Mark Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk, Russia (today Daugavpils, Latvia), on September 25, 1903, the fourth child of Jacob Rothkowitz, a pharmacist (b. 1859), and Anna Goldin Rothkowitz (b. 1870), who had married in 1886. Rothko and his family immigrated to the United States when he was ten years old, and settled in Portland, Oregon.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I was reading a guide book last year before we came West, and it stated that there are three Communist countries left in the world: China, Cuba and Santa Cruz, California. It's not really true; they're just really nuts! (We tried to land in Santa Cruz, the ship got lost in the fog and we ended up on the rocks in Pacific Grove.) Ever wonder what Halloween is like in Santa Cruz (SC)? Who hasn't? Here's a Letter Home describing a taste of my first Halloween in Surf City:
Life is California cool... literally. Every once in a while I realize that i am actually living here, if you call the Ramada Limited living. Actually, it's not bad. We went to the post office to change our address, spent much time transferring money, had coffee, and drove to Salinas and Monterey. It's fun to drive through the "Salad Bowl of the World"; vast expanses of black furrows dotted with Mexicans. I saw a kid in SC yesterday with a T-shirt that read, "Mexican, not Latino, not Hispanic." By the way, what are those tall poles with the big leaves at the top? We ate (I ate), fried zucchini at the end of the wharf and checked out a studio in Monterey, left a message for Ismael Guzman. We got in to the cafe in Pacific Grove late, called about jobs for Paul, and drove down three blocks to the ocean. Don't ever go to Pacific Grove - it's just too beautiful to bear. There are stone walls, and steps going into the bay, and you just might run into John and his stunningly white cockatoo, Nadia... she was all kissy-kissy until I tried to put her on my head, and she went cuckoo and threw my glasses onto the ground, shouting as she strutted up the concrete wall. She's a real loud-mouth. We walked along the water as the light melted over the pacific, and gawked at the goldenly illuminated Victorians towering over the bay. We drove back through the salad to SC. I dropped Sarah at the motel and drove into town with my G9, ready to capture for all time the silliness that is Halloween in SC. Maybe you can check it out on youtube. They block off Pacific and hire the National Guard to keep down the number of stabbings. The rain let up to allow for a parade of Sarah Palins, Barack Obamas, naughty nurses, pregnant brides, pregnant nuns, Sponge Bob, a horrific assortment of ghouls and Kiss-inspired face paint, people with all manner of objects on their persons, people in elaborate costume on very tall stilts dancing, drummers, chanters, marijuana smokers, shouters, cops, pretty girls in lingerie, pretty boys in body paint or loin cloths, TV characters, Jesus Christs, Bravehearts, Star Wars types, Muppet-like fuzz balls, a guy with a pig nose, bloody surgeons, Roman soldiers, soul singers, French maids, devils, divas, bat girls, pussy cats, wizards, copwatchers, 17th century court ladies, Santa, bloody brides, hobbits, zombies, a large electrical outlet, death, neon wigs, a golden-tressed pirate in a tutu, more blood, garter belts, clowns, corsets, men with little wings, space aliens, a guy with large purple orbs all over his body (I guess he was a bunch of grapes), random girls in hot pants, cowboys, etc. Pacific was lined with normally dressed Mexican men (real ones), watching the gringos be, well, gringos. One poignant moment was watching several Mexicans watching some guy dressed up like a mexican, with a cartoonish mask. I came home exhausted to find Sarah hunched over her laptop on the bed searching for apartments. Today (Saturday) we will drive back to Monterey to look for an apartment and a cheaper motel. It's still chilly and wet, but at least it's not frigid. California is a little like a movie set - maybe it's all those tall poles with funny leaves - I've only seen them in movies (and in Haiti). People are friendly, and a lot of them mumble to themselves and seem to live on a planet far, far away. We are keeping the anxiety at bay with hyper-active efficiency. Keep those cards and letters coming. I don't miss New England (yet?) but I do miss my friends. Sarah is out running, but she probably sends her love. Hugs and kisses and a big cockatoo kiss on the beak, Paul.
Life is California. I’m trying to expand my job search and be creative, but I was actually filling out a Home Depot application online last night. With budget cuts, human services is real tight, and small businesses are scaling back. Still, I remain optimistic. As our neighbor Clint Eastwood so eloquently stated, “I don’t believe in pessimism” Speaking of one of our greatest actor/directors, I am applying to the Clint Eastwood Youth Program in Monterey, which works with – well, troubled youth (“What’s a yute?” – name that movie line). I did take a break from job hunting to have French fries and an iced tea at Rappa’s, a nice restaurant right at the end of the Monterey wharf. As I was gazing melancholily out to sea, I saw my first otter… darned if they aren’t cute little buggers. He was rolling in the water, swimming on his back, tapping his little chest. The gulls and pelicans swoop around as if they are on the tourism payroll. And the rusty trawlers ( what beloved film has the character “Rusty Trawler”?). Last night I stepped outside, and could hear the roar of the ocean. I invited Sarah to walk down to the beach (timed at 10’44” if you go by the NOAA building, 13’44” if you go by the municipal golf course). There was no moon, but the Dome of Heaven was spectacular. So the earth and sky were lit by starlight. Even in the dim light we could see the big, curling waves crashing against the rocks, rolling powerfully in to shore. We walked along the barely discernible path that meanders through the low dunes, and I stumbled down to the water’s edge, marveling at the night sky. It was truly ecstatic; interrupted only by the lighthouse and occasional headlights, it was downright primeval. I haven’t seen a bright sky like that in years. And a big shooting star. Very romantic. I am still trying to grasp the fact that we live half a mile from this spectacular beauty. We unpacked a bunch of stuff and found some lost treasures, including my beloved crushed, rusty bottle cap collection. Sarah was busy hanging up her little birds all over the place, which I must say adds a festive touch to balance out my harshly militant minimalist aesthetic.
More animal chatter: I looked up yesterday to see, through the horizontal blinds, shapes that didn’t look peoplish, and sure enough, there were two deer at the door. I think they were collecting money for tic collars. They didn’t look so good. They try to eat my seaweed sculpture and they’re gonna be venison, you know what I mean? Well, I’m getting bored, and if I’m getting bored, you’re probably getting bored, so I’ll let you go. Just because this is a mass email, doesn’t mean I am not thinking of you individually, so I think it is OK to say I really miss you. Give me a holler and catch me up with the minutiae of your life (we were taught in radio to always address the amorphous ‘audience’ in the singular, so that the individual listener feels they are being talked to personally, which of course is a bald-faced lie, but hey – that’s show business). All seriousness aside, though, it does mean a lot to hear from you. It can be a lonely existence at times. Give the girls (and Dmitri) at Woodstar a little peck on the cheek for me, will ya? Yours in good coffee and pastries, from PGJJ in Pacific Grove, I remain, always and eternally, yours, Paul