Thursday, October 25, 2012




.....go all of us. Listen, there's nothing happening in the woods. The deer are sticking to the fields. I haven't had the string back once. So, in lieu of hunting stories, lets talk politics. Dinosaur I am, I came of age in the late 60's. Of course I was immediately drawn to the counter-culture of long hair, protest, rock music and "fuck you" politics. LBJ was in the White House and I was stuck in a "cow plop" high school in upstate NY. We called them that because they always built them in cow pastures.  The Vietnam War was raging and at 16 you were already choosing sides- school or draft? I took my II-S draft deferment, grew may hair long and went to every protest i could get to. In the Spring of 1970 National Guard troops turned their guns on a group of students at Kent State. Damn. maybe a student deferment wouldn't keep me out of the line of fire.

I don't watch the debates. They are just too predictable. I'm not a sports fan, so I don't even care about the World Series. As a nature program on snowy owls grinds on on PBS I fall asleep on the couch, thinking of the two girls from Pussy Riot heading for a cold winter in the Russian gulag. As everyone knows, these young women were arrested by Russian authorities on a charge of "hooliganism" for doing a "Punk Rock Prayer" on the alter of a Russian Orthodox church. They now face two years hard labor in Siberia. This brings me back to the 60's.
    In those days it was common to hear an adult say "I don't agree with your protest but I will defend your right to do it. Be happy you didn't grow up in Russia. They put people in jail for talking out." On the eve of another Presidential election, fearing Romney may just squeak in, I think back to just how many asshole Presidents this country has survived during just my lifetime.  This country may be far from perfect, but like Zuckerberg putting birthdays on facebook, the genius of electing a new fearless leader every 4 years, has saved our ass.
   In December The Party of The Little Green Man will present A PUSSY RIOT XMAS. The jailing of these artists hits home for many of us who realize how many times over a career we would have been arrested for doing what we do. Aside from the predictable foolishness that comes with every "church", I want to do something real for these women. I'm working behind the scenes to find out just what they need and how to get it to them. So far I've only heard books translated into Russian. I would think a warm pair of socks or long johns would also be appreciated. All this info is coming. So fear not. Even if Romney gets elected he's only got four years to fuck things up. How bad can it get?      

Monday, October 22, 2012




Life, death, birth....I've always tried to use these elements in my work. Deer hunting is just the recent manifestation of this. Last week, everybody's "rich white artist" whipping boy Damien Hirst has been called on the carpet  for letting thousands of butterflies die in an installation at the Tate in London. Most don't need much of a reason for hating Hirst. I don't know whether it's the ease to which he came to his early uber-success or his attitude at dinner parties that have pissed everyone off. In any case, from his maggot infested cow heads, to sharks floating in formaldahyde, his work also deals with life, death and birth. I don't have any problem with a few butterflies sacrificed to art. Anything but those damn polka dots.
   I mention this because yesterday, on the last day of the EBC show, I sat in MO David North talking with friends who had brought over a couple of women to see the show. One of them happened to be the Aussie pop star notKylie. We made small talk and watched the fire crackle. These woman were devotees of a local Ashram run by a beautiful semi-reclusive guru. I don't don't have much use for gurus, but I was polite and actually interested in why these smart, beautiful gals would be drawn to this place. Conversation ebbed and flowed and somehow it turned to eggs- not the scrambled, but frozen female variety. notKylie was somewhat of an expert. She was closing in on 38 and had recently arranged to have her eggs frozen and banked with an outfit in London. This information brought a piece I'd been wanting to do flooding back.
   The Virgin Birth Project was simple. I wanted to purchase a female egg, some male sperm and have them implanted in a third party- a virgin. I'd actually contacted a doctor friend in Utah who said I'd be breaking so many laws and ethics that he was uncomfortable even discussing it. Of course the internet was next. Getting some sperm didn't seem to be much a problem. Hell, I even think I may have some left, I could use in a pinch. But eggs were another issue. It seemed that the whole process was tightly regulated and very expensive. notKylie said she had frozen 11 eggs for $5000, paying $300 per year to keep them in the freezer. That wasn't bad. For the cost of a used car i could do this. Could there be something like a "back alley artificial insemination"? How hard could it be? I've got a turkey baster. This is one of those pieces that may take a while. I still haven't worked out all the kinks. Whose sperm? Whose egg? Where do I find a virgin? Who the hell raises the kid? I think what I need is something like the Ashram, some sort of art world cult of loving individuals, willing to house, feed and raise Little Baby Jesus. Stay tuned.    

