Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's like the 80's

Last Saturday I went to New Jersey to see a play. My cousin is getting a MFA at Rutgers and was doing Shakespeare.Anyway-the play was OK. The actors were great. The script left something to be desired. They did the Merry Wives of Windsor which is not one of Shakespeare's biggies.
Anyway- after the show I was talking to my cousin and we were talking
about what she had to do next: how she pretty much had to sit around and worry about the future while waiting to graduate with her degree at the end of June.
I was telling her about how it seemed just like when I got out of Grad School. It was 1987 and the Market had crashed and all the real estate value was going down the drain. The art market was shutting down and what galleries that I had imagined myself showing in while working away as school were suddenly non-existent. Crime was rampant and AIDs made everything seem like it was all over and Reagan made us all feel completely helpless or completely without any help.
I was telling her how strange it was to not have anything in particular to work for and how it was kind of fun and liberating back then. And how every generation is really born into, or spit out onto the best possible moment to be doing what they are doing as long as you maintain this positive spirit and a love for what you are doing.
I was waxing positive and leaving out all the parts about my heavy drug use and borderline alcoholism.
Anyway- I am really optimistic. Right now I am having the best greatest moment of my entire art career and the market is completely dead and I am going broke and killing my credit while I pursue the dream that I've never let go of since I got out of school.
Thank god I married a lawyer or I'd really be up Shit Creek by now. I hope I didn't give her the wrong idea by dishing out the Ol' Pep Talk about the true grit of being an artist. But she is a lot prettier and smarter than I ever was at her age. I sure she will figure out how to find someone to be with who will be supportive of her dream, while still maintaining a little bit of upward mobility.

What We Talk About When We Are Not Talking About Love

I admit that when all else fails I talk about the weather. I admit that I have reached for the lowest common denominator when bumping into a neighbor or ridding an elevator. Small talk is something that I am not very good at. I often need a little subject matter to get me going. So today is a beautiful day. The very end of February and it feels like the end of March. Cool. Pleasant.
And yet all day long all I can do is complain to anyone willing to listen that this is odd and that the weather shouldn't be this good. Like what the fuck is going on here.
I think the reality is that I am wishing for some bad weather. I mean I like winter to be over with as much as anyone, but my natural calendar and my inner alarm clock are both telling me that I should be suffering from seasonal depression and the winter dull drums. This is the point in time during all winters when I start taking drastic measures and buy airline tickets to get out of town, or become compulsively interested in things like college basketball. Anything to forget it is winter.
Only today, for all intensive purposes is gorgeous. For February, it is simply fabulous.
And yet I keep on finding myself involved in little small talk vignettes, and in each and every case, I can not help myself but be the voice of doom and gloom that this good weather cannot be good for us and that this mild winter is just going to cost us something down the road.
It is boring even for myself.
I am going to have to find something else to talk about when I am making small talk...I have to think of something else to say that lots of people can relate to without serving up the heavy dose of bad attitude... There's got to be something that we all can relate too....

Hey-did you see that Michelle Obama's got the girls doing choirs around the house?
How's that for quick thinking? Only my kid thinks I stupid when I bring up that one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just Like Socialized Medicine

Yesterday I had some emergency dental surgery. I thought I was going to have to do it myself, I was so reluctant to spend any money. You know, stare into the mirror with a pair of pliers and a flashlight and wish that I has an extra set of hands.
I decided to go over to NYU Dental School. I've heard about this for years. You go there and let some students work you over and the price is a fraction of the sticker price you'd pay anyone with a shingle. I mean, I have in the past gone to barber schools to get $5 haircuts in the past and that always seemed adequate. The student barbers were always grateful and tell you things like that they wanted to learn how to cut "White Hair" and other bits and drabs of info that made the whole experience kind of entertainment too boot. I certainly don't blame those guys for my male patterned baldness....
Anyway, I've been having pain in my mouth all weekend and I remember from my last visit to a dentist (not that long ago, actually. I can still remember paying that motherfucker $275 to get his fucking hygienist to clean my teeth.)He looked into the crystal ball (x-rays) and told me I would have a wisdom tooth issue sometime in not to distant future and I guessed that the future is now. So I was not going to go back to see that guy and pay him an arm and a leg to be sent to his friend, the oral surgeon and pay that guy the other arm and leg and tooth just to get the extraction, so I went over to the school.
Going to the school is sort of like getting your mouth worked on in a bus station. There are people milling all about. Cubicles lined up on after another with dentists.
I got my mouth checked out by a cute dentist who had an nice chair-side manner and sent me over to the oral surgeons. There I ran into this steamy Russian woman dentist who claimed to have practiced for years in Moscow before immigrating to NY. She said that training was much better there than here, even though she took my blood pressure and told me that I was having a heart attack which was later corrected by a faculty member. She, with the aide of this guy pried my tooth out, boot on my chest, and shoved a bunch of gauze in my mouth and sent me on my pain-free way all for $95.

