THURSDAY 05/11/2006: I arrive late morning, exit the airport (La Guardia) and take the shuttle to Grand Central Terminal. A quick walk to my friend's apartment puts me safe and sound right in the middle of New York about noon. A nap on the floor re-energizes me after a late night and early alarm clock. Feeling a tad hungry, I set out for food and find an oriental restaurant (Vietnamese? I can't remember). I order noodles with duck only to find the duck inedible. It seems they gave the back, spinal segments and all. The noodles were good, though. Cheap, too. Continuing my bipedal exploration, I find myself and 61st. It's now close to 5:00 and my friend will be returning from class, so I turn back. Hugs and joke await me at the apartment. I haven't seen my friend since we both left Santa Cruz two years ago. It's dinner time, so we set out for a nearby sushi joint (note to self: it seems like everything in New York is nearby. goodie gum drops) where it is half-price-salmon night. We meet up with my friend's wife and proceed to order an obscene amount of food. I agree with Pudding-san: if I could eat sushi every night, I would. After dinner, we head downtown to the Stone, an intimate music venue to see a tribute to the recently deceased guitarist, Derek Bailey, featuring Lisle Ellis' Audible Means. Pamela Z (voice), Rudresh Mahanthappa (saxophone), Kathy Supove (piano), Guillermo E Brown (drums, electronics)and Lisle Ellis (bass and circuitry). Excellent.
FRIDAY 05/12/2006: MOMA (as it is late morning on a weekday, the crowd in large, but not overwhelming) I love it. Paintings and sculptures from people I've never heard of and old favorites. It's quite exciting to see the work of Rothko, Pollock, Guston, Agnes Martin and Picasso up close and personal. We go back to the apartment to gather some equipment for my friend's gig tonight. We take a taxi over to CUNY (City University of New York) so my friend can set up. I walk back to the apartment as I have a concert to see at the Japan Society: New Voices from Japan. John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Mike Patton, Yamataka Eye, Makigami Koichi, Haino Keiji and Jim O'Rourke. Excellent.
SATURDAY 05/13/2006: 5th Avenue. New York Public Library and old maps. Apparently California was an island back in the 15th and 16th centuries. Maybe it still is and we just don't know it... Dim sum with my friends and my cousin and his family. The last time I saw my cousin was in Oakland...attending a John Zorn concert. Funny how times (don't) change. Chinatown. Outdoor markets. The smell of seafood. Dinner. The Japan Society (again). Same crew, but no Makigami Koichi. He's sick. Too bad, because his playing last night was so marvelous. Tonight's music? Excellent.
SUNDAY 05/14/2006: John Cage day! I go to the Library for the Performing Arts and look at manuscripts from the John Cage collection. I'm crawling out of my skin with excitement. Apparently he wanted mini-thundersheets (pieces of papers, that is, played accordingly) for players 3 and 4 for Third Construction. Why he settled on a rattle and shaker, respectively, I don't know, but paper thundersheets would have been way sweet. Dare I say sooper suh-weet. Oh, well. For someone who was derided as taking the easy way out with his "chance operations," he sure did do a lot of preparatory work. I wonder if those composers were as diligent as Cage, or if they just relied on their good taste and fancy formulas. Dinner: ramen. Not as good as Santa's ramen, but good nonetheless. Maybe it's the company the makes the meal? Regardless, I'll take Santa's ramen any day. Ramen for lunch and sushi for dinner. I'd have to throw in some raw veggies for fiber and balance, but that's easy enough. We head back down to the Stone for a John Zorn/Eugene Chadbourne duet. Amazing. Just when I think I know all of Zorn's saxophone tricks, I see him in a little room playing to a small audience. Absolutely amazing: his playing tonight was transcendental. Really. Chadbourne was in fine form as usual; however, I do miss his pebble-filled hollow body guitar. No complaints though. After the concert I see my opportunity and re-introduce myself to Zorn for a brief chat. He still recognizes me from a couple years ago when I first met him in San Francisco. I am happy.
MONDAY 05/15/2006: I follow my friend to Brooklyn college where he has a class to teach and I have a library (Brooklyn College Library, that is) to peruse. Next, I meet my cousin and his son at a kid's park for a short visit and then go to the New York University library. I still can't find a score to "Okho" (a percussion trio by Iannis Xenakis) but enjoy myself anyway. I meet my friend at Merkin Hall for a concert by the New York New Music Ensemble. A good performance, but we leave at half time ("intermission" if you want to mince words). Serialism for the sake of notes, I have decided, leaves me cold. I need something...a texture, a mood, an atmosphere...something more than a cryptic tone row. Bed time. It's raining, so we take a cab.
TUESDAY 05/16/2006: I'm Audi 9000, brah. I make it back, safe and sound, to Atlanta, land of smog and humidity. I'm tired, so what do I do? Go to dinner with a friend and stay up all night. Moron. I find myself a little slap-happy by the time I get to Wednesday afternoon. Eh... I guess that's what summer vacation is for. Needless to say, I sleep well that night. So, to sum up my time in the Big Apple: walking, libraries, walking, museums, walking, concerts, walking...and the occasional taxi ride. I only used the subways a few times, I didn't really get to experience a functional public transportation system in all of its glory. Maybe next time.
Population of Atlanta on 05/30/2006: 4,731,246