Twist and Shout

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Of Fathers and Daughters


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Marty, Kulk & Darryl Strawberry

BENNINGTON -- Marty handed me the piece above and asked what it is. I did not know so I took a picture and messaged it to the gallery owner. Marty said it was a "sepfur" and I knew he meant scepter but also knew it wasn't a scepter. Within minutes the gallery owner said it was a paintbrush.

That blew Marty's mind because it's made out of porcelain.

I think it looks like a back-scratcher. That's how I'd use it.

Then Marty and I began to chat. Marty loves to chat unlike that Marty fella in the Safeco commercial who does nothing but stuff his pie hole every time the wife kvetches.

I asked this Marty "Where are you coming from today?" "Southeast Florida. We're originally from Long Island." Marty's wife walked to his side and smiled. Her name is Pat. "What brings you to Bennington?" "My son lives here. ... Where are you from originally." Marty somehow knew to throw in "originally." "L.A." Marty smiled and asked how I ended up in Bennington. "I'm a journalist. Easy to up and leave." "Are you into sports?"

Yes, Marty, I am into sports.

We talked sports. I told him the Dodgers and Lakers and Kings and L.A. Rams and USC football were teams I love. Marty told me the Knicks of several eras gone by and the Mets and the Rangers and Islanders are teams he loves. I told him "the Knicks should have kept Lin" and he agreed then talked about being a Knicks fan when it mattered. Reed. Bradley. DeBusschere. Frazier. Earl the Pearl.

Then Marty brought up the Dodgers again and told me of the days when as a boy he watched them at Ebbets Field. Then he brought up Koufax. I said Koufax wasn't so hot the first few years but then became a legend, and Marty flashed a knowing smile. Then we talked hockey and I told Marty I never thought I would see the day when the Kings raised the Cup. He asked how far back hockey goes back for me and I told him back to '80 when Bossy and the Islanders were the team, and Marty said "Oh, my Islanders!" and I told him about the game I went to at Nassau Coliseum a few years ago and what a cool experience it was to see hockey in that rinky-dink barn. Marty went off about the Islanders throwing away all that money at DiPietro the goalie instead of building a new barn -- only to watch DiPietro get hurt.

This was a sports moment.

I noticed Pat becoming itchy to leave but Marty was knee-deep in this sports chat. He told Pat they would leave in a minute -- after he asked me a trivia question that he said no one had ever answered. "Who's the only guy to play for the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers and Giants?" Marty said he's a guy who could have had it all, been the greatest ever and yadda yadda. I wasn't sure but had an idea and answered "Strawberry?" and that blew Marty's mind, too. "Wow! No one ever answered that before" and he shook my hand.

Marty asked a second question: Who is the only person to ever play for the Rangers, Knicks and Dodgers? "I don't know the answer to that one, Marty." "Gladys Gooding."

Gladys Gooding was an organist.

Marty and I shook hands and then he took Pat's hand and walked out. He asked if there was a deli anywhere nearby that served hot pastrami sandwiches. I told him not really but then told him to go to the Blue Benn Diner tomorrow morning. By now I knew Marty was Jewish. "If you love lox, try their lox and sour cream omelette. It's the best." Marty said thanks and smiled and left the gallery.

Marty and Pat from Boynton Beach, Florida, via Long Island

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: "Thanks, Tek Day"

BENNINGTON -- The Red Sox paid tribute to the heart and soul of the franchise for 15 years, catcher Jason Varitek, before tonight's game against the Blue Jays.

The Seattle Mariners drafted Varitek in the 1st round (14th pick) in '94 and in '97 traded him and Derek Lowe to the Red Sox for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb. Varitek singled in his only Red Sox at-bat that season (Sept. 24) and played 86 games in '98 while splitting time with Scott Hatteberg. The Sox named Varitek their starting catcher for the '99 season.

