Omni on the World Trade Center
Total Destruction and then Transcendence September 2001
The Transcendence Continues November 2001
The Transcendence Explodes I March 2002
The Transcendence Explodes II March 2002
The Transcendence Explodes III March 2002
Appendix To The Transcendence: "Bin Laden On The Keyboards, Bin Laden" July 2002
Post-Transcendence: Surfin' USA  November 2002
Five Years After The Transcendence January 2007


The Transcendence Continues
by Adam Sobolak
November 2001
I had proposed calling the Twin Towers "European Son" and "Sister Ray"...but maybe it was too much the brutal immediacy of the moment, But now that memories of the Twins get misty and the gargantuan gravity of it all has settled in like the ultimate virginity-loss afterglow, may I instead suggest, in an even more vivid date-of-construction metaphor, that they be called "Alive" and "Kicking"...
You know I got to show you
Nobody else before you
Ever gave me such a beautiful feelin'
Oh woman you touched a-my soul now
Honey don't a-let go now
Hold on baby just a little bit tighter

Hold on a-just a little bit tighter now baby
I love you so much and I can't let go no, no, no
Hold on a-just a little bit tighter now baby

Love is so surprising
Opened up my eyes and
You reached out and took my hand
Baby you touched a-my soul now
Woman don't let go now
Hold on baby just a little bit tighter

Hold on a-just a little bit tighter now baby
I love you so much and I can't let go no, no, no
Hold on a-just a little bit tighter now baby

Oh woman you touched a-my soul now
Honey don't a-let go now
Hold on baby just a little bit tighter

Coincidentally, over the two lovely, balmy summer months before the planes hit the Twins, I had given in to a RealAudio aircheck binge diet of New York's Top 40 powerhouse, WABC, steeping myself in a soothingly rapturous cocoon of Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy and Cousin Brucie time capsules from exactly the Nelson RockeLindsay period those Yamasakipaloozas were inching up and up and up. The net effect of those WABC airchecks --especially when full length, music, commercials, and all-- epitomized Top 40 at its airtight peak, when everything that fell into the mix formed a joyous omni-urbanism of the air. And the tragic passage of time only enhanced the rapture --as immediate as yesterday, yet like young love, forever impossible to recapture.
                  Or maybe it was like very young love, a literally pre-sexual albeit subliminally erotic love; the rapture of a transistor between the sheets foreboding physicality and hopes thereof in the years to come. No accident that this was the approximate time I was having my youthful Top 40 revelations --not via WABC, unfortunately, but had I known about it, it would have been the Holy Grail.
                  By extension, the USA itself was a Holy Grail, a glittery place that beckoned through Buffalo's ABC/CBS/NBC-TV, and was first truly physically breached on a Greyhound trip to Florida with grandparents in the spring of '72. It was the shimmer of stars for the eyes, even if the stars were tall pylons advertising the brands that were soon to be part of Exxon; and it was the place where I had my first Doritos. America, deepest America, would always beckon, woo me like a profane lover--and preferrably on our own terms, reasonably independent of the constrictive quirks of elders.
                  And adding to the wideness of young eyes, I was also transfixed by high buildings, maybe because Toronto was having its own skyscraper-and-otherwise races for the stars at this time. Too far removed from New York to follow the World Trade Center's progress on a daily basis, it still caught my Guinness-reader's fascination, even if Sears in Chicago very soon nipped its stature in stature. But there remained a "Guinness distance" --otherwise, the WTC didn't seem to figure in the weaving of myth at the time, almost as if New York was cringing in embarrassment. As a result, it was as much a strangely distant enigma as today's Asian superskyscrapers are to Westerners.
                  It was but a little boy's skyscraper fantasy, the World Trade Center --and as childish; a queasily glossy birthday-present Sim City whatchamacallit come to life. Little boys grow to realize the vanity of childish ways --and that includes little boys transfixed by big buildings. (Unless The Fountainhead comes along to lock them into a little boy groove forever.)
