Nick Cave, Let Go, Part II


The Sing Harlem choir walked out in street clothes, and each member held their hands  above their heads. They walked in a line, two by two, and the word they sang broke the rhythm of their step. That word punched the silence of the great darkened room, but small trickles of slower singers had the word echoing softly as the choir split and walked around the room. They reassembled in the middle, a half moon shape, one crescent facing in and one crescent facing out.

A baritone moan, a hum, and more words, as one single operatic voice silenced the rest. Dancers in dark colors walked out, hands up. Only one was singing, amazing grace, how sweet the sound. The dancers wandered the floor. They found a place, they sat, in shorts and undershirt, and faced the distance.

When the choir joined in to the operatic moaning, the song changed. A change was coming over them, we could all feel it. All of the sitting dancers were assessed by a new set of characters, those wearing lab coats and gloves. They carefully began the change – a raffia skirt, a colorful sleeve, a stalk of colorful hair. Before my eyes, the dancers became gods, huge and colorful. The singing swelled, young singers, glittering against the glittering curtain, gracefully changing these men with their voices. The baritone cried, until his tears were covered by the embellishments of his new form. The lab coats finished their job and left. The dancers stood. They towered silently. Are we scared?

In the end, it turns out, we are scared. When you see what the god is made of, though, its rushing roar is no longer so impossible to understand. Nick Cave’s Soundsuits move and shake. They showed their anger and their joy. I had seen the dancer beneath, but now he was something different, something changed, and we were all invited to dance as the choir took over.



Let Go!


In the past month I’ve seen limpid lakes whose horizons stretched beyond the sky.

I’ve seen the lighters of 50,000 country music fans drifting in the darkness of Tennessee’s stadium.

I’ve eaten brisket, hot chicken, fried trout and fresh picked morels. I drank the cold  turquoise water of Lake Huron with my own two hands.

I’m back in New York, and last night was the best night of all.

At the Park Avenue Armory, Nick Cave’s “The Let Go” is an installation of strips of glittering mylar curtain gliding 100 feet long across an open dance floor. Cave envisions his art to be “a dance-based town hall—part installation, part performance—to which the community of New York is invited to ‘let go’ and speak their minds through movement, work out frustrations, and celebrate independence as well as community.”

Last night Cave and the Park Avenue Armory hosted the Let Go Freedom Ball where we could do just that, and it resulted in a remarkable night of glitter, dance and unbelievable costumes. Participants were invited to enter their costume creations in one of three categories: State of the World, Unlike Anything Else and Dare-Flair. Hundreds of ball-goers arrived in lovingly constructed creations: ball gowns fashioned out of plastic bags; Black Panther-style carnival costumes; sailor-with-a-disco-ball concepts; and really anything you could possibly imagine. As I danced in the revitalizing caress of Cave’s wandering curtain, I was “licked” by the giant tongue of a bouncing ball of gummy worms, and I bumped into a flock of women in futuristic silver outfits who were dancing on the other side of the shimmering strands of moving color.


The night culminated with a ball-style competition where the costumes were walked, runway style, along an aisle cleared through the cheering crowd. Stylish neon monsters, glass mirror cyborgs, hyper vaginas and political witches each strutted their stuff to win the $5,000 grand prize in each category. Though the competition was fierce, I was struck by the positivity crackling in the air- though the New Yorkers pushed to see the show, they did so kindly, and they didn’t shove, which is the most I can hope for!

It was a gorgeous night of creative letting go. I’m so glad to be back.

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La Mujer Sin Una Cabeza


Veronica (María Onetto) lives in a cushioned world, where men and servants smooth her path through the day: they make her coffee, they brush her hair. Where is her jacket? Here it is, they help her into it. What is she doing? No, no Senora, you don’t sit in the waiting room. You are the doctor, come in here and meet your patients!

Veronica is confused. There has been a complication in her easy life: She hit something in the road, and she thinks it might have been a boy.

La Mujer Sin Una Cabeza (directed by Lucretia Martel) is a movie that deals with themes of doubt and passivity. The dreamy plot unfolds with Veronica’s placid smile pasted over the half closed doors of other, unimportant, worlds. As viewers, we never know what is happening here or there. We don’t know what Veronica did, and we don’t know what Veronica thinks. Her lack of agency asks the viewer to be more active, the doubt thrown into every scene demands us to supply the facts: Was that a dog lying in the road, or the limp figure of a child? Did Veronica hit her head? What was the doctors diagnosis? Is Veronica asking her husband and her lover/cousin to take care of the evidence? Was the boy found in the canal the same boy missing from the garden store? Everything in La Mujer Sin Una is a question.

