Monday, December 05, 2005

Talking Turkey in Astoria

I have been a neglectful blogger. But then, everything has fallen into a deep pit while I’ve been getting my photos ready for the opening of a new photo gallery in Astoria, the Shanahan Gallery, 1296 Commercial St.

Okay, that’s a blatant plug, and shameless self-promotion, but what the hell. If I don’t promote my work, I don’t know who will. And as some wise old showbiz mogul said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

It’s been 30 years since I’ve exhibited anywhere, and the last time I did, one of my best photos was stolen right off the wall. I was truly flabbergasted, and so was the gallery, and at the time, I honestly didn’t know whether to be pissed or flattered. I still wonder.

I digress. Preparing simple matted prints for the Astoria Sunday Market is one thing. Preparing matted prints for a gallery is a galloping horse of another color. It is time-consuming. It is expensive. It is an exercise in masochism and frustration. It consumes every waking and sleeping thought. I created several new permutations of exceedingly graphic and vile obscenities in the process. I should have written them down, now that I think of it, for future use.

Last Friday I finally delivered the 50 “children” to the gallery. At first I thought I would be loath to part with them after all the angst. But no, I almost flung them at the poor gallery owner, and flew out the door. Once outside, I felt free, and damn near giddy, and practically danced down the sidewalk with relief.

In the meantime, while I was thrashing around and swearing at my gallery prints, it was our first Thanksgiving in Astoria. My first Thanksgiving away from my son, and I was worried that I might get mopey or depressed. Not that my son would be suffering … nope, he was off in Amsterdam judging the “Cannabis Cup.” No, I'm not kidding: The Cannabis Cup

This brain-draining event involves something along the line of going to coffee shops in Amsterdam, sipping coffee mixed with varying degrees and types of hash and pot, to see who serves the best “coffee.” I’m not sure what the winning coffee shop gets, or even if it matters, since the judges are probably too stoned after a week to remember why they are there in the first place. So anyway, my son’s Thanksgiving was, I’m sure, very thankful, if a tad hazy.

Since he was so thankful to be in Amsterdam, and my partner B and I were so thankful to be in Astoria, we decided to have a real Astoria Thanksgiving. Which in our case meant I didn’t have to wrestle with an imploding turkey, and going to the trusty Triangle Tavern for pot-luck. I was in charge of providing the candied yams, which I personally find disgusting. Fortunately, that does not impede my ability to prepare the dish, which I actually do quite well.

The Triangle Tavern Thanksgiving is an event. It is a family gathering. The pool table was covered with a huge piece of plywood, and covered with a tablecloth. The owner served up 38 lbs. of beautifully cooked turkey, and there mounds of mashed potatoes, at least a gallon of gravy, trays of stuffing, home-made cranberry sauce from local berries, and countless other goodies. Plus, for dessert, huge pecan, apple, and home-made pumpkin pies. I get misty-eyed and hungry just thinking about it.

The best part, of course, was the gathering of great people. I was so worried I’d feel lost on Thanksgiving in a new town. Not a chance. All of our friends were there, the food was fine and plentiful, and it was one of the warmest, nicest Thanksgivings I’ve ever had.

Astoria Photografpix

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