Me Defined by What I Roles I Play: Father. Photographer. Writer. Reader. Internet addict. Sports fan. Humorist. Moderate-to-Mild Hot Wheels collector.
Me Defined by My Favorite Photographers: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. After Henri Cartier-Bresson is everyone else, including Paul Strand, Jeanloup Sieff, Edward Weston, Michael Kenna, Herb Ritts, Ralph Gibson, Robert Capa, Howard Schatz, Patrick Demarchelier.
Me Defined by What I Wear: Shirts and jeans. Fleeces (in winter), plain T-shirts (in summer). No logos or text on shirts (very important). Rockport shoes. Columbia Trek Shoes. Boxers. Fluff sheep slippers to keep my feet warm indoors.
Me Defined by My Favorite International Music: Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn. The master of the mambos, Perez Prado. Natacha Atlas. The Gypsy Kings, but also the real Gypsy King, Peret AKA “King of the Rumba Flamenca.” Celtic music: Tannahill Weavers, Chiefains, Celtic Nots (local group). The Vallenato-influenced music of Carlos Vives. Transglobal Underground and Fun>Da>Mental. Parisian cafe music. Amparanoia. Las Hijas del Sol (from Equatorial New Guinea!). Lila Downs. The timeless Cuban music of Trio Matamoros. Lady Blacksmith Mambazo. Music from Bollywood soundtracks. Juan Luis Guerra. Yann Tiersen. Klezmer music, especially the Klezmatics. Carlos Gardel.
Me Defined by My Favorite Popular Music (“popular” being broadly defined): Depending on the day, you might find me listening to just about anything: Dave Matthews Band, local hero Bing Crosby, The Beta Band, Fey, Louis Prima, Lily Allen, Dead Can Dance, the Andrews Sisters, The Beatles (of course), Tori Amos, old blues like Robert Johnson (especially on a Saturday night), Tom Waits, Kate Nash, Duke Ellington, a bit of country (think Lyle Lovett and Alison Krauss–nothing too twangy), dance-techno stuff (I’m not hip enough to know its official designation), Ingrid Michaelson, The Proclaimers, 80s music (still riding the New Wave), Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Suzanne Vega, Shakira (or does she belong in International?), Peter Gabriel.
Me Defined by My Favorite Classical Music: I listen to a lot of early (pre-Baroque) choral work: Josquin Desprez and Palestrina, madrigals (both Italian and English), John Dowland, Renaissance motets. Lots of Baroque: Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Anything by JS Bach (favorite work might be St. Matthew’s Passion.) Handel. Vivaldi. I also listen to Mozart, and Beethoven is useful for certain moods, but then I skip ahead to Schubert (not much else from the Romantics). Dig a good Verdi opera. Then a long silent pause until we get to minimalist stuff (Philip Glass, John Adams, Steve Reich).
Me Defined by What I Eat: Chocolate-covered raisins. Honey Bunches of Oats. Hummus on bagels. Pizza (either a frozen Tonys, dressed up according to mood, or fancy-pants Euro-style pizzas with things like gorgonzola, feta, pear, spinach, and Spanish olives). Falafel (yummy!). FatBoys ice cream sandwiches. Spaghetti with spicy arrabiata sauce (or Mizithra if I’m at The Old Factory). Pepperjack cheese on Triscits. Nothing that had a mother.
Me Defined by My Favorite Artists: Adolph William Bouguereau, Beato Angelico, Rogier Van der Weyden, Filippo Lippi, Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, El Greco, Rembrandt, Zurbaran, Vermeer, Caspar David Freidrich, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Rodin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Josep Llimona, Edward Hopper, Amedeo Modigliani.
