Whew! All the brouhaha about the fiftieth anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair is slip sliding away. I spent much ofAugust obsessed with trying to prove I was there with my paintings. To some extent I succeeded, but my efforts haven’t yet brought me the fame and fortune I was pining for. Nonetheless, I’m relieved the fascination has faded.
I spoke about my Woodstock experiences on WEXT-FM, and Michael Eck interviewed me at the premiere screening of the PBS documentary “Woodstock: Three days that defined a generation” at Music Haven in Schenectady on August 2. But most exciting was Paul Grondahl’s wonderful feature about me in the Albany Times Union on August 28. Here’s a link to the story:
Paul visited me and my husband, Robb Smith, the weekend before the story ran, prompting us to unearth paintings I’d shown at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. I hadn’t seen most of them since we moved to Snyders Lake in 2001, when Robb custom-built a storage rack for them in the far reaches of the garage/basement. I’d painted them when I lived in a loft in SoHo, and the biggest one measured over six feet tall, so clearing a pathway to get them out was no easy task, but once they were out in our driveway on that sunny Saturday afternoon, they stood the test of time. Paul wrote, “They seemed to glow with 1969 intensity, like a long sustain of Jimi Hendrix’s fuzz distortion.”
I got lots of compliments on the article, but I’d hoped it might be picked up by other newspapers, or that I’d hear from collectors eager to pay big bucks for such unusual Woodstock memorabilia. It hasn’t happened yet, but I haven’t given up hope. Many new books, articles, and collections of never-before-seen photographs have surfaced this year, and I’m pursuing several promising leads.
Still, with all the recent focus on Woodstock, I haven’t seen any documentation of the actual art show. The closest I’ve come is a Kindle book by Bill Ward, a sculptor and professor at the University of Miami, who was the artistic director for the festival, brought there by Michael Lang, who learned about him at the Miami Pop Festival. Ward keeps a low profile, with no social media presence, but some sleuthing turned up a street address. I plan to write him soon, but he’s 90 years old, so I’d better hurry up.
Since the deadline pressure has eased up, I can focus on the NYS Writers Institute’s Book Expo on September 14. Amazingly, I’ve sold out of the initial print runs of my three suspense novels, so I need to order more. Paul Grondahl advises me not to weigh myself down with too many, as sales for most authors at last year’s event were modest. He should know; he’s the director of the Institute. A former Times Union reporter, he now moonlights with a single column on Wednesdays, and I’m grateful he chose me as a suitable subject.
I need to prep for the two poetry workshops I’m offering at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, on September 28 and November 2. Details are in the Events menu on this website. And at long last, I can finally get back to work on Subdural, my poetry and prose memoir about the subdural hematoma that almost killed me last year. So it’ll be an exciting fall, with no time to brood about why I’m not famous yet. Hey, I’m only 78—there’s still time.
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Wishing you a wonderful fall season. Let’s keep in touch!