After the ceremony there’s a dinner hosted by the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, whose name is Rocco. He wears handcrafted alligator cowboy boots with his black tuxedo. Marcel [Proost] asks him about the boots, which are, of course, a major conversation piece.
“You wrassle that ‘gator yourself?”
No, says the Chairman. He bought them in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I had not known that they had alligators in Jackson Hole, but it could be they’ve migrated there to work in the hotel or food service business.
The Chairman is reputed to be a very wealthy man and a fan of theater, baseball, horse racing and country music, in other words our indigenous American beaux arts, our native Kunstwerke. Someone there tells me he contemplated buying the Cincinnati Reds but thought the asking price of one billion too high. Perhaps he could just buy the NEA for half that amount and not have to deal with the flamers in Congress. That would be an exemplary form of the great American tradition of privatizing.
That’s an excerpt from a recent entry in John Adams‘ blog, Hell Mouth. Yes. John “Nixon In China, Short Ride In A Fast Machine” Adams. (Note to self: check out some music he’s written in the past fifteen years or so.)