Sunday, June 22, 2014
"I READ IT IN HUNTINGWITHSUPERMODELS!"
As casino contenders in Sullivan County drop by the wayside, one by one, magazines like GREENDOOR fold, and the paint continues to peel in the bungalows of our mind.......lets drop in Rock Hill and see how this little Catskill truck stop is making out.
This "town" used to be no more than a fire house, post office, church, the TRADING POST- opened in 1960, (the spot where even now you can get a chain saw and a sandwich), a barbershop (now gone) and MY FATHER'S PLACE disco (the old rail stop turned Exxon station). For decades that was it, no more. The Pizza the Rock building sat vacant for decades. These days, with the help of the deep pockets of RNButch, HisBroRandy, and miaccountant DApel and son things are changing .....fast. These cats are turning "the strip" around. With a wink of the historical eye you can now get a decent cup of coffee in, count 'em, two places in Rock Hill- BREW and THE KRISPY APPLE.
We don't usually do reviews here at HWS, but Diamond Dave caught me exiting the shul yesterday. He pulled up in a brand spanking new, light blue Porshe. . I hope he's told wife Irish Liz about the purchase by now. I know she reads the blog, so if you haven't DD....sorry, you may be in trouble by the time you get home. I didn't want to know what it cost. Most emerging countries have a smaller GNP. He knows how much it breaks my heart to see him squander his duccets on things with wheels, but I've given up trying to steer him away. As we caught up, he mentioned that RNButch was waiting for a "Brew review". Not to play neighborhood favorites, here's my take on the overall commercial gentrification of Rock Hill:
1. The yearly ROAD RALLY- This bunch of rich cats in souped up little cars have been taking over our bucolic back roads for a few years now. Last year I got in a big pissing match with them over putting me on lock down for the weekend. This year I went to WSS, just to avoid the mess. Word has it that they won't be coming back next year. Turns out I wasn't the only one annoyed at these idiots. I, for one, won't miss them.
2. ST. PATTY'S DAY PARADE- An excuse to drink heavily during daylight hours at Dutch's, after watching a few fire trucks drive by. Not my thing, but all good for the community. I support the Irish.
3. VINTAGE CAR SHOWS- These are a favorite at the fire house. It does back up traffic when I'm trying to reach the Trading Post for a six pack, turning my run from 10 to 12 minutes, but I can deal. Careful. If the sun hits the shiny paint jobs just right it can blind you when you drive by.
4. FARMER'S MARKET- Aaron Burr Cider, Majestic Farms, Trussbridge Farms, and a whole bunch of localvore merchants are spread out in the dusty parking lot next to the visitor's center, across from the Trading Post, every Sat. morning. The stuff is fresh, delectable and way too expensive. But try finding a farmer's market that isn't.
5. THE KRISPY APPLE- Opened right next to Miaccountant's little hut, I had coffee there this morning, after being too bleary eyed to wait in the long line at Brew. As the barista gave a "fresh bean" lecture to couple waiting for a smoothie, I looked around. Nice rustic general store interior and a kind of "hippie vibe". Coffee was excellent! I'll be back.
6. RESNICKVILLE- This includes THE SULLIVAN MOTEL, BERNIE'S HOLIDAY RESTAURANT, CRUST, BREW......and that's just so far. This consortium includes RNButch, HBRandy, Steve and Edy, and a big staff. I haven't stayed at the motel, but I've hit the rest. BHR- great little ribs and drinks. A little pricey. Crust- I recommend the sausage pizza. I haven't had anything else. And last, but not least the Brew review: DD and I hit it after the auction last week. The paddle of little micro-brew beers is $7 and well worth it. I had the chicken salad on thick marble rye. Fresh and yummy. Burgers were too well done. When I order rare I want rare. But they were tasty and moderately priced. Since I keep forgetting to buy coffee I've been to Rock Hill more than ever for my morning cup. Except for this AM I'm gotten it at Brew. Great med. cup for under $2. My one complaint was paying $12 for a cup of coffee and a bagel with lox and creme cheese. DD assures me it's just the "lox market" that threw this out of my price range. I say find cheaper lox. All in all I give it 3 and a half titties.
