Would I? Wood Eye!

A respite from tales of cockroach infestations and unrequited love. Instead, here are two gallery hops. You can (and should) click on your favorites for detail.

I get too wrapped-up in the city and forget that great art can be found pretty much anywhere. I was enjoying some one-on-one time with my daughter on Asbury Park’s boardwalk on a sunny Sunday afternoon and stumbled across these beauties.

mellon 1

mellon 2

They’re made of wood and they’re life size.

mellon 4

They’re situated in The Market on Fifth Avenue, a boutique co-op on the boardwalk. It’s a gaggle of little artisan shops under one roof. I know very little about the artist. Apparently, he came in one day, asked if he could display them and the owner said yes. Smart owner.

The detail is incredible. She’s weird and wonderful. The shirt looks like cloth

mellon 6

The girl behind the counter didn’t even know the artist’s name, much less anything about his work.

mellon 8

I finally found his name at the bottom of this piece. A Google search for Gary Mellon turned up a dead webpage but there are some other links. Apparently, he carves these from plywood in his Brooklyn loft. [Edit: With thanks to Lame Adventures. Here he is.]


I tried not to put my filthy hands on them but it’s tough. It’s one of those pieces that begs to be caressed. The wood is smooth and cool to the touch.

mellon 12 mellon 10

As I said, there’s virtually no information at all out there on this guy, which is pretty amazing when you consider all the information avenues on the internet. Artists are terrible marketers. It’s the downfall of many of them. Get this guy a gallery rep! It made me wonder how many other great artists are out there that I’m unaware of.

I love neon lights. They conjure a certain old-timey feeling. I used to love seeing neon lights reflected on a rain-soaked Manhattan street at 1:00 a.m. The fact that you don’t see them anymore makes me feel like something worthwhile is gone. Neon lights are now LED. Bookstores are Amazon. The counter at Howard Johnson’s is now Starbucks.

Kosuth 2

So I got a big thrill out of Agnosia, an Illuminated Ontology, an Installation by Joseph Kosuth at the Sean Kelly Gallery in Chelsea.

Kosuth 5

It was a career retrospective with works produced from 1965 to present. I think having them all gathered together in one room made it even more of a spectacle. I wondered if I would’ve enjoyed it as much if I’d seen them individually mounted? They say less is more, but that’s not always true.

Follow the branches of this tree. The flow makes sense. It all springs from water. I like how he arrives at ‘vodka.’

W.F.T. #3, 2008

Kosuth 8

Five Colors, Five Adjectives, 1965 Kosuth 10

Kosuth 11

This one, Five Fives (for Donald Judd), is from 1965 and the earliest piece in the show. Each review and article I read highlighted this piece. I wonder what set it apart from all the others so that it deserved special attention?

Kosuth 3

Mounted on the ceiling beams throughout the gallery were the names of famous people who either were born in 1968 or died in 1968. You can see them if you scroll up to that first gallery shot. It’s an eclectic gathering.

1968 3

1968 2 1968 1

1968 71968 81968 6 1968 5 1968 4

1,2,3,4, 1993

Kosuth 6

Yes, that’s an illuminated Calvin and Hobbs comic. I wonder if Bill Waterson knows about this or if it’s just another piece of misappropriated comic art?

Double Reading #20, 1993

Asbury Park. December 27, 2014.

I’ve still got my panties in a twist over my malfunctioning comment section. So much so, that I haven’t felt like writing anything. Don’t roll your eyes at me. You’ve got irrational hang-ups, too. The commenting give-and-take makes it all worthwhile. The WordPress wonks aren’t as enthusiastic about fixing it as I thought they’d be. Meanwhile, here’s a photo essay.

We took advantage of a freakishly balmy December day and strolled the Asbury Park boardwalk.

boardwalkThat decaying structure in the background is the old Asbury Park Casino.

boardwalk1casinoThe Casino was an arena built in the 1920’s. The walkway links Asbury Park to adjacent community Ocean Grove. The acoustics of the walkway are ideal for busking.

buskingPorkchop, Casino Mural, (Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ), 2009

mermaidcasino1The Happiest Dog in New Jersey.

dog1Punk Rock godfather Tom Verlaine still working the circuit.

verlaineNo Swimming. Lifeguard Not on Duty.

no-swimmingThe Second Happiest Dog in New Jersey. Dogs love the boardwalk.

dog2Two of many, many, vintage 1950’s-era pinball machines at the Silver Ball Museum, all in working order.

pinball1Detail from Hawaiian Beauty. I’ll say.

pinball2“Did you hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie
for tellin’ fortunes better than they do?”


