Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Vignettes from Gotham: Lillian Rabinowitz part 1

Evelyn (Joey Kulkin photo)

GOTHAM CITY -- Was knee-deep into a pedestrian bacon omelet and god-awful hash browns and a fourth cup of coffee when she stopped at my booth at the end of Madison Restaurant, latched onto my left arm with her right hand, looked deep into my eyes, smiled and began to tell a 10-minute story with 14 chapters. Maybe even 24.

For a strange minute in time at the corner of 1st and 51st, I was right back at my desk at the end of the pod inside The Trentonian newsroom humoring Joan Galler (HERE) as she talked, talked and talked.

I wanted to record this conversation but Evelyn's swirl of words and Jewish exuberance and smiles gripped me from the start and I would have felt like a heel by trying to activate the record app. So I sat there and listened and thought "Just remember the names, Kulk." 

I told her I had an Aunt Evelyn. She smiled a big smile.

"Don't tell anyone," Evelyn said as she leaned in close, "but I don't look 81, do I?"

The first few stories recounted the days of boys and girls and long-ago rituals of dating in Brooklyn Dodgers America.

Lillian Rabinowitz -- Evelyn looked up and smiled and said "may she rest well" -- was one of her best girlfriendz growing up. It was Lillian who set Evelyn up with a fella to round out a group date. Evelyn was thrilled and eager but scared and unprepared, so she sought guidance from divorced Aunt Winifred, who was jaded and guarded and knew the score quite well.

Winifred outfitted Evelyn with the kind of demure threads that a thrilled but scared Jewish devotchka ought to wear on a first date -- then she gave her niece a $20 bill. "If it doesn't work out," Winifred told Evelyn, "tell him to go to hell and use this to take a cab home."

Evelyn still has that folded 20.

Evelyn's eyes lit up when I told her I was Jewish and she used Yiddish phrases galore to explain why elders frowned on her dating guys from "Goyville" and she threw in "shikse" to emphasize a point before she began the story of how she and David met. 

That's when David emerged from the barhroom, so my concentration was broken and I don't remember most of the details. That will be part 2.

I snapped their picture and Evelyn invited me to bring it to her home a few blocks away.

I'm in Gotham a few more days and might take Evelyn up on her offer to make me homemade matzo ball soup, bona fide matzo ball soup "with chicken and noodles, too!" because the matzo ball soup at Madison was an atrocity.

David and Evelyn Nachamie
will celebrate their 62nd anniversary
on February 3, 2013

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Q&A with Joey Kulkin part 3

Art Gallery Dude. Or is that Joey Kulkin? (Incredible Kulk photo)
Order their book "Chalk It Up" HERE

BENNINGTON -- This Q&A series with Joey Kulkin concludes today from behind the counter at Fiddlehead at Four Corners, where Art Gallery Dude, the Incredible Kulk and Kulkin himself will seek to answer a few lingering (and perplexing) questions.

Questions such as "How is the Incredible Kulk interviewing Joey Kulkin when Joey Kulkin is the Incredible Kulk?" and "If Joey Kulkin is Art Gallery Dude, too, how is the Incredible Kulk interviewing Art Gallery Dude when Joey Kulkin has slipped into a coma because of the shivering grumbles?" And finally "How in tarnations can one guy interview himself three separate ways? Has he gone mad!?"

Art Gallery Dude: So, Joey, how were those shivering grumbles?

Joey Kulkin: You tell me, dude, you had them, too.

AGD: I did? Incredible Kulk, did you know about this?

Incredible Kulk: Unfortunately, yes.

AGD: Why didn't you inform me during the interview?

IK: Why ruin a good thing?

JK: Exactly.

AGD: Wait a second. How are you answering questions, Joey, when you're Art Gallery Dude?

JK: Come on, AGD, you saw that dogshit "Inception" movie with me and the Incredible Kulk. Wasn't the point of the plot that you could plant the seed of an idea into a man's mind by giving him a drug to make him sleep, then making the drug even more potent so that he falls into a second tier of dreaming in an attempt to make realities clash, then -- THEN! -- you give him an even stronger dose of the drug to make him fall into a deeper third tier of dreaming, so that three realities are occuring at once and hilarity ensues and the dude wakes up and thinks of the idea all by himself? And then Leonardo DiCaprio spins his top to make sure he hasn't gone cuckoo. Boy, that Christopher Nolan sure is a genius.

IK: Whut?

AGD: Oh, yeah, I see what you mean, Joey. So we're, like, Inception?

