Doors that don't revolve

I get regular job opening updates via Mediabistro's Revolving Door newsletter. But the MB newsletter of late, instead of being that fabulous "wow, there's an opportunity" lightbulb-prompter, is making me scared.

Nina Garcia at Elle was fired. For those of you who watch "Project Runway," this news is HUGE.

The Wall Street Journal chief, erm, resigned [COUGH Rupert COUGH Murdoch COUGH]. Or something.

The New York Times, in its 156-year history, for the first time will soon be laying off around 30 editorial emloyees.

Besides the MB news, the network where I work has laid off a bunch of employees.

My mother emailed me last night to tell me her job's office was closing indefinitely, next month.

A few months ago a private car driver told me, while driving me home, that a bunch of Citigroup execs thought she didn't overhear them clearly state that massive layoffs at that corporation would begin in March. This proved to be true.

These are unsettling times.


conversations with Claw

Claw: A performed on his own?
Me: Yes.
Claw: Wot, on the guitaaaah?
Me: Yes.
Claw: At the coffeehouse thing theah?
Me: Yeah, at the coffeehouse.
Claw: Wot, in front of an audience? Just him? On the acoustic?
Me: Yes, yes, him and the acoustic. And he played slide guitar.
Claw: Bloody 'ell. That's nervewracking. Congratulate him for me.

Claw used to be in a band, on a label, and used to jet set around the world in business class on tour. I am happy she can appreciate A's performance-in-front-of-an-audience milestone!


Chag Sameach


Of course, I'd throw the curveball of Sister Rosetta Tharpe to y'all right before Passover. Who was Sister Rosetta? She inspired The Beatles ("Get Back" lyrics), Bob Dylan, and countless other Big Name (guy) musicians, but she never became a big name herself. A clip of that historic performance was also in the film "Amelie."

A received a blow in Crew this week -- based on his erg results, he was placed in fifth boat, which outed him from this week's race. It was BTBSA's biggest competitor. He was totally bummed. We had decided he wouldn't come home for Passover because this race was so important; Friday, his coach had the rowers erg for places in the race. A was one-tenth of a second behind the last available seat in Fourth Boat. I wanted to punch the coach, but what can you do?

That's right. You go to the annual coffeehouse.

Coffeehouse is an event where students at BTBSA perform musically, read poetry, etc., just like in the Beat coffeehouses in New York and elsewhere. A was nervous before his performance time and opted out a the last minute. I told him to go, anyway. Then I got the call. "Mom, if I don't perform here, I'll regret it all year long." So he ran back to his room, grabbed his acoustic guitar, ran back to coffeehouse, and performed "Death Letter Blues." When A introduced the song, one student actually shouted out, "A song by Son House!" How do these kids KNOW THAT? Dude, I only knew about the stuff that was on the Billboard charts in my day.

I am so proud of A.

And it happened on Passover, no less!

*Image of the old Gaslight Cafe in the West Village. Click on the image of the Gaslight for Son House performance.



The Spring Playwriting Festival was featured in this week's edition of the school paper. And A is mentioned in it! Woo-hoo! I'm so proud of him. A's Cirque du Soleil photo is in the same issue. Doubly fierce!

A got an invitation to join one of those worthless high school honors organizations (the one headed by that Nobel guy--believe me, it's only puffery with a price tag). I promptly sent in the application for the worthless membership. If all the other kids at his school are going to do it, I figured A should, too.

I can just see the admissions officer at XYZ University:

[Scene inside at a building made of brick, covered in ivy, white-like-ivory belltower in the not-too-distant distance; An Admissions Officer (AO) sits at an oval mahogany desk with four other AOs]

AO: Hmmm...all 849 students from BTBSA have the Puffery Honors. Except this guy. Maitresse's Alexander.
AO the second: How veddy strange!
AO the third: How veddy absurd!
AO the fourth: Horror!
AO the fifth: Erm...I kind of like that he didn't buy that pufffery thingy with a price tag. And Maitresse is a nice name. Who is she?
AO: What say you all?
AOs one through four [in unison]: Automatic reject!!!!

See how it works?

Also, A got an invitation to some one-week leadership conference in the summer. I found out they offer scholarships. So I've applied for one for A.

I broke the news to my long-lost best friend in London (who I will call Claw) that we are not going to Henley. She thought that was a very "hooray Henry" idea, anyway. Claw's idea was to take us to rock concerts and go shopping on Denmark (read: guitars) and Carnaby (read: clothes) Streets, and have us check out Abbey Road Studio where the Beatles recorded. So I'm trying to entice Claw to come to New York again. You need a new camera? Erm...the British pound is really strong against the dollar. Why not buy it here? Like, in August?

Claw has two original Gered Mankowitz photographs. You know the famous Jimi Hendrix ones in black and white? Those. Mankowitz hand-printed them especially just for Claw and her mum.