To all the businesses in Rock Hill I wish them well. They are making history (without casinos). Lines are forming. Finally a decent cup of coffee! Everyone seems to be doing a brisk business. Nobody needs my review. But here it is anyway. Tell 'em you read it in HWS.
I don't know how I could've forgotten the place I've had breakfast at least once a week for the last 20 years- THE ROCK HILL DINER. The "Big Breakfast" is legendary and cheap as any East Village Polish Cafe from back in the day. Just yesterday my waitress asked what my name was? "I'm Dee." she said sticking out her hand. I knew that. "After all these years....."
Friday, June 20, 2014
DRIVING MR. CITIOT
I've spent the past couple of days chauffeuring my friend and "critic of the fringe" Carlo "Chuck" McCormick around these hills. Following the lead of the now defunct Green Door mag. publisher Akira Ohiso's coining of the term "Hickster" Chuck pitched an idea to ARTNEWS to cover the so-called "Hickster Aesthetic" of the Catskills. Is there such a thing? I remember using the term in a blog in about 2004 and then never using it again. I like it. But it took me years to realize "hipster" had become a derogatory term used to describe the sock hat wearing, over the shoulder bag carrying, ubiquitous glom of hip, destroying Brooklyn. Hey, I'm out of touch. Hipster? Hickster? Who cares. I was just glad to be in ARTNEWS.
So we got in Shirley and headed north. It's hard enough to distill down any individual artist's approach, let alone a group, even if they live in the same neighborhood. When they are spread across 100s of miles of timber, farm fields and winding roads it could be impossible. But with a full tank of gas and a bladder full of coffee we were about to give it a try. First stop was SHANDAKEN RESIDENCY, off Rt. 28, just below Big Indian. This outfit is just starting out. Four young women residents and a bright, energetic man named Nick (who ran the place), gave us the tour of small plywood studios, plopped down in clearings around an old farm house. We had lunch, talked art, dropped names and soaked up the vibe. Trying not to interject myself too much, I periodically would have to reel Chuck in from portraying his "driver" as an old, deer hunting local failed artist, who had attended Woodstock. All true- yes. But if I let him run with it he'd be pointing out my "prison tattoos" and calling me a carpenter. Identity is everything in art. Nobody seemed to like the term "hickster". Oh well. Moving on.
The next stop was a German video art couple- E TEAM, across the river from Hudson. We had drawn the line there. No Hudson. No Beacon. No Woodstock. These places were already too well known. This area of Greene County was more high end gentile farms than either Sullivan or Ulster, yet still the Catskills. Chuck included E TEAM, WAVE HILL FARM and Peter Nadin in this corner. All take different approaches to their work and relationship to these hills. E Team were internationally recognised artists, who wanted to open a diner called WAITING. "You wait to be waited on, only to be served your just deserts." I love the Germans. We had homemade jelly, warm croissants and espresso.
WAVE HILL was a very impressive local radio station/experimental sound collective, that also was a residency. Bands like JAPANTHER and CHICK, CHICK, CHICK had come and gone, leaving cool crap in the woods. There was a lot of static, solar panels and visionary, radical politics. I wished I could get them on my boom box. No food was served. That's OK. We weren't hungry.
The last stop was Peter Nadin's farm, a 180 acre piece of heaven in Cornwallville. We had farm fresh sausage over pasta, good cheese and red wine for a sit down lunch and conversation. I was ready for a nap under the Chestnut tree. Nadin, who has an art career, runs an 80 head pig farm/ceramic/painting studio complete with vista views, green houses and a completely restored 1790 farm house. He seems to do it all in a white shirt, with manicured lawn and no shit on his boots. Only the Brits can pull that off. Was there a "hickster aesthetic" among this bunch? Who knows. It's up to Chuck to articulate that. I know he will. That's why he makes the big bucks. The woman from WAVE HILL tossed us the term "Citiot", to describe what the locals think of the encroaching hordes from the south. We both loved it. As "local" as I am now, 20 years ago I too was a citiot. I use it here as a term of endearment. But don't pay any attention to me. I'm only the driver.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
GOD'S LITTLE 100 X 100 LOT
I use real estate and tobacco leaf as art material. Every couple of weeks I order a few more pounds of leaf from my guy in Ct. Today the computer wouldn't take my order, so I had to call them. When the guy saw my eclectic ordering history he inquired as to my usage? He saw no consistency in my tobacco taste patterns. I told him it was for art supplies. Satisfied that I was not some smoker, breaking all the rules, he never questioned the usage as art and we moved on.
