Twist and Shout

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

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: 101 Minutes Later ... Derp!

Anya "Shim-ah-tar-oh" holding glass vases by Jeff Mentuck

BENNINGTON -- She called and said "Lunch!" fast and AGD said "OKThanks!" fast and both hung up fast 'cause it's their thing. "It's only 11:14 -- I just freakin' ate breakfast 3 hours ago. Jesus H. Christ, Dude!" is what AGD said to no one because no one was in the gallery.

Within seconds people were in the gallery.

And only now, after 101 minutes, is AGD eating lunch. Lunch that is cold. Cold leftover burger covered in cold American cheese. Cold tots. Cold mashed potatoes. Cold peas and warm pickles. There's a reason for that. What happened is this:

Yesterday a husband and wife from Massachusetts gadabouted the gallery. He had a most peculiar accent, a cross between nasally and Quebecois, or both. AGD thought he was talking to Marcel Dionne ...

Forever the center of the Triple Crown line (Google images)

"You're from either Quebec or South Africa, right?"

"Massachusetts," John Gillis said and laughed.


John and Patti Gillis drove to Bennington because their son, Ian, is a freshman at Bennington College, and is performing in the school's play "Myths and Hymns" by Adam Guettel. Mom and dad watched last night's performance. The last performance of the show is 8 o'clock tonight at Lester Martin Theatre. If you want tickets email

So then, John and Patti Gillis of Manchester, Massachusetts -- the "Manchester Thing" continues -- walk into the gallery at 11:15 this morning with Ian and Ian's cutie pie friend Anya. Art Gallery Dude forgot all about lunch once he saw Anya, and he can write those words because Ian and Anya are just friends; so you're saying I have a chance? Kidding.

AGD encourages Ian and Anya to enter Fiddlehead's photo contest, then encourages Ian to get his Bennington College buddies to Chalk It Up! in the Graffiti Vault. Minutes later AGD sees Anya over in the corner behind behind the tree talking about glass vases ...

... and that's pretty funny because this morning after he turned on the lights in the storage room (to the left of the tree) and closed the door by the ledge with those vases, AGD said "Jeff Mentuck. Good ol' Mentuck. What the fuck is Jeff Mentuck doing today?"

Why is that pretty funny? It's funny because Jeff Mentuck teaches glassblowing at Salem State University -- and Jeff Mentuck is Anya Ciarametaro's teacher, no shit, and so she was telling Ian and Ian's parents about his thoughts on what's right and wrong when blowing glass.

Well then. Pots and pans start clanging in AGD's head, which is no different from any other day but they're a little louder right now. Gotta get this hot little athletic number on video talking about what it's like having Jeff Mentuck as a glassblowing teacher. 

Coincidence is a helluva drug.

One thing leads to another and ...

After that little chat, Ian and Anya took AGD's advice and went into the Graffiti Vault to Chalk It Up! and did themselves proud ...

Ian drew the man with a speech bubble saying Spagett!
Anya wrote BLOW GLASS in brackets

Anya signs a release to be in "Chalk It Up 3!" and AGD notices her last name. 


"I'll write it phonetically. Shim-ah-tar-oh." 

What's up with Massachusetts folks and their nasal Quebecois and Shim-a-tar-oh-ism? 

After Anya signs, AGD chats up John Gillis. 

"It sounds like I'm talking to Marcel Dionne." 

"I used to have some of his cards," John said, his nasally Quebecois in full effect. 

"I loved the Triple Crown line. Dave Taylor on the right, Charlie Simmer on the left."

Taylor, Dionne, Simmer (Google images)

"Kings are going to hoist the Cup again," AGD said. 

"Bruins," John said. 

"Eh, Bruins couldn't even make the playoffs year after winning the Cup." 

Right about now is when Patti Gillis shuffles over and sees repurposed vinyl records -- 33 1/3 bowls, 45 table clocks and record label coasters ...

Anya "Shim-ah-tar-oh" with John and Patti Gillis

... and she loves the story of how Jeff Davis turned his college thesis into a business.   

Turns out it's Patti Gillis's birthday. Ian bought her two 6-packs of coasters ...

Ian and Mom

They immediately opened them to trade coasters each liked in the other's pack. 

Meanwhile, lunch ain't gettin' any warmer. 

Turns out Anya "Shih-ah-tar-oh" made a glass piece to hold birthday cakes and is giving one of them to Ian's mom, or something to that effect. Anya shows Ian's dad a picture of the piece on her phone.

"We're always looking for new artists here. Can I see that?" AGD asked.

Anya Ciarametaro glass cake dish

"That's actually pretty cool," AGD said. "Email me some more photos." 

No promises, but maybe Jeff Mentuck's protege will sell her work at Fiddlehead, too. 

After 45 minutes, Ian and Anya and Ian's parents left Fiddlehead. 

Just as AGD remembers that lunch is on the ledge in the hallway and starts over for it, a young couple walks in. He's got that Gavin Rossdale late-'90s look of ski cap and neck-length hair, and she's petite and cute. They buy 2 ceramic tumblers by Lorraine Oerth and agree to enter Fiddlehead's photo contest. Well, she more than he. He says she's a pretty good photographer, and she smiles at the compliment. She's excited to enter after AGD says that the winner gets a $100 gift certificate to the gallery and the top 10 photos will be featured in Fiddlehead during Mayfest. 

Turns out Gavin Rossdale 2.0 is an wood-based artist. He showed AGD a picture of his latest piece, which looks so much like something ex-Benningtonian Stephan Fowlkes is working on down in Gotham City. "That's a pretty cool piece," AGD said. "Email me some more photos and let's see what happens."

The pretty people are all smiles as they walk back into Bennington. 

Damn she was cute, AGD thought, as he started toward the hallway to get lunch. 

Then Glo walked into Fiddlehead with her 15-year-old poodle named Mineue ...

Glo's good friend Mire (pronounced mih-RAY) walked in moments later but was gone just as fast. She's flighty that way. Flighty in a fun, energetic way. Shelly Winters energy. Shelly Winters with a dash of Ethel Merman. Storm of energy that's packed with theatrics. 

Glo floats into Fiddlehead every 6 or 7 weeks to adore the glass and pottery and jewelry and all that good stuff. She's sweet. 3 cups of sugar sweet. Hippy-stoney-floaty voice full of love, tenderness, compassion. Would love to know what Glo was like back in '69. Spirit of an angel. Free spirit. Flowing spirit. Flower spirit. Spirit soft as a mountain of cottonballs and feathers. Whispers with the best of them. Tender. Friendly. Friendly and tender and loving. Loving and tender friend of the friendless. Glo. 

Glo is short for Gloria. Gloria Harris. Lives in Bennington but seems to be in NYC quite a bit. She's got NYC flair. Would love to know how Glo treated the the nights of New York City in '73. She loves Paris, too. Paris is where she found Minieu, her 15-year-old poodle. 

Glo always says she wants to buy something at Fiddlehead. Most times she doesn't. 

Today she did: a wooden spoon and this ...

Glo Harris and a Mark Rosenbaum perfume bottle;
more Rosenbaum perfume bottles HERE

Are you kidding me? That perfume bottle with a flower in the orb'd cover has been at Fiddlehead for years. Glo bought it because of the flower'd orb. 

The other day AGD looked at Rosenbaum's perfume bottles, especially the one above, and thought, "Does anyone even buy perfume bottles anymore?" 

Coincidence is a helluva drug. 

Flo floated out of the gallery and back into warmth of Bennington. 



The day began with a #Derp message in the Graffiti Vault