JK: Well, the Inceptional Kulk. I am you when you are me when Incredible Kulk is interviewing me as you and you as me.

AGD: So are we awake or asleep right now?

JK: You've been asleep at the wheel for years. I don't know about Incredible Kulk.

IK: Huh?

AGD: That's right. I think we have pulled it off.

JK: But in which reality?

AGD: Did you ask that question 22 minutes ago?


JK: Did you ask that question, Incredible Kulk, or was that me asking Art Gallery Dude the question as Incredible Kulk?

AGD: That's some third-tier genius, Joey.

JK: Thanks, AGD. And allow me to say you did a great job filling in for me the other day.

AGD: Well, thank you, but it was easy because I *was* you.

JK: Huh?

IK: Oh, dear God, get me out of this shit show.

JK: What's wrong, Incredible Kulk?

AGD: Are you asking Incredible Kulk what's wrong as Joey Kulkin or as Incredible Kulk asking himself what's wrong?

JK: Yes.

AGD: Gotcha.

AGD: Wait, I see what you did there!

IK: What did I do there?

JK: AGD was taking to me, IK.

AGD: Huh?

IK: So let me get this straight before I fall into the fourth tier of insanity. I am the Incredible Kulk in blog form, but Joey Kulkin is the Incredible Kulk, who writes on the Incredible Kulk blog, and in the first Q&A I interviewed Art Gallery Dude as Joey Kulkin, and in the second Q&A I interviewed Joey Kulkin as Joey Kulkin, who complimented Art Gallery Dude for filling in as Joey Kulkin when Joey Kulkin was in a coma -- which would have meant Art Gallery Dude was in a coma ... which meant the Incredible Kulk was in a coma ... which means ... Please, God, strike me down with another case of the shivering grumbles.

JK: Calm down, IK.


AGD: He is?

IK: <holds his head and screams>

JK: Hey, AGD, you look pretty sharp in that yellow shirt with AGD across the chest.

AGD: So do you.

JK: Huh?


JK: Calm down, Incredible Kulk. Are you feeling a little jealous? Do you want a yellow shirt that reads AGD, too?

AGD: I am *NOT* letting Incredible Kulk wear my AGD shirt!

JK: But he's already wearing it.

AGD: Huh?

JK: Dude, look at the picture. Incredible Kulk is wearing the yellow T.

AGD: But that's me.

IK: Well it's not Diego Fucking Maradona!

JK: The basketball player?

AGD: No, Diego Maradona painted. Diego Rivera was the basketball player.

IK: <sighs and thinks "I would do ANYTHING to be struck down by the hand of God">

AGD: Can I wear the yellow shirt tomorrow?

JK: No, it's my turn tomorrow.

IK: Well when in the fuck is it *MY* turn!?

JK: You're wearing it now, Incredible Kulk.

AGD: I thought I was wearing it right now.

JK: You are.

AGD: So what shirt are *you* wearing right now?

JK: The same one Incredible Kulk is wearing.

IK: God, I hope we die in a fire.

JK: We should really talk about my book "Chalk It Up!"

IK: Screw your book, Kulkin! Go tell AGD to promote the book that he can butcher another Maradona reference.

AGD: Wait, Diego Maradona wrote a book about butchers?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Q&A with Joey Kulkin part 2

Joey Kulkin holds up his copy of "Chalk It Up!"
It is available in book form or for iPad HERE

BENNINGTON -- The Incredible Kulk has been given another chance to interview Joey Kulkin, author of the new book "Chalk It Up!" Kulkin fell ill Wednesday but a fellow at Fiddlehead at Four Corners by the name of Art Gallery Dude offered preliminary insights (HERE).

Here is the full Q&A with Joey that took place Friday at Fiddlehead:

Incredible Kulk: Thank you again for this opportunity. It sounds like we caught you on a bad day. Art Gallery Dude said you came down with a case of the shivering grumbles. We've never heard of such a malady. Would you mind elaborating?

Joey Kulkin: Remember in the movie "Airplane" when Peter Graves eats the bad fish and his body pretty much shuts down while he's flying the plane? The farting, the apoplectic shivering and quivering, the tensing up, the drooling and the squirting? I must have eaten a rotten cheese blintz for breakfast. Boy, that wasn't pretty. I'm feeling better today. And thank you for letting Art Gallery Dude take my place. It seems like he did a decent job.

IK: Let's just say I would never let him be the White House spokesman. But he's an amusing chap. His little Diego Maradona/Diego Rivera mixup was charming.

JK: Indeed, his heart was in the right place.

