A beautiful painting by Paul Folwell titled “Silverton”. It’s an incredible piece. The sky is magical. This was painted in one of Paul’s classic periods twenty some years ago. Canvas size is 30” x 48”.
Silverton has been proudly displayed at Maria’s Bookshop for a long time and is currently hanging on the wall of the shop. “Silverton” is looking for a new home. It’s a classic piece.
Paul Folwell is one of the original Purgatory patrollers and is the namesake of Pauls Park ski run at Purg. He is still painting canvas daily with great success.
Please see Maria’s owners Andrea & Peter for details.
This may seem a surprising assertion from a man who began skiing at the age of two and kept at it until he was 96. But the words stare defiantly from the page of Peter Lunn’s technical manual High-Speed Skiing (1935), written when Lunn was 20 and approaching his 5th season in ‘the British International Ski-Running Team,’ and his second as captain. He was already captain designate of the team for the 1936 Winter Olympics.
Peter was known for his willingness to schuss anything, and his technical book is admirably direct in its approach. Here is the first sentence of the first chapter. “The first principle of high-speed skiing is to keep the weight well forward.”
This chimes with Peter’s earliest memory, described to me 75 years after High-Speed Skiing was written: of skiing repeatedly down the nursery slope at Mürren, aged about 3, flying over the bump at the bottom, and landing in a heap. “My mother picked me up and told me to lean forward – which was actually rather good advice.” The book acknowledges Peter’s debt to his father Arnold Lunn, but fails to mention his mother.
The book is spare in its use of illustration: just a few line drawings of Peter in shirt and tie demonstrating the positions to adopt for traversing (one knee tucked behind the other) and straight running (an upright stance with the shoulders pushed well forward); and one diagram of the best line to take in a slalom.
“It is a good plan to devote two mornings a week to doing big schusses,” he writes. He also advocates taking a day and a half off skiing each week in order to avoid staleness, which is easily recognised when you lose your nerve and all desire to ski; and three days off if you don’t succeed in avoiding it. He himself suffered “an appalling attack of staleness” in the 1934/5 season, bought a book on skating technique and spent three days on the ice rink working on eights and threes. On the fourth day he resumed skiing and his staleness had vanished
“… racers get very little pleasure out of skiing even when they are not racing … “
Lunn advises the racer to give up or at least cut down on alcohol and smoking – ” if your nerves can stand it” – not to go to bed too early before a race and to read a detective thriller for a good night’s sleep. On the question of using brandy as a stimulant before the race, each racer must experiment until he knows how much to consume, and when: leaving enough time for the brandy to take effect, but not so much that the reaction sets in, five minutes later.
Clothing must be a personal choice: “For important races, I wear more clothes than normal, because I always ski better when I am uncomfortably hot.”
For Lunn, ski racing was essentially a mental challenge. “Speed comes not from abandon but control. Pell-mel skiers please note!” is a promotional line used for the second edition of the book. The torn jacket (pictured) repeats the message: “… by using your head.” This counters the traditional British tearaway approach exemplified by Lord Knebworth‘s words in a book written a few years earlier (1930): “the essence of good skiing is abandone”.*
Lunn’s determination to run everything straight, and yet do so in a controlled manner, reconcile the schism between the hare and tortoise schools of ski racing described by Knebworth, and led by the top British racers of the 1920s, Mackintosh (hare) and Bracken, the master stylist. Significantly, Lunn asserts that there is no essential difference between slalom and downhill racing. The best slalom racers will be the best downhillers, if only they can get their head around the speed. Modern ski racing bears this out.
“Success in races depends on making your body do something which is highly distasteful to it,” Lunn writes. “The body shrinks from the strain and dangers of skiing at racing speed and it is for the mind to overcome these physical reactions.”
This idea is developed in the last and most interesting chapter of the book, entitled The Psychology of Racing. Lunn describes ski racing as an addictive drug.
“Racers get very little pleasure out of skiing even when they are not racing and it appears that the longer one has skied the less one enjoys it,” he writes. This is indeed a surprising admission, coming from a 20-year-old sporting hero at the top of his game.
