PROMOTING THE ARTS IN THE BERKSHIRES SINCE 1994
THE ARTFUL MIND August 2019
MUSICIAN AND VOCALIST PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN
In the Grotto, watercolor, 18x5.5”, Carolyn Newberger
Illuminating the Hidden Forest Carolyn Newberger www.carolynnewberger.com “Lily and I enter the forest in early morning, I swathed in insect proof clothing, mushroom knife in pocket, bear bell on hiking pole, and with folding stool, notebook and art supplies on my back. Perched on my stool, I draw, paint, and record in words the many insights the forest offers. I am surprised every day by the forest’s astonishing variety, beauty, power and wisdom.” Each week in The Berkshire Edge (theberkshireedge.com), read Carolyn’s installments of her adventures in the forest with her little dog, Lily. Carolyn’s forest paintings can be seen during October/November, 2019 at the Gallery of the Artful Mind at Front Street Gallery, Front Street, Housatonic, MA Artists’ reception, October 5, 5-7pm, and by appointment through firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 â€¢ 1
THE ARTFUL MIND BRUCE SHICKMANTER
Music... Art....Theatre...Dance...Renoir in the Clark! Seasons in the Berkshires! So much to discover!
SUMMER FICTION #1 WEANING BY JAYME KURLAND ... 9
CRISTOBAL MORALES CONVEX FRAMED MIRRORS & FOUND OBJECT ASSEMBLAGE INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE ... 10
SUMMER FICTION #2 YOU BELONG TO ME BY SUSIE KAUFMAN ... 17 JAANE DOE / MUSICIAN AND VOCALIST INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE / PHOTOS BY TASJA KEETMAN ... 19 SUMMER FICTION
WE ARE THE WORLD BY FRANK GIOIA...25
SCOTT PRIOR PAINTER INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE ... 28 RICHARD BRITELL JASON AND HIS GRANDMOTHER SUMMER FICTION
2. / FICTION ...36
TALES OF A SWAMP JEW BY MIMI ROSENBLATT ... 38 A SUNNY KNOLL
/ GOUACHE 2018-9
A VERY REVEALING ANECDOTE BY TAMMARA LEMINEN ...39 Contributing Writer: Richard Britell Photographers: Edward Acker, Tasja Keetman Publisher Harryet P. Candee Copy Editor
Advertising and Graphic Design
Harryet P. Candee
CALENDAR LISTINGS and ADVERTISING RATES, please call 413 - 854 - 4400
email@example.com MY BACKYARD
Contact Artist to see more... 413‐446‐3721 Send a message... firstname.lastname@example.org OCTOBER 2019: THE ARTFUL MIND GALLERY @ FRONT ST. GALLERY IN HOUSATONIC MA
2 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
FYI: ©Copyright laws in effect throughout The Artful Mind for logo & all graphics including text material. Copyright laws for photographers and writers throughout The Artful Mind. Permission to reprint is required in all instances. In any case the issue does not appear on the stands as planned due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, advertisers will be compensated on a one to one basis. All commentaries by writers are not necessarily the opinion of the publisher and take no responsibility for their facts and opinions.
aMuse Gallery presents
Eye of the Beholder A group exhibition featuring art created from found objects
August 1 - September 29, 2019 Artist Reception: Saturday, August 3, 4 - 7PM
www. Eleanorlord.com Night Field by Rosemary Barrett
aMuse Gallery 7 Railroad Avenue - Chatham NY 518-392-1060 amusechatham.com Hours: Thursday thru Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 12-4pm
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 â€¢ 3
CALENDAR OF EVENTS SUMMER 2019 Buggy Whip Factory painting studio of abstract artist, Andrew Zdziarski, where he will offer up his latest works and some nice breakfasty treats from the beloved Southfield Store. The tour continues on to New Marlborough where we’ll visit two extraordinary painters, Ann Getsinger and Shawn Fields. These two artists tend towards realism, each distinct individuals in their style. Next we will head to the Becket home of sculptor and (former and still amazing, chef), Joe Wheaton, for what is sure to be an unforgettable lunch and a tour of the beautiful grounds full of his lovely, lyrical sculpture. We will conclude our tour in Lee with a visit to the lakeside summer studio of Jim Youngerman including a late afternoon lakeside cocktail (or mocktail) at Laurel Lake. Look for details on our "Housatonic All the Way, Baby!" Tour Tuesday, Aug 20
510 WARREN STREET GALLERY 510 WARREN STREET, HUDSON, NY 518-822-0510 email@example.com /510warrenstreetgallery.com Thru Sept 1: paintings and drawings by KEN SAHR Fri & Sat 12 - 6, Sun 12 - 5 or by app aMUSE GALLERY 7 RAILROAD AVE, CHATHAM, NY • 518-392-1060 / WWW.AMUSECHATHAM.COM Thru September 29: Eye of the Beholder, Group exhibition featuring art made from found objects.
LISA VOLLMER PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO AND GALLERY 325 STOCKBRIDGE RD, GT BARRINGTON, MA • 413-429-6511 www.lisavollmer.com
L’ATELIER BERKSHIRES GALLERY 597 MAIN STREET, GT BARRINGTON MA • 510-469-5468 / ATELIERBERKS.COM NATALIE.TYLER@ATELIERBERKS.COM Contemporary Artists from the Berkshires and Beyond in a historic Great Barrington building.Oil paintings, metal & glass sculpture and custom furniture at L’Atelier Berkshires.SUMMERTIME Artist Reception: Friday Aug 9, 5-7pm Thurs- Mon 11-5pm Tuesday 11-4pm Wednesdays by appointment
MASS MoCA 1040 MASSMOCA WAY, NORTH ADAMS, MA • 413-662-2111 Thru 2019: Laurie Anderson; Louise Bourgeois
AUGUST ARTSWALK! PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS • 413-443-6501 FIRSTFRIDAYSARTSWALK.COM Aug 8- Aug 30,10am: Eighteen different art shows featuring work by over two dozen accomplished regional and student artists in Pittsfield BERKSHIRE MUSEUM 39 SOUTH ST., PITTSFIELD, MA • 413-443-7171 HTTP://WWW.BERKSHIREMUSEUM.ORG Thru September 8: Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion CHERRY VALLEY SCULPTURE TRAIL CHERRY VALLEY, NY Thru Octr 8:Ed Smith’s bronze sculptures on display, and many more sculptors along the trail to see. CLARK ART INSTITUTE 225 SOUTH ST, WILLIAMSTOWN, MA WWW.CLARKART.EDU June 8 - Sept 22: RENOIR: The Body, The Senses; July 4-Oct14: Art's Biggest Stage: Collecting the Venice Biennale, 2007-2019; June 8-Sept 15: Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet: sound installation; CATA's Annual Art Show I AM A PART OF ART celebrating the work of artists with disabilities: thru Aug 25. FRONT STREET GALLERY 129 FRONT ST, HOUSATONIC, MA • 413-274-6607 Kate Knapp oils and watercolors and classes open to all. HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE 1843 W. HOUSATONIC ST, PITTSFIELD, MA BLACKBAUDHOSTING.COM Thru Nov 11, 2019: Exhibition Opening: Borrowed Light: Barbara Ernst Prey. 4 •AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
HESSEL MUSEUM OF ART & CCS BARD GALLERIES BARD COLLEGE, ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY • 845-758-7598 Thru Oct13: "Nil Yalter: Exile is a Hard Job," the artist's first solo U.S. museum exhibition; Thru Oct 13: "Leidy Churchman:Crocodile," the artist's first solo US museum exhibition HOADLEY GALLERY 21 CHURCH STREET LENOX MA 01240 • 413-637-2814 Fine art and contemporary crafts by acclaimed artists: paintings, jewelry, home furnishings, ceramics and glass HOTEL ON NORTH 297 NORTH ST, PITTSFIELD, MA • 413-358-4741 July-Aug: Michael Fabrizio LINDA KAYE-MOSES BERKSHIRE CRAFTS FAIR The unruly jewelry by Linda Kaye-Moses will be at Monument Mountain High School in Gt Barrington, Fri, Sat, Sun Aug 9-11 LAUREN CLARK FINE ART 684 MAIN ST, GT BARRINGTON, MA • 413-528-0432 / LAURENCLARKFINEART.COM "ASSEMBLAGE" New Work in Three Dimensional Collage by REGINALD MADISON; WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14TH FOR OUR THIRD SUMMER ARTISTS' STUDIO TOUR! This tour will begin in Southfield at The
MARGUERITE BRIDE HOME STUDIO AT 46 GLORY DRIVE PITTSFIELD, MA • 413- 841-1659 or 413-442-7718 MARGEBRIDE-PAINTINGS.COM FB: MARGUERITE BRIDE WATERCOLORS “Seasons in Watercolor” will be on display at the Sandisfield Art Center, August 3 – August 28 with an opening reception August 3 from 2-4 pm. The center is at 5 Hammertown Road in Sandisfield, MA.; Bride’s solo exhibit, “Jazz Visions”, 22 original watercolors (mostly on canvas) are on “long-term” exhibit on both floors at 51 Park Tavern in Lee MATT CHINIAN MATTCHINIAN.COM
Thru Aug 16 “Location Location Location”, 3 person Landscape exhibition at Lake George Arts Project, 1 Amherst St., Lake George, New York. NORMAN ROCKWELL MUSEUM 9 MASSACHUSETTS 183, STOCKBRIDGE, MA Thru Oct 22: For the People: Memories of the Old Corner House RIVER ART PROJECT 3 STOCKBRIDGE STATION GALLERY 2 DEPOT STREET, STOCKBRIDGE, MA • 413-298-5163 / 413 563-4934 cell www.riverartproject.com Scott Prior: Paintings. Thru Sept 2 SANDISFIELD ARTS CENTER 5 HAMMERTOWN RD, SANDISFIELD, MA • 413-258-4100 SANDISFIELDARTSCENTER.ORG The Nature of Things: Claudia d’Alesandro Photography: Sept 3 - Oct 3, reception sept 7, 2-4pm SCHANTZ GALLERIES CONTEMPORARY GLASS 3 ELM STREET, STOCKBRIDGE, MA • 413-298-3044 / schantzgalleries.com Aug 1–Sept 21: CHIHULY. Public reception, Fri, Aug 9, 3-5pm. Oct 4 - 27: Bertil Vallien, Recent works.
SIENNA PATTI 80 MAIN STREET LENOX MA • 413-638-8386 Thru Aug 14: AMELIA TOELKE: Seeing Stars. Sienna Patti represents innovative artists using traditional and non-traditional materials who push and pull the boundaries of studio jewelry and adornment. SOHN FINE ART GALLERY 69 CHURCH ST, LENOX MA • 413-551-7353 Contemporary photography dedicated to promoting artworks by international and local artists.
THE STATIONERY FACTORY 63 FLANSBURG AVE., DALTON, MA Instagram: @berkshirephotographygroup Berkshire Photography Group: “Portfolios” July 27–Sept 22 THE BECKET ARTS CENTER 7 BROOKER HILL RD, BECKET, MA • 413- 623-6635 Exhibition 3: Aug 24 - Sept 8: Featuring the work of John Clarke, Michael Bufis, Bryan Powers, and Lee Sproull Opening reception: Sat, Aug24, 2-4pm: Displaying: Aug 24 - Sept 8, 12 - 4:00pm TURNPARK ART SPACE 2 MOSCOW RD, WEST STOCKBRIDGE, MA / TURNPARK.COM Thru Oct 31: Kathleen Jacobs: ECHOS. Paintings and site-specific outdoor installation. THREE STONES GALLERY 10C MAIN ST, ROCKPORT MA THREESTONESGALLERY.COM Ghetta Hirsch now showing her outstanding art along with Betsy Silverman, Jonathan MacAdam and Emily Passman, Jewelry by Lyca Blume and Emily Rose Maultsby VAULT GALLERY 322 MAIN ST, GT. BARRINGTON, MA • 413-644-0221 Marilyn Kalish at work and process on view, beautiful gallery and wonderful collection of paintings
MUSIC BASCOM LODGE 30 ROCKWELL RD., LANESBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS • 413-743-1591 / BASCOMLODGE.NET Aug 21, 6pm7pm: Wintergreen HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE 1843 W HOUSATONIC ST., PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS • 413-443-0188 / HANCOCKSHAKERVILLAGE.ORG Thru Nov 11: While Mighty Thunders Roll: Popular Artists Sing the Shaker. Video and audio exhibition features specially commissioned a cappella recordings of Shaker songs by artists CLUB HELSINKI HUDSON 405 COLUMBIA ST., HUDSON, NEW YORK • 518-828-4800 / HELSINKIHUDSON.COM Aug 25, 7:30pm: Patrick Higgins HUDSON HALL AT THE HUDSON OPERA HOUSE 327 WARREN ST., HUDSON, NEW YORK HUDSON HALL AT THE HUDSON OPERA HOUSE • 518- 822-1438 / HUDSONOPERAHOUSE.ORG Aug11, 4pm: Hudson Jazz Works Concert MASS MoCA 1040 MASSMOCA WAY, NORTH ADAMS, MA • 413-662-2111 Aug 10, 8pm: Laurie Anderson Presents: LOU REED DRONES with Stewart Hurwood MUSIC MOUNTAIN MUSIC MOUNTAIN RD., FALLS VILLAGE, CONNECTICUT • 860-824-7126 MUSICMOUNTAIN.ORG Aug 18, 2019: St. Petersburg String Quartet & Piano
Quartet. GLAZUNOV: String Quartet #1 in D Major, Op. 1 (1882) BEETHOVEN: Grosse Fuge, Op. 133 (1826) SCHUMANN: Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 47 (1842) THE GUTHRIE CENTER 2 VAN DEUSENVILLE RD., GT BARRINGTON, MA • 413-528-1955 / GUTHRIECENTER.ORG Aug 24, 8pm: The Slambovian Circus of Dreams TANGLEWOOD 297 WEST ST., LENOX, MA • 413-637-1600 / TANGLEWOOD.ORG Aug 30, 7pm: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Melissa Etheridge
EVENTS 6TH ANNUAL BERKSHIRE POTTERY TOUR Sept 28-29: 6 working pottery studios around the souther Berkshires. Self-guided tours, please find maps at: berkshirepotterytour.com 174TH DUTCHESS COUNTY FAIR DUTCHESS COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS 6636 ROUTE 9, RHINEBECK, NEW YORK 845-876-4000 / DUTCHESSFAIR.COM Aug 20 - Aug 25, 10am - 10pm STOCKBRIDGE SUMMER ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW STOCKBRIDGE MAIN STREET 50 MAIN STREET, STOCKBRIDGE, MA Aug17 - Aug 18, 10am - 4pm stockbridgechamber.org/visit/summer-arts-craft-show HERITAGE FESTIVAL & FAMILY FEAST SHEFFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY 159 MAIN ST. , SHEFFIELD, MA • sheffieldhistory.org Aug 24, 5pm - 8pm
TALKS BECKET ART CENTER 7 BROOKER HILL ROAD, BECKET MA • 413-623-6635 / OFFICE@BECKETARTSCENTER.ORG Aug 27, 7:30 pm: Explorations Series Lecture 6: The Musical Magic of Cole Porter. Porter’s life and music, with singer-story teller Frank Newton and accompanist Bob Shepherd. Sing along with some of Porter’s great hits, like “Night and Day”, “True Love”, and “Wundebar”.