Now I know that this isn't exactly socialized medicine but it is probably as close as you can get in New York with out going to the emergency room and giving them a fake mailing address. And having the work done by a woman who grew up behind the Iron Curtain just confirmed my suspicions that this is what it must be like. Not bad. I only wish I could have gotten a prescription for Vicadin. But they seem well aware of their clientele over there, and the type of people willing to experiment with their bodies just too save a couple of bucks.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Programing notes:
I will be attempting to to a performance tonight!

Fri 02/20

THE BLOWHOLE THEATER HOLIDAY WINTERLUDE. Put together by Life In A Blender's Don Rauf, this yearly event brings together a variety of eccentric, endocentric and exocentric acts such as accordionists, monologuists, actors and the dreaded singer-songwriter.
I am going to do a little performance here tonight but also Susan Mitchell and the Rest of here gang of Radio Play cohorts will be performing and a host of talented and funny folks. THis is an annual fun event that works it way onto the calendar tonight to celebrate CHristmas' pPast? Present?? Future???
@Barbes 376 9th St. (corner of 6th Ave.) Park Slope, Brooklyn 347 422 0248

Also- coming up soon:
I am going coastal with a show in LA;opening=1834
and in NYC
Both are opening the first week of March so I 've been
running around like crazy.

Anyway- Stop in to Barbes if you a around>Love to catch up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Come'on. Let's Get Real...

I am not sitting here defending Alex Rodriguez for doing steroids. Lord knows I don't give enough of a shit to lift a finger to type any words that might defend him. But I want to make one observation here and that is, if there was a performance enhancing drug out there that made you better at what you did if you took it, and if you were already great at what you did but this would make you arguably the best and bring to you all of the attention and accolades and riches that come along with being so great at what you did, wouldn't you take it?
I would.
For years I drank to excess because I thought it helped me to be better at my job. I took drugs and did all kinds of
activities that bordered on illegal and at times crossed that boarder because I thought it would help me. Give me insight. Give me an edge or an angle that my contemporaries lacked. I wanted to be the best. I worked my ass off to make myself the best. And I did all of these "bad" things because I thought they helped. And I swear I am not just looking back trying to justify my sloppy mistakes. In fact, I will tell you right now that if I had two nickels to rub together as result of all of my hard work to show you as proof that this strategy actually worked, I would run over to the closest deli and spend them on beer and cigarettes and
anything else that made my cash register ring with sales.

So don't be so hard on A-Rod. Believe it or not, he is only human.
He may not be likable or even all that interesting of a person outside of the ball park,
but he was just trying to get better at what he did. You want to call him a cheater,
fine. He's a cheater. But all the cheating that I've ever done didn't get me into Harvard
so give that guy a little credit. Not that he needs my support.
He can afford his own entourage.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring is in the Air

I know it is only mid February, but all this mild weather has me day dreaming about spring. I know there is still much of winter still to get through. We still have to get all the way through March before I will truly believe that we are out of the woods of snow and shit weather. I just hope that these few beautiful days here in the middle of February don't make those crappy days in March even more unbearable.
Although I wouldn't mind a blizzard or something if it will get us to finally stop wasting our time talking about steroids.
Who really gives a shit at this point? There are plenty of other things to talk about.
And I mean even more than the weather, to..

