Twist and Shout

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: AGD's Delight

Vulpes vulpes (Wikipedia Commons)

Art Gallery Dude: New York, huh?
Old man: I'm sure you've heard of it.

BENNINGTON -- I have, old man, I have. And how funny of you to ask.

In fact, old man, I was just entertaining the jazzy red fox of Brooklyn 53 minutes before you walked into the gallery and inquired about "the plinker boards" you saw the last time you were here. If only you knew, old man. It's so very funny that you happened upon the gallery today -- TODAY! -- to buy the plinker board to send to New York. If only you knew.

That's Tanya Lam.

Music boards at Fiddlehead HERE

That's the old man.

Tanya Lam walked into Fiddlehead at Four Corners this morning and asked Art Gallery Dude if she could could buy film for her camera here. No. Always one to point another in the right direction, he said she could probably find film at Evans Country Market across the street and pointed which way to walk on Main Street to get there.

Except Tanya Lam didn't say Thank You and leave. She stayed, unable to walk away, bound by the charm and vibe of the gallery, by the spell of the gallery dude who spent 45 minutes walking her through the old marble building and explaining everything that helps create its warm aura and easy atmosphere, from the art to the history of the old bank.

They stopped in front of the wall of John DeAmicis.
AGD told Tanya about the piece he got as a gift
after being fired from his sportswriting gig
at the Bennington rag. It quotes Einstein:
"Great Spirits Have Often Encountered
Violent Opposition From Mediocre Minds"
She was struck by the word "Violent"

She enjoyed the photo of Dorset Quarry (left)
and the Walloomsac Inn (top right) ...

... and AGD told her about his experience -- against his religious objections --
with one of the churchly sisters who lives at the 250-year-old dwelling
and about his quest to get inside to tell a story in words and pictures.

As Tanya stood on the landing of the stairwell
AGD thought about all of the customers
who walk up the narrow stairwell to see
Brian Hewitt's original oil paintings;
he told Tanya "Brian's Story"
as she looked at his work
and she was amazed
at the "47" part.

Tanya appreciated the Graffiti Vault
after AGD told the story of its genesis,
and she spoke of how something so "cold"
like a bank vault could become "warm"
and have a sense of "breathing"

She also noticed the ceiling of the vault decorated
with excesses from Graham Scarborough Davidson's work ...

Tanya loved the thickness of the vault door ... 

... not to mention the mariner's wheel.
"It's REAL!" she gushed.
She has a thing for mariner's wheels
and ghostly thoughts of dead seamen.

To help Tanya understand
Graham he had to tell
the tragic story
of Steph and Graham

Then walked Tanya to Steph's pieces
at Fiddlehead. This is "Fire" ...

... and this is "Red Shell"

AGD showed Tanya the purple bust
Steph made in '99, which was a gift
from Fiddlehead's owner. AGD said
he thought he had lost the piece
but it turned up last week.

Tanya took hold of the bust and said how amazing it is that Steph found purple marble. She chuckled when AGD mentioned the boobs and vaginal crease, and she rubbed her fingers along the crease, and that was rather sexy, AGD thought.

They talked about the architecture of this old marble bank turned art gallery. AGD pointed to the ceiling ...

... and asked if she could explain the creatures in each dome of the elaborate sculpture from which a gorgeous 84-year-old chandelier hangs.

"They look like cats with wings or something," AGD said. "Their heads are kind of like birds but their bodies are like cats."

"Are they griffins?" Tanya wondered.

"Isn't a griffin half-man half-horse?"

"I think a centaur is half-man half-horse."

"Really? I used to cover a high school whose mascot was a griffin and they depicted it as half-man, half-horse. But a centaur makes sense because another school I covered had the mascot of half-man half-horse." What kind of mythologic bullshit produces half-man half-horse?

AGD and Tanya were back at the counter. He asked how a Brooklyn girl happens upon Bennington in the middle of the week. She said life in Brooklyn becomes too suffocative at times and precipitates the need to get the hell outta Dodge. In her world static is chaos and suffocates the senses, sends her into a tizzy and makes her go batshit crazy. 