The beginner experiences “the thrill of speed in its finest form” but, as with any drug, a tolerance builds and “the minimum speed at which he becomes interested and draws active pleasure becomes steadily higher. Unfortunately, the maximum speed at which he can ski without being frightened does not increase so rapidly.”
Lunn develops this idea into a quasi-mathematical formula. It could be expressed as a graph (but isn’t).
“As soon as the day comes that the minimum speed at which he begins to draw pleasure from skiing is faster than the maximum speed at which he can ski without being frightened, he will cease to enjoy skiing.”
So why do it?
Comparing ski racing to art, Lunn’s answer is that it is not for fame or praise – gratifying though these may be – but in order to establish the mind’s control over the body. This he describes as “the essence of sport,” which he places in the doctrinal context of guilt and original sin.
“When one is skiing well there come moments when he knows that the mind has won and he has complete control. He experiences a happiness which has nothing to do with pleasure or enjoyment. At such moments when the racer’s mind and body are working in complete harmony, he catches a fleeting glimpse of that paradise which was our ancestors’ in the Garden of Eden because he has succeeded in capturing if only for a moment that complete control over the body which was man’s before the Fall.”
And if the racer feels the urge to burst into tears after the race in which he has experienced such moments of ecstasy, this is “partly explained by a deep longing for all that man has lost.”
It is this ‘fleeting glimpse of the paradise of Eden’ that makes him endure the hardships of training and racing. He goes through hell, for an intimation of heaven. Many athletes and sportsmen who speak loosely of being ‘in the zone’ might recognize the occasional moments of ecstasy and transcendence, even if few would put the same religious gloss on them.
The fleeting glimpses keep the ski racer going, Lunn continues, and are in fact addictive.
“The spiritual happiness that comes from a dominion over the body increases and gains such a hold over his body that he finds it impossible to give up racing,” even when he is long past his best.
This serious moral and spiritual analysis of sport at the highest level reminds us of Peter’s father Arnold Lunn’s lifelong interest in questions of Faith; and of Peter’s Methodist missionary grandfather Henry Lunn, who founded the Lunn travel business after organizing a religious conference in Switzerland.
The closing words of the book seem to issue a defiant challenge from son to father. Or is he thinking ahead to Herr Hitler’s Olympics at Garmisch?
“Many attempts are made to justify sport by arguing that international events promote friendship between nations. But the sportsmen know that their work is a justification in itself … because it enables them to break through the barriers of this material world to taste the happiness which lies beyond.”
Twelve years later Peter Lunn returned to the moral theme in his own detective thriller, Evil In High Places, an Agatha Christie-like murder mystery set in the Swiss Alps. Religion does not play a large part, but Lunn manages to weave a Catholic thread into the plot’s intricate web. The action starts with a ski race.
John Seymour is 35 or 36 (much the same age as his creator). He can’t give up racing and is nervous and tetchy before the race, unlike the carefree young Swiss hotelier’s son Hans. Together they climb to the start, pausing for a smoke beside the steepest part of the course. Seymour tells his incredulous rival that he plans to take it straight. Alone among all the racers, he does so – “like a great bird swooping earthwards” – and holds it. The beautiful young marmalade heiress Diana Dale, who is watching in the company of her aspiring fiancé, swoons. “Perhaps in all sport, there is no finer sight than really high-speed skiing,” someone says.
But just before the finish, when Seymour knows that he can afford to ski carefully and still win, self-confidence gets the better of him, and he crashes, falling into the arms of his aspiring fiancée Suzette. 24 hours later he lies on the floor of a mountain hut, with a ski stick through his eye. “Any man could have done it,” says the detective Herr Mayer; “… or woman.”
As Christie likes to do, Lunn casts his characters as a small and close-knit group whose members know that one among them is guilty. The detective sets traps for them, and observes their reactions and interaction for what it reveals about their innocence or guilt. John Le Carré’s mole-hunt may also come to mind: by 1947 Peter Lunn was fully engaged in his career as an Intelligence officer.