FILM TANGLEWOOD 297 WEST ST., LENOX, MA • 413-637-1600 TANGLEWOOD.ORG Aug 18: Impromptu; August 25: Score: A Film Music Documentary IMAGES THEATRE SPRING ST., WILLIAMSTOWN, MA IMAGESCINEMA.ORG Full film schedule, please check website
IS183 ART SCHOOL OF THE BERKSHIRES 13 WILLARD HILL RD, STOCKBRIDGE, MA 413-298-5252 X100 / IS183.ORG Aug 2-23: Photography: Why Film? with Thad Kubis; Writing About Art with Carol Diehl, Aug 6-Sept 10; Aug 8-29, thurs 6-9pm; Intro to Shibori Indigo with Carol Anne Grotian, Aug 10 & 11, Sat and sun 10-2pm; Puppet Workshop for Adults with Eric Weiss, Aug 12-16
DANCE JACOBS PILLOW 358 GEORGE CARTER RD, BECKET, MA • 413.243.0745 / JACOBSPILLOW.ORG Pillow-exclusive production Sara Mearns: Beyond Ballet, August 14-18; Aug 18: Ted Shawn Theatre, Martha Graham Dance Company returns with the EVE Project, a celebration of female power and the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the 19th amendment. They perform in a special Pillow Pop-Up at the Clark Art Museum PS21 2980 NEW YORK 66, CHATHAM, NY • 518-392-6121 / PS21CHATHAM.ORG Philadanco Dance Company Aug 9 / August 10, 8pm
THEATER BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY 30 UNION ST., PITTSFIELD, MA • 413-236-8888 barringtonstageco.org/ Aug 9-31: Fall Springs MAC-HAYDN THEATRE 925 STATE ROUTE 203, CHATHAM, NY Ragtime; Aug 8 - Aug 18: Little Shop of Horrors; Aug 31: End of Season Cabaret SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY 70 KEMBLE ST, LENOX, MA / SHAKESPEARE.ORG Thru Aug 18: The Children TOWN PLAYERS OF PITTSFIELD 413-443-9279 / TOWNPLAYERS.ORG INFO@TOWNPLAYERS.ORG Aug 16-18, 23-25 at BCC rm. K-111: And the Winner Is The Mount 2 PLUNKETT ST., LENOX, MA 413- 551-5111 / SHAKESPEARE.ORG Thru: Aug17: The Taming of the Shrew UNICORN THEATRE 6 EAST ST., STOCKBRIDGE, MA • 413-997-4444 BERKSHIRETHEATREGROUP.ORG Thru Aug 24: Working: A Musical. From the book by Studds Terkel WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL 1000 MAIN ST., WILLIAMSTOWN, MA • 413-458-3200 WTFESTIVAL.ORG Thru: Aug 18: GHOSTS
WORKSHOPS DEB KOFFMAN’S ARTSPACE 137 FRONT ST, HOUSATONIC, MA • 413-274-1201 Sat: 10:30-12:45 class meets. No experience in drawing necessary, just a willingness to look deeply and watch your mind. This class is conducted in silence. Adult class. $10, please & call to register. First Tuesday of every month EASTOVER ESTATE & RETREAT 430 EAST ST., LENOX, MA 866-264-5139 / EASTOVER.COM AUG 15: Tao Tan Pai Qigong with Terence Dunn
Please send in your calendar listing the 10th of the month prior to publication firstname.lastname@example.org ISSUU.COM
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 5
SUNRISE, BRANT POINT SCOTT PRIOR
SCOTT PRIOR PAINTINGS
ROBERT WILK RED
STOCKBRIDGE STATION GALLERY
JOE CHIRCHIRILLO WILDFLOWER
STEVE HELLER ROBOT EGG
FLYING HORSE OUTDOOR SCULPTURE BERKSHIRE ARTISTS IN SOUTH HAMILTON, MA SHOW When the tenth annual Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit opens September 1 on the 100-acre campus of Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA, the Berkshires and environs will be well represented. A full eight artists from within 90 minutes of Great Barrington will be displaying their work at what has become the largest temporary exhibit of outdoor art in New England. Pieces by Peter Barrett of Great Barrington, MA; Joe Chirchirillo of North Bennington, VT; Steve Heller of Boiceville, NY; Peter Kirkiles of South Kent, CT; Robert Markey of Ashfield, MA; Binney Meigs of Sheffield, MA; James Meyer of Lakeville, CT; and Robert Wilk of Lenox, MA will be among the more than 50 works by regional and national artists working in a wide variety of media and styles Pingree is the only school in the country to sponsor and organize such a display of art. The Flying Horse Exhibit continues until November 30 and is open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. There is no admission fee. The public is also invited to a reception with the artists on Sunday, September 15 when Honorary Chair Yarrow Thorne, founder and artistic director of The Avenue 6 â€˘AUGUST 2019
THE ARTFUL MIND
Concept, a public art initiative in Providence, Rhode Island, will speak. "Pingree is happy to offer the public this opportunity to enjoy art on the school's campus," says the show's curator, Judith Klein. "Head of School Dr. Tim Johnson believes art should be an integral part of every child's education, but it should also be a part of the lives of adults because it enriches us and encourages our creativity." Outdoor art, especially art that is accessible to all, says Klein, is a shared experience that can make a community grow closer too. Meet the Flying Horse Sculpture Show Artists! Join us on Sunday, September 15, at 1:00 p.m. for the Flying Horse Sculpture Show Reception. Meet the artists and honorary chair Yarrow Thorne, the artistic director and founder of The Avenue Project in Providence, Rhode Island. The event is free and open to the public. Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture - more information is available at pingree.org/sculpture-show.
The Stockbridge Station Gallery proudly presents Scott Prior: Paintings. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will be on view at Stockbridge Station Gallery, from August 2-September 2, 2019. A public reception with the artist: Friday, August 2 from 5-7pm. It features a carefully curated selection of Priorâ€™s recent oil on canvas works. These finely detailed, strikingly colored, compellingly arranged compositions demonstrate a unique blend of realism and fantasy. Prior reverently portrays the tangible, deftly painting landscapes, figures, and objects with exquisite finesse, while simultaneously expressing the underlying emotions of life. In his native New England, the opportunity for visual and experiential beauty abounds and Prior is a master at wrangling both on a single canvas. What differentiates Prior from other realist painters is how he turns up the volume, creatively placing objects to maximize narrative possibilities, intensifying the impact of light, or amplifying the color. With admiration for the Flemish and Dutch masters (who depicted nature and objects in painstaking and brilliantly lit detail), Edward Hopper (who could enliven the most mundane objects with light and knew how to draw viewers directly in), and the Magic Realists (who combined reality and dreams), Scott Prior offers visually stunning and richly layered compositions that both pay homage to the life he lives and loves, and invite us to imagine ourselves in a familiar and deeply personal space. Stockbridge Station Gallery -2 Depot, Stockbridge, MA 01262; Hours: Open Thursday-Monday, 10-6 pm in August; Contact Info: 413-298-5163 email@example.com
1439 WAITE RD, EASTON, NY 5-26-19 13 X 14 OIL
The Artful Mind Gallery: OCT 2019 Reception for Artists: Oct 5 5-7pm Front Street Gallery Housatonic, MA 100 North St Pittsfield Painting - Collage - Construction 914. 260. 7413 markmellingerart.com firstname.lastname@example.org
@MATTCHINIAN MATT CHINIAN
Location Location Location, 3 person Landscape exhibition. Lake George Arts Project, 1 Amherst St. lake George, NY July 13-August 16 Visit mattchinian.com for more info THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 7
BRUCE SHICKMANTER, FROZEN DAMN IN PITTTSFIELD
CLAUDIA D’ALESSANDRO, FIRE IN ICE
BRUCE SHICKMANTER Bruce Shickmanter retired in 2012 from his work as a physician in Berkshire County. After retirement he decided to pursue a long-term interest in watercolor painting. In his paintings Bruce develops his use of pleasing shapes along with light and color to convey a sense of magic, mystery and movement. He uses the texture and matte finish of gouache to create a contrast with the transparent and ephemeral qualities of watercolors. The scenes he paints are often places he has come across while hiking or biking or are inspired by a photo that stimulates his creativity. Bruce’s paintings have been shown at St. Francis Gallery in Lee, MA, The Artful Mind Gallery in Lenox, MA, Chocolate Springs Café in Lenox, MA and in multiple group shows in various locations with the Guild of Berkshire Artists. Bruce Shickmanter- 413-446-3721, email@example.com
CLAUDIA D’ALESSANDRO PHOTOGRAPHY
“Claudia’s photography touches our souls with deep joy!” ~ CHR Like John Burroughs, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Through my lens, I can capture moments otherwise gone in an instant — in prints on canvas, aluminum and photo paper — and keep close the scenes of the beauty and mystery that exist all around. “She sees with her eyes and feels with her heart.” ~ DKAH The Berkshires is a changing, moving and exciting palette with a seasonal and topographical backdrop that has made this region a destination for generations of people seeking a beautiful place just to ‘be.’ I have been a ‘here, gone, and now back’ resident here since 1965, and have come to realize that there is no place that I would rather be. In hills, skies, streams, lakes and brooks, valleys and woods, and from the tops of our mountains, there is everything I need to soothe my spirits and enliven my soul. And there is little that I enjoy as much as catching a tiny bit of that beauty and preserving it for all to see. The Berkshires truly shine in summer. And I enjoy trying to catch and preserve as many moments of it as I can, through my lens. To order prints or enquire about pricing, email me and mention the Artful Mind for preferred customer pricing. Claudia Dallesandro firstname.lastname@example.org; https://www.dalessandrophotography.com, Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/cdalessandrophotography/ and on Instagram as: dalessandronatura
FRONT ST. GALLERY
Painting classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1pm at the studio in Housatonic and Thursday mornings 10am - 1pm out in the field. Also available for private critiques. Open to all. Please come paint with us! gallery hours: Open by chance and by appointment anytime 413. 274. 6607 (gallery) 413. 429. 7141 (cell) 413. 528. 9546 (home) www.kateknappartist.com
Front Street, Housatonic, MA 8 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
SIXTH ANNUAL BERKSHIRE POTTERY TOUR SEPTEMBER 28-29 The Sixth Berkshire Pottery Tour will happen the weekend of Sept. 28-29, with a self-guided motor tour of six working pottery studios around the southern Berkshires. Berkshire weather is always beautiful at the end of September, as the leaves move toward their October peak. The potters have been busy all summer making new work. All the studios will display their wares for sale; come experience a diverse array of styles in functional and sculptural ceramics. Studios will be open from 10-5 each day. Admission is free and families are welcome. The tour runs north-south and then east-west, and can be begun at any point, from the Richmond studio of Ben Evans to Paula Shalan in Stockbridge, Lorimer Burns in Housatonic, Daniel Bellow in Great Barrington and on to Ellen Grenadier in Monterey and Linda Skipper in New Marlborough. In addition to our six potters, this year’s tour will include four special guest potters: Liz Daley, Ben Krupka, Connie Talbot, and Brendan Moore. Visitors can have each potter sign their map, with each signature comes a chance to win the grand prize, a mug from each of the six potters. Your map/brochure is your ticket: pick one up at any studio and submit it to any of the potters to be entered for the drawing. This May, the potters had a Mother’s Day show at Dotties in Pittsfield, called Mugs for Mothers, to benefit The Elizabeth Freeman Center, in an effort to give back to our local community which supports us so enthusiastically. Each potter donated ten mugs, and all the proceeds went to the charity. Look for the distinctive orange and white Berkshire Pottery Tour road signs at key turns on the weekend of the event. Berkshire Pottery Tour - maps are available at each studio as well as at www.berkshirepotterytour.com
SUMMER FICTION #1 WEANING My daughter still nurses, fiend for milk, 3 years old. People ask if it's normal, I say “the doctor is OK with it!” … shame pulsing hotly in my temples. Now I nurse in secret mostly, that's what shame does, leads us into constricted deceitful hidden realms. So I force myself to think about weaning, the saying No, the pulling away as she reaches for milk, our hands tangled in battle over my with-holding. The breast devoid of its magic, warm white river flowing from my body to hers, all desire quenched as she settles in my arms and sucks. The Mother is cruel as nature. People speak of love as though there are rules and conditions to it- if you love someone you would sacrifice your life for them; if you love someone you want only good for them, you wouldn't hurt them. But I remember how it feels to learn the dark and boundless mess of love, mother-eyes aching as we betrayed one another with our own private needs. Such as, age 9, being invited over to my friend Kyle's house for a sleepover, old colonial with a swimming pool- water the color of open sky. American dolls, potato chips, fruit snacks, Capri-Sun, tall and slender expressionless father coming forth briefly from another world and Kyle's mother making jokes at the center of things. Saying to my own family I want to go over there tonight, to be with them, except I couldn't say it like that. Couldn't bear the way their voices softened, high and wounded, you can go if you want, are you sure you want to, we'll be having Chinese food for dinner…? So instead I'd say I was invited over, I'm not sure if I want to go, it would be so fun to stay here with
you but……. and after much show of deliberation, my insides flipped all around and upside down, losing sight of what I really wanted after all. I'm ready to stop nursing, finally ready, though I can't actually make the move and do it. The readiness happened suddenly a month or two ago, tight sense of suffocation in my throat as my daughter moved from left breast to right, right breast to left, wanting more and more. I spoke to her with whiny irritation in my voice, as if I were a 3-year old myself, enough enough!! I can't see clearly from so close up, where images intersect and lines tangle. Sharp teeth like hungry arrows thrown without precision, beating heartflesh inside a cracked white shell, stormy skies for blood and faces of people I love needing something I don't know how to give. I take a step back where wings would be, and endless space, where forms take shape and breathe then break to pieces, become something else. The word “Mother” is heavy, archetypal, the meaning arches web-like human to human and the symbol turns ungraspable as fire-flame. Something we thought we had and never did. Something we long for and never find. The breast, nourishment made tangible, how closely linked desire is in all its forms. My daughter, melted in my lap, pleads for mother's milk. I never want to stop, never never! she asserts, clear and confident in her eternal need. I look out the window, look to the sky, where white liquid flows and never never dries.
