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Archive for October, 2012

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Sally Eidman was recently described as having “the biggest heart in New York City.” Watch the videos of her gorgeous singing, and we dare you to disagree with that description!

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This place is perfect geometry, painted plaid in blazing squares of light.
Streets dance with tiny blinking orbs, delighting in their own brightness. I think
tonight they’re doing the fox trot. Or was that last Tuesday?

When darkness falls, the band begins to strum, insisting the metropolis
move with the music. The rhythmic pulsing of a million feet on pavement: it’s
the heartbeat of the electric grid, lending its drumming bass to the screeching
soprano of taxi tires, the scatting of babies’ cries, the pitter patter of chitter
chatter that floats on the stench of the air in every season’s breeze.

To these vibrations, the town twinkles. Now I see that stoplights two
step, headlights jive. And is it true that lamplight does the Charleston up and
down the seams of the concrete jungle?

Sure, there are those that do not last the evening. Consumed by drunken
slumbers, turning in at half past two, some swollen digits just limber enough to
flip the switch OFF. Party poopers.

Or those who only drop by- think on lying crimeless nights when
flashing sirens offer scarce strobe interjection on the dance floor.

And, truly, who’s to forget the nuclear families who, tucked away in
the quiet of their box homes, color windows black the moment the sun tiptoes
past the horizon with her party shoes on.

Not to worry. The blue white beams of the imperial ballerina? Those
pas de deux the whole eve long. For she is constant in her devotion to the city’s
dance, repeating the tourists’ cheer like a record player on the skip: I Love New
York.

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Talia Corren is a special events associate at the Signature Theater Company. According to The Birthday Book, she was born on The Day of the Big Picture. She’s also our first guest contributor, which makes her the best Wall Person we’ve met so far.

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There is a phrase in the Russian language that translates to “in a suitcase mood.” I have always loved this phrase, although I always forget how to say it (please avoid reading into the psychology of that). There are many phrases in many languages that talk about change and voyages, but few have captured my deep appreciation the way this one has. I think this love stems from the fact that the suitcase mood speaks to the moment of a journey that feels most precious to me. Wedged snugly between the twitchy restlessness of longing and the fleeting plunge into the beyond lives the moment when the quickening becomes undeniable. The fantasy of change becomes practical. We pack our bags and enter the Suitcase Mood.Obviously, there is a lot to unpack in the idea of the Suitcase (I’m sorry, but the temptation was too great). There is obviously Baggage, with all its practical and metaphorical meanings. Probably enough has been said on this particular topic. There are now all kinds of trendy designer luggage lines – as though having a “Starry
Night” carry-on changes the fact that you are flying to Boise (no offense, Boise). And Freud could certainly have a fun Friday night analyzing why and how various people pack: from the neatest t-shirt rollers to the rumpled bag-crammers. Not to mention the suitcase-centric scenes playing out this moment at airports around the globe as the drama of ownership and possession plays out on the Samsonite scale.Yes, suitcases are fascinating. But there are two aspects of our Suitcase that interest me the most. The first is the selection. We pack our bags for all kinds of moments that do and don’t necessarily have anything to do with the TSA and passport stamps. It happens whenever we cross from the world that we know into the world that we believe exists. Whether we seek a new job or end an old habit, explore the cold of the arctic or the warmth of a new body, we perform a fundamental act of faith. Stepping into that uncharted void, we are ultimately unprepared. And yet, we step. And we carry with us our Suitcase. However inadequate it may prove to be on the voyage ahead, it was packed with care for this particular occasion.When we are in the Suitcase Mood, we lay everything out on the floor and evaluate. We think, “I cannot take it all – what might I need in this unknown place?” We think take the sparkly top, leave the shoes that give me blisters, take the photo of Mom at the beach, leave the resentment, take the deep breath, leave the sad songs on repeat. We survey the landscape of our cluttered selves and attempt to impose some kind of order, some kind of structure. Something that can fit easily under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. We shed the skin of excess and slither into something sleek, efficient, timely.

The second key to the Suitcase Mood is the value of the suitcase as a symbol. Our pets recognize it. When we take down the suitcase, it means something – an adventure or doggy day-care. Our friends and family know it. They ask how the packing is going. They feel the trembling underneath the surface as our movements gain purpose, we wind the spring before we release ourselves into the crossing. Strangers know it. Wondering “where is she headed?” “where did he come from?” They know a voyage starts or ends there.

Because here’s the thing: we are always in motion. We slip and dart and weave and wander – always in motion. (I am not a physics major) But motion does not equal movement. To truly move oneself, there must be a choice that says I am going Here, and not There. The choice requires a selection and a shedding. The choice that knows that where I am going is not like where I have been. And this is what a Suitcase means. The Suitcase says not only I am Going. I am Going Somewhere.

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