Twist and Shout

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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Psychedelic Snooki

18x80 silver Oscar Dot Wrap $135 ... scarves available HERE

BENNINGTON -- Your ears light a cigarette seconds after Caron Miller fills them with a swirl of breathy words. "I'm crazy, I'm fun, I'm vivacious," she declares on the other side of the phone line, on the other side of the country, on the other side of the universe.

... "My purpose in life," she continues, "is to support women who are fabulous."

Which women are fabulous? and Caron answers "All women are fabulous."

And so...

Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery received a box today from paradise -- Santa Barbara -- and inside of it were 21 folded scarves with names such as Le Groovy Single Silk Marrow and La Wrap Her Mesh and Oscar Dot Wrap and Her Party Girl Crushed Organza and La Wrap Her Shim Angle Marrow and even Blissiousness Wrap.

Caron's website says: Go with what you've got and show it off. Caron's accessories are designed to embellish your basics (big, small -- bodacious, or itty bitty). "Wearable art" is the way she describes all this craziness. "It's like painting with fabric."

Her name has been accented 4 ways depending on her time in Canada, Wisconsin, Jersey and Cali. The Santa Barbara version is "like Corona beer without the A at the end." She's "52 and fabulous" and her tits galore highlight a 5-foot size-10 frame -- "it's all about the boobs" -- as evidenced in the photo above, taken during her Ken and Barbie summer solstice party last June. Psychedelic Snooki is probably the best way to characterize that picture, in a good way. Seriously. Hey, some guys think Snooki is hotter than Georgia asphalt.

Caron Miller entered the world in Canada before the family moved to Wisconsin, then Jersey. She hit the road in the '80s and stumbled upon Santa Barbara "And I knew I was meant to be in California." The website chronicles her story, vision and list of values.

The 18x80 silver Oscar Wrap Dot you see wrapped around Art Gallery Dude's neck at the top got its name, Caron said, "because they're using that fabric for the Oscars." AGD asks if her threads have been spotted at the world's biggest award show and she answers "I'm just waiting for my moment, love."

All of these scarves modeled by Art Gallery Dude will appear at by Noon tomorrow. If you want one or more today call (802) 447-1000 by 6 p.m. or email by midnight and we'll waive shipping costs.

22x80 Black and White Her Mesh Embroidered $90

24x96 La Wrap Her Shim Angle Marrow, silver $68

24x96 La Wrap Her Shim Angle Marrow,  aqua $68

24x96 La Wrap Her Shim Angle Marrow, magenta $68

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

17x80 Blissiousness wrap black w/burgundy polyester $100

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

23x85 La Wrap Her Party Girl Crushed Organza, burgundy
lined with Poly Chiffon $85

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

10x70 Le Groovy single silk marrow $33

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Visions of Bom Joo

BENNINGTON -- Ollie Optometrist slipped the black-rimmed glasses over Art Gallery Dude's eyes, adjusted them on his schnoz, sat back in his chair then pulled out a card and asked the newly bespectacled fella to start reading the set of words in 8-point type.

"Holy shit!" AGD said, "How long have I been missing this?"

Ollie Optometrist smiled and said "It's a lot better now, isn't it."

Yes, Ollie, it is! The words were so ... crisp. My god, man, this is how it's supposed to be.

For a fella who sees things far away with little trouble and has 20-20 vision, AGD started squinting months ago as he tried to read newspapers or magazines or computer screens. Perhaps that would explain the constant headaches. Regardless, it's all better now.

AGD began wearing glasses in 1988 until he lost them weeks later in Las Vegas ...

