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The Apotheosis of Hudson Valley Culture

Sparrow and Mikhail Horowitz

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Editor's note: The two entities functioning here as both interviewer and interviewee are well-known to Chronogram readers: Sparrow is a frequent commentator on some of the more incomprehensible art and theater in the region and the creator of a perplexing column, Quarter to Three, which ran in these pages from 1999-2004; and Mikhail Horowitz as a coeditor (with Nina Shengold) of our erstwhile Literary Supplement, an occasional contributor of book reviews, and a widely celebrated castigated performance artist.

Mikhail: Admirable Sparrow, in what way has Chronogram aided and abetted your career, such as it is?

Sparrow: When I first began writing for Chronogram, I could hardly distinguish an art installation from an auto accident. Now I am considered one of the three greatest authorities on avant-garde art in the Hudson Valley. I can only thank this magazine for its gentle nurturance of my meager talents.

Magnanimous Mikhail, if you could distill the essence of Chronogram into a bumper sticker, what would it be?

Mikhail: It would take far more than one bumper sticker to adequately capture the manifold riches of Chronogram and its place in the Valley's ethos. Three, to be precise:





Esteemed Sparrow, is there a current cultural phenomenon that you feel can be directly attributed to the influence of this magazine?

Sparrow: Chronogram has made the Hudson Valley so "hip" that indie rock bands in Bushwick are buying kayaks, in futile emulation. There's a whole section of Pine Hill that is now called Little Williamsburg, and the annual TriBeca Film Festival will be screened next year in Germantown.

Modest Mikhail, how do you describe Chronogram to second homers, Valley residents, or visiting spelunkers?

Mikhail: Generally in glowing terms, but the glow would derive from bioluminescence, not radioactivity. On several occasions I have actually been able to use Chronogram as a flashlight when stumbling through the caves of Rosendale, or as a reading light to read other magazines by, like the Watchtower.

Splendiferous Sparrow, if there were 17 things you could change about Chronogram's poetry page, what would one of them be?

Sparrow: Let me answer with my latest poem:

Dream Vision

A giant tungsten bra

hovering over Dallas

Dignified Mikhail, is it your opinion that, in order to expand its revenue base, this magazine should start exploring the market for Chronogram spin-off merchandise, such as Hudson Valley action figures?

Mikhail: Absolutely. I have in mind a whole line of such items, based on characters created by the Valley's first literary eminence, Washington Irving. How about a Rip van Winkle action figure that, when wound up, awakens 20 years later? A great gift for your kid's kid. Or a Headless Horseman bobble-head doll, which can be produced at a very low cost, because it obviates the need of a head to bobble.

Masterful Sparrow, is there any truth to the rumor that Chronogram has hired you to review the fare at conceptual (i.e., nonexistent) restaurants in the region?

Sparrow: That is entirely an exaggeration. I'm only planning to review conceptual (nonexistent) meals at actual, brick-and-mortar restaurants—for example, Mussels Orbiting Jupiter, at Tuthill House.

Multiuntalented Mikhail, can you think of anyone in the Northeast who has a dreamier job than Brian Mahoney, the editor of Chronogram?

Mikhail: I can think of only two people: the guy who, every year in the weeks leading up to Halloween, incarnates Ludwig Wittgenstein in the Barn of Terror; and the woman who puts in one day of work every 17 years, collecting exoskeletons to pulp for her 100-proof periodic cicada cider.

A final question, Sagacious Sparrow: which Chronogram advertiser would you most like to have sex with?

Sparrow: I said my mantra, opened the magazine at random, and put my finger down on Lakshmi Schwartz, transpersonal horticulturalist.

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