Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pen Is Broken Please Use Finger

My traveling friend Selina, from the Linda Vista communal living village, up in Oracle said she saw this handwritten sign somewhere.
I went to an estate sale way west of me and I bought a Eartha Kitt record from the 1950's, my old photo reproductions of Vargas illustrations shot in b&w, a 1950 issue of FLAIR on Spain, and a kid's custome from the 1930's. These items took up all my money and I could buy only a tiny purple flowering cactus at the annual Tohula Chul Park cactus and succulent show.
On my way back to wifi I saw a large succulent that was uprooted in the Ina Rd. median, sheared by a drunken car. I rescued it. My friend Robert Villa, hidden away for 3 months counting and caring for tortoises will advice me on how to treat the bused plant.
Among many projects like taxes I am trying to bring together the writings, thoughts and art of Samuel Bruskin, someone I have known since the mid sixties at Bard College. I remember at break we drove down  with someone else to his family home in Metarie, just outside New Orleans. Through the years I became very fond of his parents. Edith would worry about everything and me too and, for some reason, I liked that. I remember we were both (Edith and I) in Flagstaff, probably twenty years ago and I invited her to a Hopi Kachina dance. We went to one of the Mesa villages (oldest villages in America) and I could see she was a bit horrified by the basic lifestyle of the Hopi. She gamely climbed the latter to a roof top and watched the repetitive movements of the dancers. At one point she asked "Why do they live like this?" Do you mean, why don't they play bridge and drive tot he supermarket? But she was game.
Sam, Lena and I moved to Denver and while I attended Univ. of Colorado in Boulder, Lena and Sam got jobs. I remember Sam choosing from a book a psychosis, practicing and going to the draft and getting a deferment. I remember the first day "on the hill" and meeting Terry Toole, an architectural student, who began taking LSD and got more involved with the renderings then the architecture. I eventually sort of met my wife (ex wife) Lynka through Ed Caddy through Terry Toole. Three years later we left Boulder with the intension of driving back to Woodstock, NY to start an artist commune but we got only as far as Taos, N.M. (more after a nap)


water colors by Samuel Bruskin

Maizy in Wind


Necklace

Spaceship


Einstein's Time Machine


Fuzzy Math




Sunday, March 25, 2012

home On The Range

When I stayed in Deming I knew I was a day away from home. It was Sunday and before I went to find a Sunday flea market I found the La Fonda (601 S. Pine).



Mike Witt used to live in Deming but now lives in Ardmore, Oklahoma and comes now to visit his grandchildren



I ordered huevos rancheros 1/2 red 1/2 green chili (what they term 'beauty').


I went out last nite with Gail Marcus-Orlen and we ended up at the Terry Etherton Gallery for my photographer friend, Lisa Robinson's opening - images of large bodies of water. I sat in the back looking at books while Carl Hanni spun records and I waited till people showed that I knew. Jim Reed sat down and we were identical twins except he's younger and thinner. His work is very interesting and can b seen on the Etherton website since he was in the previous show.


3 pieces by Jim...the copyright belongs to Jim Reed



I like to shop. I always have been a `picker' but the writer, Larry McMurtry, taught me the lifestyle one nite at the piano bar at the Arizona Inn. The next day i went out and bought then read `Cadillac Jack' who drives in his Cadillac buying and selling. I buy but don't sell. This here vintage pin cushion OI found in Abbeville, Louisana in an antique store. It













 is a gift for Nilsa McCaya, a fine photographer and former student of mine when I taught at the School of Visual Arts. She has sent me money when I'm broke, camera equipment when I have none, and images to amaze me. The two images below Nilsa Macaya owns the copyright 2011.



The shot below was west of Marfa, east of the Prada Marfa high heel maquet,





 where I stopped to polish the boots and saddles I had bought and fix some dinner. Note the Brancuzi bronze sculpture I bought in Abbeville, labelled "modern art". The woman bought it from the son of the owner. Humm. I wonder.
