... what happened on that Vegas trip with his attorney and his attorney's attorney is that AGD won 900 bucks playing Keno (at the Frontier) and pulling the Red, White & Blue slots (at the Desert Inn) then proceeded to devastate tacos and cervezas galore at the great Mexican restaurant inside the Frontier. All three were shit-faced by midnight, both attorneys passed out, which is when AGD stumbled down to the casino. By 1 he lost his wad of cash to a blackjack dealer named Bom Joo. But it's not just that he lost everything to a blackjack dealer by the name of Bom Joo, mind you, it was that AGD would draw two or three cards to get 18 only to see Bom Joo pull 19; AGD pulled 19 only to see Bom Joo pull a 20, on the fifth card; and when AGD pulled a 20 Bom Joo dealt himself a motherfuckin' ace and a king. And this shit happened for an hour. Fucking Bom Joo. Fucked a bombed Jew.

So you can understand why AGD could not have cared less about losing his glasses the next day. He didn't lose them per se but slid them inside a pair of red Reebok high-tops then put those high-tops in the trunk of his attorney's silver Cadillac ...

This bad boy went on many an adventure

... and by the time they made it back to L.A. he had forgotten about shoes and specs.

He remembered days later but thought "Who needs glasses, anyway? Fucking Bom Joo."

Twenty-three years later, Art Gallery Dude needs glasses again. To read, anyway.

And he'd like to read some of your funny stories about wearing glasses. Funny places you lost them. Weird ways you cracked them. Painful ways you _______ them. He wants to see pictures of you wearing your glasses and wants to read your stories.

And now he'll be able to read those stories with great clarity.

Yes, Ollie Optometrist, it *is* a lot better now.

Email submissions to and AGD will post them here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Of Vegetabowls & Tonawanda

BENNINGTON -- A hop, skip and leap from the Erie Canal, between the waters of Erie and Ontario, north of Buffalo and south of Niagara Falls, way up by the jagged border of Canada, lies old Native American land called Tonawanda. Tonawanda, New York, 4.1 square miles, population 15,000 though these days less than 60 are Native Americans.

Tonawanda, according to the Wiki, is most likely derived as a "loanword" from the Toscarora Iroquois indians and means "confluent stream" and this explains why ...

... The Tuscarora and Oneida were allies of the Colonists of the Revolutionary War, and that's one of the unique facts about Tonawanda. Other cool tidbits: the Erie Canal and railroads allowed Tonawanda to thrive in the lumber business; Spaulding Fibre became a king of leatherboard manufacturing from 1911 till 1992; Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett incorporated the town into their graphic novels "Boilerplate" and "Femopolis"; Tonawanda is the home of characters in the movies "Band of Brothers" and "Saving Private Ryan"; and even Mark Twain waxed poetic about Tonawanda in "The Diary of Adam and Eve" ...

... and here's another Tonawanda story: Vegetabowls.

No, not vegetables.


Melanie and Justin Mckenney created Vegetabowls three years ago, and they are what they look like: functional art bowls to eat out of. And you can wash them in the dishwasher.

Customers at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery always stop at the Vegetabowls and pick them up and ooh and ahh over them, always with smiles.

Art Gallery Dude engages them and usually the chat goes like this:

AGD: Those are made with real fruits and veggies.
Customer: No they're not!
AGD: They really are. The cantaloupe is made from cantaloupe.
Customer: Are you serious?
AGD: Yes I am. The orange is made from orange, the pineapple is made from pineapple, the grapefruit bowl is made from a grapefruit ... and that's a real cabbage.
Customer: That is so awesome.

One day AGD will throw in a snozberry line just to see if they're paying attention.

Anyway, Vegetabowls are big sellers at Fiddlehead, something Melanie and Justin Mckenney love to hear. They met at Alfred University, dabbled in teaching community art classes in Boston then moved back to Melanie's hometown of Buffalo to start their business. They have a daughter by the name of Lyla and two dogs named Blue and Sadie.

And their Vegetabowls -- from cantaloupe to grapefruit to coconut to red onion to heirloom tomato to acorn squash to watermelon -- are a hit in the functional art world, with stories and photos in the Boston Globe and Cooking Light and Uncommon Goods and Girlfriendz Magazine. And for the second year in a row Vegetabowls is a NICHE Awards finalist (HERE).

