Friday, January 15, 2016


Readers who know me personally know that I live in a big old house, the kind realtors refer to as a “Handyman’s Special.” If you don’t look too closely, it looks pretty good, has lots of period charm, but close inspection reveals many problems, the least of which is the need for a second full bathroom and a laundry room. (Magic Touch Cleaners does my laundry; I recommend them highly).

Secondly, the house desperately needs a paint job, inside and out. The casual visitor, however, is so dazzled by my tag sale treasures, they rarely notice the peelings and the cracks. And last but not least, the house has a cesspool, not even a septic system, let alone city sewers. When we bought it fifty years ago, we were told, in all candor, the cesspool might fail and have to be replaced “at any moment.” The good news is, it’s still going strong

 Despite its faults, it’s a great old house. There’s a beautiful library with shelves made at a nearby mill from trees taken down when the Merritt Parkway was built. There’s a two-story artist’s studio (the previous owner was a mural painter) with a huge north light window and, as a bonus, a floor through, heated attic perfect for storing canvasses and the fifteen overhead projectors I keep just in case a bulb burns out and I can’t replace it.

It’s the attic I want to write about. I’m convinced that there’s a party going on up there every night. There are dozens of paintings stored in racks plus about twenty larger-than-life cardboard cutouts based on all the corrupt developers, lawyers and politicians I have been dealing with over the years - along with their wives, girlfriends, goons, etc. Since I haven’t come through with the performance piece I promised them years ago, I am convinced they put on plays of their own at night when I am asleep, A Brechtian theater ensemble in my attic! I’m especially suspicious when I see them in a different order than they were on a previous visit.
All in all, it’s a pretty lively crowd up there.

In addition, the low eaves at either side of the roof are perfect for storing things that don’t have much height. That’s where I keep the dozens of supermarket boxes I filled with satirical figures set in photocopied backdrops of pre Urban Renewal Stamford. Those are the ones an art critic once said that “if that’s what people actually look like,” she would “fall on her ballpoint pen.” I hate to tell her, but that’s what people actually look like.

Frankly, it’s ok with me if my creations want to party. I would prefer that they go out in the world, party in museums and galleries, but if that isn’t going to happen –at least in my lifetime  - then let them have a good time up there by themselves. I can sleep through anything!

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