Sunday, September 30, 2007


I am now fifty-four.

I spent much of the weekend attending the Virginia/Pitt game in Charlottesville, flanked by one of my favorite daughters, her friend Katie, and BFF Earl from Denver. Virginia scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and went on to win 44-14. We sang the good old song quite a bit. The weather was lovely. Life was pretty good. Marred, in fact, only by the absence, due to scheduling, of my other favorite daughter.

I am, however, troubled by the insistence of some members of the Virginia student body to add the words "not gay" to the line that ends "...where all is bright and gay." This has been the case for several years, and it used to be, if taken with a grain of salt, moderately amusing.

Now, coming from these smirking, super-homogenized Dukie wannabes that have somehow replaced normal people as the flower of Virginia, I find it offensive.

I should have gone to the University of Maryland. Earl and I shared common cause with about 40 sorority sisters at a bar in College Park prior to us going to eat and them going to the Orioles game, and let me tell you: youth is wasted on the young.

It might have been my best birthday ever. Top fifteen, easy.

All was not fun and games, however. Much reflection on the next painting occurred.
"And?" you ask?

Well, I came up with is this for a title:
"Close, But No Cigar"
Which, as if you couldn't guess, will be a reinterpretation of Chuck Close's famous painting "Big Self Portrait" utilizing the obscured box technique.

The original is, of course, this:

I envision it as a bookend to "Close, But Not Quite," an earlier (for me) interpretation of another Close self-portrait.

The earlier painting used a grid in a somewhat different manner than I currently employ. It will be fun to see an obscured box painting next to this one.

The mind reels.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm very drawn to Farnoosh Torabi

To suggest that this is annoying is like suggesting that Andre Soltner stuffing pate de foi gras under the skin of a tender young chicken and then roasting it is a great idea. It's the understatement of the decade.

Did you follow that?

Anyway, here's the link to the previously mentioned video on

Shouldn't you just paste it in and you get the picture and everything right on your blog?

My Marshall McLuhan Moment

So I'm sitting outside the NYSE, hiding behind some bikes...

watching people tilt their heads so they can read the words on my painting...

At some point, I hear one man speaking in relative depth about not only this particular painting but others by the artist (the "artist," of course, being me). I walk up next to him and listen to the rest of his spiel. Anonymously. Just one more mover and shaker with slicked back hair, yellow suspenders and, tucked away in the inside pocket of my impeccably tailored Alan Flusser suit, one of those leather cases that holds two Cuban cigars.

I'm sure you get the picture.

Anyway, I have to tell you, it is more than a little odd (in an uplifting way) to hear a perfect stranger speak at relative length about your work to another bunch of strangers. This must be how Jasper Johns used to feel in the early days.

And man, his friends did seem impressed. So I eschew the
opportunity to correct some of the things he screwed up and just introduce myself.

God then promptly rewards me by sending a crew from to interview me. This would be them:

You can tell by the wires.

I was very drawn to Farnoosh Torabi--one of the correspondents who interviewed me. You can see for yourself at I'd link it for you, but it seems to be the one f**king thing I can't get my Mac to do in Blogger mode.

Dealbreaker weighs in

Dealbreaker was nice enough to say some nice things about me, including calling me "the greatest artist of our time." I do like the way that rolls around on the tongue.

You can access the full text by going to and scrolling back a couple of pages 'til you see: "$Honey Gets the Geoffrey Raymond Treatment." I would suggest you click-through to read the entire piece and, while there, I'd call special attention to the comments section, my favorite of which suggests that I now warrant a Wikipedia page. From that person's mouth to God's ears.

I wonder how one gets such a thing. Is it DIY?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I bait my hook for Leviathan

Despite so-so results fishing in Lake Dolly, I push forward undeterred. For now I'm in the deep water, trolling for whales. My bait? Big Maria I (Plane Too Many).

Which you can now see in her hi-res, double-clickable glory.

I am Spartakus.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Regarding the Breach

Regarding this whole "into the breach (whatever that means)" business: I am stymied a bit by the fact that my camera has somehow (perhaps due to operator error, but I have a hard time believing it) switched from shooting the kind of large files I need to send along to the media to shooting the small ones that you see below, and which are functionally useless other than for the decoration of a blog.