Fiddlehead just received several more cantaloupe, orange, grapefruit and cabbage bowls -- and for the first time is carrying 3 watermelon bowls (pictured at the top).

Want some? Order them at Fiddlehead's website  (HERE) ...

... and here's a video that shows the slip-cast process Vegetabowl makers use when they're making Vegetabowls near that confluent stream ...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Full Metal Packet

BENNINGTON -- Fiddlehead at Four Corners, the old marble bank turned art gallery, features glass and ceramics and jewelry and wood and fiber and oil paintings and granite and soap from studio artists all over North America. Beautiful works. Exquisite works. 

Fun, funky and functional works.

But still, something was missing ...

... until yesterday when the box arrived from Iowa.

Wrapped inside of the big box were 5 pieces of sheet metal that Gail Chavenelle crafted into 3D masterpieces, such as the horse you see above jumping off the granite base.

Gail Chavenelle's love of art began long ago. Paper sculptures such as childhood paper dolls, chains, pop-out books and greeting cards "intrigued" the little girl. "I loved the form," she said, "but wanted the works to be more permanent."

That's where 20 gauge steel comes into play at her studio in Dubuque, located at 2 o'clock on the border of Wisconsin. Gail bends and folds and cuts and torches and snips flat sheets.

"I explore metal's kinetic movement so pieces can bounce, fly or dance in the breeze," Gail writes on her website. "I love the curl as strips of metal become wild hair. I am awed as a turn of a metal head creates an intimate moment between lovers or parent and child."

This is what she means ...

So yeah, Fiddlehead now has metal to go along with the glass, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, wood, oil, soap and chalk. Gail's pieces are available on Fiddlehead's website ( Here's a video of the Iowan in action. Fascinating process ...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Snail Trail to Greenville

Heart-topped snail by Jane Greer available HERE

BENNINGTON -- Art Gallery Dude called Jane Greer this morning to ask how sturdy her glass stirrers are -- "I use them to stir my coffee. They're made of Pyrex, so they're dishwasher safe." -- and then the conversation turned toward snails. People love snails and, apparently, they're even more crazy for glass-hearted snails.

"It's funny," Greer said in a slow North Carolina twang, "because snails are a very non-unisex item. Lizards are more of a men's thing, and butterflies are for women -- but snails are just sort of neutral."

The red-heart-topped snail you see above is one of 6 available (HERE). The other colored hearts come in blue, pink, green, purple and another red.

Jane Greer was born and raised in Greenville, North Carolina. "I'm a Pirate at heart," she said in reference to East Carolina University, which is located in Greenville. "I remember when ECU was a teacher's college so I guess I'm showing my age." These days she makes her glass wares in Wilmington, on the east coast of the Tar Heel State.

"I owned a gallery and understand the trials and tribulations of owners," she said, "so I make stuff that is fun and whimsical, stuff you don't see everyday.

Greer learned how to make glass hearts years ago but needed a unique avenue to sell them. Too many other artists were putting hearts on pendents and paperweights, she said, "So I tried snails -- and it's one of my best sellers. There's a big snail market.

"I have no explanation for it, but it's crazy," she said, "I can't keep them on the shelf."

Fiddlehead at Four Corners also ordered 6 of Greer's standing fish. Here they are ...

"Because I'm on the East Coast," she said, "I love anything that has to do with tropical stuff. That's why I do a lot of fish."


Now while conversation centered around Greer's snails and tropical fishes, AGD needed to know about the strength of Greer's colorful glass stirrers ...

... they look brittle but Greer said the thin cork-screw-tipped stirrers are Pyrex-strong. 

Greer got the idea for stirrers after a massive demand for her glass straws.

"Finding something for someone who has everything is difficult," she said, "so I thought 'What complements straws?' I introduced the stirrers last July and people are going crazy for them."

Want Greer's glass? Click HERE.

