Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Time to apply for the Trawick Prize!

It’s time to apply to the 2017 Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards!

Entries are due 4/7/17

The jury will select up to 10 finalists for a group exhibition in Bethesda in September 2017. The Best in Show winner will receive $10,000.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. All original 2-D and 3-D fine art including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, fiber art, digital, mixed media and video will be accepted.

The Art of Legacy Exhibit

The Art of Legacy Exhibit, in the historic former space of the Georgetown Theater 1351 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC.

Sponsored by Marsha Ralls Founder & CEO of Closed Monday Productions LLC along with architect Robert Bell.

Cocktail reception Thursday, March 9 from 6 and 8 PM. Hours are 12 noon until 5 PM or by appointment March 9th- March 19, 2017.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1050411408417740/ for more info.

How do you mend a broken heart by Barbara Januszkiewicz -Acrylic on metal panel with resin, 42x44

Closed Monday Productions LLC presents the Art of Legacy exhibition at the newly renovated Old Georgetown Theater, a former silent movie house from the 1900s.The exhibition features Washington DC artists, John Blee, Barbara Januszkiewicz, Anne Marchard, and photographers Tom Wolff, Marissa White and Matt Leedham. 

The Pop up exhibition will be on view from March 9-19, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2017, from 6-8 pm at the newly renovated space located at 1351 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Washington DC, Georgetown.
“I’m delighted to welcome spring with these iconic DC artists and photographers, and share their work in this historic space that has been lovingly restored,” says Martha Ralls, “It’s a perfect meeting of historic DC with artists whose work reflects the very nature of the city.” Ralls, the curator and CEO of Closed Monday Productions, worked closely with architect Richard Bell to create a showcase for some of her favorite artists.
Closed Monday Productions LLC was established in 2014 as a private art dealership. CEO Marsha Ralls was the former owner of the Ralls Collection Inc. an art advisory group that expanded in 1991 with the opening of a gallery bearing the same name. The gallery specialized in contemporary painting, photography, prints, and sculpture.

Monday, February 27, 2017

39 years of Zenith Gallery!

39 Years: Rejuvenate with Art, Accent on the Positive, Let’s Celebrate!

March 17 – April 29, 2017  

1429 Iris St., NW, Washington, DC 20012

Opening Receptions to meet the Artists:

Friday March 17th 4-8pm, Saturday March 18, 2-6  

Closing Reception: Saturday April 29, 2-5 pm

Featuring: Kim Abraham, Jan Paul Acton, Doba Afolabi, Mason Archie, David Bacharach,   Andrea Barnes, Bert Beirne, Caroline Benchetrit, Harmon Biddle, Binder, Francesca Britton, James Butler, Lenny Campello, Eric Elhenberger, Katie Dell-Kaufman, Renee DuRocher, Elissa Farrow-Savos, Richard Fitzhugh, Robert Freeman, Carol Gellner-Levin, Cassandra Gillens, Julie & Ken Girardini, Margery Goldberg, Carolyn Goodridge, Stephen Hansen, Len Harris, Chris Hayman, Philip Hazard, Tony Henson, Frank Holmes, Marcie Wolf & David Hubbard, Hubert Jackson, Robert Jackson, Gloria Kirk, Joan Konkel, Michael Madzo, Chris Malone, Paul Martin Wolff, Donna McCullough, Hadrian Mendoza, Davis Morton, Carol Newmyer, Ibou N’Daiye, Tom Noll, Keith Norval,  Katharine Owens, Larry Ringgold, Preston Sampson, Gavin Sewell, Sica, Ellen Sinel, Bradley Stevens,  Jennifer Wagner,  Curtis Woody, Joyce Zipperer and many more!

For almost 4 decades Zenith Gallery has been a pillar in the DC arts community. We attribute our success to our ability to transform with the ever-changing times by combining our longstanding commitment to unique artworks with our personalized, high quality customer service.  Commitment to celebrating the creative spirit of our artists is the core value at the heart of Zenith Gallery. As Owner and celebrated artist, Margery Goldberg, is fond of saying, “With billions of people on the planet, for someone to come up with an original idea and execute it in an original way is what has kept me in business all these years.”
Starting in its humble Rhode Island Avenue location, Ms. Goldberg established one of DC’s first artist studio complexes, expanding from her woodworking shop and expanding to painters, sculptors, and artists who work in the widest variety of medium, along with The Dance Exchange and Studio Theater. All this lead to the 14th St. Arts Corridor.  The gallery then moved to 7th Street helping turn downtown into the newest art district in Washington back in the mid 80” s.  Our present-day location in Shepherd Park, which has been featured on WRC/NBC news Fox, News Channel 8, Washington Post, and many more continues to pay homage to well-known and emerging DC artists, as well as artists from far reaching corners of country and globe.  Zenith’s vast and unique collection and layout gives our visitors a more comprehensive idea of the scope of our mission, rather than the traditional white walls galleries giving both the Gallery experience in our onsight gallery and the feeling of a salon gallery throughout the home. This also includes two sculpture gardens front and rear, one in a down emptied swimming pool.   
The gallery’s collection ranges in size from monumental sculpture to one-of-a-kind pieces works. Paintings, sculpture, fine crafts, mixed media has also helped cement our reputation. Whether you are new to collecting art or a long-time buyer, we are sure to inspire the art lover you. We can confidently say that our collection is unlike anything you have seen before!

