The Art Star Synesthesia Issue: 7 New York City Secrets


Sound created the Universe, stars and lovers. hello I see, smell, taste you too.

East Coast USA: we are in black earth month here. It’s getting cold and we find ourselves seeking warmth, shelter, comfort in the familiar and also the transcendant. The mechanics of our thoughts, running around accomplishing things on our hamster wheels crave a dive into Sensuality and Creativity. I declare a Synesthesia Stew of the Seven Senses as the ticket out of disconnect and cold of Life’s Assembly Line. A dissolve and immersion into the sensory delights that exist as secret doorways in any moment can be symphonic and fulfilling like Olde Tyme Religion! (or at least a moment of feeling like an Art-Star, whatever that personally means for YOU.)

Astrologically, aka in the logic of the stars, for November we were in Scorpio moon related to secrets, extremism, the mysteries of birth and death.  Now, with all those areas balanced and in check, we move into a moon ruled by archer Sagitarius moon, more free to indulge our curiosity about Life’s Secrets through a love of travel, knowledge with a fresh philosophy based on more than our intellect alone, learning to trust our instincts and seven senses. More fun, in other words.

Everyday in NYC offers this in abundance, here a sniff through my month in some of my favorite private clubs, rooftops, homes and photography galleries in search of The Best NYC Secrets To Unlock The Senses. Like the Tao, at every moment there are 10,000 things to choose to focus on, here are a few in this month’s issue, to get you started. First a dive into Star-stuff, the fountain of Sense and Creativity.

Simen Johan’s “Until the Kingdom Comes”

“The Earth on which we stand is made almost entirely of material created inside a star. Now we have a direct measurement of how supernovae enrich space with the elements that condense into the dust that is needed for stars, planets and life.”

Margaret Meixner of the Space Telescope Science Institute

Simen Johan

We are star stuff harvesting star light.

Carl Sagan

Scientists, Artists and US Weekly agree, stars are creation machines. The beginning, it is said was a word. I declare a less pedantic, authoritative hypothesis, maybe it was more like a song or a scent that served as Ye Gods’ Little Factory Whistle. Living always in our logical minds or mindless emotion, situating consciousness in the body and its senses is a great healer and comforter. Turning on music regulates heartbeat, lighting a scented candle is aromatherapy and all can be an instant elemental correction as our energy syncs up with the purity. We have the capacity to expand further into a transference and mash-up of the senses so we see music, feel color or taste touch to experience the creativity of Synesthasia, a wider spectrum of “Feel” inspiring artists throughout time with boundary-less borders of sensing.

here, to get your synapses firing, a clip of humans proclaiming monkeys and other animalia don’t dream, courtesy a bizarre, little radio snippet I see future DJ’s to sampling to great effect.

(ignore the bizarre Krishna art here, it’s an odd Oz behind the curtain for this clip, click Play, I promise its worth it!)

“Synesthetes often report that they were unaware their experiences were unusual until they realized other people did not have them, while others report feeling as if they had been keeping a secret their entire lives, as has been documented in interviews with synesthetes on how they discovered synesthesia in their childhood.”


“She has that displacement of the senses which others take drugs to find. So she is like a lover of rock who sees vibrations when he hears sounds.”

Norman Mailer, “Marilyn: A Biography”

Sing the rapturous Love-Song unto me!

Burn to me perfumes!

Wear to me Jewels! Drink to me, for I love you!

I love you!

I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunrise;

I am the Naked Brilliance

of the voluptuous night-sky.

attributed to Nuit, an Egyptian sky goddess

Come! Now we dive into the secret drawer of our senses, the secret spots in NYC and what lies undies!

1st sense: secret sounds. Sing the rapturous Love-Song unto me!

Tarek Atoui is a snake-charmer crasher with the turntables, his arms flailing about like a mad scientist, hands in heavy rotation, maybe not even touching the turntables as much as luring the sound out of them.

