…” B.S. stuttered, “I’m not sure what her name is. I’m going to call him right now.”

A moment later, B.S. shows FoS her phone and claims, “I’m not getting through. Is this his number?”

FoS didn’t fall for it though. For after she looked at her own phone she suddenly realized the ruse, and snickered, shook her head while smiling, “Oh, come on now…I’m not giving you that.”

Having observed such blatant scheming, I couldn’t help but start laughing out loud, and commenting, “Wow, I can’t believe I just witnessed that.”

It was such a stereotypical New York scene of cunning and conniving, of how things operate when it comes to money-grubbing, that I simply couldn’t hold back my chortle.

It was then that I figured it was time to press on.

Anyway, I immediately liked Darlene of Theo. Even though she immediately knew I was not going to be a new client she spoke to me about what she does and what she was doing here at the fair. She engaged me not as means to an end, but simply as the end itself, as the here and now, and maybe even, the never again. In other words, she was real and the kind of person you instantly feel you’d like to befriend.

Her kind disposition and the two free martinis I had toward the end of the show carried me through what might have been an otherwise a half-empty experience.

Moreover, and perhaps, most importantly, she let me take her picture. The colors, the exquisite contrast and subtle hints of complementary hues, the angle at which her head leaned to align with the sharp jet of a shadow on the wall behind her, and that slightly demure smile all turned me on. I thought “This is art, this is beautiful, Darlene is beautiful, life is beautiful!” Thank you Darlene.

Some of the other real people I met and would like to mention were Daneyal Mahmood, who is opening up his Chelsea gallery in November and Kyle Rosier of Rosier Gallery in San Francisco. Not only were they genuine people, their artist’s work was impressive. I highly recommend you check them both out.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Happy Birthday to My Little Howard Roark

Happy Birthday to My Little Howard Roark
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

October 4, 2006:

Today, we celebrate Nicky’s fifth birthday.

I am beaming with pride. My love for my little boy is truly boundless.

I wish I could be more for him, do more for him, be with him more, give him more and as much as he needs, so that he can grow up to be all that he can be.

I am doing my best.

Apart from providing for basic needs like shelter, food, love, like any well-meaning parent should, I’m also trying to encourage, guide and expose him to many the wonders of the world, so that he might be inspired and perhaps tap into his innate talents early on.

He has long exhibited extraordinary agility, athletic ability and enthusiasm for sports. He loves basketball and recently began soccer camp. He scored two of his team’s four goals last week.

He also has an innately wonderful singing voice. Without instruction, without training of any sort he intuitively sings with a gentle vibrato that makes any song he takes on a pleasure to listen to.

Finally, two days ago he called me over to the living room, tugging at my sleeve, eagerly egging me in with, “Come on Papa, I want to show you something.”

To my pleasant surprise, he had constructed a building with the Lincoln Logs that, to me at least, resembled a marvelously intricate structure akin to the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. I was quite taken by his creation and made him pose beside his work. Hence, the picture posted above.

I was truly impressed and really found it extraordinary. Then again, what parent wouldn’t, right?

Well, nonetheless and allthemore, despite my paternal bias, I felt it was important to encourage what I perceived as perhaps some special knack for design, or at least an interest in architecture.

So, along with the razor scooter that he asked for, I ran out at lunch today to the book store to get him something a little extra. After streaming through all the shelves, I finally found something suitable in the bargain books section, two huge tomes with a lot of great pictures—one, a compendium of architectural design throughout history, and the other, about “the world’s most remarkable buildings.”

He may ultimately simply toss them aside and they will pile up along with all the other stacks of books I’ve bought for the boys over the years, but I’m content knowing that at least I’m making an extra effort to motivate and facilitate his potential, whatever ultimately it may be, whatever it may become.

However, erudition only can get you so far. To put what you preach into practice, to teach by example, is by far the better pedagogy. Thus, I think that the greatest impact and inspiration will ultimately prove to be whether or not his father lives up to his own potential.

“My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
- Clarence Budinton Kelland -

I love you Nicky. Happy Birthday my dear boy!