A has a race tomorrow. The boys on his team are really into supplementing with whey protein and creatine. I don't think it's a bad thing, as long as they do it in moderation. It's certainly better than 1) taking steroids, 2) going out to the woods and dipping (the boarding school code word for chewing tobacco) or 3) smoking mary and jane. You want creatine pills? Sure. The GNC is around the corner, and I'll pick up a bottle for you. No problem.

I have to work on a food idea for Sunday brunch. It's a pot luck. Fortunately, I went to Bar Americain this week (Bobby Flay's joint) and got a little inspiration! Savory corn bread with shallots, anyone?



A made it to the varsity level on the Crew team. At first, he was placed in third boat; now he is in fourth boat. It's still varsity. I am happy for him. The team has decided to not go to the Henley Royal this year, though. I am not sad about this news: It's an expensive trip, and I learned that A would likely not qualify to make it into the 8-seater that would be entered in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. So, he's on varsity, the current senior boys will graduate and A will probably move a boat or two up next year.


He reported to me that he got a 90 on his latest Chemistry test.

His first photo is being published in the school paper this week. It is a photo he took during Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza" show.

The band that performed as the Irish band in "Titanic" (the movie) will be performing on his campus; he has been appointed as gig photographer.

I bought tickets to the Black Keys for A and me. A doesn't know that he will be going -- and it's a band that he likes; I only know about them because A got really into their music. I can't wait to spring this on him! I plan to rent a car to get to the theater. [note to newbies here: we live in NYC - cars are optional].

I am really, *really* looking forward to summer. Because A will come home from school and he will be mine...ALL MINE! MWAH HAH HAH!!!

Okay, maybe I've turned a little psycho since he went to boarding school this year. : / I just miss him.

I've been invited to a brunch in Harlem with friends this weekend.

I may go to the horse farm on Saturday to finish some work I am doing there. Oh, cool/weird/Tim Burtonesque thing: There is a horse with a missing eye at the farm. The eye is totally gone (previous owners were just a little neglectful) -- just the socket is there now, no eyeball, an empty socket over which his fur has grown in. But the eye socket area is itchy to the horse, and he "asks" whatever human happens to be around to give him a good scratching there. Then there are Willie and Nelson, the two mustangs. And Rain Man (who answers with a hearty "NEEEEIGH!!!" if you call out "Rain Man").

The horse farm cracks me up.



A applied to, auditioned for, and was rejected from his school's arts concentration program today. He wanted to specialize in photography if accepted.

He knew the rejection was coming. "The audition didn't go so well," he said to me that day.

Today, I called up a photographer friend. "When did you start photography?" I asked. "Not until college," he said. "I went on a trip to Israel in the summer, bought a camera in the duty-free shop, and began taking pictures right there in the airport and on the plane. I haven't stopped since that day."

College, huh?

Annie Leibovitz didn't start photography until around her college years, according to Wikipedia.

No idea when Bob Gruen started. But his famous John Lennon-in-New York City T-shirt photo didn't happen until well after he left high school.

Ansel Adams learned photography as a teenager on a trip to Yosemite National Park. His father gave him a Kodak Brownie camera for the trip and Ansel started taking photos. No special arts program there.

"You know what, A?" I said to him on the phone. "The greatest photographers didn't do the arts concentration program in your school. Some didn't even begin until college. You'll be okay. You're in good company."

I swear I could see him smile through the phone.



So this past weekend I visited A at school. I brought him a new camera case from B&H photo for his digital camera, some printing paper for his film camera, some film, lens cleaner, and negative archival sheets. Plus, the latest copy of MOJO magazine. With CD. And the protein powder he asked me to bring to help him bulk up for Crew.

I also helped A move his stuff from his old dorm to his new one. And found out that all of A's stuff was put it in a pile that did not exist the last time he moved stuff out.

Hmmm....how did that happen?

It was then that I decided to exchange words with the roommate. He claimed his parents moved my son's items. "Oh, really?" I said. These are the same (divorced) parents who will not be publicly seen within 10 feet of each other. Suddenly, they join forces to move my son's stuff into a pile.

"Well, if it really was your parents, they were wrong to do that. It was wrong to touch A's belongings without asking. Do you understand?" I then realized that child never had a day of discipline in his life. He did not care what I said to him, he just raised his eyebrows as if to say, "So what?"

I ignored this and tortured the ex-roommate by having a normal, respectful conversation with my son.

While A moved his things out, I loaded up a load of laundry in the laundry room. This took me five hours to do due to the school having eight washing machines for 800 students. I now understood A's complaints over this. We should sign up for the laundry service next year!

I folded, stored, and put his laundry in his closer and generally tidied up his room. I enjoyed doing this for him.

I learned that A is obsessed with The Black Keys (a new blues rock band). I've looked at their tour schedule and found out that their Boston show lands on a Saturday. Boston is only a couple of hours away. Hmmm...

Back at home, I learned that a certain program that goes to China in the summer is actively trying to recruit A. They've emailed me about seven times this week, and called me. They have financial aid for their ridiculously expensive program. So I'll submit the application.

No idea if A will do Henley or do enrichment math or science classes during the summer.

I am getting tired just thinking about summer.

I miss A.