Sound orgies by Gyorgy Ligeti and John Cage were top of the charts for me at age 16, hence I am a free-form sound fan, thankfully abundant in NYC (with the distinct exception of drunken west Village jazz club forays.)  If a delve into Beyond the Beyond and Beyonce is your goal, every two years in New York City, Performa 11 presents a huge slate of life-inspiring performances, this year my highlight was “Visiting Tarab,” organized by Lebanese artist Tarek Atoui. A secret-sounds, opera-like sound immersion emerging from sixteen musicians and sound artists, such as my Romania homeboy, Gyorgy’s own prodigal son, Lukas Ligeti, and sound artists ranging from hip hop and dub maestros like Raz Mesinai, to electronic wizards such as DJ Spooky and Anti-Pop Consortium.  All were invited by Atoui to Beirut to explore the world’s largest and most extensive collection of Classical Arab music.
Notes from my mobile: “I like that the audience is angry with the whale songs tinged mix of irritation building to a crescendo of annoyance much like a teenager thrashing his hips into a war game machine or the horror of a churning industrial conception contraption.”
photo by Edward Burtynsky
“When the wall of sound stopped abruptly, the audience whooped with pleasure and moaned when the sound crept into a resonance of heartbeat and shuffling dawn-like creeping. This then built into something akin to the American Beauty or True Blood soundtrack with Arab moulah wailing. Relaxing?…well I cleaned my phone of old messages and rotated my neck to absolve it of some kinks…so yes.

Then as a drummer and someone seemingly playing a plunger got on stage I swear I saw a butterfly in the dark studio. Ligeti worked a percussion instrument like a library of animal noises. Harp, drums and sax electrofied into silence with the waves of conversation voices in the crowd. Suddenly…

…the famous refrain “Jack declared house” voice music sample blared into airplanes as Raz Mesinai DJ took over the turntables for a solid set. Some wine and Tarek tearing up, I tweet: “These musicians are attacking their instruments I have never seen. Tearing up, crying myself.”

Sitting (by chance?) next to Performa founder, Roselee Goldberg and Lee Hirsch, director of the hailed movie, The Bully Project, capped the evening. Another thankfully typical, lyrical secret life-expanding NYC evening.

image of Roselee Goldberg and Tarek Atoui from Billy Farrell

2nd sense: seeing light: secrets of the universe expanding.

Given that personal experiences of recent discoveries of that which transcends even Einstein theories may be a little hard to pin down, namely sub-atomic particles aka nuetrinos, faster than the speed of light, which shape-shift from one of three varieties of the particle which can “tranverse planets and walls of lead like light through a window” …an easier way is ducking in and out of NYC’s Chelsea galleries. Full of secret spaces that open up vastness, sinus’s and creativity, my shape-shifting, odd face-making friend (Vanity Fair Italia photographer, Orlando Salmeri) and I tested the theory of trancendance through an art jaunt on a recent Saturday. Here with Richard Serra’s “walls of lead” installation in the Gagosian gallery.

vision. seeing big secret things on the big screen.

Letters From The Big Man” released on 11.11.11 in New York and nothing like a Big Secret Star to open up the senses. From a small indie film to be one of 100’s in a Time Square theatre, NY filmgoing is instant star-struckness.

For another sneak peek at being Brave in The Big Wild, see Disney’s “Brave” movie coming up in 2012, a romp through the Wilds O’ Scotland. More about this to come as we work on ILS:Scotland 2012, a BIG runway show at The Hammerstein Ballroom in March 2012, curated by some BIG names in fashion such as ……(secret), the creator of New York….Week…and … the founder of…Art…and….plus top designers such as…. There ye go laddie and lasses, that’s it for now, hold your horses, much more to come on this secret event unfolding.

Speaking of other secrets of NY, this month I discovered Brooks Brothers. I know, a classic NY tradition for basics and stalwart sartorials, but have you seen some of their designer collections such as Black Fleece from Thom Brown? I love it.

