Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rick Wood, Barack Obama and me in shades


At my first ever art show, I made my second ever "art" sale to my old friend Rick Wood. Rick bought my sketch of Barack Obama from the televised presidential debate in Nashville. I also sketched John McCain off TV that night (and gave that sketch to a stranger at the show who told me he reads my blog, the first stranger to do so, which warmed the heart of this self-publisher).

Those sketches from TV were my only sketches in the show that were not drawn from life, from actual physical proximity. I have never been anywhere near John McCain (and do not seek that opportunity), though I have twice been in a small room with Barack Obama. The above photo is documented proof of this, shot by St. Louis American photojournalist Wiley Price. My friend Meghan Gohil of Hollywood Recording Studios has been begging me to upload this photo since he saw it in my imaginary museum, so this one's for Meghan.

With Obama and me in the photo are two beloved local African-American politicians, Michael McMillan and April Ford-Griffin. This was a small group strategy session convened by U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay during the primary.

Yes, unfortunately, the only documented proof that I have been in the same small room with Barack Obama before he got super totally famous depicts me wearing dark sunglasses indoors. Those are tinted prescrition lens, I had recently stepped on and crushed my non-tinted prescription lens, I hate to shop for anything except books and beer, very much including eyeglasses, and I wouldn't have been able to see the great man very well without wearing the only prescription lens I had at the time (which happened to be tinted), but none of this keeps me from looking like a clown in perhaps the most historic photograph that will ever include me in it.

Just behind where Obama is standing, by the way, is a window. At one point, I got tired of standing and writing and went to sit down on the window ledge, without thinking that this would put me behind the back of a presidential candidate. This gave me a chance to feel like prey, as one of the Secret Service guys moved up and made me his only concern, until I grew weary of his icy stare and moved from out behind Obama.

The buyer of my sketch, Rick Wood, is a very talented architect with an office in the City Museum building. He also has made a variety of curious and amazing little artifacts over the years that deserve to be pulled out and shown to folks again, the next time somebody throws an art party like this one.

I know Rick through the local music scene. He invited my first band Enormous Richard to be on the first Out of the Gate compilation of alternative country in St. Louis, which Rick produced back in 1988 or so - long before Twangfest, Bloodshot Records, No Depression the magazine or No Depression the Uncle Tupelo record. Rick definitely saw that whole scene coming before most of us did, and he has stuck with it through the years as (I understand) a core Twangfest organizer. He also makes a mean mix tape and used to do candid and well written concert reviews and scene notes on a Vintage Vinyl blog.

My Obama sketch went for $10, which was double the specified opening bid of $5, though Rick's was, in fact, the opening bid. This bidding technique shows previously unknown political acumen in Rick, an architect and music organizer, since paralyzing the competition through shock and awe in the early stages is a commonly thumbed page in the power politics playbook.

That's what Mayor Slay, Inc. was up to recently in pressuring all of their (mostly County Republican) major funders to back out of a fundraiser being organized by an African-American political player whom Slay fears will run against him in March in the Democratic municipal primary.

2 comments:

Steve Pick said...

So, one of these days, Google will be sophisticated enough - heck, perhaps it is, now, I've never thought about it before - to translate "Enormous Richard" into "big dick" and vice versa. When this happens, a search for "Barack Obama" and "big dick" will lead to this blog post.

Rick needs to reissue that "Out of the Gate" tape on CD. Man, that was a great album.

Confluence City said...

And here I always thought we were "Little Richard but only bigger."

That was a great compilation - Electric Sheep's and Three Foot Thick's being the two that stick with me, though everything on it was good except for our cut. Which sucks.

I'm going to hunt it out and throw it in the car now.