Me Defined by My Favorite Movies: I love foreign films and independent movies. My favorite might be Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors” Trilogy: “Blue”, “White”, “Red”:
Wong Kar Wai movies, especially “Fallen Angels” and “Chungking Express”
I think Gerard Depardieu is the greatest actor of our time: : “The Return of Martin Guerre”, “Camille Claudel”, “Cyrano de Beregec” and “Jean de Florette”
And Patrice Leconte is one of the best directors: “Monsieur Hire”, “Widow of Saint-Pierre”, “Intimate Strangers”, “Ridicule”, and “Man on the Train”
Some Favorite French films: “The Dreamlife of Angels” (bleak), “La Separation” (sad), “Le Fils” (intense), and “The Eighth Day”
More French movies: “Celestial Clockwork” (you have to see this), “Happenstance”, “My Father’s Glory”, and “Amelie”
Favorite German Films: “Nasty Girl”, “Stroszek”, “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser” (also called “Every Man for Himself and God Against All”)
Favorite Movies from Spain: “Spirit of the Beehive” (creepy), “Amantes del Circulo Polar”, “Mar Adentro”, “Lucia y El Sexo”, “El Bola”
Favorite British Films (or European movies in English): “Riff Raff”, “Wish You Were Here”, “Truly, Madly, Deeply”, “Secrets and Lies”, “A Midwinter’s Tale”
“Breaking the Waves”, “The Full Monty”, “Aberdeen”, “Raining Stones”, “Wallace and Gromit”
Favorite Australian Films (and New Zealand): “Angel Baby”, “The Last Bullet”, “Once Were Warriors”, “Year My Voice Broke”, “Strictly Ballroom”
Favorite Movies from Hither and Yon: “Amores Perros” (Mexico), “Songs from the Second Floor” (Sweden), “Turtles Can Fly” (Iraq), “Children of Nature” (Iceland), “Friend of the Deceased” (Russia)
“32 Short Films About Glenn Gould” (Canada), “Il Postino” (Italy), “Strangers in Good Company” (Canada), “Central Station” (Brazil), “Everybody’s Fine” (Italy)
“Since Otar Left” (Russia), “White Balloon” (Iran), “Shall We Dance” (Japan), “Daens” (Belgium), “Sofie” (Denmark)
Oh, and I do like some American Films, too: “Baraka”, “Koyannisqatsi”, “Georgia”, “Seize the Day”, “Fearless”
“Glory”, “Do the Right Thing”, “The Mission”, “The Conversation”, “All the President’s Men”
“Raising Arizona”, “Puddle Cruiser”, “Swingers”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Green Card”
Me Defined by Random Sounds that I Enjoy: The plaintive calls of mourning doves. Booming thunderstorms. Distant fog horns. Wind in trees. People playing catch with a baseball. Rain (on rooftops, on leaves, on windshields, on umbrellas). Trains clacketing along the tracks. Ocean waves crashing on a rocky beach. An old-fashioned 10-speed bicycle coasting. Cats purring. Fireworks exploding overhead. Snow Falling.
Me Defined by My Favorite Birds: Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches, Black Phoebes, Northern Cardinals, Darked-Eyed Juncos (“Oregon” Variety), Mourning Doves
California Gulls, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Goldfinches, Rock Doves (that’s right, the common pigeon. So they poop on statues? I’ve never heard a statue complain), Northern Flickers, and Scarlet Tanangers.
Me Defined by My Favorite Books: Waterland by Graham Swift, Collected Poems by Theodore Roethke, Une Paese: Portrait of an Italian Village by Paul Strand & Cesare Zavattini, Baboon by Kate Banks (children’s book), Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Norton’s Anthology of Poetry, The Diary of Anne Frank, 44 by Peter Sheridan, Confessions of a Knife by Richard Selzer, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift (so it’s a phamplet, not a book), The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
Me Defined by Appearance: Dark eyes as deep and profound as the pools into which the ancient Mayans cast their sacrificial virgins. Small-boned. Curly dark hair (dangerously frizzy in certain climates). Goateed. On rare occasion, in my small effort to stop the cosmic pendulum that swings back and forth between boredom and pain, I sport a splendid little goatee/handlebar-mustache combo that receives rave reviews (or presumably would if people weren’t dazzled into speechlessness).