Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, August 11, 2014

What's it called when ... part 1

BENNINGTON -- I think I'll just chronicle each time it happens instead of trying to remember the incidences because usually I forget the specifics.

Two hours ago, on the llama farm, I used the word squab in a post. No, not the bird squab, but a reference to throwing down back in the day in L.A. Was a time someone would say, Wanna squab? and you better've been ready to throw down, boy. But that word ain't been used in a good long while outside of the Geto Boys song.

About 32 minutes ago, on Zuckerberg's farm, I used the term McFührer in a reply to TPM's post about a swastika drawn in butter on the top-bun of a woman's chicken sandwich.

Ten minutes ago I began to read Miss Stein's daily piece and was amused, twice, upon seeing that she too used squab and Führer; the difference being that she wrote about culinary squab while dispelling rumors that Hitler was a vegetarian.

I suppose Miss Stein and I are cosmically attuned today.

Hey, maybe it has to do with the photo I took of Sadie the newly minted 8 this morning holding an original copy of "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" -- which I gifted Sadie for her birthday after reading how much Miss Sadie Stein loved the book.

Or, well, maybe my mind's playing tricks on me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jack marks the spot

This brick building at the corner of Depot and Benmont marks the spot
of a used-book store but you have to walk up to the window to notice.
Everything makes itself known at some point. (Joey Kulkin photo)

BENNINGTON -- The other shoe always drops, forevermore. Men and women cannot help it. Indeed, next time you look at a photo of lovers -- of the younger variety -- spy where the woman puts one of her hands. The non-verbal message that comes with a woman putting a hand on her man's stomach, or somewhere on his torso, resonates loud and clear with other females, like a bullhorn-amplified clarion call of the wild: Stay the fuck away from my man or I will eat your eyeballs, honey!

Men do it a little differently, especially men of letters. ESPECIALLY men of letters.

I figured out the first territorial marking not long ago.

The other shoe marking just fell. I Googled men marking territory women and clicked on a Yahoo Answers link:

One answerer answered like this:

The term applies to male animals who spray their scent on their territory/habit to make other animals of the same specie aware that the territory/habit is occupied by a male. As a lot of males in the animal kingdom do not like to share their environment with other males, by marking their territory, other males will hopefully find another location to call their home. ... In humans, people may say a man is marking his territory if he does something which makes his presence felt. People will also say it is a man does something which prevents other men in their environment from doing something else.

Another answerers answered like this:

In nature, certain animals "mark their territory" with urine, feces, or glandular secretions as a symbol to show what area they control. Humans, while not resorting to such methods, do the same thing but use body language.

While others who take a high shine to the language of letters are more casual and cool and mark their spot with a well manicured set of words.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Shaky Dave

BENNINGTON -- Just read a story about a man whom police found dead in the woods behind a cemetery up in Hartford. David Woodward, 51. First thought was that it was "Shaky Dave" but 51 would have been too young, but you never know.

Called the Hartford PD a few minutes ago to see if the man they found dead in the woods behind the cemetery was Shaky Dave.

Shaky Dave, legend has it, was one of White River Junction's best athletes and a terrific kid who fought in Vietnam then came home. One day, they say, he rode in the back of pick-up with friends and for whatever reason he fell out and banged his head on the road pretty good and it fucked him up for life. Never really spoke but communicated in terse grunts though a few words managed to string themselves together every now and then.

In the early to mid aughts I lived at the Coolidge Hotel during the run as sports editor at the Spectator and often bought a bagel and coffee next door. Shaky Dave stood in front of the shop now and again and so we'd interact here and there. He amused me. I amused him. One day I pointed my Nikon D-100 at him. He grunted no. I said, C'mon! He smiled and flipped me the bird, touching his middle finger to his nose. Above the knuckles on his fingers were tattooed letters L O V E.


Don't remember if the fingers on his right hand read H A T E.

The dispatcher returned from the sergeant's office a few moments later to inform me that the man police found was not Shaky Dave.

"But they told me to tell you that the guy you're talking about died last year."


On the other hand, Shaky Dave's having a great ol' time in the Great Beyond, no doubt grunting a few words together and flipping dead photographers the L O V E bird.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner, one for the ages

James Garner as Jim Rockford (

BENNINGTON -- The movie ended but I wanted to see another.

The marquee atop an adjoining theatre read THE NOTEBOOK and I thought, What the hell, why not? So I stumbled in and found a seat. It was early in the movie. It hooked me in an instant. One of the most beautiful love stories ever captured on film under the auspice of old age, memories, and Alzheimer's.

The ending scene with James Garner and Gina Rowlands going to sleep, forever, hand in hand and arm in arm, slayed me. Slayed everyone. When those blue herons flapped their wings and the screen faded to black, the theatre was pitch quiet except for the sounds of sniffling and muffled crying. My eyes were drowning in tears. I'm a sucker for that mush.

