Sunday, June 01, 2008

a home is a house

i decided to do the NaBloPoMo this month. the theme is home. i'm not sure how i'll riff on it, but i'm looking forward to flexing and building some creative muscle and writing about something every day. let's see what develops.

serendipitous thing. whilst wandering through the philadelphia museum of art this weekend during a fun jaunt with my friend, i got lost in the gift shop and the house book by phaidon press haphazardly fell into my idle happy hands. (like i don't have enough to read already!) what a brilliant little book. it's basically 500 or so houses from all over the world in alphabetical order, based on architect/tribe/patron, with a paragraph or so of descriptive text and history on the place, along with it's name, if it has one -- like fallingwater, for example.

all of it got me to thinking about the kind of house i'd like to have someday. not that this hasn't crossed my mind lately. nyc real estate is crazy. i'd have to be a millionaire to have a house in this town, even in the ghetto i live in. the thing is, it's interesting to see how houses are a zeitgeist of the times and a reflection of the people who built/designed them.

here's the $64,000 question: what would my house look like, if i designed it? victorian opulent? buckminister efficient? german modern/minimalist? i'd definitely want something with some weight and history to it. probably one of those assemble-it-yourself sears & roebuck prefab houses from the 20s.

i've always loved frida kahlo's "blue" house, the way she and diego rivera lived together but not really -- they each had their own artist studios in the house, their own separate entrances and areas to entertain and sleep. i guess you can do that when you don't have children. and of course, like so many famous people's homes, it's a museum -- with her cremated ashes perched lovingly in her bed.

houses have their own secrets, it seems. diego rivera hid all kinds of things in trunks and sealed in rooms and whatnot throughout the blue house, not to be opened until God knows when. the benefactors/patrons/caretakers knew of these things and finally opened them a few years ago -- and it's quite the motherlode. over 30,000 pieces -- everything from books and magazines, to x-rays of her spine. now it's a museum exhibit.

he's not the only one that hid stuff. remember that drag queen dorian corey from the movie paris is burning that died a few years ago, and when they went into his apartment to collect his things, they found a dead body stuffed a trunk in his sewing room's closet? it makes you wonder how many other dead bodies are hiding in nyc apartments. makes you wonder, period.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Hi there. I've been browsing your blog - in fact, spending far too much time doing so! You write nicely.

I'm not sure about the etiquette of suggesting things for people to blog about - it's probably akin to suggesting what someone should name their newborn baby or suggesting what they should talk about at a party - i.e. Not Really Done. But I will anyway, just this once. You'll see why.

The most extraordinary thing has happened to me this week. 600 refugees from Timbuktu landed in my backyard - well, 5k down the road to be exact. I should add that I am an Englishman living in a small town called Djibo in the north of Burkina Faso. The refugees are fleeing the mounting violence between troops and rebels in the Timbuktu area.

600 is a small number compared to those recently made homeless in China and Burma, but it was very frustrating to visit the camp and to see that nobody yet is helping these people. I'm going to try and do something to help them myself.

I blogged about the Timbuktu refugees on my blog and put some photos on this public facebook album:

It struck me that the story might interest those doing this month's NaBloPoMo if (heaven forbid) they are stuck for ideas any day soon. The story is interesting (how's Timbuktu for a irresistible name!), it's topical (it's kind of about home, or leaving one's home) and it should result in these refugees receiving the aid they deserve.

Get in touch via my blog if you have any questions or comments about this, or if you feel you are able to mention it on your blog.