So she drove to Vermont the other day, landed in Bennington. Breathe, baby, breathe. She's a vagabond, restless, tired of being alone and hungry to find someone to roam the earth with. She looks like she has loved a few men with every fiber of her being; none has returned that love within a thousand miles. That sweet smile belies those sad eyes. She's lonely. It takes lonely to feel lonely. But her sense of adventure is as wild as her spirit.

She said life got so hectic in California once that she drove PCH up north to escape into the redwood forest; hearing her say "drove PCH" made AGD think of the hundreds of times he sailed up and down PCH; Who wants to meet Huntington Beach lifeguard station 5 tonight!? They say the Pacific has no memory but it's impossible to forget those days and nights.

But anyway ...

Tanya asked AGD if there was a place nearby where she can get lost in these woods.

He pointed that way up Old Lady 9. In a few miles she'd be able to pull off and park and start hiking. "It's part of the Appalachian Trail."

Right about then he reached under the counter for the box of Fujicolor Professional Pro 400 film that belongs to the gallery owner -- because he refuses to shoot digital -- and pulled out a roll of film and gave it to Tanya. "On the condition," he said, "that you email me pictures you take from this roll." She smiled and agreed. She's a cutie.

He told her that Brattleboro is a great place to take photos not to mention how cool the drive from Bennington to Brattleboro is -- using his left hand to represent the climbs and the drops and the curves and the swerves. "It's the best 45 miles of road in America. And there's only one way to experience it: roll down the windows, turn up the music and don't say a word till you get to Brattleboro." She smiled again. She's a cutie.

Tanya told AGD she makes music and explained the concept behind the sound. To help him understand better she said she'd go to her car to get a CD and bring it back. But first she bought a Lodiza LePore sepiatic photo of kids jumping off the Dorset Quarry into the lake, and a glass bug with wire legs ...

She walked to her car to get the CD and returned minutes later ...

Vulpes Vulpes on YouTube

Vulpes. Reflets Dan L'eau.

"Is that Vul-pez or Vul-pay?"


"What does Vul-pay mean?"

Tanya Lam the musician from Brooklyn explained that vulpes is both the genus and the species of fox. Vulpes is fox and vulpes vulpes is red fox.

The band was called Vulpes Vulpes but is now Vulpes.

According to Google Translate, Reflets Dan L'eau means "Water Reflections Dan" although that's probably not technically correct.

Tanya Lam plinks and plucks life from the guitar and croons the 4 songs based on all things water -- "Naturally" and "Sailors Delight" and "Captain's Remorse" and "Luna" ...

... in Naturally there's a little Luscious Jackson gut-wrenching violin thing (Lover's Moon) with touches of Cake brass and horns in Captain's Remorse. Its Facebook page says this Vulpes sound, edited by Lam and mixed by Jonathan Smith of the Can't Tells, "is a juxtaposition between classical and au courant arrangements to decorate sea shanties and chansons written under the influence of Paris in the '30s." 

Honey, lots of honey, flows through her pipes, and Tanya's "bourbon-soaked" voice is saucy, seductive, sexy, sensual and post-coital; at times forlorn and forsaken, full of sorrow. There's a Mae West quality about her meaty inflections.

Tanya Lam is very good, beyond AGD's wildest expectations when she handed him the CD.

She used terms like "nautical" and "Parisian concept" and "river" and "romantic" and "intuition" and "emotion" to describe the songs. "Luna," which she sings in French for the first 80 seconds, "is inspired by a boat and someone I care about."

As Tanya Lam wrote down her Facebook and YouTube info, AGD studied her face and asked if she is Cambodian. "I grew up in L.A. when there was a mass influx of Cambodians."

"I get that a lot. I'm Taiwanese. I was born in Taiwan but came here when I was a few months old."

"I guess it doesn't matter," AGD said. "We're all the same. We bleed red and cry blue."


Moments later she left to get lost in the winds of chaos.

Fifty-three minutes later the old man walked into the gallery asking about plinker boards. Three minutes later he brought one of the 12-plink plinkers to the counter. Bought it.

"Can you wrap this up in something secure? I'm sending it to New York."

"New York, huh?"

"Yeah, New York. I'm sure you've heard of it."

Yes I have, old man. If only you knew the plink and the pluck of it.