Authors: Gilbert Sorrentino
by Gilbert Sorrentino
Coffee House Press
COPYRIGHT © 2005 by Gilbert Sorrentino
COVER + BOOK DESIGN Linda Koutsky
COVER PHOTO © Rana K. Williamson
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CIP DATA
Lunar follies/by Gilbert Sorrentino.
ISBN-13: 978-1-56689-169-1 (alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 1-56689-169-8 (alk. paper)
ISBN: 978-1-56689-290-2 (ebook)
1. Art—Exhibitions—Fiction. 2. Arts—Fiction. I. Title.
3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2
Portions of this work first appeared in
Lake of Dreams
Ocean of Storms
Sea of Clouds
Sea of Cold
Sea of Crises
Sea of Fertility
Sea of Moisture
Sea of Nectar
Sea of Rains
Sea of Serenity
Sea of Tranquillity
“… while the ears, be we mikealls or nicholists, may sometimes be inclined to believe others the eyes, whether browned or nolensed, find it devilish hard now and again even to believe itself.”
“You’re painting a shoe; you start painting the sole, and it turns into a moon; you start painting the moon, and it turns into a piece of bread.”
George Alphonsus, famed as the Supreme Master of Magic, is said to have had a hand in creating the illusion that has, quite successfully and convincingly, asserted itself as “art for our time.” The question asked most frequently has been, “what of the millennium?” Or, on occasion, “what of the exciting millennium?” George
the convincing illusion, which, most agree, silences the seasoned and cynical journalists, who are, of course, the framers of such questions as have to do with “art for our time.” For instance: “Is baseball too slow for our ultra-busy, speeded-up, on-the-go age?” “Will the loathsome cockroach lead the way to a cure for breast cancer?” “Was John Kennedy Junior a closet queen?” “Do we have to die?” “How can we be happy in a bad job?” And “Is birth-control science the way to the Rapture?” But to the Supreme Master of Magic, anent his astonishing and artistic illusions (which, he insists, and strongly, on calling “The art of astonishing and artistic illusions”), they ask, e.g., “How does it feel, George?” Silence usually ensues, and so it’s on to the snow-chains story; the heat-wave story; the story of the tough coach and his swell young protégé; the killer-hurricane (with puppy) story; the mudslide story and the people who will rebuild; the forest-fire story and the people who will rebuild; the flash-flood story and the people who will rebuild; the depraved priest story and the youths he abused every night for nine years; and, of course, the magnificent new stadium that will seat 150,000, cost nothing, make an entire city rich, and stamp out the cocaine trade as well, so that the little guy, if white, will win at least maybe story. And all the while, through rain and fog and the golden California sun that bakes the brain right through the jaunty baseball caps that are always the rage, George, the Supreme Master of Magic’s, newest illusion is, yes, right this way, over here, yes, here you go, right by the spilled latte, yes: illusion dot com dot magicgeorge dot com you chumps.
The place or space or venue is rife or blossoming with pictures or photographs or collages or photocollages of the famous avant-garde publisher’s wife, the famous underground diva or fringe dancer or performance artist, whose most renowned and transgressive “happening”—as such events were termed in the sixties in all their rude and feverish innocence and glamour—“Cunnus Delicti,” concluded with the artist slowly pulling a long, thin scroll of paper from her vagina. In between periods of “whirlwind creativity,” as her husband smilingly notes, she likes to read the submissions that come in over the transom, as they occasionally say in publishing. This spousal remark is recorded, in its totality, amid the images that virtually surround one in the studio, amid a clash of vital forms. One novel was thought to be too long for its fragile premise, yet the choreographic instincts that inform the artist’s “mind” are too present ever to permit her to define the word “premise. “This has always been her way, so says her adoring husband, from behind his aromatically billowing briar. “She has an eye for the authentic,” he is quoted as saying in a yellowing, brittle newspaper clipping, the words glowing with orange highlighter ink or solution or is it, perhaps, a kind of water color? Above this focal point, or “coign,” as a dear old friend from “boardwalk days” has called it, this endearing remark, virtually palpable in its compassion for the real, the authentic, the unashamedly
is a photograph of the artist, in her
pulling the paper scroll from her proud, naked vagina; and, just above the photograph, sharing the wall space that overlooks the massive worktable crammed, as always, with ideas for new dances, new performance ideas, new and startling contortions, just above it, stained, creased, covered with admirers’ notes of congratulation and admiration, and, forebodingly, warning, like a stern aegis, or a harbinger of just what art can be, is the discolored scroll itself, assertive, defiant!