IK: Right. So, Joey, you've written a book called "Chalk It Up!" with a subtitle of Fiddlehead at Four Corners Presents the Graffiti Vault. This isn't your first book. As I mentioned with Art Gallery Dude the other day, Chalk It Up! comes out a few months after "The Pink Dreidel: Come Spin With Me" -- and I think you would agree that wasn't your finest literary hour.

JK: No. I saw how you framed the question with Art Gallery Dude, something about a drunk sailor rushing it out before an enema took effect. That made me laugh, and unfortunately, it is correct. Yes, I rushed the product but did so because I wanted to get a book out there. I felt that if I could publish a book quickly it would motivate me to do a second book and third book and so on. The worst thing about The Pink Dreidel is I forgot to put my name on the cover. How boneheaded do you have to be to forget to put your name on the cover of your book? Anyway, I did a little more research and switched to a better self-publishing company because their service is much easier to use. Believe it or not, I cobbled this book together faster than The Dreidel Debacle.

IK: Are you happy with the result?

JK: There are a few things I need to fix for the ensuing volumes but I'm very happy.

IK: There will be more Chalk It Up! books?

JK: Yes, it's a series. I'd like to do a Bennington-only edition, a kids-only edition and so on.

IK: How has the book sold since its release?

JK: Fifteen copies.

IK: Pleased?

JK: Please.

IK: Disappointed?

JK: Yes. Because it's a unique book that I put a lot of effort into. It's a good book, not because I made it but because I'm not sure there's ever been anything like it. I'm surprised that not one person who I put in the book has bought it. I don't understand that.

IK: Why?

JK: It's a keepsake. I thought parents would buy a copy or four because it's something you cherish and pass down through the years. I thought it would play out this way: "Oh, Honey! Remember when we were in that marble art gallery in Vermont last month and the strange guy with big red hair took our picture in the vault? HE PUT US IN A BOOK! LET'S BUY A COPY!" So naturally I thought they'd buy a copy or four, especially after giving me permission to use their photos. It's a great coffee table book, a natural conversation starter. The flip side of that is the owner of the gallery said some of the subjects in the book might think it's just another "Who's Who in America" -- and that pissed me off to no end because Who's Fucking Who in America was not my intent. My biggest mistake was a tactical one. I should have chosen a different template and that would have reduced the price of the book, even after my meager profits off each sale. I'm disheartened by the early sales, sure, but I'll continue to market it on the Intertubez.

IK: Can you elaborate what you mean by "chosen a different template"?

JK: I used a website called, which provides several book templates, and so the bigger the book the higher the price of the book. The price takes another jump depending on how much profit the author wants per book. I chose a $20 profit per book. As for the template, I chose landscape because I felt it fit with my vision for Chalk It Up! The photos are excellent, and I don't know if a smaller book with small photos works. Maybe I'm wrong. It's something I'll tinker with before publishing the next volume.

IK: What is your relationship with Fiddlehead's owner, Joel Lentzner?

JK: We grew up together in L.A.

IK: Art Gallery Dude explained how your idea and Joel's execution led to the Graffiti Vault. What are Joel's impressions of the book?

JK: He loved it. I don't think this book happens without his vision for the Graffiti Vault. He's a visionary. If you remember what Art Gallery Dude said the other day, I only suggested we create a Graffiti Wall. Joel took that idea a step further by painting the Animation Vault walls into chalkboards and turning it into the Graffiti Vault. That's how Joel operates. You can go back 12 years to when this building was dark and empty. Joel saw the need for art of the highest order in downtown Bennington. What he has accomplished with Fiddlehead at Four Corners since 2001 is nothing short of amazing. I think the book plays into his vision for the next phase of Fiddlehead's future.

IK: Who's Alyssa?

JK: <laughs> Yeah, Sweet Alyssa. You probably noticed that Alyssa appears on 4 pages. She showed up to the gallery one Saturday afternoon with her mom and really got into her graffiti. We had a strong rapport while I took her pictures. Alyssa is my type of girl.

IK: Is it fair to say you would not have published a book if you still worked in Trenton?

JK: It is fair to say that.

IK: You were in newspapers for 23 years. Los Angeles. Santa Maria. Iowa City. Bennington. Jamaica. Brattleboro. Roswell. Lebanon. Trenton. You won awards -- at one point you produced the Best Weekly Sports Section in New Hampshire. Before that you were Employee of the Year in Roswell. You earned promotions in Trenton, where you were on track to get a call from headquarters to work in New York City. I've read that it was your dream to work in New York City. Then one day you weren't in newspapers. Your career died. Your dream vanished. Poof! What's even stranger is that overnight you went from being a newsie with title, rank and laurels to a nobody who manages an art gallery in Vermont. If I may, how the hell does that happen? It sounds like the premise to a sitcom.

