Saturday, December 27, 2008


The holiday trip was a blast. Mostly, we were all excited about the new things going on around the First Grandkid - brother Ike and Jillian's little squirmer, Abby.  First moments off the plane found us all grubbing down in a big way at Chili's. Not a bad meal, mind you. Great staff, quick service, but seriously, they use a LOT of bread on the burgers and all. Or maybe I'm just not so into bread anymore? The fun was in who could keep Abby busy so she didn't focus on the fact that teeth are invading her head. She loves going on walks with Dad, so they mostly do that. She's happy, we're all happy. Dad and Isaac take turns holding her and letting her get a look around the bright lights and bustling sounds of the busy restaurant. We get along, don't get me wrong. But my job is to take her flying inbetween someone else holding her, and remembering to keep a spoon in the freezer so she can get her gum on and keep the teeth at bay.

We're big on some basic things: games, popcorn and recorded shows on TV (no commercials that way). My brother wanted to play Monopoly, which I don't mind once or twice in my lifetime and on a good stretch of the day so I can loose on an epic scale over an extended period of time. But this time around whilst we gave our usual spiel on the games we had and him wanting Monopoly, another game actually made it to the table instead. That's right, Texopoly. It really exists. I played it. And after an hour of it we all threw in the towel and went for popcorn and a movie. Oh, "A Christmas Story", if you must know. On VHS. It's a tradition of sorts.

Ah yes, here we are playing football. Or actually this is the silliest shot I could get that still gets the point of us playing catch in the giant field across from the house. There used to be a large elementary school there and they razed the whole thing. The talks around town is that it might become a college soccer field. 

In Texas they have a different way of distributing the snow. Dad pointed out that this year they were putting it all in large cubes by his shop. And by jove, he was right.

Dad got a super colorful tool for Christmas. We went to the shop and he put it in place on the table saw and demonstrated how it would work when assembled. Behind him is a seriously man-sized pile of sawdust. Seems there's been a lot of planing going on with the, uh, planer there. He's been doing a lot of great stands for our local taxidermist. 

I know, it sounds a little crazy, but their showroom is like walking into a natural history museum. The shop is owned by a super great fellow that befriended me during my last semester of HS when we moved to Snyder, Jason Bynum. He's now one of the more sought after taxidermists in the land. Big game hunters get special licenses for the rare hunting opportunities available through proper and gov't sanctioned hunting channels and send the game to Jason for mounting. 

Here are a couple of his with some really rare finds. Jason told us a story of a hunter that traveled to Africa to hunt for a deer-like animal that looked kind of like that guy on the far right of the picture. There's a large perimeter wall, or wire fence surrounding a game preserve, to keep poaching in check. The hunter decided he would go out early on in the morning and scout for some good photo shots, setting up at the fence. Well, what the photo doesn't really show you is that this bad boy's horns are between 3 to 4 feet in length, depending on the size of the beast. The hunter was found later that morning by his buddies, having set up to get the shot on the fence and not taking into consideration that if it charged it would still have about 4 feet of super sharp horns that would easily pass through the 6 x 6 inch wire square of the fence. So yes, his presence angered or challenged a male. And that male charged him, fence or no, and gored him like two-pronged fork before bouncing off the enclosure. And yes, the deer-like animal is pretty big in person. Larger than a dog, but smaller than a horse. Yeah, like a big deer.

Back to Dad's shop... Here's a stack of the painting frames for the upcoming year.

Oh, and in Snyder there's a special place for these endangered little rascals - Prairie Dog Town. It's an actual prairie dog sanctuary. It's a large square land enclosure at the edge of the city's big park. It's surrounded by a 3 foot concrete wall and these guys seem to thrive on the free food and great irrigation. 

Not to say it's typical, but this is what you can generally find in the sky in any direction out there. That's when it's not too windy, too dusty, rainy or burning hot. 
Ahhh, here's my brother and their golden retriever Bruce. He's the sweetest and biggest goofball puppy. At the moment he's a solid 90 pounds of love and is happy to do his own thing unless he really wants to play with you. And if you're outside, you must be there to play.

The funny thing is, this is the only time when Abby really busts out laughing. If Bruce drops in to check on her, or gets excited about his ball, she breaks out laughing. Hey, she's amused, we're amused.  

Monday, December 15, 2008


Here's the picture: Hollywood proper, late evening cold night, lucky parking, line out the door and around the corner... rain. That's right, this night was so hot that people in LA were willing to wait in the rain to see Darren Le Gallo live paint. Well, maybe not that they knew it, but that's what was gonna happen. Evan's done a helluva thing with this night at Cinespace, and the Deity Group crew has been interested in how we'd eventually put our heads together over a situation such as this. And the answer is lovely. Four bands absolutely giving it up and one live painting show + many many people. We were told halfway through that we were at capacity and there were still people waiting to get in, and the line was as long as it had been when we arrived a couple hours earlier.