                  The dazzling little boy dreams of c1970 dissipate through adolescence, with all that entails. Especially after Watergate, America's glasses lost their rosy colour. A long-distance Greyhound journey that still maintained harmless Kerouac Jr. magic (with Doritos as the drug of choice) in '72 would become an unthinkably third-rate, seamy, dicey, or else Interstate-culture-sterilized affair before long. The WABC Top 40 zeitgeist, hit by audience fragmentation and FM sound, was in a tailspin by the end of the decade. Of course, the tailspin could have been prefigured in those ancient airchecks, with their now-unfamiliar "single edits" of classics by Led Zeppelin, the Who, et al. And it could have been prefigured in the editorial attacks on the World Trade Center as, well, the biggest urban disaster ever to hit Lower Manhattan --its construction, that is, not its destruction.
                  As it turned out, the original WTC complex was finished at the doorstep of its own nadir --but a very apropos moment of nadir, as it also turned out. It came to be more than an archi-urban disaster; it became That 70s Complex, an immortal icon of the most mythically gauche decade in history. And this was, ironically, in spite of its being out of archi-urban step with its own time --for instance, Chicago's Sears and John Hancock (and their New York brethern such as 1 Liberty Plaza) more accurately characterized the 70s-megascraper state of the art. Brutal, uncompromising, anathema to incipient Postmodernists these examples were --but tacky they weren't; and the popular consensus is: the 70s were tacky. Majorly tacky. "What were they thinking?" tacky. By offering itself to sky-high tightrope walks or emptily overblown remakes of King Kong, the Twin Towers, attacked by all highbrow fronts, instead openly proclaimed themselves participants in populist High Tack --what else were they to do? Rejected by New York, they could only justify themselves through High Tack. They weren't even totally-out-of-time Buck Rogers surreal like the Albany Mall --they were just dumb. Of course, the WTC could have gone even further and more convincingly along the That 70s Road (at least, visually speaking) had John Portman been the architect rather than Minoru Yamasaki, unless --judging from Portman's Renaissance Center in Detroit, the most comparable North American urbanistic contemporary WTC has--that'd be too much for us to bear. (Though admittedly, Detroit's tragic urban and demographic reality has always given Ren Cen a macabre cast that defies easy embrace.) Instead, it felt satisfied as two towers, big and dumb--as dumb as the most mawkish 70s singer-songwriter verse. An architectural Happy Face. The Chrysler Building is romance; the WTC: Retro Hell. A ridiculous complex for a ridiculous decade, it arguably launched the Age Of Irony as decisively as its destruction marked its end.
                  And yet, and yet. Consider the bundle of paradoxes about the mythic 70s, a decade that's come to be revered at the same time that it's reviled for its ridiculousness. And the healthy everyday ironizing that's led to that cannot be dismissed lightly --in fact, its acceptance can serve an Omni-manifesto quite well. Thus my "Moog Gothic" label can act as a term of derision and a term of endearment --and in a manner that's more expansively suited to today's unpredictable breadth of sensibility than the blunter biases inherent within most architectural criticism. (Keep in mind the once borderline-derisive term for Art Deco, "Jazz Gothic".) For criticism is seldom "just"; in fact, so-called negative judgment, and the effort that goes behind it, can flatter as well. And damning with faint praise has its equally effective obverse --praising with faint damnation. (Stealth affection for the apparent target of ridicule; much great satire is founded upon that principle.)
                  Above all, "Moog Gothic" enshrines the Twin Towers' 70sness, by identifying itself with the synthesizer sound that's come to personify the decade --a sound that once seemed guilelessly, optimistically futuristic, but now all too often embodies dated cheesiness. Yet even Moogness isn't "just". At best there's an endearingly earnest, even poignant quality to that cheesiness, especially as it sinks into its time capsule; and reinvigorated Moogness continues to have an impact on contemporary pop electronics and the club circuit. Just as a lot of "arts people" whom obtuse urbanaholics could argue "should have known better" developed, almost in spite of themselves, a sympathetic yen for the two huge tuning-fork prongs of the now-familiarized WTC. It's there; do something with it. And it may not be so gawd-awful, after all.