Thursday, March 22, 2012

A V A I L A B L E

I'm back in Tucson. 'Available" was something I saw more often then anything else. One town had a shuttered Wal Mart. The next town had a bustling one. Shell closed. Home boarded up or worse, left open but abandoned. Screw Bank of America, f.... Wells Fargo. America screwed. Greed visible along every highway at every four way stop.
I will come back and fill in the gaps but I wanted to get some of the images from my journey UP. In Panama City, Florida I ran into the hordes of college kids on easter break.




I kept driving until I got to the western most end of the beach and found a home style seafood restaurant. Busing the tables was 15 yr old Erica and all I could think of was here was Cinderella cleaning up after her multitude of sisters and brothers.




As I was leaving I asked these elderly "On Spring break"?. No reaction


After sleeping in my truck two nights in a row I took a room at the Quality Inn in Abbeville, Louisana and ended up for breakfast at CC's cafe and met Tiffany, mother of several children.


For lunch I went to SHUCKS across the bridge from downtown. Marcie brought me my food.


and my shells 







were added to the mound in the back of the restaurant.





As dusk came on I entered Lake Charles and there sitting alone with his rudolph red lite bulbs out lining a wooden cross sat 92 yr old Sydney. I  couldn't drive by and stopped and went up to him asking if I could take his photo. He wasn't proselytizing. He was sitting quietly, a long electrical line running from his small darkened home. His wife had died ten years ago and he sat waiting.








Sunday, March 18, 2012

Donald Judd not Mark Rothko

One night in the 1950's DeKooning quit the painting he was working in his studio near the Cedar Tavern on 10th st. and wandered the streets of the Village ending up after midnight on a park bench in Washington sq. There was another man at the far end of the bench and Dekooning began to worry that he'd be hit on at which point the man at the other end of the bench asked him what he did for a living. Dekooning said "painter". The other man said "so am I". And that's how Dekooning met Rothko. Rothko went on to kill himself and Dekooning grew old in East Hampton, Long Island. In 1971, I moved from Taos, NM back to my birth place- NYC.  I was lost at twenty five and stayed lost the next 15 yrs pretending to be a photographer. One of my first jobs was as driver for Italian television RAI. That was the lowest member of the team of cameraman, director, (female) co-ordinator and me, the PA. We went to Houston to photograph DeBakey the great heart surgeon. We also filmed ringside the return bout Mohammad Ali fought Jimmy Ellis to a KO12. I was the light man with a sun gun. I don't remember anything except the noise of the hit each took to their bodies...the dull thud. I was very stoned on very pure cocaine. I was screwing (I don't want to use the f word) the pretty blonde producer. She was considered forbidden to a PA but the Italian director didn't want to party and I did. Very pleasant time. While in Houston I snuck off to one of the last surviving burlesque houses and the Rothko chapel built on the campus of St. Thomas University. Built by Philip Johnson and two other architects, there was a controversy over the light allowed in.
When I returned over 40 years later I was disappointed at the suite of 14 paintings. Too sober, perhaps the slight color I remembered from 1971 had faded by the light. Barnett Newman's somber sculpture facing the entrance to the chapel combined to make me feel there was NO life on campus. It wasn't because of the black paintings. I had seen and been moved by Miro's huge black paintings in Barcelona...painted when he was in his nineties and he was dealing with death. Miro's work was exhilarating.

I love Rothko's work. I think he is a giant of 20th century art. But I don't respond to the chapel with his paintings. Once, when visiting Melvin Sokolsky's (fashion photog famous for his bubble photos shot of women in bubbles floating above the Seine in Paris for Vogue) house on Mulholland Drive above LA, huge took me downstairs to meet his wife and lending against the hallway wall was a good- sized Rothko painting in squares of red. Exhilarating to be so close to a Rothko.

I was driving to get a tour at 4:30pm of Donald Judd's the block. When I got to Marfa, tx I assumed I find signs. No signs. tense in Marfa. finally got there and took a photo of Judd's pool and Hope, the museum docent, told me there was no photography.


 After the tour I stuck my Leica through the slats of the entrance gate and snapped a photo.



