Weekend relocation runs Day 12 past the rain and my cold to shelter half a block away down the 1st Ave L train subway stairs.8th Ave L train catches me before I catch sitting 11:00 Spanish guitarist’s name. Local B subway stops and pen and sketch pad in hand shake thoughts of drawing subway faces out of my head onto paper. 125th Street 8th Ave mezzanine bench Lighthouse man and woman direct me to public bathroom vacant of stall locks, toilet paper, towels, and other persons at end of hall. My bags stay with them. Lighthouse man’s “Corruption, will it ever end” turns into fatherly outreaches to young men followed by “Are you going to school?” and” I’ll only give you this to you if you promise to read it”. With nods of yes they take the literature. In two hours painting lighthouse man, Woods, now sits next to Jesse becoming my canvas’s unsung historic black poster figures. Woods leaves through turnstile. “Show me ID and contents of your bag. Have you ever been arrested.” “Yes, a long time ago.” ID, diabetes shots, and glasses meet approval. Officer’s leave taking reveals reappeared Woods as homeless man’s silent angel. My Harlem twin passes me $2 for Arlethia and her story through the metal subway fence before continuing to a baby shower. Arlethia saved her from drugs and jail 10 years ago. Forgotten drummer seat solved with trade to Jun Nishijim, on drums, of my golf chair for folded guitar case from Cory Sterling, on guitar. Krisy Rosa on Soprano Sax completes this innovative jazz trio at Rockefellar Center B line at 47-50th Street. Their clean improvisations cause subtle color and perspective changes in their painted images. Canvas pauses until next Friday, 8 pm, same spot. Guitarist on landing viewed from above at the L and 8Th Street mezzanine elevator halts my homeward journey. Joseph Lockhart cajoled his friend, Adrian Cruz, young accomplished musician, underground for his first busking experience with hopes of offsetting the grayness of Adrians day job. My $1 exchange brings out a impromptu song about my name and showcases a voice worthy of phrase. Inebriated man one introduces me to not as inebriated man two as his brother. He tells me I make people immortal by painting them and drops two dollars in with my brushes. I take Geeche Dans hug and the $2 eastward on the L to 1St Avenue.
October 19, 2012
Image – Arlethia singing Gospels @ 125th and 8th Avenue (in progress)and Krisy Rosa on Soprano Saxophne, Corey Sterling on Guitar and Jun Nishijima on Drums at Rockefellar Center B line at 47-50th Street
Friendship develops between Artist and each New York City Subway “Studio”. Day 11 expresses me up to Harlem into the 125th Street 8Th Avenue subway mezzanine for introductions. Two years scheduling effort with Arlethia, gospel singer and song writer, must continue due to our already occupied 2pm performance spot. Ben Gooding shows two police officers his MUNY card and continues with set up. Conversations multiply at the subway “park” benches as friends settle next to friends. Young men hang with each other at the stair railing before heading in opposite directions. Young brother yells with delight as returning from school sister comes into sight. Jennette, resident of Harlem and lovely friend, and I share three minutes of surprised greetings before she runs for her train. Commuter Kenneth turns into next artist for Two Painter Two Portraits Series. Ben Gooding adds flavors from his World Wide Night Club Tour through Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul, Marrakesh to the 125Th Street scene. I apologize for cramping his performance and take note to sit further away at benches next session. Invitations are mentally sent out to commuters to join Ben and the two officers in the canvas. I leave this sea of people, buy sketch pad and pens above ground, and enter another sea of people at Rocktoberfest 2012. Hedge Fund workers join forces on and off stage to insure the survival of A Leg To Stand On and passion for music. I bring my art making at Big Dog Party practice session last week into my two square feet on the dance floor. The ballroom turns into everyone’s studio. Unedited ink joins music onto the sketch pad for the next four hours.
