After the sanity of Zion, and the quiet of Death Valley, we spent two days in the insanity of Vegas.Â Did I gamble?Â Hell, I was born to a life in the arts.Â Gambling seems redundant.Â But we did dig on the strip.Â Â We always do.Â
The first time I saw the place, about the time this photo was taken, it was still run by the Mob.Â What a different vibe it had then.Â Now it’s a corporate vibe.Â Is one better than the other?Â Â Hard to say, sinceÂ both specialize in killing: one of people, the other of the soul.Â Don’t think I’ll make a choice on that issue.
Went to this place as well.Â Why?Â Quiet, isolated, and hot.Â Â Hadn’t been there in 30 years, and had forgotten how beautifully eerie it feels to goÂ hiking below sea level.Â Also theÂ desert architecture of bygone times, whether abandoned or still in use.Â There’s something fascinating, and very calming, about it all.Â
And some of the characters who dwell there, the ones who have maybeÂ been in theÂ desert too long and away form civilization even longer…crazy.Â OrÂ quite sane, depending on how you look at it.
I love that freaking place, not to mention the chick who went with me.
In Zion National Park with Brown Eyes on biz and pleasure.Â Well, more pleasure than biz, but I long ago learned the importance of always seeming to be hard at work.
Death Valley later, then that bizarre and very American carnival, Vegas.Â Â
Went to visit Lester’s studio recently, where his wife KathrinÂ gave me a tour.Â That’sÂ her on the left, showing off a book about good old Lester.Â With her is Melissa Chabino, Kathrin’s partner in crime.
Apart from being a great artist, Lester was a revered instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute.Â Â He passed in 2005, a great loss to the art community, and KC overall.Â Several of his magnificent paintings remain.Â I’m going to acquire one for St. Luke’s Hospital, and ensure that it’s hung in a place of honor.
Danny O’Neill approached me last summerÂ and asked what would make a cool bikeÂ rack for The Roasterie,Â meaning one that relates to coffee.Â Matt and I suggested coffee cups, and that was it.Â The piece went in last Sept.Â I only post it now because it makes me think of summer.
Last fall we took a group of Paseo AcademyÂ artists on a field trip to the Flint Hills.Â Last week Inergy LLC, who helped fund the trip, held an opening for them.
It opened with grub,Â laughter, andÂ me getting the punks to smile for the camera.
Then three different students read poetry.
Then we toured the corridors where the art was hung.Â The last part was their favorite, especiallyÂ since the works were for sale, and had already begunÂ selling by the time the kids arrived.Â Man, you should have seen the pride.Â That, more than anything, is what makes these gigsÂ worthwhile.