JK: I've told the story of Trenton recently so it's not hard to find on the ol' intertubez. But to boil it down for you, I was burnt out and made bad decisions in Trenton, and I made those bad decisions because I was burnt out. Maybe deep down I wanted to make those bad decisions. Trenton is a great place to live because no city produces front-page stories like Trenton. But at the same time Trenton is a devastating place to live because it has no soul. And it eats souls. It ate my soul. Maybe I let it eat my soul. I'm sure there's a pathology to the way it all went down during the last year or so. But it's been 6 months since they executed me, and I think I needed to die that death. Don't get me wrong, I miss the daily hustle and bustle of the newspaper game. I'm not the best writer or the best photographer or the best social media guy, but no one in today's newspaper game is better than me, if that makes sense. When newspaper bosses talk about the future of newspapers vis-a-vis today's digital reality, it's me they're talking about in terms of the all-around journalist. Words, photos, videos, links, editing, building pages, managing people and moments. Or maybe I just deluded myself into thinking that. Who knows. With all of that being said, I've never been more relaxed or at ease with myself. I have zero stress. I get to see people I love every day. I'm eating much better. And yes, I'm containing my appetite for destruction.

IK: Appetite for destruction: Because you want to or because Bennington is not Trenton?

JK: You never quit, you just hope to walk away and never turn back.

IK: Do you harbor any ill-will toward the people who fired you in Trenton?

JK: Ill-will? No. I'm still pissed about a few things but dwelling wouldn't make a lick of difference. Strategically, the company got what it wanted, I think. And I will say that big media companies that talk a big game need to pay a little more attention to their employees and reach out to people like me. Much of the mess could have been avoided well before June had they paid attention to the symptoms. I needed help but it's not as simple as someone saying "Well, you should have asked for help" because most people won't ask for help. But again, I think the company achieved its goal with me.

IK: Do you regret your actions?

JK: Regret is cliche. I chose my actions, and I lived like a rock star. But it bit me in the ass and I take full responsibility and accept the consequences. You can't start to grow until you start to admit your mistakes. I'm an imperfect man. I make many mistakes, and I am correcting the processes so that I don't make the same mistakes again.

IK: Do you want to work for newspapers again?

JK: It's in my blood. With that said, newspapers are dead.

IK: You're a book author now -- two times over. What's next for Joey Kulkin?

JK: I'm going to stick with the gallery life for now. It offers possibilities galore story-wise -- the customers always provide interesting fodder which in turn sparks my creative juices. What's happening right now has sitcom written all over it. I also enjoy Bennington. I've been craving another winter in New England for a few years, and I'm looking forward to this one. Then I'll start to weigh my options in the spring. In the meantime I'm going to read up a little more on Diego Maradona. I didn't know he was such a great basketball player.

To order "Chalk It Up!" in softcover, hardcover or for your iPad, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Q&A with Author Joey Kulkin

Joey Kulkin holds up his new book "Chalk It Up!"
in the Graffiti Vault at Fiddlehead at Four Corners

BENNINGTON -- A case of the shivering grumbles put author Joey Kulkin into a mild coma Tuesday, just a few minutes after his much-anticipated new book "Chalk It Up!" arrived at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery.

The grumbles forced Kulkin to back out of several interviews -- CNN, Fox, Oprah, Nina and Star from Sprout, even the great Charlie Pierce at Esquire wanted a piece of the action. Unable to speak because the grumbles caused him to spasm, gurgle and squirt, Kulkin grunted three times, which gave Art Gallery Dude the power to handle PR for the book.

Art Gallery Dude manages Fiddlehead at Four Corners. He granted Incredible Kulk's blog request for a face-to-face Q&A (Note: some language may not be suitable for all ages):

Incredible Kulk: First of all, thank you for allowing this blog to conduct the first Q&A for Joey Kulkin's book "Chalk It Up!" -- even in this day and age of expanded media, blogs are considered the minor leagues of journalism. So again, thank you.

Art Gallery Dude: No problem, dude. Some of the best journalism is being done in the blogosphere. Take that guy over in Kingston, New York, I think his name is Ivan Lajara, the Life Editor at the Daily Freeman. I couldn't tell you what the fuck a "Life Editor" is but no other blogger in the world makes me laugh as much as Ivan when he's posting another zany cat video. Cats gets clicks, clicks galore, and the only thing that matters in today's world of journalism is clicks and the stacking of digital dimes.