Bullet Holes in the Cross

We made our semi-annual pilgrimage to my hometown of Cleveland and took a ride into the old Tremont section on the near west side where my parents grew up. 75 years ago the neighborhood was populated by poor, but proud, Italians, Polish, Germans and Slovaks. Robust, hearty European-types. Men and women with good, strong backs.

I drove down Buhrer Avenue past my mother’s childhood home. It’s amazing what the mind locks away for another day. I had completely forgotten that my father grew up across the street from her. That’s how far removed my dad is from my consciousness.

Buhrer Avenue is what I picture when I read To Kill a Mockingbird. There are plenty of houses with that Boo Radley vibe. I slowly drove past Grandma Meyo’s old, tiny, doll house and was suddenly hit with a wave of remembrance. Across the street, just a few houses away, was Grandma Polack’s house where dad, Aunt Reggie, and Uncle Marty grew up.

As children, we visited the grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins regularly. The streets were paved with red brick. There was a fruit peddler named Tony Ameto who would walk his fruit and vegetable-laden wooden cart through the neighborhood. One time, my cousin Kenny saw him urinating behind a garage. Thereafter, we would hide in the bushes and torment him with a ditty Kenny made-up to the tune of The Mexican Hat Dance:

My name is Tony Ameto
I live in a bowl of spaghett-o
My name is Tony Ameto
I pee behind garages!

And then we’d run. At the end of the block on the corner of Scranton and Buhrer Avenues was the Scranton Road Tavern. Grandpa Meyo had a drinking problem. Each evening, he’d walk the half block with his dog, Brownie, and take a seat at the bar. After a night of too much drink, Brownie would guide him home. As a reward, Grandpa would give him an Eskimo Pie. Brownie died overweight and of diabetes. An Eskimo Pie a day will do that. My mom said that after we were born, Grandpa stopped drinking. I never once saw him with a drink in his hand.

A few blocks down Scranton Road is St. Michael the Archangel; a 140 year-old Catholic citadel. That’s not old by European standards but there’s a lot of family history in that building. It’s where my mother and father went to elementary school and, much later, were married. My sister and brother-in-law were married there as well. See those two crosses on top of the spires?

st. michaelThey’re copper-covered wooden crosses. Each is 9 x 6 feet. They’re a beautiful shade of aged-green. That’s an old photo above. They’re not up there anymore. You can see one just inside the entrance of the church.

cross1They’re riddled with bullet holes. The neighborhood, no longer European, is now Latino and these new residents saw fit to use them as target practice.

cross2There are over 20 bullet holes in them. Rain water got inside and rotted the wood. They were structurally unsound and had to be taken down.

cross3The church is locked during the day because the neighborhood is crime-ridden. The only reason we got inside is because we lucked upon the caretaker and he unlocked the door for us. [My sister insists that mom put him there because we needed him.]

The old Europeans never would have shot holes in that cross. To what do we attribute this change of attitude? Is it a symptom of societal and family derogation? I think we can rule out economics because the neighborhood has ALWAYS been poor. Dare we suggest it’s cultural? Anyone?

Asbury Park, August 18, 2014, 2:30 p.m.


The best table in New Jersey

If you go to Asbury Park and walk to the far end of the boardwalk, you’ll find an utterly charming diner called Dorian’s. There’s nothing at all wrong with the food. In fact, as you are about to see, it can be quite delectable. But just look at this view from the booths. It’s right on the beach! I can’t wait until I’m retired so I can go there and sit with my laptop and drink cup after cup after cup of coffee and watch the waves roll in. It must be a pretty great place to watch a storm roll in off the Atlantic.


I ordered a pork roll sandwich. Pork roll is a local delicacy that’s also known as Taylor ham. It’s a breakfast meat. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Taylor ham has not made its way outside of New Jersey. It’s fantastic. It’s like Canadian bacon but much saltier, which is to say, much more flavor-full


A Taylor ham sandwich is served on a roll and is accompanied by two over easy eggs and cheese. See the cheese dripping out in the picture above? Don’t you wish you had one right now? I sure do. Add a little salt and pepper and you’re ready to go.


You can walk off that big fat sandwich by strolling up and down the boardwalk. Or, you can ride one of these. They’re beach cruisers. They’re made of thick tube steel and have fat tires and baskets. You seem them on boardwalks all up and down the Jersey Shore.


Did you hear the cops finally busted Madame Marie
for tellin’ fortunes better than they do?
For me this boardwalk life is through, baby

4th Of July Asbury Park (Sandy)
Bruce Springsteen


Southside Johnny at the Stone Pony. You can’t get more Jersey than this, folks.