My use of real estate as material is more varied. WSSP, WSSP II and THE HOLLIE WITCHEY PROJECT are full on domeciles, with close friends as occupants. Construction is basically complete on all three. My role now is more of an overseer, making sure they don't crumble, while remaining friends with the occupants. So far so good.
The other way I use real estate is to buy very small parcels at auction and utilize these strategically placed lots for sculptural purposes. My first one was a 50' x 300' sliver of land surrounded by cemeteries. This I use as the CLGM cemetery. Jerry Williams is there. So far he's alone. I put up a sign once, but someone complained and the town forced me to take it down. That's OK. Willie doesn't get many visitors. The other tiny piece is river front property down on Holiday Mountain Road. Initially I put up a sign denoting the spot as the CLGM "Baptism" site. This sign was immediately stolen. When i reported this to the town they said it was an "illegal" sign, and that I needed a permit. That set off a 1st. amendment debate. When I asked about all the FOR SALE signs in the county, they said they had no regulations concerning those. So I put a 4 x 8 plywood sign that just said FOR SALE, with no other info. This caused a big argument with the neighbor, who couldn't figure it out. When i tried to explain it as sculpture I did not succeed in convincing the neighbor of its merit and this was also stolen.
This brings me to yesterday's attempt to purchase a 100' x 100' lot just down the road from the church. It has an old foundation, close to the road, and nothing else- perfect. I figured if I could get it for under $400 it was worth it. The yearly auction in Sullivan County is a trip. I paid about $300 each for the cemetery and the river front. My taxes are about $11 per year. The county takes over properties that haven't paid taxes for a couple of years and auctions them off. I paid $30,000 for WSSP and sold it as art. This year I saw prime real estate go for under $50,000. I always tell my city friends to check out the auction. They never do. Too bad. The bargains won't last forever.
In a room with the worst acoustics on earth, fast talking auctioneers, with neck mics., go through the 300 or so properties on the block. The room is packed with hillbillies, mob, Hassidics, Orthodox, Black, White, Indian, and Asian. Everyone's looking for a bargain. When it came to #137 I was ready. I started the biding at $50. Then I heard $100. Fuck- someone else was interested. Later I found out it was Diamond Dave fucking with me. At $150 he backed off and a small Black man in a sweater vest, wearing a gold cross took over. At $400 I dropped my paddle. Who the hell could want that piece?
Bronco Billy came up to me after the auction and informed me that the man who had out bid me was a competing pastor. "I smell holy war." Billy whispered and moved off. My plan for the piece was to build a cabin in the sky on the old foundation. With lashed scaffolding and cribbing I hoped to put a tiny log cabin above the tree tops. Bishop Derrick R. Simms (Prophet/Founder) of the Cross of Calvary Church, Inc. had beat me to the punch. What are his plans? I asked him, but he was evasive. I, for one, would just like to welcome the Bishop to the neighborhood. I see no reason for a jihad. A little competition is a good thing. Holy Hill is expanding.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
GREEN IS THE NEW ORANGE
SPOILER ALERT! Don't read any farther if, like my nieces, you don't want too much information. It started last week at GNJohn's impromptu birthday party over at Diamond Dave's. He had invited a few of us over for drinks to celebrate. Lez Parks was in town with her new beau Rothchilde Jones. Turns out RJ and I knew a bunch of the same artists. And it was always good to see Lez. As we vaped and drank, and the "wild" turkey gobbled and the cows moooed, a good time was had by all.
After an hour or so everyone left but Pigpen, DD, GNJ and myself. DD made hotdogs. I was starved so I had two big ones, with hot sauce and mustard. After I ate, I went home also. That's when it happened. I was sitting on the couch, watching John Stewart, when I noticed a tickling itch in my ass crack. At first I thought it was just a "wild" hair, gone astray, that just need coaxing back into the fold. But when i went in for closer inspection, I realized to my dismay, it was more than an errant hair. Way more. What was it? This I did not know.
