The Art Show: MIRF 1134
“Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you… if you’re young at heart…”
G.Leigh, J. Richards
The sun is up. I’m still up. I still can’t believe it. Today is the day of the art show.
“OMG OJ how did this happen?!”
“I don’t know, I didn’t think anyone was reading my blog, I mean Mint’s not even on Twitter and some how he found out abou…”
“OJ can you pour out some more?”
“Sure. Anyway he calls me up one day and says he wants to use one of my pics in his upcomi…”
“Where’s the straw?”
“Over here, sorry. Anyway I give him the negative and whatever and that’s it… Today is the opening of the show and I have a piece in it. Can you believe it??? My first piece of art or whatever in a gallery in fucking Chelsea… So many trained art people die before they can have a show or view in Chelsea and here I am with my ow…”
“Oh you don’t know Mint?”
“Mint is Mike. You have to know him, he knows The Blonde, Team Facelift, and Ko….”
She’s doesn’t have any idea who or what I’m talking about. Meanwhile everyone I’ve mentioned at one point or another have been to her house just as I am now, pushing incoherence to its breaking point. This time she’s with her old friend who just returned from Florence or whatever far away land girls with privilege and foreign cock fetishes go to. New York City girls with party addictions and money. One of them has her hand inside her light blouse rubbing her breast as if she’s in a cold shower lathering up. Nothing about it turns me on but I can’t stop looking at the rapid pace and fury her own hand is molesting her. The other one can’t figure me out for shit and is pelting me with probing questions as if I was interviewing for a scholarship at Oxford. I can’t stop talking. Stories of growing up poor (or “imaginary poor” as most rich kids pretend to be when they want to relate to the less fortunate) mix with the cigarette smoke and stench of day old beer and dry wine. The counter top is littered with empty packs of Camel Lights and up to 2 weeks worth of unopened mail. Every available surface is littered with month old magazines. If the bedroom was a car the engine, oil, and brake lights would be on. The door man doesn’t even call up to the apartment anymore when I show up at 5am, he just nods and lets me go on about my business. Such a nice apartment with great potential… broken by a never care lifestyle with an endless bank account.
“Anyway yeah I gotta go… I wanna be fresh for tomorrow…”
“You mean today?”
“Yeah, yeah I do..”
I say this as I swig the last of my warm Budweiser and grab my camera. Both girls are pleading with me to leave them more lines but I’m out. They somehow finagle 10 bucks out of me for another 40 ounce of beer. Classy ladies. It’s like 7am. I toss the money on the counter like I was throwing a piece of steak to in order to distract 2 attacking pit bulls. Outside the noise of morning traffic is as loud as the day is bright. I check my neckline for my ever-present and handy shades. Fuck me I forgot them, but nothing short of being chased by a Vampire hating mob would make me go back into that bat cave of an apartment. I man up and roll out. My train ride across the bridge is cruel and unusual punishment to my eyes. I should have gone home hours ago.
I can’t sleep a wink. The excitement is running through me like the Marathon does NYC every November. My body is finding every possible excuse to keep me up, from the fake need to piss to the constant need to blow out my congested and abused nose. Kara finds my constant fidgeting annoyingly cute as she prepares to go to work. God bless her. Out of gentle frustration I tell her outfit looks weird making her do a last-minute wardrobe adjustments. Of course I’m lying, I just love seeing her pout. The minute she leave I go to my time proven method of sleep aid: Cliphunter.com. It takes an interracial gang bang and at least 5 running screens of smut to get me off. It’s as if my dick ejaculating into my worn boxers orders my mind and body to shut off. I wipe myself off and turn up the air conditioning. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
I sleep for about 4 hours.
Fair enough, I have things to do and errands to run. I usually hate this part of the day, phone buzzing like a lonely nymphos vibrator with people who need or want something from me. Mix that up with a girlfriend with a lot of down time at her job and you have a cell phone that has to be recharged at least twice a day. To cope I usually leave it on silent and check my messages in-between my urge to Twitter or look at some random Facebook invite. This usually means I’m at least a half hour late to anything and everything, a habit universally frowned upon. Whatever, dying would be such a better use of my time…
But not this time.