Image #1 – Paintings from my New York City Subway “Studios”
Image #2 – Big Dog Party practice session at Euphoria Studio, fall 2012 (in progress)
Image #1 -Pete Muller Trio (ink on paper) – Pete Muller- key board, Kyle Rowland – , Skip Ward
Image #2 – Flash Crash Rocktoberfest 2012 (ink on paper) – Ray McKenzie, Jen Justice, Dean Cassara, Larry Scheinberg, William Delane, Kelly Bostwick, Duane Harper Grant, Steve Staszak, Frank Carr, Sophia Cruz, Joe Meo and Bill Maher (a.k.a. ‘Bongo Bill)
Image #3 – The Cause Rocktoberfest 2012 Jam Partners Rocktoberfest 2012 (ink on paper)
Image #4 – Big Dog Party Rocktoberfest 2012 (ink on paper) -Lauren Gerber-vocals, Felix Partow-guitar, vocals, Buzz Moschetti – bass guitar, vocals, Ken Higgins – drums
For information about A Leg To Stand On ALTSO at altso.org/hedge-fund-rocktoberfest/
212-675-6056-LAWRENCE CLARK-TENOR SAX-RAYMOND McCMORRIN-TENOR SAX-KUSH ABADEY-DRUMS-RASHAAN CARTER-BASS-JAROD KASHKIN-PIANO
October 8, 2012
Image – Tony Lombardo on Saxophone and Vito Lombardo on vocals at UnionSquare (copper etching plate)
Day 8 brings Bonnie and Taylor Sims and I back to our “Yellow Submarine” Time Square shuttle car were the band begins to play beneath the streets of NYC. Elizabeth Cotten’s song “Freight Train” helps Bonnie and Taylor with their first steps as images onto my canvas. Freight Train’s line “Don’t tell them what line I’m on” and my let me work uninterrupted join hands. Bonnie reaches over every few songs to give me another five ones from tips for the dollars I lent her. My canvas paints its self. A last five passes my way. Last glance and Bonnie and Taylor’s last Subway duet on mandolin and guitar ends for this trip. Our above ground down pore clears by 9th Ave and 45th Street at the Southern Comfort Barbeque Restaurant. Bonnie and her mandolin join in with Colorado friend Todd Livingston on Dobro, Doug Owen Hatt on guitar, Jeff Picker on bass and Jacob Tilove on mandolin. Taylor on guitar joins in. Bonnie’s huge voice from her petite body turn her face as red as Taylor’s hair. The last song with Bonnie and Jacob on vocals and everyone on instruments bring diners to their feet. Quiet Sunday Shuttle calls me back to paint. Evangelist rantings and the homeless persons angry kick of his dropped drink cup signal time to pack up. I find Geechee Dan the singing Dragon on his 6th ave bench at the L platform. I set up studio with in feet of his bench, close enough to become the subject he sings to when no other commuters are around. His last set brings us to 1:30Am. I take my tired body and happy heart home to bed.
September 30 2012
Image #1 – Bonnie and Taylor Busking on the Shuttle Between Time Square and Grand Central Station (in progress)
Image #2 – Bluegrass Live @ Southern Hospitality BBQ – 9/30/12 (Todd Livingston-Dobro, Doug Owen Hatt – guitar, Jeff Picker – bass and Jacob Tilove – mandolin. with guests Bonnie Sims-mandolin and Taylor Sims-guitar )
Hear Bonnie and Taylor Sims – “Hold On Me” http://www.youtube.com/
Hear Todd Livingston – http://www.youtube.com/
Hear Geeche Dan – The Singing Dragon at “I’ve Been Loving You” http://www.youtube.com/
Bonnie and Taylor Sims start my Day 7 one month ago at Front Range Barbeque in Colorado Springs. “ Perform in the NYC Subway for your NYC Subway painting series, hell yes”. The Sims’ yesterday arrival turns into today’s until 4am singing spree at NYC gay bars. While Bonnie and Taylor sleep I weigh their pending effort to help this painting happen to my painting ability. My usual subway subjects play whether I’m there or not. Time Square, prime mezzanine busking spot meets Bonnie and Taylor Sims unplugged. Commuters and paint begin to gather around musicians and canvas, but, only for one hour. MUNY Peruvian flutist, Juan Casillo, claims his scheduled spot. Plans for lunch lead us to the Shuttle to Grand Central Station. Guitar and mandolin come out of cases, music replaces hunger. Bonnie’s “I guess you’re not quite sure what to do with that one.” after her yodeling song is met with applause. We ignore the “this is your last stop” turning our one way shuttle ride into 16 one song/one ride sets. The yellow interior rhythm on the canvas readies the paintings for the two musicians taking advantage of the subway car’s outstanding acoustics. People’s tossed dollars suddenly turn the jam session into busking when NYPD’s ” no busking on train cars” demands instruments back into cases and transforms the train car back into dull transportation. Are they good enough? Yes. Joe Taino’s graciously turns over his break time mic at Grand Central Station’s Oyster Bar to Colorado’s Bonnie and Taylor Sims. Joe’s Trio and audience encourage one song into three. Guitar and mandolin head home. Two years eyeing out of reach musicians moving from car to car from my platform studios pulls me back into the subway off the platform into my new subway car studio. Train moves. Try gesture. Train stops. Clean up sloppy gesture. Train moves. Mix one color. Train stops. Fine tune mixed color. Train moves plan where paint goes next. Train stops. Paint. As the only commuter not leaving the car at stops “this is the last stop” no longer applies to me; “everyone off the train” does. My studio disappears. I’m at the door, paint covered hand pulling rolling back pack, bag on shoulder other paint covered hand holding wet canvas. Too late, doors shut. I’m locked in. A relaxed train conductor opens the subway car doors. A not so relaxed painter carries her in progress painting home.