Zenith Gallery est. 1978
Celebrating 39 Years in the Nation’s Capital 
1429 Iris St., NW, Washington DC 20012-1409 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Artomatic registration opens today!

It is with great excitement that I am honored to announce that Artomatic 2017 Registration is opening today, Sunday February 26, at 8:00 p.m. So get ready and get prepared to take part in one of the most anticipated arts event in town! 

All you have to do is go to their website at artomatic.org beginning 8:00 p.m. Sunday and you can follow the prompts guiding you through the registration process. 

The site selection process for visual artists will begin on March 4th based on the registration sign up order. The fee for visual artist is $140.00. Performing arts and film fees range from $15 to $25.

Remember, EVERYONE is welcome to join AOM. Visual artists, sculptors, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, poets, flame eaters - no matter what the discipline of creative arts you are passionate about, they have a space for you at Artomatic. 

So don't wait, tell everyone, spread the news and make sure you are standing by to sign up for an exhilarating Artomatic 2017 event.

There is easy access to Artomatic with the Crystal City METRO Station, Yellow and Blue lines, as well as plenty of parking and bus stops nearby.
1800 South Bell St

Opportunity for Portrait Artists


The International Portrait Competition showcases the finest in portraiture and figurative art today. The competition is open to all artists and the top twenty finalists are required to exhibit their original artwork and be present at The Art of the Portrait conference in Atlanta, GA, April 20-23, 2017.
Over $102,500 in cash and prizes will be awarded. Entry fee of $45 covers up to 3 submissions. Entry Fee. Details: 850-878-9996 OR http://bitly.com/2jkmQl6 OR info@portraitsociety.org

Amy Lin: Two solos in one month!

Constant readers know that I love to highlight hardworking artists and hardworking gallerists who are always busting their butts to move forward...
DMV blue chip artist Amy Lin is one such artist and we're sponsoring her for a solo booth at SCOPE New York this coming March 2-5... As if that wasn't enough of a challenge, Lin also has a solo show opening in Georgetown's iconic Addison/Ripley Fine Art March 11 through April 15th!
New York City:
SCOPE Art Fair, March 2-5, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St., New York, NY
Alida Anderson Art Projects is exhibiting Amy's art in a solo booth (#045) at SCOPE Art Fair next week.

Washington, DC:
Addison/Ripley Fine Art, March 11-April 15, 1670 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Amy's solo show “Baby Thoughts” is inspired by her adorable baby (of course!) and there will be two events in the gallery:
- The opening reception is on Saturday, March 11 from 5-7pm.
- A Conversation with Dr. Anne Collins Goodyear, Co-director of the Bowdoin Museum, will be on Saturday, March 18 at 11am.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Alper Initiative Call for Washington Artists!

This summer, the Alper Initiative for Washington Art at the American University Museum will host their first exhibition featuring Washington, DC area artists who have submitted their work to the Initiative’s online database.

The deadline for submitting is March 1, 2017, and is open to all Washington area artists. 

Please see their website for details and submission guidelines

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Art Scam Alert!

Beware of this asswipe trying to rip off artists:
From: erin winam (erinwinam@gmail.com)
 Hello, How are you doing today? I would like to purchase something nice for my wife as our wedding anniversary approaches, please kindly forward the artworks you have available for purchase within this price range ($350-$600).Thank you
This is how the scam works and how to protect yourself... 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Opportunity for Artists

Submission Deadline: March 13, 2017

Each year, Arlington Arts Center selects approximately 14 artists from across the Mid-Atlantic region for solo exhibitions in AAC’s seven separate gallery spaces or outside on the grounds. Proposals that specifically consider AAC’s space, layout, and surrounding environs are encouraged. Floor plans are available on our website.

This year's jurors will include: Kate Haw, Director of the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art, and Mika Yoshitake, Assistant Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Who Can Apply: Artists who produce cutting-edge contemporary art in any and all media, and who live or work in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, or Pennsylvania may submit exhibition proposals. Any existing works must have been completed within the last 3 years in order to be considered.

Fall SOLOS will open October 14 and run through December 17, 2017. Spring SOLOS will open April 14 and run through June 3, 2018.

AAC info:
Apply here: https://form.jotform.com/70255400386148

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A great free idea to the WaPo!

The internets are already having all kinds of fun with the Washington Post's new masthead slogan which made its debut tonight in the WaPo's website...

There are already all kinds of theories, opinions and thoughts, ranging from the numerologists' views of "three D's", to loads of funny memes, to another anti-Trumpian effort by the newspaper once dubbed Pradva on the Potomac during the halcyon days of Communism.

