Boy, aint I a ray of sunshine...
I just drove the long road back from Santa Fe. Got home yesterday. The first day was tough, I finally made it to Kingman evening before last, the now too familiar route punctuated by hard rainstorms and the ever present New Mexico road work. It was an interesting trip. I was tired within minutes of first getting in the rental van, wondered once or twice if I was ever going to find the energy and rhythm and make it home. After three long weeks on the road...
Frankly, my eyes just aren't that good anymore either. Have to take care of these cataracts one day. Wreaking havoc with my night driving and the rest of my life. Sick of faulty equipment. Anybody need a blind art dealer?
No side trips this year. All business and I really couldn't afford to put extra miles on the rental. Very different approach this time. Hotel with a kitchen, nothing fancy but managed to feed myself and keep meals out to a minimum. Ate something foul one night and spent the whole night puking up bile. Mostly okay, cheese sandwiches and cereal filling in nicely.
I guess you could call the show a success. Not measured by past standards, by no (any?) means. But if I can measure success in the most basic of today's terms, the ability to pay the lion's share of my immediate bills this month, getting to about 85% of the stack sitting on the computer, yes, it was great. Not counting the two real big ones, of course, the ones that sit on my shoulder and torment me whenever they can catch my ear, those guys will just have to wait and bide their time.
Chunks of truck tires in their final death grimace blew past me in the wind as I finally caught my stride on the blue highway. The second day was different, I got stronger as the day grew longer, like the groove you get into when you are doing laps in a swimming pool and it's just as easy to do another lap as stop. I could have drove all night probably, when I got that second wind. Made it straight to Fallbrook once when I was young from Canada, a twenty hour non stop.
I may not be connecting that well with my target audience at the shows. There is a definite disconnect in what I find interesting and the interests of the public at present. Young people are still not buying, still not part of the equation. Even the modern and abstract art we invested in thinking it was the logical next step is largely lost on them. Many are broke, the ones with means seem to lack interest. The collector base is getting older and many have stopped buying. Or their kids are dumping collections on the market, further reducing value.
And I have to say that many of my peers are doing splendidly. In provinces I was once quite competitive in. Just not resonating for some reason. Have to blame myself. Have to make sure that I'm not getting outworked. Funny thing is, I believe in my merchandise.
Stopped in Seligman on the way, Westside Lilo's, my long time number one road stop. Says German American food but looks pretty American to me. I always get the same thing day or night, a black angus patty, toast, hash browns, eggs over easy. The big corvette show was in town, hundreds of them, thankfully they didn't make it down as far as Lilo's. Stopped at Chees for a fry bread with beans too, gabbed for a few minutes.
When I left town I saw a photographer with his car stopped on top of the bridge, with a perfect view of an oncoming train fast approaching his camera rig and tripod. Next time it will be me.
I rolled into Kingman and refused to give Holiday Inn one hundred and fifteen bucks. I wasn't looking for the Ritz, but no matter how nice it really was it was after all, still Kingman, a town that should be approached with as much pain and angst that a writer can muster. So I checked into the Days Inn for roughly half that, drew back the heavy lead shielded curtains and sealed myself in for the night, with a quiet prayer that the van parked outside stayed sealed and inviolate.
Not a lot to say about the shows. Guy rolled into Albuquerque in a wheelchair with an all seeing eye on his head, the one you see above with this morning's entertainment, a little embellishment performed on my part. Let me play with the picture. It's sunday, I'll do whatever the hell I want today, if I want to play with a photo I will. Started the day with menudo, the best ever, settling back in to my groove. Leslie's birthday yesterday, made it home just in time, went out for delicious sushi in Temecula. I think a korean place but big portions nonetheless.
Anyway where were we, Albuquerque right? Although it had always worked for me in the past, this time it never fired. Saved by a guitar playing rabbi, gave him a good deal on a present for his wife, a Gene Kloss print, a really good one. Had a couple great meals with my pals from Colorado and Oregon, heard and told some good jokes at the local Vietnamese dive, May's Cafe. All dealer business, not my target.
Santa Fe was a little better, got some nice hikes and birding in, made the rounds, visited some people, sold a few nice jars, a rug, not near what I wanted to or what I have sold in the past. My turn to suck, once again, life without a tailwind. Was talking to a friend about another friend, whose rinpoche told him he was just on a bad fourteen year cycle. Jeez. Wondering if I am paying a price for gluttonous abuse of free credits in a former incarnation? Must marshall on...
The room in Kingman smelled of cigarettes, even though it was supposedly no smoking. Arizonans will smoke anywhere, they don't pay attention to rules or stuff like that. The whole state smells like an ashtray. The floor of the room, had that, just cleaned, still moist, carpet cleaner smell and stuck to your feet like scotchguard. Careful not to touch the bedspread.
There's nothing like going on the road to reconnect you with yourself and take you out of the normal. I just made it, down to the last atrial fibrillation pill and my last pair of socks, well truthfully, I wore the same clothes the last two or three days. Didn't have time to do laundry. Did discover that the Turkey pot roast, all dark meat, at Albertsons ain't bad, if a little fatty. And I won't eat the burnt brisket ends at Rudy's agin, they now make me sick.
I had different inventory for all three shows, might have some people thinking about stuff, the Georg Jensen flatware got serious play. People loved the navajo floor rug but nobody stepped up. Sold a print to a guy in England during the show, smoothed things out.
There were some interesting billboards in Kingman. An anti evolution billboard like this one:
And this one...
