Saturday, June 30, 2012


Last night I was on the horn with Mystery Girl. We were discussing the Foxy Boxing church and planning the invite for the Dog Daze church. Mystery Girl is a famous supermodel/ photog and my go-to babe for all church invites. Pants? No pants? This is serious business. I guess with the Cardinal Epic turning 13 soon he should be in on these decisions. But maybe not. 13 may be old enough to get married below the Mason Dixon line, but up here in the mountains the authorities may take a dim view of a teen being so involved in these church decisions. It's one thing to shave the kid's pubes in public. It's another to put such heady decisions on his plate. Plus I know how he'll vote. NO PANTS!
   I told MG that dogs should somehow be involved in the picture. Everyone knows how much MG hates dogs, but being the trooper she is, it was she who suggested multiple canines, on short leashes, combined with stiletto heels. The girl has the spirit of the Lord within. She told how sometimes she and Sister NOYB will be in a bevy of models and talk will turn to church. Sister NOYB will suggest something and Mystery Girl will mention something else, while the other lithesome beauties stand around wide eyed and gape mouthed, wondering what religion these girls are. Always the loyal parishioners they shut up and talk turns to eye lashes and bikini waxing. Disaster averted. Keep it to yourself. They don't call her Mystery Girl for nothing.

Outside of facebook and this blog I don't hype church at all. In a day and age where people will eat spoons of cinnamon and chew homeless faces off just to go viral, the LGM wants to stay low key. Each service a few more people show up. If it keeps up like this in a year or two the CLGM will become unwieldy and we will have to close the doors. You know it's coming. I prepare a place for you.....not every one of your friends and acquaintances. It's not for everyone. Recently a neighbor who I'll refer to as Dr. Gooch characterized us as "a bunch of white people acting stupid." at a dinner party he was hosting, holding back the finger bowls until the service was almost over, causing the guests (who wanted to come) to miss the service. Well, let me just say acting stupid knows no color. We may be stupid, but never mean spirited or non-inclusive in any way. Like (or not). All you need is a dollar and a scheme. Like the sign says- ALL  WELCOME.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RELIC- 2012


The above quote is from a David Ireland piece I have hanging over my desk. Under that is a framed twenty dollar bill given to us by our Grandmother who died at 105. Gram always had a spare twenty. Many times it meant the difference in filling the tank and getting home. I realize not everyone likes their parents and for good reason. There are a lot of really terrible parents out there. That said, there's also a lot of fucked up, ungrateful spawn floating downstream. I was just lucky enough to be born into a family of relatively square shooting, loving individuals. I also am proud of myself for being able to recognize and appreciate this fact. They never asked me to be anything different than what I was.
   Unlike David Ireland's quote, I never had a problem with holding back while my parents were alive. But I'm sorry to say this will not always be the case. Mom's still fighting the good fight, while the old man is a couple of years gone. Time is of the essence. I know exactly where DI was coming from though, when he made that piece. I can feel something welling up inside me as my mom struggles through sleepless nights of pain, laced with morphine stupor. It's between not being able to go and going every five minutes- neither a decent option. One day at a time. I know she's getting really good care, but still......I'm getting pissed. How can she be leaving? And i know when she's gone the damn's gonna burst. No more Mr. Fucking Nice Guy.
    It may not have looked like I've been holding back all this time, but just wait. When my mother dies her calming voice of reason will be gone forever. "Michael, do you think that's wise?" will be heard no more. Sure, I have Shewho and Teewhoo and a raft of siblings, nieces and nephews to reel me in, but when the time comes that I am basically an orphan, well look out. One can only hope that the past 60 years of child rearing my mom has invested in has not been for naught. I wouldn't count on it.

Monday, June 25, 2012




 For those of you who have even an inkling of an idea that I am racist, sexist, homo-phobic, anti-semitic, xeno-phobic or otherwise ass-holish....let me jus say you are mistaken. OK, I'll admit to being an asshole from time to time. But as to the others, I vehemently deny the accusations. I say this in response to some rumblings I've been catching, through the grapevine, after the ELECTRIC SOLSTICE FOXY BOXING FLASHBACK RAINBOW UNICORN TEMPLE OF THE LGM this past Sat.
    I guess it started when I decided to erect a billboard in my front yard a year ago. On a bright yellow background, in red and black letters it states GOD LOVES FAGS in both English and Hebrew. Not content to let it stand at that, I made a deal with a German artist friend to buy the use of his name for a year. The authorship of said billboard became Tobias Yves Zintel. About a month later a carload of Hassidic teenagers decided the billboard offended them, and proceeded to kick it in, breaking it in half. Not to be deterred, I pieced it back together, featuring the break. There Toby's billboard remains, a beacon to tolerance.
   As a white male artist working in the 21st Century it's very difficult to offend, shock or provoke anyone these days. And to be honest, this has never been too much of a concern for me. But I do bore easily and am constantly looking for new ways to communicate through my art. I'm about as hetero, white and American as they come. My Dutch, Christian, Indian killer kin came here in the 17th century and never left. So for me to tap into already hot topic issues such as anti-semetism, sexism and racism can be problematic. Which brings me to church.