However, my good bud and Cuban-American peeps Jeff, who owns the WaPo, tells me that the new slogan is something that iconic reporter Bob Woodward apparently says all the time... cough, cough...

Regardless, in my highly informed and immensely brilliant opinion, the whole thing looks (notice I said "looks") a little kitschy to me... in fact a bit fortune cookie type.

Therein lies the brilliance of what can happen next! And here's my suggestion to the WaPo, intelligently inspired by my fortune cookie analogy: Change the slogan every day!

Then it would really be like a fortune cookie, but because it comes from the WaPo, it would be more serious... cough, cough.

Furthermore, there are no coincidences, and Donald Lau, America's top fortune cookie writer, has just retired after 30 years of fortune cookie writing!


Do not waste this opportunity! Contact Mr. Lau immediately, and entice him with a nice salary to un-retire and come write new slogans for the WaPo! If he declines, make him a one-year offer that he can't refuse, with a mentoring clause, so that he can mentor and train a couple of young, enterprising new slogan writers.

We want Lau! We want Lau! We want Lau!


Art Scam Alert!

Ignore this mutant trying to rip off artists:
Van: Sally Riding [riding_sally@yahoo.com]

Onderwerp: artgallery

Greetings! My name is Rise dully from United Kingdom. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work. I'm also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too,You are doing a great job. I would like to purchase some of your artwork available at range of €100 to €5,000 can you list some of the items available now? and ready for sale as a surprise to my wife on our anniversary. Also, my method of payment is by Bank Check as mode of Payment. Thanks and best regards.

This is how the scam works and how to protect yourself... 

Monday, February 20, 2017


Vote for your favorite Traffic Box Art Wraps! Select up to 5!

What are Traffic Box Art Wraps, you ask???

Program Description

The Hyattsville Community Development Corporation had released a Call for Artists’ designs to transform select traffic signal cabinets in Prince George’s County into public artworks representative of community identity and character.  Traffic signal cabinets – the grey metal structures located at every signalized intersection – are vulnerable to graffiti and vandalism.  This project will utilize a public art application to address community blight and enhance the visual landscape.  Artist designs will be printed on vinyl and wrapped around 11 traffic box cabinets in Prince George’s County, focusing on boxes located in the county’s T.N.I. (Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative) communities  This project is made possible through funding from the Prince George’s County Executive Community Partnership Grant and the support of Prince George’s Department of Public Works & Transportation.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A 2004 friend

I always wonder how artwork travels around - I think that this proof sold in New York City around 2006... and then yesterday I get this email:

Dear Mr. Campello. I was fortunate to find one of your prints at an
estate sale here in Florida. I really like the print and was wondering
what the numbers on the back mean. Would you be so kind as to explain
them to me. It would be appreciated. As you can tell, I am a novice at
this and am trying to learn. I have attached a photos of the front and
back of the print. Thank you so much for any information you can
provide me.

Trinity, Florida.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wanna go to a DC Opening Tonight?

Long View Gallery’s newest exhibition, “Refresh VII,” features new work by some of the gallery’s favorites including Mike Weber, Ryan McCoy, Cheryl Wassenaar, Lori Katz, Colin Winterbottom and J. Jordan Bruns. In addition, the gallery will be premiering pieces by Baltimore artists Jessie and Katey.

Long View Gallery
1234 Ninth St NW, Washington, DC 20001
info@longviewgallery.com | 202.232.4788

Friday, February 17, 2017

Happy Anniversary to Artists & Makers Studios!

Artists & Makers Studios on Parklawn Drive and Wilkins Avenue in Rockville are proud to mark the organization’s second anniversary and the grand opening of the second location with  “at 2(two)” featuring the artwork of more than 120 resident artists in the galleries and studios of both studio centers. A four gallery exhibit will open for First Friday festivities between 6pm and 9pm on March 3rd, and will be followed by an Open Studio weekend on March 4th and 5th between 10am and 4pm also at both locations.
“at 2(two)”
A Grand Second Anniversary Celebration
Opening Reception
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Artists & Makers Studios 1
11810 Parklawn Dr., Suite 210
Rockville, MD 20852
Artists & Makers Studios 2
12280 Wilkins Avenue
Rockville, MD 20852

 Have a glass of champagne at A&M1 and tour the 3 main galleries and studios on Parklawn Drive in Rockville. Additionally A&M2 is proud to present more resident artists in the main gallery and studios, as well as mini-solo exhibits in the New Masters Gallery with Ken Bachman, Sara Bardin, Mary Morris, and Lis Zadravec. Also on view “Visualizations” with the Montgomery County Camera Club at Artists & Makers Studios 2, on Wilkins Avenue in Rockville, just 9/10’s of a mile from the flagship location.