The infuriating combination of passivity and uncertainty leaves the viewer with questions, questions that stretch beyond this plot-line: Who in society is being protected from themselves? Who is complicit in their sheltering, and who is hurt? What does a woman gain from letting herself relax into the arms of a society that cacoons her with the condition that she never breaks out of that cocoon?



Heavenly fashion at the Met Gala

What a difference a year can make. Or perhaps I should say: what a difference a theme can make. The fashions from last night’s Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” were far more interesting than those of 2017’s, when the high profile event honored Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons, with “Art of the In-Between.”

It’s remarkable how rapidly those fashions became stale: last night I looked over the photo galleries from 2017, and was reminded of how boringly celebrity guests interpreted the theme. It seems that many women were intimidated by the designer’s structural looks, and chose to cop out with pretty but plain dresses that would have could have been worn to a wedding.

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Vogue’s boring photos of the fashions from the Met Gala 2017. From left to right: Lupita Nyong’o in Prada; Serena Williams in Versace; Gwyneth Paltrow in Calvin Klein by Appointment; Mary J. Blige in La Perla; Lesley Mann in Chanel.

Why did so few of the guests choose a design by the honoree, Rei Kawakubo? Some say the fashions are not easy to wear. Here is an example of her clothing. What do you think?

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Photos from Elle.
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Photo from the

Rhianna was one of the few guests who famously wore a Comme des Garçons design, renewing her unrivaled reign as the Best Dressed at the Met. And she’s at it again this year, with her Pope inspired look at the Catholic-themed party , which was held last night at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

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It seems that more than a few celebrities were shamed into respecting the theme this year, interpreting the Catholic theme both politically and playfully.                                               Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 3.56.15 PM.png     Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 4.08.17 PM.png  Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 4.01.08 PM.png

Lena Waithe in Carolina Herrera; Pheobe Waller-Bridge in Christopher Kane; and Mindy Kaling in Vassilis Zoulias. “You can be the king but watch the queen conquer,” Kaling posted on Instragram. Photos from

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Religious iconography. Greta Gerwig in The Row; Janelle Monáe in Marc Jacobs and many others; Katy Perry in Versace; Zendaya in Atelier Versace. Photos from

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Fancy headgear: Christian Combs in Dolce & Gabbana; Cardi B. in Moschino; Amber Heard in Carolina Herrera. Photos from

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Trains, trains and more trains: Lily Aldridge and Rosy Huntington Whiteley in Ralph Lauren; Ming Gi in Prabal Gurung; Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda; Diane Kruger in Prabal Gurung. Photos from

The fashion worn at this year’s Met Gala was certainly over the top, and sometimes even irreverent, making it all the more fun to examine! I hope that the celebrities who are lucky enough to have an impact on the corture of the day continue to use the Met Gala as an opportunity to really push the envelope. And thank you, Rhianna, for always setting the bar very high.


Clap With Me


In the beginning there are two claps.
The claps ground the light tapping of drum sticks. A guitar chord tentatively dances around the taps and claps, establishing a lighthearted funkiness to the song. When the heavy instrumentation of Mostacho Xprmnt’s new single “Clap With Me” falls in a few bars later, we’re already ready to groove along to the band’s first dance song.
“We needed an opener for our show. The words are an invitation to come jam with us,” says Andrés Marín, Mostacho Xprmnt’s drummer and founder of the band. He began the project in Boston while studying music composition at Berklee College of Music. Since then, the band has seen many singers, many pianists and guitarists, though Marín notes that “Dave [Lowenthal, Mostacho’s bassist], he’s been there all along.” More than any genre or musical influence, Marín’s vision of collaboration has been the drive of the project. With its a jazz vocalist, funk bassist and rock guitarist, Marín sees the band as an incubator for new, and sometimes difficult, sounds. “Clap with Me” was born out of ideas that former keyboardist Haruka Yabuno and former guitarist Eitan Akman brought to a jam. It became obvious to put them together. As the band’s line-up changed, subsequent musicians layered their own sound on top of the sounds that came before them. Marín is proud of the product. “It’s a true collaboration. It has the flavors of all the members of the band.”