That is to say, if you double click the photo of Big Maria below, it doesn't get much larger. There's no there there, if you catch my drift. Tangentially, one has to wonder what happens when you double-click Barack Obama.

Anyway, politics aside, now I have to drag my ass back to the studio and reshoot the goddam thing at a higher resolution. Which angers me.

Does one, I wonder, capitalize goddam? Yes for God (under a specific type of usage). Likewise Styrofoam, certainly.

To suggest that I am beside myself doesn't begin to describe my disgruntlement.

I seem to have broken a finger

I seem to have broken a finger riding my bike past Bruce Springsteen's house. I can only assume this is what I was doing since nobody would actually tell us which house he lived in. But we did the best we could.

And under the category of truth in blogging, the finger was mangled not in the actual midst of Sunday's Twin Lights Charity Ride (as one might have gathered from the above), but, rather, early the morning of, in front of Bagel World, 6:45 a.m., when yours truly, choosing to save the life of a child who ran in front of my bicycle at the risk of losing my own, slammed on the clampers but, in the heat of the matter, failed to unclip my feet from the pedals. In that nanosecond of awareness one has in the middle of something unpleasant, I reflected on the general condition of my shoulder and thought, mid-plummet, "This is really going to hurt."

Truer words are rarely spoken.

This man, by the way, was one of my riding mates. The painting of him (which does make him look at bit as if savages had peeled his skin off and left him to die of exposure in the desert) is a classic early GVR drip work--long before I evolved that loosy-goosey (but gloriously so) style into what is now universally termed the obscured box technique--and resides in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Susswein of Brooklyn, NY.

The good news? Well...the way I paint, you don't really need precise use of your digits. You just kind of grab the stick and flail away. It's more like tennis than painting, really. So the finger's not such a consideration, given the givens.

And, I would additionally ask, what really is pain when you pause to behold the final version of Big Maria I (Plane Too Many)? Which would, of course, be this:

Tomorrow--into the breach (whatever that means) with the damned thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Here's my problem

Actually I have a long list of problems. One reader whose email address I didn't recognize recently wrote in saying:
You need serious help.
Really. That's it. Verbatim. Who would write such a thing? For the record, it came right on the heels of my post about vegans. But that's not the problem about which I write. In fact, I'm not even sure it's a problem at all. Because when they tell you you need serious help it means one of two things: A) you need serious help. 2) you must be onto something; otherwise they wouldn't be in such a lather. The smart money is on item 2.

But foremost on my mind, as we recount the problems I do actually have, is my seeming inability to have, in my possession, at any one time, three items critical for making my own breakfast. Those would be, of course:
A) milk
2) cereal
iii) coffee.
It seems easy enough on the face of it, but I just can't get the hang of it. And when I don't have these items (like right now, for instance), I have to leave the house in the morning and go to Dizzy's, where I sit outdoors under the canopy and eat the breakfast and drink the coffee they provide for a fee.

All of which, I suppose, is fine. Except that the sausage they serve has fennel in it. Which is okay to a degree, but after a while you feel like you're brushing your teeth with Tom's of Maine. Which I am.


None of this would necessarily be a problem except for the fact that I've upgraded my studio accommodations from the first-come-first-served general membership area to a semi-private room. Which is more expensive but better. These two concepts are, of course, related.

So, after tomorrow, no more eggs at Dizzy's.

Actually, this is where we stand.

Actually, this is where we stand.

The Left Nostril of Maria Bartiromo

This is, of course, a shot of it, along with the rest of her face as it stands now.

But we get ahead of ourselves. This, you may remember, is where we left off.

This is where we were this morning, after having done plenty of whiting (blacking) out.

And then later, this (although it is possible that the images directly above and below are, in fact, identical):

Ditto this:

Don't move too quickly. Take a look at the nose above. Like Mary Poppins might say, change is in the wind. Or something like that.

Now look at this:

Thank God we got rid of that weird goober of a right nostril. But look at the left. I was sitting there, experiencing self-loathing, when suddenly I realized her right nostril was too fucking low. The whole thing needed to move up about a quarter of an inch.