These exhibits at both locations open Friday, March 3rd, and continue through Wednesday, March 29th, 2017.  Viewing hours are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Tuesday-Saturday, and Sundays/Mondays by chance or appointment.
Artists & Makers Studios on Parklawn Drive in Rockville, established in October 2014 by artist and arts community builder Judith HeartSong, is a 13,000 sq. ft. facility is home to 68 resident artists. Newly opened Artists & Makers Studios 2 on Wilkins Avenue in Rockville is a 23,000 sq. ft. facility with 42 resident artists and more to come. A&M Studios is dedicated to providing a supportive and vibrant environment for artists to realize their creative goals - through studio practice, collaboration, education, opportunities, networking and connecting with the community beyond our doors. 

Artists & Makers Studios
11810 Parklawn Drive
Suite 210
Rockville, MD 20852

Artists & Makers Studios 212276 and 12280 Wilkins Avenue
Rockville, MD 20852

O - (240)437-9573
M - (240)481-5034

Thursday, February 16, 2017

On the first anniversary of a cancer victory

Today is the first anniversary of the first major battle with cancer... below and together, you'll find the record of that event - it makes for an interesting read, and some good lessons in there as well...

February  16, 2016, 4:00AM

I'll be out of commission today, going under the knife for a major, somewhat urgent and quite unexpected surgery procedure with a substantial recovery period. Surgery starts at 0730; as I type this the main worry in my mind is getting from my house to the hospital (arrival time 0530) with all the ice still all over my neighborhood's twisty and windy streets.

Not looking forward to the next 2-3 weeks. But like Clint Eastwood once famously said: "Hog's breath is better than no breath at all..."

There are lots of things that I am afraid of, but weirdly enough, death is not one of them. I think that the fact that if I were to croak today I'd still be leaving behind around ten thousand pieces of artwork which have been sold, traded, given away, left in hotel rooms, inserted into Goodwill stores and/or otherwise left to leave an artistic footprint, is rather a calming feeling.

This is a major, multi-hour, robot-not-a-human-in-charge operation, which I am told has an 80% success rate where the John Doe doesn't bite the bucket (and frankly, I picked the robot over the human, because of something called "tremors" when it comes to a surgical scalpel), soooooooooo.... If I do bite the bucket, I'd like a tombstone that looks like a Pictish Stone, sort of like this one that I did in Scotland in 1989:

Clach Biorach Pictish Standing Stone  Edderton, Ross, Scotland  circa 1989 by F. Lennox Campello  Pen and Ink wash on paper, 9.5 x 6.5 inches
Clach Biorach Pictish Standing Stone
Edderton, Ross, Scotland
circa 1989 by F. Lennox Campello
Pen and Ink wash on paper, 9.5 x 6.5 inches

February 16, 3:03PM 

Nothing is ever easy! Last night's ice rain made for an interesting drive to the hospital this morning.  Since I knew that the ice rainfall was coming, I put my van inside the garage and laid out plenty of salt. Around 4am I got up, sprinkled more salt and pulled the van out and warmed it up.

The walk from the van back to the house was quite an event, as I hugged the walls to try to make it back in one piece, slipping and sliding all over the place.

The drive out of my neighborhood was almost surreal. To start, the start itself took two tries to get the van pointed in the right direction. I then crunched my way out via an interesting new path that avoided most hilly streets in my very hilly neighborhood.... I slid a few times, but made it out and eventually to the hospital.

February 19, 2016, 12:14PM

Going home today! This is my hospital allegory to Frida Kahlo's "What the water gave me."

February 26, 11:58AM

I've debated over and over about documenting my recent and brutal prostate biopsy (the brutality comes in the bloody evidence after the biopsy), the subsequent cancer diagnosis by a very aggressive form of cancer, the recent hospitalization for radical prostrate surgery, and the current harsh recovery. 

And I'm still not really sure why I started to do it here, because this is an art blog, not Lenny's diary or whine-blog, but here it goes.

Why? There are some excellent lessons learned in the process which maybe can help someone; who knows. If I had read this ahead of my own surgery, it would have made some things a lot easier. I also plan to print this and mail it to the hospital, as there is some good feedback in here for them.

It has been over a week since the surgery, which was done on Tuesday, February 16, and things are not all 100% good, but we're moving forwards (I hope).

As noted in an earlier post, I arrived at Suburban Hospital last Tuesday around 5:30AM for a scheduled robotic assisted prostate surgery. The road that led there was accented by multiple pokes, biopsies, meetings with doctors, nurses, and deciding between chemo or the knife.

I decided to get rid of the little fucker outright and quickly, rather than cook it to death. The end results are the same: your prostate is history, but with surgery at least it is out of your body, unable to spread, and they can also biopsy the surrounding areas so that they can verify that it hasn't spread. Surgery, especially the robot assisted surgery which eliminates surgeon's tremors, also has a decent chance that after recovery you'll be able to still get your crank up.

That's one giant-assed issue, know what I mean.

So, after arrival at the hospital, I was prepared for the surgery, which is done by a team of doctors and nurses and a robot. 

I'm imagining this guy from Star Wars, but I know that it must be something quite simpler looking; later on I discovered that I was pretty close! At least the top half.

To the left is what the DaVinci Robot looks like (note the artistic name).