Let it be known that the links to the bands for their myspace pages don't capture their real energy live. They really killed it in person in my humble opinion, and the crowds for each performance seemed to be a rotating crop of scenesters and music lovers alike, all fully engaged and stoked on it all.

We Are The Fury was the first band up, not hesitating to belt out their angsty catchy hair metal shred. Hightlights : the song So Physical (with a standing ovation and participation for the chorus "let's Start a fire tonight!").

Andy Clockwise was such a fun moment in the night. Andy was so intense that I fully could picture we were in a smaller pub room and he was shaking his fist and ranting against a room full of large draughts spilling over huge glass mugs and drunken participation on highlight song: "Everybody's In A Band" (you're in a band, you're in a band, he's in a band, she's in a band, everybody's in a... you get the picture).

Picture Atlantic was a great treat. As the third band up, they took the mic immediately apologizing for being so different. Singer Nikolaus Bartunek then made short work of getting everyone's attention with his full range vocals and band timing that was nothing short of impressive. The sound was super accessible and catchy, with moments of sounding like a blend of Hot Hot Heat, The Kooks and something that reminded me of Sunny Day Real Estate and Travis. But that's just because I have a somewhat limited understanding of the full scope of music these days, ya know? 

For most of the night, Darren, Chandler Wood and I just enjoyed making goofy drawrings while in all actuality Darren was constantly trying to work out something to focus on when he got to the live painting part of the night. It all happens in the moment, but it was great to watch him turn page after page of great sketches for paintings or future studies.

We were joined at one point by D's hometown (San Antionio, TX) friend John and his girl Aspertane (can't remember he name but she was super nice and had an interesting name starting with A that had an S somewhere right after it). They chose to draw farm related things, I know not why.

This is D with what he believes is his live painting final sketch.

This meant that next, they were going to make one of those classic turkey drawings out of Aspertane's hand. Of course there's no follow photo for that.

Darren takes the stage as The Devil's Orchestra blasts into their set.

So this is what D's painting was shaping up to be about halfway through the set. Then, right at a critical moment in the nearly 10 minute jam, he just flips it over and scrubs out the whole thing. There was a wave of "Ohhhhhhhh!", as the crowd was totally connected to seeing this picture grow in front of everyone. 
But as soon as the faces disappear, it becomes more clear that there's a method to the apparent madness.

A turn-of-the-century woman begins to appear in the areas left by the departure of the overturned canvas.

In the end, a completely new and unexpected result is born. Darren is totally energized by the experience and immediately begins plans for executing his next performance piece. Very well done, sir. Indeed.



Friday, December 5, 2008


Darren's work has evolved quite a bit into a true expression of his most consistent vision: Ladies & Robots. This show at Ghetto Gloss is perhaps the most in-depth look into his body of work to date. Darren explores his subject matter in a very unique manner. In a way he's putting on an elaborate performance of incorporating a loose yet masterful rendering style into an aria of visual touchstones. 

I manages to get a very few shots of the installation, but it doesn't really capture the scope of the work. There were oil on canvas paintings, ink drawrings on archival paper, mixed media on cardboard and various surfaces as well as his custom clothing line (sorry, no shots of those yet).

Also of mention is Darren's talent for the musical pursuits. He wrote a soundtrack and had it intermittently played in parts mixed with a dj set. Crazy cool points for a well rounded show!

As you arrived, one of his video loops was playing with a big projection of the show title on the front of the building. 
That's Darren in the middle scratching his head.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Introducing my own work is a little sketchy for me most of the time. I get critical, self-conscious, overly poetic and wordy and sometimes downright confusing even for myself. But after trying to look at it in a smaller context by taking a few works and talking about them a little at a time and setting that in book format made so much more sense. That's what "Suddenly" is. It's a collection of the 14 paintings that were on exhibit in Snyder, TX (parent's residence in the cotton and oil country of West Texas), which is supported by background commentary on the 20 paintings chosen to introduce their influence on the current works. 

The limited edition books, each printed individually and boasting separate covers, feature 72 pages of full color and hardbound visual matter. All are signed, numbered and might include a little sketch or drawing. For more info, check this link: NS Store - Suddenly

And knowing that a mere cover isn't enough to really judge a book in full, here's a peek into some of what's inside...


It's an especially special day when the super curious and somewhat shy tree neighbors stop by for tea.

I always assume they've stopped over to share adventure stories with me. But no, they only want to say hello to Lola. Apparently she made a big impression. I suspect it's something to do with the squirrels.

This one in particular, Walter, is a big fan of hers. He occasionally has a big bristly mustache and curses. Walter is an odd fellow.