Jaane Doe CELEBRATES . . . her artistic vision in her Directorial Debut of PAWNS. Pawns is an enchanting music video captured in celluloid right here in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts and set for release in 2019.
PHOTO CREDIT: TASJA KEETMAN
For more info and updates visit: www.Jaanedoe.com www.facebook.com/JaaneDoeMusic THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 9
CRISTOBAL MORALES CONVEX FRAMED MIRRORS & FOUND OBJECT ASSEMBLAGE INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE
Harryet: Congrats on the show at Amuse Gallery in Chatham, NY. Janice had mentioned to me that you have a very interesting background, and a worthwhile story to tell. We all have colorful backgrounds filled with struggles, achievements, etcetera, what is your story, Cristobal? Cristobal Morales: Thank you. I am one of 16 children (second youngest) raised by a single mother in a small town in Mexico. I think the most interesting and relevant part of my story begun when I left my country in 1995 looking for a better opportunity to do something in life. I was fourteen years old at the time and I had 10 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
been struggling for the past three years to keep up with school, the financial strain was way too severe, and I failed to finish 7th grade for three consecutive years. One day, my older sister proposed to come with her to the United States and encouraged by my mother for the betterment of myself and my family I made the decision to come with my sister. I had a job as a shop keeper in a small but busy gift shop at the time, I was working twelve hours a day, seven days a week. My meager salary amounted to 90 pesos (the equivalent of 9 dollars at the current exchange rate) The air fare alone to fly to Tijuana Mexico cost me 2,500 pesos which was founded by
my sister to be paid back over time when I got settled in the United States. The plan was pretty straight forward; my sister and I would land in Tijuana, she would contact her husband in New York to notify him that we were on our way and it would only be a matter of days to receive the money to pay a smuggler to help us cross the border, but little that I knew, my sister’s husband had no knowledge of his wife’s plans. I only became aware of it when she placed a phone call to let him know that we were in Tijuana on our way to NY. My brother in law was angry at my sister’s decision and told her that he couldn’t come up with the
Weeping Eye Mixed metals assemblage Cristobal Morales
money for both of us and I would have to stay. My sister called other people she knew, but no one could lend her such a big amount. My sister received enough money for her own crossing. A week later she left me with a phone number to stay in touch and enough money to pay rent and food for a month and the assurance that in that period of time she would send me the money for my own crossing. It took my sister a little bit over two weeks to get reunited with her husband in the little apartment he shared with a bunch of other men in the Bronx but shortly after that the landlord asked them to vacate the apartment. A week later, I called the number I was given, but it had been disconnected. I guess no one knew that it could be transferred to their new address or maybe they just couldn’t afford to pay the bill, I never asked but the point is, I had lost touch with my entire family. There were no telephone lines in my little town in Mexico and since I never in my life had sent or received any correspondence, writing a letter never occurred to me. and if I’d had, it would have been pointless because by the time my letter reached home and the by time, I received an answer, I figured I would probably be dead. A month went by and I never received any money from my sister, I had no money for food, and I was asked to leave the room where I was living. I grabbed my little back pack with one change of clothes, and I wandered all over Downtown Tijuana
looking for a job, but no one would hire me because I had no skills, I was under age and I had no family members to give consent unlike my little home town. Soon I found myself doing things I never thought I would. I stole food from the sample tables at the supermarket until I got caught by the security guard and banned from the store. I slept under a bridge for weeks and many other things that I would reserve for the reader so they can read them in a memoir I am working on. I’m not proud of the things I did to survive, but I am glad I had the strength to do what it took. After a year, I managed to get in touch with my sister and she send me the money to cross to the United States. I can’t really get into the details of my ordeal crossing through the Arizona dessert because every event is so interconnected that I wouldn’t make much sense, but I will tell you that I nearly died. Upon my arrival to New York, a job waited for me in a Jewish restaurant in Kew Gardens Queens. It was around Christmas time and the restaurant was catering parties all over the City. My first day of work, one of the men I shared the small apartment with showed me the subway line and the bus I had to take which would be the same for my return, except, I was sent to The St Regis Hotel to an event which went on until late, past the restaurant hours. When it was time to go home, I manage to make myself understood by one of my
co-workers and I told him that I needed the train, number 7, because I knew it ran all along Roosevelt Avenue which was very closed to Jackson Heights where I lived. He showed me how to get to the subway I needed but I didn’t know which direction to go. My guess took me in the opposite direction, and I ended up at Grand Central, but I couldn’t know if I was in the right place unless I walked out of the station, and so I did. When I realized I was lost, I got back in the subway and I kept getting in and out of each station until I depleted my MetroCard credit and I had no choice, but to walk up and down all night looking for a familiar landmark that would show me the way home, to no avail. Very early the next morning I asked a Mexican delivery man if he could help me get to Roosevelt Ave in Queens. He told me that it was on the other side of the river and he asked me if I didn’t mind riding with him until he finished his deliveries, he would take me there as he was heading to Queens. I almost lost my job for not showing up on my second day of work, but they really needed me and let me stay. I no experience in restaurant work and I was assigned the prep station. I cannot count with my fingers how many times I sliced them with the knife while I chopped vegetables in a windowless basement for more than twelve hours, six days a week, not as bad as I had it I guess, but when I saw the wait staff seemingly working less and earning more money than me, I realized what I Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 11
Cristobal Morales studio Hey! There’s Cristobal!
needed to do and I made it my mission to learn English. I had no time to go to school, but I discovered a very effective method. Discovery channel with Spanish subtitles. It was illustrated, well-spoken and educational. I also realized I had to apply myself to my job but when my Mexican co-workers saw my ambition, they resented me because they had been in this country a long time and couldn’t speak as well. I practiced with the wait staff and the cooks and my co-workers would yell at me to get back to work, but I wasn’t really neglecting my job. They made it so unpleasant for me until I finally after about two months I quit. After that I moved to Long Island where Felipe (a man I knew) was working as a dishwasher in another restaurant. He told me he was going to Mexico to visit his family and he needed someone to cover his place while he was gone. I was the only Spanish speaking employee which was nice because I was forced to communicate in English. At first my employer wasn’t very happy with me because I wasn’t as good as Felipe, but very soon, I proved myself to be worth keeping and six months later when Felipe returned, they wouldn’t give him his job back. My job in the beginning was washing dishes but the chefs saw potential in me and started teaching me how to prep and cook but it was really for their 12 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
photo credit: Amuse Gallery / Janice
own interest because they relinquished a lot of their duties and left them to me, but I was happy to have a decent job. The restaurant was a really busy place near the Robert Moses Beach. During the summer days it was extremely busy, and suddenly I realized that we needed a dishwasher because I was doing mostly preparation work and still had to wash dishes which I didn’t mind, but I couldn’t keep up with it. One day on my return home from work as I waited for the train with a bunch of other restaurant workers in the neighborhood, we begun to talk about work, and someone asked me how much money I made. In most cases one would answer “it is not your business” but in this case it was something to brag about. “Six dollars and hour,” I said proudly, and everyone went on to tell me that I was being taken advantage of, that someone in my position with the responsibilities like mine and the length of time I’ve been working should be making at least nine dollars. They didn’t have to tell me twice, the next day I asked my boss for a raise, but it was denied to me and I gave my resignation notice. At this point my English and my skills had improved, two weeks later I was working at another restaurant making twelve dollars an hour and I had Sundays off, it was great! I missed my family very much, but I felt good to be sending my money back to help them come out
of poverty. I spent ten years in Long Island doing mostly restaurant work in the winter months and landscaping during the summer months until one day I meet my partner Michael Krieger, an interior designer based in NYC. Michael saw my creative potential and invited me to work with him. Through him I was exposed to the amazing world of high end decorating and I learned the static value of a decorative object or a piece of art. One day, Michael gave me a bunch of convex mirrors he had laying around figuring I would do something creative with them. I took one of the mirrors and I put behind added stressed, industrial wooden frame and I hung it on the wall of my studio Michael and I built in Upstate NY. Over time I kept adding different elements until it took a sunburst shape made with industrial found objects. My mirror was a conversation piece for friends that came over for dinner. One day, Michael suggested I make more of these mirrors. The idea appealed to me, but it seemed I would have to wait too long to see this project fulfilled as I had to gather materials. Nonetheless, I started to collect metal gears, and little bits of metal that I could apply to my vision. Two years later when I could no longer fit stuff into my small storage space, I decided it was time to make these mirrors.
Found object sculpture by Cristobal in studio
On April 2011 Marilyn Bethany did a story on my mirrors for Rural Intelligence, and on April 23rd I had my first show at TK Home in Hudson NY. The reception was well attended, and we nearly sold out in the first two hours. I was thrilled! Nineteen out of 22 pieces were gone the next day and I rushed into making my next group which kept selling very quickly. After that I decided to show my work at the ICFF International Contemporary Furniture Fair where it was given good exposure. So, after the show was over, I received a call from Paul Smith clothing store requesting my work to be displayed at their SOHO and Fifth Avenue stores. In the meantime, Michael kept showing my work in his circles and led me to the Gerald Bland Gallery located on 96 St and Lexington Avenue who had agreed to take my work. Thirty-two pieces were sold immediately to Elly Cullman for a project in Palm Beach and Gerald asked me for more pieces so he could have good stock for the Christmas holidays. In less than a week I produced over twenty other pieces which he sold just as fast as the previous group. Then Gerald Bland Gallery moved to a new location, and during that time I got involved in a restaurant that I opened in Chatham, NY and all the extra pieces I had were used to decorate the walls of my establishment. One day Mark McDonald walked into my
photo credit: Amuse Gallery / Janice
small restaurant and admired the pieces. He asked me who made them, and I introduced myself as the artist. Mark asked me if I would be willing to let him show my work at the Park Avenue Antique Show and of course, I didn’t refuse. The mirrors received great attention and further exposure leading to Furtuny Fabric House located at the D&D Building on 59th and 3rd Ave in New York where they have been selling very successfully as large groups. Most recently, to Sara Dodd a designer from Dallas, for her own home. She had seen my work at the Park Avenue Antique Show. Ed Lobrano opened up the California market for me at the San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques show, leading to a gallery that recently sold a large collection of my mirrors. In May of the current year, Papas and Miron decorated a room for the Kips Bay Showhouse in NYC where a beautiful vignette was the focal point, displaying seven of my pieces. After the Kips Bay Show, I decided I should start putting a portfolio together for my records and I Googled my work for any related publicity, and as I browsed the internet, I stumbled upon a nice surprise—my work chosen by Architectural Digest as their top 20 favorite products.
That’s a really good story! What a long way you have come. Assemblages such as yours are probably deeply admired and loved by those who like mosaic design work, found objects, antiques & the industrial era, distorted and humorous reflections, religious icons—what am I missing that you can add to? Cristobal: Some people resemble say my work with jewelry or say it is like candy, you want one of each flavor and for the most part they sell in groups. I think they appeal to most people, you’ll be surprised. An ex-military young man bought one because it was made with bullet shells, and a car collector commissioned me to make one with car parts. What is it you enjoy most about making a framed convex mirror? Finding the elements, maybe? Cristobal: I believe that an artist and his or her creations, reflect their points of view; emotions and many feelings sometimes without even being aware of it. I recently came to the realization that my art is a metaphor, and for me, a way to express with beauty, my pent-up emotions. What I enjoy the most about my work, is finding an object that has been used and discarded; all its potential deemed vanished and then given a Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 13
Cristobal Morales found his art to be admired and collected by many antiques and decorative arts collectors. Each thematic hand-crafted piece is unique and look great in a group on the wall
new life, not only a new life, but perhaps the best life it will ever have. What materials do you work with, and is there any welding involved? Cristobal: I incorporate pretty much anything that can be used in a repetitive manner, in a round pattern. I originally started to work with wood and metal elements, but then I was introduced to leather elements, paint brushes, and most recently, repurposed glass pieces. Anyone well-known people collect your work that you can talk about? Cristobal: I don’t really end know most of the people who purchase my mirrors as it is mostly done by their decorators, but I assume they are people of significant means as they purchase large groups. I do know some of my pieces hang in Fifth and Park Avenue apartments. A large collection was sold to a client in Tel Aviv and some went to Brazil What are some of your personal interests you enjoy doing? Cristobal: One of my “problems” is, I want to do everything. I love theater, gardening and cooking. 14 •THE ARFUL MIND AUGUST 2019
Writing poetry and my current memoires. I think my number one passion is studying and learning language and words. What is “good” design to you? Cristobal: Well, as we know, art is very subjective, there has been pieces in my studio that caught people’s eye before being finished and they want them just as they are. I learned that you must not tell anyone that a piece is not finished if they like it. A good design for me is one that I have found full satisfaction in expressing myself, and that the art piece has found a good home. Where can people find your current work? Cristobal: In New York City, 59th Street and 3rd Avenue at the D&D building and Windows and Shades in San Francisco. Hopefully soon in to be found in Los Angeles and Miami. What are you presently working on? Cristobal: I am working on a collection of about 60 pieces to supply to all my showrooms, and some new-found object assemblages for the upcoming show at “a Muse” Gallery, in Chatham NY in this August.
