How about we… Check out the openings in Chelsea on a Thursday night.
How about we… ride back and forth on the Staten Island Ferry on a warm, sunny day and get to know one another. If I bore you, I can get off on the Staten Island side.
How about we… meet up at the Rubin Museum's K2 Lounge on a Friday evening (admission free after 6 p.m.): bar, music, dancing (if so inclined), film, access to exhibitions.
An awesome place I've visited:
French Pyrénées; the Appalachian trail in the Berkshires.
My perfect Sunday:
A trip to the gym if there's time. Then brunch, at home or at a restaurant, followed by a flick or museum if the weather's bad, a trip to the park, to the beach or a hike in the sticks if it's favorable. And a late-afternoon glass of wine or cocktail to top it all off.
The movie I've watched the most times:
Frankly, I rarely see a film more than once. My recent favorites: "Gerhard Richter Painting," the Dardenne brothers' "Le gamin au vélo" (Boy with a Bike), "A Separation"; Robert Bresson's "Le Journal d'un curé de campagne" (Diary of a Country Priest); and "The Artist Is Present" (Marina Abramovic).
My life history in 5 sentences or fewer:
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated, who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war ... "
My first concert / My dream concert:
I really don't recall my first concert, and I didn't attend all that many while in high school or college. I would say, though, that had I been able to choose, I would have liked to see Bob Dylan when he went electric at the Newport Festival; the Allman Brothers in a small venue in Macon, Ga.; Jimi Hendrix on his way up; Bob Marley and the Wailers at the live recording of their gig at London's Lyceum Ballroom in 1975; and The Band at their Last Waltz concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1976. My tastes have changed a lot since then, though I'm not completely ignorant of the contemporary music scene. I'd opt for Thelonious Monk playing "Round Midnight" at a small club; Bill Evans recording "Sunday at the Village Vanguard"; Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at his "Concerts à Paris"; Maria Callas when she sang the role of Tosca in Puccini's opera of the same name at Covent Garden in 1964; Tashi & Friends at their recording of Messiaen's "Quatuor pour la fin du temps"; and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the Peter Sellars production of Handel's "Theodora." Sadly, almost all of these last performers are no longer alive.
Obscure knowledge I possess:
I don't think this qualifies as obscure knowledge, but I do a wicked imitation of Flipper the dolphin.
I have a weakness for guys/girls who:
are intelligent, creative, cultivated, warm, demonstrative, adventurous, generous, slender, compassionate, curious, progressive, sensual, not materialistic, value the arts (including contemporary), thirst to know more, have a good sense of humor, enjoy smart conversation, are game to try new things, have an inner life, exude ardor, have a taste for the exotic, and are taken with foreign language/culture. "Only connect." ... "Comme la vie est lente / Et comme l'espérance est violente."
For me, a first date no-no is:
Arriving real late, without an excuse or a call from a cell phone. Lacks consideration. Taking cell phone calls. Is it that hard to be unplugged for an hour or more? Why not turn the thing off? My worst first date (and last with this person): I arrived at the bar of a restaurant in the West Village, and bought myself a drink. Ten, 20 minutes go by, and the odds of any assignation coming to pass are dwindling by the second. She turns up at last, breathless, and apologizes. I accept and ask her what she'd like to drink. There's a pause, and she then tells me she's just scored a ticket to President Obama's inauguration in D.C. and has to go home at once to pack. Now I know I can't hold a candle to the president, and a cocktail at the bar with me pales in comparison to the event she will attend, but I found her behavior rude. Real rude.
What I would bring to show and tell:
A lithograph by the French Post-Impressionist artist Pierre Bonnard that came into my possession through inheritance. It appears in Part II of an illustrated collection of poems by the 19th-century French poet Paul Verlaine titled "Parallèlement" (1900, http://www.maitres-des-arts-graphiques.com/-EXB.Parallelement.fr.html). Pictured in it, along with Verlaine himself, are Charles Baudelaire and, raising his glass in a toast, the dead drunk poet-seer Arthur Rimbaud.
A story you should remind me to tell you on our first date:
The time I skipped out on the dentist as a little boy and another when I locked myself in the second-floor bathroom as a child and what it took to get me out.
I secretly want to be:
I'm stumped for the moment, and will get back to this, but if I were a woman, it would be Aung San Suu Kyi or Elizabeth Warren.
I want to be with someone who wants to be:
happy and thinks I might help with that.
If I won the lottery and quit my job, I would:
Buy something beyond the means of but much coveted by my partner. Give away a bunch to organizations and charities important to me. Contribute to paying down the mortgages of members of my family and help foot the bill of my nephew should he decide to go to grad school (I've already put aside quite a bit for this purpose). Salt away a goodly sum for the future. Travel to exotic places I've longed to visit. Buy contemporary art for my apartment. Spend more time in my pied-à-terre in Cannes. Write more film and art reviews and work on my own creative writing.
One thing my mother would want you to know about me:
I am polite to a fault--if indeed that is a fault.
I want to come home to:
Years ago, I was briefly in graduate program in French literature. In my first semester, I took a required course, an introduction to literary criticism and its various modalities: Marxist, Freudian, deconstructionist, and so on. The day arrived when we came to discuss how the theories of the good Dr. Freud might apply to the interpretation of a novel. As previously stated, this was ages ago, so the details are hazy, but I believe the professor was discussing the relation between the death drive—the desire in us postulated by S.F. to return to inanimate matter—and the sometimes fervent wish we have when reading fiction to get to the end of the narrative. As she made her comments, she stopped to pose a question: What is it we normally do when we arrive home at the end of the day? Her answer? We are driven to tell stories about the events and people that constitute our working hours, usually to our partners. So it is that, for myself, I would like to come home to a willing and careful listener, someone who would take in and comment on even the most mundane aspects of my day, should I choose to speak of them, fully investing her focus, interest and attention, and whose own stories, once I had finished relating my own, I would attend to just as closely.