Posts Tagged ‘Peter Harper’

Busboys & Poets

17 Dec


Living Proof


Sure. We'll swing by. I will also run the idea by Peter. But speaking of energy. I run hot and cold. At 315 pounds, 52 years, and less time in a day than I've got ruthless desire to not only create art but to actually sell it, I am always driven to keep my nose in the paint box, honing skills, building inventory, sweating doubts, forging the vision, while foregoing the frenzied social calendar that many of my more outgoing and accomplished friends keep.

One can never measure the wealth of potential a regular group of talented and focussed artists can inspire, so I will give your planned group a fair shot. I certainly approve, and even insist upon the interdisciplinary approach you've posited, so as I shout out in the agony of the age, I also acknowledge it's high time we blaze some trails, and make them remember who were are and why we came...

Actually, I met Michael Auger briefly this past Friday night via the ArtDC gathering at Dr. Dremos in Arlington. So I look forward to our next rendezvous...

Arainia's song will be placed into a forty-hour no repeat mix. But sure, I'll give you a heads up. To paraphrase Goethe on his deathbed: More ears, more ears...

Thanks for the afternoon ears. Yeah, Wickedbounce by Arainia. Listened to it. Downloaded it. Excellent call. Expect it will slip right into the mix within a few days. And it was truly a pleasure meeting and chatting with you yesterday, Tim.

Blister the paint...


Thanks so much Gabriel. Lyana (Arainia) is ecstatic! Let us know when you get it up and we will send out a notice and get all of our peeps on your sta-shun Yo!! (biiiiig list!)

BY the WAY! Stevens said he can't make dinner Thursday, but I think we should all still meet. There's just too much cool energy to let go of. And I have a couple of people I want to invite to meet you. Michael Auger, Arainia, Corrie Allen et. al.

so...I posted a Post and you can see the other invitees there. Can you, or would you like to invite anyone from your Studio? I'm thinking Peter perhaps? or anyone else? AND...I think these meetings should be regular, monthly whatever.


"Forward the Four Modernizations! Utilize Art!"

Six years later...


Not Yet Titled

The above two rather mundane texts are trapped in a coagulating context. First, this is one of only a handful of notes I swapped with Tim Kenney until years later. Tim, whom fellow painter Marina Reiter had brought with her to the 52 O Street Studios holiday party nearly two weeks prior. This Thursday night outing at 14th & V Street's Busboy & Poet's would be my introduction to the now famous DC eatery and Leftist bookstore. Odd thing though, just a few weeks before this, I had driven Sue by the place, pointing it out to her, saying we needed to check it out someday soon. Established in 2005 by artist and entrepreneur Andy Shallal, BB&P had been a bustling hotspot for hip young urbanites since day one, and I had read of it often, but had never struck a pose long enough to seek it out.

This night would also lead to an invitation to Tim and Arainia's home for their own New Year's Eve party the next week, a spectacle of interesting people packed into their gorgeous place in southern Maryland just off Pike 355. We left rather early that night, as my physical condition was being aggravated by tight quarters, my sobriety, and too much warmth. Tim and Arainia spent most of the night hunkered down in their sunken living room Mac studio console working on their current music project. Sue and I split duties holding court on the threats of Islam gone wild—in the kitchen—and painting and writing with a newly minted friend Joellen Secondo sitting on the stairwell leading up the the bedrooms I presumed. Since I was wearing blue coveralls and a red beard, when a strange bookish-looking woman approached to ask if I were saluting Julian Schnabel when she learned my response to what I do was paint, I was hooked.

"Actually no," said I, "but thanks for the observation. Don't care much for his broken plate work, but love his movie Basquiat. This is my standard issue garb." Of course, I had to explain later as we prepared to leave on how my recent allergies to cotton were eating me alive, but at least I had enough pockets.

Marina wasn't there that night, but one of her paintings was hanging along the wall framing the staircase. Figures, I thought. Girls make pretty art. Girls sell pretty art. Pretty girls sell lots of pretty art. Then there's Matt Sesow. But I digress. Marina makes fascinating metaphorical blobs. Sells well. It's all swell.