My surgery was to be directed and done by a genial Mexican-born doctor who has loads of experience in this area.

The staff at Suburban is like Whole Foods, there are people from all over the planet, and the accents reveals Americans who were once Russians, Ethiopians, Filipinas, Jamaicans, Asians, Indians, Central Americans, Nigerians, and the Gulf States.

A smiling tech wearing a hijab puts the intravenous needle kit into my left arm, while a nurse reviews the pre-operative protocol for the 100th time at different stages.

At some point the anesthesiologist comes in and walks me through his part of the operation. Soon after, my doctor comes in and we converse in Spanish. He tells me that all will be OK.

As I am rolled to the operation room, all that is in my head is the fact that I will have to wear a catheter for 10 to 14 days. The thought makes me shudder, but the mind (and the gurney) rattles on. But at least I have been told by most people that I should be heading home the next day, if everything goes well.

At the operation room a smiling nurse puts a hair net on my hair and that's the last that I remember.

I wake up to a smiling and efficient Asian nurse who checks me out. I'm not feeling any pain or discomfort, but have a very sore throat. She explains that I had a tube going down my throat into my lungs. I am also very thirsty and start drinking lots of water.  I'm also beginning to cough, the familiar feeling of phlegm in my lungs ticking my throat.

Each cough feels like someone is stabbing my guts in five different places, the result of the multiple robotic probes and the macabre tube coming out of my stomach. I also know that it's there, but don't want to think about the catheter tube up my crank and reaching into my bladder.

My wife looks under the sheets and grimaces. "What?," I ask alarmed. She describes the multiple angry incisions in my belly, the stomach tube, etc. She also notes that I have been "manscaped down there."

Much later, when I've had a chance to get a mirror, I inspect the manscaping, which goes all the way from below my nipples to my testicles. Curiously, whoever did all the shaving stopped halfway through my balls, so the top of them are shaved, but the bottoms are still covered in pubic hair, somewhat making them look like balls with beards, or one of those Japanese haircuts where they shave your forehead all the way up to half of the top of your head.
Eventually I'm released from the recuperation ward and I'm taken to my room; and I'm pleased to see that I'm the only person there. When I was a teen and got whacked by a car running a red light in Brooklyn, I spent months in a giant ward at Kings County Hospital; not pretty.

My wife is there by my side with a bag of essentials, such as my iPad. I use it to snap this photo and Facebook the image. She notices that my eyes are watery, and I tell her that they feel very odd.

With the exception of my colleagues that were at Context Art Miami with me in December, my wife's immediate family, and my two daughters, no one knew that I had been diagnosed with cancer, much less that I was to undergo major surgery.

And thus, after the Facebook posting makes the rounds, the Cuban side of my family is surprised that I kept them in the dark. My reasoning for that is clear, as I explain it to them.

My mother is in her 90s and doing OK in her apartment of 40+ years in Florida; she doesn't need to worry about me, cancer, operations, etc.

My plan was to tell her after the operation (I did); had I told one of my relatives before the operation, I was afraid of the effects of Radio Bemba ahead of the operation

Radio Bemba is a Cuban expression that literally means Lip Radio. It's news, gossip, rumors, conjectures, etc. spread by word of mouth. In the Navy an equal expression is RUMORINT (Rumor Intelligence).

As soon as the Facebook news spread, I get emails from DMV artists Tim Tate and Elissa Farrow-Savos: "Avoid the Percocet!," they warn. "It will really mess up your bowels!".

The tone of their alarms gets to me and I insist to the nurses that I want to stay off that particular painkiller, even though they tell me that I'm on a stool softener. I also continue to drink a lot of water.

Considering the trauma of the event, the pain is mostly manageable. As recommended, I even get up a couple of times and do some walking zombie 15 minute strolls through the ward. A couple of other patients are already out there, and a nice nurse ties my hospital gown properly so that I can stop showing the crack of my ass.

We walk around in zombie patterns around the ward, rolling out the IV tower for support, and holding the urine and stomach fluids bags in the other hand.

I'm not hungry, but I know that I must eat, so I consume some clear liquids: chicken broth, lemonade, green tea and (as directed by the nurse) some most excellent lemon ice. The food delivery people from the hospital kitchens, both the tiny East Asian woman and the clean-cut, elegant, young African-American youngster, are friendly and vivacious. In fact, nearly everyone that I came across while at Suburban, starting with the Central American and the Dominican ladies at the check-in station, to the always-friendly, talkative and smiley (and pretty) African-American cleaning lady who cleaned my room everyday, were an unexpected joy at the kind of workplace that usually yields jaded, glum workers.

So far, the only thing that it really bothersome, and pain inducing when it happens, is the constant coughing to try to get rid of phlegm in my lungs. It is mostly futile and my throat is really sore. Each cough hurts my gut with multiple deep lances of pain, and a nice nurse brings me a HUG ME pillow.

"Hug it against your stomach when you cough," she advises.

I cough a lot; it hurts a lot. Otherwise, everything else is manageable.