What is your favorite historical time period for you? Cristobal: I am very drawn to aesthetic movements rather than historical events, however, Art Deco in my opinion is the best, and just so happens to coincide with the Industrial Revolution which made the Art Deco movement to be as rich as it is.
Do you go to museum and galleries for inspiration? Cristobal: I try to stay inspired and visit The Clark Museum, MaSS MoCA, and other venues closer to me when possible. I also attend concerts at Tanglewood, and, I really love Contemporary ballet at Jacobs Pillow. Do you have a favorite artist? Cristobal: I can’t really say I have a favorite artist, or art style, but there are many artists whose work I admire such as Marino Marin, Claudio Bravo, Tamara de Lempica, Joan Mitchell, Rothko and Louise Nevelson. Just to add, many people compare my work with that of Line Vautrin, a French decorative mirror maker from the 20’s.
Cristobal Morales Convex Mirror Wall designs made from found objects
Have you returned to visit the pueblo where you grew up in Mexico? If you did, how has it changed from what you remember? Cristobal: After 22 years of being in this country, unable to go back due to my legal status, I finally did visit my family five years ago. It is nothing like the little town I remember with adobe houses and red terra cotta roofs. It is developing quickly into a suburban sprawl. There’s great art to see in Mexico City. Have you experienced this as well? All over the world there is great art and inspiration! Cristobal: Unfortunately, I have not been able to travel to other countries because of the legal impediments I had, but through films and documentaries I have learned a great deal of stuff and have been inspired by it.
Are you fond of living in the country? Cristobal: I love the country, I often visit a cabin in the Adirondacks where I find peace like nowhere else. The forest is my temple, it is the place where I purify my soul and recharge my energy Do you visit the city at all? Cristobal: I love the country so much that I do not visit the city too often, except when I have to deliver my work to a gallery When did it finally become easy for your mirrors to sell? Cristobal: I realize I am extremely lucky when I say this in the humblest way “The success was pretty immediate” I attribute that mostly to the beauty of each object which gets more recognition in the context of my vision, but my hands are really just a vehicle.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now? Cristobal: I would love to see my book published. I have been approached by someone who works for Warner Brothers and some independent film makers to make a movie and by someone who would like to do a one-man show, off Broadway . What is it that you have personally learned from your art that has helped you get through life? Cristobal: I know this may sound too cliché or schmaltzy, but I really believe in doing what comes from your heart. All through my younger years I was forced by circumstances to do things I didn’t want to do. Now the freedom to express myself is an emotional liberation. Thank you, Cristobal! People can see your convex wall mirrors at the Amuse Gallery, Chatham, New York, and that will be up till September 29!
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 15
JEREMY DENK AT OZAWA HALL, 11 X 8.5, GRAPHITE AND PASTEL
CAROLYN NEWBERGER www.carolynnewberger.com Watercolor painting, mixed media and collage, and a practice of drawing from life form the body of my work. I draw in real time, in the natural world and as well in darkened concert halls. There the challenge is to keep a receptive ear and a loose hand in order to capture both performer and sound, with their rhythm, flow, and intensity. These works illustrate essays and music and dance reviews, many written in collaboration with my husband, Eli Newberger, in The Berkshire Edge (www.theberkshireedge.com), a publication of news, arts and ideas in Western Massachusetts. Carolyn Newberger can be reached at 617877-5672 and emailed at email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
MATT CHINIAN, 1415 LOADING DOCK, EAGLE BRIDGE, NY 4-13-19 13 X 14, OIL
MATT CHINIAN “I paint pictures of places and things I find on my way somewhere or intentionally wandering about. I find patterns in the light and shadow, in the shapes. I’ll find glory in the bounce of light or the secret of a shadow, they all thrill; they fascinate. It is in the randomness, the mundanity I bear witness; at that time in that moment, I was there. Many of these places are recognizable, they are places we find ourselves in, places we live, work, shop or get gas, they are part of our everyday lives. Painting them unlocks their inner beauty, reveals their poetry.” See Matt Chinian’s work at the following exhibits: July 13-August 16 reception July 13, 4-6 PM - “Location Location Location”, 3 person Landscape exhibition at Lake George Arts Project, 1 Amherst St., Lake George, New York. Matt Chinian - Visit mattchinian.com for more info.
KATE KNAPP STILL LIFE
FRONT ST. GALLERY Pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors…abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. Painting classes continue on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1:30pm at the studio and Thursday mornings out in the field. These classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. All levels and materials welcome. Private critiques available. Classes at Front Street are for those wishing to learn, those who just want to be involved in the pure enjoyment of art, and/or those who have some experience under their belt. Perfect if you are seeking fresh insight into watercolors, and other mediums. Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-5289546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell)
Mary Carol Rudin www.mcrudin.com
A Lady’s Back, Green 16 •THE ARFUL MIND AUGUST 2019
Oil on Canvas 18 x 24”
SUMMER FICTION #2 YOU BELONG TO ME I have a cousin in New Jersey who is 83. He and his wife meet us for lunch in Rhinebeck once a year. Because of the age difference, my cousin went off to college when I was only seven, so I barely knew him growing up. But now, I look at him over the chicken salad and I see my mother's nephew. When it's time to say goodbye and drive home, I'm bereft. It's like losing my mother again and again. You belong to me, I think, watching him walk to his car, and I belong to you. This yearning to connect has always been with me, lurking in the background, often unnoticed. I hardly know it's there. It was the thin air I struggled to breathe growing up on the fourteenth floor of the apartment building on 83rd street with all of the other strangers in all of the boxes stacked high off the asphalt. No neighborhood children in the yard asked me to come out to play. No paper boy tossed the funnies onto the porch steps. When the front door slammed shut on 14E, the separation was complete. It was cozy in winter when the sleet drummed against the windows and the sun went down at 4:30. But in summer, you could see people through the gauzy curtains, out on the street far below, in the lingering daylight savings twilight. You could see them strolling by eating ice cream cones and you wondered...why are they so far away, so untouchable? It could be that the flavor of this childhood in Manhattan, cooped up and sorted like an advertising flier into a post office mail slot, informed my resistance to joining. On one side of the scale, the breathless desire for belonging; on the other, the fear of it. Fear of membership, of the expectations of community, of choosing an identity that somehow excluded other identities. What would it mean to be unconditionally a Jew, a woman, those weighty nouns? I have always crouched low in the trenches of that battleground, but now I see a new story cresting the hill, a detente between desire and fear. The new story arises out of the discovery that communities are constantly in motion, more like verbs than nouns, while the nouns themselves are mercurial, gender identities unfolding on a spectrum, spiritual traditions freely borrowing from one another.
Communities merge and diverge like the reflecting surfaces of a kaleidoscope, each of us belonging to a great many shifting configurations. We belong to our families, from the mothers who cut our toenails and painfully combed the knots out of our hair, all the way back to someone foraging for mushrooms in the steppe. We carry the backpack of their genetic material wherever we go. My cousin is part of that baggage of blessing. Our stories interpenetrate in the white spaces between the lines of text the way every line of Torah resonates with all the interpretations of all the readers across the millennia. This awareness of belonging to the line of kinship, passing the inheritance along from generation to generation for better or for worse, is a familiar understanding, a sometimes deep, sometimes maudlin acknowledgment of origins. My belonging to all the world is a more recent, a more radical discovery. It turns out that the skin on my belly is a membrane somewhat arbitrarily separating what I have already known or digested from everyone and everything out there that I could come to know. Costa Ricans, horses, the sky and the surf in varying shades of blue. With so many possibilities, belonging is not an imprisonment, an irrevocable condition. Belonging is an ongoing series of decisions to cultivate curiosity and trust, a recurring dream. Children know this. Once, I walked the length of a porch with my granddaughter when she was, maybe, 18 months. At the end, we came to a big step that led to the yard. Without a word, she held out her tiny hand for help. We took the big step together just as I take the big step with my cousin every year, drawing him close then letting him go. The communities that I belong to are affiliations of the heart. The people I make art with, the people I meditate with, the people I break bread with, the food I eat and the people who harvest it. I belong to you and you belong to me. —Susie Kaufman Susie Kaufman is a retired Hospice chaplain. Her writing has appeared in America and Lilith magazines and the journal, Presence. Several of her pieces were included in the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers anthology, Writing Fire. Kaufman reads regularly at IWOW, the monthly open mic in Housatonic. Her book Twilight Time: Aging in Amazement has recently been published by Wipf & Stock.
Mary Carol Rudin www.mcrudin.com
A Lady’s Back, Red
Oil on Canvas 18 x 24” THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 17
JAANE DOE PHOTOGRAPH BY TASJA KEETMAN
Jaane Doe on stage with Dan Navarro, Nancy Apple and Sandy Opatow at WoodyFest 2018 Photo: John Claeys
JAANE DOE MUSICIAN AND VOCALIST INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE
Jaane, you born in the Bronx! So was I. Where in the Bronx, and can you reflect on a few memories of the days you were living there? Jaane Doe: I was born in the New York Foundling Hospital on 3rd Avenue. I was adopted shortly after that and grew up in Valhalla, NY. My childhood memories of Valhalla are happy ones. I attended Holy Name of Jesus School through the 8th Grade, where I often walked to school through the village of Valhalla carrying a heavy book bag in one hand and a guitar in the other from the age of ten. I began playing the Flute in Grade four, and have fond memories of walking into the house on a summer afternoon to find my very own flute sitting on a stand with a bow on it from my parents! I was given a guitar 2 years later in Grade 6, and came home everyday from school locked myself in my bedroom and taught myself to play. The nuns at school brought me into the teachers room to write out the chords and lyrics for all the 60’s Folksongs like Blowin’ in the Wind, If I Had a Hammer, Sounds of Silence and they would have me teach the students to play them. I remember lining up 30 girls in the hallway to tune their guitars before Mass! At the time when you first discovered music, what musicians did you start to follow?
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN
Jaane: When I first discovered music, I followed Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, James Taylor, Melanie, Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian. I consider them all to be my personal forefathers of music, and I have actually had the opportunity to meet some of them along my musical journey! The funny thing about meeting them is that these meetings were by chance. I have had many instances, but I will share a few. When I lived in Los Angeles, I had gone to visit a keyboard technician friend to demo some new gear, and when I came out of the facility, I got to my car realizing that I had locked the keys inside! Just as I was turning around on the sidewalk, Janis Ian passed by and I delightedly began to talk to her! I happened to have my writing journal in my hand, and I asked her to autograph it for me. She signed it ‘To Beth and her door locks, Janis Ian” While recently attending a John Miller concert in NYC, I lingered afterward to speak with my friend John, and Peter Yarrow, who had been John’s special guest, singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” for the crowd walked up to me, and kissed my hand! These little incidents illustrate how being passionate about our music and art can manifest into real connections with the artists who inspire us. What is your life like now that you are living in
the Berkshires? I know you had a big change happen from the time you were in LA, to the time you came back here. Can you tell us a little of what was going on in your life to make that change? Jaane: I had been working with my mentor and friend Joe Schermie, the bass player for Three Dog Night, and was hired to come to Crystal Sound Studios to sing some background vocals on a project. I clearly remember walking through those heavy glass doors, and down the hallway lined with Gold and Platinum records to the Studio A control room. The session had already started and there was a lot going on. As I stood at the mixing console, I looked up at the door and in walked a handsome blondhaired bearded man in a tie-died T- shirt, red suspenders, blue jeans, and K-Swiss sneakers. He extended his hand to me and introduced himself as Andrew Berliner. We found a few moments to have a conversation and sparks flew! I was invited to return often for sessions and social events, and eventually discovered that he was the Studio Owner! Oddly enough, he was from Brooklyn, originally, and I always chuckle to myself at the idea of having to travel across the country to find the “ONE” I’d meet, fall in love with, marry, and have children with… Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 19
wanted to artistically immortalize the struggle, where good triumphs over evil, with a mantra that you can be all that you dream with strong will and passionate desire to succeed. I feel that the universe has made me a positive channel to demonstrate this. Creating PAWNS has given me wings to fly. And performing is a big part of your career these days! You are travelling all over! Glad you have a venue in the Berkshires! How do you decide what your repertoire will be for the places you play? Jaane: I believe that the NATURE of my repertoire is what makes me attractive to the venues that hire me. It is ALWAYS a complement when the audiences at the venues prefer my original songs to the tunes that I cover. When I cover someone else’s song, I do my Continued on next page... best to make it my own. What changes most is the length of a set that I play, and that depends on audience engagement. I do not take a break at many of the gigs I play, which means that I could be playing for three hours straight. If the gig is at a showcase venue, the set would be shorter and consist of only original material. Jaane Doe Live at the Troubador
Andrew Berliner and Elizabeth Berliner (Jaane Doe) with our son Aaron in the kitchen at Crystal Sound Recording Studios 1993 Photo: Herb Abramson
not necessarily in that order! I believe the 1994 earthquake on Martin Luther King Day in the greater Los Angeles area was the turning point. Much of the music coming in those days was difficult for a Julliard trained classical pianist to relate to, so after 25 years, Andrew suggested that we return to Great Barrington to raise our children, giving up drive – by shootings and rap music for the culture and beauty of the Berkshires. If you remember Cornwall Academy, Andrew was class Salutatorian of his 60’s class, and a young Civil Air Patrol pilot who received his license from Walt Koladzda at age 16. He passed away suddenly when our children were 7, 8, and 12. The challenges of those days are behind me now as my children have reached an age of greater independence.
