Kathy and I drove to Kingman on Saturday morning. She dropped me off at the Power House Route 66 Museum, while she drove on to Vegas to attend a memorial service for an old friend. Tom Erickson was setting up his camera equipment in the back of the museum when I arrived. He told me to meet him at the "Al Bell Memorial." I laughed and assumed it was some humorous reference to a gas station display to celebrate Route 66. But when I got back there, on a big mural that runs for ten or twenty yards, there, in a six foot tall cartoon was a smiling gas station attendant giving the thumbs up with the name tag proclaiming, "Al Bell" And on his cap is the slogan "Al Bell's Flying A". And, although it's emblazened on a Texaco logo, I won't complain. As I stood there all alone I said out loud, "Well, Allen P. Bell, would you take a gander at THAT!" I was as proud as the son of a proud Norwegian can be.
We taped several voice overs for the Exits Exit video and then Tom, Charlie Waters and I went over to Calico's for lunch (I bought: $29, includes tip, house account). Charlie and I had a nice visit and got caught up on world and family news, and then Kathy picked me up at four, and we drove home, getting home 13 hours after we left (and 557 miles of driving).
On Sunday I worked quite a bit on patina washes:
And here's something I call "Teenage Mutant Kachinas":
Could be a funny piece with a tweak or two. Also spent quite a bit of time on patina borders, like this:
Which is from my sketchbook (sketch #9,400 by the way). And this:
And, I know this is getting ridiculous, but this too:
Believe it or not, all of these border experiments are leading somewhere. Where? Well, to this month's Classic Gunfights, wherein an Arizona Ranger, Jeff Kidder, shot it out in a cantina in the border town of Naco, Mexico with two of the local policia. The fight started over a woman named Chia, who Kidder "spent time" with at about midnight on April 3 of 1908. As he was leaving the bar he noticed a silver dollar he kept in his vest pocket was missing. Jeff grabbed Chia by the arm and accused her of stealing it. She slapped him and started screaming "Policia!" It all went south from there. As for Chia chiquita, there are no known photos of her, but having spent time, while a student at "Nogo U" in Tucson, we were, during our freshmam and sophomore years, required to attend border relation classes on Canal Street in Nogales, Mexico. And, although I didn't meet the real Chia in the B-29 Club on Canal Street, I do believe I can somewhat accurately illustrate her:
Chia: Una Puta Suprema de Naco
She is pliant but defiant. She is comely but tough, she has been abused and she can do her own abusing. Not a pleasant memory for me, or one that I'm proud of, but sometimes the artist needs to see the world, or at least see around the world. And, on this particular subject, I can safely say I have done my due diligence.
"Believe in fate, but lean forward where fate can see you."
—Old Vaquero Saying
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