My eyes have been feeling odd since I woke up, as if they were full of eyelashes inside your eyelids. After dinner I zombie-up to the bathroom to brush my teeth and look at my eyes.

What I see scares the crap out of me. A jell like substance, looking like the vitreous, jelly like substance that fills the center of the eye accumulates at the edges of my eye lids. As I tilt my head, it quickly slides around the eye ball to whatever direction gravity pulls it, but never spills out of the eyeball.

I am convinced that my eye vitreous has detached during surgery and is now floating around my eyeball. I bring my alarm to my nice Nigerian male nurse, a smiling, kind man always willing to help. He looks at my eyes and is also somewhat alarmed, although he tries to hide it.

"I will get the Physician's Assistant to look at it," he tells me.

A couple of hours pass, and I'm now obsessed with my eyes; even the coughing fits take second place to my concern about them. I get out of bed again, run into my nurse and ask about the PA. He assures me that she's on the floor and will soon see me.

Around midnight she shows up. She sits next to me and asks me if I get grossed out easy. From her friendly and smiley approach, I am somewhat relieved.

She describes the operating procedures that took place, including the fact that my eyes were filled with a thick lubricant, and taped up during the operation; that's what's in my eyes. She cleans them with a warm wash cloth, and tell me to do that gently over the next few days.

It sounds from her talk that she was actually part of the operating team that morning. She describes how my body is put into a 45 degree angle, with my head lowered, and how my pelvic and intestinal area is inflated with balloons to allow the robot arms access to the prostate, the seminal vessels, and the lymph nodes.

The main driver, in this case, my Mexican Doctor, sits at a console and does the cutting, re-attachment of the urethra to the bladder, and the stitching. I mention to her that the doctor had mentioned that the robot does "beautiful stitches."

She clarifies that it is the doctor, using the robot arms, who actually does the stitching. "Baseball stitches actually," she mentions. She adds that prior to the robotic advance, a surgeon could only do six stitches; now he or she gets to go all the way around and baseball-stitch that connection.

I'm curious as to how the prostate itself and other internal body parts are removed from the body, and I ask her. Her eyes light up. Apparently, that's her job at the operation; she "runs" the robot hand that contains a expansible bag that accepts the prostate as it is clipped off by another robotic arm. The bag is then closed and extracted from inside the body.

I go into a coughing fit and she looks alarmed at my pain. She asks me where my Incentive Spirometer is; my puzzled look is her answer, and she rushes out of the room and comes back with one of the devices.

"They were supposed to give you one of these when you came out of the operating room," she frowns as she teaches me how to use it. "It will re-start your lungs and help you get rid of the phlegm a lot easier."

I'm directed to exercise my lungs ten times an hour. As I do it, I wonder who fucked up the check list of what I'm supposed to do after a major operation. 

Within a couple of hours, my lungs are a lot better and a lot of gunk has been spit out. However, after ten hours of constant coughing, my throat has been abused and it is sore and the occasional cough from that issue still bugs me, but it's a million times better.

When my wife comes by the next morning, she's pretty upset that I had been Spirometer-less most of the day. Because she runs everyday, she actually runs from our home to the hospital (and back) everyday as part of her exercise routine; who knows how many miles this uberathlete logs on each round trip!

I'm expecting to be released later that day, but there's a problem.

It seems that something called a Jackson-Pratt (or JP drain); which is a soft, round plastic bulb that looks like a grenade and is attached to the end of my stomach tube, and "sucks" the fluid out of my body (from around the operated area), has been sucking too much fluid - there's a lot of fluid in that area.

Tests also indicate that there's elevated creatinine in that stomach tube liquid, higher than the creatinine levels in my blood. That essentially means that there's urine in the fluid. It doesn't take a medical degree to realize that the bladder (or something) is leaking piss inside my body.

I'm to be kept overnight and monitored; no one has mentioned the word "leak" yet - as in urine leaking from your bladder into your body. Later that night, the smiling female doctor from my doctor's practice assures me that things will be OK and that they just want to monitor the creatinine to see if it goes down.

Day two arrives, and the wasps make their first appearance... right after lunch.

DMV artist Tim Vermeulen has had a brutal couple of decades where his body has been wracked by pain due to side effects of some medical issues a couple of decades ago. He depicted this is pain in this chilling painting:

 The Seat of the Soul, Mixed media on panel by Tim Vermeulen
 The Seat of the SoulMixed media on panel by Tim Vermeulen

When I first saw it at Context Art Miami last December, it scared and chilled me to the bone. Little was I to know, that in a weird way, it would help me a tiny bit from Wednesday to Friday of last week. That's Tim at the bottom of the painting, hugging his stomach in quiet agony while the wasps go to town in his innards.

For me, it started as a little crampy sensation in my right pelvic area; suddenly one of my balls was in pain hell quickly and out of nowhere. It happened fast, so fast that it floored my senses, but soon the worst pain that I have ever felt was coursing through my pelvic region and my stomach. It was so unexpected, intense, fiery and full of living movement, that it surprised me and astounded me with the violence and level of the pain.