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I recommend

I have a book recommendation here. And not because I happened to do the cover of the book.
I have never met Mary Miller, nor had I read her work before. BIG WORLD published by HOBART Press from Ann Arbor.
The editor of the book is a great supporter of my work. That's how I ended up doing the cover.
Anyway- the stories in this book are great. They are written in a blend of Raymond Carver meets disaffected young woman who has to deal with life while saddled with the tragedy of being both good at nothing and terribly pretty. Unlike this type of character that Miller continues to write about throughout her stories, Miller is talented. She's a terrific writer with a great handle on details and emotions and the sadness of the human condition.
In one story she writes about being a terrible waitress who only keeps her job by sleeping with her boss. And she even fucks that all up too by not being able to carry through on being an adequate girlfriend when the boss dumps his original girlfriend and wants her to fill the original's shoes. In her stories about Temp office workers and going home for funerals are all written is a style, like Carver, that makes the ordinary and familiar compelling and worthy of the phrase, page turner.
You should get a copy and read it.

Economic Stimulus Hot Air

When I went to college a couple of decades go, I graduated with a degree in Painting. I also minored in
Economics and really, for a short time there flirted with the idea of becoming an economist. I love
economics, it was just the math that was really of no interest to me. But the the theory part always
interested me.So, that said, let me weigh in here on this Economic Stimulus stuff going on....

I understand why you need to give money to the banks because I understand why they need to
feel confident enough to extend credit. With out credit, business is going to come to a hault. We need to
allow the banks to lend out money so that businesses feel confident about making their payroll, etc etc etc.

But here is what I want to see happen right now. I want the country to build a new 2009 version of the Hoover Dam.
What I mean is I want the government to start building windmills. I want the country to retrofit factories and start building thousands of windmills. Then I want the government to buy up land and start placing these things out there and then start
wiring them all up and then creating energy and a grid to harness all of this power. I don't know the math. That is my problem here but what I think is that this will create jobs and power and a source of income while spending lavishly to stimulate the economy. And it will give us a lasting legacy that we will all look back on one day and say that this was something that was accomplished during our own depression era. Because one the economy does finally get itself back on its feet, there will not be any legacy other than the bill that will need to get paid for generations to come.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Mean Spirited Observations

Here is something weird that happened over the weekend in the
wake of all of this economic disaster going on all over the place.
I went out to Nassau County this weekend, my son was invited to a birthday party on Saturday night. The party was in Hempstead at this place called Dave and Buster's and
if I didn't know any better, I was in a casino in Vegas. I mean there was so much going on between the sports bar and the bowling and pool tables and game rooms. There was even a theater for bands to play. I mean the place was fucking huge. And the place was packed. I mean people filling up every table, chair , bar stool video game, bowling lane and toilet stall. Crazy. And people spending money like it was 2006.
The parking lot was full up too.
So I am wondering, with all of this chaos and uncertainty why are people out on Long Island throwing there money down the toilet still.
Then it occurred to me that this was "Culture" for these people.
I admit that I am totally a snob, but that is it. If these people weren't spending all their money and time in shopping malls and in places like this, Long Island would be fill with serial rapists and sex offenders and mass murderers. And drug addicts.
Which kind of is the way it is out there anyway. I mean anyplace were Billy Joel and Joey Budaffucco can grab all the attention can't have much else going on.
Here is my economic stimulus plan: Start building a wall to keep those fuckers over there. Because when they finally realize how hallow their lives are over there, I don't want them all driving into Manhattan.

click on image to enlarge....


I was talking to this woman at this opening the other night. She's an artist and teaches at a school upstate somewhere, but she was in town and we bumped into each other. We go back a long way and she was talking to me about the big SNAKE OIL signs that I recently showed and how they reminded her of the big sculpture that I made maybe 10 years ago. We were in a show together out on Roosevelt Island. The show was of outdoor sculpture and the sight was under this cement parking garage. Some people Incorporated things like the cement support columns, that held the parking lot up, into their pieces. This woman hung a car off the ceiling and covered it with foam.
I remember when I went out there to look over the sight, it was the first time in my life I had ever set foot on Roosevelt Island. I was smoking back then and I remember needing some cigarettes and looking around for the familiar deli. Back then there were lots of these red corrugated awnings with flashing colored lights in front of every deli or bodega or newstand. Particularly in Brooklyn and Queens. I couldn't figure out where to get my cigarettes without the familiar flashing lights, so I ended up building one of these awnings, and hanging that from the ceiling.
I remember after I finally got it up there on the ceiling, I was back on the ground looking at it and a Roosevelt Islander was walking by and stopped to look at it with me. He said, "I moved out here onto this Island just to get away from that shit...."

