Twist and Shout

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Joe Around the World, 12th and Final Day

BENNINGTON -- This java journey has taken me to a final destination unknown.

Today's brew is Euro-Espresso Blend. It's good. Smooth, creamy, 4.25 perks out of 5. 

Made the top 3, it might be the best. 

It's the last of the 12 coffees that ranged from Euro-Espresso to Colombian to Costa Rican to Ethiopian to French to Guatemalan to the Hawaiian Islands to Kenya to the Bayou to Mexico to the wonderful story of Sumatra Mandheling. Lots of good coffee, some not-so-good java.

Enjoyed my international travels but it's time to come home, so to speak.

Since we're closing things up, packing our stinky drawers and soiled socks -- and vice-versa -- and changing gears for a new Incredible Kulk adventure, this also would be a good time to tie up "The _____est Girl in the World" zine that I previewed (HERE) August 30. 

And that means ... more Kay Hanley and Letters to Cleo! 

I think Kay was in Fiddlehead at Four Corners on Monday. 

Let's look at the clues: 

1) Blonde cutie pie, early '40s. Kay is 44 (birthday is 2 days after mine; she's a 9-11 girl). 

2) During a chat, said blonde asked about Steph Davidson ("modern-day Michelangelo") who died on September 1, 2003. She inquired about Steph's marble sculptures that are featured in Fiddlehead's gallery and on Fiddlehead's website

She read in Steph's bio that he spent much of his early life on Cape Cod and that she grew up on Cape Cod. Kay is a native of Dorchester, Massachusetts. She lived across the street from Marky Mark and his New Kids on the Block brother Donnie. 

Jesus Christ, talk about a street full of talent. 

3) During the chat at Fiddlehead, blonde cutie pie said she lives in San Antonio but quickly reminisced about the days she flew back and forth from the Cape to LA. to be with her boyfriend. These days Kay lives in L.A. I kind of got the sense this girl lived in L.A. more than she lives in San Antone.

What does that all add up to? 

Well, Nothing ...

... other than the blonde sophisticate in her 40s looked like Kay Hanley. 

Kay, was it you? 

Either way, Kay is one of the 16 women featured in "The _____est Girl in the World" and Aurora Lady is the _____ Girl who drew and watercolored the portraits. They're very good. 

After ordering "The _____est Girl in the World" I emailed a set of questions to Aurora Lady to try to get a sense of who she is and why set set out on her literary journey. Like a champ she returned the answers (a few weeks later).

1) What is this, exactly? How did the idea become reality, and why? Explain the title "The _____est Girl in the World"

This is an art zine-- 16 full color portraits of fabulous, make-your-own-rules women who know how to kick ass and make their dreams come true. I have made zines since I was a teenager, but none this in depth and personal. When I heard about International Zine Month, which was in July, I knew I had to do it! If I had this much love for these women, then surely other people would be stoked to know about them too. I chose the title "The _____est Girl In The World" because we have a way of pigeon-holing women and describing them as a certain stereotypes; there is nothing stereotypical about this group of women. They are creating their own parameters

2) Did you draw all of the portraits inside? Can you give me insight into the format for each _____est Girl? What kind of paper and pens/pens, etc did you use? 

Yep, all of those portraits are done by little ol' me -- I am a portrait artist. I had a cohesive vision for how the entirety of the zine would look, and then for each separate portrait. I used heavy weight watercolor paper prepped with gesso, watercolor, India ink and quills of differing sizes. These are my standard tools and I love them and use them for most of my commissioned portraits.

3) I don't understand the goodie bag. Don't get me wrong, it's cool, but what's all the stuff inside representing? Lime Crime Magic Dust? 

This project was all about love -- I really wanted people to get to know these women, if they happened to not be familiar with them already. I asked each of them to contribute something to the project to share with the first twenty people who ordered the zine, and I'm happy to say most of them did! Lucky folks get a variety of goodies, all selected especially for the package. Think of it as an uber-hefty, useful love letter from amazing women. 

4) What is the response? Why did you choose the women you chose? What was their reaction to your idea and being chosen? How easy/difficult was it for them to participate? 

The response has been totally affirming. The idea feels so supported and loved, and I am so grateful! I chose these women for various reasons -- some, I had admired from teengirlhood, and having moved to Los Angeles, developed relationships with. Some are close friends. Some are collaborators. And some I love like sisters. I practice writing gratitude lists every day, and my friends are something that get listed a LOT. So I don't think it surprised many of them when they got an email from me telling them about the idea. I hope that it was thoughtfully easy for them to participate. 

5) Am I the only one who has bought this? 

I am grateful to have a very supportive audience that believes in the work I do. I feel like I have a deep, long standing connection with them, and I think they feel the same, because they seem to really get and believe in the projects I care so much about. You weren't the first and you weren't the last, but I'm sure happy to know that you, Joey, connected with me and cared about my project. 

6) Who are you? What do you do? What kind of _____est Girl are you? 

I'm Aurora Lady, I'm an artist and entrepreneur. I don't play by rules, so I'm just a _____ girl for now -- until I make the decision to be whatever my dreams tell me to be. 


So there you have it the full, unbridled story of "The _____est Girl in the World" ... 

... it's certainly worth the 10 bucks. 

Although the more I think about it the more I think how cool it might be to continue the project by emailing the 16 women, to get a sense of how it felt for them to 1) be contacted about the project and 2) how they felt about the final product.

But I need a new batch of coffees from around the world to finish the project. 

No need for variety, just buy me a case of Jamaican Me Crazy.


Sadly, I just received a phone call from Jane Davidson, Steph's mother, to inform me that her husband, Stan, has died after a long illness. 

Stan was a wonderful man, a Cape Cod artist who, with Jane, raised a great man in Steph.

Which makes Monday's exercise in customer relations a little more eerie, because the older man in a black leather jacket who accompanied the 40-something sophisticate made me think of Stan Davidson, because he looked like he could have been Stan's brother. 

He wanted to know if we could ship one of Steph's pieces to San Antonio.

This is the piece the man had his eyes on:

Steph Davidson shell, made of Italian marble (Joey Kulkin photo)