20 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
How does your latest music album PAWNS reflect your life? In what ways can you describe your music and how it has affected your life by creating it? Jaane: I would describe my music emotionally as heartfelt, introspective, ethereal, positive, spiritual, yet sometimes sad. It is melodic in nature, lending itself to harmonies, and punctuated by strong rhythm guitar, fingerpicking, bass, and piano riffs. PAWNS has been released as a single. The Genre is Anthemic Folk/Rock and is 6:44 in length. The remainder of the album is still in the works, with a goal of completion for the end of 2019. I feel that PAWNS is reflective of my reaching a precipice in life. I am allowing myself to enjoy the view. The road has been a winding one with sharp turns, unexpected curves, and steep climbs along the way. I
What has been so far the most memorable place you have performed? I liked the Troubadour Series at the Guthrie Center, in Gt Barrington. Harmonizing with Eric Reinhardt was so dead on. Jaane: Thank you for the complement, Harryet! I have played the Troubadour Series at The Guthrie Center several times and I LOVE the venue. It is among my favorites. The Guthrie Family and George Laye have been very kind to me over the years in giving me a home to keep up my craft and present my work as an artist. They allowed me to rehearse my band there for my CD release party for BURNS LIKE FIRE and the show was one of the best! I have played in some legendary places over the years like The Whiskey, The Rainbow, Fender’s Ballroom WoodyFest, Caffe Lena, and many more. The MOST memorable place I have performed is Doug Weston’s Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. Ironically, George Laye, the director at The Guthrie Center worked there before he became involved at Arlo’s Church. The Troubadour has been proving grounds for the luminaries of the popular music world. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Elton John, Guns and Roses. The list is endless with many a story behind each appearance. What is so impressionable about the place is the presence that remains in the room if you believe in spirits and ghosts, you find them there. I performed to a packed room with A&R Reps, and fans that clamoured for more. It was always an exhilarating experience to play that room. If you could play alongside of anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would you choose it to be? What would you both agree to play together? Jaane: I would choose to play with my mentor and friend, the late Joe Schermie. He was a master at putting together a rhythm section, and was a phenomenal bass player. I miss our days of collaboration. RIP Joe.
Jaane Doe as a child playing her first guitar grade 6
Are you fond of the great classic masters, like Mozart? Jaane: I am fond of Bach. I love the counterpoint, and when I write, I use “riffs” that are different for each guitar part and bass part that work the same way that J.S. Bach’s compositions would move. Do you have a process with your songwriting and connecting those words, to that of the instrument you will be playing? Jaane: My process is very stream of consciousness. I will sit up late at night in my music room or in the afternoon and just start randomly playing the guitar, and occasionally the piano. I will hit on something that sounds good and has urgency, bounce and movement and I will keep working a musical phrase until if feels cooked so to speak. The lyrics come later. I sometimes wake up with a strong line in my head and have to jump out of bed or stop the car to write it down. I keep all of this in a book in a special box, like a treasure chest that I can open when I need to add lyrics to a piece of music. Some songs come together in one sitting, a few minutes or hours. Other songs are written in parts and can take years for me to complete. Sometimes lyrics and melodies are like a cloud floating by in the sky. If you don’t reach up and grab it while it is there it disappears forever. Any other musings in the arts that you like to encounter? Jaane: I have no formal training in music or other, but I truly love nature photography, and interior design. I actually incorporated some of my nature video into my PAWNS music video.
Jaane Doe by Tasja Keetman
Tell us, Jaane, how do you spend your work days and moments of rest? At this time in life my work has become my play and vise versa. I do spend a great deal of time on the internet working on promoting, answering music business emails, fine tuning social media and website presentations. It is quite time consuming. I play my guitar, and I sing. I truly enjoy being outdoors tending my gardens and watching sunrises and sunsets. What do you find most challenging about your
latest music project, PAWNS? Jaane: Ahhh, the story of PAWNS. It all started at a puppet studio in High Falls NY on Lake Mohonk Road in the Fall of 2017. My co-producer, Harry J. Alpert, and I were having a meeting with some colleagues about 3D puppet movie content. I excused myself to find the rest room and as I left the room, my eyes fixated on a giant chessboard and pieces in the next room. I thought to myself about the implications of shooting a piece in 3D using this giant chess set and got very excited. Over the next few Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 21
Photograph of Jaane’s poodle, Marley. Photograph by Jaane Doe
JAANE DOE, PAWNS MUSIC VIDEO PROJECT PHOTOGRAPH BY TASJA KEETMAN
weeks of conversations with our colleagues I inquired about the chessboard and possibly converting the room to a soundstage for a 3D video shoot. It fell on deaf ears, however my enthusiasm continued to grow. We no longer make epic music videos like we did in the early days of MTV…why not? I thought. The embryonic journey of the song PAWNS had begun in December of 2017 as I began to write a song that would use the chessboard as a vehicle. The song demo was edited and recorded in 2018. In striking up the conversation again about transforming the space for a video shoot I was referred to the landlord and the owner of the property who wanted massive insurance upfront to shoot 3D, 2D or anything on the premises, so we reached an impasse. At this point we were informed that the building was up for sale. I had a vision of how surreal this black and white chessboard would look like in my backyard in the Berkshires, amongst the trees overlooking the Williams River, how fantastic? A few months went by and I contacted the Owner again to ask if she wanted to SELL the Chessboard and pieces. The third time was a charm! I got a resounding yes! We agreed on a price and in August of 2018, Harry J. Alpert, Mark Hohlstein, Actor/Carpenter, and Director of Photography Jared 22 •THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019
M. Skolnick and myself drove a moving van to Lake Mohonk Road to pick up this most wonderful prop, transport it back to the Berkshires and rebuild it on my property overlooking the river. What I did not know was that the chess set had a history. The owner of this set was a custodian of legacies so to speak. Back in 1999, world renowned Chess Player Gary Kasparov commissioned the making of this chess set for “ Kasparov Versus the World”, an internet game of chess shown on the web with Kasparov in white and great chess minds from 75 countries in black, coming up with counter moves that were photographed and shown online. This was seen on MSN Gaming and after 4 months of play, Kasparov was victorious. One of the White Horses, (Knight) pieces is signed by Gary Kasparov himself! In September of 2018 I was finishing up the storyboards for the video shoot and making arrangements with Shakespeare and Company for costumes for my actors. Watching the weather, the shoot was set for the last week of September into the first few days of October. That summer before all of this activity I had been out with my camera shooting flowers, corn in the wind, butterflies, and other beautiful Berkshire magic and riches! Another facet of the riches in the Berkshires is the wealth of artistic tal-
ent. I am blessed to have worked with a fabulous ensemble of musicians, artists and artisans including Mark Tuomenoksa, who recorded the song, played electronic drums, mixed and with my specifications created the beautiful piano intro that he plays in the video, Iris Tuomenoksa, Mark’s wife who was, one of my actresses playing a PAWN. Other magnificent cast members include Andrew Joffe, who played the black PAWN, and the KING in one of the last scenes of the video, Scott Moran, my KNIGHT and white PAWN, Mark Hohlstein, who played the KING, and constructed the set, David Bond Englehard on drums, Jared Skolnick, Director of Photography, Terry Dunn, Stagehand, and last but not least, Producer/consultant with a rich history of blockbuster movie credits in special effects, Harry J. Alpert. This entire project has been a challenging endeavor, and my Directorial Debut, but by far the most rigorous part of the PAWNS project has been the editing process! We shot for a total of 6 days; 3 hours and 40 minutes of material to be edited into a 6 minute and 44 second song! It was a long disciplined winter of editing, but it is finished! The video will be released before the end of 2019 . There will also be a 3D version. Stay tuned! You must go to bed exhausted after long day(s) at the studio. What do you do on your spare time when you come up for air? Jaane: When I come up for air, I love to take long rides in the car with my dog Marley on my lap and the music blaring! Was music always a constant in your life? Jaane: Music is my life now…therapy, prophecy, sustenance, a constant. In the rear view mirror music was on the backburner with fleeting creative bursts of activity.
Photograph of The Guthrie Center in Winter by Jaane, and above, Jaane Doe live at The Guthrie Center 2008
How does nostalgia play a role in your life andwith music? Jaane: Nostalgia has played a special role in my music life because I have somehow manifest, out of the blue encounters with so many of the artists that have created the “Soundtracks of our Lives” so to speak. Even as a young person listening to Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love, a song I loved and performed often, here I was at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) trying to get a glimpse of Grace Slick, my idol, rushing to the back stairs, and low and behold, Grace Slick trips and falls down the stairs into my arms…It was a rush, and amazing that I caught her! Nostalgia has played a role in my original musical creations as well. What does a young widow do at night when the man she shared pillow talk with is gone to the other side? For years I would stay up all night and write about our connection and the ensuing heartache and loneliness. The songs on BURNS LIKE FIRE came from those memories looking back. The image of Jaane Doe on the railroad tracks honors the nostalgia of Woody and Arlo Guthrie, and my song” So Will I Rise”, which is a tribute to Woody’s life was the catalyst for the photo image! What do you desire in terms of where you want to be with your music down the road? Jaane: I desire to be a positive vibration in the universe, and for a global reach destined for the hearts of all people with my musical message inspiring and kindling love, light, peace and happiness for all to share. I hope my music makes you smile! I believe in the possibilities that start with a dream. Plant a seed, nurture it…it will grow! What is your vocal range? Does it change depending on the song? Jaane: I believe am an Alto. I still have a strong chest voice but have learned to soften some notes and finesse some of my interpretations of melodies. That’s where the change comes in. Sometimes you
want an in your face sound, other times soft light and pretty is what is required. The music genre you play mostly is country, folk pop mix, is that correct? Who inspired you? Who did you learn from? Jaane: Over the years my genre has changed as I have changed with the times, reinventing myself along the way. I My Album BURNS LIKE FIRE was recorded in the Folk/Americana Genre, and could best be characterized as Country tinged Folk/Pop Americana My new release PAWNS is best described as fitting in to the Folk/Rock Genre. I have created music in other genres in the past. I have drawn my inspiration from Joni Mitchell, Grace Slick, Judy Collins, and the Wilson Sisters from Heart. I have always followed my ear to learn in the tradition of self-teaching. Is there anything now you are self-studying in the music field that is new for you? Jaane: My Dad bought me the album, Herbie Mann at the Village Gate, and I am returning to the study of that jazz vibe that I was introduced to as a child. What’s the most challenging for you as far as performing live on a stage? Jaane: New venues where I am unfamiliar with the sound system is the most challenging aspect of live performance. And believe it or not, there are times when I still get those butterflies in the stomach, nervous shaking of the knees thing…it happens to everyone! Rewards of being a musician for you is? Jaane: Making music is life affirming! I can be myself, project the image of who I am and not shape myself for a “JOB” where you must conform or be fired or cast out. The rewards are freedom, happiness and making new friends along the way as more listeners share their excitement for what I do.
If you were to give advise to a young musician, what would you tell them? Jaane: Learn to do as many things as you can to create your music brand. Learn to properly record your own material, play as many instruments as possible. Be versatile but true to yourself. And remember creation is messy! Jaane Doe is your name, but isn’t there also another name you have? Jaane: Jaane Doe is my alter ego… What’s in a name? The point I am making with that name is that it’s not about the name. It’s about the effect that your creative output has on people and their surroundings. Jaane Doe desires to be associated with a harmonious exchange and good feelings between people as they drink in my sound. My real name is Elizabeth Berliner. As a human being, I am the same and behave the same whether I am in my artist mode or regular good citizen mode. I aim to have a smile and a kind word for all I meet. What are your favorite song lines you would like to share? Jaane: My favorite song lines are from the end of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven: …and as we wind on down the road our shadows taller than our soul there walks a lady we all know who shines white light and wants to show how everything still turns to gold and if you listen very hard the tune will come to you at last when all are one and one is all to be a rock and not to roll …and she’s buying a stairway to heaven…
VISIT: WWW.JAANEDOE.COM WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/JAANEDOEMUSIC WWW.REVERBNATION/JAANEDOE/SONGS
Thank you, Jaane! THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 23
THE ARTFUL MIND GALLERY invites you to the Opening Reception of our OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019 Art Exhibit
ELEVEN BERKSHIRE ARTISTS
at The FRONT STREET GALLERY in HOUSATONIC, MASSACHUSETTS
SATURDAY OCTOBER 5, 2019 from 5 - 7pm
Follow her at https://www.instagram.com/jenniferpazienza/ Visit her website http://www.jenniferpazienza.com/ Contact her email@example.com
Save the date! Please join us!
