We're all back from our jaunt now, transitioning from the fantasyland that is Halloween in New York to the equally bizarre and expectant pre-Christmas world at Castle in the Air. More on that soon, but today I want to describe my dream world experience on Halloween day.
Somehow my vacation let my body get a nasty cold, but I was determined to attend the amazing day of multimedia presentations that was Lawrence Weschler's "Halloween Wonder Cabinet" at NYU's Cantor Film Center. Weschler brought together a dozen speakers and performers to talk about the marvels of art, science, nature, and where they all combine. Listening to Laurie Anderson talk about hanging out with NASA was all the more spacy as I sat in the dark, my cold fogging my senses. I didn't know how out of it I was until the next day, when I realized that the familiar looking gentleman in the tiny audience whose identity I'd been puzzling over was Lou Reed. Or maybe not.
Weschler arranged the day's talks to progress from the macrocosmic to the minute, so after (among other presentations) hearing Walter Murch's concert of the music of planetary orbits and witnessing Peter Hutton's meditative movie of light falling on the fjords of Iceland, I traveled to the microscopic world of May Berenbaum, who gave an appropriately spooky talk about insect antics creepier than anything you'll see in a horror film, including bugs that wear corpses as disguises or mimic dung to avoid being eaten.
By the end of the final presentation, the neighborhood's trick-or-treating kids had already gone home to bask in glory of their candy cornucopias. I emerged into New York's Halloween night beset by demons in dime-store masks, carrying my own basket of imaginations and dreams back into the fantasyland we call the real world.