                  And now it's no longer there. And now the Moogaholic 70s seem really really poignant, indeed.
                  If the 70s were absurd, no wonder there's a surreal absurdity to the WTC disappearance. It isn't just that Elton John should sing "Candle In The Wind" to New York's Twins; it's almost as if Sir Elton himself was assassinated. Someone did not save his life tonight...
                  ...and the collapse footage had all the dingbat melodrama that once made Peter Frampton's live "Do You Feel Like We Do" once sound so grand and monumentally profound, the (oddly un-Moog) pinnacle of everything 70s. So grand that it shocked me when it (the single edit, natch) conked out at #12 on the CHUM Chart in the fall of '76...
                  I'm writing this in the wake of the quarter-century anniversary of my first adolescent-style birthday party (booze, drugs, etc present) in that very fall DYFLWD conked out at #12. And for whatever reason (at least, the fact that I remained alone and forlorn once it was all over), that was the likely moment when I discovered that the matter-of-course 70s-style virginity-loss-or-gettin'-it-on thang with whatever lucky Becky Sue or Laura Prepon type existed out there might be a little harder to come by than I had hoped. Painted against such a rather common tableau, emptily eventful Framptonian lusciousness --a puppy-lovish sound for an era in which puppy love had exploded-- can be better understood, even appreciated.
                  It really gets on the nerves of 70s-decrying conservative commentators that this period was when adolescent sexuality went from the covert to the overt, even the dizzyingly grandiloquent --something which could justify even the most Framptonian froth as if it answered to a vertiginously higher purpose. A centuries-old legacy of aesthetic, religious, kitsch transcendentalism and sublimation had been winnowed down to a smooshy bubblegum core that even prog-rock puffery could only swoon before. Its door blown open by a popcultural galeforce (and not yet debased by 80s teensploitation smirk), young nubile eros bowled over even the most obnoxiously stubborn smegmatics of Jesus or Allah or Goethe or, gawdhelpus, Ayn Rand.
                  But wonderful as it was, it was still, in the end, kid stuff, a joyously immature play at hazy-lensed maturity--the apogee of cold-war teencult holydom. No wonder there's no pathos more touching than 70s pathos.
                  And that's why two months later, my preferred metaphor for the destruction of that pathetically ur-70s icon, the World Trade Center, and its inhabitants, remains that of virginity loss. Not even bereavement; virginity loss. It's simply too beautiful in its horrible destructive energy. Maybe Karlheinz Stockhausen was correct in his controversially refuted remark about 9-11 being the greatest work of art ever. If this is Lucifer's rapture, then maybe we really ought to gladly sell our soul to Satan (though in omnisociety, of course, God and Satan nicely coexist).
                  Of course, being so childishly of the 70s, the Twin Towers were archetypally suited for transcendental adolescent virginity-loss ritual. Frank Gehry designed a graceful "Fred & Ginger" for Prague; so by natural extension, at the risk of insulting Shakespeare, there's a touch of callow, awkward, pubescently overgrown, heel-trippingly clunky, earnestly narcissistic Romeo & Juliet to the Twins. And their mutual immolation has left mere human and architectural mortals as bewildered as the Capulets and Montagues.