The trees in Greenpoint are green and rustling with the song only a gentle summer breeze can bring. The walls of Bushwick look more Pollock than vandalism and the store fronts on Delancey street look more Times Square than tacky. I’m in a good fucking mood. I tell everyone who gives me half a greeting about the show like I’m Paul Reverie of promotions. I take a 1000 pictures of 1000 things, flash after flash and roll after roll, until I have to meet Sara Lee back at my apartment. Me and Kara must have been fielding request for a 3rd wheel to the show and she was the only eager applicant. Or she might have still been up from studying or down from bike riding on Oxy. I honestly couldn’t tell you why she was there. Anyway my girl friend gets home we get dress and get out. Sara takes a beautiful picture of Kara braiding my hair on the train. Sara Lee also dressed me. That’s why she was there, she knew I’d be a nervous wreck. Her wit and observational humor takes the edge off my over bearing elation. I’m way to jittery for a man that’s been operating on less sleep than a night owl. I find a weed clip in my ashtray. I light it. I’m now the wind on the tip of a summer leaf. I’m so fucking stoned I’m gay.
I invited my mother, who in turn brought my nephews and niece. Who in turn invited the neighbors. Which in turn super intensified my high. Remember when you smoked weed in, oh let’s say jr high? And it was time to go home, but you where still a little buzzed? You check your eyes to see if they are red and Visine up then Febreze or rub scented muslim oil on your clothes and you smell good and everything was ok until you walked into your mom’s house and everything falls apart and you look and feel like you just smoked crack 2 seconds ago? Yup. This was now playing out in front of the art world I’ve just been welcomed to. In front of all of my friends that came to see my moment in the sun straight from their jobs or whatever hell they wore gasoline for. In this beautiful, well curated exhibition of real New York City graffiti art in this magical, small, and cozy gallery in Chelsea. I simply had a full 2 page spread of a picture I shot for my blog and a smile that spread from ear to ear. Weed fumes seeping out of my pores. My mother? Too proud of her son to notice.
Back in the second grade I was pitted by my teacher into a drawing contest against the popular girl. The challenge was to draw the best pony. I went for an anatomically correct steed while my competition went for some cartoon shit that Hanna Barberra would reject. It was cute, and needless to say she won. A horrible, horrible lesson for an introvert to learn at such a young age. If you’re not as popular as you are good you might as well not compete. Since then my art talents remained dormant, only surfacing when I wanted to impress some girl with a romantic notion or when I was bored at the DMV or some social service meeting poverty forced me to attend. My crushed spirit laid in the borders of my text books or the many bathroom walls I would tag as graffiti replaced the fine art that once ran though my drawing hand. I would never compete in anything. Sports, video games, bets, love… Forget about it. I was worst than a loser, at least a loser competes. I felt like nothing… just an audience member or a commentator in the game of life, spewing minor quips and observations but nothing of interest or substance. I would simply play with it and once in a while a happy accident would occur. From my illustration cover for the Department Of Transportations budget report in 1992 to my being the photographer at the Zulu nation 30th anniversary gathering, all these opportunities were random. Some would have ran with the momentum and went on to money-making jobs or other stuff but not me, I’m good. Never the one who wanted to ride it out till the end, all I needed was just one “that’s nice” and that’s it. Put the paint away stash the camera I did it. In sports people like me are called “Paper Champions”, someone who wins but refuses to defend his crown. To think a fucking pony with a cowboy hat and spurs did that to me.
Then it happens. I get hit by a car on Classon and Quincy in Brooklyn. A red Madza tosses me across 4 lanes of traffic. Everyone is amazed that I’m able to get up and walk away without a scratch. You can fill in your own life changing cliché here… I just wanted to take pictures and write about everything I experienced so my son could have something tangible and honest. I started when he was born, but I’ll do it tomorrow turned into weeks then months now years. Shit I’m supposed to be dead. And here I am. Once again I’ve made it. Not only did I create the blog, a picture with both of our names was shown in an art gallery. A MOTHERFUCKING ART GALLERY!!! The crowd ranged from the affluent to the flagrant. Air kisses and bear hugs flooded after party at the Ace hotel.Every drink from the open bar is another congratulations. I try to tell Mint and Serf how grateful I am without giving them an emotional hand job but it’s too late. My watery eyes reveal way to much. I share all of this with Kara on the rooftop of 385 Union on our way back home. I owe her so much. Shes tells me it’s ok over and over. She’s obviously enjoying this moment of clarity way more than I am. We’re drunk as shit. If it wasnt for that pony, lord knows what I could have been. Kara wants to make love to the man I am now, on this beautiful rooftop with the Manhattan skyline in full attendance. I mention how bad is she is at doing dishes hoping to buy myself some boner time. Not bad for a shy bucked toothed Dominican kid from Harlem USA. Me and the pony smoke and laugh all the way all the way back to our apartment.
“You can go to extremes with impossible schemes. You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams…”
G.Leigh, J. Richards