May 12, 2007
Sue Lambert and I travelled all day yesterday. Hard to believe, since it's only a little over an hour flight from Phoenix to Albuquerque. Left the house at nine, got to the airport at ten, got on the plane at 11:30, sat on the tarmac for what seemed like an hour, airborne by 12:15, flight over sold (what else is new), bumpy landing at 2:18 (lost an hour), got a shuttle at 2:45, got to the Best Western near Old Town at about 3.
Checked in, then Sue and I walked down to Old Town and ate at a charming little patio restaurant called Church Street Cafe, recommended by The Top Secret Writer and his staff, and the driver of the shuttle and the check-in clerk at the hotel. We sat out back on the patio and enjoyed the New Mexican clouds hovering over the adobe walled skyline. I had Sue take a couple photos, and I'll post those next week. I had a Negro Modelo (Mexican beer) and a cup of posole and a small order of the house specialty, which is a chile relleno concoction with pork, red and gree chile, very good. Sue had a Philly, which was actually more like a Chilly and we talked about the goals we wanted to accomplish on the trip, so I can legitimately write off the lunch ($33.57, includes tip, biz account)
Paul Hutton invited the artist Thom Ross, Rusty York and myself to arrive at the museum at six to get a sneak peek at the show (the invitation only opening began at seven). Paul proudly walked us through the mammoth rooms (I think there are at least seven stages to the show). It begins as you walk past a picket fence (see my Billy book) and into a darkened bedroom. There in the dim light is the actual bedroom furniture that was in Pete Maxwell's room on the night of July 14, 1881. Although it isn't pointed out, Paul leaned down and showed us the bullet hole in the wash stand (Pat Garrett fired twice, hitting the wash stand and the other bullet hitting Billy in the heart). At the next stop, we were looking at the actual gun Garrett used to kill the Kid (estimated worth, $750,000, owned by Jim Earle of College Station, Texas), then we came to the actual bench Billy was laid out on (it still has blood stains underneath and they have installed a mirror on the floow with a pistol symbol pointing the way, and a small flashlight hanging by a string helps you see it.
I was delighted to see there were several True West magazines and True West related items in the show, including at least three covers, one of Aby Pearson's postcards and even our "I Dig Billy" T-shirt. Bob McCubbin's incredible photo collection was placed throughout including several doucments I had never seen, like the several page, hand-written letter Billy the Kid wrote to Lew Wallace. Very nice handwriting, but he had trouble spelling "imagination," and added several letters here and there, evidently trying to fake his way through. Typical Kid, and kid, behavior. Amazing.
Prominently displayed were 28 of my paintings, pen and inks, inlcuding a couple oils. In fact I sold one of the paintings when a guy walked up to me and said, "Can I buy that?" It seemed like an odd place to do commerce (in a museum?) but I whipped out a credit card machine and took his vitals.
Not really (but I did sell the painting).
There's more to the show, but I've got to go sell ads with Sue.
"Are you kidding?I have been ready for this show for fifty years!?"
—BBB, when asked by Paul Hutton if I was "ready to see the show."
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