Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, in the worst of the deep freeze, I looked out my window at 8 am to see some guy bundled up, pointing his camera in my direction. It's not unusual to see people taking pictures of the church or the GOD LOVES FAGS billboard. But a cameraman on my doorstep, this early in the morning, in sub-zero cold seemed a bit extreme. I went out in my ratty bathrobe and mucks to see what was up? The guy was friendly enough. He informed me he was from my insurance company. "Nothing to worry about." he told me "Do you run a business from here?" I guess with all my signage, you could draw that conclusion. But it couldn't be farther from the truth. "I'll be done in a minute." the sleuth told me. "You better get back in where it's warm." I took his advice. And with an armload of firewood I went back inside.
It's not like I'm against running a business from the ponderosa. No sooner had NYS passed the gay marriage law than I erected a sign, with my phone number, announcing "baptisms, weddings and funerals". How many calls did I receive? O. In 2003 I borrowed $30,000 and set up HOLYLGM. This company would sell holy water, honey and cigars. I designed labels, bottled water, honey and bought good cigars. I had bags and boxes, a website, a paypal account. I even had a product launch party in that bastion of capitalism- Havana, Cuba. How much money did I make? It's not even worth mentioning. I have about 20 cases of holy ice left, stored in the church. It's free. Drop by and take a case.
You see, I'm not very good at business. If I hadn't worked a lifetime as a carpenter, and bought and sold a little real estate I'd be in the poor house by now. Making money has never been my strong point. Thank God I never placed it very high on my list of things to accomplish. So I was a bit surprised when yesterday I received a notice canceling my insurance policy. That bastard with his camera had fucked me. Luckily I have a really good insurance agent. She promised to get on it and straighten the whole thing out. "I'll tell them artists never make money until they are dead." she laughed. I'm a little sick of hearing this, but if my corpse has the money in it's pockets, this quote is definitely going on my tomb stone.
On another front RNButch reappeared out of the blue to discuss HWSTV. It seems that the camel and wife's dog is sick, relatives have health problems, and he's had his hands full. I understand. To my delight he and Damon are raring to go on shooting a pilot for HWS. I tell him just how much of a control freak I am. Sure I'd like to make money on some TV project, but it's not my motivation. What I want to do is get something good on TV and have all the rope I need to hang myself. No one knows better than I just how bad TV is. No one even watches it anymore. After being on national television last week, you know how many phone calls, emails, or autograph requests I received? Zero. Welcome to no biz.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Labels: pHOTO:mARIANA rOTHEN
Anyone who reads this blog is familiar with the early 20th Century painter Ethelbert B. Crawford. Putting the work of EBC before the public has become part of my own work. I've shown him at MO David North, collected as many of his works as I can get my hands on and will continue (given the opportunity) to hang his paintings anywhere I can. Bert's story of unrequited love, an overbearing mother, a frustrated art "career" and eventual suicide made him an immediate kindred soul. The fact that he was a local sealed the deal. I was hooked on everything Ethelbert.
So it was the other night, on the phone with Shewho, I looked at the name of a call coming through- "Peters" and didn't pick up. The only Peters I knew were the WSSP Satan love triangle neighbors of Shewho's on Midway Rd.. But about 15 mins. later Shewho called back. "You'll never guess the phone call I just got." Turned out it was from the same Peters who had called me. Relieved that it wasn't the crazy neighbors, this Peters had found both my and Shewo's phone numbers by googling Ethelbert B. Crawford. God bless the internet.
Jeff Peters is a picker out in Hortonville, NY. He told Shewho he had a bunch of EBC paintings and wondered if we would be into buying them? Duh. A couple of days later Shewho, Chuck and I drove to Hortonville to check out the treasure. As we examined the canvases, Jeff told us where he came across them. "Do you know who Frederick Cook was?" We three dummies just stood there blank faced. "He was the first person to reach the North Pole, climb Mt McKinley, and invent the "pyramid scheme". Whatthe...? The name sounded familiar, but I had to admit I knew nothing of Cook. Jeff went on to tell us how he had purchased the pantings (and many others now dispersed) from the Cook estate. They weren't the best examples of Bert's work. They were slightly damaged, but were authentic- signed and dated 1909 and well worth grabbing. We made the deal and left with the work.