                  I was born 22 years after the collapse of "Galloping Gertie", the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the subject of the most erotic disaster footage prior to 9-11--or maybe it still is. All the footage of the WTC disaster is well, well, well beyond the normal parameters of erotica, even if it transfixes us in much the same way. 70s adolescent erotica may be Framptonian, but this is more akin to one of my last radio shows in 1989, taking Side 4 of Frampton Comes Alive (the "Lines On My Face" + "Do You Feel Like We Do" side) and applying it to Side 1 of SXL's "Into The Outlands", a searing, stately, edge-of-the-apocalypse piece of live-recording Bill Laswell/Ronald Shannon Jackson/etc post-Miles post-harmolodic jazz-funk. The result: an eerily magic, symphonically higher-order wrenching of the residue of an adolescent past into the absolute 1989-style present, which (in spite of electronic and stylistic advances) still has currency in the 2001-style present. Through that juxtaposition, the thwarted tragic dreams of adolescent erotic rapture landed smack on the dizzyingly perverted and twisted doorstep of Monika's Karma. And there was no simple turning back.
                  The result, and who could have imagined it 25 years ago: Ground Zero is my lover, albeit a lover of ridiculous parentage where the clean-up squad's been doing a thorough Brazilian wax job for two months going on three months straight. And all thanks to a buncha terrorists who decided to send themselves into Electric Ladyland.
                  Except that they aimed for mere powerful symbols of Western decadence--and being as distendedly 70s as they were, the Twins were the very apotheosis of Western decadence, so the terrorists chose well. It would all have passed onto a different high-concept high-style level had they (with impressive sleight-of-hand, at that) aimed at, say, Mies's Seagram Building. In fact, if the terrorists were gunning for the T-D Centre, I'd gladly hot-foot it into the scenario and sacrifice myself to the fireballs and falling I-beams and claim all those Electric Ladyland babes for myself...

Those long-ago personal dreams of North American-style adolescent erotic la-la land were strangely thwarted--but on behalf of something more cosmic: a mega-awakening in Poland in the summer of '84. Alas, it was fated to be a type specimen of true "young love", albeit one of such extraordinarily high intensity, it was perhaps just as well --and it cemented a long-latent personal association of pre-perestroika Poland with some abstract idea of the highest erotic rapture, maybe because the place was so steeped in the blood yet such an aggravating yet fascinating opposite of America. I guess we may now say that the enervated atmosphere of tension and tragedy and toxic gloom and rich brutal history in Communist Poland prefigured post-September 11 NYC; even the sexily pervasive diesel aroma was a sort of anticipation of Ground Zero's atmospheric spew. But that isn't all...
                  As a matter of fact, WTC's closest kindred-spirit parallel, in its net urban effect and vehement reception, might just be something stylistically and politically quite the polar opposite: Joe Stalin's ecstatically despised gift to Warsaw, the mammoth Palace of Culture and Science --another case where irony was really the only way to psychologically handle a misguidedly overweening, megasited, discredited-upon-completion gargantua that sticks surreally into the skyline and dominates it for miles and miles and miles around. But then, the Modernist superblock-point-block'n'podium replanning of Warsaw's sprawling scorched earth (with the archetypally 60s-cosmopolitan Euro-Scandi-Modern Marszalkowska East Side development acting as a Battery Park Cityesque foil to PCS's hyperthyroid Socialist Realism) brought PCS a little more "in scale" with its surroundings by default, and a breathtaking default it was --think of Ville Radieuse with a wedding cake in the middle. I don't know how much the tableau's been modified (de-Radieused?) since Perestroika, but it really needed a mangy Communist system to enhance the total dreamscape effect; if you can appreciate cold war Polish art cinema, you can understand the rapture.
                  Maybe Poland under Communism, a difficult place, yet the land of my truest awakening --and more than a mere awakening, it was the centrum for a multidimensional trope of place-- prepared me for handling Ground Zero. With bravura, and without flinching. Like there's a mysterious cosmic force I understand...
                  I'm still taken aback by how many people continue to shrink and shudder at Ground Zero --they'd rather not talk about it, as if they wimp out at the challenge. They wilt at the reality of our times, oh dear, what a pity, can't deal with the horror. Or if they deal with it, it's in an insipidly "constructive" manner. Or else it risks becoming a distracting discussion about politics --and you know what they say about discussions about politics. There's a sad head-in-the-sand reluctance to use it as a filter for our world and local vision, even when it might be enlightening to do so. All too many people comprehend the of the rupture, without "getting" the rapture. Or maybe it's just decorum --but somebody has to break the pattern. Especially under these abject circumstances, decorum, as an excessive end in itself, is a wet blanket upon soul. Instead, there's been too much of a trite quest for harmony in the face of an overwhelming dissonance. We've gone soft.