Over the next 13 seasons Varitek set a Major League record by catching 4 no-hitters while making 3 All-Star Games, winning the Golden Glove and Silver Slugger awards and wearing the captain's "C" for 6 seasons. At the plate he had 1,307 hits, 306 doubles, 14 triples, 193 homers, 757 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and hit .256. He's one of two players in the sport's history (Ed Vosburg the other) to play in the Little League World Series, the College World Series (Georgia Tech) and Major League Baseball World Series -- leading the Sox to the title in 2004 to break an 86-year drought. Varitek and the Sox won it again in 2007.

You can find out a ton more about Jason Varitek at

Now, while I take great pride in my ability to capture a moment on camera, taking photos from the TV with a phone is not so easy. Here are a few dozen moments showing Varitek, his former Soxian teammates, his family and others during tonight's emotional ceremony.

What's your favorite Varitek moment in a Sox uniform? Tweet it to @incrediblekulk

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: The 'Stache, the Fish 'n' Chips and the Pirates

BENNINGTON -- Soon as he walked into the gallery I said "Cool 'stache!" then asked to take a picture of it. He smiled and obliged. Told him "it looks kind of like Rollie Fingers' 'stache" and then his wife asked "Who's Rollie Fingers?"

Michael is the man with the 'stache.

His wife's name is Lydia.

We chit-chatted about this and that and then I noticed his English brogue. "Birmingham" he said. Michael and Lydia moved to Vermont -- Windham, up in them that hills near Stratton -- after living in NYC for a stretch. Michael asked if I had eaten fish 'n' chips at the joint three doors down. "Last week I had fish 'n' chips there. First time. It was great."

Michael said he's been to the best fish 'n' chips joint in all the world -- Bedders in Birmingham, which has since been bought out -- and that Lil Britian -- the fish 'n' chips joint three doors down -- ranks close to Bedders.

Just finished a conversation with a mother and her 19-year-old MCLA-bound daughter. She's blonde and cute and wants to focus on the business side of art management.

Like Michael the 'Stache, mom is from England, and she promised that when her four kids are done with college she and hubby will buy a Winnebago and park in each of the kid's driveway for 3 months at a time eating their food and using their electricity because that's what the four kids have done for 20-some-odd years.

I told her that Michael the British Windhamite ranked Bedders as the best joint fish 'n' chips. She said Robertson's "near Windsor Castle" is tops.

Meanwhile, a man named Vaughn from Pittsburgh smiled when I referenced his Pirates t-shirt and said that said after 19 years the Buccos need to go to the playoffs. Vaughn agreed. "Yes we do!"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: The Pink Dreidel (day 3): Sold a Steph piece

BENNINGTON -- I spun the dreidel and it fell on gimmel. Within hours I sold $685.48 of art. One of the sales was a double-sale. A woman from Pawlet bought a $100 vase and 4 scarves. Then we got to talking about Steph Davidson's work. Told her that one day I will own the "bowling ball" piece. It costs $3,500 so that day will not be soon. One thing leads to another and she buys one of Steph's pieces, the "Abstract No. 2" that you see below. Her grand total was $585.72. The double-sale also meant 5 consecutive sales for the first four customers today. Definitely a gimmel kind of day in the art gallery.

Vignettes from Vermont: AC/DC. Honest Tea. 3 Dollars and Me.

BENNINGTON -- He sat on the wooden edge of a flower bed. He wore a black AC/DC shirt and looked like he needed another 40. He asked me if I had 3 dollars. I said no but told him I would give him my unopened bottle of orange/mango Honest Tea. He looked at me with a look of WTF?! I called his look of WTF?! with my own look of WTF?! But I still handed him the bottle. He took it with his right hand. I told him I wanted a picture of him with the bottle of cold juice that I bought at Nova Mae Cafe during lunch minutes earlier. Decided to bring it back to the art gallery. I took his photo with the healthiest fluid this man will have drunk in weeks no doubt and then continued walking down Main Street toward the art gallery. I got to the corner and realized I had 3 dollars in my pocket and turned around and walked to the man. "I forgot that I *did* have 3 dollars in my pocket." I gave him 3 dollar bills. I told him I wanted to take another picture but that this time he had to smile. He tried to smile. But this man is pretty sad. Lonely. He moved his mouth best he could to form a smile but there would not have been a smile even if he smiled. Click.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: This For That

Bennington, Vermont (Joey Kulkin photo, July 16, 2012)

BENNINGTON -- He asked for 73 cents to buy a 40. I gave him 2 dollar bills and asked for a smile.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: The Pink Dreidle

In the game of life, I can use a gimmel right about now
Joey Kulkin photo/July 15, 2012, Bennington, Vermont

BENNINGTON -- Pink dreidel.