Turns out this was the first of four consecutive visits to Busboys & Poets that I came down with that same sinus cold by the end of that night or at latest, the next morning. Sensitivity's a racket, I finally realize.
Thursday night at Busboys was a generous night. I stopped by as I drove my route home from O Street. Peter Harper couldn't make it. Propped on the stool to my immediate right was an exotic witchy woman, whose name escapes me, and I do mean witch, not the other word. Turns out she was Portuguese. Dark, smokey, slender, attractive, buxom, leggy with muscular calves, hovering around fifty I'd guess, addicted to her own airs, but not in a glibe that suggested he was comfortable with her own comportment. Cultural differences and all that mess. After some less than charming exchanges with her, she diverted her attentions to her right. In mysterious ways, she spoke, so mysterious that I have no way of recalling or reproducing her serpentine phrases here. Recall is a but fuzzy, but it seemed she was stationed somewhere in the art world that had nothing to do with painting, so our options were limited. She was quite tight with herself, a demeanor does nothing to soften the glare of my nostrils. She could have been named Esmirelda, or Carlotta. It didn't really matter. We had both moved on. A beer later, she picked herself off the stool and moved around to the end of the table where Stevens stood, beer in hand, proceeding to soak up the rest of the evening with him. He lived to tell about it, thinking she was charming but a waste of time. I agreed. She was looking for a leg up on the competition, and could quickly size up her prey. And Stevens being a painter of national merit himself, had no time for people who could not benefit his own career, and some fifty year old Portuguese woman wishing herself a career heist was baiting the wrong place at the wrong time. Stevens has a surprise visitor. He had been invited but had pleaded work, so I was glad to see him get out for the night. He loves to talk about the painting and art game with true or near peers. Didn't happy that night. The next day he told me, despite his better instincts he was still glad he got out.

I left after a couple of hours but I'd stayed long enough to catch the usual sinus cold I catch when I find myself confined in a crowded place, getting too hot, sweating in my clothes, and feeling all too useless and all. Turns out this was the first of four consecutive visits to Busboys & Poets that I came down with that same sinus cold by the end of that night or at latest, the next morning. Sensitivity's a racket, I finally realize.

Michael Auger is another, a younger artist, primarily working in a gimmick or cartoonist style. Don't quite remember how he is implicated in this story. But I think it was he who issued me the invitation to come down to Busboys & Poets that night. Also met artists Henrik Sundqvist and the delicious Corrie Allen; shook the hand and took the card of the tall but boyishly handsome John Hanshaw, who had just recently been installed as Director of the Washington Film Institute. Needless to say, the Washington art scene was a small but growing community back in 2007. But I was never to meet this group again in the same context as I began to shrink back from the pressures and finances of rolling in it while thinking I was going somewhere other than the poorhouse.

I only a couple of months ago learned that Tim and I share a neurological disorder that is crippling and causing all sort of other handicaps for us. We vow to shove on...

American Visionary Museum in Baltimore

28 Jul


Woman V by Gabriel Thy


Well, yesterday was a fine day in the life of this particular artist. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD purchased some of my art. It's not that big a deal, yet, but it's a thrifty start. Sold a couple dozen packs of postcards for display in San Francisco and Baltimore. Not bad. It was fun scooting around with Peter Harper and Marina Reiter who'd come along in the Renegade insisted I spring for drinks (and more drinks) with my proceeds. Done!

We killed a few pitchers, too much seafood, and what ever else we could fish out of the daylight down at the Harbor before slamming onto the Thames to continue. Trying to catalogue the tides I snapped a roll or two with the D60 Nikon I had on me. Harper and Reiter sucked face the rest of the night, kissed the sweet sunshine goodbye, mugged the mashed potato vogue, made like a native Cat's Eye rogue, kept me reelin' to the drunkards' code—O! I coulda been a Baltimer Pogue!—then crashed at Peter's that night. Outlaws, again. Favored by the creed of he who lives outside the law must be honest, I made it home without incident. Lunch at the beginning of that stint crowded into a table at Bertha's was a blast, as usual.

Shows promise of things to come, perhaps. I'll write up the full story in the near, but right now I've got to head out to buy some crab meat for the crab dressing casserole I sling together for events like this awesome pig roast some rocker friends and their roller derby girls are hosting this afternoon at Floyd & Jen's (Walters) Virginia hacienda.

But check out the museum. It's on the map. And now, in some small way, so am I.

Just As Quickly As It Came Whistling In

14 Mar


Language Is A Poor Substitute


Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2000

Peter Burris, in a splendid mood, relishing the prospect of breaking back into the world of solids, propositions the nearest and most competent accountant at hand, "Sue, are you interested in helping me get my consulting firm's finances in audit-worthy shape? I am on the brinnk of three multi-thousand dollar contracts and i want to open a bank account and do things strictly by the book, so when we seek financing from investors, everything looks good. I don't know what you would charge, but if I'm correct, we should have no problems paying you what you think you're worth; if I'm wrong, we'll offer equity and incrementally more as our prospects improve. Is this an attractive notion to you? Please let me know what you think."

