Saturday, August 13, 2016


Numerous conflicting things
about Lincoln Center still
rankle: When it opened,
Kennedy, Bernstein, all that
NYC flash, praised it as the
greatest thing in the world.
They dragged in a Marc
Chagall mural or drapery
or something, so as to even
validify their persistent
claims of high art and finish,
panache, grace and style.
It embodied that entire
Jackie Kennedy ethos.
No one and not for a
minute ever owned
up to what had gone on,
yet another elite land-grab
with millions made by
the tramp landlords who'd
owned all these neglected
and run-down yet inhabited
buildings : they all got their
recompense, paid for the
sales of their swindling
hulks. But not the endless
thousands inside of them.
Those families, people,
small business, and the
rest were just kicked
out, moved, sent
elsewhere to figure
out their lives. What
replaced it all was a
1963 version of a future
of windswept, wide
plazas stretched along
the base of larger buildings,
with lots of glass, and
with spacious views of
interior lobbies where,
basically, went the idea,
the wealthy show-goers
could mill about, have
their walk-about cocktails
and see and be seen  -  in
their Halston gowns,
Oscar De La Renta suits
and scarves, and the rest
of that drivel. As Castro
said, in Cuba, at about
this same time, 'Where's
the Revolution when
you really need it?' The
world was becoming a
huge, seedy joke, with
people like Truman
Capote and Gore Vidal
and Norman Mailer
along for the ride as
literary swindlers not
much different from
their friends the real
estate swindlers. All
wrapped as one, it was
style and fascination
and elitism and cronyism
and balderdash and sex
all wrapped up as one.
When I first landed in New
York City all I heard, or read,
if I looked at headlines and
the accompanying newsstand
photos plastered everywhere,
were the good times  -  all that
John Lindsay 'Fun City' stuff.
The new towers everywhere,
those two next to the United
Nations, where all the really
grand people lived, the side
oases of glory and power,
those dining at swank clubs
and masked balls. A certain
sort of artsy 'style' had swept
in on some high-class East
River swan-boat and all the
new piggies wanted aboard it
and quickly. Ugly ducklings
turning into swans in an
instant, in fact in what was
called back then a 'New
York Minute.' It was
time I didn't have.
The crux of it all was
-  and let me get this
out of the way now  -
Jewish. The world had
dug itself a huge hole by
the 1950's, a trench filled
with guilt and wartime
destruction  -  Jewish
people slaughtered,
gypsies, wanderers,
ruination, cities and
places just sizzled away
in Dresden fire-bombings
all in a row. It was rank
and rotten and foul, and
the entire world was still
in a sort of shock  -  a
shock I truly noted. It
was as if, everywhere,
school and the rest, all
the uttered sentences
were either lies or
incomplete. Lincoln
Center, let's say was an
example of power and
might gone wrong. But
no one uttered anything
except platitudes. All these
horrifying  -  to me as a kid  -
lectures by adults about how
bad the Soviets and the
Russians and the Commies
were and what they would
do to us, and how reckless
they were with bombs, etc.
Meanwhile, it was US who
had done all that  -  atomic
bombs, fire-bombings,
destroying ancient places
like Monte Cassino with
bombing raids, etc. All these
great cities of Europe blasted
to ruins, yet the fingers were
always pointed elsewhere.
It never really made sense,
even if it was somehow
justifiable as wartime tactic.
The end result, on the home
front, was Pride, I figured.
Pride like Avenel  -  slapstick
homes thrown up everywhere
for sailors and soldiers who'd
come home, start a family,
have three kids, buy things,
work, and shut up. That was
the expectation chart  -  but,
just as much, I realized, in the
boardrooms and offices, doing
all this, were the leftover results
of the war  -  overcompensating
Jewish guys, ribald and often
vulgar, ironic with their odd
TV humor, planning all this
detestable distraction stuff, to
numb and zombify an entire
nation into addicts of paper
towels, cheesy laughter, thrills
and pills. That was simply the
newest layer on all those
previous Goldwyns and
Zanucks and Gershwins
and Baylins. (Baylin would
be Irving 'Berlin', who
somehow changed his name.
At least the Gershwin brothers
didn't become Gherkins or
something. Authenticity counts.
counts). Advertising, humor,
'art', graphics, and the rest;
entertainment. A crafty
bunch, and now the new
expectation was that we
owed them something.
Reparations for slavery,
yes, get laughed out of
court, but reparations
for this, wartime, stuff,
we all bear the brunt in
in out gross society. Just
go ask any LennyBruce
for starters. And that's
only the present times. They
had a million followers, all
working for their paycheck.
Now, you would say, back 
to that mural I mentioned in 
the beginning, and which was
added later to the opera house
and ask, why Marc Chagall?
Two twenty-million dollar
murals, also much later, and 
incredibly callously, later used
as banking collateral for
further development,
why a totally Jewish art
reference here? Why all
the obsequious drowning
in guilt and gilt, over the
ruinations of the rich
fitfully giving the
heave-ho to any of the 
authentic poor who
may once have depended
on the area as home. 
Opera. Chamber Music.
Ballet. A list of Jewish
names, up and down the
roster, ten miles long.
Even as a twelve-year old,
I'd ask myself, why? You tell
me? If it (art) is the grand
reservoir of the past
of all Western Cultural
traditions, as you very
well may say, even then
why so grandly Jewish,
so glitterati, so ostentatious
and coarsely in-your-face?
It was like the downtrodden
and the beleaguered who
had just been 'rescued' had
suddenly turned their back,
already, and were becoming
the oppressors now of others.
Marc Chagall, patron saint
of Jewish-Russian art, with
two huge murals to the vast
plaza and street attesting
to superiority and pride
while tearing up the
homes, streets and
pavements of people
who really needed it
all, just for the tired,
shitty sake of rich-man's
music and opera, while
shredding the fabric of
others' lives for the sake
of display and gluttonous
snobbery  -  and then rubbing
it in with Marc Chagall
murals. Think about
it all, as I move on.
The 1960's were a shambles  -
and things like this happened,
and everywhere it was done with
a grin and smile and smirk. All
very difficult to pin down now,
but it had taken on an ironic
life of its own. Everywhere
the world was getting perverted,
twisted over for some other
purpose. Rudi Gernreich,
one-piece topless bathing
suits. Ha-Ha, smirk, smirk.
Effusive and coarse joke
on the stupid goy. They'll
buy it. Our guys will push
it! Gay. Jewish. All together.
It was as if Bob Zimmerman 
and Albert Grossman were
there, just waiting in the wings.
What do you do with people
you've ruined? Cast them off?
Throw them crumbs? Send
them away? Or just sell
them something else?
A long time has gone by, and
I know you're not supposed to 
go at people, but those are some 
points I needed to make. The whole
idea of humanity is other people,
and  -  to me  -  the somehow
entire idea of 'Lincoln Center' was
anti-people. Was smug and 
alienating. Suffered from pride.
I was unable to do anything about
it. in fact, I watched and only
saw what I saw. I wasn't, by any
means, one of them. The Julliard 
kids, music-school swank, the
girls always gorgeous somehow;
I'd see them waiting at lights, to 
cross  -  their large instruments in
huge cases, on casters (Bass violas
and such, I figured) gigantic horns 
and all those twisted tuba things.
Taxis everywhere, the Philarmonic 
people reporting for work, all those
grand, open buildings and a
fountain'd plaza, often windswept
and quite alienating in Winter,
but otherwise, yes, charming.
That's what they had made
from the nothing they'd left after
demolition. If it had to be, it had 
to be, and I guess it was.

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