Not to mention a secret collection of yum Scottish-made luxury accessories, Fraser Balgowan, soon to be launching in the States, with leather and fabrics culled from one privately owned acreage of wild land, owned by the lovely Fiona and her husband, including free-range red deer. Now that is Touching Earth Sensuality!

…and yes, this shy laddie serving drinks at the Brooks Brothers party was wearing a kilt along with his cute pinchable face, Highballs in the Highlands, indeed!

3rd sense: feeling, touch, empathy. Wear to me Jewels!

Bejeweling is India’s grace upon the world and its colors often float majestically through NY. “India Song” from photographer Karen Knorr at Danziger Gallery, on until December 23, 2011, is a private jewel box to silent inner realms and the elegant mystical presence of an animal in a human space. Did the animal dream of this placement or did the human…one has to ask.

Hanut Singh is a secret. A Master Jeweler with a Pedigree. (his GrandPappy was the “late and great Maharaj Kunar Karamjit Singh of Kapurthala”) Gems like Alba Clemente, Cindy Sherman, Rachel Roy, Wendi Murdoch, Rasa Music’s Donna d’Cruz, Penelope Cruz and the Olsen twins crew all have Hanut’s number on the mobile.

I was honored to privately view the jewels on Hanut’s latest visit to New York and the organic power of the gems and settings made me repeatedly gasp. Really. More on Hanut for sure!

4th sense: scents erase time. Burn to me perfumes!

For secret perfumes of the best indie perfumers simmering up cauldrons of resins, fruit and flower elixirs and gummy woods…read last month’s post.  My nasal fibers and brain synapses are still reeling from that stopping to smell the roses.

5th sense: space. privee trysting addresses in which to expand.


I was invited for an evening at Norwood Club, sitting like a Grande Dame of Secrecy, unobtrusive on 14th Street while inside its four floors, an opera, harpist Phamie Gow and 10,000 other secret happenings were unfolding. We got a little tour with Alan Linn, the passionate owner whose taste in art and atmosphere is well worth the price of admission. A surprise evening in NY can be quiet and melodious in a candle lit plush living room with about 30 people grooving to harp music.


Hustling down a cold street lit with soft golden doors, (which accounts for the blurry photog) I spotted Hotel Griffou. Have not yet been, but intrigued. “The restaurant gets its name from the 1870’s boarding house located in the same building and originally presided over by Madame Marie Griffou, a big-hearted French woman with a soft spot for creative types.”

#518, #9

Hotel Americano. For a birds-eye view of Chelsea, go up the back staircases of any hotel and head up to the roof. In summer, a roof bar is a cacophony of phonies posturing, in winter, rooftop bars are serene, windswept perches at the level of hawks, seagulls and helicopters. Recently we scurried up to the roof and saw two hawks, the masses tredding the highline and some cool pics.

Not quite as high up (2000) as Edward Burtynsky’s stunning “Dryland Farming” photographs at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

5th sense: tasting. Drink to me, for I love you! I love you!


New York’s culinary pleasures are endless and the secret is they don’t have to always cost a bundle. Two of my latest favorites, from our client, celebrity chef Nisa Lee’s Jade Cocktail, (that and other cocktail recipes here) to my latest obsession, dried seaweed in olive oil packs at C-Town for $1.79.

6th sense: otherworldly vision: visit with the up-all-night “freaks” of nyc. I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunrise;                     

Good to touch base with the cafe ladies then and now. What creeps around NY at night is transcendant and usually transexual. Teacher of Diane Arbus, Lisette Model‘s images from the 30’s to 50’s, seen recently at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, resonate as much as Gilles Larrian‘s “Idols” at Steven Kasher Gallery.

And if you can’t stay up that late, just make a cool magazine.Part of Performa 11, Daido Moriyama presented a serenity of process, within the old time magazine making world, inviting people to construct their own at Aperture Foundation. I love his nighttime, elusive and secrets of NY images.

