Friday, May 29, 2015
I KILLED SHIRLEY
This is my sculptural confession. Shirley was my '02 Chrysler Sebring Convertible. I killed her through neglect, not checking her oil regularly enough, until it was too late. Between the exhaust leak in the muffler and the radio up loud, I never heard her clattering cries for help until it was too late. I had oil right there on the seat. I never saw the light come on. If only.....
When the mechanic told me that the engine was blown and the only remedy would be to get a junker engine and install it, I knew I was in for more bad news. I'd paid $3900 for her, put about $2000 in front end, brakes and tires and still there was work to be done. The mechanic told me he could put a new motor in for $3300. It just didn't make sense. My only option was to scrap her for about $300. But then i had another idea. Her guts may have been rotten, but she still looked good there on the front lawn. My epic piece DESTINY HATES A LAGGARD- a bulldozer on house cribbing had stalled. Why not turn Shirley into art?
"Car as art" never much interested me in my own work. John Chamberlain, Guy Overfelt, Ant Farm, and a few others seemed to have staked out that territory pretty well. But what does interest me is relationship and in this case the abuse i had visited upon my poor girl. Maybe there was a way to memorialize Shirley without being too heavy handed. I got out the pen and paper and went to work.
My first idea was to jack up the car and rest the tires in little dished out concrete pads, lowering the top and filling her with concrete. I ran this by a friend and he rightfully pointed out that the suspension would bottom out and the tires would blow. Phase II had 2- 4"x8' I-beams slid under the frame. Then I could jack the entire car up, support the beams on cribbing and fill the interior with concrete. It was a sad process. It went against all I hold sacred- a destruction of a car with a decent interior, a neutralizing of something I paid good money for, something that with enough money to cover the surgery could come back to life. Instead, it was now entombed. It went against capitalism, Detroit and probably even art. It's anti-fucking-American ferchristsake!
But as the concrete truck pulled away and I was left to trowel the gritty surface area, where I will never sit again, never feel the wind in my beard, a calm came over me. I can't count the number of cars and trucks I've had over the years. They've all served me well. If I'm lucky I have a picture of one or two. But Shirley, sweet Shirley? There she sits, a thing of perverse beauty. I feel bad for killing her. But now, I don't feel so bad anymore. I must say it is a fitting memorial.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
NEW MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION
Labels: PHOTO: SARA BUDDE
Another church is behind us. And turkey season is winding down. I was out this morning. I had a bunch going, but after 2 hours of gobbling nothing showed itself in the field. This time of year I savor every gobble. Soon all will go silent, the birds all but disappearing into the tall grass and overgrown woods. Then it's a long hot summer of kitchen remodel and mosquitos, until the first brisk morning in Oct., bow in hand.
Once again we pulled another CLGM service out of our asses. It seems that 20 minutes of rehearsal per year is more than sufficient for THE BAND OF ALL FAITHS. Even having only one rather salty new hymn entitled GOOD 'OL MOUNTAIN JEW, and repurposing 2 others didn't seem to bother anyone. I guess I worry too much. The church has taken on a life of it's own. Showing up is all that's required. We baptized Rocket "Pretty Boy" Budde and Atticus "'lil Cuss" Dudley-McNamara. Aside from a little squirming in protest at the prospect of holy dunking, the kids weathered it fine. Even the parents seemed OK. Once the bows and arrows were passed out, everyone was happy.
Yesterday was for recovery. Even though I'd rationed the booze, the adrenaline overload and post-partum blues always takes its toll. So last night Shewho and I snuggled up on the couch and watched AMERICAN SNIPER on the box. What more perfect crapola than this movie for Memorial Day? One theme we never seem to have for our Memorial Day weekend services is Memorial. And this is on purpose. I realize that to be anti-war, and dare I say, anti-military, in this country is something akin to societal sacrilege, I can't help myself. Do I support the troops? NO. Sorry. People who blindly wave the flag, tearing up over all those who have served, (family or not) give me a giant pain in my ass. Do I love those people who I know who have served in the military? Of course. That's the difference. I don't judge them. I do judge the institution.
