Sparkles McTitsy

Well tough stuff first. Although it seems to be good news. Looks like Mom is being moved out of the neurosurgery floor of the hospital and onto I guess a more normal floor. I’m in NY now so my communication with my mom and dad has had to be by phone the last couple of days. But mom sounded better on Friday. Much better. Voice was strong. Saturday she sounded a little more tired, but still, pretty good considering.

So slowing improving. We’re all optimistic and hoping for the best.

Now the fun stuff. I finally did make it to Manhattan, in seven hours instead of two because of the weather, but I got bumped up to first class for my trouble, so that make things a little more reasonable.

Mark and Cheree had a delicious dinner on the stove for me and we ate and drank and caught up in their upper west side apartment before turning in. Perfect way to arrive in NY.

Saturday was really pretty spectacular. Mark started us off with a plate full of pancakes and we jumped on the subway to see the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit at the International Center of Photography. It was really everything I hoped it would be.

Before we made it to the lower level to see the Cartier-Bresson work, we walked through the Martin Munkacsi gallery. I was very familiar with one of his images of a group of African Boys running into the waves, but I didn’t know who the photographer was until yesterday. Ironically, that image was the one that inspired Cartier-Bresson to see how powerful a moment of photography could be. That’s when he began his style that became known as the decisive moment.

It is always a rare treat to see prints handmade by one of my most major influences, and the Cartier-Bresson gallery was full of smallish prints that were part of a scrapbook he made in the 1940’s to help narrow down the photographs he would exhibit at a MoMA show in New York in 1947. And since I am an Air France frequent flyer, I was able to show my Flying Blue card, and get into exhibit for free since Air France was one of the major sponsors of the exhibition.

In addition to seeing the beautiful prints, there was a video playing with his images and the only soundtrack was his own voice. Talking about his philosophy, how he shoots and why and I only wish I could remember his exact wording. It was like he was expressing so much of what I feel when I shoot, but haven’t been able to articulate nearly as well up to this point.

Then we went to my dear friend Lois Greenfield’s studio in midtown where she was teaching a seminar on shooting dancers. We hung out with her for a while and it was great to catch up with her. It’s been about a year since I’ve seen her, and she is always so welcoming and warm whenever I visit.

I’m going to see her again on Monday morning before I drop my new books off to Vogue and Vanity Fair. Very exciting. We’ll see what happens.

After visiting Lois, we walked through Central Park and headed to a beautiful vegan restaurant near 5th and 79th called Candle 79. Delicious food, a lovely bottle of French Shiraz and yummy desert. Oh and Woody Harrelson was sitting at the table next to us. Pretty funny.

Oh, and they even put a birthday candle on my vegan desert… of course.

Then Cheree got this great idea that we should go find a burlesque show to celebrate my birthday in true Billy style. So we headed to the 24 hour Apple store with the glass cube entrance so we could look up the address. (I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs was trying to create the Louvre on 59th street as you enter it at street level and then go below street level to get into the store.) We used one of their computers to look up the Slipper Room and jumped in a cab and headed to the lower east side.

It was great. Let me see if I can remember all the names. Runaround Sue, Svetlana Satin and my personal favorite Sparkles McTitsy. Cheree grabbed her at one point and introduced me to her because we both happened to be celebrating our birthday that night. She told us she was from Rhode Island. She was great. Lots of fun.

I think it was 3am by the time we got home. A great night.

More later.

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