Ghetta Hirsch Paintings
Pike’s Pond, Oil on Canvas
website: ghetta-hirsch.squarespace.com instagram: @ghettahirschpaintings Text or call for STUDIO visits: 413. 281. 0626 24 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
SUMMER FICTION #3 WE ARE THE WORLD On the beach in Tobago, one of the fisherman had begun referring to me as "the man they call Castro.” A black beard will do that for you. My new friend Wilford called me, “a don't care man.” Heady stuff for a first time visitor. One night at a card game in the taxi shack, the men were admiring Susie. One of the drivers asked if we were married. Then he turned to me and said, "a man got to get serious about a woman that looks like that.” Years later, when I think about the time we spent there, Tobago was one of life's most exciting and enduring experiences. We explored our sexual fantasies, our exhibitionism and our voyeurism while Wilford leafed through the pages of a dog eared issue of Playboy. Wilford was interested in America. What was our island like he wondered? Was our iguana like his iguana? Where do people go when they die? What happens to our body parts? He had this idea that they were recycled, maybe while traveling down a conveyer belt. The old pieces put together to form new people. Who watched over all this? Who was in charge? God? Reagan? The queen? One year we arranged a dinner party at Wilford’s older sister, Volda's house. We ended up feeding what seemed like the entire village. A driver, 16 year old Eddie, along with the family truck was placed at our disposal. Each day we set out early trying to locate what we needed to prepare this culinary feast. Nothing too unusual here, just spaghetti and meat balls, but we needed chopped or “minced” meat and this was To-
bago, 1985. Most people didn't have phones or refrigeration, let alone freezers. “The Golden Girls” was as far as civilization had gotten. The vehicle, an old Toyota was noteworthy. Decorations were the order of the day and hand painted orange flames emanated from the fenders. A snarling tiger was the first thing you saw approaching from the front. We entered each village accompanied by a torrent of sound. Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder our particular favorites. We sang, we screamed and we danced in our seats as four inch square, soft red dice hung from the mirror in front and danced along with us and the music. For days, we traversed the bougainvillea scented back roads. The truck holding a rusty cooler and a dollars supply of Stumpy's party ice to refrigerate the meat when we found it. And find it we did, after a long day of driving, near the beach in Castara. An old man, in a blue bathing suit and a Yankees cap, who raised a few scrawny cows had electricity for a freezer that appeared like him, to be somewhere between fifty and a hundred years old. We bought what he had and were on our way. Volda's house was old and the stove even older. It was fueled by a rusted tank of propane gas, by a line that ran through an open window. There was no regulator on the tank so the pressure was variable. Sometimes the gas would flow freely and sometimes I would hear a loud whooshing sound that scared me. Think "Brooklyn man dies in gas explosion on Caribbean vacation.” At other times, the burners looked like so many Hanukkah candles at the end of the eighth day. The meat balls sizzled and the tomato sauce simmered but the water for pasta wouldn’t budge. Spaghetti takes about ten minutes to cook in rapidly boiling water. The ill fitting covered pots had been up about an hour and
showed no signs of a ripple. I had never tried cooking spaghetti in hot, not boiling water. It can be done, but it took at least a half hour. Outside the front door, dozens of little children in short pants talked and laughed and waited patiently for something to eat. They would be rewarded with a small mound of pasta and a meatball. I wondered if it was their only meal that day. Inside, we cooked, drank beer, sang and danced to "We are the World.” It turned into one of those "you had to be there" moments. We were ecstatic. Wilford beamed, and Volda bitched about the lack of rum. If only there had been a meatball left when she went to get something to eat. —Frank Gioia
Frank Gioia is a short story writer, actor and playwright. He is currently working on a collection of his narrative non-fiction pieces and plans to publish them as part of an audiobook. His writing has been published in Ovunque Siamo and The Artful Mind. He reads his work regularly at an open mic, IWOW in Housatonic. A staged reading of his play, 14 Holy Martyrs was performed in the Berkshires in 2016.
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 25
RELIQUARY FOR ST. BRENDAN THE NAVIGATOR, CHARLES SCHWEIGERT MARGUERITE BRIDE, OLIVIA’S OVERLOOK, W/C
MARGUERITE BRIDE 5TH ANNUAL HOME ART EVENT
DESIGNS BY JENNIFER Awarded Best Of Houzz 2019 Designs by Jennifer Owen of Great Barrington, MA has won “Best Of Service Award” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. The boutique interior design studio was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.1 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. Congrats! Recognized as a fabric guru with an eye for color, Jennifer has achieved accolades for her unique sense of style and vision. She has been featured on the cover of House to Home, Lifestyle Magazine of Fairfield County, featuring a home in Westport; East Coast Home Design Magazine; Shippan Designer Show House, (benefiting Stamford Museum and Nature Center); Weston Designer Show House benefiting Connecticut Humane Society. They feature her definitive style of design, transforming spaces to uplifting, functional environments, “simple elegance” at its best! A native of the West Midlands England, Jennifer grew up with a mother who was a passionate knitter and a talented seamstress, with a love to decorate and a relish for fabrics and yarns. This led to many inspiring visits with her to the fabric market. Hence Jennifer’s passion! Her client base extends to Fairfield County, CT, Westchester County, New York City, Long Island, and Berkshire County. Jennifer has a showroom and office based on Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA. Jennifer is a member of IDS (Interior Design Society), with extensive training in interior design, IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council), member of Better Business Bureau, Metropolitan Museum, NYC, Museum of Natural History, NYC, Museum of Modern Art, NYC, member of Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, member of Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and a member of A Women’s Creation Circle in Berkshire County. Designs by Jennifer, LLC - 6 Railroad Street, STE 17, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Office: 413-528-5200; Cell: 203-253-3647; www.designsbyjenniferowen.com
26 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
It is hard to believe that summer is nearly over….so don’t miss Marge Bride’s 5th Annual Home Art event on August 10 (raindate Aug 11) from 10am – 2 pm. Look for the art tent on Bride’s front lawn (46 Glory Drive, Pittsfield) and come take advantage of some great deals offered for this one day ONLY. Also, a solo exhibit entitled “Seasons in Watercolor” will be on display at the Sandisfield Arts Center until August 27. The arts center is at 5 Hammertown Road in Sandisfield, Mass. This show features the glory of New England (and a selection of nearby scenes of NY and NJ) in spring and summer greens, autumn reds and golds, and a winter blanket of snow. Original watercolors and fine art reproductions, framed and unframed, are available. Visit https://sandisfieldartscenter.org for hours and directions. Where else can you still catch Bride’s work? An assortment of Marguerite Bride’s watercolors small matted originals (spring/summer village scenes in the gift shop at Hancock Shaker Village; also, cards and fine art reproductions of the village. LOCAL, a lovely high-end craft and art gallery in Lenox (across from Chocolate Springs) carries framed originals, and matted repros and cards by the artist. Fine art reproductions and note cards of Berkshire images and others by the artist are also available at the Red Lion Inn Gift Shop (Stockbridge), Lenox Print & Mercantile (Lenox), Good Purpose Gallery (Lee) and also directly from the artist. Contact the artist and/or visit her website for more details. Bride’s solo exhibit, “Jazz Visions”, 22 original watercolors (mostly on canvas) are on “long-term” exhibit on both floors at 51 Park Tavern in Lee, Massachusetts. More paintings will be added soon. Now is a great time to commission a house portrait or favorite scene you would like captured in watercolor. Paintings (or a personalized gift certificate, then I work directly with the recipient) make cherished and personal gifts for weddings, retirement, new home, old home, anniversaries…..any occasion is special. Commission work is always welcome. Be in touch directly with the artist…it is guaranteed to be a fun adventure! Marguerite Bride – Home Studio at 46 Glory Drive, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by appointment only. Call 413-841-1659 or 413-442-7718; margebride-paintings.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: Marguerite Bride Watercolors.
aMUSE GALLERY EYE OF THE BEHOLDER aMuse Gallery presents Eye of the Beholder, an engaging new group exhibition featuring art made from found objects. The exhibition will run from August 1 through September 29, with an artist reception open to the public on Saturday, August 3 from 4-7pm. Participating artists include Rosemary Barrett, Stephanie Blumenthal, Peter Dellert, Norman Hasselriis, Michael Krieger, Conrad Levenson, Jack Metzger, Cristobal Morales (see feature article in the issue), Rick Patterson, Charles Schweigert, and Peter Thomashow. This diverse group utilizes man made and natural materials in very different ways to create their captivating sculptures, collages and assemblages. Their creations infuse the viewer with a sense of discovery and delight… and encourage an appreciation of the beauty to be found in the ordinary things that we so often overlook or too readily discard. In very distinctive ways, their work demonstrates how dynamic arrangements of different found objects, shapes, colors and textures can bring a wonderful new perspective to things drawn from the past. This is a show that might just make you smile! aMuse is a new eclectic gallery located in the historic village of Chatham NY and represents artists from Columbia and Berkshire counties and beyond. Housed in a beautiful Greek revival building, there is a warm, home-like feeling to the space, allowing you to explore the artwork with ease. With its interesting variety of art and eccentricities in a range of prices and styles, and its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, this is a gallery you will enjoy….so please come by to see this special exhibition. Amuse Gallery - 7 Railroad Avenue, Chatham NY; 518-392-1060; Hours: Thursday thru Saturday 11-5 and Sunday 12-4; amusechatham.com
JOAN GRISWOLD, ARTIST
berkshire digital | collins editions
ARTISTS NEEDING FINE ART GICLEE PRINTS! TALK TO FRED!
I live in two separate worlds. One verbal and one visual. What they have in common is an attitude of pushing into the unknown; of allowing unconscious elements to take form within consciousness. I couldn’t live without both. Art came first, but after a while I began to feel self-indulgent and isolated. I wanted to address problems of mans’ impact on the environment. I went through careers in art, photography, carpentry, ecology and microbiology before landing in psychology at 30. 10 years ago, when we found a loft in Pittsfield, I returned to my first love, art. It’s not like riding a bicycle. I had to start from scratch. I feel I’m just now catching up to where I left off 50 years ago. I’m not satisfied with a piece for a long time. I’ll put it away and work on something else. I’ll look at it upside down and in a mirror, trying to get a handle on what’s wrong. It’s a very solitary meditation. I might gesso over everything except some small bits that are working; then start over from those. The viewer completes the process. It’s a collaboration. It’s a thrill when someone “gets” a piece, but I’m OK when they don’t. The connection with the viewer should be as rare and special as marriage. Mark Mellinger can be reached at email@example.com / markmellingerart.com / 914-260-7413
Opening in 2005, we do fine art printing for artists, photographers and anyone needing our services. These Giclée prints, can be made in many different sizes from 5”x7” to 42” x 80” on archival papers. In addition to the printing services, we create accurate photo-reproductions of paintings and illustrations, and can have client’s film scanned into digital files, for use in books, magazines, brochures, cards and websites. We also offer restoration and repair of damaged or faded photographs. A complete overview of services offered, along with pricing, can be seen on the web at www.BerkshireDigital.com A newly added service, is photographic portraits of artists in their studios, or wherever they would like, for use in magazines, as the author’s picture in a book, websites or cards. See samples of artist portraits on the website at www.BerkshireDigital.com The owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years having had studios in Boston and Stamford. He offers over 25 years of experience with Photoshop™ enabling retouching, restoration and enhancement to prints and digital files. The studio is located in Mt Washington but drop-off and pick-up is available through Frames On Wheels, located at 84 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA (413) 528-0997. Reach the Studio: (413) 644-9663, or go online to www.BerkshireDigital.com
MELTDOWN, PARTS 1-3, 12 X 12” EACH PANEL, MARCH 2018
GHETTA HIRSCH OIL PAINTINGS Each time I looked at these paintings I had a sense of frustration that the three individual paintings could not show the extent of the debacle happening in nature as all snow, ice and water melted down the hill vigorously. It was also representing an inner state of mind at that moment, and the length of the painful period was not being expressed. So last month I had these three paintings framed together in a triptych and as I hung the painting up on the wall I finally could perceive what my heart was feeling and my eyes were seeing. I would like to show you a panoramic photo of this triptych so you can appreciate the range of the emotional ordeal as well as the combined downwards melting of nature at the end of Winter. I hope you enjoy it. I am very excited to have my art in three galleries this Summer. Check Concord and Rockport, MA exhibit information at www.threestonesgallery.com. And if you visit Manchester, Vermont look for three of my mixed media paintings at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Coming this Fall, I will also be part of an artist October/November exhibit in Housatonic, MA at The Front Street Gallery curated by Harryet Puritzman Candee. Ghetta Hirsch – website: ghetta-hirsch.squarespace.com, or text me 413-281-0626 with questions and studio visit. Three Stones Gallery: www.threestonesgallery.com
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 27
SCOTT PRIOR BOOTH AT SUNRISE
SCOTT PRIOR PAINTER INTERVIEW BY H.CANDEE
Harryet: How are you feeling about your show at the Train Station in Stockbridge, MA. This summer? Scott Prior: I am very proud to be part of the River Art Project. Jim Schantz and Kim Saul should be commended for calling attention to the environmental concerns around the Hudson and Housatonic Rivers, as well as for the repurposing of the old Victorian-style train station into an art gallery. I did my paintings specifically for the show, depicting the rivers and landscape of the Berkshires. I am also pleased to be the first artist offered a one-person exhibition in the space.
artist you are today? Scott: Until I reached Calculus in college, I thought I was going to be an astronomer. In high school I built telescopes, photographed the stars and went so far as to get the first prize in physics at the Massachusetts state science fair in 1966. But Calculus stopped me dead in my tracks, so I switched my major to art. I had always enjoyed doing art and was a pretty good at it. I have always connected my interest in astronomy and the natural world with my inclination to make pictures. Many years ago, the great Renaissance artists were also scientists and thinkers. Think Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Scott: My paintings range from small ones that I may complete in a day, to large ones that will take months to complete. My inspiration for a painting may come out of a momentary visual encounter. Sometimes I have large concepts for paintings and a lot of planning and preparation go into realizing the finished painting. All of my paintings are about the world I see and know. That would be the places where I live, Western Massachusetts and sometimes Cape Cod. My figurative work is inspired by my family. I find I do not have to wander far afield for inspiration. I’ve always liked Thoreau’s quote from Walden: “I have traveled a good deal…in Concord…”
What were the turn of events, decisions and challenges that lead you to becoming the
How do you figure and plan the subject matter for a painting?
Scott, what process and medium do you work in?