A week later I sit in my bathrobe, mac on my lap, googling Dr. Frederick Cook. DAMN! Born in Hortonville in 1865, his 1909 expedition to the North Pole made him a household name world wide, and was immediately followed by controversy. Fellow polar explorer Peary and the exploring community questioned the validity of Cook's account. The clash of egos fueled the controversy that would dog Cook for the rest of his life. The seemingly glaring contradiction of this, by all accounts, talented, educated, rugged individual and all the schemes and scams he's accused of throughout his life is fascinating. In the end he serves time in prison for stock fraud and receives a death bed pardon from FDR. The Sullivan County Historical Society has a collection of his papers and photographs. I know how I'm spending my day. Move over Ethelbert. Another local is about to be uncovered.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Labels: PHOTO:© GEORGE HOLZ
DICK AND BOBBIE
Back in the summer, when mom was fading fast, I had the opportunity to have my work on the reality TV show "Oddities". Mike and Evan and the crew drove up to my place and shot an episode around their search for a center piece for their new store. Last night it aired. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I hardly go to the city anymore. But I do try to stick to my Valentine's Day tradition of dinner with Shewho and Teehoo in town. This year Teehoo is in the Islands with her riche friends. So instead, my old friend El Prof. and his daughter (my goddaughter) Monasita are in the NYC, and join us for dinner. Mona's friend Rosin joins us and later Chuck McC. After chow we go to Participant where we are treated to an Andy Kaufman mini-retrospective hosted by Mike Smith and Dan Graham. Only the true artfags who read my column can really appreciate the absurdity of this pairing. True brilliance on the part of the Andy Festival organizers. At one point Andy brings his parents on Letterman just to tell them he loves them. I'd forgotten just what a genius Andy Kaufman was.This brings me back to my dying mother and Oddities....no wait. I forgot about the car.
After having a great night with everyone, Shewho and I head north on the West Side Highway. At about 33rd St., in bumper to bumper 11am traffic, beepers start to go off in the car. I look at the temp. gauge and it's buried in the red. I pull over. Two helpful city guys get me water and funnel it in to the reserve....but nothing happens. The beeping gets more insistent. What do we do? Shewho jumps into i-phone search mode and finds Mike's Auto on 30th. Non-typical of any car breaking down experience I've ever experienced, we pull in and they jump into action like an Indy pit crew. There's Bobby the old white guy with mustache, a whole crew of cats from the "Islands" and Eric the young, polite, no nonsense owner. Our Saviors.
We spend the afternoon strolling through galleries, having a relaxed lunch and sitting on the skyline. What the fuck has happened to me? I NEVER do this. By 5pm we are back on the road and eating pizza in front of the stove by 8pm. We both reflect on how unusually smooth it all went. I don't want to jinx it....but I could get used to things going like this.
When mom was dying and the TV people were filming in the church I had the idea that I would somehow get my parents names on TV. I won't give it away but it goes something like this: Mike O. leads Evan and Mike into his church. The money burning flame is lit. They Oooooo and Ahhhhhh as the camera pans around the room. Finally they get to what they've been in search of. Mike O. reaches down and slowly lifts the canvas cover......"I named this after my parents." I say "I call it Dick and Bobby. You'll see why." All I wanted was for them not to cut this part. I wanted to give my parent's a shout out, even if they couldn't hear it.
Last night we went out to WSSP II. With Chuck, Tess, Ace, and Shewho, I watched in nervous anticipation as the show unrolled. I realized I have a very evil sounding, sinister laugh. As I led Evan and Mike towards what they would eventually use as the center piece for their new store, and reach down to uncover it, I hear me say "I named this after my parents. I call it Dick and Bobby." Success.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Labels: pHOTO:mARIANA rOTHEN
STATE ON CONFUSION
I drive a ten year old car and a 30 year old truck. I've spent the last week trying to get my car inspected. Because the truck was made before computers it's an easy pass. The car is another issue. It used to be, even if you drove a smoke coughing clunker you could always find a mechanic who would kick the tires, beep the horn and for an extra $20 slap on a sticker. That was before the government got involved. These days if your check engine light is on (and mine always is) you are in for some time and money. Get ready for government intervention.
Every car made today has a computer. And every garage licensed to inspect has a computer also. This computer is hooked up to the state computer. There's no getting around it anymore. Big Brother is in your back pocket. If the state computer doesn't allow it the local grease monkey has no power to issue you a sticker. Even when you do everything the computer tells you to do you then have to drive around aimlessly until the computer resets. It may be 10 miles. It may be 100 miles. No one knows. As of this writing I'm still illegal, and I'm out of gas.
Last night I fell asleep during President Obama's State of The Union Address. This morning I got the high points. In a nutshell- he's ready to poison our wells in search of natural gas and pass a lot of laws restricting guns. And this is our "HOPE" for the future? I can't believe I'm saying this, but he could be worse than the Republicans. Another case in point is NY's Democratic Gov. Cuomo's S.A.F.E. act- a group of gun laws rushed though, without due-process. One extreme provision outlaws 10 shot magazines (that are standard issue in all semi-automatic handguns) in favor of a non-existent 7 shot clip. There is some confusion as to what exactly is breaking the law: more than 7 bullets in the clip or the capacity. If it is the capacity of the clip in your gun that determines your legality, then it immediately makes thousands of handguns in NY illegal. Cuomo has now put more illegal firearms on the street than any gun runner in history.
The other issue that Obama and Cuomo have in common is "fracking". Obama, in his frenzy to release us from foreign oil, constantly cites the abundance of natural gas and his willingness to drill for it. Cuomo has put the decision by NYS to grant permits to the gas companies on hold, but everyone feels he's gonna give the go-ahead and lift the moratorium that is now in place. There's no getting around it. The Catskills will be effected.
As I sit in my little corner of paradise, waiting for the computer to reset on my clunker, I contemplate the future. A future of re-applying for my pistol permit, hiding my illegal firearms, driving without inspection stickers, stockpiling ammunition, and trying to find away to stop billionaires from raping my mountains and streams, so my great nieces and nephews can enjoy what I've enjoyed. As a camel passes by my window and two ostriches chase each other through the snow, a shadow crosses the hillside. I hear a high pitched whine. Damn, is that a drone?
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
FLACCID PROSTHETIC PENIS
I'm on the phone with Shewho. We're catching up since last night. Nothing much happens in our lives, but we somehow come up with something to talk about. She's been reading Leonardo's journals online. (da Vinci not di Capprio). I've been googling "flaccid prosthetic penis". I guess we know who the intellectual is in this relationship. You know how much a realistic looking limp dick costs? Over $800. Hard-ons are a dime a dozen. The place is a mess and I'm as close to the stove as I can get without singeing. I look out the window and see this giant "stealth" grey, brand new, mud caked pick-up pull in my driveway. It announces FORD in foot high letters. I think it's a new RNButch toy, but out pours Diamond Dave, Pigpen and someone I don't know. They are here to show off the new toy and make Bloody Marys. I'm in.
Before doing the soft penis search, I'd started an order with my taxidermy supply company. Beth was to call back. As Pigpen unpacked the tiny cans of tomato juice, tabasco, celery, etc. the phone rang and I placed my order of wolf death masks and fake snow. I was introduced to Jimbo and we all settled into morning cocktails. DD had been up since 4am so excited to be up in the sticks he couldn't sleep. Eye medicine and vodka would be needed to put him down for his nappy. Pigpen did not have celery salt nor horseradish but still made a killer bloody.
Talk turned to HWS and the seemingly false alarm bomb dropped by RNButch. It's a small town. You can't avoid it. The one thing that phone call, out of the blue, did was get me thinking actively about what I would do (given the cash and opportunity). I had Mystery Girl and Sister NOYB on board. That was a big start. The month of May, hunting, photo-shooting, making art .....with two (or more) supermodels and a cast of characters. How could it possibly go wrong? So now, I'm thinking in my manic object de arte producing frenzy, I could get some GO Pro cameras and a camera man or two and do it myself. How hard could it be?
When they all go to leave DD insists I sit in the truck. The thing is like a four wheel drive space ship. They had it out in the field doing 60 mph in a foot of snow last night. The fucking machine is made for off road racing in the comfort of a Lear Jet. You can't but love it, as evil as it is. "You could buy an African village for the price of this." I pontificate. "Yeah, but who wants an African village?" Pigpen is at least honest. And he made the drinks. I bid them all goodbye, half lit and go back online looking for a limp dick I can afford. Just another day.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
SQUIRREL ON THE SKELETON
Gun people. Here's your worst nightmare. Instead of some wimpy, persecuted, heavily armed sociopath going off, our latest mass killer of distinction is a steroid infused, highly trained, proficient people killer. An ex-army, ex-cop individual has run amuck in Cali. His online manifesto names names and off he goes to carry out the mission. Multiple peace officers are targeted, shot and either wounded or killed. In the ensuing police state hysteria a truck (matching the description) containing two women delivering papers, is strafed with "friendly" fire. Both women are wounded. Heading for the hills, the shooter abandons and burns his truck, disappearing into the mountains surrounding BIG BEAR ski resort. That's all I know so far.
The next blizzard of the century is coming and I'm getting ready. Eye medicine? Check. Beer? Check. Firewood? Check. Fill the lamps with oil. Put a pot of venison stew on the stove. I put the sex doll back in the church. The George Michael vagina was freaking me out. Both legs are now tattooed and I'm happy. Every time my hand inadvertently brushed that...... shudder. Anyways, having Afro-Paul, my new humidifier in the room is making it crowded enough. Heating by wood can really dry the place out. Afro-Paul helps.
Outside I've switched out deer skeletons. I boned out both does I shot back in the fall and hung them from the pine tree. They are natural bird feeders. Woodpeckers, chickadees, cedar wax wings, rose breasted gross beaks all flit in and out of the rib cage, gorging on the suet and sinew. I've kept one skeleton salted, waiting in the church, just for this mid-winter snow storm purpose. The other, I've had hanging, has been eaten to the bone. I no sooner hang the fresh one and the hungry birds swarm it. They know the storm is coming.
We live in a society, a gun culture, that's been at war for over ten years. My only surprise when it comes to the scary, deranged Cali cop-killer is that it didn't happen sooner and doesn't happen more often. The (I think), well-meaning but mis-directed sniper in Texas, being gunned down by one of his client/patients with PTSD is another example. Sure this sniper/author killed 150 individuals at long yardage, but he never saw this one coming. When one of these guys gets loose and goes off the page, it's like a squirrel jumping on the skeleton. None of the little birds will get to eat in peace.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Labels: PHOTO:© GEORGE HOLZ
BURNING MONEY SINCE 1986
The other night I was at a dinner party with friends and the conversation turned to Newburgh. Newburgh is a sorry little city just across the Hudson River from Beacon. Beacon has boutiques, galleries, and DIA. Newburgh has street gangs, grand old derelict buildings and a main drag that looks like the East Village in the 80's (minus the street traffic). My old man had an office in Newburgh from the 50's to the 70's. The place hasn't changed much. When I mentioned this at the party, someone asked what he did? "He was a stockbroker." I said with a mouthful of pork. Eyebrows were raised. "I thought you must've been one of those trust-fund kids." Far from it.
I come from a family of five kids. We grew up middle class. We never wanted for much, but were not even close to "rich". A work ethic was installed in each one of us from birth. I had my first business at 10 years old. My grandfather and I raised earth worms in his basement and I sold them for 25 cents per doz. to the Jewish fishermen who would line up across our house on the Wallkill River. They prized the carp, that us hillbillies shot and tossed on the bank to rot. It was my first taste of the work-a-day world.
A few years later I took over my sick grandfather's deer butchering business. At 14 I was going to school, wrestling practice, doing homework and butchering the town's deer hunters kills. Still following in Gramp's footsteps, when he died I inherited his job as the janitor at the elementary school, which I did until I graduated in 1970. I couldn't fucking wait to retire and be an artist.
Through the years I've always worked, but rarely held a steady job for long. I've been semi-retired since I was 18. Money has never been that important to me. I inherited that from the old man. There are so many more things to prioritize. If I have enough to pay my bills, keep gas in the truck and beer in the fridge, I'm good. I can count on one hand the art works I've sold over a 35 year career. Has this stopped me? Far from it. These days if you hear anything about art (almost across the board), it is shrouded in the market aspect. Who's selling? Who's buying? What's the price? OR Why do we have to talk about who's selling and who's buying at what price? The art becomes extraneous, not even worth mentioning.
It is in this atmosphere that I've decided to completely indulge myself with the production of objects, prints, paintings and collages. I'm cranking the shit out. I never really was a player in the art world, but I know plenty who are. So I've swallowed my pride and reached out to my more successful brethren for advice, a leg up, a table crumb. What did I get in return? Radio silence. Jeesh! It's not like I'm asking for a kidney here. Wait....let me check my email. One artist suggests I should show in back of a bar. Well, at least HE responded.
In 1986 we formed The Church of the Little Green Man. When confronted with the price of admission we decided to ask the congregation to burn a dollar bill upon entry. We carry this tradition to this day. Anything more than a dollar is a BIG sin. The CLGM, like MO David, or any number of identities I work under never makes money. I write for free in this blog. I try to structure my life as an artist in a way that does not depend on the market/show place for my validation. Is this difficult? Fuckin'-A it is. You have to be creative in order to fill your day. For example: after I finish my blog I'm going to get my sex doll out of the church and begin covering her legs with fake tattoos. It's snowing lightly and the stove is hot. I can't think of a better life style. Keep your money and gallery shows. I'm doing fine.