The Model


This lovely lass turned out to be my most important model now that I think about it. Certainly the one I photographed most.
She would patiently do whatever I asked when I was learning to use my first Nikon camera and some of the shots of her are the best I have ever taken.
Since my paintings used photos for a base it was natural that she was the focus of several attempts.

I believe I made at least four paintings of her. Some came out well… some did not.

I actually sold two that were based on her. She is the only real person, as in ‘person I actually knew’ that was the subject in any of the paintings I have actually sold to date.

This is one of my most commented on paintings when people see a photo of it. It is her head superimposed on a model from an ad I saw in a Cosmo magazine. She did not actually pose for this painting…I’ve never seen her unclothed. But it’s a good capture, I think…

It’s beautiful, to tell the truth…

Even if I do say so myself…

From The Bar ~ Chantilly Lace

websizeAnother segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon In The Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails… Some of them might even be true…

   Hiring Crew
Job Focus:
The perfect customer space:
A clean table
A clean Ashtray
One drink
One dry napkin
No dead glasses

My Crew Rules were simple:
No drugs or drunkenness on the Job.
Wear What You Want…you know what Looks Good on you…
Gawd HELP you if you show up with chipped nail polish.
“Check your dip.”
Leave Your Lover Home. Don’t Let Your Lover Loiter.

Continue reading “From The Bar ~ Chantilly Lace”

From The Bar ~The Face On The Barroom Floor~

Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…

The Face On The Barroom Floor…

Actually, that’s a poem by Hugh Antoine D’Arcy.

This is more about the face on the barroom ceiling.

One of the Bartenders had an interesting idea, one he had seen at another bar somewhere down the road.

The ceiling at The Bar was made of simple twelve inch tiles of pressed paper. His suggestion was to buy new tiles and give them to the customer’s to decorate and put the results on the ceiling, replacing the old ones as we went along..

This went over very well. For every ten tiles passed out we would get six back. The missing tiles usually consigned to closets and are probably still there waiting to be decorated. Some were quite spectacular. One was a four tile masterpiece of a Japanese style tiger.

One was another four tile creation reminiscent of the sixties psychedelic hippie artwork. Continue reading “From The Bar ~The Face On The Barroom Floor~”

From The Bar ~ The Large American Breasts

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Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…

We needed a waitress who had some flexibility. Time softens the memory but it seemed we needed a girl to work the day shift. This was always a tough spot to fill because of its odd hours, eleven a.m. to one p.m, then back at four p.m. to eight p.m. We might need her cover some night work, too. At the time, our regular daytime waitress was taking some days off…perhaps a vacation, or I was between day shift workers. It doesn’t matter. What mattered was that I needed a cocktail waitress that could work night or day as the job required.

The Bar was pretty popular at the time so I felt that finding a girl wouldn’t be difficult. I was getting asked if we had openings pretty often so I was pretty confident that someone would turn up without me having to revert to newspaper ads. Of course always up for question was whether the candidate would work out but that is an eternal issue with New Hires in any business. In hindsight it sometimes made for episodes worthy of any Hollywood comedy.

Sure enough, a fetching little gamine came in one day asking if I needed a cocktail waitress. She was petite, about 5’1” tall…not much over 100 pounds. She was a pretty girl, more cute than beautiful, barely twenty one, I think. We shall call her “Clarissa” for this telling.

She proudly announced, with a conspiratorial giggle, “I’m Puerto Rican but I also have Large American Breasts.” She made this anatomical announcement with a happy smile. Her pronouncement of having Large American Breasts was delivered with humor, not with suggestiveness. She always said it with a little laugh. Just for the record, her breasts were nicely shaped but were not distractingly large. Not small by any means, but certainly not outsized. She had a nicely turned, slender but well proportioned little figure.

She was one of those women who dyed her dark hair, aiming for blonde but not quite achieving true blonde tone. Still, she was a cutie with a fetching way of dressing and an ever-present smile. All this added up to a pleasing presentation.

When I explained The Job to her I discussed (as I always did) the dress code, such as it was. It was pretty simple…”Never wear jeans, wear what looks good on you.” but I had strictures about ‘exposure.’ One of these was to “Check your dip” before you went to work… meaning to be aware of your breasts and to guard against accidental exposure. Check your outfit by bending forward in front of a mirror if necessary (“checking your dip”). This was to ensure that no accidental boob-baring would occur.
The Rule was that the customer should Never see the color of the girl’s nipples. I liked the crew to look pretty as they wanted to look because I knew it usually meant more tips but I did not want them looking or behaving like tarts.