And now we've gotten rid of the "Todd" verbiage. Things are looking good (in my humble opinion). I'm starting to think about exhibition dates. Possibly next week. Still to come is new copy (reading: "If I see that bitch Erin Burnett on the Today Show one more time I'm going to freak out!"). The area above her head will, I'm thinking, remain black. You can see how we modified her veil(s).

It's better in person. But then, isn't everything? Or, at least, aren't a lot of things?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A view from the bridge

Not a bridge, really. But the back of my hosts' house, down the hill to the pond, and then beyond.

Don't even think about catching a fish. Impossible.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Went Fishing ... Back Now

Good to be back from a grueling trip to the mountains. The term "fishing" in the title carries both literal and metaphorical weight.

Didn't catch anything in Lake Dolly, although the water was low and I did go out in the middle of the afternoon.

May have lined up a show in Andes, a toney little Catskills hamlet.

Met some interesting people. Picked and ate some vegetables.

Donated a portrait to a local fund-raising effort.

Good times had by all. Details, as appropriate, to follow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm a big Britney Spears fan. Not because of her talent package. No. It's because I think she looks like the Statue of Liberty--at least in the nose/eyebrow area. That said, I'm not as emotionally connected as this poor girl.

In case you don't follow these things, B. Spears opened the MTV Video Music Awards with what is possibly the lamest performance in the history of a pretty lame show. At certain points she was staggering, she messed up her lip sync, and then, in the end, she stopped singing altogether (although her recorded soundtrack continued).

Thus, she's getting a lot of shit in the media. Liz Smith did have something nice to say, however. It went something like: "For a woman who's had two kids she looks fine. Just not bikini-on-stage fine." True, true.

I wonder what's behind the curtain. Maybe the nurse's station.

Eating Vegan

I spent quite a bit of time last night talking to a woman named Caroline. She's vegan. Or, alternatively, she's a vegan. I'm not certain of the usage, or even if the word is capitalized. Vegan. But of course that's capitalized because it's the first word in a sentence. Not a sentence, really, but still, if it ends in a period then it should start with a capital letter.

Anyway, Caroline made such an impression on me that I ordered veggie sausage with my eggs over easy this morning. And while I understand that this particular dish doesn't fully embrace the vegan eating philosophy (at some point last night, she asked me several times in a loud voice, "Do you even know what an egg is?"), it's my modest effort, as we stand at the precipice of the Jewish New Year, at attaining a higher level of purity.

And that's something. I can't wait to tell Hae Jung, my acupuncturist, of this exciting development.

Caroline, by the way, is the healthiest looking vegan I've ever seen. She says she gets plenty of protein. To paraphrase Harold Brodkey:
To see her in sunlight is to see ovo-lacto vegetarianism die.
He should know. He's dead.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Report from the Great American West, part 3

As those who read these pages well know, the Peter McManus Cafe is my watering hole of choice. I was there yesterday for the semi-annual stick ball tournament. While I don't participate in the games themselves (blessed with poor hand/eye coordination specific to sticks and balls), they were offering free beer, barbequed chicken and ribs. I did participate in these things and managed to stay quite a while.

People often suggest that the PMC is like the bar in Cheers, the television show. And it is, to a degree. I mean, everybody knows my name and vice-versa. But I don't correspond to any of the characters on Cheers. I am, I must tell you, my own man in this regard.

I bring this up only to suggest that everyone needs a place like this. Or most people, at least. So it was with some delight that I found myself in my friend Earl's version of same, accompanied by Mammoth World Celebrity Bike Tour teammate Dave, Year Of... West Coast Correspondent Aimee, and Earl himself. The bar's ceiling is adorned with hockey jerseys (which is okay, even if you're not a hockey guy), and other sports paraphernalia*. Parts of the layout are odd, but the waitresses are pretty attractive--and that can go a long way towards rubbing down the sharp edges.

One of them was also an expert in sleep apnea. I felt like I was getting some traction with my insistence on pronouncing the term as "slee papnea" (a subtle distinction, I'll warrant, but not lost on the expert herself), but I didn't have enough time to make it really stick, if you can envision the implications of the phrase "make it really stick."