Friday, October 19, 2012




It's been pouring rain since 3 am. If it was later in the season I'd be dragging the open sighted 12 ga. through the wet woods, trying to sneak up on something. As it is, I'm home taking my eye medicine, banging on the guitar, watching TCM, commenting and posting stupid stuff on fb and staying dry. Since my earliest obsession with TV watching, I guess I've always been an observer. I can sit for hours and people watch in the city. But this ain't the city. Here in the sticks, if you aren't a barfly, you watch the critters. From my window I can see 2 camels, 4 ostriches, 3 donkeys, 2 alpacas, a horse, some cows and a bunch of goats. And that's without even getting off the couch. Except for the ostrich dance, they are all rather boring. I prefer the wild beasts.
    This season has been nothing but watching. Finally on Saturday, out at WSS, two bucks appeared. I had just recently received a pair of binocs in the mail and proceeded to leave them in the car. But even with bare eyes I could see one was a nice buck. When his rack caught the late afternoon light I could see a decent spread. The other one was smaller. They were both doggin' a big doe high in the hay field, about 250yards from my stand. The doe wasn't having it. Every time she moved off the bucks looked at each other and started to fight. It was just sparring. They'd clash horns for 30 seconds, then go back to grazing on the short grass. Too early to get hurt over vying for the attention of a lady. The doe never even raised her head.
   Then a couple of days ago I hung a new stand on the road side of GNJohn's swamp, just below old man Barrett's tin can trailer. I had a good view of Gilkey's field and the swamp, plus the wind was right in my face. Perfect. I was absentmindedly watching a big doe and two fawns feed, when all of the sudden the fawns made a bee-line for mom. I have no idea what they were keying in on- a move? a drop of milk? a tending bleat? In any case they were both under her, on her teats together. She stood still, letting them feed. It was incredible. Any plans I had for shooting mom vanished. Damn!
   Last night the wind swung to the SW and I went back to the orchard stand. It was warm and dry. I've become so used to sitting this stand, I can spot movement up to 400 yards with the naked eye. Now, with my new clear binocs I can confirm and really take in the show. I stood up to check the swamp behind me. When I turned back to the field a group of feeding deer had suddenly run 100 yards closer. I raised my glasses and scanned the field. Something must've pushed those deer. Five minutes later a coyote appeared, half-heartedly loping towards the deer. A spike buck and doe raised their heads while two fawns continued to feed. When the coyote was within 50 yards, the deer predictably bolted (not towards me) into the corner by the old Savage high stand. The coyote stopped and all of the sudden I lost him in the glasses. I thought maybe he'd turned while I was distracted. I caught just the tip of an ear. Then even the ear was gone. This coyote had completely disappeared in a hay field mowed like a golf course.
   The rest of the evening I watched more deer come out. They never knew that coyote was there. Just before dark a second, lighter coyote, appeared on the wood line. This one just trotted across the field, paying no attention to the deer. The deer scattered and the coyote sat like a dog under an apple tree, maybe 100 yards away. He looked up, spotted my white beard in the tree, turned tail and trotted back across the field. The first coyote, who hadn't moved, stood up and joined the light one and both sauntered off into the sunset. Show over.        