                  It even appears to have silenced, or rendered impotently mundane, a lot of what was regarded as fashionably extreme or out-there in pre-9-11 NYC. Take one recent New York "character" who, loosey-goosiley more than most, prefigured a bit of a Omnitectural Forum spirit, avant-gardish tour guide Timothy "Speed" Levitch --despite his prominent role in Richard Linklater's "Waking Life", I've yet to get his spin on Ground Zero; maybe it is somewhere out there and I haven't looked hard enough, but I wouldn't be surprised if it defeats him as well...
                  Even the nutcases, not least the latent teen-angst Harris & Klebolds who prefigured the disaster, seem (so far) to have clammed up --or else they look silly and picayune. Even the most notorious and insufferable all-American dystopia melts before the staggering scale of 9-11. The excesses of the recent past have been mortally compromised --we're not even hearing of suicide epidemics, let alone the "counter-snuff" mania I'd earlier mooted. We're not falling sublimely apart as we should. Is it only Stockhausen who understands the scale of epiphany behind the Ultimate Splatter?
                  Art is dead. Long live... nothing.
                  But then there's architecture. And the beholding thereof.
                  For make no mistake; this was a deeply, intensely, dizzyingly architectural event. In fact, it is the architectural event of our time. It decimates, by far, even recent cause celebres such as the Bilbao Guggenheim. I'm willing to go further and call it the aesthetic event of our time --but at its explosive core, it is best, most healthily understood under the great apron-like rubric of architecture.
                  And a neutral term such as "event" is how best to describe it --polar metaphors such as "tragedy" or "masterpiece" mundanely fail to do justice to the mind-bogglingly destructive-and-beyond scale. No truly expressive metaphor works --unless, of course, one wants to retrieve "Potrzebie" from the early issues of MAD.
                  Nor it wasn't just anywhere --it was in the crucible for at least a century of great, influential and inspirational architectural criticism and urban observation, New York City.
                  Shall the aftermath become a reflexive advertisement and enhancement for such a great legacy?
                  The Allseeing Eye now faces its ultimate test --an unsurpassed challenge. We must not wilt. We must rise to the occasion, hit the ground running and tackle our experience of the Ultimate Splatter by the horns. We know that it destroyed loved ones and so much else; maybe the loved ones were our own, or if they aren't, we feel as if they could be. And that is part of its aestheticism --a primal, visceral aestheticism, beyond the sub-Wildean shallowness the term's denoted in recent decades.
                  So far, I've seen minimal evidence of a rising to the occasion --the scale of the trauma is too immediate, too unfamiliar. There's no real test model, nothing to lead the way.
                  Unfortunately, most of those latently qualified to do so --architects, planners, those who answer to them, et al-- are understandably compromised by being stakeholders within the process. They've been concerned, above all, with the future rebuilding effort, what form the city shall take, what form architecture and urbanity shall take. And rightly so --but the tenor is flat. The gravity eludes them. Their arguments are overinfused with same-old-same-old.
                  Against that, take how Herbert Muschamp in the New York Times has, in his own grasp beyond same-old-same-old, gone on a bender with his mantra on New York's uninspiring last quarter century of architecture, and how New York needs greatness, desperately, especially at this critical moment. Yes, I know. Toronto's been on that mediocrity-complex trip over and over again. But what is there isn't so un-great as to be worthless. Taken to an extreme, it's like revisiting the old over-selective Modernist arguments about how name-your-American-burg had no architecture worth your time in, say, the first half of the c20. We need the inspiring ...for the fringe benefit offered in highlighting the rest. Think of Guggenheim's effect on Bilbao.
