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Tuesday, 4 February 2003

Diana Slickman 2003

I spent Russ's birthday in Rochester, NY this year. By accident, not by design. I am here in Rochester, still, performing with the theater company with which I have long been associated, the Neo-Futurists. February 4th was a very windy day here on the banks of the Genessee river, mostly overcast and snowy. I and a couple of my fellow-performers had a little outing and visited the George Eastman house which, if I may say with apologies to our host city, is one of Rochester's few attractions. It was the home of the late film-and-photographic-equipment mogul (as in Eastman Kodak), and now houses a large cinema and photographic archive. We saw an wonderful exhibit of photographs by the great renaissance man Gordon Parks and wandered around the house marveling at the number of ashtrays and curios made from animal hooves contained therein. I had my yellow paper in my back pocket the whole time, waiting for its opportunity. In the gift shop I slipped the quote in next to a book of photos by Lewis Hine, whose portraits of sweatshop children have that same quality that Vermeer's turbaned girl has, of the thing itself looking out from their eyes. The bookshelf was tightly packed, crowded with books on all manner of subjects photographic and if there was an order to it, it eluded me. Here is the quote that chose itself this year:


To me everything is extraordinary and nothing is. Aeschylus was killed when he was hit on the head by a tortoise dropped by an eagle but that's not extraordinary when you consider that he was sitting directly below the eagle when it dropped the tortoise from a considerable height. On the other hand, that there was Aeschylus, that to me is extraordinary: that the world appeared in his eyes, that the world lived in him like the light in a lantern, that there are continually new lanterns for the world to live in, that you and I are two of them, yes, that to me is extraordinary.

Here in Rochester, I am at the mercy of library computers for my internet and e-mail access, but I look forward to going back to Chicago and reading at my leisure all of the correspondance re: this year's event. I'm so pleased that this fledgling idea has taken flight so successfully. Here's to many more!

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