If you don’t want me to ruin the story, stop reading now.
Among the small group of suspects is a mountaineer. “Mountaineering teaches a man determination, courage and steadfastness but it also develops a self-satisfied puritanism,” someone says. “Ski racers have a certain gallant light-heartedness, but they do tend to be selfish and irresponsible.”
It emerges that Seymour was once engaged to the mountaineer’s sister, two-timed her and pushed her to suicide. He does some more two-timing before his sticky end and dabbles in a little blackmail on the side. The mountaineer did it.
Which is the more evil: the selfish and irresponsible ski racer, who feels guilty about his behavior but does nothing to change it; or the puritan mountaineer, who feels no guilt at all in exacting his revenge (and dispatching another two blameless victims in short order)? In his book Spies Beneath Berlin, David Stafford interprets the story as a reference to Hitler looking down on the world from Eagle’s Nest. The remark about ‘self-satisfied puritanism’ made me wonder if Lunn had his own father in mind. Mountaineering was Arnold Lunn’s first love, but Peter never took to it.
The last line of the book sees the moral order restored. ‘Snow spread a clean mantle over the earth’.
El Espace is a column dedicated to news and culture relevant to Latin communities. Expect politics, arts, analysis, personal essays and more. ¿Lo mejor? It’ll be in Spanish and English, so you can forward it to your tía, your primo Lalo or anyone else (read: everyone).
In digitizing The New York Times’s photo archives, one of my colleagues, Jeff Roth, came across some never-published photos of the founders of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Their subjects sought to build a creative, social space in the city for Puerto Ricans, where patrons could bear witness to what the writer David Vidal called “a new, intensely cathartic poetry that was born on New York City’s streets.”
The cafe is frequently packed on Friday nights. Outside, long lines of people wait to get into the weekly spoken word competitions, and many of the young faces in the audience and onstage are black or brown. For many spoken word performers of color — especially those of Latinx and black descent — the Nuyorican Poets Cafe is what the Comedy Cellar has been for stand-up comics: a place to cut their teeth and test the resonance of their work in front of a live audience.
It’s come a long way from its humble beginnings in a poet’s living room.
In the early 1970s, Miguel Algarín, born in Puerto Rico but raised on the Lower East Side, began inviting other Nuyorican poets to his apartment on East Sixth Street for readings and performances. Algarín and his contemporaries, including Miguel Piñero, Pedro Pietri and Lucky Cien Fuegos, were part of a growing artistic scene in what was then a primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood, drawing on their identities and daily struggles for their work. The salon quickly outgrew Algarín’s living room, so he and a few other artists began renting an Irish bar down the street to fit more people. In 1981, they bought their current building on East Third Street and, after a lengthy renovation process, formally opened it to the public in 1990 as a space for Nuyorican poets to experiment and hone their craft.
“Many of the founding artists and those who gravitated toward the group in the early days were informed by and active in a version of poetry that was much less academic, much less literary, much less elitist than many of the incarnations of poetry that existed in the ’60s and ’70s,” said Daniel Gallant, the cafe’s executive director, adding that even in its earliest days, it produced “poetry that evolved into and through injections of music, movement, theater, film and collaborative experience.”
That multidisciplinary, experimental spirit lives on today, and a number of award-winning one-person theatrical shows have evolved from spoken word performances developed there. Sarah Jones’s 2005 show “Bridge and Tunnel,” which won a Tony Award, and Elaine del Valle’s 2014 “Brownsville Bred” are standouts.
Caridad De La Luz, a Nuyorican poet who first performed at the club in 1996 and now hosts the Monday night Open Mics, also said she had only performed music (mostly Mary J. Blige covers on her college campus) before arriving at Nuyorican. The cafe expanded her view of what a poem could be. “Poetry was just something you wrote in journals for therapy,” she said. “Then when you got to the Nuyorican it was like, ‘Oh there’s a mic, there’s a stage, there’s an audience that wants to hear these things.’ Out came the journal.”