IK: Right, we've heard that, too. So, Chalk It Up! is not Joey's first book -- it's the second one he has published in three months. We found "The Pink Dreidel" (HERE) and thumbed through the book and don't quite know what to make of it. Every page shows a pink dreidel at rest on a counter with words below that don't seem to make sense. It's almost as if a drunk sailor put the book together before an enema in his ass was about to release the hounds -- meaning it feels as though he put zero thought into it and published it in 2 minutes. And the cover shot looks like a pink spinning dildo. Was that the intent, a pink spinning dildo? Not to mention the figures we requested and received for The Pink Dreidel show it has generated four dollars and seven cents in sales. All in all, a rather piss-poor effort.

AGD: Joey calls it The Pink Debacle, and he hasn't received that four bucks because authors must accrue at least $10 in sales before getting a check. He doesn't plan on seeing that money. By the way, it wasn't a spinning dildo, and funny you should mention enemas ... .

IK: Chalk It Up! is a landscape-format book, 92 pages full of colorful photos on quality stock paper. It is a much stronger presentation than The Pink Dreidel, and especially the cover photo. I think the pretty girl really draws in potential buyers. What was Joey's vision for this book? How did the idea come to be?

AGD: Joey arrived at the gallery in late June after leaving the newspaper business. Fiddlehead's owner went away for the summer with his family and left Joey the keys to the gallery. The thing about Joey, and anyone who knows him says this, it's that Joey loves to create. Right away he saw the gallery needed a serious kick in the ass. He told the owner "Look, pal, you have this great art gallery in the best space in Bennington, but it's stagnant. Let's turn one of the walls into a Graffiti Wall so that people can express themselves and leave their mark in the gallery." The gallery owner -- Joel Lentzner -- loved the idea but took it one further. He removed the animation cells from the "Animation Vault" and hung them in another part of the gallery, and then he painted the vault into a 4-wall chalkboard and bought boxes of chalk and voila! Brilliant idea by Joey and execution by Joel.

IK: When did the Graffiti Vault come to life?

AGD: About the same time Joel was getting ready to paint the walls into chalkboards, Fiddlehead found out it had been selected to host a listening party for Trey Anastasio's new album "Traveler" so Joel and Joey thought it would be a great day to launch the Graffiti Vault. Joey really thought Trey was going to show up to the party and perhaps leave his mark in the vault. He even kept one of the walls virgin till the party so that Trey could christen it. But Trey never showed up. Crushed the Kulk.

IK: And the book?

AGD: Well, within a week Joey noticed how customers loved being in the vault so he began to take pictures of the graffiti artists and their works. Some of them wrote a few words or a quirky sentiment and some of them drew wall murals that would make Diego Maradona blush with envy.

IK: Diego Maradona the soccer player? I think you mean Diego Rivera the great muralist.

AGD: Yeah, him too.

IK: Well, then. The book features the artwork of people from all over the country, including two from Hawaii, as well as folks from England, Scotland, Amsterdam and several students from Bennington College. It seems the Graffiti Vault has become a global phenomenon. How are early sales for this book?

AGD: Well, let's just say Joey can afford a few more boxes of enemas.

IK: Can we move beyond talk of enemas and pink buttplugs?

AGD: That's pink dildos. And you brought it up, dude.

IK: Right. I apologize for that. We noticed in the final few pages of the book that Joey himself chalked it up. The first picture shows a chicken saying "Super Bird!" and the second one shows a portly fellow exclaiming "Ahhhh, pot pies ..." What is the meaning behind his Graffiti Vault submissions?

AGD: Yeah, those are inside jokes from his days at the Roswell rag. I can't divulge the full story behind the second one, but have you ever met a man who eats nothing but pot pies? Let me tell you, that man was full of steamy goodness -- and creamy gravy.

IK: What is Joey's favorite image in the book?

AGD: Alyssa.

IK: Alyssa?

AGD: Alyssa.

IK: Who is Alyssa?

AGD: Alyssa.

IK: So you're saying Alyssa.

AGD: Alyssa.

IK: Right, Alyssa. So what was Joey's reaction when the book arrived today?

AGD: The grumbles started to cause a ruckus minutes before it came. He ripped open the package then puked up yesterday's lunch.

IK: On the book?

AGD: No, but close.

IK: Did he get to see much of the book?

AGD: No, the grumbles hit worse than ever and he began to gurgle and spasm -- then he squirted something fierce.

