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The young Stanton

Johnny texting at his first communion
When I met Johnny's mother, I told her I'd love to hear stories about him from when he was young.

"I don't remember any," she said.

"I'd love to see photos of him as a kid."

"I don't have any," she said.

That was pretty much our only conversation ever. Where could I go from there?

I've only seen a handful of pictures of him from before I knew him. I get a glimpse of the young Johnny when he's with his first wife—he dances and teases in a teenage way that harks to them meeting in the '50s as kids.

I know him now & that will have to be enough.  Read More 
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The Ashbery collection

a Freilicher peonies
What a treat to spend a little time this afternoon at the Loretta Howard Gallery, way west on 26th St, looking at some of the art (and bric-a-brac) John Ashbery has collected over the years. Unsurprisingly (for an art critic), he has good taste: there are several Joseph Cornells (not my faves, except for one that's a plain almost empty, weathered box called "The Storm that Never Came"), and works by Henry Dargar, Joe Brainard, Trevor Winkfield, de Kooning (both Willem & Elaine), Joan Mitchell (Johnny's favorite), and a beautiful Jane Freilicher "Peonies"—probably the single work I most would want.

Except wow things really cost a lot. "Inflation," Johnny snorted. Hey we have Brainards at our house. Johnny also had a little drawing Larry Rivers did as a cover sketch for Johnny's novel Mangled Hands, but he lost it.

Well-chosen excerpts from Ashbery's poems make it homey, as in You Are There in his pad. The show is there till November 2.  Read More 
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