And despite that, we all had a lovely time, drinking some beer plus one shot each (except for Dave, who is, apparently, in training). In a perfect world it would have been karaoke night and I would have gotten up first and done a "Mack the Knife/My Way" double set, if for no other reason than to leave Earl with no material. But it wasn't.

At the end of the night I desperately tried to pick up the Check, but my buddy Aimee beat me to it.

* Paraphernalia is an odd word. The urge to leave out the R is always with me, just like Picasso was always with Rauschenberg. It comes from the Greek parapherna, meaning, if I have my Greek right, property unrelated to a dowry.

The Existance of God, part deux

I'm always amazed at the number of Year of.... readers who deny the existence of God. To them I would pose the following:

Yesterday morning the Brooklyn cohort of the Mammoth World Celebrity Bike Tour embarked on the New York Century Ride--a 100 mile circumnavigation of Brooklyn and Queens, with a stop in the Bronx and a beginning and end at the top of Central Park.

Because my group is aging, we chose the 55 mile loop. Please don't think less of me. And because I am aging at what is apparently a faster rate than the others, and because my recent shoulder problems were making themselves known the way repeated hammer blows to the side of the head make themselves known, I found myself in the outdoor eating section of Nathan's, munching on a dog with kraut and creamy garlic fries, staring across the street at the Coney Island F Train Stop thinking, "Screw this, I'm getting on the fucking train and going home."

This would, of course, be at the 25 mile mark, approximately.

But the hotdog and fries worked their special magic and I decided instead to carry on. After all, my favorite part of the ride was coming up--the part that takes you along the Brooklyn seashore out to meet the Rockaways (loved him, hated her).

Might have been a mistake because another ten miles or so later, nursing my back at the next rest stop, staring up at the sky, I knew I wasn't up for the full 55. Except now I wasn't staring at any subway station. I was as lost in the boondocks as you can be in New York City without being on Staten Island.

And then it happened. One of my associates uttered the following words:
"Ya know--I'm looking at the upcoming route and it takes us right through the Grand Army Plaza...*"
At which point, realizing we were in the presence of something bigger than simply us, my teammates and I looked at each other in silence. In the nanosecond it took for us to jointly recognize this as an opportunity to close the loop to a mere 44 miles and get the hell home, I could hear every Seraphim and Cherubim in the heavens, accompanied by the same choir that backed up The Rolling Stones on "You Can't Always Get What You Want", singing the glories of God in full throat. It's possible I could also hear Charlie Watts in there too, but that could just have been my imagination.

And before I knew it, I was home.

Praise Allah.

* the Grand Army Plaza is about ten blocks from my house

Friday, September 07, 2007

It's Not So Much Weariness...

It's not so much weariness as it is the size of my stomach.

This was taken during the painting of "Self Portrait II (That Boy Could Sure Eat Some Beets)" and is, of course, entitled "Portrait of the Artist's Stomach (Go ahead and eat all you like--we'll make more)."

Given that most of my time in Leesburg was spent eating not beets but, rather, Nacho Cheese Doritos and onion dip, the size of my stomach is not surprising. It is, however, a burden during the occasional 60 mile bike trip.

Likewise my double chin, which must weigh ten pounds by itself. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo on it that reads "objects in mirror may be closer than they appear." Obviously the letters would be inscribed in reverse, so I could read it while shaving.

My weariness amazes me

My weariness amazes me. I'm stranded on my feet.

I have serious doubts about my ability to drag my ass around Brooklyn and Queens (by bike) this Sunday.

Certainly vast gobs of vaseline will help. But there's more to it than that.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

1:49 ...

I walk the streets of Park Slope like Aqualung.

dah dah dah dah daaah duh
(shikity shikity shikity shikity)
dah dah dah dah daaah duh

Snot is running down my nose.

Small children throw stones and used paper cups at me. The call me Stinky McGee, then run away. One kid actually picks up a turd (please, people--curb your dog!) and throws it at me. The urge to grab the turd, then the kid, and then, while ramming the shit down his throat, explain to him in calm tones and age-appropriate language that there's a high probability he's doomed to spend his professional life as a mid-level apparatchik in some massive company so he might as well get used to eating shit at an early age, is palpable.