Judd came in 1971 to this small town and bought a barracks building from the army and then built the additional structures and a wall surrounding the block.


Inside the block are early and later pieces by Judd- very severe. very mathematical. When I left I noticed across the street from his complex, wood flats piled high.

(more later)





Friday, March 16, 2012

Del Rio, Texas ...go ask Sam

I'm just north of Del Rio in Comstock, Tx which has a tiny motel (my favorites) and a holding pen for illegal immigrants directly across from my room. I think the "crisis" along the border is a government program to kick start the economy. It must be the chief employer in the southwest.
The other industry that gets in my way is oil. The oil workers get put up at the same hotels and motels I like to stay in and that ends up jacking the price or filling all the rooms. My one ccriteria is I must be able to pull up in front of my room because of all the sh... I acquire on the road.
Anyhow...the sun is rising and i remember driving south of the Mason- Dixon line in '66 on my way to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. My parents refused to pay for anymore schooling at Bard College.  I recall telling my father, after beating him at chess, that I was stoned on pot. That was the nail and now I was with Sam Bruskin and we were heading west via the south. y parents had specifically instructed me NOT to drive through the south in the Sixties. Yeah. Nothjing much happened except in MIssissippi, high on black beauties (amphetamine), I went to pass a car and it suddenly made a left turn right into me. No one was hurt and not much vw beetle damage. The driver of the other car was twelve!
Almost to New Orleans we started getting Wolfman Jack on the radio...coming from Del Rio, Texas. That became our destination. When we got there we discovered the Wolfman was relayed from LA! I had long hair and Sam looked no better. At a downtown cafe I ordered cinnamon toast and tea and when the waitress called it into the kitchen every red neck turned in my direction. I got it to go and we got away. Last night there was NO ONE in downtown Del Rio and I kept going.
The three years I went to Boulder, I would often go down into Mexico at the border and buy 10 milligram dexatrin and put it in my sock and limp from the load back across the border. Scared me to do it. When I was a senior in high school I travelled as far as Istanbul with Kenny Lindsay from Scarborough school (discontinued today). We slept on a balcony alongside some British fellow travalers and, because we had a lot to talk about, I  stupidly took 10 10 milligrams of dex. We talked fast all nite and at dawn  saw that we were next to a Mosque and its tower almost touched our balcony. At first light a man came up the steps of the tower and chanted. I was fine until I got on the Oriental Express and my eyes were SO diliated it caused me pain all the way north.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Lord Answers Knee Mail

A sign i just saw at the mouth of Henderson, Louisana. I stopped in at Pat's Fisherman's wharf to ask directions to a zydeco Sunday late afternoon dance. The sing song voice told me to cross the bridge and up to the stop sign and make a right and go down three roads. I went to the fourth turn and crested the levy and came upon a old wooden club surrounded by trucks. An bow-legged old man, hard of hearing, told me to back to the Whiskey River bar and music was about to start. Sure enough Horace Trahan & the Ossun Express were tuning up. A fine zydeco integrated band packed the floor. as I was leaving I noticed the bow legged old me taking a filly to the floor.
My waiter, Cabe, at Pat's recommended Pat Huval's Camp style shrimp. I asked
 him about his name and he said it was a combo of Cain and Abel. wow!
I had been to the next town (Breaux Bridge)  with Elizabeth Finkelstain after the Eric Firestone Warhol show was over. Breaux Bridge to a Cajun brunch given on Saturdays. The table I'm dining at is next to the door for the Atchafalaya Club where they are playing swamp music. I asked the elder woman at the door  what swamp music was and she said "zydeco is zydeco; cajun is cajun and swamp is swamp". I see.
My mind on this trip has been sharp.
Along the Tami Ami trail I bought a handsome sleek styrofoam cooler. In Georgia a Goodwill had a pile of new rubber high heels in different sizes and colors. I bought twenty pair. When I got to Siesta Key, Fla. to visit Becky Wild, a former student of mine when I taught at Antioch's Baltimore media center in the mid seventies. Becky