AMERICAN SNIPER is complete patriotic drivel. As a hunter I can appreciate this guy's skills with the rifle. But in doing so you have to detach yourself from the fact that he is killing humans. Judging by the box office on this pic, nobody seems to have any problem with this. I realize I'm a little late to this film. I had a preview DVD months ago that never would play in the machine. Nonetheless watching it on Memorial Day and scrolling through fb to see all the flags waving seems appropriate. Less snipers. More diapers. Teach those kids peace and love. No more playing army. 5 more days of turkey season. Get in those woods.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
RED HEAD BANGS
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
Saturday, May 16, 2015
VAN GOGH'S UGLY BABY
I'm back at WSSP. I gotta get back in the woods. And in that regard, let me recap the season.
Opening day found Milawyer and I putting our pants on at Paradise Pond, loading up Shirley and heading for Diamond Dave's. The weather was perfect, 45 degrees, calm, the trees still bare. Nothing gobbled from the roost. We were set up behind the hoarder's trailers, that were now just a pile of wet garbage. Since he'd died, and stopped feeding the turkeys the spot had cooled off. We headed down the ridge, the river on our left to ramp valley. We never heard a gobble.
Around 8am we decided to head back to the car. Most guides would have a pick up truck. I have an '02 Sebring convertible. It suits us fine. We throw the shot guns into the trunk and head for the cemetery. About 100 yards into the woods I scratched out a couple of calls and got a response. Yes! They were close. I pointed out a big tree for Milawyer and I held back. Once he was settled in I called again. They roared back. This is what I wait all winter for.
The auditory aspect of turkey hunting cannot be adequately described, only experienced. I've spent entire mornings trading vocalizations with a big tom, never laying eyes on him and can consider it one of the most satisfying 3 hours I could ever spend. But this morning they were in view in minutes. 4, maybe 5, birds were waddling quickly in our direction, gobbling vigorously. At 50 yards they held up behind a deadfall, in half-strut. I tried to slow my heart, taking a deep breath and settling the sights on a spot I hoped a red, whit and blue head would appear. BOOM!......then another.
Milawyer had a closer shot and took it. The birds busted right, on the slow run. I got on one and pulled the trigger. Much to my surprise, and delight, he went down. "Are you done shooting!" I yelled, before running to the bird. I got the OK and ran to the bird, stepping on his neck, as he clawed and flapped in the dry leaves. Milawyer had missed. He kicked the dirt and looked for feathers or blood. Nope. "I can't believe I could of missed." I've heard (and said) that more times than I'd like to admit. It's amazingly easy to miss a giant turkey with a powerful shotgun. Those feathers are like armor plate. But with a bird down before 9am on opening day, we both felt good. Breakfast.
Yesterday Shewho and I went to the Met. This week as been interesting to say the least. It started with the car blowing up. Then I had my little artworld envy meltdown, on Monday night, after my frustrations and jealousies boiled over. Well, after that Shewho and I were both a little shell shocked. The next trial by fire was another large gallery opening for a famous mother of a friend of mine. Once again the work was great, the company was pleasant and the wine flowed. A big fancy dinner followed and i mingled as much as is humanly possible. This time I kept a smile on my face the entire time. It still hurts.
But in the subway, on the way back to the hotel, I asked Shewho to ease off the hunter stuff. "Just introduce me as an artist. These people don't respond well to the hunting." Well, I probably said it too sharply and Shewho did not take the request lightly. To anyone who was in that car on the N train I apologize. I'm sure we got a little loud. But by now we seem to be used to arguing in public, over my issues. Thankfully it all got resolved before the sandman came.
And last night I sat in a crowded audience, at a uptown gallery, to watch Shewho and two brilliant artworld figures trade Golub stories and insights before an adoring crowd. I'd seen her lecture before and i was impressed. But this was on another level entirely. And I'm not just saying this because I want to stay in her good graces (which I do) nor because I know I can be an asshole and am warning her in advance (which I am). NO. I was so truly impressed by her in this context, that I am currently making the I AM NOT WORTHY avatar. Since I don't have a cell, mine is made out of tape and plastic bags. But.......before all this happened we saw Van Gogh's ugly baby painting at the Met. You gotta see it. It will change your life. That guy sure could paint the hell out of a baby. How could he have ever been obscure?