My eyes aren't that good and I'm not that limber anymore, so bending over on a chair, in front of a mirror, head between my legs, cheeks spread.....you get the picture. Getting my new bride-to-be to dive in for a reccon. mission, seemed to be asking a bit much. I know she'd do it if pressed. But I have so little mystery to hold onto as it is. I couldn't ask Shewho. She was the one who suggested the camera. Why didn't I think of that? I know I have a lot of intelligent readers, and not just a few medical professionals who follow this blog. This thing hurts like hell. Can anybody tell me what it is?
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
Monday, June 9, 2014
BLACK IN THE GARDEN
This is the title of BLACK TRACTOR'S 2001 CD release. BLACK TRACTOR was Samoa on guitar, Mark Fairchild on guitar, Bob Bert on drums, Rob Kennedy on bass and me writing the songs and doing the vocals. We rehearsed for about 6 mos., never played a gig and recorded the CD in one session. Why should you care? You shouldn't. But every once in a while I have to remind myself that I used to rock. Rock band as art form can be a helluva lot of fun. It can also be a giant pain in your ass. I don't miss it that much.
Last night (with free tickets from bassist Greg Hard) Shewho and I found ours selves on Hurd road heading, once again, for "Woodstock". BETHEL WOODS (the venue at the site) is a kind of Jurassic Park for musicians. And one of my favorite dinosaurs of all time, Willie Nelson was playing. Shewho had never been. The place looks like a cross between a Cabelas and a really nice rest stop on the Thruway. It's all stone and big timbers, and raised seam copper roofs, well done, but souless. Shewho said it reminded her of the San Diego Zoo. We immediately were pulled from the line for having glass bottled ice teas. OK. We chugged our teas and continued. I wanted to show Shewho the original '69 site. A gravel road skirted the top edge. I pointed to where the stage was and moved about 10 feet onto the lawn when a jeep pulled up to us. The uniformed security woman barked into her walki-talki- "Yeah, I got 'em". A chill ran down my spine. Guilty conscience I guess. Turns out you "can't walk on the site during a show". I hadn't been back in the garden for 10 minutes and had been chastised twice by security.
It was great to see 81 year old Willie once again, but he basically phoned in the show. Who could blame the guy? Even during a "phone in" there were glimpses of his brilliant, loosey-goosey, guitar playing and smooth vocals. He ended the set with a gospel number- "Roll me up and smoke me when I die." Willie is still the man.
I started the day with more lawyer struggle, trying to close on the shul. As I drove down to get to work on some new canvases at the shul studio I saw Carlito coming up the road. I needed to talk to him. When I waved him down, I hit the brakes. A gallon can of paint, I had on the passenger side, went flying, splashing beige paint all over the dash and rug. When I got home there was an email from Chuck. It was an idea he had for writing an article concerning "the garden and the skyscraper". Attached was an obscure story poem of a man who presents the idea that goes against the grain of the crowd- one of building an American skyscraper in the garden. The man escapes, but another "medium height" man is decapitated in order to satiate the crowd's bloodlust. In the end his severed head gets stuck in the storm drain. Black in the garden.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Labels: pHOTO:mARIANA rOTHEN
THE DAY IN HORSEY HISTORY
In 1973 I lived in Baltimore, with a couple of hippies and a young woman who I had met on the last day of art school at MICA. Instead of returning home to our families for summer vacation we selected to stay in Balwamer and work at the track. I had spent the spring working as a hot walker/groom at Timmonium, the sister track of Pimlico, out in the suburbs. I would get to work in the dark, about 4:30 am, share a hit off the Irish jockey's flask and joint, give him a leg up on the first horse and go about shoveling the shitty straw out of the stall. When he was through exercising the beast I'd help remove the tack, attach a "shank" line and slowly walk the heaving, sweating thoroughbred around the dirt paddock. By 10 am all five horses had been exercised and cooled, their stalls cleaned and I would have another shot and hit, drive into town and go to school. Some days I'd stay up all night partying and just go to work. Looking back on it, I can't believe I ever had the energy.
This was John Water's Baltimore of PINK FLAMINGOS, Edie's Thrift Store, white marble steps, rats and cockroaches. The actors on THE WIRE hadn't been born yet. I was a small town boy, naive, clueless and a bit scared, let on the loose in this city. The track was my escape. I got the young woman (who I would marry less than a year later) a job with me, as a hot walker for another stable. The two of us and my dog, piled in my '49 Ford pickup 6 days a week and attended to our nags.