                  This isn't the time for battles of styles and forms of architecture and urbanity --it all collapses under the weight of what we're faced with. And the many-patterned, defective-yet-not-defective richness of what remains. It's a time for reflection --active, not merely contemplative, reflection. And not merely on the dead-- although the fact of the dead enriches the rest.
                  But I don't know. It's as if the we-never-knew-it rhetorical superfluity of all recent stylish theories and babble on architecture and style--including Koolhaasian delirium as well as New Urbanist retrogression--have suddenly been whacked by a Looney Tunes boxing-glove-on-a-spring accompanied by an AAAAAHHH, SHADDAP!!!
                  That's where the beholder, our inner Baudelaire, must step in with our worm's eye. Now we, the beholders, aren't so self-consciously preoccupied with "building the future" as the architects and planners are. Nor are we so preoccupied with the war aspect, with injustices, with Islam vs the West; let others hash it out.
                  I don't want to jump the gun about (re)building--I'll settle for (maybe not so) restrained beholding, for now.
                  Not that I lack ideas, however open-ended or generalized.
                  First things first, re whatever may come up on or around Ground Zero, the ballpark name from my first WTC piece which I'll re-offer is: Libeskind. As in Daniel Libeskind, architect of Berlin's Jewish Museum. Nothing to do with height, scale, form, function, or even necessarily who's going to be involved. Just a name I'm offering for the sake of future visions, no further explanation necessary. And why did I think of it almost immediately, within hours of the disaster? I guess it helped that the Jewish Museum had, eerily enough, officially opened on September 9, 2001...
                  And then, there are the environs, whose threat is not just from WTC damage but from the consequent potential for Detroit-style disinvestment --but hey, if the WWII-battered urban fabric in Europe could be salvaged, why can't New York's? Just grit the teeth and do it, and make the most of it; it's more heroic to confront the proximity of Ground Zero and its victims than to shy away. Why get scared?  Wimps.
                  Look at 1 Liberty Plaza --completely vindicating my blood'n'guts Led Zep assessment not only by pulverizing early rumours of partial collapse but by, almost alone within the Red Zone, refusing to say "uncle" (or "Kashmir"); within a month and a half, it was cleaned up and reopened. No wimp, it --leading by example?
                  But also look at Cass Gilbert's 90 West Street, the scale of the damage which I underestimated --evidently it was not just "cosmetic", but talk is that it was gutted and burnt-out like nothing since the Hotel Margaret in Brooklyn Heights a generation ago. Perhaps --although it seems to have proven stable enough for tenants' recovery purposes. And while it may be superficially structurally stable, with insurance costs et al factored in 90 West may still be the most "threatened" of the remaining Red Zone survivors. Or is it all simple post-traumatic idle talk? I was also pleasantly (or unpleasantly, given the losses they suffered) surprised to find that Gruzen Samton, the proud workhorse of New York's professional architectural community, had recently (and clearly conscious of the building's prestige) moved its head office into 90 West --thus, the disaster really struck at the very heart and soul and spirit of New York architectural spirit. And firm head Jordan Gruzen's not giving up on 90 West just yet --none of us with a love for New York's built fabric should. Look, the Triangle Shirtwaist factory still stands-- why shouldn't 90 West? In fact, as a signifier of New York's post-disaster renewal, it is absolutely imperative that 90 West must be restored to its old and recent splendour --more imperative, perhaps, than any pipe dreams for the actual WTC site. Maybe it could house some Texas School Book Depository-style interpretive displays --or maybe it could just function as it always has, as a luxurious workhorse of a general office building. But I feel that here, too, people are scared to make decisions --so scared (or distracted by Ground Zero proper) that it's been devilishly difficult to casually find any photo that truly conveys, at close range and anywhere more than offhandedly, the scale of damage to 90 West. I mean, what's the story here? What's the status? Which reports are we to trust? What's the future? Why should there not be a future? Or does it "hurt too much"? Let's see it this way: restoration here would not only be affirmative in its own right, but would vindicate the retention of other properties, and not just in New York (and I know of at least one that's threatened around my parts), that've been deemed "unsound". This is a belwether of all belwethers --don't blindly sacrifice it.
