Monday, October 31, 2011

Pop Up Art

Up and down Lake Street in Gary’s Miller Beach business district on Saturday from 6 until 9 local artists displayed their wares at a dozen different locations. After having Chinese food at Dick and Cheryl Hagelbergs, we started out at the old Miller Drugs, where Corey Hagelberg and seven others had hung their work. I had not been there since owner Frank had finally given up trying to compete with the big pharmacy chains. Thirty years ago, I persuaded him to offer “Gary: A Pictorial History” for sale, and he ended up unloading about 200 copies. A big crowd was on hand, including most of our Miller friends, including Nancy and Ron Cohen, Omar Farag, Kay and Bud Rosen, Karren and Pat Lee, Tom Eaton and Pat Conlin, Cindy Fredrick, Bill and Terry Payonk, Gene and Judy Ayers, Jim and Elaine Spicer, and Tanice Foltz in a belly dancer outfit under her coat (she was going to a Halloween Party later). Laura Kittle, who works at IUN, waved, but she was gone before I had a chance to talk with her. Down the street in Curves, a fitness center, were Al and Alice Sasek, who was displaying some of her glass pieces. Joyce’s Lake Street Gallery was packed, and she had art displayed on the surprisingly large second floor area. Even Miller Pizza had pieces on display; we ran into old friend Ramon there. Most places had wines and snacks, but we saved enough room for pumpkin pie when we got back to the Hagelbergs.

Had my best gaming day in months, winning three of four, including a rare victory in Stone Age by playing the starvation strategy. I lucked out in Acquire when both Dave and Tom spent the bulk of their original $6,000 on Continental stock, each thinking the other had the merging tile. The only reason I stayed out of the race was that I would have been doomed to finish third. Instead I bought stock in the company involved in the first merger, while Continental languished.

The Republican primary race is getting stranger and stranger. Establishment candidate Mitt Romney excites nobody, and Texas governor Rick Perry keeps sinking in the polls like a lead balloon and is even behind pizza man Herman Cain in the Lone Star State. Liberal and conservative commentators alike are outraged by a Cain ad where campaign aide Mark Block is shown smoking, but it certainly generated much publicity. The press loves to build someone up and then tear him down. The latest revelation is that two women filed sexual harassment grievances against him 15 years ago while he was head of the National Restaurant Association. He called the accusations false and at first claimed to be unaware of any settlement paid to his accusers before acknowledging that he knew about an agreement.

My review of the Thyra Edwards biography is taking shape. Her sister was the saintly Thelma Marshall, longtime director of Lake County Children’s Home, who co-chaired the local chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom when Toni and I moved to Gary. It was the most active area antiwar group, and both Toni and I joined as a way to protest the Vietnam fiasco. Thelma’s son was Shakespearean actor William Marshall, blacklisted for his radical views and most famous, ironically for playing “Blacula” in that Black exploitation flick.

I sent this email to Ray Smock: “It looks like Herman Cain is a victim of a high-tech lynching, just like his favorite Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. It was inevitable that when Cain didn’t quickly fade away like Trump, Bachman and Perry, his sex life would get examined. Much as I loathe Clarence Thomas, I never saw Anita Hill as being all that much of a victim. She could have walked away when he started talking about “Long Dong Silver” and pubic hair, simply told him to shut up, or, better yet, slapped him upside his head. Many Black guys of our generation banter about sex, even in mixed company, in a way that might be offensive to feminists and faint-of-hearts. If crudeness disqualified one for the presidency, only wimps would be left to choose from (to paraphrase Doris Kearns Goodwin at the time of Clinton’s impeachment). If Cain did something out of bounds, OK, let’s hear about it, but the press is taking the bullshit position that what matters more that what he might have done is whether he is being evasive or covering it up.”

I added, “The climate in Washington, vis a vis Obama, reminds me of Chicago after Harold Washington was elected mayor – the losers were determined never to cooperate or acknowledge his legitimacy. MSNBC has this blurb where “Morning Joe” Scarborough is talking with Bill Clinton and claims that as much as Republicans fought him, they were able to work for the common good. In the original interview, knowing that is bullshit, Clinton looks Joe in the eye and with a grin replies, “Well, you did shut the government down twice and vote to impeach me.”

Ray replied that we’ll soon find out with the Cain thing whether it was just a case of two disgruntled employees or if sexual harassment was a pattern in his life. Regarding Morning Joe, he wrote: “The bit I have seen on Morning Joe, which I catch every day, has Clinton saying that working with Republicans when Scarborough was there was productive. I have not seen the part where he talks about the shut downs and the impeachment. Maybe they edited that part out. Scarborough was one of Newt’s hotheads when he was in the House. He has grown up some since he left Congress. People can change and I certainly don’t despise Joe now like I did when he was in the House. We both have changed. I see the concept of Change writ large in Senator Byrd’s career. From Klansman to Statesman. But some people, especially our dear friends in academic life, cannot forgive Byrd. I hated Byrd in the 60s and 70s. I was diametrically opposed to his positions on Civil Rights and later his superhawk support of the Vietnam War. He will never be fully redeemed for his past positions, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try to see his full context over a half century. It is a very human story, and his career represents some of the major transitions that occurred in American society in our lifetimes.”

Halloween at the condo was much fun. We took our candy and joined neighbor Sue Harrison, who had her garage door up and was seated with her friend Dave and a big bowl of candy. Toni also took over chili. Our front door is somewhat obscured from view, so this way trick-or-treaters could get a double dose at one place. Ken and Christine, whose unit is between Sue’s and ours, were also passing out treats after they arrived home about halfway through the two-hour period. I asked most people who they were, and one guy said, “Jason.” I thought he misunderstood me and was telling me his name, but Toni clued me in that he was referring to the villain in the “Friday the 13th” films.

The Anthropology dollar book sale is underway, and I found a 1997 issue of the literary magazine “Spirits” had contained a poem by Bill Buckley entitled “Down from Walgreen’s” and an essay about shopping and musical tastes by George Bodmer, where he recalled driving into Toronto listening to a Doors tape. Dr. Mucci said someone donated a copy of Steve and my book “Skinning Cats” and said that copies were going for ten bucks on Amazon. I donated “Shavings” issues on the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Mucci claims my magazines always go fast. We’ll see.

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