Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Monster Behind the Bar...

I worked thirteen years at the Broadway Oyster Bar, seeing it through three ownerships. I fell madly in love with the place from the very first time I walked through the door and had to step over a dog sleeping in front of a glowing fireplace. There was a black and white cat hanging out on the bar. Her name was Pearl and she lived there. The Oyster Bar suddenly became the axis of my world.

The place had real character and soul. Burkhardt had started the bar with a solid foundation of amazing characters. He was the Piped Piper of building bars, and his following consisted of writers, poets, artists, musicians, carpenters, rivermen, smugglers and a real life, rail-riding hobo, named Smokey Joe.

Burkhardt called me one day and asked me to take over his shifts. It was his birthday and he didn’t want to work the bar any more, he just wanted to build them. I was 22 years old.

I would always hold great respect for those regulars, soaking in their tales while becoming more aware of the old soul deeply embedded in the place. The building itself was really old. It seemed to carry a good energy within it’s 150-year-old walls. Sadly the wall that held the back bar was later dismantled and moved back a few feet by ownership #4. Nice folks, who just wanted to gain more space, but ended up releasing the spirit that was once a part of Burkhardt’s Oyster Bar, that indescribable feeling of soul when you walked through the door.

This drawing, a self-portrait, was done one night as I attempted to wind down from a shift tending bar. It was around the beginning of the Broadway Oyster Bar era, (ownership #2), where business was tighter and money was being made. We were getting busier every day. The baseball crowd found out about us despite the lack of signage. The place was really changing and so was I. I had quit smoking and drinking because I was pregnant. My whole being was evolving towards its motherly side and it was a strict mother. We were busy enough without having to scold folks for messing with the trees, climbing the fence and just being rude. I was becoming the monster behind the bar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Delmar Forsyth Line...

Our local transit system's recent cutbacks have reminded me of the days when I had weathered through their limited routes...

There was a time when I depended entirely upon the city’s mass transit system. I lived in Lafayette Square and worked out in U-City. I would take my two buses to get to work however the system would shut down before midnight, leaving me stranded half way home so I had to improvise. I would simply ride one bus all the way downtown and walk across town to my favorite dive bar. But this required a game plan to to stave off the possibility of any trouble.

My plan was simply a three-foot long, cardboard box filled with freshly popped popcorn. Of course! I worked at the coolest movie theatre in town and would box up the leftovers in one of the long, narrow boxes that the cups came in. I carried this along with my sketchbook and newspaper. The bus rides weren’t bad, I learned quickly to avoid making eye contact. My concern was the walk late at night when all the bad guys were out cruising the mean streets of our deserted city. Ahh, but I took comfort with my plan. Should someone bother me I planned on bashing them about the head with the cardboard box. I pictured popcorn flying everywhere that would instantly startle them, allowing me time to quickly run away! Surely they would leave the crazy girl alone. It tied in perfectly with the fact folks at the bar were eagerly awaiting the delicious popcorn each night and would take notice if I didn’t show up.

Such a beautifully brilliant plan which I never got to try out.

This is one of my rough sketches from the Delmar-Forsyth line.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


As Dom pointed out, I just reached 2 degrees of separation from the Beatles. Ahhh, but let's not forget that I'm just 1 twit away from perhaps my new BFF, Yoko Ono.

(Hey... live life as art.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Comes Early...

Events this week lent towards my last minute decision to forgo fluffy bunny ears and cute 'Spring's Sprung' puns as I opted to render a timlier Easter image.

(click on image for larger view)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

One Day You'll Look Back...

I was just going through an old sketchbook...

where I was into a simple line drawing phase and my daughter was in her monochromatic phase. My style was defined as contour lines, hers was freeform with a big red crayon. The common ground was my sketchbook. Every single page.

And this is the day I look back and laugh.