Originally services were called WAY TOO GAY NOT BLACK ENOUGH EMERGENCY CIRCUS CHURCH. I promoted it with images of different people in black face. My favorite was one of Eva Braun imitating Al Jolson. Talk about post-modern. But people just didn't get where I was coming from, so we postponed that service and regrouped for Foxy boxing church. My idea was to get some supermodels to box me. The wrinkle is I would be in full Klan regalia with an embroidered smiley face, as Ku Klux Klown. I planned to enter the ring carrying a hand sized burning cross.
  I began the service as MOHAIReeshi- a guru type, and left after the collection to get into my klan robes. Thinking twice about lighting the cross inside the sanctuary I went out on the lawn to torch it. What I didn't figure on was about 20 congregants were taking a smoke break and the cross flames leapt 10 feet in the air. When I appeared in the dark as Ku Klux Klown, holding a burning cross, in front of my church.....well even the most die-hard elder was shocked. In the words of art critic and ex-Cardinal Chuckles McCormick "Dude, you CAN'T burn crosses on your front lawn and not expect people to be offended." Which brings me to the fight.

   As Chuck dosed the burning cross with a bottle of Holy Water I went inside to meet my fate. Three beautiful supermodels in skimpy outfits- Minni, Krista, and Linda proceeded to chase me around the pews, as the congregation called for blood. I did all I could do not to get really hurt, as the completely corrupt referee Mike Edison helped the girls bring me to my knees. I took a beating for the cause as the congregation whooped and hollered in approval. Racist? Sexist? I don't see it. But if anyone just happened to be driving by 143 Old Glen Wild Rd. as a guy stepped out of a church holding a burning cross, dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes....let me just say don't jump to any conclusions. It's art.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


It's only 8:30 am and already it's 80 degrees up here on the mountain. Lets hope all you congregants still stuck in town have air. Preparations are continuing for this Saturday's Foxy Boxing Temple of the Little Green Man. Since it's on a Saturday it's a Temple. Duh. Yesterday three 18 year old girls dropped by out of the blue, taking pictures in front of the billboards and wondering what kind of church this was? "Your kind of church." I answered, as i turned the skeleton key and opened the door, starting the tour. I don't usually have ones so young in these hallowed halls. My mother insists that kids should be under 10 (except for Cardinal Tristan) or over 21. Her reasoning is that the teen years are too impressionable (without the maturity to realize the irony). All our ragging on "fags", "jews", "evil catholics" and any other sacred cow we can butcher can be lost on those so young. She may be right. But hell, the girls were already in the door.
   As the girls turned around, gape mouthed, taking it all in, the questions began. "Why the Hebrew?" "Was I Jewish?" "Was I Gay?" "What did I believe?  "Why did we burn dollars?" "Was that really a stripper pole?" "Was I ordained?" I wondered what kind of questions the Pope got as he gave the tour at St. Peter's. I always try to do my best to answer these questions. These kids were so cute and thirsty for knowledge. Turned out they lived on the LES. When I said I had lived there for many years they brightened. I mentioned this bar and that store, then realized I had left when they were two years old. Blank stares all around. Eventually they grabbed some old programs, an invite for Sat., and left with big smiles.

This is the first "Solstice" church. But it's not the first time the church has celebrated the longest day here in the Catskills. In fact when we first started this moveable feast in 1986 we religiously had "retreats" at Wolf Lake. These involved a caravan of junkers, filled with booze, food, drugs, guitars, drums, amps and dazed individuals, shocked to be out of the East Village, making a yearly pilgrimage to the lake. Plenty of boats were turned over, (Gary Ray's expensive video equipment is still at the bottom of the lake), pants were lost, much LSD was consumed, but we all made it out alive.
   These days not much has changed. The elders may have gotten older (and hopefully wiser) but the congregation has remained firmly rooted in that 20 and 30 something demographic, that allows them to make the most out of all that daylight. The laurel is in bloom. The mercury is rising. The girls are picking out their skimpy outfits for foxy boxing and Ku Klux Klown is about to turn that clown frown around and take on all sexy comers. What kind of church? I repeat- Your kind of church.  



Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Monday, June 18, 2012


For the first 7 or 8 years I spent up here on the mountain things were kinda quiet. Then I got divorced and more and more "city people" started moving up. First came GNJohn, then Slick, the Buddes, Shewho, Sister NOYB, Diamond Dave, etc., etc. We all came separate of one another. Church started up again and before you knew it the Sullivan County underground was  in full swing. My small crowd of locals and old skool hipsters mixed well with the new bunch of beautiful youngsters. You never know who's gonna show up.
    One of the best sources of newcomers is Slick and Beeks' Outlier Inn. This little bed and breakfast is drawing 'em like flies. Hardly a week goes by that I don't get a call from the Inn informing that some guests are coming my way to check out the gallery and church. Yesterday I got the call that Luigi Fellini (Frederico's grandson) was heading my way with 3 beautiful women. Then, just like out of the movies, here comes the Firebird and a flat black Triumph driven by a smoking dutch babe. Everyone piles out and the tour begins. I'm not one of those guys who thinks he has nothing in common with the youth, or apologizes for being old. Age has its advantages if you own it. The girls and Fellini were smiling and taking it in.
   The Fellini crowd was headed to Paradise pond so I said maybe I would join them later. I DO know how to picnic, so I picked up a couple of six packs and some chips and headed for the pond. Just as I was descending the steps to the lake I saw the boat pulling away from the dock. "AHOY!" I hollered "You need beer?" They smiled and waved me off. They said they were heading for the island. I was content to pull a chair on the dock, crack a beer and watch the fluffy clouds. The boat was full. So there I sat, eating chips drinking 1, 2, 3 beers. The sun moved west. An hour and a half later I saw the boat returning. But surprisingly it the kept to the far side of the lake. I could just make out Fellini standing up, taking a leak while the boat turned around and headed back into the sunset. And it was gone. I was crushed. Had this suave Italian just out pimped my pimp hand? Hell, I could sit and drink alone anytime. I grabbed my chips and drove home. On the way I stopped by the Trading Post. The girl looked up and asked if I had a discount. I had no idea what she was talking about. "Are you 65?" she asked in response to my quizzical look. That was all I needed. Anyone got any beard dye?  

Friday, June 15, 2012


Monday found me sitting on the couch, writing my blog, and waiting for a certain reality TV show crew to show up at the shack. The blog post detailed the show and what was about to take place. Through an artist friend I'd been put in touch with a producer for this show. I had an idea for a show i wanted to pitch to someone in that world. The producer was not in the development end of things, but suggested I appear on a show that was already in production and this could open the doors for a pitch. I knew the show and had no idea how I would fit. She explained how things worked.  What the Hell? I guess I could play along.
    The week before I was visiting my mom and was about to take up temporary residency in her house when I woke up with lyme disease. This changed my plans. I came home got a script for antibiotics and spent the week sweating and sleeping. Feeling better, I told mom I could come over after the TV people      were done- on Tues. My mother has had cancer for years and it was taking its toll. She couldn't get to the bathroom without help. Light as a feather, and sweet as sugar, my mom was not the grumbling 200 lb. beast my old man was a couple of years ago, when I had the same duty. Still.......neither mom nor I were looking forward to this.
 But back to TV. I wrote the blog. The crew showed up, pulled out the contracts and i realized that by writing the blog I had immediately broken every clause in the contract. So I excused myself, called Shewho and got her to print out the posting for posterity and delete it. When that was done I was free to continue my reality TV career. They shot the episode and on Tues. morning I drove to Ct. Mom was weak but as always in good spirits. For the next 48 hrs. I slept with one eye open. That goddamned baby monitor hissed and crackled as I tried to get some food in her and looked after her needs. Let me just say I'm about as far from a nurse as you'll ever see. Just the thought of what I'd have to do sent me into a panic. But a funny thing happened. Both mom and I became incredibly calm and just did it. No big deal. She's such a trooper. Unlike me, she never complains, never puts on the stink face. She was the dream patient.
After two days we were able to get her into "the home". It was on mom's terms. She was not willing to live with any of her kids (esp. me and I don't blame her). Neither did she want a live- in nurse. She'd rather move than have a stranger in her house. I feel the same way. When my time comes the cats and I want to move together. I don't mind if the cameras follow our exploits. But you can be sure if I do a reality show only the boobs will be fake. For now mom is in the home. If they don't treat her right we'll whisk her away in a heartbeat. I'm on it. You want to see someone light a fire under people be late getting my mom to the bathroom. This is the reality.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012