Note: The interview ended right here because AGD had to rush Joey to the emergency room. AGD promised this blog the first interview when Joey's health returns to normal.

You can buy Chalk It Up! in book form HERE or in iPad form HERE.

A Fiddlehead customer reads the first copy of Joey Kulkin's "Chalk It Up!"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Neil Leifer and AGD

Neil Leifer (center) with Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas
and Head Coach Don Sula (from the book "Guts and Glory")

BENNINGTON -- The 296-page landscape-format book celebrating Neil Leifer's iconic photos from the savage ballet weighs 5.29 pounds and serves as a portal that transports NFL fans new and old to that time and place in America that can never be recaptured.

This is what 5.29 pounds and 296 pages looks like ...

But here's what it really looks like ...

Neil Leifer is to still-photography of the old NFL
what the Sabols were to those old and great NFL Films

"Guts and Glory" (buy it HERE) is the kind of book Art Gallery Dude envisioned October 13 when Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in downtown Bennington launched the world's first Graffiti Vault. Two months later, on the day AGD received Guts and Glory as a Hanukah gift, he published "Chalk It Up!" (buy it HERE).

Like Guts and Glory, Chalk It Up is a landscape-format book featuring 90 pages of color pictures of Fiddlehead customers who left their chalk marks on the Graffiti Vault walls. 

Here is what 90 pages looks like ...

AGD is excited about Chalk It Up! More on that later.

ON DECEMBER 28, Leifer will turn 70. Fifty-four years to the day earlier, on his 16th birthday, Leifer used a free ticket to get into Yankee Stadium to shoot the NFL title game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. 

The thing about photography, and especially sports photography, is that luck plays a much bigger role in the product than the great skills you think you possess.

And so from 10 yards away, on the field behind the end zone, Leifer snapped the moment within moment in time: Alan Ameche barreling into the end zone in overtime to give the Colts the win. It is considered the greatest NFL game ever played.

Ameche scores the winning touchdown (Neil Leifer photo)

In an interview with Larry Berman and Chris Maher almost 11 years ago (HERE), Leifer said this about the moment in time he shared with Alan Ameche:

"When Alan Ameche scored the winning touchdown there were so many Colt's fans, (mainly drunken Colt's fans) on the field that the security had their hands full just making sure that they could keep those people off the field. They weren't worried about someone like me that they had seen every week. So I ended up exactly ten yards in front of Ameche as he scored the winning touchdown.

"He came right at me and I got that picture, which today, is certainly one of my best-known pictures. I always think that if I had had any money and any decent equipment, I would never have taken that picture because, if I would have had a long lens, a 135mm or a 180mm, I would have tried to fill the frame with Ameche going in for the winning touchdown. Instead, I got the wide shot that takes the whole ambiance of Yankee Stadium that afternoon which is so much better than any picture I would have taken years later when I was an established pro."

During his newspaper sportswriting days, Art Gallery Dude captured iconic moments in football, basketball, soccer, hockey (ice and field), track and field, baseball, softball, cross country, wrestling, crew, equestrian and other sports.

One of his best moments came in October 2004 while covering the Vermont Division I field hockey title game in Rutland between Hartford and South Burlington.

Hartford's best player (best in state, too) was Maegan Luce, a super-fast and bull-strong dribbling whiz of a center forward who led Vermont in goals. Throughout the season she delighted fans with delirious length-the-field runs through helpless and hopeless defenses and completed those runs by rattling the cage time and again, 24 times by the time the Hurricanes reached the title game against the Rebels.

The game was about to start. AGD stood on Hartford's sideline at midfield.

"I'm not superstitious or anything like that, but right before the whistle I got a feeling to walk down toward the South Burlington cage," AGD told Incredible Kulk.

The whistle sounded to start the game. Luce dribbled down the heart of the field, zigging and zagging through the underbelly of South Burlington's defense. South Burlington's goalie, a freshman, charged out, but didn't have a chance. Luce dribbled around her and banged the ball into the back of the cage.

It was 1-0 after 11 seconds. Never saw that. Neither team scored in the final 59:49.

AGD's intuition led to his bit of photographic luck ...

Maegan Luce celebrates the title-winning goal;
teammate Allison Kemon (left) celebrates

... soon as the cage rattled Luce turned toward AGD and jumped up and made a fist and screamed -- CLICK -- and that was a moment within moment in time. No other photographer (newspaper or otherwise) stood near AGD so he was the only one to get this.

"Sometimes," AGD said, "you just get lucky."

Neil Leifer would say the same thing. His most famous photo is this ...