Tuesday, October 16, 2012




 Well, the first two weeks of bow season have been exciting. I've seen loads of deer, turkey and coyotes. I had one shot at a coyote and missed. The only deer I've had within range was a little spike and I've yet to have the string back on meat. Does snort. Turkeys sound alarm putts and coyotes turn tail and run. The other day, well meaning friend Chuck McC called and asked if I'd been watching the debates? I hadn't. He said the Paul Ryan is a deer hunter. "He washes with unscented soap and cleans his clothes with the same. Maybe if you did this you'd get one. And there's always sitting in our living room and shooting one out the window." I know my non-hunting friends are well meaning, and most think I'm just no good at hunting.....but hey, I do know enough to wash my clothes and clean my pits. And no, I'm not desperate enough to shoot one off the lawn.....yet. The debates can go on without me.
    I have to admit I've been lazy in the mornings. It's been warm and every morning I've been out I haven't seen squat. I set the alarm every night, only to turn over and swat it at 5:30 am and go back to sleep. It's still early in the season. I'm not fully in the groove yet. It takes some time. So today I'm washing my hunting clothes again, paying bills and doing things I've been putting off for months. At the top of the list is "go to eye doc". My usual doc had thrown up his hands with me and kicked me loose. A woman answered the phone and asked the usual questions before setting up an interview for Dec. "What is your insurance company?" was first. "Idon'thaveany." I mumbled in response. "Excuse me?" I repeated my mournful admission. "Can you spell that?" It was then i realized she thought I was telling her the name of my insurance company. When I straightened her out we both had a good laugh.
   I don't know when this illusive "Obama Care" will ever kick in or whether it will help with my glaucoma. If I ever do have enough money to carry health insurance, will it even cover eye care? When will this wind die down? Is the rut going to be early this year? When i finally do get a deer in range will I make the shot? The last thing I want to have as my response, when the the supermodels ask for venison, is "Idon'thaveany." That's no laughing matter.

Saturday, October 13, 2012




You wouldn't think that 2 hrs outside of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, you would have a life and death struggle playing out before your eyes, almost every day you walk in the woods. Somehow, it seems the case these days. Earlier in the week i got in the orchard stand for my evening hunt around 4pm. This stand provides the best view of the fields along the Neversink River. So even if I don't get a deer in close I always have action. This night I finally caught movement under the apple tree. Slowly reaching for my bow and clipping my release to the drawstring, the animal that revealed itself was not a deer but another big coyote. He stopped 15 yards in front of me, still hidden by a dead tree branch. I didn't dare stand. I'd have to try a sitting shot. I drew back, and as I did the side of my thumb caught my face mask completely blacking out my shooting eye. Franticly fiddling with it, I finally set the pin on his chest and fired. I had jerked the shot, hitting the dirt right in front of him. Fuck!
    As I've said many times- if something can go wrong it will. No sense in dwelling on it. Tomorrow's another hunt. The rest of the week was non-eventful, until yesterday. I decided to switch it up and hunt WSS. I have a stand on a wood line overlooking a big hay field. The wind was swirling out of the NW, so I wasn't too surprised when I jumped a half dozen deer heading up the wood road to the field Then, just as i crested the hill I saw a big doe standing there looking right at me. I stopped dead. She was too far for a shot. When she bolted to my left, followed by a fawn, I spied the head of a third animal staying put. I took a knee and nocked an arrow. I realized this wasn't a deer but again a coyote, coming right for me, at a good trot. Ducking behind a bush I pulled back the string......only to have a doe, that must've been watching the whole thing, bust out 5 yards behind me. As I turned my head to watch the doe escape, the coyote caught movement and blasted across the field, out of range. I couldn't believe the series of events. And I was still two hundred yards from my stand.
    In the spring I had called in multiple coyotes within easy shotgun range, while turkey hunting, only to let them walk. No more. To have two coyotes, in completely different areas, within bow range in one week is unheard of. Plus at a time of year when food is plentiful, having these critters chasing deer is very unusual. I can only surmise, like the mice that had taken over my kitchen, they are reaching critical mass. Pig and sheep farmer Buddy Budde and I went after them with the rabbit squealer, shotgun and rifle one morning this past week, only to be skunked. They seem to know when the firepower comes out. Don't ask me how. To all you hunters who read this blog, you better start shooting the dogs if you can. We are living in their world and it's only a matter of time before we're choking on the food chain.

