City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport was my destination.
City Lights is where I figure model on the occasional Saturday. This involves taking off my clothes and donning a robe. I lost my white robe last month in the Great Ides of March Stampede of One when my landlord, whom shall heretoforth be known as Ghetto Thunder, did away with our lease at fistpoint and I had to leave everything behind except for a suitcase and a backpack. My replacement robe – which was graciously provided by the sweet and saucy figure drawing moderator whom I shall here dub Annabelle Cash Money – turned out to be a very femmy, satiny, Asian-looking thing that barely covered my white ass. (The robe, not Annabelle Cash Money.) I wore it once a few weeks ago and immediately vowed never to wear it again. (Again, the robe, not Annabelle.) (Editor's note: we apologize for all the dangling modifiers. The author apparently knows no other sentence form, so to edit them would be to rewrite the entire article, and frankly we don't have that kind of patience. Besides, Man of Many Words is currently the only writer we have. We thank you for your patience as we figure out a way to fire his ass.) The robe made me feel soft and vulnerable. It made me want to talk about my needs. Annabelle Cash Money has a great sense of humor, don’t you think? So I left the robe at home and planned on just using my cargo pants and shirt as a robe. But when I got to City Lights, another model was already there. Annabelle Cash Money had accidentally booked two models, so she gave me a kill fee of $25 and let me off the hook for the day.
I decided to stick around and peruse the art and hang out with my friend, whom I hereby christen Spectacular Monster Lightning. He works at the gallery as a framer, salesman, and all-around gladhander. He's also an accomplished artist at a young age. The man is a master at everything he does. I really like him. He’s always digging on my hip hop lyric stylings. I launch a verse at him here and there. He nicknamed me Mister Unassuming today, because I generally don’t advertise my massive prowess as a passably cool white rapper. Spectacular Monster Lightning introduced me to a couple of the black guys who work next door at the restaurant as caterers, one of whom hit me up for a verse.
It’s always an especial pleasure to rap for black folks. They generally treat me politely when they first learn I can rap. They give me a chance. Then I rap, and then they’re smiling and telling me to go make a million bucks. Call me indulgent and self-serving, but I really do enjoy impressing black folks within their own genre, on their own terms. I don't know why. Maybe it assuages all my white guilt. Maybe I don't give a damn why. You can relax, you know.
One of the black guys today, Pee Wee is his real name, said he wanted to parade me around his turf and place bets on me in any battles we can hustle up. I guess that would be cool. I just don’t battle that well. My stuff is better when it’s written. Whatever. I’ll throw down anyhow. Not that I see Pee Wee’s plan ever getting off the ground. People of all colors and lacks thereof talk big. And frankly I just don’t have the interest in going around puffing up my peacock feathers when there’s probably not a lot of money in it.
Back inside, I perused every square inch of the gallery, except for the area beyond the partition where the figure drawing was in session. It’s bad form to walk in on a naked model. I rummaged through all the stacks of limited edition prints, some of which I really liked. There was an extremely well done and detailed painting of an old sailing ship, its sails at full billow and outrunning a storm, entitled “Homeward Bound”, with the sky all dark and blue and achingly beautiful. It made me want to cry for my good old pier on the New Haven Harbor. Made me want to boatjack a skiff from the Sound School and hit the high seas.
There were some figure drawings by Annabelle Cash Money, one of which I think I recognized as myself. I cost $100. Fair enough. Go buy me.
Spectacular Monster Lightning threw me a couple of freebie postcards that featured photographs of this one sculptor’s little tiny pencil carvings. The guy spent six months making this:
And two years making this:
That’s one pencil, pal. One piece of graphite there, my people. Each link moves freely. No glue was involved. You’ve got to wonder what kind of job this guy has. Security desk in an abandoned building? I mean that is some serious time to have on your hands. What patience! I am somewhat envious of that patience. Is he happy, I wonder? Anyway, his name is Dalton Ghetti. Look him up and go buy something from him. He can’t afford to keep his website up.
I hung out with Spectacular Monster Lightning awhile longer, sipping my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, while he did up some frames. I looked at the invoice for the little tiny frames he was making. Hundred bucks apiece for ten of them. A grand. But he gave the customer a 30% discount “because she’s cool”. I think that’s cool. And now I think I should open a frame shop and get rich. Or Spec should. That’s more likely.
I hopped the 2:30 train back to New Haven.
And then everybody died. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Operatic!
Note: Some names were invented. Maybe all of them. You be the judge. And if you run into Marvel, tell them I've got some names to sell them. Thanks.