Friday, March 6, 2009

Drive-by Shooting

Dallas to Eureka Springs is about 377 miles. Takes about six hours. Drive straight up 75, connect to 69, east on I40, north on a beautiful stretch of 540 and finish the last 45 miles out of Fayetteville meandering thru the Ozark Mountains. Depending on when you travel, the Ozarks can be the most scenic part of this road trip while the eastern Oklahoma stretch can be a real eyesore prolific with speedtraps. Atoka, Caney, McAlester and other small towns lay in wait for lead-footed drivers. With high gas prices and the chance of a speeding ticket, I keep my speed in check. Too expensive in more ways than one.
Slowing down has it's advantages, though. Less stressful and you notice more. Like all the weirdness that exists in roadside America. Especially in the rural south.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nude On A Cow

A decade before Club Clearview existed in Deep Ellum, maybe 1975, I went to visit my mentor's friend who had a studio in that area. His name was Wayne Amerine. Wayne had been an art director before he turned to full time artist. If you're down in the West End, bend your head back and look up at the roof next to the Dallas Aquarium. There's a life size Holstein cow being ridden by a nude woman; long, jet black wooden hair sticking straight out behind her head. Blowing in the wind. Up on the roof.
Wayne became famous for his wooden cows. Stanley Marcus purchased a whole herd of them.
Wayne & I became friends. When I hit him up to donate to the DSVC ( art auction in 1992, he didn't hesitate. That's how Ed Zahra(, former DSVC president, ended up with a smaller version of the naked cowgirl who keeps an eye on the West End parking lots. 
Wayne is a cancer survivor. More than ten years ago he was given ten years to the most.
Evidently Wayne wasn't listening. He told friends that his goal was to live to celebrate his 80th birthday. He did that last month on December 28th. Wayne lives in San Antonio where he has easy access to the VA hospital. He also has a son in S.A. and some grandchildren. 
Catherine Lewis, pictured above, is a friend of mine and Wayne's. Remember. When one is down, family and friends can be the lift that keeps them up, sometimes fueling the very desire it takes to live through a difficult situation. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Heaven's Gate

"Heaven's Gate" was the title of an epic loser of a film panned by critics near & far. The show was long and costly. I saw it before I read the reviews so I had no pre-conceived notions. Maybe that's why I liked it. Maybe not. I guess it's best to not take anyone's word on movies or books. Like wines, there's a heck of a lot of films out there. Some are quite pleasant; others not worth popping the cork or cost of the popcorn. If you can't see the movie or read the book, just take a picture. 

Chicken Little

Arkansas used to have more remaining historic bridges than any other state. Not bridges with an official historical marker or anything. Just really old, eye-pleasing bridges scattered across the "natural" state, Arkansas' official moniker as far as the tourism bureau is concerned. These bridges are succumbing to "progress" in the name of efficiently getting Wal-Mart & Tyson's products to market. The narrow two lane bridges, many of them located at the bottom of ravines, slow the trucks down. Arkansas is getting a lot of "pork" money from the government with pressure from these two corporate giants, both of whom are the two largest employers in the state. So they carry a big stick. 
I have a home in Eureka Springs. A couple of years ago a lot of construction began out on Hwy. 62W about ten miles from Eureka. Eurekans never had a say in the deforestation of about a half mile of forest on either side of the road. The once green hills were scraped cleaner than a Wal-Mart parking lot. Ultimately, an elevated bridge with a passing lane was built high over the old bridge. The trucks, especially the chicken trucks, can now drive faster & shift less. One of the driving hazards in the Ozarks is the risk of hitting a deer. The other is getting hit by a chicken truck. The nastiest hazard is driving behind a chicken truck. Use your imagination. 
The chicken guys aren't always the safest of drivers. Without those pesky little bridges, they can now go faster. On those curvy Ozark roads, it's wise to take the outside curves as wide as you dare. The chicken trucks sometimes lean a little into oncoming lanes; make that lane. If you think the chickens on those trucks are scared wait 'till you have a chicken truck coming head on & you've got nowhere to go. You are clucked!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Magic Hat

San Diego was the host city for the 1999 HOW Conference. While on break from the HOW stuff I checked out the San Diego zoo with a friend. Suzanna. Oh! Suzanna. We went into the gift shop in the African section of the zoo and I picked up a hat. Suzanna said I should try it on. I did. She said it looked great and I should buy it. So I did, not too sure that it was a good idea. Until I wore it outside. Someone immediately said, "Cool hat." And the comments have never stopped. The hat became a great conversation opener and I was easy to spot in a crowd. As the years passed, I realized what "branding" meant. The hat became my brand just as sure as any logo. Because of all the people I met with the hat on my head, I called it the magic hat. It really was a magnet for people, just like my art car. I like people, so that was a good thing. A magical thing. I forget when I found out the exact origin of the hat but the tribe is the Wodaabe from Niger.