                  But a further nut remains to be cracked--or maybe, it was cracked on September 11, only nobody's noticed.
                  It's a nut related to my philosophical position that beholding is as much (and as complimentary) an "architectural" art, as the art of architecture is in and of itself. Where we use the detritus of what's around us to form, to shape, to perceptually compose and recompose our surroundings...wherein the confused art and ideologies of architectural creation flips to the other side, and we, the beholders, become the creators. Devilishly simple, even subversive --puncturing the myth of the "giver" by empowering the "receiver".
                  Except that the beholders, the "receivers", to date have been hamstrung by being either too "architectural" (i.e. professionals doing the beholding for us), or too "anti-architectural" (or at least, anti-contemporary-architectural). Vested interests, all. Where there should be middle ground --and perhaps a less constrained middle ground--there is, instead, a middle void.
                  And now that our perceptual tableau's changed--the middle void looks like a black hole. Past "extreme" urban/aesthetic theories now unnecessarily appear as posturing frauds--because the perpetrators wilt before or dart around this fatally affirmative tableau before them. It's the same conundrum that turned fans of Bruckheimerian blowemuprealgood cinematic horror into jelly once faced with this one heck of a real-life version.
                  On the other hand, the mere raw necessity for more radical means of dealing with the unprecedentedly abject could also potentially be a new, explosively constructive beginning...and this is where we come in.
                  Could it be --the WTC disaster as a "Blackboard Jungle" for architectural criticism and urban observation?
                  And what follows, but a sloppy, clankety, raucously in-your-face racket, a brash cacaphony seemingly born of depraved hillbilly and jungle parentage, capturing the throbbing, uncouth spirit of youthful rebellion while offending or bemusing lily-livered elders and the elite ...a whole new sound, for a whole new world.
                  Rock'n'roll and virginity loss go so well together...
                  Except that being "Omni", we ain't tellin' no Beethoven to roll over. Rather, like what rock'n'roll became in the 1960s, we're subsuming Beethoven, as well as Stockhausen, and who knows who and what else --even the ethereal pop of Alive & Kicking.
                  And now "Alive" and "Kicking" are no more --and Citicorp has assumed their place as New York's premier 70s skyscraper icon. Maybe in the most insensitively obtuse architectural-judgement terms, we aren't the worse off after all...
                  ...I finish this piece shortly after the attending the November 22 opening of the Eric Ross Arthur Gallery at the University of Toronto School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
                  It was precisely 38 years after JFK was shot--and also precisely 15 years after the last legitimate civilian one-night stand I endured in my chronically unrequited post-Poland quest for young love's closure. And that 15-years-ago moment was in itself infused with implicit tragedy and doom --while wishing for further closure forevermore, I truly knew something ended at that moment. Further underscoring the tangle was the ERA Gallery presence of old university classmates whom I hadn't run into for several years --the last residue of any vain wishes and hopes for a milieu of young love's consummation. (Single-studentdom does that.)
                  And my undisclosed secret of symbolic importance was that the first time I saw the ERA Gallery's big glass display window under construction was moments after the plane went into the second tower.
                  An uncanny full circle --a date and place infused with past lovers and hopes thereof, and it's all rent by the knife blade of my current lover, the Ultimate Splatter. I always foresaw an ultimate-loveish rapture that'd be stunningly cataclysmic --anything less would simply be unworthy -- but little did I know how cataclysmic it would be.
                  Maybe it's fortunate that I did not disclose anything that evening; I would've frightened the bejeebers out of my erstwhile peers ...or maybe that's the point...

...finished November 24 2001
The Transcendence Expolodes I March 2002

 

Omni on the World Trade Center

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