September 29, 2013

3 women from chelseaI was talking to an old friend who mentioned a writer who we both grew up with. He’d been over for dinner. The dinner hadn’t gone well. My friend said that the writer spent the whole evening talking about his work.

A lot of artists spend a gross amount of  time self-promoting. It is the ‘oxygen of success’. (I’m stealing that line from the New York Times.) ‘Giving a good interview’ has become as important or more important than good writing.


September 26, 2013

There’s a character in The Day of the Locust. His name is Harry. He’s a failed Vaudevillian. And his image has stuck in my head.


Hands on the pedestal. Toes tapping. Fingers snapping. OOOE. Charlie What Was His Last Name slid down the aisle. Knee knockers. Of the drug store. His body incredibly still. His feet like clippers over your neighbourhood hedge. In a swirl. Soft shoe. Sand between his toes. Put your ear to the floor. Don’t it sound sad? Vaudeville. There was laughter in his shoes. His fingers snarled. And the air, it just stood there shy and naked.

Charlie stopped up at the make-up counter, his chin pointed toward the ceiling. Really He was feeling it. His back arched, heels spinning, the sequins on his trousers and his vest squinting at the store lights. His fingers tapped the glass top, one over each, ever so lightly. His fingernails recently manicured, cured of melancholy. He tipped his green bowler hat, the hat he’d been given by the deputy mayor on St. Patrick’s Day. The hat rolling down his arm, to a hand, which caught it seftly. Like Jack Duffy caught that hay maker, and placed it back on his noggin. There was a smile on his mug. They were chums never parted. Like cousins under mosquito netting.

“How are you doing today, Charlie?” Deborah Hall asked. The cosmetician was deeply immersed in a magazine. Fashion research. She Liked It Hot And Rough,was written across the magazine’s face. And there were lots of tips inside. How to make chocolate cake without putting on a pound. And what he really wants under the sheets. Charlie knew that they liked it rough in Hamilton. Of course there was always the horn section, dipping their silver mouths into the hot molasses. They liked to call it jazz.

Charlie batted his eyelashes. His head jerked toward Jerusalem and then toward Deborah. His smile was forked, almost demonic. If only humans had never learned to speak, we could all order hamburger tartar in mime.

“Well,” he declared like a full committee of the learned and the privileged. And added, just as an aside, “And how are you?” His voice was theatrical as if it had been trained in a private school in Switzerland. His mouth the bulldog in the dog house. Hearing a funny little sound from his gut, which he didn’t understand, it being pure slang, which only the thugs on Queen Street understood or cared to understand.

Whateva!” the cosmetician responded shrugging her shoulders in a very melodic manner as if her movements had been choreographed by a Spaniard at Juliards turning the pages of her magazine, her fingers like Fred Astaires.

Charlie relaxed, his body melting from some celestial pose. He leaned over the counter like a flaccid Dali time piece, making ‘I’ contact.

“Well, here’s one to put a smile on your lovely face,” Charlie said. And he loved Deborah’s lovely face. Would have put it on a postage stamp, signed her up to play Joan the last woman on the ark. But a trombone blasted the image of Deborah in his ear, smudged his hair, and misspent his youth. “A woman walks up to the beautician and asks, ‘Can you make me beautiful?’ ‘Hey,’ cries the beautician, ‘I’m a beautician, not a magician.’

Charlie smiled, tipped his hat once more with juggling delight, than sashayed gaily down the aisle.

Deborah looked up from her magazine with a bored glance and watched Charlie disappear around the corner.

Whateva!” she sighed and returned to her work. And the whole place blew up in silence.



September 24, 2013


Waiting room version 2

September 24, 2013

Waiting Room v2I suppose this could be a psychiatrist’s office.

Van Gogh’s Daughter

September 24, 2013

van gogh's daughter

The wolf is in the asylum

September 23, 2013

the wolf is in the asylumWhat is madness? I’m not sure. In many cases it seems like an overdose of sadness.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

September 21, 2013

The Passion of Joan of Arc

The naked hitchhiker

September 20, 2013

the Naked Hitchhiker copy The Naked Hitchhiker v2

every day… appliances

September 19, 2013

The LampEveryday thousands of people are murdered by their appliances.

Glass ceilings

September 19, 2013

Every age must think that its predecessors were living a sheltered existence. That they lived in a world where certain truths seemed to be self-evident. And yet they lived with blind spots. Ignorance, prejudices, assumptions clouded their judgment. We are no different. But what are our blind spots?

Watching Mad Men, I sometimes wonder if that show isn’t all about women. Women living in a man’s world. Molding themselves to fit in. Hitting that glass ceiling and thinking it is reality. Expecting men to fulfill their lives.

the hydro field before the flood

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