More magazine worship news this month includes that of going print this month and my own personal visit to the shrine of V, the world’s biggest magazine. It was an afternoon, an off-day in the Mercer Street headquarters where the ISSUE was just lounging like a leopard or a Big Temple Buddha in the home offices, strangely quiet, while a sultry male model sat waiting for a call-in, the receptionist slinked through as did editors and photographers. (Another of my NYC secret spots is the largest Buddha in NY sitting in a temple at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh! and yes, while you are there, my new fave Chinatown vegan resto, Buddha Bodai. I know, there I go mixing up the senses again!))

Becoming larger than life is Rashaad Newsome, his work has evolved to Mastership. One of my favorites was the emanating, morphing Bling Video at Marlborough Gallery for his “Herald” exhibit,which included a Performa 11 performance (with the official heraldic write-up by my pal, curator Amani Olu.)

7th sense secret: Giving,touching. I am the Naked Brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky.

Beyond the Gaga, the Gala hype and the Gallery bling, one eternal secret of NY is that everyone is very giving. A mature New Yorker’s evening out is less likely new beats and breakdancing as it is private and public soirees dedicated to raising funds for worthy causes. Why not plan a trip to NYC around attending a fund-raising event for a good cause? Stars, Feel-goods and a Sensory shelf life beyond 5 minutes. This month, three beautiful charities dedicated to kids and creativity have crossed my path. I declare that giving is the Seventh Sense.

Pencils of Promise “builds schools in the developing world and trains socially conscious young leaders to take action at home and abroad.” With catering by our client, Nisa Lee, Justin Bieber star-studded the Pencils of Promise 2011 charity gala this month.

A precious, smart friend Janine Francolini began Flawless Foundation, after struggling with her special needs son and the limiting and dangerous options and services available to him. “There are over 12 million children with behavioral challenges in this country  and 1 in 5 children will have a psychiatric diagnosis by the age of 18.” The good news is that with diet, yoga, nature and new sharing-based and respectful behavior techniques (which we all can learn from) major healing is happening as a result of this tiny dynamo known as Janine.

A leader with Flawless Foundation’s Pioneer gardens project reports that “a class of 8 – 11 year old boys who are quite active and to watch them interacting, planning, gardening together with such calm and peace was AMAZING. The teachers were awe struck at the change in the students behavior – we are more convinced than ever that gardening is such a healing therapy for at risk youth.”

We met one of Bent On Learning‘s inspiring founders, Anne Desmond, at a Flawless event I attended with another Star Client, psychologist, Dr. Renee Clauselle. Celebrities who love yoga flock to this cause, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Molly Sims, Russell Simmons, Kelly Rutherford and a celebrity secret of mine, yogi Eddie Stern, whose Soho Ashtanga studio is low-pro and real, still after all these years. (as in 5 am classes)

Bent On Learning “offers instruction in yoga and meditation to students in grades K through 12 in New York City public schools and youth centers as a means of reducing stress and improving concentration, self-esteem and overall health.”

Free Hugs.

Looking like a re-incarnation of Jesus and John Lennon in one, Juan Mann began Free Hugs, one man’s mission to give free hugs to everyone in the street in 2004, in Australia. He has thankfully inspired imitators around the world in part due to the above Youtube video featuring Australian band Sick Puppies, which has been viewed over 70,000,000 times plus the obligatory Oprah show appearance. In these tense times of public demonstrations, it’s good to remember, maybe we need both, OWS and Free Hugs. A NYC secret is you can get free hugs in Union Square on any given day with some sweet kid toting a “FREE HUGS” sign.

Leading to next month, I am headed to Art Basel Miami Beach where I will be covering street and community art for Metropolis magazine as well as shopping a community art installation for 2012 with Jon Porcelli, who traveled the world, congregating 1000’s of nude folks on glaciers, buildings and other unseemly places with art photographer, Spencer Tunnick.

Got a little place right on that beach, I plan to avail myself of the free bikes in Miami and pedal around all low-tech, sensual and touchie-feelie-like. See you next month, on the other side!

       OX   OX


   go on now. 
transcend. weave. be the inspiration, beauty + invention of people, places + things beyond Time.

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