Miguel Rodriguez’ Show in Las Vegas


I met Miguel in 2000, when I acquired one of his pieces for the Overland Park Convention Center.  He was renting a studio at Leedy Voulkos then and doing the most amazing figurative work, especially for someone so young.  He still is doing amazing work, he’s just doing it in Las Vegas.  These are pieces from his latest show, at the Fallout Gallery there.  It was covered recently in the Las Vegas Sun.


Miguel’s an exceptional talent who may move back to KC someday.  Like a lot of artists in Vegas, he bemoans the lack of culture and the excess of tinsel, but all towns have their drawbacks.  Whether he does move back here or not, I’d like to find a way to work with him again.  Quite a dude.

Thain Ordered to Provide Details to Cuomo About Merrill Lynch Bonuses


I love stories like this.  After all these years of watching corporate crooks get away with raping the system–the same one that made their wealth possible, and that the rest of us treat with respect–it seems that finally justice may be served.  Who knows, a few jobs might even be restored, like those that were lost to service bonuses for these overpaid jerks in the first place.  I hope Cuomo nails them to the wall.

Jerks.  A mild word for me in this instance, but I’m trying to exhibit civility.

I understand that Obama wants to proportionately tax the upper 5% of the wealthy as he works toward correcting the deficit and providing universal health care.  In other words, his approach would be like the British, French, German and Swedish systems–which work quite well.  This means that the super-rich would pay taxes on a larger portion of their income (like the rest of us), with fewer loopholes to hide behind.  Gee, almost sounds democratic.

Now what was it that Thain spent on renovating his office?  $1 million, even as Merrill Lynch was failing and he was applying for a bailout?  Consider the stupidity and sheer greed of that for a moment, and you have the entire financial crisis in a microcosm.

Article in the Kansas City Star


The Star published yesterday a fine Article on Pierced Sky.  The writer, Nick Malewski, did a great and comprehensive job telling a bit of Matt’s story (the sculptor), background on Bart Cohen, Mary Cohen, and several of the other characters.  My involvement as Project Manager warranted a brief mention at the end. 

Now let me see: I put 200 hours into this thing, negotiated the contract, was involved with design, oversaw engineering, made the presentation to the City, hired the subs, dispersed funds, helped design the ped, ordered the steel, suggested the title, even helped install the freaking structure, and my involvement is given a cursory three lines?  Well that’s cool.  They don’t mention producers at the Oscars either.

Nation of Cowards


Attorney General Eric Holder has defined us as a Nation of Cowards for the way we have handled, or mishandled, issues of racial integration in this country.  Well, I’d say he’s right, and that I share in the guilt.  I do hope, however, that my mentoring programs are a step in the right direction. 

Ed Pennebaker and His Glass Studio


Visited Ed Pennebaker in the Ozark Mountains a couple of weeks ago, when I was seeking out talent for one of my corporate clients.  Fantastic glass artist in Northwest Arkansas, not far from Eureka Springs.  Cool studio–and if you think that’s cool, you should see the cabin.  


Now I know you’re going to think his work is a bit close to Chihuly, but the truth is Chihuly was influenced by a Venetian technique.  And while he expanded on that brilliantly, he wasn’t necessarily the first to do this.  Ed’s work, once you know the intricacies of it, is quite different.  Besides, he and Chihuly have exchanged letters about same.  Either way, I look forward to having the work in the gallery.


Saw Milk with beautiful Brown Eyes this weekend.  Damn, what a flick.  Still amazed by how skillfully, and with such depth, that Sean Penn portrayed the role.  One hell of an actor.  Really the whole cast was flawless.  Some of my mentors, who were gay, would have been deeply moved, given the injustices they endured for most of their lives.  Those guys are mostly gone now, but I still remember how excited they were when Brideshead aired on PBS in the early ’80s.  It was like vindication for all they had suffered.  I remember equally how they wept when Harvey Milk was assassinated.

I suppose for those who are politically active in any worthy cause, there are many costs.  One of the first is the impact on their personal lives.  One of the others is for how they’re attacked, and attacked, and attacked–until after they are dead.  Then, if they proved wise, they finally are celebrated.  Rather like a life in the arts.

Drew Hine Installation


Drew blew these pieces according to a color scheme that the client requested, then we installed.  It’s for a home at The National.  I’m pleased with how it turned out, but feel sorry for the poor bugger who had to balance on a ladder over the stairway.  Certainly glad he didn’t fall.  Ah well, we must all sacrifice for the arts.

Currently Reading


Recently read The Great Deluge, about Katrina, the attending disaster in New Orleans, and the criminal lack of response on the part of the Bush Administration, Mayor Ray Nagin, and a host of others.  It seemed to fit in with our trip. 

Prior to that read Jack, which I found a realistic appraisal of Kennedy, rather than the sentimental nonsense we’re usually fed.  In other words, it was straightforward about his old man and how the money was really made, how that money made Kennedy’s political career possible, then how he grew beyond it and became a real leader when the moment called for it.  The book doesn’t go past the tragedy of the assassination, as that isn’t its purpose.  It simply assesses the man, both his weaknesses and his strengths, and does it well.  Great read.

Now reading All The President’s Men.  Disturbing, but not in the least surprising–and actually mild compared to what goes on in many other countries.  Why it took me 35 years to get around to it, I don’t know.  One thing’s for sure: a betrayal of public office on this scale must never be allowed to happen again.  Of course it probably already has.  Either way, what a bunch of pathetic crooks.  Do you suppose that DC robs everyone of dignity, and integrity, in the same way?  One would hope not. 

The French Quarter


So on our trip through the South, after cruising along the Delta Blues Trail, then through Plantation Country, it was time to hit the Quarter and relax.  We did.  My sons couldn’t believe how alive the place was, especially at night.  Yeah, it’s a different world–one you have to be careful in, which we discussed at length before I turned them loose, since you always have to watch your step in New Orleans.  With or without that, the food is incomparable.


Naturally they had to see the cemetery where that scene from Easy Rider was filmed.  This wasn’t it, but those punks didn’t know that.  They do know, however, that ER is an overrated flick which celebrates dope with uninformed recklessness–a fact that has done succeeding generations no good, including Dennis Hopper’s.  But it was a sign of the times, and of that insane war in Southeast Asia.  One thing that was great about the film, though, was how it really captured the spirit of revolution that was breaking out everywhere in ’69, which mainstream Hollywood was completely ignoring, being preoccupied with films like Beach Blanket Bingo.  Was that revolution necessary?  You bet.  It just came with lots of baggage.

We also hiked the swamps to the south of the city, where unfortunately the gators were all in hibernation but the armadillos and copperheads sure weren’t.


Our hotel, the Andrew Jackson, was built in the 19th century and had this fine courtyard with banana trees and a fountain.  A nice place to sip coffee and read a book during the day.  Also a good place in the evenings, before dinner, to sip wine and talk history.  It was here that my sons learned the definition of aperitif.

Tragically, a week after we left, a popular bartender was Shot and Killed during a holdup that took place at 8:00 in the evening, a mere three blocks east of our hotel.  This was a part of the Quarter that my sons were under strict orders to not enter.  The woman’s killers?  Three fifteen-year-old kids out of a nearby ghetto who got hold of a handgun, and doubtless fell under bad influences before doing so.  Their mothers convinced them to turn themselves in, and looks like they’ll be tried as adults.  Now, if it weren’t for America’s reprehensible gun laws, do you think this tragedy would have taken place?

On our last day we went to the Lower Ninth Ward, but that is a different post.