It felt like a million points of pain, each one a little needle poking into the meaty parts of your insides, drilling into your pelvic bone, and then moving quickly to a new spot to poke a hole inside your gut; it felt like a million wasps, and I remembered and recalled the Vermeulen painting.

The first time, after an agonizing 15 minutes, it was gone.

"Probably gas," said the nice nurse when I told her about it. "Call me if it comes back and I will give you some Percocet."

"Fuck that," I thought to myself, "I don't want to trade up to chunks of cement in my bowels."

The wasps came back three times or so that day. I cussed them out, begged them to leave, whined like an animal, and in my mind's eyes killed each little motherfucker one at a time inside my bowels. But there were so many! The clock became my friend, as I looked at the advance minute hand expecting the end of the agony. Within 12-15 minutes the wasps were usually gone and I was back to "normal."

That Wednesday night the JP Drain is out of control, filling up about once an hour. At one point it turns from the reddish, bloody discharge that it is supposed to be, to the same color as urine. I'm alarmed by that and mention it to the nurse. He tells me that it is not urine.

As Thursday arrives, the decision is made to keep me overnight once again, and my doctor comes in to visit. He explains that there's probably a leak, but that this is not uncommon. He also changes my stomach dressing and directs that the JP ball be changed to a gravity bag to hold the body fluids coming out of the stomach tube. He mentions that since the JP ball works with suction, it's filling out so quickly because of that.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

By now everyone is telling me not to worry that urine is leaking inside my body, because "urine is sterile."

"People even drink it," someone says grossing me out. 

At lunch, for the first time I sit down to eat. When I get up I notice that I am leaking fluid on the floor. It is coming from the stomach hole where the tube goes into my body. The nurse comes in, put me to bed and changes the dressing; as soon as she leaves the wasps make an appearance. 

I fight them with my own mental violence as I imagine pulling them off my insides one at the time, their stingers stretching my stomach walls as it refuses to release its penetration, and then the meat slapping back as the insect, angrily buzzing in my hand, is crushed between my fingers. But there are so many...

A couple of hours later, a nice PA comes in to check on me, and while he's checking me, the wasps make another appearance. He listens to my bowels as I'm whimpering in pain and talking to the little bastards. The nurse is called and she injects some pain killer into my IV; it is no of use, the pain is not affected by anything but time. Everyone has been telling me that the wasps are either gas or bladder spasms. I am told to be proactive, and that as soon as I feel the spasms begin to call for painkiller.

These wasps do not listen to painkillers.

There's a double nurse team on duty today. One nurse is young and pretty, the other is much older and wearing a formidable tool belt of medical supplies, sort of like a Medical Bat-belt for nurses. They are both efficient, friendly and concerned.

Bat Nurse is especially active. As I zombie around in my ward walks, I see her all over the place helping patients; she never seemed to rest.

Later the young nurse comes in with the PA to switch my stomach bag and there's some jury-rigging involved in switching the bags, and much tape is employed in the process. By now I've noticed that my stomach dressing is soaked because the hole in my belly, where the tube enters my body, is leaking again.

Bat Nurse switches my dressing efficiently; she's a nice lady on top of being a very dedicated nurse; she tells me that she's only been a nurse for six months.

Later that day, my doctor returns and quickly disassembles what the nurse and the PA had done and makes an efficient water-tight connection to the new bag. He also changes my belly dressing, as it is soaked again. He re-assures me that the leak will heal itself.

I sleep fitfully and then it's Friday; the wasps are not nocturnal.

On Friday I am to be discharged and sent home with the body bag. "Make an appointment for Monday to evaluate the situation and see if we can remove the stomach bag," my doctor advises.

I'm feeling fairly decent, and that day I walk around a lot. The wasps make an appearance after lunch, and then just a few minutes after they had left, as if they knew that I'm thinking of going home, while I'm standing in the room, they come back with the whole hive.

This time the pain is not only outside the pain scale, but the wasps have even conquered the clock! An hour passes and I'm still being attacked; these are extra-terrestial wasps from the planet Waspathron; this pain are a million Janices from 1959's The Wasp Woman; maybe I should not have insulted them earlier; for every one that I kill, a dozen more show up, their long stingers dripping with pain venom.

They are joined by hornets, not just any hornets but those giant Chinese motherfuckers called Vespa Mandarinia. "Is there a difference between hornets and wasps?," I ask them as I fight them.

My wife calls and detects the pain in my voice; she's alarmed. I try my best to sound OK, but she knows better and she heads to the hospital. This time she drives.

By now I'm nauseous with pain and lay down; it's no use, the pain won't leave me. I call the nurse and ask her to bring me the puke basin. She's alarmed at the level of my pain, but reacts to the nausea as well. She injects me with something and the nausea goes away, while I battle the wasps and the Mandarin hornets.

