Broken Flowers

My wife and I went to see this last night in Westport Square, just as the sun was setting, and the bars filling up.

Very funny movie. Bill Murray’s long, ever-suffering face is perfect for this role. Never mind that all the old girlfriends he “flies out” to see obviously live in the same region just outside NY, but I’m sure that saved a lot on production costs. The writing was perfect for his character. A good follow-up to Lost in Translation. Made me glad that I know where my sons are, and who bore them. Or do I?

The Phoenix, Jazz and Waterguns

Went downtown last night with my wife and some friends to the Phoenix, where the grub was–well, pub grub–but the music great. They had this pianist who sang like Van Morrison and banged the keys like a madman. My kind of joint. I just don’t think we’ll eat there again.

Finished the evening by playing a joke on the kids. Too complicated to explain, but it involved waterguns, women’s lingerie, and makeup. I was in hysterics. They’re still recovering.

Wolfgang Vaatz / Water Sculpture

Good old Wolfgang called recently. He’s a transplanted German sculptor who came to Missouri by way of Namibia, built a great home and studio in the Ozarks, stayed awhile, then split for Sedona, where his career has done quite well.

I carried his work for a long time–large pieces in stoneware–but after he headed for AZ, the shipping became complicated. So we let it ride. Now he wants to pick up again. Fine with me. The work’s brilliant, and anyway I’ve always dug his accent. So he’s shipping two pieces next week; think I already sold one of them. But he has that kind of appeal.

The Artist’s Magazine / First Column

Artist’s Magazine sent me questions for my first column today–three of them. I gather it will run in the November issue. At first they wanted the answers in five days; later they very politely asked if they could have two of them tomorrow. Oh lord. I have to write for a couple of hours on the new book, get a proposal in the mail to a designer, meet with a corporation who wants to work with us, make 25 phone calls, and ambush Skinny with a water balloon (hold it; that’s next week).

So, what did I tell them? Sure.

Vernon Brejcha / Glass Installation

Met with a client this morning who wants a large installation in blown glass for her entryway; it will curve down one wall, serpentine-like. Well that’s a bad choice of words, but you get the idea. She asked the price, I told her, she fainted, and after recovering we had coffee. I mean Vernon’s work is in the Smithsonian and the LA County Museum, to name a few; I feel he should get what he’s worth. She agreed.

Should start the piece in September, when the glass studio is cool enough for blowing.

Arlie Regier / Loveland Installation

Arlie Regier, one of my senior sculptors, recently returned from the show Sculpture in the Park, in Loveland, CO. They have quite a sculpture collection, and acquired one of his monumental works for permanent installation. He was ecstatic. Me? I’m pleased enough. Anyway Southwest Art ran the story in their July issue. Guess I’ll make some hay for him out of that.

Phil Epp / Montana Commission

I just learned today that Phil Epp, one of my landscape painters, has been commissioned to execute four paintings, and some etchings, for a client of mine in Montana. Well actually I’ve known about it for three months; we just closed the deal today. The client lives here, but he’s got a joint in Montana the size of one of the smaller states. So they’re flying Phil there, where he’ll spend a week roaming and sketching, then go back to his Kansas studio and do the real stuff. Should be very cool.

Phil’s collectorship is pretty strong, especially in the West. A few years back Samuel Goldwyn Jr. picked up a couple of pieces. It didn’t land Phil a screen test, or me (damnit), but it was a nice line on his resume.

Rejection Letter

It’s Sunday. Came in to the gallery this morning to write, as this is where I prefer to work, surrounded by art and quiet. Did a good morning’s work too. As I was finishing, a rejection e-mail on my new book came in from some agent in NY. I wasn’t surprised by this, despite the fact that I have a successful book out. The only way you get an agent these days is by introduction. Well, I’ll fix that.

What surprised me was that the woman was working on a Sunday too. Hope she enjoys writing rejections as much as I do books, although it was apparent that they didn’t even review what I sent. Anyway my work is done. Home now to make an omelette for everyone. Then to the pool for laps, the country for a walk, and friends to dinner later. Another rejection letter? That don’t mean nothin. Everything will click in the end.

Allan Chow/Artist Scammed

One of my painters, Allan Chow, was recently scammed by a con artist who claimed to live in Texas. This woman contacted him, said she’d been on his website, and wanted to commission four paintings. The price was about $8000. She mailed a 50% deposit with a Postal Money Order, which Allan deposited at his bank. Later, before he finished the works, she claimed a hardship of some sort, and asked for the deposit back. Allan, being honest, obliged. He kept the paintings.

Now this is the part I don’t get. Somehow she gained access to his account, and drained it of an additional $4000. The bank says it’s his problem; he claims they were negligent. Anyway he’s out the dough, and there we have yet another example of artists being taken advantage of. The story ran recently on the local news here (CFA: Artist Scammed). Do I plan to take the story national? You better believe I do.

Rainy Day Books

Had lunch yesterday with Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren. They run Rainy Day Books, one of the best independents in the country. In fact recently they hosted John Irving, one of the few bookstores to land him on his current tour. Don’t know how they do it all.

They’re very excited about my new book, Everybody’s Game, and want to introduce me to the President of Time-Warner, Laurence Kirshbaum. I told them that’d be cool. I’ll be in NY next month; perhaps I’ll meet him then.

I don’t know how anyone runs an independent, and stays afloat, without working 18-hour days. Hey, that almost sounds like running a gallery. Anyway Vivien and Roger have done an amazing job; Kansas City’s fortunate to have them.