A remarkable night on the town yesterday with my old friend Mitch Levine and his old friend Lisa Giobbi, the dancer and choreographer, seen above.  She was here presenting a workshop performance of excerpts from her amazing new show Fight Or Flight, which combines conventional dance with state-of-the-art aerial work into something that has to be seen to be believed.  Mitch was here directing a documentary film about the piece.

I was honored to get to join the creative team, including the dancer-fliers and the flying apparatus artists, for a dinner after the first performance at the great Italian restaurant Bacio at the Tropicana.  Below, dancer and flier Julia Wilkins:

I can't help it if I'm lucky.

I will be writing at greater length about Giobbi's breathtaking and deeply erotic vision, which is really like nothing I've ever seen before.  All I'll say for the moment is that its lyrical and romantic passages look the way sex feels.


My niece Nora decided, at the age of 14, that she wanted to be baptized.  Her older brother had been baptized as an infant, but somehow, for various reasons, Nora had missed out.  Visiting her grandfather, my dad, a minister, this summer, we thought it might be a good occasion for the ceremony, though it rapidly became apparent that the old man would not be able to preside over it.  His moments of mental coherence were just not long enough for that.  Enter the Reverend Paul Zahl, an old friend, who came to visit us, and my dad, while we were in North Carolina.

Paul cheerfully volunteered to perform the ceremony, which we held for my dad's convenience in the living room of my sister Anna's house.  Paul used the service in the 1928 version of the Anglican Book Of Common Prayer, most of which which dates back to the 17th Century and contains some of the most beautiful prose in the English language.  Paul wore one of my dad's old stoles while conducting the service.

There were mostly unchurched people present but everyone seemed moved by the service.  When it came time for the “congregation” to recite the Lord's Prayer together, we all noticed that Dad was saying it, too, word for word.  Some things stick.

I was supposed to read the Gospel lesson for the day but a short way into it I choked up and had to pass the Bible over to my nephew Harry, Nora's brother, who read it admirably.  This is what I was supposed to read, from the Gospel Of Mark:

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it,

he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children

to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.


. . . a few moments after Harry was born.  I had just snipped off his umbilical cord with surgical scissors.  (It seemed to have the texture of lightly boiled calamari.)

Harry's dad Rich had been working in a distant city when Harry decided to make his appearance.  Rich jumped on a plane and would have arrived in plenty of time for the birth if his flight hadn't gotten delayed at a stopover en route.  So I had to pinch hit as delivery room companion for my sister Lee.  I quickly realized that my biggest duty was not to faint.  Things were harrowing at times but the conclusion was exhilarating.

There is no other experience quite like holding a newly-born baby in your arms.

Harry turned 18 this summer.

We are still friends.


                                                                                                                                               [Photo © 2011 Kendra Elliott]

This image by Kendra Elliott perfectly sums up my impression of every strip club I have ever visited, with the possible exception of The Crazy Horse in Paris.

For more strange images of New York nightlife by Kendra, visit her photo blog:

Kendra.Elliott Photo


Toronto, 1987, wrap party for the movie Gotham, starring Tommy Lee Jones, on the right, and featuring Kevin Jarre, who died this year, on the left, in the Perfecto motorcycle jacket.  I'm in between them, with the cigarette.  Those were the days, eh?  I mean, the days when you could smoke a cigarette in a bar in some other city than Las Vegas, Nevada . . .