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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2008-11-03 - 11:15 a.m.

Halloween is an interesting holiday, once you get past your childhood associations of it.

It is taken pretty seriously by adults in New York--the downtown parade is a big deal (and for me inescapable because it starts right by my office building). I also happen to exist within a few overlapping social circles who approach the costume aspect of it with enthusiasm, imagination, and technical proficiency, so it's always fun attending parties and seeing what everyone's cooked up.

I was pleased that the only Sarah Palin costume I saw this weekend was a highly conceptual one that required a five-minute explanation, worn by an Albanian man:


And I admired the two women who came as electric beaters:


My favorite costume, though, for reasons that I cannot articulate, was this guy with toasted marshmallows jutting out from a black hood. His costume simultaneously suggested evil menace and gooey, delicious campfire fun.


I am once again stuck in a fiction pothole. No matter what I try to read, I can't get past the first two chapters (I even had to set aside the Marilynne Robinson novel). So I am sticking with non-fiction for the time being, and currently getting a kick out of this ethnography of New York's sidewalk vendors. Like all good non-fiction, it makes me want to change my life, although I'm doing pretty well as a vendor. I finally sold my copy of Miri Ben-Ari: Hip Hop Violinist

Went to see Group Kelenia at Barbes the other night--jazz via Mali and Brooklyn. If you ever get a chance to see these guys, do so. I believe that the leader, Oran Etkin, plays at Barbes regularly. Their music is melodically engaging and really soulful and even danceable, if you swing that way. It's cool to hear jazz folded back into the African music whence it came.

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