A new PA walks by and hears me talking to the wasps, begging them to leave me alone, and she comes in and listens to my belly. "The pain is because of bladder spasms," she notes, "It's very common when you have a catheter." This is the hundredth time that I've heard that diagnosis.

"I'll order some muscle relaxer to treat the spasms."

Wait, what?

This is the first time that anyone has mentioned something specific to treat the spasms; so far it has been painkillers to treat the pain. A fucking light goes on in my head and I warn the wasps that payback time is coming. I also wonder why nobody has suggested this treatment the entire three fucking days that the wasps have been attacking me.

She orders something called Oxybutynin which according to the Mayo Clinic: "Oxybutynin belongs to the group of medicines called antispasmodics. It helps decrease muscle spasms of the bladder." 

Memories of the Wasps Attacking at Suburban Hospital
2016 F. Lennox Campello
Ink and conte on paper 11x8 inches
I get it into my system and the wasps and hornets die. This is Raid to these fuckers; it's over... technology and modern medicine have won.

But, why on Friday? How come none of the other medical professionals realized that bladder spasms are very common when a catheter is first introduced? Why didn't anyone came to my aid to fight the wasps?

I'm discharged later that day and sent home with two tubes in my body. An awesome Filipina nurse trains my wife and I on the process of keeping track of the fluids coming out of my stomach and my penis, and also the process of switching the bags around as needed. She then walks us to the exit and hugs me, and wishes us good luck.

I read somewhere that over 97% of the men who go through this operation go home the next day and it's very rare when anyone has to go home with a stomach tube.

Welcome to rarity.

Next: This is what a Borg feels like at home.

March 4, 11:22AM

At the time that I checked into the hospital for my surgery, I was told that I would be discharged the next day, at least 97% of the men who undergo this type of surgery, get discharged within 24 hours of the operation. However, as fluids continued to come out of my body in prodigious quantities and the wasps continued to attack, I realized that I was part of the 3%.

I was released from the hospital on that Friday, three days after the surgery and two tubes sticking out of my body and uncomfortably sending chills of discomfort and pain every time that I moved. From there we headed out to the drugstore to pick up all of the different drugs that they had assigned for my return to home, including the anti-spasm medicine for my bladder that the medical system has so miserably failed to give me when the wasps first came at the hospital.

When we got to the drugstore, after the drive, made uncomfortable by two tubes sticking out of your body while you're sitting inside a car, I decided to take a small walk to the drugstore. As soon as I stepped inside, the tube from the catheter began to pull, making me really miserable.  

I looked around to make sure no one was looking at me, reached into my pants, adjusted my penis, and of course, as soon as I did that, an elderly lady wearing a yellow turban give me a long look as she came out from one of the aisles. 

She was quite a sight actually, only in Potomac do you get to see a 70-something older lady wearing a yellow turban, large loop earrings, full make up on, Daisy Duke shorts, a black leather jacket, giant Jackie Onassis sunglasses, and black Converse sneakers. 

Daisy Dukes in February! I actually smiled at her thinking "More power to you! But I best get the heck out of here before I get arrested." I could feel her eyes on me as I zombied out of Rite Aid.

As soon as I got home I took a hot shower. This was quite an exercise in controlled motion under the shower, as not only are there two tubes sticking out of one's body, but also they're very sensitive to any tugging and pulling. It also involves switching the large urine bag for the smaller one, and tying them around your leg. But the hot shower felt good, it was the first time since Tuesday that I had taken a shower. I wonder if Borgs shower.

There's a certain fascinating horror that comes with seeing the human body in extremis. There is a perverse sense of visual pain in seeing things that are wrong with one's body reflected in a full-size mirror for the first time in front of you: The angry scars left by the robot entry points into the body, the tube sticking out of your penis with a large bag at the end of it, and the tube sticking out of your stomach with a smaller bag at its own end. Each movement could be a disaster, each step a coordinated dance to avoid or minimize the movement of the tubes. Sleeping with tubes in your body is an art form in itself, but exhaustion always wins in the end.

For the next several days, I perfected the routine of switching the bandages around the stomach tube entry point into the belly, emptying and measuring bag after bag of fluids coming out of your body, and performing the delicate dance shower in order to to avoid hurting yourself.

At some point during the week, a nice nurse from Suburban Hospital called. She wants feedback on the stay, and as I relate the events detailed in my earlier blog post, she is horrified by the fact that no one gave me a Spirometer, that no one gave me medicine for the bladder spasms, and that no one helped me to combat the wasps.

And today, more than two weeks and three visits to the doctor later, I prepared for another visit to the doctor to evaluate pulling the tubes out and returning me to the human race, like Picard did from his time amongst the Borg as Locutus..

As the doctor pulls the stomach tube out, my wife's eyes widen as he does. Later on she tells me that she could not believe how long that tube was; it must have been coiled inside me.

The process didn't hurt as much as it was rather noticeable to my alarm senses, but quick. My doctor tells me that I need to return on Monday to see about pulling off the catheter.

Will that hurt? You bet, but still I look forward to that day; Borg no more!