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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Year Was 1988

The year was 1988. I still had one more year to go before I could no longer look in the mirror and be able to trust myself. The closer I got to 30 the less I sang, "I hope I die before I get old." I took a page from my ancestors and danced along the rim of a volcano only my Pompeii was the Lower East Side.

There I met and fell in lust, I mean love, with a "famous" Danish author. When he dedicated his most recent published book to me I succumbed to his love letters, poetry, guitar-strumming Lou Reed voice and married him on a whim. Within two months I realized I may have made a huge mistake. He didn't have two Kroner to rub together and he began to put down America. I didn't want to live in Copenhagen, and there was that little language problem. Besides, the bar he set for "fame" was not as high as mine. How famous could one really be if the publisher misspelled your name on the book jacket? Other than the love letters I received I really had no idea how great of a writer he was since the only part of the book I could read was my name in the dedication. When he decided he needed to go on a book tour of Denmark I decided he would do that alone. The annulment was even quicker than the marriage.

I picked up the pieces of shattered marriage number two along with a video camera to help a friend complete her college thesis on the squatter movement in the Lower East Side. Rushing downtown from a good paying job in the upper East Side of Manhattan, I spent many hours in scroungy bars, on the streets, in Tompkins Square Park, questionable art galleries and abandoned buildings, aka squats. I once rescued a friend from crashing three stories down when her leg fell through a flimsy rotted- out floor as she videotaped. I've dodged getting pounded by the flailing arms and legs of exuberant punks as they moshed in the dance pits while I taped bands. I spent hours, days, weeks, months editing on 3/4" tape a documentary on squatters, a montage from an art gallery show entitled Attack Art and an early punk music video for a band called Public Nuisance. Editing was different than. We went machine to machine. When you wanted to change a shot, if it didn't fit exactly in the same time frame, you'd either have to lose a generation of quality or start from scratch. I watch in amazement my daughter edit on the computer. Move this, take that out, add this, add natural sound, music, voice-over, titles? No problem. It's almost too easy.

Anyway, the documentary was shown again two years ago up in NYC during another art show my friend curated commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square riots. The gallery was broken into, many pieces of art, along with the dvd player which had my documentary in it, was stolen. I cannot find my copy of it. Luckily the Attack Art video and Public Nuisance video survived only because someone posted it on YouTube. It's primitive by today's standards but in the mid-eighties it was cutting edge. Here it is...

What were you doing in 1988?


  1. What a life you had prior to coming to the Valley! You were ahead of your time with this video..thank goodness for U-tube huh?

  2. Cheryl from "cutting edge" to falling off the edge...LOL! Truth be told I don't regret anything, especially moving to Roanoke. It was the best decision I made for my kids. Luckily I experienced "a lot" before moving here.