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
YOU'RE THE TOPS. I'M AT BOTTOM.
I didn't hunt this morning. The temp. dropped about 50 degrees and I was still nursing my wounds from Monday's attempts at getting to NYC. Here's a re-cap:
The day started with the cat jumping on my head at 4 am, a half hour before the alarm was set to go off. I knew the day trip and a long night was ahead of me, so I turned over, clicked off the alarm, as Cheeky snuggled into my beard for some dry nursing, as I hoped to get some more sleep. My plan was to sleep in, pack a bag, pick up my dry cleaned suit, check Shirley's oil, find my dress boots and head to the city about 2pm. I never even made it to the dry cleaners.
About 100 yards from the Kiamesha exit I heard a clatter, saw the oil light was on, and by the time I was half way up the exit, Shirley stopped. I had a quart of oil on the floor. I twisted off the cap and smoke belched out. I poured the oil in, praying as it went. I turned the key. She moaned. Then nothing. Just then a guy in a old red jeep pulled over. "Broke down?" he asked. "Do you have a cell?" I asked. What followed was a comedy of bullshit with AAA. I had a card on Shewho's account. "What is the account holder's PO box?" The AAA operator asked. I had multiple names, addresses, phone #s, but I did not know her PO box. Sorry. No AAA.
So now let me skip ahead a little. I got a tow and ended up taking a bus, getting to the opening about 7pm. I'm in my suit and new shirt, with a tooth brush in my pocket. New York is sweltering. The show is great. I see old friends and drink a lot of white wine. Shewho works the room like the true pro she is. When the opening is over it's off to a fancy dinner at a very long table. The food is good. The white turns to red and the evening continues.
Then about a half hour before the whole shindig is over, it hits me. The demon comes out. I can't blame it entirely on the booze or the blown engine, or the heat. He just came out. I glazed over and looked up and down the long table of very nice, albeit entitled, privileged people, and began to hate every one of them. They'd only been cordial and pleasant to me. I had no reason at all. Ok. Maybe I had a few.
Thankfully I kept it together until I got out the door. But Shewho was not as lucky as the rest of the table. She did not escape. All my baggage, my insecurities, my weak, flaccid ego, the CRAP that comes along with 40 years as one of those artists who doesn't sell, or even show, came out on the walk back to the hotel. It was pure jealousy. Shewho did not deserve it. And that's an understatement.
The next day i beat it back to the mountain, tail between my legs. And here's the funny part. After all this embarrassing, immature, negative , assholish behavior, Shewho still talks to me. She doesn't really understand the demon, but she forgives me and doesn't kick my pitiful ass to the curb. It's a cliche to say i don't deserve her. But it's really true. As of this morning I thought to myself "I've finally hit bottom."
I put the cat in the truck, and went to the hospital. No, not the psych ward. I went to give blood. If I was going to ask artists to give blood, i had to roll up my sleeve first. Then as I read the booklet of restrictions to give blood I realized how ludicrous it was to ask artists to do this. If you are a gay male, have hep, HIV, or take any number of prescription meds., give sex for money, receive sex for money, travel almost anywhere outside the U.S., have had a tattoo in the past year, etc. etc., you cannot give blood. I lied about the tattoo, told them I sometimes get breakfast after sex and hadn't taken it up the ass since 1972. "Roll up your sleeve, sir." the nice nurse said.
I felt pretty good after my bloodletting. Maybe the demon's juice was in the bag. Then I got an email about my big 3 day Brooklyn Blood Drive. The Red Cross wouldn't do it. Too small fry. The gallery wouldn't fly out the curator, nor cover shipping- to or fro, and expected me to sit the gallery for the three days. How's that for a career? I have another fancy opening and dinner to go to tomorrow. The car is in the shop with a blown engine and it's supposed to snow tonight. How will I fare? "Keep that demon down boy." I tell myself. Don't be such an asshole. Obviously bottom is still a long way down.