Saturday, May 4 2013
Though I've been trying to recharge my sensitivity to caffeine by going cold turkey, the withdrawal symptoms have been a bit worse than expected. Today I decided that I couldn't just keep dragging myself from one day to the next, so at some point I began drinking a low-caffeine blend of green and white tea that Gretchen had recently bought for me. Over the course of two cups, all my withdrawal symptoms vanished, but still I continued drinking the tea. After awhile I had that rush of caffeine euphoria that I normally only get from drinking coffee after a period of caffeine abstinence. And this was from considerably less total caffeine than is present in a cup of coffee.
By the time we went to KMOCA for the weekly opening, I was buzzing so hard from the caffeine that I was sure I would be needing some alcohol. Wine is often present at such openings, but we sometimes show up too late for that, so I'd brought a small flask of gin, and that ended up being my main beverage of the evening: first mixed with seltzer at KMOCA and then mixed into my drinking water at the Kingston Indian Restaurant.
The show at KMOCA was a multi-artist attempt at controversy, but all the works were just resamplings of controversial exhibits that had been done before. For example, when you entered KMOCA, you had to step on a door mat painted with the likeness of the American Flag. And to get into the back gallery, you had to squeeze between a naked man and a naked woman who had been positioned in the doorway. Among the works displayed were a knockoff of Marcel Duchamp's bottle rack and a photographic "Piss Buddha." There was also the posted results of a survey conducted by one of the artists giving the percentage of female artists who had exhibited at KMOCA and what percentage of the art consisted of naked women or men with the question, "Do women have to be naked to get into KMOCA." (The artist had actually contacted me when she was compiling this data.) Fortunately for KMOCA, the stats didn't reveal it to be it anywhere near as sexist as most other galleries where a version of this same work had hung. Most controversial of all were some buttons being distributed at the door that read simply, "KMOCA Fuck off!"
I can't say any of this art did anything for me. Indeed, nothing loses its punch as quickly as controversial art. All (or most) of these works had been defanged by time decades before today. Still, it was a good opportunity to see old friends, the kind of people we only see at KMOCA openings.
Eventually I went back to the car and got the dogs so they could hang out with us and the other milling people on the sidewalk in front of the gallery. There really wasn't a sidewalk to speak of; all the bluestone flagstones had been upended and the asphalt of the street jackhammered away, leaving a swath of sand and gravel. Evidently some subterranean utilities were in desperate need of repair (and one can calculate the desperation by the general desperation of Kingston itself multiplied by the inconvenience of jackhammering up an entire street for two or three blocks).
Because of the presence of naked people and Ramona's tendency to shove her nose into any exposed orifice, we kept the dogs mostly out of the gallery. Ramona was fairly well behaved, though of course she tried to jump up on a few people because, perhaps, she's an aspiring biped.
As the show wound down, various factions discussed where they wanted to eat for dinner. Amusingly, all the possibilities being named had double names: Mole-Mole, the Mexican place on the Rondout, Yum Yum, the noodle place in Uptown, and Market Market, an eatery down in Rosendale. The faction I belonged to coalesced on Yum Yum despite my preference for Mole-Mole, but when we got Uptown, we found it was impossibly crowded. So our plan B ended up being the Kingston Indian Restaurant. One of the people in our faction was British and he expressed reservations (having been spoiled on high-quality Indian food in mother England), but somehow we convinced him the food would be authentically Bangladeshi.
At first we all promised ourselves we'd be ordering off the menu and not taking "advantage" of the buffet, but when Gretchen, the biggest gourmand present, came back from the buffet and pronounced it acceptable, we all quickly changed our minds. And eating from it didn't turn out to be a bad idea after all; none of the curries had yet acquired surface skins or separated into their constituent ingredients. As alluded to earlier, I managed to keep drinking booze right through the meal, having spiked my drinking water with gin. Gretchen (as she often does) reached for my glass at one point after finishing her own and I grabbed her hand and said, "You don't want that."
The booze (which I now drink infrequently) had me in an unusually punchy, social mood, and when the conversation turned to the topic of an unfortunate ten year old boy who tonight had stunk up the KMOCA bathroom "like an 80 year old man" (as Deborah put it), I found myself acting out the part of KMOCA Michæl, who had then unwittingly mortified the poor kid by overreacting to the ghastly fragrance. In a faux-Shakespearean voice, I said, "Hark! Who hath rendered the air unbreathable in this fair gallery? From whence did this horrid stench arise?"
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