Nico Vassilakis, poet, gives me a private low voice reading of the entirety of his new book, Alphabet Noir; we sit and I draw at a table in the Performing Arts Library, Lincoln Center, New York
Tuesday, 4 – 6 o’clock, October 31, 2016
Performances come in all sizes, volumes, shapes and places. Nico chose Lincoln Center and the site of the Performing Arts Library. The site – a beautiful plaza with a pool – is next to the Juliard School of Music. It takes me awhile to realize – consciously or not – Nico has chosen to perform his whole new book, Alphabet Noir, at one of New York’s crowning points for the study and making of stellar performance. For poets and artists like ourselves, who live and work at the margins, and will never appear in performance at Lincoln Center, we have found it also true that we can still intervene in these environments to create a sibling-like performance of our own.
We are not obnoxious, however. Nico reads from his book in a low voice; the various tones, rhythms and twists and turns, as well as his reflective diversions, continue to infect the pattern, shapes and colors of my marks on the drawing paper that I have taped down on my plastic computer easel.
When it gets cold, we go inside to take a table in the café section of the Library where I draw and Nico continues to the end of the book. It takes us ninety or so minutes to finish. At the end, I am grateful that Nico likes the drawing and reads the marks as a kind of compressed mirror of his performance. I read the piece as unique portrait of the work’s energy, presence and fullness of the work: A standup work of a living anatomy.
Oh, yes, of course we could have used a Lincoln stage and a larger audience!