28 •AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
Scott: I work from photographs. Sometimes my paintings are small and will take a day to finish. My large paintings will take months and may be a composite of a dozen photos, worked into one image in Photoshop. My painting process is simple. I will rely on few colors, perhaps 10 at the most, to get what I am looking for. The small paintings are on wood panels and the large paintings on stretched linen. Is there anything in particular you would like to mention about your thoughts on painting? Scott: I am not particularly drawn to traditionalist painters. To me subject matter is everything. I feel that many realists rely too much on technique and lack the poetry that is inherent in all interesting art. Whatever technique I have developed over the years, I want it to serve my sense that the world is simple and complicated, beautiful and ugly, that the things we live with are significant in their insignificance, all at the same time. If we lived in complete isolation from day one, I wonder what kind of art is possible to create. But, we all learn and find inspiration from somewhere! What do you think? Scott: I don’t know if it is possible to do much of anything in isolation. We are all a composite of what preceded us. That includes knowledge of how to boil an egg or how to create a symphony. My own artistic inspirations are multifaceted and too many to enumerate. I first learned how to paint by looking at the artists of the Northern Renaissance, who invented oil painting. I have subsequently been influenced by many painters ranging from Caspar David Friedrich to George Bellows. Sometimes I am not certain how an artist may affect me. And then you became inspired by Edward Hopper’s Paintings. What was it that created an interest in his work? Scott: I first became interested in Edward Hopper because of his association with the New England landscape. I was attuned to the psychological aspects of his work; his attention to human isolation and alienation. But, when I saw a large retrospective of his work, I suddenly perceived that light was as much his subject as anything else. It’s no mystery to me why light compels us, not just in painting. It begins with “let there be light” and ends with a sunset. Everything in between could fill a large book. “Phone Booth at Sunrise”, explain the idea behind this painting? Scott: When I painted telephone booths there were very few of them and it was clear that they would soon be obsolete. I am drawn to things and places that have a reference to the recent past but are on their way to obsolescence: an abandoned amusement park, a decaying children’s tree house, things of the summer covered in snow, etc. Artists from the past have often placed incongruous objects in bucolic landscapes. Continued on next page...
FIRST SNOW WITH GNOMES
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 29
30 â€¢ AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
NANNY AND EZRA IN THE BACKYARD
ABANDONED AMUSEMENT PARK
Think of telephone poles alongside Edward Hopper’s roadsides or George Inness’ introduction of the new railroad in a landscape of 1858, along with fields of cleared stumps and smoke drifting out of distant factories. Scott, I love the painting of “Ezra Batman”. It must be fun to capture simple family moments such as this on a canvas. I find this painting humorous and serious at the same time. Tell us a little about this painting, please. Scott: The painting of my two children, Max and Ezra, posing solemnly for Halloween cannot avoid being humorous. Having young children is a serious and funny enterprise. If I cannot be Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin or Monty Python, I can always slip a little humor in my paintings. In the painting, “Nanny and Ezra in the Backyard,” I painted in Ezra later because I thought that Nanny by herself was a bit disturbing. The introduction of a naked child provides a more natural context for the painting, and it is funny that he is, like most children. looking for a way to escape. They say, everything returns to the earth. Which of your art works best portray this, or your favorite one that has a man/nature battle idea as the theme? Scott: I am fascinated by memory and the passage of time. In my painting, “First Snow with Gnomes,” the remnants of summer have been caught by an early dusting of snow. It is as if the summer has been literally frozen in time. And it is such a New England event, the weather catching us unprepared. Continued on next page...
SCOTT PRIOR EZRA-BATMAN
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 31
Looking back at your early works, those of landscapes and settings of beach tents, beach houses, abandoned amusement parks, what was the idea behind this body of early work? Scott: In the paintings that refer to artifacts from the past, I am trying to recapture or “freeze” memory. Marcel Proust, in his “In Search of Lost Time,” did the same thing. It was his life’s work, to document his memories. What was it like growing up in Topsfield, Massachusetts? Do you have many fond memories to look back on? Scott: Of course, as I get older, the more memories keep piling up. But I still seem to be drawn to early memories, perhaps because these are long gone, and seem almost like a fantasy. My childhood was less complicated and simpler. I could disappear on 32 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
LAUNDRY AT SUNRISE
my bike for the whole day and I don’t think my parents noticed. I would build model airplanes and cars and then blow them up with firecrackers. No one noticed. I remember day long hide and seek games at the nearby Audubon nature preserve. It was so big that no-one ever found anyone. At what point was it clear you were ready to show your work in public? Scott: As far as I can remember I was always enthusiastic about showing my artwork. In school. It was the source of some notoriety, so, as a shy youngster, I welcomed this. My art endeavors could be serious efforts or attempts at humor and satire. Exactly 50 years ago, when I was 19, during the summer of the first moon landing and Woodstock (I attended) I quit my job washing dishes and moved to Provincetown. I hung my watercolors on
a fence on Commercial St. and, to my surprise, sold them. I never washed dishes commercially again or, for that matter, ever had a real job. Scott, tell us about one of the art exhibits you've shown your work that made an impact on your career as an artist? Scott: When I was 50 I had a mid career retrospective at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA. The DeCordova had been a major supporter of my painting since I began and it seemed fitting that I would have an exhibition spanning 25 years of my art life there. It was a nice coincidence that the opening was the same day as my birthday. Do you have a journal, or make notes or do preliminary sketches? Scott: I actually do not keep a journal or make
notes, and rarely do preparatory sketches. Sometimes I do quick watercolors, mostly for fun while I travel. I take a lot of photos and usually work up working photos in Photoshop. Do you have a few favorite museums or galleries you frequent? In your opinion, what makes a good museum, what makes a good gallery exhibit? Scott: If I encounter one memorable piece of artwork in a gallery or museum I consider myself lucky. I like being surprised. I enjoy learning things. This may involve history as much as art. I recently went to the whaling museum on Nantucket Island. Coincidentally, I was reading Melville’s Moby Dick. And then I find myself driving by Arrowhead, Melville’s home in Pittsfield where he wrote the book. What does this have to do with painting? I am likely to go on such a journey of discovery after seeing and admiring a solitary painting in a museum. These days, when you’re not in your studio, what do you enjoy doing? Scott: I work too much and always have. I used to travel more but not so much anymore. I like gardening and taking naps.
TRAIN NEAR THE RIVER
Would you ever consider teaching art, or do you already do that? Scott: I have done a few short workshops and taught on a college level (Hartford Art School) a few times. I enjoy teaching but it feels like a full time job. Scott, what solid advice would you give to an aspiring, young artist? Scott: When giving advice to a young aspiring artist, I try to take into consideration the individual. Everyone is different and advice should be “custom fitted.” Generally, I find myself taking the middle road, delivering a combination of encouragement and caution. Always I preach perseverance and patience. What would be a good formula to use to judge how much an artist should sell his work for? So many people ask me about this. What advise can you share? Scott: Pricing artwork is tricky. When starting out as a artist who hopes to make some income, I think it is important to sell artwork, to have the work out of storage in the studio and in the world, even though the likelihood of generating a living is slim. It is best to find a price level that will invite a sale. This may only become evident with time and experience.
Out of all your core beliefs you may have, which one stands out the most for you? Scott: I have many core beliefs to pick from. There is a compendium of old wisdom that still works for me: “Do unto others, make peace not war, etc.” And, as Kurt Vonnegut said; “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind!”
Come to see Scott’s works of art at the Stockbridge Train Station through September 2, at 2 Depot , Stockbridge, MA. Thank you, Scott!
THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 33
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THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 35
was having an asthma attack. That was the situation I created, Jason was going to die, right there in the grass next to Arnold Ave. It was going to be me that was going to have intentionally murdered him. The people driving by would be witness to it so there was no escape.
Jason and His Grandmother CHAPTER 2
THE GROCERIES IN THE GRASS RICHARD BRITELL The attack of the cat explained how best to deal with Jason. I would not try to beat him up, but instead would just make friends with him, but in the process would first scare him half to death. This was my plan. Jason’s path home from school passed by a series of tall hedges that came down to the edge of the sidewalk. Just after dark I hid in the hedges and waited for him to pass by. It was not long before, from my hiding place, I saw him coming along bogged down with two bags of groceries.
I only wanted to befriend him, but what difference would that make at my trial. Who would believe me? Would my lawyer explain what had happened with the cat? Meanwhile, he turned blue and he looked at me with his bulging eyes like the fish in the cooler at the grocery store.
Every house had a living room with certain types of tables and pieces of furniture called hutches in styles called “Ethan Allen,” or “French Provincial.” Up until the day I saw Jason’s house I never realized that it was all bought, it had all been purchased in stores. It is impossible to explain just what I mean. One purchased all this furniture in stores if you had the money and then you set it all up in your house like a stage set.
Then there was a sound like a person blowing hard on a small whistle, it was the sound of Jason starting to breath again. He sat there in the grass for a few minutes, and finally, as he recovered his breath, he gathered up his groceries and put them into the torn bags, moving as if in slow motion, and headed for home.
How was it possible to arrive at the age of thirteen and not be aware of the differences in aesthetic sense as expressed in the choice of furniture and household items? I suppose that up to that point I had not been made aware of it in any dramatic way. If one considered the one area where a child is exposed to the effect of class on taste it would be in observing the clothing worn by one’s classmates.
What was I to do? I walked along next to him carrying a can of tomato soup he had overlooked. After a few minutes of silence he stopped, turned to me and said, “Are you sure you want to be friends? You promise that you are always going to be my friend, even though I’m always getting in trouble in school?” I promised him I would. “O.K. then,” he said, “we will be friends, but your mother will have to die a terrible death if you are lying.
But the possible clothing choices for thirteen-yearolds in 1957 was extremely limited. In that time and place there was an absolute tyranny over clothing choices created by a uniform sense of style that was observed by everyone.
The situation wouldn’t allow for any other arrangement, so I had to agree to adding the death to mothers into the bargain. With that I walked him up to his house, I wanted to see him safely inside. Approaching his door he quickly began explaining something to me, saying, “I live with my grandma, she’s not home right now but you can’t come into the house, I mean even though were friends. Nobody comes in if the Old Lady isn’t here.” He didn’t offer any further explanation, and I didn’t ask. He unlocked his door and said “See you tomorrow.” Through the door I got a glimpse of his house.
He got past me about five steps, and I crept out of the bushes and got behind him in the dark and jumped up onto his back and grabbed hold of his hair on either side of his head. For a few seconds he staggered back and forth, and it was like riding a pony, and then he fell on the ground in a heap.
What struck me most was that you could see straight through his house to the back door and everything was a terrific mess. There was a couch that looked like it had been left out in the weather till it was gray and coming apart in the joints.
I was sitting on Jason’s back and holding onto his hair. I said, “You have a choice Jason, we are going to be friends or I am going to beat you up, which is it going to be?”
In front of the couch was a television setting next to a cardboard box coffee table. Everywhere there were plates, plastic spoons and forks, beer cans and soda cans, and the bags from potato chips.
There was no answer from him at all. After a few seconds he started to say something that sounded like “Ahaaaa.”
That night I kept thinking about Jason’s house until very late. We had one rich boy in our class; his name was Peter Something-Something the Third. He lived in a mansion. I had been in Peter’s house dozens of times. Their kitchen was as big as my entire house, and they had huge pots and pans in the kitchen hanging from bars with hooks on the ceiling.
After that he said “Hun, hun hun hun,” in a very faint tone. His eyes seemed to bug out of his head and he had a terrible look of fear on his face. Jason 36 • AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
In my mind I compared Peter Something-Something’s house to Tom Whatever’s home. In Tom’s house everything was crammed together and they ate supper in the living room because there was no room for a table in the kitchen. Every house was different in a million ways, but on the other hand they were all basically the same in certain important respects.
My Aunt and Uncle lived in a duplex in a ground floor apartment. In the driveway was parked their 1957 DeSoto. Neither the fact that my uncle drove a DeSoto, or that they lived in an apartment made any impression on me at all. For me the DeSoto, and the duplex must have fallen into the normal variation in things, but in the bathroom there was a gray shower curtain with a large pink flamingo on it. I can remember very distinctly thinking to myself, “My mother would never put up a shower curtain like this in our bathroom. If, at Christmas, somebody gave my mother a pink flamingo shower curtain she would have seemed to be very pleased with it, but later she would have thrown it into the trash. But that is not exactly correct because, since my mother was always worried about money, she would have set it aside to sell for fifty-cents in a tag sale. But my mother, and my aunt and uncle with the duplex and the DeSoto were from the same background and economic situation. They were all children of the great depression, and were consequently branded with obsessive frugality and pessimism, the result of too many dinners consisting of only potatoes. Jason’s grandmother did not have any money to buy the things to play life with, like everyone else. Ever since childhood I assumed that all those things like, cars, houses, tables and chairs, silverware and plates belonged to everybody equally and came with life automatically. But somehow I couldn’t feel sorry for Jason and his Grandmother.
There was something very real about Jason’s house, even if it was a filthy mess. It was like this. If you were a dog belonging to a rich person, and your kennel was the best, and your food prepared by a chef, wouldn’t you long to be a wolf in the wild, with burs in your fur, laying in wait in the dirt with a gleam in your eye. Jason was like that, he wasn’t exactly a wild person, but he had that gleam in the eye that a wild animal has. The next day Jason didn’t come to school. Since I had nearly killed him the night before, after school I went to his house and knocked on the door. After a
while someone opened the door a little and looked out. It was a woman about my Mom’s age, a little fat with very black frizzy thick hair. She said, “Are you Albert?” I said that I was. “Come in Albert and I’ll see if Jay can come down,” she said. Jason’s mother was not exactly attractive, but there was something provocative and strangely reckless about her manner that filled me with a mixture of apprehension and nervous curiosity. She was like that actress in the History of the United States, Jean Harlow, and like her she seemed to be oblivious to the fact that she was not really completely dressed.
