Twist and Shout

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

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of Brian, butchers, scholars and garlic part 1

BENNINGTON -- Clicking on the image above doesn't do the scene justice. The best way to absorb the full breadth of the moment is to come into Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery and stand in front of it. 

Can't get down here? You still can appreciate the scene by clicking on it.

It's a print of the original oil painting on canvas called "Main Street" by North Bennington master Brian Hewitt, who employed his diamond orientation and fish-eye perspective.

Click and stare and notice the central two-story building and a couple of Ford Model Ts parked in front. The left side of the building has a red marquee that reads The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. but the sign painter had to be creative to squeeze all the words into the space so he stacked The atop Great on the left side of block-lettered Atlantic & Pacific then stacked Tea atop Co. on the right side.

The Coca Cola-themed marquee hangs above Panos Bros., which sold pop, sugar and cigars. Written on the sandwich board are the words candy and cigars.

There's a man in the image, too, almost faceless, but he's wearing a white long-sleeve shirt, white apron and trousers of the day, clutching a thin pole that supports the awning. His name is Pete Panos, and he is standing in front of his business.

Richard R. Dwyer owned the space a few doors down. Richard R. Dwyer was the butcher of North B and one of the influentials. "When I knew Mr. Dwyer he was the street commissioner and he owned a steamroller and rolled all the streets in North Bennington," Larry Powers said during a phone call this morning. Powers was born in 1923, the same year the photograph above was taken.

Richard R. Dwyer's butchery went the way of Model-T's and became several eateries including The Villager. "The Villager was very famous there for 30 years," Powers said.

Today it is home to Kevin's Sports Pub and Restaurant, which opened in '96 as TJ's and Mike's then became Kevin's at Mike's and now is Kevin's, home of good food, better libations and a photograph that binds the current restaurateur to the long-ago seller of sugar, soda and stogies. Hewitt loves the photo so much that he painted his own version of it and called it "Main Street".

"Main Street" is the centerpiece of his "North Bennington" series, and the 35x35 reproduction print ($500) and is on display at Fiddlehead at Four Corners in downtown Bennington.

And, "Main Street" will be raffled away September 1 with proceeds headed to one of Bennington's most popular charities, Dollars for Scholars.

Tickets cost $5 (or $20 for 5) and can be purchased at Fiddlehead at Four Corners, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Kevin's Sports Pub and Evans Country Market. "Main Street" will be on display inside the Chamber's tent both days of the Garlic Festival at Camelot Village, leading up to the 3 o'clock raffle drawing Sunday, Sept. 1.

For more questions call Fiddlehead (802) 447-1000.

For more stories about Brian Hewitt, including the one about his triptych raffle at Fiddlehead a few months ago, click HERE. Purchase Brian's original oils and prints HERE.