The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is definitely worth going to, if you like Andy Warhol at all.
We were very into it.
One floor of the Andy Warhol Museum is devoted to a different artist each month, I think. Or, anyway, it rotates who it is. When we went, the artist was Firelei Báez, and I found her work inspiring and excellent in every way.
Here we are posing in front of some of her faceless portraits. I was trying to look cool. It doesn’t come naturally to me.
You start on the sixth floor, and go down through Warhol’s life. On one of the floors is a room where they are playing several of the Andy Warhol movies at once, with the Velvet Underground playing in the background. This was my favorite part of the museum. I took a little movie. Zanimal went around and tapped all of the eyeballs:
When you finally get to the basement, they have “The Factory,” where you make your own Warhol-Style art. I drew my left paw.
Zanimal drew “Cat Wolf”:
I don’t remember what Dennis made, he he said afterwards that he wanted to leave it in the gift shop– reverse shop lifting. Instead of taking something, you leave something. What do you think? A good idea? I think it’s genius. Performance art at its most subtle.
I did buy a print at the gift shop. It’s called, “One Blue Pussy.”
Last week, I went on a road trip with Zanimal and BAH up to Niagara Falls, Canada, and then on to Jeanette, Pennsylvania (just outside of Pittsburgh). I have a lot of family on my dad’s side around Pittsburgh, so we were visiting the extended relatives, and we stayed with my Uncle, Dennis C. Lee. (Dennis used to live in San Francisco, when I was a kid. We even lived in the same flat on 28th Street, for a time: little me, Dennis, my dad, my Aunt Lou, Uncle David, and Bozo the Dog. Good times.)
Uncle Dennis is an artist and a musician, most famously a member of the 70’s punk band The Living Daylights.
Uncle Dennis still plays music and makes art. Zanimal and I even did an open mic with him (possibly to be posted later this week, if I can figure it out).
Dennis told us a story while we were there. Apparently, there is a man who believes that Dennis C. Lee killed John Lennon. This man, call him “Mr. Crazy,” bases his theory on an analysis of Uncle Dennis’s handwriting, which Mr. Crazy says is exactly like that of Stephen King. And therefore, Stephen King is really Dennis C. Lee. (Or Dennis C. Lee is Stephen King?) And he killed John Lennon. Just for a point of reference, here is a recent picture of my dad’s brother, Dennis C. Lee:
And here is a picture of Stephen King:
They don’t look alike, do they?
So, I’m not sure how Mr. Crazy goes from “handwriting like Stephen King” to “Stephen King a.k.a. Dennis C. Lee killed John Lennon,” but he does. And how do we know he does? Because Mr. Crazy painted it on the side of a van, and he drives his van around the country and hands out pamphlets, explaining it all to anyone who will listen.
I do not have the pamphlet.
In the scheme of things, this is a drop in the ocean of Uncle Dennis stories. Every time I have had a chance to verify an Uncle Dennis story, it’s turned out to be true. Some of the stories have approached us on the streets of San Francisco. It’s all true, except…
Uncle Dennis didn’t kill John Lennon. He was in San Francisco that day.
Addendum, Dennis writes: “That is correct, I did not kill John Lennon. Nor would I ever. I loved his music, his style, everything about him. But here’s when it gets really weird… There’s a conspiracy theorist that claims Stephen King, the famous writer, was the actual killer of the ex-Beatle. And strongly implies on a website that because my handwriting is similar to King’s, I might be King, and I might have shot him. This insane guy has held this belief for 36 years, since shortly after Lennon was shot. http://www.lennonmurdertruth.com/skletters.html“
I’m working on the next coloring book- trolls! They are all based the real troll sculptures in Mount Horeb. Feel free to print this one and color it, or share it with friends.
Side note: Professor Batty came to visit a few months ago, and we went to the Cat and Crow together (the yarn shop where this wool sculpture of a troll stands). He introduced himself as “Shoshanah’s internet stalker.” Melissa and Rebecca seemed amused. Professor Batty then said that he had purchased a skein of yarn in their shop there, years ago.
“Oh, thank goodness,” said Melissa. “We would have gone out of business, without that.”
I’m a sucker for all of these articles on line with titles like, “How to Live On Purpose and Maximize Every Day” or “How to Live Life on Your Own Terms” or “How to Maximize Your Pickle Production.” ( Maybe not so much the last one, actually.) and then I listen to this podcast sometimes, “Happier with Gretchen Ruben” which is supposedly supposed to make you happy, but really I think it might better be titled, “Life Hacks for the Filthy Rich.” I get that the little tips make you happier- if you have no problems whatsoever in life.