It was during this conversation that she confessed that she didn’t wear underwear. This gave me some pause. I didn’t mind if a woman chose to not wear a bra but there was a visual risk factor if she went about sans panties. The shorter women often used the square foot rail molding at the base of the bar to elevate themselves while they did their ordering. This could cause unexpected exposure when viewed from certain angles. With some reluctance I said, “Well, OK, just so long as the customers don’t become aware of this condition. No super short skirts. If I hear you’re flashing people, out you go!” She promised to comport herself as I asked and she signed on.

Now as it happened, the daytime bartender was confident in her own effect on men. She was like royalty. The Golden Queen. She had a steady and loyal following. She was a real beauty in the Farrah Fawcett mode and had a knack of making her male customers feel like she was especially attentive to each of them without having to actually get involved with them. This is a rare skill and this kind of bartender is a powerful draw in the saloon business.
Needless to say, she made excellent money.

Clarissa’s first day was, ah, ‘interesting.’ Clarissa had an almost elfin sexual appeal, enhanced by her chatty sense of humor and her extreme femininity in her manner of dress. She always wore dresses, very light and frilly, the kind that triggers fantasies in boys and men. She swept into the job and the sweep had quite an impact. The males, who before had been gazing at the Golden Queen so adoringly, suddenly were sitting on their stools with their backs to the bar watching Clarissa as she laughingly flitted from one table to another taking drink orders. The Boys were all quite infatuated with her even to the point of forgoing their incessant dice games for Carissa’s first few days.

Clarissa’s underwear (or lack of it) was a situation that caused me to send her to the ladies room with safety pins in hand for strategic rearrangement of various drapery openings several times and home to change at least once. The Bar had four good sized ceiling fans and each waitress station had one directly above where the trays were loaded. One hot summer morning the fans were already running when Clarissa came on duty and we got a lesson in aerodynamic physics in the matter of air and cloth.

This being that a fan blowing toward the floor creates a reflective updraft as the air hits the floor and is redirected upward. The effect on a particularly diaphanous dress Clarissa had chosen to wear that day was reminiscent of the scene in The Seven Year Itch. The one where Marilyn Monroe stands over a subway vent causing her skirts to billow upward. When Clarissa went to the waitress station, the fan’s secondary updraft lofted her dress skyward. The threat of exposure caused all sorts of rapid hand flurries as she tried to manage her dress, her money and her tray at the same time. It was really too hot and still to turn off the fan so I sent her home to change as a lesson in using more care in wardrobe selection in the future.

Clarissa would sometimes come in at night to mingle and party. Some bars discourage their crew from coming in off shift but we had no such restraint.
It turned out she was an excellent dancer. I was particularly skilled as a swing dancer. I had a girl I danced with regularly. We’d put in a lot of practice and we were an impressive pair on the dance floor. I took Clarissa for a turn and we jelled quickly. She was quite a bit shorter and lighter than my regular dance partner and she followed well which made her a joy to dance with. She was very petite which meant I could lift her higher easier than my favored partner. Clarissa’s lack of underwear caused some issues while dancing because it was a risk to lift her too high or to spin her too much. Spinning a dancer tends to make their skirts flare and flatten. This would have put exposure of her nether areas at risk. But we made it work and enjoyed our time on the dance floor.

All this caused major friction between my much loved dance mate and myself.

My regular dancer and I weren’t seeing each other romantically but she still felt extremely proprietary about me when it came to that dance floor. We were excellent when we danced together reflecting hours of practice. She didn’t mind me dancing with another woman from time to time because she knew it was good for business because she also knew that she and I were visually untouchable as a dance team. Therefore she was Not Pleased when Clarissa danced with me. She was even less pleased seeing that I was actually enjoying myself in the process. It took some doing for me to get her fur smoothed down. I can’t remember how I did it but I knew I had to avoid a donnybrook between the two. Or my certain assassination on my way home some night.

Clarissa was a fan of Long Island Iced Teas or Margaritas depending on her mood and while she didn’t drink on the job, (a taboo) drinking could cause issues when she was just hanging out… literally. Not so much with her deportment but with her “Large American Breasts.” On two separate occasions the outfits Clarissa wore lacked full containment capability and one or the other of her ‘Large American Breasts’ would come forth to greet the world. I have to admit they were lovely specimens, absolutely perfect in form and pink coloration of areola, but public boob display was not on the agenda for my crew on or off duty. “Tuck it in” had a whole new meaning on those “escape” nights.