Acevedo said there’s a sense of “walking into a lineage” of other Latinx spoken word performers at the cafe. “Even as the poets get younger, you feel that there’s something being passed down,” she said.
She recalled learning about “declamación,” a cousin of spoken word poetry that is performed in the Caribbean and throughout Latin America. “What we name spoken word or slam or esto y lo otro, we have had names for,” she said. The magic of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe was how it blended old-world and new, Acevedo said. It was “this space that, yes, was in conversation with hip-hop. Yes, was in conversation with the beat poets. But was also in conversation with something that was inherently Puerto Rican, inherently Caribbean, inherently Latinx.”
In 1824, more than 300 African-Americans (many of them freed slaves) chartered a boat to Samaná in the Dominican Republic. Read about how their descendants are preserving the history of those individuals through the oldest church in town.
Wellness ‘For the Culture’
“How can people who have experienced systemic economic and social oppression feel wellness in their lives?” asks Annya Santana, the founder of the beauty company Menos Mas. She’s got some tips.
Get into Kat Lazo’s Barrio U.S.A. series with Thrillist, where she’s touring Latinx subcultures across the country, including (so far) Chinese Latino fusion cuisine, the drag scene in Miami and barber battles in New York City. A personal favorite is her exploration of rumba, a Cuban style of dance and party.
This portfolio is the first publication from Past Tense, an archival storytelling project of The New York Times. As we digitize some six million photo prints in our files, dating back more than 100 years, we are using those images to bring the events and characters of the past to life in the present. To enhance these photographs’ value as artifacts and research tools, we are presenting these images with some of the “metadata” from the reverse side of each print.
In California, there were deserts and mountains, vast farmlands and a thousand miles of publicly owned beach. There were people from everywhere and opportunity that only a country like America could offer the working man or woman, and their children, too. From San Francisco to San Diego, from Hollywood to the world, California offered succor, health and, oddly, anonymity. If you didn’t like the view, you moved. If the boss gave you grief, you dropped him.
The sun shone mercilessly, but no one asked for mercy.
Everybody was rich because anything was possible.
When World War II was over, people asked my father’s African-American relatives where they could go after seeing Paris. “Where?” they replied. “I’m goin’ to California where it’s mild enough that you can sleep on the ground outside, wake up in the morning and eat fruit right off the tree.”
Jim Crow had seen his day. It was time to move on and move up; to immigrate within your own country. Southern California was growing by leaps and bounds, and any able-bodied woman or man was welcome to work a job, or two or three. You could buy property, send your kids to school and go out for a drive to nowhere at all, do anything — as long as you stayed within certain parameters, like Watts or the Barrio.
“Elkie,” my Jewish cousin Lily said to my mother, Ella Slatkin, on the telephone in 1945, “in California, it’s never cold and the beaches go on forever. Come out to visit me and I bet you never go back to the Bronx.”
My mother came bleary-eyed and tired to the breakfast table that first morning. Lily asked if it was the time change from New York that made her so tired.
“No, Lily,” my mother moaned. “It’s all that racket.”
Join us for a reception and conversation between celebrated author Walter Moseley and Hrishikesh Hirway, co-host and co-founder of the West Wing Weekly podcast. They will be discussing The New York Times’s new section Past Tense, and its first issue, California: A State of Change. Go behind the scenes with Times journalists, grab a drink and mingle with our guests and fellow subscribers.
Bernard Glassman, an acclaimed American Buddhist teacher known for his social activism and, briefly, a venture with the actor Jeff Bridges to capitalize on Zen-like traces in the movie “The Big Lebowski,” died on Nov. 4 at a hospital in Greenfield, Mass.
He was 79.
Contrary to the stereotype of a Zen practitioner lost in meditation, Mr. Glassman was deeply active in the world, trying to address its ills. His activism was as much a product of his Buddhist spiritualism as it was of the liberal Jewish tradition into which he was born; those two influences remained inseparable throughout his life.