And from all of these articles and podcasts I’m a sucker for, I learn things like,
Get a good night’s sleep every night.
Marry the person you love.
Fast one day a week.
Decluttering your house.
Don’t take on more than you can handle.
And that’s not even mentioning all of the parenting “tips.” (Does anyone else feel like all of these “tips” are pretty much mandatory? It’s the implied, “If you don’t do this, you are a terrible parent.”)
I don’t know why I read all of these things. I never change my behavior at all. I just now have some stupid know-it-all thing to say with my friends,
“Did you know kale prevents cancer?”
Everyone knows eating kale prevents cancer, but my friends are too polite to say so. Everyone knows kale prevents cancer, but here’s the catch: to prevent cancer? You have to actually eat the kale.
I read all this stuff, and then I look around me. Most people are overweight. There’s an opioid epidemic. Everyone’s stressed out. We’re not eating the kale. We’re not getting the sleep. We’re living in piles of junk mail and chicken catalogues. But, you know what? We’re getting by. We’re doing it. We’re living it, one day at a time.
We’re not perfect, but we’re beautiful. And we’re still here. Showing up, every day. Like the troopers we are.
Today was the day to take our borrowed ram, Fox Mulder (a.k.a. Muppet) back home to his nice owners.
Get Fox Mulder the Sheep into a small pen, alone.
Three hours later… Zanimal runs into the house, “Dad said Mulder is destroying the fence!” “Is he escaped?” “No… I don’t know! He just said to tell you.” I run out, and Mulder has escaped, but only to another pen, where his lady friends are hanging out with himI should have known better than to put him alone. Sheep do hate being alone.
Figure out another fencing configuration to extract sheep Mulder. Now, it’s time for the nice sheep owners to come and help us. As we have scheduled with them.
Drive truck out by sheep. Where are the nice sheep owners?
Text sheep owners:
And then BAH and I argue a lot. Decide to lasso Mulder with a tow rope.
I lasso Mulder, but he is really big and heavy. Mulder is maybe 259 pounds. He runs around and I try to stop him. “Help!” I say as I am dragged around the little barnyard. “Help” “what?” “Help!” “What?” “HELP!” “Well, if you need help, just say help.” Bad Assed Husband is hanging on, too, now. Mulder is still definitely not under control. “HELP!”
Mulder gets out of the lasso.
I lasso Mulder again. Successfully. That’s me, lassoing a giant ram.
Somehow, we get him close to the truck.
We tie the rope to the truck. Mulder is growling. Zanimal is monitoring the fence.
One hoof is in the truck. Mulder is growling. BAH is swearing. I am sweating.
Two hoofs are in the truck. I’m growling. Mulder is swearing. Zanimal is sweating.
Three hoofs… not really. Still just two. “He sounds like a horse,” says Zanimal. “I think we’re choking him,” says BAH. “BYRGOKoRgAZOYG!” I scream. I am swearing. Mulder is sweating. BAH is growling.
Four legs in! “He’s in the truck! HE’S IN THE TRUCK!”
Zanimal and I get into the truck cab. “What if they aren’t home.” Says BAH. “We’ll just drop him off there, at home, just leave him in their yard, regardless,” I say, and I mean it. “I’m not taking this sheep back here again.”
Zanimal and I drive through Mount Horeb with a giant black sheep in the back of our truck. We sing the sheep song. Zanimal texts the nice sheep owners for me.
Zanimal and I drive in the correct direction, but I don’t remember the road. “Is it U?” I ask Zanimal. “What, me?” She answers. “Where do I turn?” I ask. “Here! Turn here! I recognize that building. Do I stink?” “What?” “You said, ‘Is it you?’ And then you touched your nose.” “No, no! The road we’re on! It’s County Highway U!” “Oh! I thought I stank!”
We get there. It is U! They are home!
They tell us to drop off Mulder the Ram in their front yard, and he’ll find his way to the other sheep on his own. This was actually my joking plan for if they weren’t home. I’m quite surprised that this is actually the realplan for when they are home.
We open the back door of the cage in the truck. Mulder jumps out. Mulder says, “where are my beautiful lady sheep friends?” (He says it in sheep. I’m translating, here.) The sheep around back say, “Over here, my love!” (In sheep, again.) Mulder wanders around back.
A huge gap has been opened in the fence for Mulder to walk through. Mulder sees his lady friends peaking around the corner of the barn and says, “I’m going to show off a bit,” (but he says it in Sheep, of course) and then (surprise!) he jumps over the closed part of the fence and joins his lady friends.
Zanimal and I drive off into the sunset. Our job here is done.