... the night Ali knocked Liston to his ass in Lewiston. In all the corners in all the boxing rings in the world, Leifer was standing in this corner. The photo doesn't work or come close to capturing the imagination if he's in any other corner.

Years later Leifer celebrated the photo with Ali ...

... one day AGD hopes to take an iconic photo that the world talks about forever.

In the meantime, he wants supporters to buy "Chalk It Up" -- the book he self-published through It has registered 4 sales in its first week on the market. AGD won't get rich off the book. The prices are $61.95 (soft cover), $69.99 (hardcover with dust jacket) or $79.99 (image-wrapped hardcover) but he only makes a $25 profit on each sale.

Art Gallery Dude is working on volume two of Chalk It Up! In the last few days these Fiddlehead customers have gone nuts in the Graffiti Vault and walked out with chalk-tipped fingers and child-like smiles (click to embiggen).

Jacqueline Bezzant

Suzanne L. Brown

Linda Finney (read her story below)

MAU nordic skier Lauren Driscoll

Marlene Driscoll, her mom, with a Lake Paran party announcement ...

... except AGD didn't see the right side of the wall

Bennington College lit major Roma Aryal


For more of AGD's sports and street photos from 2003 thru 2007 click HERE and HERE.

AGD hopes to publish a book of his sports photos. If he does, this one could be the cover ...

He lost the arm in a motocross wreck a year earlier;
here he whacks a one-handed single for White Mountains High

Or maybe this one ...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Brian Hewitt part 2

Brian Hewitt with first 2 pieces from Park McCullough House series;
Hewitt was in his 40s when he painted his first piece

BENNINGTON -- Tim Burton and Patrick Ewing came to mind when Brian Hewitt lugged the first two pieces of his "Park McCullough House" series into Fiddlehead at Four Corners.

Tim Burton because the gorgeous "Carriage Barn Gala" looks like a cartoony yet real building you might see in one of his blockbuster movies. And Patrick Ewing because the luscious blue that Hewitt used looks like the luscious blue in those '80s-era Georgetown uniforms ...

Patrick Ewing with Coach John Thompson
(Rich Clarkson photo/NCAA photos)

"It's a very, very powerful blue," Hewitt said during an 8-minute audio interview. "Because it's a night winter scene, it works.

During the chat Hewitt talks about the compliment his 6-year-old niece paid him after noticing the winter scene, why he chose to include people in Carriage Barn Gala, the ideas behind "Summer Garden" and techniques he used to ensure his pieces will last for 500 years.

"Summer Garden" features the expansive greenhouse and garden on the south side of the Carriage House at the famed Park McCullough estate in North Bennington.

The 51-inch by 51-inch pieces are resting on easels in the mezzanine at Fiddlehead, which has featured Hewitt's work since he un-retired from a life of surfing, cervezas and senoritas in the Dominican Republic 18 months ago and decided to pick up a paintbrush for the first time while taking care of his 91-year-old dad, Bud. Read that story HERE.

His other works include the 3-piece "North Bennington" series of diamond-framed prints.

Unlike those diamonds, the Park McCullough pieces are original oil on canvas -- and they won't be completely dried for 6 months. They sell for $5,500 apiece but Hewitt is offering a 10 percent discount for one, or 15 percent for both, and he'll deliver and hang them for free within a 200-mile-radius. Call Fiddlehead at (802) 447-1000.

Here is a video of Hewitt talking about the Park McCullough series at Fiddlehead ...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Gone, Gumdrop, Gone!

BENNINGTON -- Art Gallery Dude wrote a story 99 days ago about a wall at Fiddlehead at Four Corners that features the famed lithographs of John DeAmicis. Customers love that wall as you can see by some of the photos in that story (HERE).

Lately, AGD hadn't been taking many pictures of customers in front of the wall.

Then Linda and her sister walked into Fiddlehead yesterday and shopped around the old marble bank turned art gallery. At one point Linda and Jennifer stood in front of the wall to appreciate DeAmicis, arms around each other's backs, the love of sisterhood in full blaze, and that was a moment of moments as you can see above.

Minutes later Linda and Jennifer walked into the Graffiti Vault. Linda went nuts ...

The 3 Amigos in the Graffiti Vault

Linda and Jennifer (red jacket)

12-12-12: Linda said she shares her birthday
with Our Lady of the Guadalupe

... Linda came to Bennington on 12-12-12 to participate in a radio show called "Lightline" with Lisa V. Smith of WBTN 1310. 

