Sunday, March 14, 2010

SERVICE ADVISORY. After a brief lull, you have reason to expect a great spike in production here at alicublog.

The spike will be because I'll soon be leaving the Village Voice. Amazingly, there is no related scandal or dispute; I'm only leaving the Voice because I'm leaving New York. I will be relocating to a small town in Texas to live with my girlfriend.

Yeah, I was surprised too. But beneath this gruff exterior, I am actually a terrible romantic, and once I decided I wanted to live with her, living without her was out of the question.

I felt that way for a long time about New York. This would be my cue to lament the decline of the place, as I have frequently done at the Voice blog, but I can't. God forbid I should become one of those sullen expatriates who tells everyone New York is over because he left.

No. New York remains the capital of everywhere. I went Friday evening to the Whitney to take in the Biennial, and even though most of the art was crap (though not Robert Williams, nor George Condo and Nina Berman and Stephanie Sinclair and Hanna Liden and a few others), it was still a good time, with the Black Monks of Mississippi singing in the basement and the sort of people who would find this sort of thing interesting swirling around me, and pizza at Totonno's afterward. You don't get this sort of thing where I'm going, or anywhere else.

More to the point, New York has been my home. It hasn't always been an easy place to live, but if I was ever bored it was my own fault. Here I've been chased by cops in the Tompkins Square riot, and heard Allen Ginsburg read poetry there some days after ("Look, I'm wearing a tie -- am I a yuppie?"); fretted with my Williamsburg neighbors as the ruins of the Twin Towers smoked on the horizon; walked over the Williamsburg Bridge during a blackout; spilled a giant thug's beer in a basement after-hours, apologetically bought him a new one, and been rewarded with fat lines of coke; read poetry at St. Mark's Church; played CBGB so many times I forgot it was a shrine; been advised by Jimmy Breslin on how to talk to cops, handed a flyer by Jean-Michel Basquiat, advised on my music career by Lieber and Stoller, given a tour of Terry Teachout's art collection, yelled at by Hilly Kristal and several members of the NYPD. And at the Voice I held a desk next to Tom Robbins. Everywhere I met remarkable people, because this is one of the places they like to be, and saw and did remarkable things, because here they happen all the time.

So, no. Not for me the route of that rootless anti-cosmopolitan Rod Dreher, telling people how mean the urban teens were to him before fucking off to Dallas. I was blessed to live here, and I'll always be grateful and proud. And if this poor woman ever figures out what a horrible mistake she's made, you may see me back in the Big Town, living under a bridge.

I've been to Texas a number of times but I barely know what I'm in for. I know it's pretty there, and they have some good people. And that it's the only place in the country that gives New York serious competition for the most self-regarding jurisdiction on earth (heard on the radio: "Thunderstorms and Tyler roses always make me think of you"), which I can appreciate. I expect I'll learn to two-step and handle a gun, and if I wear a hat I'll tip it to the ladies.

As for work, I'll be freelancing to start, so if you have any leads let me know. Also I expect to stop suffering and write that symphony, or something like that.

I thank the Voice for the platform and for more kindnesses than anyone has a right to expect, especially from journalists. (I expect to do some more work for them and I'll let you know when I do.)

Meanwhile, if you want me, you can find me here.

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