The other thing about James Garner, who has died at the age of 86, is that he starred in one of the great '70s TV shows, The Rockford Files. My dad watched it religiously, I watched it with him. It was one of our bonds.

Thursday, July 17, 2014



I can read into it
any number of ways
but what's the point?

This is what happens
when you fall for someone.

Your feelings
go unrequited
and it gnaws
on your soul.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Maybe I just want my own

"But what do I know, I've only been here 85 years." -- Abe, Ess-a-Bagel

BENNINGTON -- Addie saw me approach and a giddy smile formed and she leapt out of her chair and said "Joey's Home!" and wrapped her arms around me and squeezed. I squeezed back. Maisie repeated what Addie did, and we squeezed.

Addie rushed down the hall to get Sadie, who walked into the kitchen from her bedroom with a frown 'cause her belly ached. She smiled, but for only a second or two, and we hugged and she went back to her room.

And so it is again.

Back in Bennington after 72 hours in Gotham and thoughts and emotions are resurfacing. Been here 2 years and have given everything of myself to the cause: gallery, Joel and Nina, the girls. I'm mad about them and would die to protect them. I'm glad to be intricately weaved around Joel's and Nina's lives: Fiddlehead would cease to exist without me.

"Thanks for the accommodations," I texted Joel on the train to NYC on Sunday.

"Thanks for saving the gallery," he texted back.

And that's where we are: me as gallery manager, they as good friends and parents to 3 gorgeous heartbeats whose affairs I would preside over If ... .

Ideal situation when you think about it. A big happy family. I saw Nina first after walking through the door and she mentioned the British fellow from Dorset who bought something a day or two ago and, apparently, raved about our first encounter several months ago.

"He said, You can't let him go!" Nina told me, and that's all swell and good to hear.

But. Yeah, but.

Then Addie hugged me as if she'd been counting the minutes since Sunday.

But. Yeah, but.

Had a difficult time hopping aboard the train today. Didn't want to leave the city. An hour later, click and clack of wheels and track, we were somewhere north of Poughkeepsie on the edge of the desolate when the doubts began to take hold.

Guess it doesn't really matter right now. Guess I should go to sleep. Long day of travel. You know, one needs rest to be the very bestest art gallery manager in the whole wide world universe galaxy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mark Ruffalo Day

Molestation on the corners of Gotham City (Joey Kulkin photos 7/15/14)

GOTHAM CITY -- I can try to explain it or just appreciate it for whatever it is. A few hours ago on the E train uptown to 53rd I noticed one of the upcoming movie placards, and now I don't remember the name of the movie but I do remember that it is written by the guy who wrote Once, which means I'll watch his new one, and that Mark Ruffalo is one of the stars.

Stared at Ruffalo on the placard and thought, again, We do kind of look alike.

Soon as that little moment of schmaltz passed, my phone buzzed with a warning: flash flooding in Gotham for the next 3 hours. Reached 53rd and climbed and climbed. Step after step after step. Been in subway spots all over this city and never climbed so many stairwells to reach street level. Felt like a million steps if it wasn't a hundred. 

Or maybe it was just a humidity-induced hallucination. Gotham was sticky. My brain fried.

Exited thru the turnstile only to see a few dozen people standing on the steps on the final stairwell and looking up at the rain. Hard and heavy. Biblical. Didn't have an umbrella but trudged upward and onward from 53rd and 6th to 52nd between 2nd and 3rd -- a substantial walk -- in straight downpour. Liberating isn't the right word but feels like it. Cleansing maybe? My own personal Baptism. I wasn't the only one. Many others walked without umbrellas. Who's afraid of a little water? What's the worst that can happen? You get wet.

I don't know, but for someone who rarely vacations because that would feel like I'm being unfaithful to my job, total perversity, ambling 12 blocks in a deluge made this 72-hour excursion from Bennington worth the experience. Before the walking shower I spent 3 hours photographing the West Village, awash from the sweat of oppressive heat.

Get up to the room, undress and wring out my clothes, and happen upon a movie with Woody Harrelson and and Michael Caine and Jessie Eisenberg and Morgan Freeman and Mélanie Laurent (few things sexier than a French woman speaking English) and ... Mark Ruffalo. Come on now. Haven't watched a movie in a year, maybe even two, and now I'm knee-deep into one that stars a guy I was just staring at on the train? That's funny, right? A little?

Wanna know what's funnier? The movie that followed, playing as I type these words, also features Mark Ruffalo, with Julia Roberts, and it's a whole other kind of romp delving into the "gay cancer" that would become AIDS. There is zero fucking around in this flick. Intense. I'd definitely pay to see it at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

Not exactly "vacation" material but just as gripping as Ruffalo's romp through the magic eye.

Off to eat "vacation" dinner by myself, again, which is better than dining with someone who looks like she'd rather be anywhere else in the world and gloomily stares out the window, resigned, and far from the edge of wetness.