...Being Red Skelton

Three memories with Hats
1. There was usually a group of musicians over for the day or the fortnight blasting looped tapes out the window to see street walkers reactions. A few of these virtuosos were obsessed with Einstein on the Beach at the time. Most of these guys were transplants from a music commune up in Woodstock. I think, by some of the sounds that were crafted, they majored in comprehending feedback.
Some of the guys made up the Swollen Monkeys. They split.
They regrouped to become the Butthole Surfers. They split.
Never underestimate the value of really well thought out rock’n roll name.
We’d have parties depending on what we wanted to score. For instance a Hat Party. People invited would know hats were mandatory. Eventually everyone would get drunk and a sea chapeau would be left behind. Voila. And, if it ever got too weird, I could always crawl into my loft and pretend I didn’t know what was happening.

2. I went down too see the opera production director with a hat in question pinned together, mocked up to the nth detail. Upon seeing it, he ripped it apart verbally and shredded it literally. Humiliated, I came back up stairs to the craft room where Charles was huddled over a balsa block pining a turban. He glanced at me sideways for a moment & caught the mortified shock on my face with the hat draped over my arms in pieces. He offered,
“...Oh, I forgot to tell you he’s in a snit today...”
From Charles I first heard of the ‘blind nuns at dawn’ stitch.

3. Manhattan winters are slap-in-the-face cold. Turning up toward the sun to warm our faces, we walked along planning a trip to the flower mart. We carried three ‘regular coffees’ from Chock Full of Nuts steaming into the chilly early morning air. Heading down to the Bowery we traverse Union Square where we recognized the huge pile of fabric as Evelyn. She embodied a fashion statement by building a hat ornament day to day. If you had the time, you would notice that she added a bit of this or that to her chapeau everyday until her headpiece became too heavy. She’d have a two day break and then begin the building ritual again. She inhabited a homeless dingy heap moving from this place to Washington Park on quieter days. Kyle and I had been paid in cash for a restaurant installation the day before, so life was good. I casually handed Evelyn a twenty dollar bill and coffee as we passed her in the park. Her frosty breath rose from the lifeless pyre into the crisp air. When she bolted and came chasing after us, we didn’t know if she was in trouble or if we were.

Happy TT, for more chapeau...(...at sixty bucks a throw...) go to Theme Thursday.
On Thursday, of course.


  1. cool pics...butthole surfers, go figure...i like the thrid one, personally...

  2. Are you stating that you listen to the Butthole Surfers? Right on!

    And, yeah, screw Manhattan winters! Screw winter, period!

    Okay, not really... but I'm not much of a cold person.

  3. i've heard of those butthole surfers. I'm glad that your little writing pieces are stretching, these are wonderful.

  4. Jeff, Kramer is one of those 'old dear' friends of mine. -J

  5. In the 80's weren't the butthole surfers a hardcore punk band? Then only in the last few years have they become mainstream. I actually have them on my playlist.

  6. Oh, those prissy opera directors.

  7. Ha ha ha... lovely memories you have.

    So, you wear many hats huh?


  8. Cute picture of the Red Skelton hat.
    Don't you hate it when people get in a snitty mood? Some people are so dramatic : )

  9. Oh, fun memories! love the pics, too!

  10. Great stories. I love the concept of an evolving hat. Sometimes I listen to the Butthole Surfers. Sometimes i listen to the Sex Pistols. But I always like Mozart the best.

  11. Sublime.
    I love the fact your you life is so complicated and rich and thick and lived that people assume it fiction.
    Nice record. re cording rec or ding.

  12. hmmm butthole surfers--a new one for me---liked this post for its diversity and levity;-)tipping my chapeau to vous!

  13. It is good to be able to catch up with your posts (whilst I have "started afresh" with most of the blogs I visit I would never dream of doing that with yours, there is too much to miss and my imagination could never fill in the missing bits) The memories were like three movements of a symphony (can a symphony have three movements?). Loved the post.

  14. Really enjoyed exploring your site, reading your written word, and perusing your art. Quite fine indeed, quite fine! I will be back from time to time, to spend more time than I have at the moment...

    Please drop by and say hi at my cloud in the virtual sky >> Image & Verse

  15. Cool memories, and quite a hat model you got up top there.

  16. If yawanna get ahead, get a hat, right?

  17. I wish the pictures would show up.
    Still and all,an excellent post