When you really think about it, tending bar or cocktailing is a form of show business. The bar staff are actors, each playing their developed bartending or waitressing persona as they go along, always looking for ways to project their chosen ‘character’ role in such a ways as to generate more income in the form of tips.

All things considered, Clarissa was a fun waitress. She was able to flirt with the men (“You’re the Only One”) without getting into trouble with the men’s dates because they could tell it was just her act even when she cited her Large American Breasts. Clarissa was pretty, funny, vivacious and sexy…but there was a problem. When it came to the ‘show business’ she was good on “show” but not so much on the actual “business” part.

Clarissa was, alas, a terrible waitress. She couldn’t add and never got the hang of delivering a proper call order. The nighttime bartenders really didn’t like working with her because of this. Nighttime, particularly on a noisy, busy, Band Night made for too much pressure for speed to tolerate any incompetence at the critical point of ordering and paying for drinks.

She never really got the hang of it at the money point, the all important ordering and pricing, so I had to ease her out and find help elsewhere. That was part of my job. The transitory nature of saloon staff always had me looking for the next ‘star’.

Still, I think of Clarissa often and with great affection. True, she wasn’t a good waitress, but she had her own way of lighting up her shifts. Even after all these years, thinking of her makes me smile…

I hope she’s doing well… she was a sweetie…

From The Bar~ An Almost Ghost Story

Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon in the Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…

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When I worked for The Bar I dressed up a bit on weekends. I added a vest to my basic attire of long sleeve shirt, medicine bag and The Hat. Not being a fan of neckties, I instead used silk scarves cleverly tied so the knots were invisible. This added a dash of color to my outfit and allowed me to avoid the constraint of total conformity. We called it an “ascot” although it didn’t tie like an ascot normally does. I still dress this way when I want to dress more or less formally.

For almost a year I favored tie-tacks, an accessory meant to keep a necktie from drifting out of alignment. I had a few of these and liked the bit of sparkle they added to my weekend costume.

One night a young man came in. He was a friend I had known from the Gelb days. He was something of a Grateful Dead fan and he told me he had been to the recording session the Dead did in Cairo, Egypt, in 1978. While he was there he said he had climbed to the top of the largest pyramid of the three at Ginza, the Khufu monument, and brought back some small pieces of it. He gave me a small chunk of this material. It wasn’t very large. It was a little smaller than an M & M peanut candy.
Well, of course, this bit of sandy colored stone just radiated MoJo!

I decided to make a tie-tack out of it. I got some sandpaper and very carefully rendered the thing into a small pyramid. It was soft… something like sandstone, easy to work. I had a flat surfaced tie tack so I very carefully mixed some epoxy and glued the mini-pyramid onto it and let it set for the required period.

The weekend was approaching so I checked to see how my glue job went and it looked good. No excess glue and the little pyramid seemed firmly anchored. It was a Saturday night, a band night, a night I usually wore my ‘dress’ outfit, the vest and scarf/ascot and debuted my fragment of pyramid on tie tack. For whatever reason I was extremely conscious of the thing. I was very aware of it thinking about its antiquity and the history and mystery of the edifice it came from.

I went down early and remember it being a moody night, weather-wise. Forecasters had predicted wind and rain so I figured I’d better get there before the inclement weather struck. The duty doorman, Dan York, was a good friend and was already there when I arrived.
I told him about my new tie tack. He had been there when the young man gifted the bit of rock to me and was pleased with the effect. It didn’t particularly stand out but he could definitely see it was a mini-pyramid and pronounced it a good job. I told him I liked it except my very colorful imagination had me being followed by two robed, bald headed guys who saw no humor in my using a piece of their ancient temple for a bit of frippery.

Well, the weather guys were correct. We had a noisy squall pass through our area… rain, darkness, lightning, wind…a very noisy storm front. Right at the peak of the squall, the door to the bar opened and a well dressed man with a swarthy complexion came in and walked up to Dan and myself. He spoke oddly accented English and asked for directions to somewhere…exactly where escapes me now… and Dan cheerfully provided the information he required.
I was curious about his accent so I asked him where he was from.
“Egypt.” he said.
Well, you Know that set the hair on my arms to rising!

Oddly, the storm abated in the next half hour and it was clear the rest of the night.

…and when I got home that night the tie tack was gone. I never saw it again…