The track is a rich and poor, black and white, pampered and exploited, rough sub-culture. I worked for a trainer who was no older than I. He was the son of a famous jockey, too big to ride, at the beginning of his career. I learned fast. By the time the PREAKNESS came around in May I was an old hand. SECRETARIET had won the derby a few weeks previous and all the buzz was that he would win the PREAKNESS. "Are you going?" my young boss asked. I just shrugged. "You know it's free to track employees?" Sold. The future ex-Mrs. Osterhout and I got on my motorcycle (the truck was down) and headed for Pimlico, track badges pinned to our coats, horse shit still on our boots.
The day SECRETARIET won the second prong of the Triple Crown we were treated like VIPs. Those track IDs got one anywhere one desired to go- backstretch, winner's circle, finish line. I've had "all access" laminates over the years, but never one so inclusive. Anything short of jumping on the horse, for a trot around, was allowed. Rich women in big, stupid hats were shoved aside as we cut in line after line. Baltimore football player Johnny Unitas stood next to us, as he gave his retirement speech in the infield. Maybe John Waters was there, but I'm sure he couldn't git in the places we could. As SECRETARIET crossed the finish line we were sprayed with dirt from his hooves. As everyone knows he went on to win Belmont. This afternoon CALIFORNIA CHROME will try to repeat the toughest thing in horsey history to accomplish- win the Triple. I won't be trackside. I think my 1973 Thoroughbred Assoc. ID has expired. Post time: 6:55pm. Get your bets in.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
CRAZY ENOUGH TO BE ANNOYING. NOT CRAZY ENOUGH TO BE AN INTERNET SENSATION.
We all walk a fine line. No matter what your vocation: binge drinker, backyard wrestler, professional fluffer, snake charmer or artist, we try our best to make a statement without going too overboard. It can be tough to know when a line gets crossed. And if that line is crossed, is it necessary to cross it? Provocation can, at times, be an important component of the work. Other times it can be gratuitous and not germane to the idea. How does one know? I say let the internet decide.
Within hours of buying my first computer, late in 2003, I started a blog. I had taken a typing class in high school and this machine had a keyboard. How hard could it be to rule the world wide web? I just happened to to be in the last phase of a memoir called LUCKY MIKE. This followed my previously unpublished account called RELIGIOPATH. Instead of re-writing LM on paper I decided to put it down in cyberspace. Once I completed LM the blog I followed it with CHRISTMO. This internet thing was a blast.
The fact that I could "self-publish" world wide over coffee in the morning was a fucking revelation. I had a couple of readers that I knew of and probably a few more I didn't know about. In my little world it was enough. Then I realized I could upload my DISPOSABLETV videos on Youtube. These were short goofy vids. of me trying to get in beauty school, moving a house or other such nonsense. Once in a while I would check to see how many people viewed my videos. One got 12 views, another 36. Tosh.0 was not calling. Then I did one of a Richard Kern photo shoot down at my Old School house. Hot girls in their underwear? Bingo! 12,000 views and counting....
I was on Facebook for a minute and luckily escaped. I have tumblr and twitter accounts I never log onto and no longer even bother to check youtube. I'm sure KERN GIRLS 1 is still racking up the views. Shewho has a cat named Mo (not after me, but short for Mojo). He talks. He says "hello" and "mama", "I love you", and a few other phrases, in what I think is German. He's very sweet and a bit annoying. I've thought of breaking out the disposabletv camera and trying to capture his "talent", hoping to get a bunch of "cat vid. freaks" to click on it. But I never do. What's the point? When it comes to art (or cat videos), I'd rather not keep score.
Monday, June 2, 2014
GOOGLE MAPS CALLING
Now that I've started to pop my head above the briars, put the book out there, get a little press, maybe a few more readers of the blog, it's kinda nice. Who doesn't like a little attention? I know I've always said that the CLGM shuns publicity, and we have.....up until now. But now that it's been passed on, why the hell not exploit the past. There's a slight tickling of my sphincter. Could it be the onset of "Buttafucco Syndrome" - that insatiable desire to be in the public eye? My one commentator on HWS would say "YES!", then go on to describe what a worthless piece of shit I am. When I read his/her comments I feel dirty all over....in a good way.