The very next morning serious troubles began for me. Everything that had happened up to that point set the stage for what followed, and I can see now that nothing I could have done would have altered in any way what was to transpire. Like a boulder that starts rolling down a hill, it might move slowly at first but there is no stopping it and the destruction it will cause on its way. RICHARD BRITELL: FROM THE BLOG NO CURE FOR THE MEDIEVAL MIND
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THE ARTFUL MIND AUGUST 2019 • 37
SUMMER FICTION #4
TALES OF A SWAMP JEW Many of my readers have been baffled by my choosing the phrase "Swamp Jew" and have demanded an explanation. Well, I'm happy to oblige by explaining the source of this strange and uncommon nomenclature. Let me first say that there is no actual definition of a Swamp Jew. I didn't literally grow up in a swamp so let's put that assumption to rest. For me the phrase connotes a state of mind and a particular life-style that is alien to most American Jews. I am originally from Texas City, Texas which is a small town located on the Gulf Coast of Texas between Galveston and Houston. My father was a New Yorker, Bronx born and bred, and he chanced to meet my mother who was an authentic BOI (that's Born on the Island of Galveston) on a blind date. My father had migrated to San Antonio post WWII to join other NYC family and to find work. My father's San Antonio cousin was married to my mother's sister (my aunt) so a date was arranged between my future parents. According to family lore, my dad proposed to my mother (then a UT student) on the steps of the Capitol building in Austin. Wouldst that they had settled in Austin, but growing up in beautiful, vibrant Austin was not to be my fate. My maternal grandparents raised their four girls in Galveston, but they purchased a Texas City jewelry store in the late 40s and moved to that small town to run their new business. My mother was living in Texas City when the Monsanto chemical plant blew up in 1947. The blast from that explosion actually blew out all of the windows in the house that she was occupying. That tragic event did not, however, deter my parents from settling in Texas City after they married in 1948. My father joined the family jewelry business, and my mother became a housewife as was the norm for most women at that time. I was born in 1950 at Danforth Hospital right in the heart of downtown Texas City making me a native born Texan and a proud member of the now much-maligned post-war Baby Boom generation. My hometown sits right on the bay which was directly spit from the soft mouth of that gloriously warm bathtub known as the Gulf of Mexico. My earliest memories are of clambering over the large granite boulders which formed the "dike" road, stretching out over the water in the shadow of Monsanto, still functioning after the tragic "1947 Blast". Both sides of the dike road contained all sorts of wonderful fishing shacks which sold bait, tackle and all manner of fishing equipment. The shrimp boats would also anchor close by, and we'd head down there to buy pounds and pounds of freshly caught Gulf shrimp, the best shrimp in the universe. We'd also buy giant, freshly shucked oysters that would melt in your mouth. Dinner that night would always be deep fried breaded oysters and shrimp, and my dad's incomparable hand- cut French fries. We had our own deep fryer and we loaded it up with creamy, white Crisco....that was how everyone in the South cooked...ignorance was sheer bliss. My parents bought crab nets attached to long poles and my Texas mother taught my New York father how to catch live blue crabs with just raw chicken necks and a large net. My mother boiled the crabs alive in large boiling pots which made me cry. I felt sorry for the crabs so I was always sent outside to play until the cooking was done. I still have vivid memories of my parents feasting on those freshly caught crabs using steel nutcrackers and thin, sharp little pickers to remove that succulent white meat from the shells. Being a native Galvestonian my mother would pick those shells clean until nary a stray scrap of meat was left. We had fresh corn-on -the-cob, home-made cole slaw with Miracle Whip and ice-cold bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I developed a love for beer at a very young age and was always allowed a few sips. Summertime and the living was easy. We didn't have air conditioning in those early days, so we always had our windows and doors open with screens to keep out those Texas mosquitoes and flies. Maybe it was hot, but there was always a nice breeze blowing off the bay so we didn't suffer too much. Almost every house on our block was filled with young married couples and their young children. The moms sat outside all day long drinking endless cups of coffee and smoking endless amounts of cigarettes. They all wore fire-engine- red lipstick which always stained their coffee cups and their cigarettes. They lounged in brightly colored aluminum lawn chairs and kept each other company with endless chit- chat, gossip and lots of whispering and laughing. All of the moms were so young then, some just barely out of their teens. All of the kids on our street played outside from early morning until we were called in for "supper" at 6:00. We played hopscotch on the newly laid sidewalks and drew pictures on our driveways with thick colored chalk. We played Red Rover and Mother 38 â€˘ AUGUST 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
May I. We had neighborhood fights and we had friends who became our enemies and then became our friends again, probably in the same afternoon. As soon as we could escape from the dinner table, we eagerly spilled out of our houses onto those kelly green lawns and played until the sun went down. We searched for the first evening star, watched the moon rise in that huge Texas sky and collected fire-flies in jars until our parents collected us and put us to bed. There were three Jewish families on my block with two kids per family. Most of our block was comprised of Protestant families of every stripe and denomination. But I secretly thought that the Catholic families were the best because most of them had at least 4 kids. There was always a kid near my age to be a playmate. I must confess that I became very enamored of Catholicism at a very young age. My next-door neighbor April Sue always talked about something that sounded like Cat-a-kism, and I wanted to go, too. I also wanted to wear a beautiful white dress and veil and have my First Communion and eat wafers and drink wine. I definitely had Catholic envy...when my sister was born, I begged my parents to name her Catholic Ellen and call her Cathy! It was shortly thereafter that my parents enrolled me in "Sunday School" at a Jewish temple in Galveston. So, yes, I had a rather unorthodox (pardon the pun) Jewish upbringing in that small, coastal town. Texas City at that time had a population of about 30,000 with many churches and not one synagogue. Roughly 80% of the population were employed by the chemical plants, oil refineries and the tin smelter, so Texas City was truly a blue collar, working class town. Most of the few Jewish families in town were "merchants" similar to my family with their jewelry store. We were all totally assimilated although we did maintain our Jewish identity. (This is a complicated topic which I will explore in a later blog) I've made you wade through all of that back story so that I can explain the phrase "Swamp Jew" as it applies to me. The majority of Jews in the US live in large metropolitan areas and have grown up virtually surrounded by other Jews and Jewish culture. That is not the culture that forged my identity. I grew up in that small, quiet coastal town defined by the rhythms of the Gulf where we casually spoke of bayous, levees, sea walls, alligator gars (large fish), crawdads (crayfish), gullies, hurricanes, water spouts, shrimp boats and rice paddies (where we went "parking" as teens). We ate fried chicken with gravy, chicken fried steak with more gravy, biscuits, boiled crabs, barbecued ribs, okra, gumbo and grits and finished those meals with pecan pie or coconut cream pie My town sits at sea level where the surrounding low-lying marsh land can be quite wet and swampy. And I am and always will be a product of that Gulf Coast culture...I am a genuine born and bred Swamp Jew.
SUMMER FICTION #5
A VERY REVEALING ANECDOTE When my son Alex was fifteen, he used to congregate with a gang of misfits down at the bottom of our street, and let’s just say that my son’s friends were not future rocket scientists. As capable of sheer idiocy as they were individually, their ability to be stupid collectively was actually mind-boggling; together, the bunch of them provide a stunning example of why we have conspiracy laws. And Alex was their king – either that or the court jester (it’s difficult to say which, because the roles seemed to be interchangeable). One particular afternoon, there was a knock on my door, and to my surprise there was a good-looking older cop standing on my doorstep; in his late forties, his wavy dark hair going to silver in that elegant salt-and-pepper way that looks so distinguished and attractive on some men (and just plain OLD on a woman). He was also trying not to giggle or smirk, but he wasn’t quite pulling it off. “Can I help you, Officer?” I asked him, mentally backtracking my day and examining it for vehicular sin – that I have never yet been given a traffic ticket is both proof of the existence of a benevolent God and the fact that, on the whole, cops up and down the eastern seaboard apparently have a deep and abiding weakness for sarcastic mothers. “Are you Tammara Leminen?” he asked, while I’m still trying to figure out what I might have done in my car that would warrant (no pun intended) a house call. Just then, my eyes caught sight of the police cruiser parked in my driveway, with the big cop’s younger partner in the front seat... and my son Alex in the back. “OK, what did he do this time?” I demanded, immediately slipping into The-Wrath-ofMom mode. At this, the cop on my front step starts giggling. This was a man who didn’t need the gigantic gun on his hip to be intimidating; he was muscular, with shoulders like a linebacker and a voice full of New England confidence. But when he started laughing, I could see right away that deep down, he was really more teddy bear than bear. “Oh, I think I better let Alex tell you that,” he snickered. He made a real effort to compose himself, but he was only mildly successful in his struggle to stop laughing as I followed him out to the squad car – where the younger cop was actually biting his bottom lip in an attempt to keep a straight face. (This was beginning to seem less and less like a good omen to me.) “What did you DO?!?” I greeted my son. “Well, I, umm, err, I was, umm, and then, umm...” Alex hedged, staring at the ground, turning crimson, and giving every sign of being able to mumble incoherently until the Mets won the World Series (which, according to my husband, is one of the heralding signals of the arrival of the apocalypse). “What did he DO?!?” I turned and asked the older cop. “Well, it seems that some of his friends dared him to walk around the courthouse and through McDonald’s,” he chuckled, with a nod towards the aforementioned rocket scientists, congregated around the front porch of the house next door with their mouths agape. “Which he did… wearing nothing but this.” The younger cop, biting his lip even harder (he managed not to laugh, but the rookie policeman didn’t dare attempt to actually speak), held up a clear plastic evidence baggie for me to examine… and inside the baggie was a virtually microscopic pair of woman’s hot-pink thong underwear. I kid you not, this was strip of fabric about the size of four BandAids taped together, the kind of feminine undergarment that’s sold in the finest adult video stores. If you had a paper cut, you might be able to conceal it beneath this thing, but you certainly wouldn’t be able to hide anything else – including male unmentionables. Things would most assuredly be flapping around loose in the breeze, putting quite a twist (and I mean that literally – there’s a reason that I don’t own a thong) on what might have otherwise been a beautiful day in our neighborhood. (As Mr. Rogers might have once said, “Can you say ‘indecent exposure’? I thought you could.”) The cute older cop explained that my kid was under arrest, but they were going to release him into my custody. “Providing that you don’t just kill him first,” he continued, the smirk still dancing around the edges of his merry blue eyes, “we have a court date Tuesday morning, in three weeks. Do you know where Juvenile Court is, Mrs. Leminen?” “Yes, I know how to get to Juvenile Court, unfortunately,” I told him, absolutely furious and on the verge of hysterical laughter simultaneously – who needs hallucinogenic drugs when there’s teenagers around? “This won’t be Alex’s first trip there. Although it is his first time there for cruising the main drag – so to speak – in a hot-pink thong.” “Oh, I like that,” he giggled. “I’m going to have to work that into the arrest report.” With that, the cop took off, leaving me behind to contemplate the seemingly bottomless depths of absurdity into which my life continues to sink. Who would have guessed the day would come when I would discover that my fifteen-year-old SON owned kinkier female undergarments than I did!!! SO I dragged the kid to court on the appointed date; I even coerced a tie and a fresh
haircut upon him for the occasion. The courtroom was staffed almost exclusively by men, with the only female in sight being the judge – an African-American woman in short, skinny dreadlocks who could have moonlighted as a double in a Whoopie Goldberg movie. The cute older cop showed up in uniform and winked at me across the courtroom. He was grinning like a kid on his way to open house at the ice cream factory – oh, rarely has a court appearance been looked forward to with such enthusiasm! – and the trouble started immediately, as he handed the prosecutor the evidence baggie containing Alex’s thong. The prosecutor had already read the arrest report, but he had obviously not seen the thong before that moment. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a baggie of very naughty hot pink panties has got to be worth several volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica – or at least a healthy snort of laughing gas. The poor man just couldn’t help himself. Unfortunately, in spite of her resemblance to a famous comedian, the judge seemed to have had her sense of humor surgically removed at birth. She gave the snickering prosecutor a dour frown, and he struggled to regain control of himself under the glare of her disapproval. He almost did it – and then the cop started to giggle. And this was really BAD, because the policeman had this really infectious giggle, mostly because he didn’t just make noises when he laughed, the way that most people do. Oh no, regular laughter is for mere mortals; this cop actually pronounced the giggle. He said “tee-HEE-hee-hee”, his voice doing a mirth-filled melodic skip over the syllables with wickedly delighted, mischievous inflection – like he’s laughing and using the Apache word for “ain’t that a kick in the pants?” at the same time. It was just ONE “tee-HEE-hee-hee”, but the poor prosecutor never had a prayer; this giggle was more contagious (and in this specific case just as deadly) than Bubonic Plague. The prosecutor dissolved into hysterical laughter. A split-second after the prosecutor cracked up – still holding the baggie of evidence aloft in one hand, the way a heroine in a Victorian melodrama would hold up her hankie – the bailiff lost it. The judge was seriously NOT amused, and she turned to glare at the unfortunate bailiff... …and this set off the courtroom transcriber. Within a few seconds, the entire courtroom was in an uproar of uncontrollable mirth, the poor prosecutor was laughing so hard he was holding his stomach as tears streamed down his face, the judge was banging away furiously with her gavel, and the big cop was standing there looking at everyone else in astonished wonder, a hopelessly endearing “did I do that?” expression of exquisite innocence on his face. (And aside from the humorless judge, the only person in the courtroom who wasn’t laughing was Alex.) It was quite a moment in legal history. The judge was so busy being angry with all the adult authority figures that she was quite lenient with Alex. She gave him a warning, questioned his intelligence, and then gave him a year of probation. He was getting off awfully easy, but of course, the prosecutor wasn’t in any condition to object – or even glance in Alex’s direction, from the look of him. So I issued my own personal proclamation of community service, and I told Alex that his butt (which MUST be encased in pants) belonged to the church’s Food Pantry for three hours every Monday and Wednesday after school from then until school let out for the summer. For once, the kid had the sense to take his punishment in silence. And he’s definitely redefined the term “legal briefs”.
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