Mostacho Xprmnt’s vision of collaboration means that it can be difficult to pin a genre on the band. Their compositions experiment with instrumental pieces that play with jolting time signatures and mellow slow-jams. “Clap with Me” is one of the band’s first forays into easily danceable music, and, judging from the audience reaction at their recent single release party, they seem to be on the right track.
Mostacho Xprmnt celebrated the release of “Clap With Me” with a party at Piano’s on a recent Sunday evening. On stage, singer Leala Cyr and guitarist Luís D’Elias’s flirtatious chemistry led the audience through the varied set. The band closed with their opener, “Clap with Me,” and with the first notes of its ear-worm of a hook the song had infused the Churning audience with a beginning-of-the-night energy. The band progressed into the dreamy bridge of broken piano chords and roaming vocals, and charged into the ambiguously undone ending. Audience members bopped along throughout it all, and when Cyr sang, “Clap with me,” they did.



Exploring the city, I attended an event during fashion week called 29 Rooms. Billed as an art exhibit, 29 Rooms showcased 29 artists, each with a small room to create an instillation in. At least that is the impression I got from my source. I was mislead.

The line outside of the “abandoned warehouse” curved around the block, creating the perfect visual of exclusivity. We moved quickly, though, and models in paint-splattered jumpsuits hardly glanced at me or my ticket as I headed through the doors and past the free Kind Bar table. The entire event was defined by long, slow lines, though I hadn’t realized that yet when I parted the hanging wall of plastic flowers that housed a perfume advertisement “installation.” The paint-splattered models weren’t effective bouncers, so I was allowed to cut that line without protest. Inside, 20-year-olds in the inevitable wide brimmed hat posed adorably in front of humongous fake peonies. I was to find this in each of the 29 rooms: an Instagram paradise of picture-perfect backdrops. Without a hat or a companion, I was ill-prepared.


I soon became tired of the farce. It was clear that 29 Rooms was all about getting cute “influencers”-types to post free endorsements for 29 different products on their social media accounts. Casper, Juicy Couture, and Dunkin’ Donuts are among the advertisers. Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March were some of the activist partners that were featured. It was more than comical to me that these kids were willing to 1) pay to create free corporate advertising and to 2) wait for the privilege to do so. In fact, it was depressing. I left after half an hour, overwhelmed by the grime of having been used

I walked past blocks of littered Refinary 29 Haägen Dazs sample cups before I felt free of the cloying grasp of the event. On the Williamsberg waterfront, where a few Brown nannies tended to their white wards, I noticed a cookie crumbling on top of a broken traffic light. A smear of ketchup decorated a nearby lamppost. I wrote in my journal,

“Nothing in that refinery 29 exhibit was as beautiful or impressive as the foam popping effervescence in the greenish brown water. An oblong shadow of a ferry boat and the sun-rays sucked sucked underneath.”

I’m all for social media. But I hate to see people giving themselves away to corporate advertising. Some good things really are free: Don’t let yourself be tricked into being one of them!


An Ode to Dr. Pimple Popper


Sometimes, lying next to my boyfriend in bed, my fingers brushing up and down his chest, I feel a break in the smooth path of his skin. A little firmness, a raise in the plane. A bump. A pimple. He has them scattered on his chest, back and neck. And I want to pop them.

Dr. Sandra Lee, whose professional name is Dr. Pimple Popper, has shown me how it’s done. I’ll need latex gloves, “numbing” to prevent any pain, a metal extractor with a loop at the head, and maybe a tiny spoon. My boyfriend’s pimples are not big enough to require a scalpel or surgical scissors, certainly not serious enough to need stitching thread. I wouldn’t operate on him even if he did. I’m not a professional like Dr. Lee, after all.

I ask him if it’s ok for me to work on him. Consent is absolutely necessary. And, like Dr. Lee, I ask him again and again if he’s ok. I don’t have any of the tools that I listed above, and work with just my two index fingers. I’ve only ever gotten a few good ones: he has a tiny dilated pore above his left nipple that I keep my eye on.

For the most part, I leave him alone. I never see Dr. Lee touch anything red or inflamed, so I gather I shouldn’t either. Dr. Lee’s chatter with her geriatric clients is so engaging and sweet that I’d rather watch her videos than bother my poor boyfriend, anyway. Even though he thinks it’s disgusting, I think he is happy Dr. Pimple Popper exists so that he can nap in peace. And I wish he had just a few more discreet blackheads.