Thanksgiving Day Ball Game


Usually we play football on Thanksgiving–always tackle.  But this year we couldn’t round up the usual suspects.  Fear of injury I think (those weenies).  So a few of the boys and I played some pickup baseball instead.  What the devil.  It was a warm day.


I coached these college men in hardball when they were kids, including of course my sons.  We played a special kind of ball: inclusive rather than exclusive.  Those were special, irreplaceable years.  Now these guys all hit better than I do.  Punks.  I don’t mind being 51, but there are certain drawbacks.

Wonderful holiday either way, despite tragic events in Mumbai and at WalMart.  I won’t comment on the latter, or how that reflects on our nation.

Book Published in Korea


How did this happen?  Well the story kind of goes like this: last winter a Seoul publisher, Book Cosmos, contacted me about buying the Korean rights for my book.  They offered a generous advance, plus royalties, if I would let them handle the Korean market.  I said Sure, and this book appeared nine months later.  I have to say I like the layout better than that of the American version, but don’t tell anyone I admitted it.

Is it a good translation?  I have no idea, but it sure reads pretty.  Apparently it’s on a couple of Blogs now as well.  Of course for all I know they’re panning it.

Field Trip for Sumner Academy Artists


On Friday Mary Ann Sit and I took a group of young artists from Sumner Academy to Lawrence.  Sumner’s in KC, KS.  Mary Ann is their teacher.  Why did we do this?  I wanted the kids to visit the studios of some incredible artists, namely Stan Herd and Stephen Johnson, feeling they would take inspiration from their stories of sacrifice, hardship, and victory.  They did.  I also knew that both artists would reach out to these talented rascals, and let them know that all their goals are within reach, given the usual hard work, dedication, etc.


Later, we had lunch at the Art Dept of the University of Kansas, thanks to the generosity of their director, Greg Thomas.  Then the kids spent the afternoon touring the Art & Design Building, going through all the departments, talking with grad students, getting a feel for where they could be in a year.  Can these students, most of whom are from working-class families, afford college outright?  No, but most of them qualify for grants and scholarships, which the KU staff went to pains to make clear.


Upshot?  With a little effort, these promising young punks will all be at KU, or some other college, within a year.  I could see they got that by day’s end, where before it may have seemed an impossibility.  If you’ll look at their smiles in the final photo, you’ll likely see same.  Good.  Opportunity is meant to be shared.


Memorial Sculpture for Bart Cohen Approaching Completion

Cohen 2.JPG

Well, Matt Kirby and I have been working on this pup since early spring, which was covered in the Star Today.  The maquette indicates design, the sculpture indicates scale.  Soon the final finishes will be applied, we’ll move it to the site (103rd and Metcalf), and begin final assembly.  Dedication will be in December.

Cohen 1.JPG

Who was Bart Cohen?  One of the founders of Metcalf State Bank, and an area philanthropist.  Quite a guy.  I’ll discuss more about him later.



No, I’m not referring to the Alice Cooper Song, but to what will likely prove a historic and much needed shift in Many Countries, not just this one.  It’s too soon to tell how effective Obama will be, but my hunch is he’ll prove as much a global leader as an American one, provided he chooses his cabinet wisely.  I suspect he will.

Either way, 8 years of poor leadership, naked greed, and a complete misuse of power are over.  But the damage done to our democracy is enormous, and the gap between rich and poor has been disgustingly broadened.  Opportunity wasn’t advanced except for a handful of the privileged; everyone else was ignored–an attitude that the Founding Fathers would have taken a dim view of.  We have a long way to go in cleaning up the mess, but at least now we can begin.

The Current Economy, the Art Market, and Corporate Greed II


OK, now that the market has begun to stabilize (we think), now that it appears we won’t go into a Depression, and now that it seems intelligent leadership will return to Washington, let’s finish this discussion.

Will the current Recession cause many galleries to close?  Without doubt, from NY to Sant Fe to LA.  Will it cause mine to close?  Only if I don’t manage things well, and redouble my efforts (which were already doubled).  Will it affect gallery sales nationwide?  It already has, since sales in most galleries are down 50% to 80%.  The nation as a whole has spending on hold, including those golden folks that all galleries rely on: those with expendable income.  This condition will likely improve after the election and on through the holidays, but even so the next year or two will be tough.

I should qualify “tough” though.  This doesn’t mean that any of us will starve (as many people do every day in Central Africa), or have our towns invaded by a barbarous horde (as in Darfur), or watch our cities descend into chaos (as in Iraq).  It does mean we’ll have to alter our lifestyles somewhat, work harder, save more, and put our focus on the needs of those less fortunate.  Man, that sounds like a good change to me.  Will it last?  For some, I’m sure it will.

Am I pissed about bailing out Wall Street, the major banks, and certain Fortune 500s?  I’m pissed as hell.  This will negatively nearly everyone’s retirement (not that I intended to ever really retire anyway), and that our children will be paying off this burden for their entire lives–while the people we bailed out continue to live in luxury, retiring whenever they wish, sacrificing very little.  Doesn’t this piss you off?  And the way it’s been set up, there’s no recourse for exacting justice.  As usual, the super-rich get away with criminal behavior.

Well look, one thing I have that those economic rapists never will, is honor.  And the love of great friends and family.  And the respect of those less fortunate for whom I sacrifice on a regular basis.  And self respect as well.  So I have to work harder.  So what?  I wanted to rewrite a tough book anyway, then a couple of new ones, and while doing that, take art consulting to new heights.  Sounds like an adventure to me.

How will this affect your careers as artists?  Same way it will affect mine as a novelist and gallery owner.  Good things can come of it if we choose, or we can get mired in despair and bitterness.  Well I never care for being mired–emotionally, artistically, or financially.  I suspect you don’t either.  We’ll get through this, and for those of us who do it with honor, we’ll realize the benefits of that karma–and there are many people at the top of the financial ladder who are responding to the situation the same way.  For those who violated the system just to line their pockets at the expense of the country and planet as a whole–man, I’d hate to be on that boat of misery.  To dwell there means you’re more dead than alive.

Installation at Zona Rosa


Had an installation this week at the new Zona Rosa Condominiums.  35 pieces.  Allan Chow.  Derrick Breidenthal.  Susan Lynn.  Deb Clemente. 


Client very happy with how it turned out.  So am I, especially since I didn’t have to hang the gig.  Other people do that for me now–well, for the most part.  Lighting will be corrected later.