Drunkards and Defectors

Before the opening.

Friday, May 3, 2019. The opening reception for Drunkards and Defectors, a two-person show featuring Liz Nicklus and myself.

Twenty-two pieces sold, out of maybe 60 pieces total. And we have the rest of the month.

Commerce Street in Bridgeton, NJ

Gallery 50 is located next to the Bridgeton river front. Sharon Kiefer has been the successful Executive Director for almost twenty years now.

Gallery 50 is a gem in a city struggling to rejuvenate its downtown. Liz and I have shown there many times; and it was a privilege when Sharon asked us to do a show this year.

I have not been back to the area since I defected to Arizona about 8 years ago. It was so good to see old faces.  Many people I expected to show up, but there were quite a few surprises. Many people traveled quite a distance to make an appearance.

Steve Byrne provided music for the evening

Tim and Leslie Shannon, and Rocap-Shannon Funeral home sponsored the show. Tim, Leslie, Rob and Eda all attended the opening, and besides their generosity with their sponsorship, they bought a lot of paintings.

Steve Byrne said he was excited to be asked to provide music. Steve is an icon in the Bayshore area.

So many people attended that I am sorry that we did not have more time to mingle and reminiscence.  I was in contact with many others through social media that for one reason or another were not able to attend. One day I need to go back for a reunion of old friends.

The wonderful Sharon Kiefer

I have known Sharon for many years, and she must have a portrait hanging in her attic because she truly does not age! I am so happy that both Liz and I sold. Gallery 50 is my favorite place to exhibit, and to see other exhibits… the quality is always top-notch.

My stay was way too abbreviated. We arrived in Millville Thursday evening. We had to make an appearance at Larry’s bar. Larry Jr. and Angie the bartender were there. Rich and Frannie met us for a meal – I had a cheesesteak sub that I was jonesing for from the minute our plane left the tarmac in Phoenix!

Rob Fini talking to Steve and Nancy

After the show we retired to Sidelines in Millville. Bob “Sitarbob” Price and his brother John met us, and we closed the bar. Yep, we were still drinking when they called “Last Call!”.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Rob and Christine Fini came, Rob over-dressed for the occasion.  I met Rob on my father’s death. I was running the estate sale, and Rob cleaned us out of shelves and so much other stuff. I had to use my pickup to deliver, and since then we became close.  He and Christine visited us in Apache Junction a few years ago. A chance meeting that turned into a close friendship.

Ann Feinstein, Katharine Holsworth and Fred Kramer

Ann Feinstein and her brother Sam attended, as did Fred Kramer and Katharine Holsworth. Pat Witt sent a representative, as she is no longer mobile. Ann is a gifted graphic designer – she designed our postcards.

The opening was overwhelming at times. So many old friends and so little time. I hope that nobody felt snubbed – I wanted to spend an hour with everybody to catch up on old times.

It was a good feeling to see red dots appear on both Liz and my work throughout the evening. The gallery takes a percentage of each sale, and it would be disappointing to show and not make it worthwhile for the gallery to expend the resources to provide us with this opportunity.

with Melanie Ernest

I was really happy to see Melanie. We have been friends for 20 years, dating back to the tie we worked together at an internet startup.

Rich and Frannie had plans that night, but still made time to drop in. Barbara Brenner crossed the Delaware river to stop by. Mark Lau, who owns over a dozen of my paintings, bought one of Liz’s.

Michael Cagno, director at the Noyes Museum, graced us with his presence. He only hobnobs with the elite, so I was not expecting to see him.

Liz Nicklus, Tim and Leslie Shannon, Rich and Frannie DeAlmeida

There are so many people, I am certain I am going to neglect some of them. I arrived home around 1AM last night after a grueling 5 hour flight. I slept soundly, but today I am still so wound up from the show and our visit back east. The generosity of many of them overwhelmed me. While I do not miss New Jersey, I do miss old friends.

Tom Sheppard, former Cumberland County Freeholder attended. A brave move considering my status as anathema to many involved in Cumberland County politics.  He was gone before I had any chance to spend quality time. Lou Magazzu did not attend! Sorry, that is an inside joke for many of you.

Hiroko, Liz and Kevin Quigley

A big surprise was Kevin Quigley and Hiroko. Kevin said he would not be able to attend due to family matters. Kevin is one of the most gifted artists I know. We own many of his paintings. The greatest compliment an artist can receive is that of another artist seeking to own their work.

Our house is filled with the art of other artists. I have one of my own paintings hanging. Liz may have two paintings. Other than that the walls are covered floor to ceiling with the art of others.

My mind is still racing from this weekend. I am going to have a difficult time focusi when I go back to work toorrow morning. I need another week to unwind. Shit, I cannot even focus on this post. Children, can you say “disjointed”?

If you could not attend, I hope this post gives you a snapshot of the evening. Over 30% of our works sold, distrubuted eveninly between Liz and myself. That is a personal best for both of us. I got a commission also, as well as incentive to get back into the studio and start pumping out more. I am now looking forward to my next exhibit!


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