Anyway- This woman whom I was talking to told me that she often uses our works in this venue when giving her lectures to students. She likes to tell of how when she set out to make her piece, she had worked up an intense proposal with lots of samples of materials and made a presentation for the curator to look at. She said that she spent hours on this. And that she also remembered that I had basically done a drawing in my notebook and tore it out and sent it to the curator with a brief note. Basically saying "Here." And that we both were recipients of the same reward. This was her long-winded explanation of how things can work in the Art World.

I told her that I have this theory. It goes like this: Every one's first show in New York City comes about because somebody else cancelled. Being an artist has a lot to do with luck. Being in the right place at the right time and being smart enough to take advantage when something opens up. She laughed and sort of agreed with me, although I could tell this all made her pretty uncomfortable. She was after all a planner. Maybe that is why she has a real job now and I am still floating around. I used to laugh at people like her for getting all tied down with jobs while I kept myself nimble and free, waiting to pounce when the opportunity came up. The only problem with my theory is that just because I have a theory, doesn't mean that I also have a strategy. And maybe I have kind of based a little to much of my plan on luck, since looking back I have to say that I am probably one of the luckiest people that I know... even though I would also have to say that at least half of my luck usually turns out to be bad.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Your Facebook

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of having a Blog and comparing it to having a Facebook page. Both have their ups and downs for sure. I mean I have exposed myself pretty much all the way on my blog. Saying things in print that I would never admit to in public, and yet since virtually no one ever comments, I feel OK with this. Oh sure, every couple of days I check in on my Analytics to see if anyone is paying attention, and what new countries I've gotten visits fro. People are looking in it seems, but in general, other than the occasional comment of admiration, I haven't really been too surprised by anything that's happened over here.

Now Facebook is another story. I can't even remember why I signed up for Facebook but I have been keeping a page there for pretty much as long as I've been blogging. And people keep on turning up out of the woodwork and it is starting to freak me out.
I've been invited to join a group from my elementry school and even got a shout out from a kid who used to beat people up in the boy's room at school. He's a member of the group!
I've heard from all sorts of people whom I have not literally thought of once since even before the very last time I ever saw them. From all sorts of segments in my life.

I've met some new people. I got asked to be a Facebookfriend recently by two different art dealers that I have never met.After agreeing to their offers of friendship, I've been offered shows by both of them. It turns out I am apparently going to do art shows with both of them in the next month or so. Between all these new connections and old I have been kind of digging the hole Facebookthing.

Over the past couple of days my Facebookuneasiness has started to kick in. It first started when I started getting these "25 things" lists from people, list 25 things that I din't know about their personal lives. But that was nothing... I honestly don't like knowing too much about people. But the 25 List is nothing compared to what happened yesterday. I heard from -on Facebook- an old roommate from 1989. I haven't spoken to this guy probably since then. Completely out of touch. And the reason he is reaching out to contact tell me that this other dude that we used to all hang out with from back then---is a woman. He is a she!
I found out yesterday that this guy who I have not talked to in 15 years, or thought about in at least 10 years, if not more; who used to be named Martin, now has tits and long red hair and a website and goes by the name Michelle. Michelle is a woman and an escort. And when I look on his website, I can actually see pictures of his paintings from the 1980's in a section on his/her artwork. S/he says that She "used to be an artist...and now I am the artwork..."
There is a picture of her running on the beach---topless! And it turns out, in her "about me" section, she was trying on her mother's dresses the whole time that I knew him back then.
I NEVER would have known any of this if my other friend had not "found me" on Facebook and clued me in. And now I know! Boy to I love the Information Super Highway. ( there's a term that I haven't heard in a while...)
All I can say is Thank goodness for Facebook. Who needs a fucking blog. I am going to stop wasting my time time trying to be entertaining.