"What do you think? I am inclined to help him, but I want to charge a going rate...will you help me with this...I can set it up in Quickbooks Pro for Windows. Of course we will need lots of pertinent information, but I think Peter will be forthright." The scarlet dress she is wearing has my attention, but Sue is no less in a propositional mood. Of course her propositions and even her prepositions, influenced by her being the heir apparent to the family breadwinner role, are less concerned with what's casually placated inside her scarlet dress than how many greenbacks she might pocket today.

Questioning the who, what, where, how, why, and when of the organizing principle of life itself—now that, my friends, is a topic worthy of deep black seas, buried and lost civilizations, the 90% of brain power just sitting there waiting for you and me.
"Sure, I'll help," explains Gabriel, "And yes, you should charge a good rate. He's asked me to design a GORGED.COM logo with a pomegranate fruit imposed upon the "O" in gorged. He said he thought that I charged $35/hour for this kind of work. I wrote back that no I didn't but since I am hardly in business these days, I'll certainly treat him right, but as for the accounting thing, you are swamped, and command a high dollar for your services, and besides, Peter talks a good game but as scatterbrained and addicted to grandiose thinking (birds of a feather) as he seems to be at times, I wouldn't want to waste a lot of time hemming and hawing over his accounts (re: Shipman), particularly with all the househunting and sales prepping we already have on our plate. But he was good for us financially for eighteen months when we really needed it, and I like to return favors when I can, so if he seems to have himself in order, I would like to accept his work.

"Bottom line, if he is getting all these high dollar freelance jobs, why should we expect peanuts for participating in that Tom Howellesque of all things—negotiations. Peter does like to farm out a lot of stuff since his critical skills are limited mostly to linguistic and server side elbow grease, but nevertheless he does seem to GET the jobs (or the promise of, but if I recall, a lot of those promises fail to materialize, so he's not much that different from us in that latter regard)."

Geez. Talk about the inability to stand firmly and deliver. Just a whiff of work, money, success, a mere taste to the senses, then it's gone, just as quickly as it came whistling in...
A time, a time, and half a time later, Sue has heard back from Peter with the following results. "Baby, sounds like the same 'ole Peter...sorry, I thought he was ready to play ball now."

What did he say? Unfortunately, my assessment had been correct again. Peter and Tim shared this knack for long range tomorrow plans that often fell by the wayside because of their inability to strike when the irons where hot. We would soon pay nearly $5K to a Jersey mafia moving company to reconsign all our stuff less what they plenty broke or stole to a condo all the way across the city, from the ghetto bounces of hapless SE to the nose-jointed professional classes of upper NW in a couple of months, and Peter would suddenly feel a resurgence of hatred, according to Tim, that we had asked with two months free rent to vacate the room he kept in shambles last spring when Mother was graduating from Oglethorpe, and we began the last push for ultimate household order so as to best prepare the dear old rowhouse for sale this spring. Geez. Talk about the inability to stand firmly and deliver. Just a whiff of work, money, success, a mere taste to the senses, then it's gone, just as quickly as it came whistling in...

"Everything sounds good to me; I need to take a look at which Quickbooks product will suit better. I am aware of your housing situation and I automatically assume you are swamped at all times; in that vein, I will line up all my ducks and get the data you stated that I need. I anticipate I will be ready to play ball in four to six weeks. I need to reincorporate...mine expired during a bad time (ie, Michelle's visits and phone calls were devouring my income and I let a deadline pass OUCH!), but I have an eye on the next step. Talk to you really soon," assured the always pedantic Peter Harper Burris, professorial, punk, and predicated upon the principle of perfecting an argument. I was never quite sure however, where his catholicism began or where it ended. I always wanted to ask him that question, but I knew I'd never have enough time to register whatever he might call a full response.

That I would meet a painter named Peter Harper who would become my best friend for a season or two in 2007—when we both kept studios at the 52 O Street Studios building in DC—is irrelevant to this Burris segment. Questioning the who, what, where, how, why, and when of the organizing principle of life itself—now that, my friends, is a topic worthy of deep black seas, buried and lost civilizations, the 90% of brain power just sitting there waiting for you and me to take the next step. They tried it with poisons. They tried it with rules regulated by carrots and sticks. Those didn't seem to do it. What's next? I don't know, but it's always the poets, the philosophers, the artists, the inventors, the truthtellers who prep the soil, lay in the brickwork, and take the first few steps.

For you slow learner's in the mix, that's what we, he, and thee are doing here in SAMPLEX. May God light our way.


"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""