September 29th, 2012
Image – Bonnie and Taylor Busking on the Shuttle Between Time Square and Grand Central Station
Generous Day 6 begins with the mid 6th Avenue at 14th Street tunnel $5 offer. My response “that’s alright you keep it” comes from my low seat where I hold Betty Benetiz’s singing spot. “Are you sure you don’t need it?” says the man who l might have mistaken as homeless. “Yeah, I’m sure” with my paints still hidden in my rolling backpack. I continue again with my paper towels and pen as my wait transforms back into a rare sketching session as thousands of walking legs and feet, each pair unique, model by. Betty’s gospel voice seems too big to come into my small canvas. The 4 hours and nine different Betty faces disappear. With the last half hour and uninterrupted song my face blushes. “you must be happy with your painting.” We plan our next meeting aiming at a six hour session. My cell phone dies at the 125th and Lexington uptown 6 train platform. Spend one hour up to the uptown platform and down to the the downtown platform. Different changes at different subway platforms, here, hair moves less. I go into the R Platform at 59th Street crowd, drop my payment for the fine Flamenco music in the guitar case and get the nod of OK to paint from Colombian twins, Guillermo and Gabriello. A supportive nod shoots my way every other set. I’ll try to keep up with them again, tomorrow, same place at 1:30pm. On my west 69th street apartment elevator ride I’m woman visiting friend and hear “that’s a lovely braid”. Back at my First Ave studio I’m content to be painter on subway seat working on the back ground of started painting. Sitting next to his cart of instruments on the 8th Avenue/14th Street mezzanine JJ James, blues guitarist/harmonica and keyboard player and vocalist, explains to me that unlike years past the subway pays more than the clubs. Smiles break across our faces when he tells me how much he made today. On the uptown F train I recognize my day in the young woman with her smile leaking out in her eyes and in her cheeks.
September 27, 2012
Image – Guillermo and Gabriello at the 59th Downtown Platform
The 1, R and E trains zig zag Day 3 and my emotions down town, up town, west side, and east side in my search for musicians. The sight of Joey with Tyrone on the R and 59th Street platform changes my Joey and Robin canvas into unwanted baggage to be carried around for the rest of the day. My dollar flutters into the guitar case at the E and 53rd Street platform where a young female and male gospel singer finish their song. “How long will you be playing?” ” Oh, sorry we’re leaving.” Looking at my disappointment they pause their packing with a gentle “Amazing Grace.” Three Ecuadorian musicians step in musical unison only long enough for me to scratch them onto my metro etching plate. The Union Square R platform elevator door closes in front of me for the third time today. The elevator door opens to the Union Square mezzanine. I’m spotted by the eight year old at the piano. Jason’s notes turn into a high speed race. He jumps off his amp/seat to critique my painting from last Spring. Then music full throttle. Music stops. New painting changes scrutinized. Painting carried over to Dad. Again, music full throttle. Each time smiles grow wider. His father, Gangduag, packs. Jason and I wrangle for the canvas. I win. Gangduag takes his son outside to the play ground. Some odd notes sound from the 6 train platform at Union Square. Kalaparusha Maurice Mcintyre bends over his bending notes. After shared introductions and water I settled into the middle of the twenty waiting commuter. Maurice continues finding the notes between the notes. My canvas moves forward as Maurice’s bend lowers. His bend between sets leans back against the garbage can and his head nods. “Would you like my seat?” “No, I can’t play when I sit.” Maurice gives me one last song for the left hand fingernails in the painting. Maurice’s good bye ” You can remember me by this painting. I can live forever” holds me to this spot until I’m sure I have the painting to a safe point to finish later.
September 17, 2012
Image – Kalaparusha Maurice Mcintyre on Saxophone at the Union Square/6 Train Platform (unfinished)