Saturday, October 6, 2012




I stopped hunting in the mid-70's when I moved from NY to SF. I was living in a little woodstove heated shack with my 19 year old wifey, on  dead end road in Bearsville. I had at my disposal  hundreds of acres of woods just out my door. Since I had grown up hunting in a small town, I didn't really appreciate my circumstances. I was just starting to mature as an artist, teaching a class in lithography in Woodstock and working as as a carpenter. Life was good, but rough for a young couple. Gas had just doubled in price from 25 cents to 50 cents per gallon AND you had to wait in line to buy it. I needed a change. In the spring of 1975 we packed up the truck and headed west. I wouldn't seriously hunt again until the early nineties, back in NY.

Art and hunting have much in common. Failure is the biggest commonality. But the by products of that failure- hard work and training are close seconds. In order to make good art you must fail consistently. When you do succeed, you immediately recognize it. All the missteps provide you with the proper training to once in a while make the "right" decisions. Others may not see it as such, but fuck them, you're the expert.
   With hunting it's the same. The one thing you can be sure of every day you walk in the woods is that failure is accompanying you. The only thing you can hope for is the rate goes down over the years. That's where the trained eye comes in. Yesterday I was driving by the local diner and I spotted my old friend and deer hunting guru Savage Lynch holding onto his tracking dog Bonnie in the back of his pickup. I pulled in. He was about to go on a track for a wounded 10 pointer a local kid had shot the night before. I was going to go for a burger at the diner, but tracking a wounded deer was way more fun. Lunch could wait.
   Another tracker and dog joined us and we took out after the blood trail. The kid said he hit him behind the shoulder, most likely taking out one lung. Deer are incredibly resilient creatures. They can run for miles on one lung. He had shot the deer on a local ski slope, jumping it once late at night and eventually losing the trail on the clear slope. The two dogs and trackers hit the woods while I kept my eyes glued to the ground looking for blood. After a couple of hours Savage bent down and lifted a leaf. In a landscape of fallen leaves, with tiny spots of red, Savage had spied blood. Then Gretchen (the other dog) yelped, keying in on another tiny spot of blood. We had the track again.

I'm sorry to say we never found the buck. We all hope he survived the shot. Tracking is as challenging and almost as much fun as hunting. I may have a trained eye when it comes to art, supermodels and hunting, but when it comes to tracking I bow to Savage. The one thing you can be sure of in art and hunting- the training never stops.    

Friday, October 5, 2012




As we all know, these are two of the only things in which getting close really counts. Two tasks have been paramount in my little world recently. One is getting the forgotten painter Ethelbert B. Crawford some well deserved press AND putting a a deer on the ground. After many emails to the local paper's editors they finally responded, sent over a photog. and a reporter and did a nice little piece on the MO David North EBC show. To use a deer hunting analogy this is like shooting a spike. It's something to be proud of, meat in the freezer, but in no way is it a reason to go to the taxidermist. So it fell to my gallery partner the artist Samm Kunce to see if she could crack "the paper of record", "the grey lady", the NYT and get some real press.
    In the meantime I head back to the orchard stand, as the supermodels click and cavort throughout my house in various stages of undress. You may think it's crazy to go deer hunting while long legged beautiful women are sprawling on my floor, but it's not as glamorous as it sounds. It's serious, hard work doing a magazine spread. Lights must be set up and taken down. Camera lens must be changed, wigs straightened, pubes trimmed and fluffed to perfection. Should nips be erect or relaxed? Who's got time for all this during deer season? I grab my bow and excuse myself until dark.
   I bump a deer going in and it's not long before small groups start pouring into Gilkey's field. From my perch I have a perfect view, but every deer stays well out of range, munching the freshly hayed field. Because of the dearth of apples, nothing seems to want to venture near my tree. Still, it's satisfying to see this many deer. It's a waiting game. Eventually one will wander by. Then I catch a glimpse of movement off to my left. Skulking along the edge of the swamp I spy the back of a coyote heading for the field. I squeak like a mouse and squawk like a turkey.....then wait. I've never shot a coyote with the bow, but I have called them right into my lap. Five minutes pass, then I see every deer in the field lift their heads. In an instant the field explodes. TWO coyotes at a full run chase after the fleeing deer. It's like something you would see on Nat. Geo. Every deer either escapes across the river or into the woods on Gilkey's ridge. Why couldn't those damn dogs chase them to me? The coyotes return to the field, dejected, tongues out. Close....but no cigar.
    On the other front Samm makes a bunch of calls and actually gets the NYTimes culture editor to return one, interested in the EBC show. Wow. He says that it's a little far for them to send anyone to review an art show but he'll run it by the powers- that- be  and see what happens. It's another waiting game. A week goes by and I can't take it anymore. Samm sends off another email "just checking". The editor immediately gets back to her, but the news is not good. We here in the boonies are competing with the opening of the NYC art world season. There's hundreds of galleries vying for the seal of approval that only a mention in the Times can provide. The editor apologizes, but there's just too much happening in town. Maybe another time. Ethelbert will just have to happy with the THRecord. After Oct. 19th the paintings will be returned to the library attic and an unsure future. Oh well. We gave it our best try. Close. Damn close.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012