Smith is an astrologer from Williamstown, Massachusetts. Femininity and astrology and the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- with whom Linda shares a 12-12-12 birthday -- were the main themes of the show.

A man by the name of Aaron worked the WTBN booth during the show. 

During a phone call today Aaron told Art Gallery Dude that the 6 segments were 1) the opening with Our Lady Guadalupe and her story 2) discussion of the rise of femininity 3) the rise of women in today's culture 4) what challenges women are facing in today's culture 5) a wrap-up of Our Lady of Guadalupe and what people should do to re-center their alignment with the universe and 6) the wrap-up prayer.

The show is available on WBTN's website (HERE).

AGD and Linda spoke a bit about femininity and how women are much better off now than they were 25 years ago. They also talked about President Hilary Clinton (bet on it).

The other big news yesterday occurred circa 9 o'clock in the a.m. when AGD got an email saying Fiddlehead's website had registered another sale ...

The gumdrop plate from;
5th day in a row the website has recorded a sale

... that glass plate reminded AGD of the cards from Candyland ...

... and what a coincidence: The day AGD wrote about customers and their affinity for admiring the famed wall of John DeAmicis (HERE) is the day he wrote about hundreds of customers falling in love with the plate at first sight yet never buying it. 

This is the picture he used for that story ...

The piano plate sold exactly one month after the "Lookie" story. Read it HERE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Verlina the Lizard Queen

We have 2 glass lizards left. Want them? Click HERE

BENNINGTON -- If Verlina Jackson ever runs for mayor of Trenton, and she might, and wins, and she could, you might see this glass lizard on her desk at City Hall.

Jackson continued Fiddlehead's streak of website sales -- 4 days on the trot -- after buying the colorful amphibian at ... and Art Gallery Dude hopes more Trentonians he supported over the years will follow in her wake and support the fun, funky, functional art gallery. Great holiday gift ideas.

So, what is AGD's relationship to Verlina Jackson?

Art Gallery Dude (AGD) used to be known as Trentonian TV Dude (TTVD) when he was an editor at The Trentonian newspaper. TTVD launched Trentonian TV and one things to another ... and he's producing live shows hosted by Trenton residents and leaders such as Darren Freedom Green and Tyrone Miller and Bruce Boyd and Jun King Walker.

Freedom hosted a weekly talk show called "Freedom" and he routinely interviewed members of Trenton's City Council, including Verlina Jackson. Read TTVD's Production Notes from her appearance and watch the episode HERE.

Not only did TTVD produce the shows, he also took photos of guests as they talked to Freedom or Tyrone or whomever. He liked to take pictures of guests' hands, because suggestive hands during communication are fascinating, and shoes the guests would wear in relation to Freedom's shoes or Tyrone's shoes. The photos added a cool dynamic to the Production Notes and gave viewers and readers a behind-the-scenes perspective.

Jackson appeared on Freedom's 10th episode in late April. Here are photos TTVD took ...

Verlina and Freedom

Verlina's and Freedom's shoes

AGD misses those days. So does Hunter S. Thompson

Verlina's pink-tipped fingers

Verlina and Demetria

The last one is AGD's favorite. Demetria Mason got emotional over the shootings and killings that were highlighting the news everyday -- just like what's happening now.

Trenton is dying a bad death. Trenton has become Camden, maybe even worse, and that's hard to do. Trenton is on its deathbed. Trenton used to be a jewel of America.

Residents such as Perry Shaw III (A Better Way) and Eric Maywar (Classics Books) and many like them are examples of excellence where it comes to natural-born leaders trying to rehabilitate that which is broken in Trenton. Perry posted this on Facebook today ...

... and political watchdogs Jim Carlucci and Kevin Moriarty are Trenton's Woodward and Bernstein, so there are good-hearted heavyweight fighters in Trenton.

But anyway ... Demetria exited the guest's chair that day with eyes full of tears.

Verlina got up and hugged her a bear hug, and it's one of the best photos TTVD took during his days as a producer. It was a real moment. Verlina also answered the bell during the French Towers debacle in late June. Read about it HERE.

That being said, will City Councilman Verlina Jackson become Mayor Jackson next?

"Not at this time" she said on December 5 when AGD asked if she was interested.

Sorry, Ms. Jackson, but AGD is for real in the belief that you are going to be Trenton's equivalent to Kelly Yaede over in Hamilton. He asked her the same thing about assuming the mayor's seat after Benci got busted, and she said the same thing. And now she's the mayor.

Now, if you do assume Trenton's Seat of Power, Verlina, please fix this mess ...

The old Manex "Hollywood East" debacle