and her husband Rick were at my wedding in 1980 and we have remained close friends.  She went onto become a fine photojournalist working for the Pelican among many mags. We always had a shot and a giggle then we'd shoot something like a backroom wedding. I also became very close to her brother Mike, who fathered Cleo, same age as my daughter Leah. He was 2 beautiful for this world and now drives a bus in the after world. Through Becky I met the photographer Brad McCortney, a Faulknerian character I consider also a close friend. He and his wife Sandy were also at my wedding.
It turned out his daughter Becca was visiting from the East with her two children and husband. I hadn't seen Becca since she was 13 yrs old and I had shot her in a mermaid bathing suit on the beach with my 4x5 crown graphic. I found out her shoe size, pu a pair of rubber heels in the cooler filled with ice. "Heels On The Rocks". She loved them and so did her your daughter. They fit perfectly and cool to the touch.









"What Did I Do To You", he demanded after I had choosen my macaroni and cheese side dish

The rooster gang was out in front of Sandy's Cuban coffee, Cuban sandwiches and laudramat. Criss crossing the street, they acted like they owned it. I did what I had to do in Key West and never got to swim in the water. Did spend time in Hemingway's house. I had been to Kew West several times before. Once with Javier. At one point I needed a puff on my cigar outside the rented car and pulled over and found water's edge. The shore dipped quickly into darkness and I wished I'd see a mermaid aka a manattee. Suddenly, up from the depths one appeared. Javier feed him a prinkel









(its a vegetable right?). Then another appeared alongside and then still another. Three years later I realize they were teenagers away from their parents. Two or more days ago I saw from an above walk way, huge manattee in a lagoon feed from heated water from a factory.
When I was leaving Key West I stopped for fried chicken and mac and asked the grizzled man making the fried food if I could take his photo. He got upset and demanded "What did I do to you". Best explanation as to why not to take someone's portrait since Susan Sontag. I drove north sleeping next to the water for a few hours and cut north at Homeland on Chrome Avenue. (I shot the Cubans Castro sent over to the US (Mariel Boatlift 1980 held in barracks on Chrome Ave for Der Spiegel mag). I arrived at the Tamiami Trail at about 7 am.
I spotted at a general store on the Miccosukee reservation and on the door was a handwritten sign selling cypress firewood. i asked the woman at the counter about the firewood and she pointed to three guys drinking coffee. The guy was polite and said "I'm Indian. Indians cook with a stove not firewood."
I went next door to the gas station and asked there. The fellow








said the guy selling the wood was his uncle and I could use his phone to call him. I went inside and on the wall were vintage pin-up signs and a small statue of Betty Page. Like I wrote earlier...I bring things on my journey for no particular reason but invariably I bring something I need. I asked him if he'd like to see the Betty Page photos I had in my truck. He would. He looked at what  I had and called his wife. With my white stereo typical attitude towards the American Indian I immediately cut my price in half. He called his wife and he choose 4 and handed me 4 one hundred dollar bills he had gotten from his wife. How did she know how much to bring? On the phone he spoke a click language to her. Rather unexpected to sell Betty Page in a village of 50 people!
On his garage wall were pin-up shots of seventies looking women (1970's) and he told me they were taken by a local photographer, Lucky Cole.





On his garage wall were pin-up shots of seventies looking women (1970's) and he told me the guy, Lucky Cole, lived nearby.



 He gave me directions and I got lost which led me to breakfast at Pat & Ted's with buzzards down the way and good food inside.








I had no luck finding Lucky but continued on the 42 mile loop road (94)




 back to Highway 41 at Monroe Station where Sandy and Brad got married. They used to have their wedding shot on the wall but the place to shuddered. Immediately I found gators. 


When Brad (thin faced..expensive longish dirty blonde hair that needs a rinse) used to take me fishing in the remote areas in Sarasota county he being the Fauknerian character that he is...he'd fish with his bow and arrow from  his tiny boat. Sometimes there would be gators across the water and old black men with long poles...fishing. He'd pole us through the water standing with a proper hat shielding out the sun. He has done fine portraits of everyday important people of the county in large format.

queens and jacks ovr 40 yrs





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