In a tribute in the newspaper The Forward after Mr. Glassman’s death, the columnist Jay Michaelson described Mr. Glassman as “one of the most important figures in ‘Engaged Buddhism,’ which applies Buddhist teachings to what many Jews call tikkun olam, the project of ‘repairing’ the brokenness in the world.”
He was “a Zen mensch,” Mr. Michaelson wrote.
Mr. Glassman broke into pop culture, sort of, when he got together with the actor Jeff Bridges, a friend, to write a slim volume called “The Dude and the Zen Master,” published in 2013. Mr. Bridges played Jeffrey Lebowski, a California slacker known as “The Dude,” in Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult movie “The Big Lebowski” (1998).
“Not being in — not being attached to Jeff or Bernie or whoever you are — is the essence of Zen,” Mr. Glassman explains in the book. “When we’re not attached to our identity, it allows all the messages of the world to come in and be heard. When we’re not in, creation can happen.”
Bernard Alan Glassman was born on Jan. 18, 1939, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to Pauline (Finkelstein) and Albert Glassman, Jewish immigrants. His father, who was from what is now Moldova, was a printer and construction foreman; his mother, who was from Poland and lost much of her family in the Holocaust, worked in a factory.
Bernard’s mother died of mercury poisoning when he was a child, and his four older sisters raised him. One of his first jobs was hawking Good Humor ice cream at Brighton Beach; when sales were slow, he would call out that he had “dietetic” ice cream, and customers would come running, his daughter, Alisa Glassman, said in a telephone interview.
Mr. Glassman earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. While in California, he also worked as an aeronautical engineer at McDonnell Douglas, developing plans under contract with NASA for what were expected to be manned spaceflights to Mars.
He first became interested in Zen in 1958 when he read “The Religions of Man,” Huston Smith’s survey of the world’s great religions, published that year. What struck him about Zen, he said in a 2014 NPR interview, was “the interconnectedness of life and living in the moment.”
He began meditating, sought out a local Zen teacher, got involved with the Zen Center of Los Angeles and became a Zen teacher himself.
Even as his family lived in the Zen center, he and his wife sent their children, Alisa and Marc, to Jewish schools.
“We kept the Sabbath,” his daughter said.
In 1979 the family moved to New York, where Mr. Glassman founded the Zen Community of New York and began a period of intense social commitment.
Mr. Glassman (whose first marriage ended in divorce) and his second wife, Sandra Holmes, founded the Greyston Foundation, sometimes called Greyston Mandala, in 1989 to address community needs in Yonkers. Its programs provide day care, job training, produce-growing gardens, medical care and housing for about 5,000 people a year.
In 1996, Mr. Glassman and Ms. Holmes established the Zen Peacemaker Order, an interfaith group dedicated to peace and social justice. In 1998, shortly after they moved to Santa Fe, N.M., to develop the organization, Ms. Holmes — who as a Zen Buddhist priest took the name Sandra Jishu Holmes — died of a heart attack.
In addition to his wife, Ms. Marko, and his daughter, Mr. Glassman’s survivors include his son, Marc; a sister, Sally Blatter; and four grandchildren.
Mr. Glassman developed a series of retreats, including “street retreats,” in which participants live among the homeless, and “bearing witness” retreats, holding them at Auschwitz and other sites of atrocities around the world.
“When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself,” Mr. Glassman said. “Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises.”
A quote from Thompson’s classic impressionistic/gonzo cover of the 72 campaign in which George McGovern, unfortunately, lost in a landslide to everyone’s favorite person to hate, Richard Nixon
When you vote for President today you’re talking about giving a man dictatorial power for four years. I think it might be better to have the real business of the presidency conducted by a City Manager-type, a Prime Minister, somebody who’s directly answerable to Congress, rather than a person who moves all his friends into the White House and does whatever he wants for four years. The whole framework of the presidency is getting out of hand. It’s come to the point where you almost can’t run unless you can cause people to salivate and whip on each other with big sticks. You almost have to be a rock star to get the kind of fever you need to survive in American politics. Hunter S. Thompson