Send in the Clowns

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From 2007 . . . how oddly appropriate to 2016

I think the latest creepy clown hysteria is tumbling down its peak. I was combing through my archives of parade photos and found the above image. The man’s costume accidentally shows the desired conclusion of such clown fevers: that the clown will be real enough to be captured, that he will face justice and that he will still be a clown after he washes off the creepy clown grease paint. All of these secondhand clown sightings betray this hope: he exists, but he is not one of us.

Speaking of grease paint, I think that KISS was ill-advised in their second incarnation without the make-up. I had this epiphany whilst listening to “Shout It Out Loud” at work last week. Their musical depth was about as stunning as their natural looks. I have a fuzzy memory that they unveiled their real faces in a press conference held on a Destroyer ship. Maybe this was the same Destroyer on which Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” was filmed. This makes sense because Cher’s rear end and Gene Simmon’s face are equally fearsome sights.

Now I’m thinking of that “Send in the Clowns” song. It’s one of those songs I avoid hearing because it is so draining. “Someone Like You” by Adele is another song of this caliber. When I hear such songs, I think that the medieval folks who bled people to balance their humours were onto something. Some songs are just so oppressive that I imagine bleeding myself to relieve the emotional pressure.

Mike on Broadway

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Dad in silhouette on Broadway

My dad has visited New York City several times. I tried to get him to bring the city to life by speaking of his times there, but he offered just one scene to represent the whole. He told me that he attended a Catholic Mass in the basement of a Brooklyn brownstone. On a mantel behind the altar, someone had left a copy of Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell, and that album stood in its full 12″ glory for the entire service. Dad said that it seemed as if he was only one there who noticed it.

Several years ago, both my mom and dad planned to make a trip to New York, and I asked to go along. I was between jobs and hoped the trip would provide ample opportunities for street photography, which was a hobby of mine at the time. Once we were there, I was hardly able to stop long enough to take many pictures.

Reams of paper and miles of film have been devoted to capturing life in this city, but there is no substitute knowing what reality is like there. What kind of reality would produce the highest concentration on earth of those who live off their imaginations? The only way to know New York is to be there.

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Another photo I took on Broadway