Anyways.....enough about my pathology. What I wanted to talk about is drone warfare. Ex- spook Richard Clark has written a novel called STING OF THE DRONE. He was on Democracy Now this morning hyping it. Amy asked why he didn't write a non-fiction, since he's basically the guy who started the armed drone program. He didn't have a good answer. My take is he wants to make more money and distance himself from culpability. Either way this subject fascinates me. What more terrifying a weapon than one that strikes without warning, from the heavens, on a bight sunny day?
As I ponder this, the phone rings. Because I have an ancient handset it doesn't display who's calling. I pick up. "Hello.....is this the church of the little green man?" the voice asks in a soothing Apoo accent. "Who's calling?" I ask back. "This is Google maps calling." he answers. Then what transpires is a very interesting back and forth session with the Google map man and myself. I have no idea why Google maps would be interested in the CLGM, but they are. "....and what is your theology?" It's so wierd that I've just this morning, been trying to articulate this to myself. "I call it THEVOLUTION, an evolving theology that is all inclusive of any believing or non-believing person." "Hummm." the Gman responds. "Are there any businesses near you?" he wants to know. I tell him that we are in the sticks and send him to the blog in lieu of a church website. Just in case the NSA, DEC, FBI, ATF or CTU is listening I tell him we are heavily armed. "143 Old Glen Wild rd.?" is his final question. It's a sunny day. Now you have my coordinates.
GREEN DOOR MAGAZINE- The Summer of the Hickster
Sunday, June 1, 2014
PROF. OSTERHOUT'S FORESKIN RECONSTRUCTION INSTITUTE
After watching that bloody scene with Dennis the other night, Shewho called Teehoo and gave her the play by play. "Did you call Carlito?" she asked, horrified by the account. It was late and I didn't want to bother him, but Teehoo insisted that if the goat died it was on my head. OK. OK. I'll do anything to keep my women folk happy. I placed the call and got his machine. I left a message describing the carnage Dennis was subjecting us to and my conscience was clear.
The next morning Carlito returned the call. "Why are you calling the animal cops on me?" Was the first thing out of his mouth. He's a yuckster, so I played along. I told him that if he didn't snip Dennis' balls I would call them. "What are you talking about?" he asked. "What are you talking about?" I replied. When we sorted it out I realized we were on two different pages. It seems that last Sunday, during services someone had dropped a dime to the Fallsburg cops informing them that I had a "wild turkey" in the lion cage. The cops called the DEC and before you could say gobble-gobble, two cop cars were in front of the church and a DEC van was in Carlito's driveway. He was up by Scapegoat Butch's house observing the officious activity. DEC always gets your attention. I must've been turkey hunting.
I don't know if any of you have ever tried getting ahold of the DEC, but most times you get a recording and I've never been able to get an officer to actually show up. Jacklighting, illegal dumping, trespassing, baiting....don't seem to interest them. But put a obviously domestic turkey in a lion cage in front of a church and they are on it. According to Carlito, when they didn't see any bird in my cage (he was back at Pigpen's shitting on Diamond Dave's Porsche) they went to the nearest place with animals- Scapegoat Butch's. The DEC don't need a search warrant to snoop around. So, disappointed that they couldn't fuck with me, they went over Carlito's critters with a fine tooth comb. Of course Carlito dotes on his furry beasts and they are never mistreated (except by Dennis). The DEC had nothing and left with the Fallsburg cops in tow.
Here's my advice to anyone who drives by my place and wants to call the cops on me: know the difference between a "wild" and a "domestic" turkey, realize that putting Hebrew on a billboard is not anti-Semitic or illegal, note that the TOTEM OF BRUCE sports no genitalia and if Ku Klux Klown makes a rare appearance he is a commentary on our times and sadly misunderstood. In the meantime I'm getting all my papers in order to open the foreskin reconstruction Institute down at the Shul. I spent the winter practicing my technique. I can order all the stem cells I want from Israel. A little balloon rubber and some super glue and you'd never know it hadn't been there all along. And yes......it's completely legal. Make your appointment now.