Friday, July 13, 2012

VIDEO VIGNETTE: Fuzzy McAllister

TRENTON -- Wallace "Fuzzy" McAllister sat on his porch wearing Malcolm-like specs and a hipster hat that Le'Roi Jones might have worn in Newark 1967. I was walking to a news event at the next building but saw Fuzzy and felt the need to meet and interview him.

Vignettes from Vermont: 2 Women, 4 Bucks

BENNINGTON -- The last time a woman asked for money, I told Wendy I'd give her 2 bucks if she gave me a photo-op. Wendy is the woman above. I saw her sitting on a porch in front of a boarded-up dwelling on Dye Street in South Trenton. She gave me a photo-op. I gave her 2 bucks. Then she gave me a can of pears and a new bottle of hand sanitizer.

Today in Bennington, I was walking back from Friendly's and saw the shiny, silver bell from the U.S.S. Bennington. I went to take its picture then saw Mary 15 feet away 0n a bench smoking a cigarette. I walked up to her, and she said she had no bread and asked for help. I asked her for a photo-op. She gave me a smile. I gave her a $2 bill. Hope she bought bread.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Thoreau's 195th birthday

BENNINGTON -- Henry David Thoreau turned 195 years old today. He died 150 years ago. He walked miles and miles a day so it's strange to think the writer died at 44. Most people associate Thoreau with his book "Walden" and other notable works. To celebrate Thoreau's 195th, @TheAtlantic tweeted one of the naturalist's essays called "Walking" in which he pontificates that one of the biggest travesties for a "vagrant" man is his sitting home doing nothing. The saunterer, on the other hand, Thoreau said, is free and flows like water seeking the sea. By 4:40 in the p.m., after playing shopkeep for almost 7 hours in the art gallery, I needed to saunter the streets of Bennington. Many months had passed since the last saunter in Bennington. The 112-year-old dog was on a leash then. Deoge is now dead.

The sun washed over Bennington today. Made for a great saunter, made great light for photos during the saunter. The photographic theme was people walking. Halfway up Main Street I strayed from the theme because Main Street's complexion has changed vastly since I lived here in part of '95, all of '96 and '97, part of '98. So I snapped photos of new business shops or shops that stood in one spot but moved up the street. At one point I laid on my back to shoot a church. Soon after I lost focus on the photographic themes and started to snap anything, everything. The sun washed over Bennington. Made for a great saunter, made great light and magnificent shadows for photos. There was no Walden Pond moment, but I stopped on the bridge over the Walloomsac River to snap the meandering water.

At 5:40 I stopped ambling the streets of Bennington. It relaxed me. SportsCenter is on. I'm totally vegging out like a vagrant. Sorry, Hank. But Happy 195th. YOLO.

This photo essay starts with the final photo and ends with the first.

Bank of Bennington; one of 6 banks within a minute of each other


EarthyCrunchyMama was not around in the '90s

The Crazy Russian Girls were not around in the '90s

Neither was the Gamers Grotto

Dunkin Donuts then, Chinese buffet now

I call it "Old Lady 9" -- the most satisfying 44-mile drive in America

Spent hours and hours a day there, when it was Geanellis

Panache: used to be on the other side of Main Street

Benner's: great bagels that weren't around in the '90s

Ryan's: around for decades

Chinese food then, no longer now

Middle School: now near Upper Willow ('thrilla at Upper Willa")

Ramunto's Pizza; used to be Alldays and Onion's;
friends tell me "Gotta have Ramunto's"
I tell friends "I really want a Neal from Alldays"
A Neal was hot pastrami & tortellini sandwich (the best)

Bernie Sanders: He's everywhere