Archive for February 2008
About a year and a half ago, Mr. Cruz received an unexpected call from David Deutsch, an artist who runs a nonprofit foundation that sponsors arts programs in Hudson, N.Y. Mr. Deutsch was worried about the effects of gentrification on the town’s poorest residents, many of whom live in decaying neighborhoods just out of view of the transplanted New Yorkers and weekend antique shoppers ambling down its main strip.
Together Mr. Cruz and Mr. Deutsch set in motion an unconventional redevelopment plan aimed at reintegrating the poor and the dispossessed into Hudson’s everyday life. (The plan, which is being supported by the city’s mayor, Richard Scalera, is scheduled to go before the city council in the next few weeks.)
Looks really lovely, this. Let’s hope it makes it through the city council….
“The Future of Terror” and “Terror of the Future” are abecedarian poems, which is to say that they follow a particular scheme through the alphabet. There’s a longer explanation for their arrangement — which Harvey unnecessarily provides — but the formal strictures themselves are infinitely less interesting than what’s been done within those strictures. (One suspects that the reason Harvey likes to talk about the safe subject of form so much is that she’s a bit unsettled by her own project.)
Just wondering…. If “form” is a “safe subject,” which again are the dangerous ones?
(For the record, I read Modern Life this week – a single sitting – and thought is one of the better things I’ve read in awhile. Too tired to tell you exactly why just this minute, but, you know, it was good…)
Bushwick is big (it’s like saying “the Village”). It’s also notoriously
bad. Bushwick suffered the worst of the rioting that struck New York in
the summer of 1977. The area is home to a mostly poor Hispanic and
African-American population, though there are pockets of
gentrification. My corner of the neighborhood, a loft district that the
city is trying to re-brand as the “East Williamsburg Industrial Park,”
mostly warehouses kids just out of art school. It’s a bleak,
rubble-strewn landscape pocked by cement factories and hemmed in by
towering projects. When I moved to the neighborhood, some of my friends
were spooked by the blight, but I only saw the beauty. This is what
Soho in the early seventies or Tribeca in the early eighties must have
felt like, I thought. When I came to New York almost twenty years ago,
those places had been overrun. But when I got to Bushwick, I knew I had
finally found the New York I was searching for—a scrappy loft
neighborhood full of young bohemians camping in their studios. This was
the pre-gentrified New York I wanted to be a part of.
The real drama of the attack was its aftermath. Within 24 hours of my release from the hospital, I made it back to San Francisco, where I grew up; within 48 hours, I decided to quit my job and move back there; and by the end of the week, it was done: I had given notice to my landlord, quit my job, and asked my girlfriend to move in with me. It all made perfect sense to me, a row of falling dominoes. The only thing I couldn’t understand was why everyone kept acting like I had post-traumatic stress disorder. “Only a flesh wound!” I joked. Now I understand, because in retrospect, I realize that maybe I do have a touch of PTSD. I’m not quite the same person I was. Blight, graffiti, empty buildings—the signifiers of every artsy New York neighborhood for the last 40 years—have lost the romantic appeal they once held. I carry a knife now, a small utility blade that I picked up at the hardware store. And when friends of mine get nostalgic for the bad old days, when lofts were cheap and New York was edgy, I tell them that it’s all still there, if you know where to look.
Morality tales from the gentrifying fringe, ah. Boy goes in search of reality, and reality bites him on the ass. I mean, we shouldn’t laugh, but he’s the one who put the damn thing in the magazine, copped to something obvious and ridiculous at once.
She’s right, it’s terrific. And it’s of the same sort as the Sky Movies one below, harnessing adbustery rage in service of brand renewal and the like. But even better is the sense that it’s also some sort of self-expression on the corp.’s part of frustration at its own ineptness – 2005, when the Gap began to die after a good run.
Except more of these to come as things slow to a halt. Citigroup analysts being run over by their own Hummers, Walmart visualizing the clusterbombing its own Chinese sweatshops, etc etc, United Healthcare wishing prostate cancer on their own headset-wearing guardians of the meds, all in 30 second spots.