A few years back, when I regularly made trips to Manhattan, Chuck McCormick and I were at a party. It was some sort of artsy thing for Vice mag. downtown offices. The place was packed, so Chuck and I grabbed a beer and went outside. We found an empty stoop, sat down and settled in to enjoy the scene. I had a little eye medicine on me. We lit the delivery system and began to enjoy the scene even more. Then, as we passed the good medicine back and forth, I noticed a big black SUV pull up with men in the front and back seats. They looked a little somber to be attending the party. Their heads turned in unison and locked onto Chuck and I. When the front door opened, and I spotted a gun and badge on the driver's side, I popped what was less of the delivery system into my mouth and swallowed.
   Before we knew what was happening there was a grey haired NYPD detective standing over us wagging his finger and lecturing us as to the quality of life hazard we were engaged in. As the party continued unabated, open containers everywhere, this mature officer had zeroed in on us two old timers enjoying a quiet smoke on the street. In typical McCormick ass kissing fashion Chuck bowed to the Dt. in "we are not worthy" supplication. I made no such apologies. I looked the cop in the eye and informed him of the "world famous" art critic status of Chuck and of my own standing (albiet obscure) as a working artist. "Excuse me sir. But we are just doing our jobs. I respect your job to fight crime.....but it is our job to attend these things, have a drink and grab a smoke when we can. It's expected of us" The cop countered with "You two are old enough to know better." I disagreed. The younger officers remained in the SUV, hands on their guns, obviously disappointed that their fearless leader hadn't given them the green light to kick our old asses.
    Then something happened that I never would have expected. A smile crept across the detective's face. I  took the cue. "You look a little old to be doing stop and frisks also." I offered with my own smile. He agreed. Chuck stopped bowing. I half expected the cop to join us for a beer. The younger cops were crest fallen. There would be no ass kicking. Within minutes we were exchanging business cards with the Dt. and promising to check out his young wife's website. She had just started an interior design company on Long Island. Pleasant good-byes all around and the SUV pulled away without disturbing the party goers, leaving Chuck and I to torch another, and resume our cocktail hour unimpeded.

Occupational hazards are everywhere. I'm sure I've breathed enough asbestos over the years to insulate a small house. Being poor, drinking and smoking too much, not eating well, staying up late, all take it's toll. Recently, after spending the month of May crawling though high grass, hunting turkeys, I woke up with Lyme disease (again!). A script for antibiotics and I'm good to go. Like I said, this little episode with the detective was a few years back. NYC has changed a lot in those years. Ray Kelley's Stop and Frisk police policy has run rampant, targeting young men of color. The lucky ones are arrested. The unlucky ones are killed. These days Chuck and I would probably find ourselves face down on the street, handcuffed and humiliated for our digressions. But before you muzzle me, let me just say officer- "I'm just doing my job. I plead insanity."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Friday, June 1, 2012


 OK, that's not entirely true. Some of my work is for sale. But since I corner the market, I can control the price. As for the crowd I draw to my shindigs, it's way to high. That said, it's only going up. You see, I don't really need a sales record to raise my prices. Rule of thumb from now on is the prices double every couple of years. Who knows whose living room I'll be showing in in 2014, but that's the deal. No, what I'm talking about is the lack of vendors at any of my "functions". The other night as i leaned against the Golden Animals' van, complete with busted windows and plastic bag fixes, with Chuckles McCormick, I noted there was nowhere on premises that money was being exchanged. There were no CDs nor t shirts nor merch. of any kind from the bands. All the food and drink were free. Maybe people were quietly making drug deals in the bushes, but I didn't see anything (I swear). This environment was entirely unique. Want to buy a drink? Bar's down the road.
   For three days people provided for the community at no charge. Diamond Dave put on a helluva open bar and finger food spread at THE BARn on Saturday. I Q'ed up the two big gobblers I shot on Sunday, while Dirty Dave the Dentist sprung for a keg. And on Monday Slick and Beeks opened the lake house and even without plates, no one went hungry. This is the spirit I want to foster. It's all about sharing. People are doing these things on their own dime. I appreciate it when people know how to picnic. We're like the fucking Amish. Bring a covered dish and leave the merch. at home. You can't buy this stuff. It takes a Glen.