Accept the Gift

First posted 12/11/2016 as The Night Bobby Found Christ in an Abandoned Subway Car

I read the Nativity story as the story of a God who decides to incarnate as an outcast among the poor and oppressed people of a barbaric civilization with a static class system.

Life was brutish and short for the poor.

The warrior God of Israel takes flesh as an impoverished Jewish outcast whose
life is in danger from the moment of conception.

It’s a great story!

I wondered how it might look today and saw a homeless youth who finds
the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

Will he accept the burden of this gift?

An avatar that represents an alternate named Bobby is shown finding the Christ child in an abandoned subway car
A homeless youth finds the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

I used VR to make a video of it.

I got the idea for the subway car from Dark Days, a documentary made in the 1990’s about a tribe of homeless people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York.

I use two photo-shopped frames from the documentary as an homage to it.

I first came up with this idea in 2011 but didn’t have the skill I needed
to make it work the way I envisioned it.

I’m going to remake the video for next Christmas.

Merry Christmas to the World!

May we find our way back to the light.

The video is a series high-resolution panels staged and shot in virtual reality and processed in multiple apps.

I cropped a cover of Silent Night  found at the Internet Archives.

To the best of my knowledge the recording is in the public domain.

A Semi-Literate Boy Named Bobby

I was a project kid, pretty but hard to make.

Most of the men I let into my life started in pursuit but stayed as teachers.

I was bright and gave my full attention to any man who was willing to teach me about the world of art.

The music I knew was the music of my parents and the other kids in the projects.

From my Father I got Porter Wagoner, Buck Owens, and Skeeter Davis.

From my Mother I got Dinah Shore and Kitty Wells.

From the other kids in the projects I got Motown.

With the music of Motown I learned I could dance and for me dancing is still spiritual.

Everyone said I moved like a black kid, and it was true.

Black folks were my friends and neighbors.

As far as I was concerned I was a Black kid with pale skin.

I figured that Blackness was as much about class as it is about race.

My friend Paul knew I knew my ‘place’ in Charleston’s antiquated class system and that I wanted out.

Paul lived in the rich part of Charleston; the historic district near Battery Park.

He invited me to lunch one especially bright spring day.

He poured tea and showed me a decorative plate that was inlaid with hundreds of shimmering butterfly wings.

Paul liked exquisite objects.

We stepped onto the patio that overlooked his garden and I brought a branch of wisteria to my nose.

Paul said that he wanted me to hear a record.

He said he wanted my opinion.

Then he placed the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Minor on the turntable.

I heard the needle drop, and then a timpani followed by woodwinds.

I listened as Beethoven told me a story.

I had never heard a story more complex and profound.

It was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen or touched.

And I never stopped listening….

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

by Yehudi Menuhin, violin Wilhelm Furtwangler, cond Philharmonia Orchestra of London Recorded: 1953

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Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Whose Hell is This?

Persephone plods relentlessly towards Hell.

Great drifts of snow form a tunnel along Union Turnpike.

Everything is grey: grey snow from a grey sky on grey
buildings.

Persephone rolls her eyes at the writer; perseveration of
thought is the sign of an overwrought mind.

Yet, she does consider the landscape grey

Illustration of Persephone made from a photograph of an avatar
Union Turnpike

Alla Saints an’ Mother Theresa coul’na saved me!” laughs Hades
with a puff on his cigar.

He’s just told the story of how, as a young Catholic converting a Jew in Switzerland, he was chased by a pack of Protestant dogs.

“My twisted sister!” Persephone hikes her skirt; that story never fails to impress.

Hades,” she says, “about Felique…”

“I don’t have your precious Felique!”

Nevertheless, she persisted: “But you must!”

Hades relaxes and chuckles affectionately: “Of course I must. She’s in the Garden playing with dolls. She’d love to see you.”

Persephone is confused: “What was that business with the hag in the mirror?”

“You know how the writer likes special effects.”

“And Felique…?”

“She’s a little girl named Trina.”

“I see…and, whose Hell is this?

“Cocteau’s, do you like it?”

Surrealist photograph of virtual reality avatars to represent Persephone and Lucifer entering the Garden
Persephone and Lucifer enter the Garden

Persephone examines one of Lucifer’s paintings and smiles: “Life is like a skyscraper on quicksand.”

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Headed to Hell

Persephone is headed to Hell but first she decides to
meet Christ in Manhattan.

She takes in the sights of 7th Avenue; shards of rain
slice the sky.

She stops at the Cafe des Poetes for a cappuccino:

“Ex-presso! she orders.

“How fast?” asks the waiter.

“Oh, the puns,” Persephone sighs. “Please stop!”

“Make him.” the waiter points through the screen at the writer .

Persephone gives the writer an irritated glance, “He never stops!
Ex-presso please.”

“But you came in for a cappuccino.”

“But I ordered an ex-presso.”

“Not stating your intention! This is no way to meet Christ!”

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved