Saturday, May 31, 2014
Scapegoat Butch had a farm- OMGMO. And on that farm he had a camel, an ostrich, a horse, a llama, a pony, a goose, a duck, a chicken, a mule and Dennis the big dick donkey- OMGMO!
Shewho and I are sitting on the deck, knocking back a couple of mojitos and watching the sunset last night. In between planning our impending nuptials (looks like next June) we marvel at the view. Storm clouds drift by, pierced by bright rays of sunshine as all SB's creatures, great and small, munch peacefully on the electric green fields across the road. We are truly blessed to reside in this bucolic little bubble. The problems of the world at large seem so far away. No sooner do we express this thought and give thanks to who or whatever, than a horrible, piercing scream emits from the paddock. We both lift our noses from our mint infused concoctions to witness Dennis run against the back fence line, a small white creature, clashed by the neck, between his big donkey teeth. Not again!
Last weeks blog #CARNIVOROUSASS documented the blood lust of this donkey, as he strangled a big white goose. Now he had what appeared to be a small furry lamb in a death clasp. It sounded like someone dipping a baby in a vat of boiling oil. Instinct kicked in. I set down my drink, ran across the road, jumped the fence and headed across the field, adding my own screams to the mix. Behind me I could hear Shewho's moans of distress. Add to this the fact that all the other critters recognized how wrong this behavior was and it looked like a scene from ANIMAL FARM. Every creature was in high stress mode, myself included. My heart was pounding as I got close enough to realize it wasn't a lamb, but a small black and white goat that was getting the treatment. The horse and pony reared up and tried to kick Dennis, but he was too quick. The llama head butted him to no avail and the mule just looked helpless and forlorn, as all the geese squawked and flapped their wings.
Within 30 yards of the mayhem I found a little stick. In this orgy of violence I had no idea how I would get this ass to release the goat. The donkey whipped the goat by the neck, slammed it to the ground and was about to crush it's skull, about the time I got close enough to have an impact. Before I could wing my little stick, Dennis was distracted enough by my screaming, that he loosened his jaw for a split second. It was enough. The goat escaped, got to his feet and like a streak, scurried under the fence. Dennis stood there, drooling, red eyed, glaring at me. If he was to attack I had no defense. Lucky for me all he wanted was that goat. All the other animals scattered as Dennis heaved and paced the fence line, hoping for another chance. Then, except for my heart pounding, all went quiet. Tragedy averted.
Around midnight, when Shewho was sound asleep, I slipped out of bed. I had an old florescent orange kid's life preserver in the trailer. Silently I packed the vest with "menonite" explosives and crept across the wet field in the moonlight. The horse and llama looked at me and nodded. The geese formed a single file leading me to the spot where the little goat was curled up, licking his wounds. He lifted his head and looked me in the eye. He knew what had to be done. It was the only way. "77 kid virgins." I told him. I felt a tug on my pant leg. It was one of the ponies. He bowed his head and a short piece of braided gold rope and a rainbow medallion fell to the ground. "We all appreciate this." he nayed. So far this morning it's been quiet. Take note Carlito: If you hear a blast, this time it's not my Italian neighbors.
Friday, May 30, 2014
This is a term used to describe the use of some part of a particular animal in the hunting process of said animal. For example: rattling horns can be used to lure a buck in rut within range of a gun or even a bow. A yelper made from the hollowed out wing bone of a wild turkey can do the same thing. I've tried both, and never had much luck with either. It's one of those things that can be extremely challenging and if conditions are perfect "sympathetic magic" may just take place. I'm still waiting.
In human history hunting came first, quickly followed by art and religion. Science is a relatively recent phenonomen. By the time that very talented individual was painting in those caves in France all three- hunting, art and religion were beautifully entwined. But it didn't take long before they splintered and became specialized. It's been that way ever since. In my work I've tried to blur those boundaries once again. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes not.
And this brings me to the children of the church. My mother always noted that the very young and the older teens were OK to attend CLGM services. The impressionable in-between ages, say 10-18, she was totally against. I pointed out that the Cardinal seemed fine. "He's different." she said with a grin. "Look at the parents." I don't know whether or not I agree with mom. Unlike the Catholics, the CLGM provides a safe place for kids. They can pick up a wet hose, rub the soapy dog, blow bubbles, stroke the cat, and feel there's no reason to fear anything. The CLGM is kid friendly.
Still, I leave it up to the parents. The hymns can be a bit "blue", but honestly I've never had any kid complain. If they can't read they don't seem to even pick up on the words. If they can read they sing along with everyone else. We may be transgressive, but never mean spirited. Kids understand this, even if the adults sometimes don't. And when an angelic little blond girl takes off her sandals and touches my gnarly toes with hers.....sympathetic magic permeates the room. I challenge any other belief system to do that.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
TOUCHING OF THE FEET
PIGPEN AND I (with SEAHORSE ENVY)
Labels: PHOTO:Tessa Hughes-Freeland
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I give it away- a lot. I write for free. I record music for free. I do churches for free. I give away art work, books, CDs and guide hunters for free. But, I try to never put myself in the position of being exploited. If I give it away it's because I want to, with no expectation of any return. It's all good. I do that kind of art. We live in a corpocracy that is constantly attempting to bamboozle its citizens (especially the young and talented) into giving it away for free. Internships are a prime example of this. The youth are told that an internship is an avenue towards a paying position in whatever field. Art, fashion, publishing and music industries are notorious for this approach. Work for free and you'll make friends, contacts, network, and eventually get a job. The truth is that this rarely leads to anything but another internship- slavery by any other name.
What got me on this rant? Last night I received a forwarded email from DD titled "Peace Walk Outdoor Exhibition"- new and exciting opportunity for artists within Sullivan County. It detailed a proposed project that would consist of 15 "Peace Signs" along the old rails to trails between Mountaindale and Woodridge. I usually pay no attention to such projects, but since Steve and Edy were involved and DD sent it to me, I investigated. Hey, I got community spirit.
To my dismay this amounts to nothing more than a positioning of the power structure to seem "art friendly" at a time that everyone is jockeying for a piece of the Catskill pie. We here in the Catskills are at a water shed moment in our history. The Hassidic/Hipster community in Williamsburg are beard to beard in critical mass in Brooklyn. Monsey and Kyralis Joel are similarly packed. Many Hassidic developments are already poised and ready throughout the county. Once the memo goes out, the mini-vans will head north. The hipsters are going broke, having kids and can't take the city struggle anymore. Add to this the impending onslaught of casino money and we artists are primed and ready for exploitation.
My Dutch kin have been walking barefoot through these hills since the 1600s. I may have matured in SF and gone on to have a tiny impact in the EV, but I'm about as "local" as they come. The Jewish and Italian mob depended on my bootlegger folk during prohibition for product and delivery. And now that all that casino cash is about to flow into this county I for one do not want to sit idly by in poverty as all the fat cats make piles of ducets, pretending to support the arts. I'll still do plenty of "art" for free, but as always it will be on my own terms. There is a vibrant artistic community up here. You want artists to participate in events that put the county in a positive light? Pay us. It's only fair.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Labels: PHOTO:© GEORGE HOLZ
BEST CHURCH EVER
I know we say that every service, but this time it's really true. Talk about leaving on a high note. I think after 28 years we finally got it right. Usually a day or two after church I go into a funk. It's a predictable "post-par tum" depression that hits all artists and so-called "entertainers" after a show. All the anticipation and work that goes into a production is followed by the "day after Xmas blues". "Is that all there is?" becomes the mantra swirling around inside one's noggin. But, for some reason all I feel is warm and self-satisfied today. Maybe the stars aligned or I finally was able to articulate my thoughts properly in the sermon, or maybe it's just the relief of passing the whole thing on. Either way, I feel like I just shot a monster buck on a cold winter morning. Success at last!
Here's a little re-cap for those who were unable (or unwilling) to attend. We opened with MAN WITH CONSTANT BONER. In the words of BAF musical director Rifke Bat Sheitel "Is that the best you can come up with?" Since I wrote it, I'll answer that question. Yes. New band member Nutbush held down the beat on the washboard and provided a beautiful ass print of the stars and bars for the wall. Major Hollywood AD (Dallas Buyer's Club and that new one with Reese Witherspoon) Popul-U hit the pulpit with a great call and response, as the congregation took off their shoes and touched my funky feet. New congregant Kendy sang a couple of heart wrenchingly beautiful tunes as dogs and kids frolicked and snarled. Oh yeah, we had Jug player Pigpen's turkey in the lion cage, next to RNButch's Ferrari, as a helicopter swooped in to take some local VIPs for a ride over MYSTERYLAND. You can't make this shit up.
Leila was made noviciate. Segal was mentioned as the mensch and RNButch was made scapegoat. All took to their new titles naturally. Blame RNB if anything goes wrong. Ritual Traviss sang one of his songs and as always, nailed it right to the floor. The hymns were great as were all performances and actions. Did I mention I'm Jewish Bogin drew everyone's picture, Greg hard rocked the bass, the Cardinal Tristan complained of burning the toxic rebel flags and......what am I forgetting? Oh yeah- the intervention. I tried finding a junkie amongst the congregation to no avail. So instead I decided to point out just how much Shewo does and how little credit she gets in putting together these services. As she squirmed on a stool, center stage, I had, I guess what you would call an epiphany. My legs buckled, I got down on my knees and in front of the LGM I asked the love of my life to marry me. To my relief she said yes. It's all a blur after that. Judging by the mess the next morning, everyone had a good time. I have no idea when the next church will be. But take note friends, family and congregation: a wedding is coming up. Check your mail for an invite. Maybe that's why I feel so good.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Out of touch? Yes, I am. I'll be the first to admit that I'm as out of touch as my parents were in 1969 to the goings on out in the wet hay fields of the old Yasgur farm. If my parents had any idea what was to take place in the rain and mud of that summer, they never would've permitted 16 year old me and 14 year old Mupp to attend THE AQUARIAN EXPOSITION OF PEACE LOVE AND MUSIC. Almost 50 years later MYSTERYLAND is coming this weekend. Picking up a 3 day old newspaper in Pizza the Rock, I was amazed to learn just how big this thing was. Billed as the world's largest, and longest running electronic music festival, the Dutch run corporation is cracking out the neon noodles and dyed wigs here in the cold Catskill rain of May. Rest assured kids. The corporation promises dry tents, vegan burgers, yoga orbs and twinkle booths, all paid for with your ATM bracelet. I've heard of the headliners Moby and Steve Aikoi, but that's about it. I'm sure mom and dad had heard of Jimi Hendrix.
Bethel Woods, known for its dinosaur acts of yesteryear and "countropolitan" cowboy hat wearing singers, is stepping out of its comfort zone to stage MYSTERYLAND. 18,000 are expected. I think Mike Lang expected about that many in '69. As I already confessed, I don't have a clue regarding this scene. What I do know is I have about as much interest in attending as I have in going to BURNING MAN or any large gathering of strangers. Hell, I won't even go to a movie anymore. Who wants to sit next to some idiot, you don't know, eating popcorn? What I am interested in is the chance that this will blow up bigger than the promoter's wildest dreams. If Sunday's headline in the TH Record reads: CHAOS IN THE CATSKILLS! I'm there.
Rest assured I'll be back in time for church. Unplugged, barefootin' service is scheduled for 2pm Sunday. Pre-service activities will include ass painting, feeding the wild turkey, needle exchange and a re-enactment of the battle of Gettysburg on the front lawn. MYSTERYLAND may not be welcoming of your cooler of PBR or plastic bag of bunk weed, but we at the CLGM encourage it. We'll supply the hot coals, venison, turkey, and my famous potato salad. Bring whatever you want, along with your dollar bill. Leave your neon wig and yoga pants at home. We'll supply the rebel flag to burn. Downward smelling dogs are welcome. You'll be able to brag to your grandchildren where you were during MYSTERYLAND 2014. History repeats itself......kind of. Yee-haw!
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
YOU THINK IT'S EASY?
The past week has been slow in the woods. It doesn't seem to matter what the weather is- cold, warm, wet, dry. They just aren't talking. I haven't been out at the crack every day, but almost. Even if I sleep in I try to at least get a few hours of walking and calling before noon. The nights have been cold and when the sun dries the fields I keep hoping to strike a hot bird. But day after day, it's just not happening. I hear one or two roost gobbles a mile away and then all goes quiet. If I hadn't scored early in the season I'd be going crazy by now.
This morning I walked across RNButch's field and settled in at the edge of Extension Rd. John's property. I shot a big one there last year. This year I'd seen only hens. Nothing roost gobbled so I looped the farm and ended up behind the cemetery without hearing a thing. Then, I finally heard a bird. Then another. It was a wild tom talking to Carlito's caged domestic gobblers. Both answered my calls as I moved in. Every time I got close the birds moved off. Then they shut up entirely, leaving Carlito's toms to carry on the conversation. Had I spooked them? Had they seen me? Now, with the foliage almost full, it was hard to judge just where the birds were. I was rusty. I struck them one more time, across the road, and then they shut up for good. Fuck.
It was only 9 am when i got home and my adrenalin was still pumping. I wasn't ready to quit. I got in Shirley and headed for Mupp and Ginger's. I lugged Jake up that hill and set up near Smokey's tree stand. It wasn't long before I got one going. I moved closer. Just as I crested the hill, looking down into Grasso's, I saw a Jake. He saw me, spun and was gone. Fuck. Shit. Piss! I had done it again. I couldn't believe I had misjudged the distance that much. Dejected, I backtracked towards Roebuck's and called again. To my amazement the bird answered. I sat tight. This time I had him. It was so thick down there I couldn't see anything until the jake stepped out onto a woodroad. Then I saw what was making all the noise- a big tom behind him, in full strut. The box call dropped in my lap and I put the shiny double barrel on my knee. When he steps from behind that tree......
I waited. And waited......Somehow that tom had hugged a gully and when I caught movement to my left, there he stood, neck stretched, looking for me, not ten feet away. I had only one choice- swing all that pipe towards the bird. He caught me and froze. I pulled the trigger.....nothing. In my focus to get on him, I had forgotten to click off the safety. This threw me enough to fumble with it, further spook the bird and by the time Jake roared, the bird exploded in flight. I hit the back trigger to no avail. Another miss. I'd never touched him. After all that I'd missed that big tom at ten feet. I cracked the action, popped out the smoking, spent shells and tossed them in the woods. All I could do was look towards the heavens and apologize to the old man for missing with his gun. He never heard me. He was laughing too hard.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
TANGERINE IN THE POND
THE GLEN WILD BEAVER HUNTING CLUB
It's not what you think. Or maybe it is. Did you think that it was four guys sitting in a high end pick up truck, in the rain, smoking weed, drinking tequila, and waiting for a beaver to stream across the pond, so one of us could blow it's brains out with a .22? Then you're right.
This story starts in 1999 when Ray Gilkey was still alive and the beavers were damming up the swamp. Back in those days there were still apples trees behind the barn and plenty of deer bedded down in the dry high spots. Ray hired a nuisance trapper, who took 9 pelts out of there. He wasn't in time to save the apple trees, but the deer bedding area was saved. Thanks Ray. Now 15 years later, the critters are back with a vengeance. GNJohn's swamp is now a beaver pond and the deer are gone. Ergo the GWBHC.
Except for the weed and booze w/firearms we were completely legal in our quest for beaver blood. Way past prime fur season, GNJ had called the DEC and acquired a permit to "harass and kill" any beaver we saw fit. Any method was appropriate. The club membership consisted of GNJ, Pigpen "King of the Jews" Rothman, Diamond Dave and I. DD provided the truck, weed, ammo and firearms, GNJ the tequila and PP the running commentary. DD and I were the designated shooters. A beaver head, just above the water line, in the rain, as the sun is setting, is a helluva hard target at 35 yards. It's not exactly hunting, but it is challenging and fun. Safety first. Now pass me that vaporizer.
By dark we had seen a few wakes and couple of shadowy figures over by the lodge, but nothing close, or still enough for a shot. We unloaded our little guns and called it a day. The first meeting of the GWBHC was called to a close. I'm sure by now all the holes PP and GNJ had dug in the dam are closed up. Beavers work the night shift and can fix the dam faster than you can tear it apart. They are nature's architects and the best crew anyone could ask for. DD has gotten two so far. I'd bet there's a dozen more. Since it's mating season, more are swimming up river every day. The club has it's work cut out for it. We have a long summer of meetings coming up. Next time I'll bring the LSD and an American flag. Die beaver die!
Friday, May 16, 2014
PASSING THE CARROT
When I tell people I went to seminary the reaction is predictable. I can see by the look on their faces that they figure I'm one of those people who grew up religious, stayed on the straight and narrow, only to have some epiphany or crisis of heart that threw me off course. Why else would a former seminarian run a money burning church with poo-poo ca-ca hymns? Well, that couldn't be farther from the truth. I grew up far from religious, acquired a curiosity for theology during art school and ran with it in my work. The CLGM, formed in 1986, is what remains of this interest in "God stuff". I never developed faith in anything, other than my ability to make it this far without a steady job. Praying all I want will not increase my social security check.
I'm old. I know I've said this since I was in my 30's. Middle age never appealed to me. It's like suburbia- neither here nor there. And now I really am old. I hope to be old for a very long time. Being old allows me some perspective and hopefully some wisdom. The last church we had on the Lower East Side was in October of 2001. This was the EMERGENCY INFIDEL CHURCH. Like having 24 hour AIDS, it was not an easy task to make fun of 9/11, esp. when you could still step out the door of Max. Fish and smell the burnt plastic and sickly sweet smoke that permeated downtown. Nonetheless we did our best. I felt it was our job, as the fools we are, to keep things in perspective....before the tanks came marching in.
Many years passed before we would form a fresh congregation and re-convene services here in Glen Wild. It was a new day and the youth of Slick, the Buddes, Drekes, Tricky, GNJohn, and the rest of the congregation allowed us to keep current and not be, as Teehoo put it, " a bunch of old losers, reliving their glory days." But now we are 5 years in and it's gone stale again. Transpose this upcoming theme of HILLBILLY HEROIN....... to LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS CHURCH. The grumblings of the inner circle are too loud to ignore. So, in response to this inertia of interest I am formally stepping aside. The CLGM is now in the hands of the youth. Slick and Tricky will take the reins, set the date, theme and tone of any future service of the CLGM (or not). I'm at their service in any degree I can help. But I will not be on point anymore. In order for any religion to survive it must change and grow....or just pass quietly in the night. We'll see which direction it takes. The carrot is now in your hands. May the little man guide you.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Yesterday it was nothing but bad news. Meth- heads are chainsawing burels off living giant redwood trees in California, global warming is frying Kansas, devastating the wheat crop and next door I watched as Dennis the donkey killed a big white goose. He had the poor thing by its neck, prancing about, as all the other barnyard animals- llamas, ostriches, ponies and horse, bellowed in horror. The noise alone sent chills down your spine. Oh yeah and supermodel Adrianna Lima ran into a bus mirror, laying her out on the sidewalk. When the goose was dead, Dennis just walked off. I'll be the first to admit I was a little shook up.....by all of this.
I don't know how much of this behavior we can attribute to global warming, but I'd say except for Ms. Lima, quite a bit. I'd bet your bottom dollar Dennis' blood thirst and the meth- heads' need for cash, anywhere they can get it, as well as the stunted wheat, is driven by unseasonable cold in the east and a massive drought and heat wave in the west. The science is there. But try convincing a screaming llama or a very confused and saddened draught horse of the science. All they know is the loss of a small feathery friend and the justifiable hatred for that big dicked donkey Dennis.
Then, as i sat on the deck drinking a beer and pondering it all, up pulled a couple of bearded gentlemen. I recognized them as the same pair that had dropped by last summer in a shiny, vintage Pontiac convertible. They were the "biker Rabbis". One had lost his faith (in the cult) and the other retained his, yet was going "upstate in Trenton" for a little vacation (if you know what I mean). Damn! I couldn't believe my luck- two....but wait I hear the throaty rumble of a Porsche.....make it 3 wise men. In pulled Diamond Dave to round off the holy trinity. Shalom brothers. Although the two rabbis had never met DD before, they had so many "Jews from the hood" in common it was like old home week. Talk about a reality show. "Tell me, why is there shit smeared on the lady's room of the shul?" I could tell by the looks on their faces that they really knew nothing of the women of the congregation. Could it be some de-sanctification ritual that the women never tell the men about? I wouldn't blame them. Time to take down the divider boys.
As happy-hour with the 3 wise men progressed we covered many issues and solved many problems facing our fast paced 21st century lives. I can tell that the faithful biker rabbi is dreading Trenton State and who could blame him. I advise him to be himself- a wise Jew and not to sing too loud in the yard. It pisses off the Moslems. He informs us of his "hot wife" and we assure him that we'll all do whatever we can as a congregation to look after her. What's her address again? As we part I make sure they all know about HILLBILLY HEROIN CONFEDERATE FLAG BURNING OLD TIMEY CHURCH on Sunday May 25 2pm. When they leave I crack another beer, lean back in my chair and feel a warm glow of satisfaction come over me........FUCK! I forgot to ask them about Dennis. Who ever heard of a carnivorous ass? It's gotta be global warming.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
HILLBILLY HEROIN CONFEDERATE FLAG BURNING OLD TIMEY CHURCH OF THE LITTLE GREEN MAN
WITH JAKE AND I
I'm telling Shewho about Mupp asking if I'm taking Jake with me opening day? She's looking blankly at me as if to say "Do I know who Jake is?" I remind her that Jake is the nickname for the old man's Parker Bros. 12 ga. double barrel, that Smokey lent me last year. And no, I didn't take Jake out opening day. It was raining. No way am I gonna risk slipping in the mud and cracking that antique stock or rusting the gleaming steel after a wet morning. Jake only comes out when it's sunny.
After my initial success on that rainy opening day the skies cleared and I slid two shells into Jake's barrel and now lug six foot of shiny pipe through the woods every day. The Browning pump lays dejected in the trunk. I've had multiple Jake (turkeys) within 10 feet of the end of Jake (the gun's) barrel multiple times. But the long beards are keeping their distance. The season isn't a week old and I've have two big birds just out of reach. It's just a matter of time before they (or I) make a mistake.
The one thing that still amazes me is I basically have the woods to myself. A little over 80 miles NW of Manhattan and I can hunt across hundreds of acres and never see another human. American society has been conditioned to stay in their houses or cars, watching TV, nose in their phones, on the job and out of my woods. Thank you. It's just Jake, me and the birds, or lack there of. Milawyer is in town and I've been trying to get him out and put him on a bird. Lucky for him the days he's passed on have been quiet. I'm not seeing or hearing much. Yesterday I was completely skunked- no birds no gobbles. Today was a little better, but I had to drive down to Mupp's to get one going. Three toms came in, then shut up and froze just out of range. The frustration is back. Phew! After my score opening day I was worried it would get easy. No such luck. I know where two big toms reside. Jake and I are heading after them tomorrow. I have one thing to say to Milawyer. Tick-fucking-tock.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
SHIT STORM ON THE MOUNTAIN
"Wake me up opening day." This is what my old man said, miserably laying on his death bed in late April a few years back. He turned me onto turkey hunting in the mid-nineties. I love it almost as much as he did. My return to hunting as art form gave us common ground in a world of extreme differences. He was a businessman, a bit of a conservative, a suburban father and grandfather, who lived for his family. I resided on the lower east side, had no kids and lived on the edge. Hunting brought us together. Every telephone call in May started the same way: "What's the report?"
Yesterday I put two pieces in the lion cage- TATTOO MY SEX DOLL and KU KLUX KLOWN. In the wake of all the racist and "date rape" news I felt a need to go public with these, what I consider, relevant works. The lion cage is a great venue to set up art safely behind the bars. No one can fuck with it. The day was quiet. No one stopped up. My email box was empty and the phone never rang. No comments- pro or con. So I was a bit surprised when Diamond Dave stopped by and informed me that the whole town was buzzing......and not in a good way. It wasn't the sparse foliage surrounding the obscene fake vagina on TMSD that had gotten anyone's attention, rather it was KKKlown, sitting there, hands folded, bothering no one, that seemed to tweak the 'hood. GOD LOVES FAGS in Hebrew was old news, tame in comparrison.
For many years I've worked in seclusion, rarely showing in any venue, art or otherwise. My audience consisted of a few friends and family who I share my so-called "career" with. This changed in 2008 when I decided to show at Marianna Rothen's apartment in Williamsburg. After 15 years of silence I popped my head up long enough to get a little press and a taste for getting back in the game. This led to the "roadside attraction" approach to my more recent work. My audience is a twice daily rush hour of RNButch's Hispanic workers, a smattering of hillbillies, Hassidics, hunters and fishermen, and of course my neighbors. As far as I know the art world doesn't drive by.
When DD told me how up-in-arms everyone was over KKKlown, my first reaction was non-plussed. These pieces use loaded imagery, so I wasn't that surprised that some would misconstrue. What did surprise me is that my neighbors felt compelled to unload on DD, instead of calling me directly. All this work is meant to engage, not alienate. It may interest ya'll to know that I am not insensitive to your opinions on my public work. The dialogue is important. No one works in a vacuum. The last thing I want is for the strength of this imagery to overpower the intended statement. I've already laid out my views on racism and sexism. Still, some will be so blinded by their own baggage that they will not be able to appreciate any subtlety of message. The art won't come through. I hear you.
I woke up at 5 am. It was raining. After coffee and a shower I tossed my calls, gun, butt pad and raincoat into Shirley's trunk and headed for DD's new property. No sooner had I loaded the gun than I heard a gobble across the road. The bird was way down in the woods. He was sounding off pretty good. Maybe I could coax him in. I set up on the edge of a grouping of tumble down trailers, overlooking a swampy field. I scratched out some yelps on the beautiful box call Milawyer had given me last year. The tom responded. Now came the chess game. My heart was racing. I live for this.
I tried to call just enough to keep the gobbler interested, but not too much to turn him off. He was coming. I put the 12 ga. on my knee and strained to see the front sight. It wasn't even 6 am when I saw the red head. What I didn't see was a beard. The bird was large enough to be a tom. Could it be just a big jake? Then as he stepped behind a tree, I saw a flapping beard. When I moved the gun he caught me, freezing with half his head showing. I settled the sight and fired. He jumped and kept going. I fired again. Bark flew as I pumped another shell into the chamber and pulled the trigger. More bark flew. I was doing great....if I had been chopping wood. I couldn't remember if I had put 3 or 4 shells in the gun, so when I settled down and leveled the gun on his head, I had no idea if I would hear a blast or a hollow "click". To my relief the gun kicked and the big tom fell in his tracks.
By 6:30 am I had removed KKKlown and TMSD from the lion cage, tagged and hung a beautiful turkey in their place, and poured another cup of coffee. The 'hood can relax (for now). I sure miss the old man. Happy birthday Beaver. That's the report.