 Opening day was Monday. It's an early deer season this year, for some reason. It being Oct. 1st, the weather is predictably unpredictable. Dawn was windy and chilly, without being cold. I started out at Majestic, in the stand where I shot a nice buck opening day of gun last year. Between the wind and thick foliage, just turning orange, it was an unproductive morning. I only made it until 9am, before climbing down without seeing a deer. I may go on and on about the zen beauty of sitting in a tree and taking in the nothingness of the landscape.... but not on opening day. I crave action.
   So I went back to the shack, had another cup of coffee and plotted the afternoon. For some reason small aggressive flies have infested my place. I miss as many as I hit with the swatter. If I'm this bad with the bow I'm in for a rough season. TCM and some prints I've been working on, given to me by elder Caki, keep me busy until 4:00pm. The print images came in the form of a scrapbook kept by one disturbed individual. The book contained an amalgamation of baby, little boy and girl (with and without mom and dad) images, cut from newspapers and magazines from 1950 to 1954. At first all was well in the family scrap book unit. Then murder, kidnapping, dental work and bondage appear. Never are you exposed to anything overtly sexual, yet there's a strong undercurrent pulling you into the depths of a very dark, disturbed mind. I carefully deconstructed the scrap book then blew them up to 3'X4' at the local STAPLES. The women at the copy center are becoming a bit unnerved when they see me coming.
    At 4:00 pm I go down to GNJohn's to sit out the rest of the afternoon in the orchard stand. This is an off year for apples. I can see deer on the edge of the swamp and over in Gilkey's field grazing, but nothing comes in close. Just past shooting light I walk back to the car I've parked in the field. Pigpen Rothman had mown me a path to my stand, making life much easier for me. Big shout-out to PP. On the way out of the field I catch sight of two deer in my headlights. One is a buck. I can't tell how big he is, but I can see he's probably a six. I have to hurry home, change my clothes and drive to Jeff., for dinner with supermodel Hollie Witchey. I inherited 3/4 of a bottle of vodka from my parent's bar. I bring that along. We then proceed to tie one on.
    The next day is pouring rain and I'm so hungover I can barely raise my head, let alone sit in a tree. I crash on my couch. More TCM and battles with the flies, that now seem to be multiplying. It takes me until dark just to get human again. I check my email and there's one from Mystery Girl. She wants to know if she can shoot Hollie at my house for a magazine spread. Supermodels doing a nekid photo-shoot in my kitchen or hunt in the rain? Luckily my vodka ravaged mind is clearing to the degree that I make the right decision.
   So that's as far as I've gotten. Horst, Mystery Girl's grip and chauffeur, is checking emails in the gallery, the girls are working feverishly in the kitchen, Rocco (Hollie's pitbull) is tangled up in my lawn furniture and crapping all over my deck as I'm writing this just to look busy. It's gotten warm and foggy- not good for deer movement. I think I'll go back to the orchard stand and sit out the afternoon. That seems to be the best spot to score on an early deer. My luck seems to be holding so far.