James Gandolfini and Edie Falco in The Sopranos.
Venus show at Roq La Rue Gallery
Seattle's incredible Roq La Rue Gallery opens its latest group show, Venus, this Friday evening. Featuring a stellar line-up of artists--including Stella Im Hultberg, Audrey Kawasaki, Lori Earley (image right), Isabel Samaras, Marion Peck, Glenn Barr, Amy Crehore, Kukula (image left), and a bunch more--the show is centered "around the concept of the feminine as muse, in whatever form that may take. From gorgeous to ghastly, innocent to vampy. All of the work is viewable online as well. Link
Fumiko had locked herself in her room. No amount of pleading or bargaining seemed to sway her resolve not to come out. We hadn’t argued. One minute she was sitting on my bed; the next minute she wasn’t. She lived three doors away, coming and going as she pleased, and it took a whole day for me to notice that anything was amiss. On the third day, I went to see the superintendent; I got as far as his door when it occurred to me that I could be making a terrible mistake. I was an illegal resident of the Cité-U—a crumbling twelve-story dormitory named for a dead postwar French writer I had never read. My student identification card, along with my student visa, had expired a long time ago. The last thing I wanted was to get deported. Fumiko had locked herself up before, though she always emerged from her self-confinement after a night or two. There was an expression my father sometimes used, back in Denmark, kæreste sorg—sweetheart sorrow—to describe the sadness one feels at the thought of a love affair nearing its end. A sadness one is not yet ready to face. As I walked away without knocking, I could almost hear my father’s voice in my head.
Back at Fumiko’s door, I called out her name, as loudly as I dared, not wanting to attract the attention of the other residents.
Her voice, when it came to me from the other side, sounded impossibly far away: “I’m sorry.”
“I know,” I said, pressing my ear against the wood. “Just open the door, O.K.?”
Another long silence. Then I heard her say, “J’ai froid”—“I’m cold.” Or it could have been “Ta voix”—“Your voice.” The fact that so many French words rhymed with each other, coupled with Fumiko’s difficulties in pronouncing them, resulted in frequent misunderstandings between us.
“What did you say?”
“My voice? What about my voice?”
But she had gone silent again.
I decided to take the air, visit the Latin Quarter. It wasn’t yet evening, and the Métro was abnormally quiet: a lull between rush hours. After getting off at Saint-Michel, I lingered a few moments at the station entrance. Because of the heat from the subway tunnels, the nearby trees hadn’t yet lost their leaves and the air smelled of mimosa and chestnut, even though winter was well under way. Eventually, I wandered into the Sorbonne. The guard at the entrance let me through, barely glancing at my expired identification card. Students loitered in groups in the main courtyard, bulky scarves wound elegantly around their necks. The marble-floored corridors were unheated. In the snack bar, empty white plastic cups stained with coffee littered the countertop. It was as if I had never been away. I walked past Philosophie, Histoire, Littérature Française, stopping at Littérature Générale et Comparée, my former department. The benches were empty, no one waiting to see their thesis director. I scanned the walls. Among ads for au-pair girls and cheap health insurance was a typewritten note pockmarked with unevenly aligned letters: “Urgent. Theoretical physicist seeks Anglophone to translate treatise. 200 pages. 10 euros / page.” Since abandoning my dissertation, I’d earned what money I could by giving private English lessons to French high-school students, teaching unruly adolescents how to pronounce their “h”s and haggling with their stingy parents over my hourly rate. I knew nothing about physics. Yet the prospect of translating something—of not having to churn out anything in the way of original thought—appealed to me. I checked to see if anyone was watching, then tore off the piece of paper.
A Nigerian mask from the early 20th century.