Hi, everybody. Once again, Im lagging behind on my up-to-dates. It seems that when I have my camera with me, I dont have my computer. And vice versa. Rather than stressing out about it, I surrendered to the cosmos and just decided to live for a bit. Heres a quick recap without photos. Use your imagination and fill in the visual blanks.
Arrived in Paris 4 Sept. We hung the show at Galerie Baumet Sultana. Had a nice private opening on the 8th, mostly for collectors and journalists. Nice to see friends I hadnt seen for years, like Rebecca Voight from Zoo and Zeva who i met when she was working with Rebecca at Dutch. Alia and Kate came in from Los Angeles, generously representing the home team, along with Alias sister, Nani. Preference Magazine sponsored the vernissage, shipping over hundreds and hundreds of boxes of champagne to the gallery. They know how to get into my heart, for sure… and I thank them. Early the morning of the 9th, Alia, Kate and I schlepped via train to a little town in Belgium called Hasselt, where I had some photos in an exhibition called the Super! Triennale for art, design, etc. Its been posted on this site already, but really, if you get a chance to go, then go. One of the venues for the exhibition is a prison, only recently vacated by the prisoners. You can walk through all of the cells, left as they were, some transformed by artists. Friday night was the opening party, held in the prison. It wasnt really the fun, mingling type of crowd, but the venue made up for it and the djs were Super! Congrats to Edith Doove for her expert curatorial skills.
Morning train back to Paris on Saturday. Jet lagged, then train travel, party, no sleep. Felt like a narcoleptic junkie..days of nodding out mid-conversation, then waking up at 4 am. Do I take a pill or is it too late in the morning? Hmm.
Public vernissage in Paris Saturday night. Big fun. A nice mix of collectors, strangers, old friends, new friends, some truly crazy people. Thank god for Stephane (Baumet) and Guillaume (Sultana) – my gallerists — as they not only make me laugh around the clock, but they really keep my ass from falling into the gutter. I dont speak French and it really isnt a language that I can fake, one bit. Not only do my guardian angels take care of all the gallery stuff with elegance and ambition, they have no choice but to make sure their bastard son has train tickets, has voicemail on his clunky old french mobile phone (diane is working to bring me into this century, however), and plenty of food in his ever growing belly. (I kneel to the gods of dairy products, alcohol, sugar and coffee.) My quality of life is also greatly improved with the hanging, cooking and conversational skills of Christophe, Stephane’s superb partner in crime.
Cut to last Friday night where I spent a very busy night with Stephane and Guillaume. We took the train to the edge of Paris, as a collector had arranged a dinner for us. We arrived on time, but our host wasnt home. After 30 minutes of sitting in his foyer, I suggested that we crack open the champagne we had brought to curb the hunger. Back on the train to the center of town. Our host had forgotten about the dinner completely. At the gallery, I had to prepare some images for a portfolio that Zoo is doing on me for the next issue. Then went off to dinner and home by 1 am. However, as I was to catch a train to Italy the next morning at 7 I was afraid that i wouldnt wake up by 6. I packed and repacked and changed clothes. Its now 2 30. Hmm. Do i risk a nap? No, Id never hear an alarm and Stephane and Christophe deserved to sleep in. So, I decide to stay out the rest of the night at the nearby Le Depot, the now world famous all night homo bar and sex club. Friday nights feature a mostly gay arab crowd, drinking and dancing to mix of American radio hip hop and rai. I love going out by myself sometimes, as its rare that guys ever actually talk to me. Anyway, it was a curious experience as a group of arab guys chilled out in the lobby of the bar, one big queen banging on an oversized tambourine, surrounded by guys singing arabic songs. I walked around the bar, hearing rai, then christina aguilera, then rai, then missy elliot, more rai, etc. A tall model-type guy approached me and ask me for a light. Then he asked if he could buy cocaine from me. (This seems to happen a lot to me.) I met a guy from the French Air Force (off duty) who spoke good english and a really nice dj who has spun at the White Party (one of those creepy circuit parties) in Palm Springs. At 6 30, I said goodbye to my new posse of friends. I had a train to catch.
Anyway, cut to now. I think Ive dropped into Shangri La, otherwise known as Ragusa, Sicily, where Im visiting someone Ive only known via internet for many months – Max, an architect. The coincidence is that one of his best friends is Angelo, a frequent contributor to this site. I made the connection when seeing pictures Angelo posted here from his last birthday. 24 hours of straight train travel on 3 trains. The Milan train station was gorgeous, making we want to explore the city. I arrived in Naples to an incredible lightning storm, before boarding a night train, where I slept on a a bunk in a compartment with 2 other guys. Night. Silence. Something like jail but with my iPod and bottled water. The only part that I really wanted to be awakefor was when they actually put the train on a barge to transport the train across the canal to Sicily. The idea intrigued and kind of frightened me. I fell asleep and woke up in Sicily. 8 am. Catania. The place is unreal for me, visually. I got off the train (feeling super funky and in desperate need of decontamination), grabbed a coffee and was met by Max, Angelo and their lovely friend, Grazia. It was nice to be off the train and standing in the hot sun. Max speaks very little English. I speak no Italian (but brought a goofy phrase book that has taught me to say "You are my most beautiful souvenier" if Im trapped at a cafe and someone asks to pass the sugar.) Angelo speaks flawless English. I speak Spanish with Grazia and her dog, Milla. I never feel out of the loop. They show me everything and their generosity is overwhelming. Ragusa is beautiful. Modica is beautiful. Max and his friends are incredible people. The food and drink are extraordinary. I can now speak Italian like a caveman with a learning disability. And…ICE CREAM IS STANDARD BREAKFAST FOOD HERE. WHAT THE HELL?? Count me in. Mama, I’m home!!!
(And Max’s dad needs to use the phone, which shares this computer line, so I’m out.) Thanks for reading. One of these days, Ill get the whole computer / camera thing synchronized up.