Me? I don't see what all the fuss is about. I finished my shower at 12:29 and couldn't look or smell any nicer. Like a cheerleader on her way to the big game--only manlier.

But it is worth noting that we are all, no matter how obvious the self-congratulatory smirk on our faces, perilously close to something life-changingly bad. Homelessness...destitution...a seven and nine Jets season.

Whatever scares you the most might be just around the corner.

Dah dah dah dah daaah duh.

Tonight I attend the opening of my boy Andy Freeberg's photo show at the Danziger Gallery in Chelsea. You can read about him in The Times today. I'd offer the link, but his article isn't online. Odd.

He's done a series of photographs of the front desks of Chelsea art galleries. These front desks are a part, as Danziger himself notes, of the "architecture of intimidation." Lovely thought.

This, of course, is an example from the show:

The word you are searching for is, by the way, "rectilinear."

The subject is the front desk of the Sonnabend gallery--perhaps the least friendly major art space in Chelsea. Which, I guess, is part of the idea of the photo. Next time I'm at Sonnabend, I'm going to try to remember to go to the supermarket first and buy a quarter pound of sea scallops. Then, while walking about the place, I'll toss individual scallops in as many out-of-sight corners as I can, on the sly. Then come back in two days and see how we're doing with all that attitude.

Anyway, the whole lot can be seen at --go to "portfolio", then look under the "sentry" heading.

Under the Truth in Blogging law, I also have to tell you he's not really my boy. I've never met him. He's my boy Eric's boy. I'm just trying to get famous by hanging nearby.

I believe the phrase is--or might be, were there one--proximal celebrity. My strategy is to wait until Andy decides to say a few words and then shout, repeatedly, at the top of my lungs, "Freeberg!", which is both his last name and a reference to the way people at Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts used to request the phonetically similar song.

This, I feel certain, will cause many, if not all, the people in the room to stare at me, thus generating a degree of proximal celebrity.

11:41...still no shower

It's a good ten minutes past eleven thirty and still no shower. I'm of two minds about this:

First, I feel alarmingly greasy. I don't want to sit on any of my upholstered chairs.

Second, you should smell me.

This is not an invitation to do so but rather a rhetorical comment.

But really, you should. There's a richness to it that reminds me of the deep loam of the Virginia piedmont, of long-down trees in Mississippi forests, rotting from within (aren't we all?), awash with insects. I envision a sea turtle, a mossy sea monster, gravid with eggs (if that's not redundant. I mean, what else might she be gravid with?), climbing out of the surf and, while I'm asleep on my beach towel, digging a nest for herself in my underarm, planting her eggs in my richness.

Me? I'm gravid with unpainted images.

Ah...the cycle of life. My heart soars like an eagle. I feel like a song from The Lion King.

It's 8:42

It's 8:42. Just back from three laps of Prospect Park with members of the Mammoth World Celebrity Bike Tour. Not certain how to proceed.

A shower, certainly. The brushing of teeth jumps to mind. But then what?

I am surprised at how many people are up and about this early.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Report from the Great American West, part 2

We're having a taxi cab strike today, so it's good to be back; and better to be back as of yesterday. I can't imagine LaGuardia during a taxi strike.

The trip, excluding the stated reason for the trip, that being the Virginia/Wyoming game, with the understanding that in this case we are using the word Game in the broadest sense possible, was a smashing success.
Your favorite part?
My favorite part, you ask?

I think it was the dressing on the spinach salad Lori made on our final night. The wine was also good, although I liked the second bottle better than the first, and the fourth most of all.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Report from the Great American West

The good news is that the breadth of the sky here in the Great American West is just as you might imagine it to be. They don't, after all, call it Big Sky country for nothing.

The bad news came crashing down on me as I sat on my friend Earl's patio this morning reading the Sunday Times of a day ago.

The humanistic implication of all this Big Sky business runs something along the lines of "Man, as dwarfed by the majesty of nature." All of which is fine, except that for one with so large a sense of self-esteem as I, it holds no water.

Rather, I chose to focus on how tiny the newly physically gutted New York Times looks when held up against the blue expanse of Colorado sky.

Will the nightmare ever end?