Friday, April 17, 2009

Robert Frank's Cowboy

Robert Frank (American, born Switzerland, 1924)
Rodeo, New York City, 1955
Gelatin silver print; 13 x 9 1/16 in. (33 x 23 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of Barbara and Eugene Schwartz, 1992 (1992.5162.3)

Monday, April 13, 2009

In anticipation of the Best Summer Ever

A hundred years ago (some time in the late nineties, I guess... ), my friend Jacob Hartman set forth on a quest for the Best Summer Ever. He organized all kinds of outings and games and cookouts and sundry stuff to do. I don't think I participated in many of his events, probably being -- just like when I feigned various illnesses to avoid swimming lessons as a child at camp -- too depressed, busy, angry, preoccupied, etc. to join in. Or maybe I just didn't get the invitations... Even so, I remember Jacob's funny smile as he would chant the refrain "Best Summer Ever" before or after pitching one or another invitation or rattling off a recap of a recent gathering. Ever since, as summer approaches each year, I start hearing Jacob's voice in my mind, and I regret that I really didn't have the best summer ever. Not that year. And, each year, I hear myself say it to one person or another, that this will be the Best Summer Ever. "B.S.E.", I say. I mean it, but I always also hear some cynicism in my tone. Or maybe it's melancholy, or some of that regret I mentioned before. Sitting around with a bunch of friends the other night beginning to plan our annual camping trip, the Best Summer Ever refrain was intoned yet again. I think it's going to happen. I have a nice feeling about this summer. Maybe it's the fact that we are having a mild spring, with the birds chirping like mad and the sky that heavy, endless blue, and the nights still chilly. Or maybe I'm finally lucky enough to have a little bit of Jacob's magical optimism.

Sunday, April 12, 2009