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& Little Tony Two-Crockpots, Exeunt.

February 26, 2014

So I left the computer in the gallery while everyone exited to allow him to give the final question to his girlfriend. We waited in the office and then outside. It was like fathers in the maternity ward waiting room, though no one thought to bring cigars. Now we are preparing for the head-shaving. People are just milling around chatting. A camera is being set up. Photographers and videographers are so annoying, but documentation is necessary, especially for the book. Or maybe not. I was handed a flask, which might help my frayed nerves. Quiet has descended. A more solemn tone is being sought. Restivo approaches the chair. People have sat down. He is fiddling with his gear. The last envelope is being tacked up. The bourbon is feeling good in my belly. Fourteen observers are present.  I shall close the computer for the act itself. No, there is another envelope. I do not have the current count at the moment. Well over 200. So another envelope is being put up. The room is almost silent. It is a Cagean moment. I feel self-conscious about the sound of my typing. The envelopes are maybe five deep for just over half the far wall. I suppose I could count them because this business is taking its time, but I’d rather just ask Anthony for the number later, and not risk an embarrassing math failure. A friend told me that she actually read all the ‘tables’ in my previous report and that some of them are ‘ables.’ I did not realize that as I only read a few lines of ‘tables.’ Oh — it’s happening. Anthony has taken his seat. It’s at times like this that

The head shaving is done. The artist’s first words were “Thank you.” I think we were supposed to applaud at that point but we remained silent. He tried another thank you, nothing, then something about the dance party which got a laugh, and finally there was the applause. Then he gave individualized thanks. Now it is like a closing reception but there is no food, where is the food? I am a little hungry. 

Anthony Restivo has left the building. Asked if he had anything to say to his online public, he could only respond with silence.

–from “Restivo Watch Day 22: The End” (2/26/11)

I live-blogged the final hours of Far Off & All Aflame: Pushing Against the Real, which didn’t end up being such a worthwhile thing to do but it did seem necessary. At the end of this dispatch I promised follow-ups, sum-ups, analyses, and extras, but failed to produce. And now, three years later, I am also failing to produce. It is hard to go three weeks living in the shadow of better times. Since Anthony Restivo stepped out of the Bridge, this corner of Belmont has fallen into decline (continued its decline). It is now a blighted, gentrified wasteland, where a guy can’t get a good loaf of bread or see some decent performance art to save his life– and sometimes, you know, that is exactly what you need those things for. [This should not discourage any good person who might want to move in into the open spot in my house, which retains its character, as well as being a bargain.] The Bridge itself has become more and more like a crackhouse, a crackhouse of art, but its product doesn’t get you high and nobody particularly wants it and they don’t have much of it, and the people who frequent it are generally well-groomed and more than adequately moneyed. Spudnuts is still itself, but you never know how much longer the anomalous eddy in space-time that allows it to be can hold out against the larger currents that surround it. And most of the people who helped make that whole experience special are now dead. Or at least they are not within five miles of here, so they may as well be dead. Anthony Restivo has become a globe-trotting bon vivant — I can’t imagine he gives much thought to his early days in Charlottesville, the hungry days, when he was no more than a monkey in an aesthetical glass cage, unless they come to him again in his nightmares. But then he awakes, between silk sheets, next to a steaming bowl of pasta topped with shavings of white truffle, in Tuscany. And who then would bother to think of how it all began? Who but the disgruntled chronicler, left with his unpublished notes, his memories, and not even an ax to grind?

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