Now heaven and hell I guess I can stomach, a social scientist I know said that the latter had to be invented so that people wouldn't eat each other alive. Do wonder why people have to submit to this sort of self induced terror but hey, whatever it takes. How far can Kingman really be from hell, anyway?
The Mojave is such a strange place, a heady cocktail of meth, religion and guns. Why do deserts always attract the people they have always attracted, from Jesus to Billie Jack and on down the line, heat and cactus seem to really beat down rationality and cause the strangest of behaviors. Like the denial of evolution we see depicted in the billboard above. An old teacher said that the rules are different in the desert, something about energy lines. Things seem to get old testament real quick.
I left Kingman with a cup of burnt coffee in a styrafoam container. I drank it black, white sugar as the creamer appeared to have come out of a chemistry set. Good thing I stopped by the office to check out, I had left my drivers license the prior evening and they were going to let me drive off without it.
Imagined what it would be like to break down and suddenly be facing long survival odds in the middle of nowhere. Big D called and we discussed the time in my mid psychedelic period when I was let out of a car in Eastern Oregon, baking in the mid day heat and sun, my toasted psyche having all the camber of a kraft noodle. Luckily another passenger took pity and we stared the maelstrom right in the eye and eventually found our way out of the desert. But it was close, far too close.
Visions of me sitting propped up against a fence post, crows picking away at my cadaverous liver, flashed through my brain. An ignoble end like the poor bastards stuck in that shipping container last week. World going to shit, ebola, Ferguson, Isis, Ukraine, Gaza, systems are breaking down and people seem to be making very stupid decisions.
Racism is definitely making a comeback. A lot of white people think that we are living in a post racial world, but nobody else does. Still easier for a convicted white felon to get a job than a black man. The protest for Darren Wilson was a near completely white affair. And black lives seem to be rather cheap these days. Read most any story about Ferguson and somebody will call the natives savages, and not understand that most of the black people under the poverty line are working people, that jobs and opportunities are very tough. Any time I hear somebody say " I am not a racist but," I just know what is coming next.
I learn a lot listening to the radio in the desert. Heard a marvelous show yesterday, Michael Dean's Freedom Feens. Check it out. An ex punk rocker/libertarian, this guy is smart and funny. Don't agree on a lot but still very thought provoking. This is the show I listened to, with Bill Buppert and it was fascinating, learned about this third amendment case where police barged into an innocent neighbor's house so they could do surveillance on the other neighbors, shot the family dog and then arrested the innocent occupants for obstruction. A rare third amendment case. Makes you wonder what kind of police state we live in? Like the Ferguson cop, now city councilwoman, who arrested an innocent guy she beat for bleeding on her uniform.
Officer Cawthorn’s official report described the plan: “It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.”
Police proceeded with their plan, breaching Anthony Mitchell’s front door with a battering ram. “The officers aimed their weapons at Anthony Mitchell and shouted obscenities at him and ordered him to lie down on the floor,” the complaint stated. Mitchell’s account stated that NLVPD Officer Snyder gave him conflicting orders to both shut off his phone and to “crawl,” and that Snyder called him an “asshole.”
“Although plaintiff Anthony Mitchell was lying motionless on the ground and posed no threat, officers, including Officer David Cawthorn, then fired multiple ‘pepperball’ rounds at plaintiff as he lay defenseless on the floor of his living room. Anthony Mitchell was struck at least three times by shots fired from close range, injuring him and causing him severe pain.”
Stupid drug war and sociopathic cops with big toys and little dicks that want to play soldier.
I feel good for letting my literary fields lay fallow. Typing is now however a clumsy chore. I think that our collective circuits are fast approaching always on. There is simply too much for me personally to process. The chatter is not good for my soul, at least. I now have no television for twenty two years, no home phone, no facebook, no twitter, little football or sports. I'm feeling good. I need to limit my superfluous peripheral connections, to reclaim my life and being, not to mention mental health.
Maxed my credit cards out. Sigma decided to charge me for an expensive camera I never ordered. I freaked. They were deeply apologetic but it certainly caused unneeded stress.
Met some folks from Boston at the show that had been in my shop many times. Their uncle Mario owned a couple buildings around town and used to occasionally try to hondel me on paintings. I have a great painting of hookers from San Francisco that he always had to visit and try to steal from me. Really liked the old guy and knew that he was getting sick.
The kids told me that the last time he ever left his house was to come see the painting, then he died. Viva Mario. They should buy the painting and throw it in his grave. Will miss him. I'm getting older too. My hair, which is completely Mike Bloomfield unmanageable right now, is also a shade or two more gray. Happening very fast.
While the show could have been better, they also could have been worse. And I had some great times with my pals. I want to thank Steve Saylor for his move in help and for putting me u for a night not to mention for hiking with me. Thanks John Morris and Terry S, my promoters, Victoria, Adrian, James, Eric, Rex. J.P. I really want to thank Jan Duggan for splitting the booth at Indian and being so good to me. Bradford, always a good friend. Randy Rodriguez. Maras and Mitzi. Steve and Sue. Robert. Paul. Thanks to all the people. Ron Munn. We are all in this thing together.
Good meals cashew chicken mole enchilada at the Plaza, BLT at Joes Diner. Chow fun at Saigon, bar food at the Bullring, Jennifer James, ehhh this year, great meal as always at the Santa Cafe.
I have run on, over and around. Got to go home and feed the pets. Later. to be continued... Leaving for Texas in a couple weeks to try my luck there. Gamblers got to keep throwing the dice.