Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day 6 - Drinkin' with Curious George. But not really.

 Day 6 of my Residency at The Rey Center was a delightful family reunion filled with pizza, wine, and delightful eggplant calzones.

By which, I mean that I was filled with those things.

Part of the fun I get to have while in residence is to hold open studio hours where people can wander through The Curious George Cottage and ask me questions like, "Hey. How do I get a parking pass?"

I had spent the morning with Kerri and Alex, who had arrived the night before. Alex to escape from homework, however briefly; and Kerri, to flutter through the house where I've been staying and neaten and arrange everything to the point that now I have no idea where anything is.

I suspect I'll be wearing the same socks for the next 8 days because I can't find ANYTHING.

My mom and daughter, Tori arrived later in the morning. 

Tori quietly pulled me aside to ask me about the lone purple chair I wrote about the other day. "What beach were you at?" she asked, holding up her iPod to show me this picture:

I'm calling Shenanigans on the town of Waterville Valley. They're messing with me and the beach chairs.

With the house full of my loving family, I left.

I had to bring my stuff to The Curious George Cottage, where the open studio was planned for 2:00.

Alex very kindly accompanied me and helped me arrange things as I liked them until Kerri arrived to re-arrange them.

I thought it looked nice.

Some of the artwork I've been working on over the past week.

A wide open space for the throngs of people who would soon be arriving.


My sketchbooks, for people to paw through.

My books, for people to buy. In bulk, I hope.

I had the forethought to bring my iPod and a speaker.  I thought I should fill the space with the soothing sounds of Slayer, Napalm Death, and Cannibal Corpse as people wandered through.

I rethought that idea and opted for some reggae music instead, in keeping with the "Curious George Go to Da Islands, Mon" book that I wish had been written.

The room was arranged, the music was playing, and I realized that I hadn't even considered making food available. As I was not really willing to share the half eaten bag of baby carrots in my fridge, I peeked into the fridge at The Curious George Cottage.

I'm not sure if this is some sort of organizational secret, but I'd like to share with you the contents of the fridge at Margret and H.A. Rey's Cottage:

Alcohol and condiments. This looks exactly like our fridge in college. Except ours didn't have condiments. Or wine. Or that seltzer water stuff. But otherwise - exactly the same.

"They can eat later," I mumbled sitting down to await the thronging masses who would soon be arriving.

The first arrival was a slightly bewildered gentleman asking where he might buy a parking pass.

"A what now?" I asked.

"A parking pass," he sighed, indicating the parking lot. "You know. A parking pass."

"I don't know," I answered. "I don't work here. I'm the Artist in Residence."

[A note to the Rey Center AIR Committee: maybe future Artists in Residence could get a sash or a cape or a scepter to wield during the residency. Just a thought. A darn good one.]

"Yeah, but they said I could get it here. I'm pretty sure I get it here."

"Maybe," I said. "But not from me."

I sent him on his way, but he kept eying me suspiciously, as if I was hoarding all the parking passes.

I resumed my wait for the thronging masses.

Soon another vehicle pulled into the lot. I hunched over my drawing board and tried to look like a real, live artist.

"I don't know where to get parking passes," I grumbled as the guy walked in.

"What the heck are you talking about?" asked my brother, Pat.

"Hey!" I cried, jumping up to properly greet him. "I'm in charge of parking in town now. I should be mayor by next week."

"They have a mayor here?" he asked.

"Not yet."

As it turns out, the Open Studio was more of a family reunion. My parents, my brother, my wife and my kids were there. A teacher friend showed up with his son and I was very flattered to see them all.

It was quiet, but fun.

When it ended, I packed everything up and we headed back to my temporary home. I was showing my family the beautiful deck out behind Cris and Len's house when the skies opened up and we had to scramble back inside.

I suspect that Chris and Len are going to start sitting on their deck awaiting the next entertainingly stupid thing I might do. Yesterday, I went out on one of the balconies to ask Chris a question as she worked in her garden. As I turned to go back inside, I realized that I had locked myself out. Faced with the choice of humiliating myself by asking for help and hurling myself off the 3rd floor balcony, I opted for humiliation, fearing that if I jumped, the resulting splatter might ruin Chris's lovely landscaping.

We dried off and all headed down to The Rey Center where there was a reception followed by a talk.
A talk given by me.

The idea behind holding the reception first, I suspect, was to lure people in and lush them up with wine in the hope that they wouldn't run screaming from the room when I started talking.

The reception was a lot of fun and I didn't get locked out or rained on or anything.

This is Julie. She and her mom, Susan drove all the way to the reception so I could sign Julia's book. Again. I had already signed it twice. This third signing is a new record for me and entitles Julia to join the exclusive "Threefer Club" with all the benefits due to members.

How cool is this? Denise, the mastermind behind the marketing for The Rey Center scoured my website, found my favorite food and made eggplant calzones. Better still - the leftovers are in my fridge as I type!

Don't forget to eat your veggies! See how she used artwork from my website? Oh, she'll be hearing from my lawyers.

This is Denise, the creator of eggplant deliciousness. I included this photo so my lawyers can identify her.

People gathered for free food.

But they tried to escape when they found out I was going to talk.

Tough luck, Dad. The doors are LOCKED. Have a seat.

People realized that there was no escape so they each grabbed a bottle of wine and settled in for the long haul. This is Birdie, who introduced Maryellen.

Maryellen said embarrassingly nice things about me and introduced Margaret.

Margaret came up and we danced briefly. I'm sorry about your toes, Margaret.
Even after I trod all over her toes, Margaret very kindly gave me this CD and book of poems by Leonard Emery, the gentleman whose gravestone I thought was so wonderful the other day. Thanks!

Margaret introduce Chris, who gave me my check and kept her iron-like grip on my shoulder when I tried to run out the door with the money. My son was very disappointed that I wasn't given a huge novelty check like lottery winners. Maybe they can do that next year. It will go nicely with the sash.

A few minutes into my presentation the projector farted out and I had to use my own equipment. Thank goodness I had it or we all would have had to huddle around my laptop. That would have been terrible because I probably had wicked eggplant breath.

This is what I look like when presenting and, apparently, imitating The Statue of Liberty.

Alex, being thrilled.
After the talk, I woke everyone in the audience up and we made our way back home. The folks at the Rey Center were kind enough to send me on my way with some tasty food and even more wine. I do enjoy some red wine on occasion, but I'm running out of room on the counter.

This is getting ridiculous. I'm still working on my first little box of wine. I'm really going to have to step up the drinking while here.

Tired after a hard day of visiting, laughing, eating, and collecting wine, I went to bed and dreamed about eggplant calzones and purple chairs.

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