Summer in the neighborhood. The best thing about my apartment is the little 18 inch balcony that hangs 70 feet above Broadway in the morning sunshine. When I’m in a sane state of mind I start the morning on the balcony, drinking coffee, surveying humanity, soaking up lethal UV radiation, and planning my day.
While I’m sitting out there, I get a call from Brian, the editor of a Southern California magazine called Revolt, who accosted me on Houston Street earlier. I’m supposed to meet him at the photographer’s studio on Grand Street where he’s staying to do an interview and photo shoot. He gives me the address and says, “OK, my good friend, I’ll be right out front, singing Scriptures and smoking cigarettes.” This is what happens to people who have sunshine all year round.
I do some decent work on my Manchurian Candidate script and then get lunch with David Schervish, my old buddy from the Veteran’s Peace Convoy. In 1989, I was the youngest member of this group, led by Vietnam combat veterans, which drove 40 trucks loaded with food, medicine, and clothing to Nicaragua, legally and tactically outmaneuvering a huge George Bush-dispatched FBI blockade in Laredo, Texas. Schervish, always a great storyteller, is now a screenwriter and is moving out to L.A. next week. He gives me some great information about the military program that the script I’m writing is based on.
On the way home I pass the Angelika, where Pi has been showing for the past three weeks. Last week I was acting in a play with James Urbaniak, my new favorite actor, the star of Hal Hartley’s excellent new film Henry Fool. He’s also my neighbor, and after the play we’d walk home and pass the theater where our movies were playing side by side, muttering ironic commentary like two old Bostonians admiring their side-by-side Victory Gardens in the Fenway. “Well, those posters look pretty good across there.” “Ahem, you see those goth kids? I think those may be ours.”
I spend the afternoon and evening doing practical work. Simple things through repetition sometimes acquire a deeper meaning. I have dinner at the loft on the Bowery where I used to live and work with my ex-roommate, photographer Benoit Peverelli. He makes the same dinner every week–spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce and raw basil–and over time the sauce has got so good it makes my teeth hurt to think about it.
Benoit and his friend, Irish writer Simon Breen, have just returned from a mission to Belfast, where they did a series of portraits to accompany the rhyme:
Tinker, tailor, solider, sailor
Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.
To which they added a verse:
Drinker, singer, boxer, writer
Postman, painter, halfman, priest.
The resulting captioned photo essay is great, and we discuss which magazines would be a good fit to publish it. Their friend Ruth comes over, and we all drink some cold wine, and I try to get them talking about the latest outrages perpetrated by that neofascist piece of shit, tool of the rich, union-busting, fake Italian enemy of New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. But it’s too hot for politics, and Simon starts playing all the old Dylan records I left behind, not having a stereo of my own: Blood on the Tracks, Highway 61, Desire. We sing along some. It’s been 20 years since the first time I heard some of this brutally great stuff, and two since the last, and I cry a little, hiding it. “Spanning time.” Sometimes it’s an OK feeling.