And for any other Pirates at heart out there ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Northern Exposure 2.0

"She Walked Into A Field of Poppies" (buy it HERE)

Now, she lives in a tiny northern town
where the snow swirls in beneath the door,
and the lakes, trees, and rocks
take her breath away.

BENNINGTON -- That tiny northern town where the snow swirls in beneath the door is called Virginiatown, in the township of McGarry, in the province of Ontario, in the country of Canada, on a piece of Earth that Art Gallery Dude had no idea existed until yesteday when the box arrived. Virginiatown's population of 595 includes a woman by the name of Sylvia Grantins. The lakes, trees, and rocks of Virginiatown take her breath away.

On a Google map Virginiatown in McGarry in Ontario in Canada looks like this ...

... Virginiatown in the heart of McGarry Township sits 381 miles from Ottawa, Ontario, and 423 miles from Montreal, Quebec, and 450 miles north of Buffalo, New York, United States.

Here's what it looks like overhead ...

Photo courtesy of McGarry's website HERE

The Timiskaming Health Unit boasts one doctor and two nurses. Twenty-four volunteers and three vehicles comprise the firefighting brigade. Transportation (40) and food and beverage (30) provides the most jobs. For prescription drugs and video rentals and toiletries you go to Chez Lucie convenience store. Virginiatown is home to the French Catholic school Ecole Catholique Saint-Louis and an eatery called Roadside Joint. Artist William Edge lives there. A century ago they mined for gold and zinc and silver along Larder Lake and Cadillac Break, and another cool thing about McGarry Township is that it sits along the northern route of the Transcontinental Canada Highway -- Canada's Route 66. McGarry's 20-page town report (HERE) speaks to the outdoor enthusiast's "utopia" because of pike and walleye and whitefish and lake trout and wild blueberries and fresh water springs and towering timber of the Canadian Shield and Mt. Cheminis.

And that's where the artist by the name of Sylvia Grantins enters the picture again, because she paints McGarry's utopian backdrop on canvas with acrylic paint, and the wonderful contents of the aforementioned box were hers.

Two things about Grantins -- three, actually -- stood out after Art Gallery Dude opened the box she sent Fiddlehead. It contained 8 of her works.

The first thing was the title she gave for the painting above -- "She Walked Into A Field of Poppies" -- and AGD enjoyed that little bit of whimsy.

The second thing was her collection of 8-by-8 paintings. Here are the other 7 ...

"Laundry Day"

"The Red Barn"

"Winter Twinkle"


"Orange Poppies"

"Snowy Woods"


The third thing was the bio Sylvia Grantins wrote:

"Sylvia was born on a gorgeous autumn day in 1968. She grew up in the lush woods of rural Ontario, just outside the boundaries of Algonquin Park. As the daughter of two artists, Sylvia drew and painted at an early age. She explored springtime creeks, skated on the lake, built forts, and played endless Monopoly with her big sister.

"Her younger years and life experience found her making a living at various jobs such as retail, baking, computer sales, and waitressing. Then, an opportunity to go treeplanting into the wilds of the north arose. There, a powerful love for northern Ontario emerged and took her there for good (maybe). During all these odd jobs, a career in art finally began to take hold. Now, she lives in a tiny northern town where the snow swirls in beneath the door, and the lakes, trees, and rocks take her breath away.

"Work days find her making the long commute from the bedroom to the kitchen table where the blank canvasses (and her clothes) are soon covered in bright dabs and waves, and spirals of bright colours. All of her scenes are inspired by real-life places, with a bit of imagination.

"Sylvia's paintings are found in collections across Canada and all over the world."

Eight of those acrylics pieces hang at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in downtown Bennington, Vermont, which is 638 miles from Virginiatown, McGarry, Ontario, Canada ...

Surrounding a Michalopoulos lithograph

Art enthusiasts can come see (and buy) them in person or HERE.

Here's the best song describing life in a northern town. The best way to read this piece is to listen to the song at the same time because the music will take your breath away, too ...