I was secretly expecting tonight’s opening at Willo North Gallery to be kind of a bust. It’s Good Friday and the first night of Passover, as well as the soft opening of a show I’ve had up for a month. I figured everyone would be home celebrating some high holiday or another, and not out looking for culture and free wine. “Why are you open tomorrow night at all?” a friend asked yesterday. Because First Friday is set in stone; it’s when people come out to look at art in downtownPhoenix, I told her.
It’s a good thing we were open, because a couple hundred people came to see Peter Bugg’s wonderful new work in an exhibit I’ve titled Public Eye: New Work by Peter Bugg and DOSE. (Some of them may have been there to see DOSE’s work, too; I don’t know. DOSE didn’t bother to show up for his exhibit, which has prompted me to add a clause to my artist’s contract stating that, if you don’t come to the gallery show I’ve produced for you, your work will be taken down and placed in the alley the following morning.)
I was forced to brush off my profoundly rusty French for the last part of the evening. The writer Barry Graham introduced me to the artist Vince Larue, who’d arrived the day before from Normandy. Vince gave me one of his magnificent prints to keep, and we talked about Tom Waits and the psychedelic rock concert posters of the 1960s while I scoured my brain for the correct conjugation for “I once had.” Later, I met the gorgeous French photographer Esther Voisin, a transplanted Parisian. I was mostly just showing off when I told her, “Merci de venir à la gallerie; j’aime votre collier,” but I got what I deserved because then she spoke only French to me for the rest of the evening. I did my best to keep up. Later, I met her young daughter, whose curtsy I demanded to see. It was quite good.
Thing I Hate Today: Peeps