Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Coming to NYC


Alida Anderson Art Projects is pleased to present the work of three outstanding artists during the Spring 2016 Affordable Art Fair NYC. In light of Women’s History Month we would like to highlight the two women in our booth, Lauren Levato Coyne and Lori Katz. The artists both employ a graphic use of space and bold color but execute their final works with very different styles and media. Levato Coyne’s drawings feature animal and human forms in various levels of realism and Katz works in ceramic to create graphically inspired 3D wall pieces. 

Lauren Levato Coyne (Chicago, IL) works almost exclusively in colored pencil using themes of poison, violence, and addiction. “My drawings are paralinguistic symbolist portraits and still lives where meaning is indicated but encrypted,” said Levato Coyne. By combining lush realism with an economy of line and negative space Levato Coyne creates a schema that differentiates the human from the flora and fauna that populate the work. This schema differentiates the division between interior and exterior, reality and non-reality. 
 
Her drawings and paintings are shown in New York, Denver, and Los Angeles among other cities and can be found in private collections from NYC to Chicago, Germany to Italy. 

Lori Katz (Washington, DC) works as a ceramic artist. Her current focus is stoneware wall work with additions to the raw surface including contrasting clays, slips, underglaze and high-temperature wire. Post firing additions include acrylic paint, oil paint, cold wax and metal leaf"I am intrigued by contrast, the play of dark against light, the pull of empty space against the inclination to fill it up, the placement of line and shape, the use of subtle texture, balance,” said Katz. "Eight years ago, I began working almost exclusively in a palette of black and white in what was a conscious effort to simplify process and design. Lately, color is finding its way back in as my work continues to evolve. I have learned that in the end, process is never simple and good design is always balanced and strong.”
Katz's work has been selected for juried and invitational exhibitions in the US, Europe and Asia, and is included in public and private collections throughout the world.

Instagram Disables Artist's Account of Disturbing Politician Portraits

"You might find them disturbing, but you also might be unable to turn your eyes away from Houston artist Phillip Kremer's grotesque, distorted portraits of politicians like Donald J. Trump, Ben Carson, and Bernie Sanders."

Read the whole piece at https://news.artnet.com/people/artist-bizarre-portraits-donald-trump-instagram-443546


Monday, March 07, 2016

Nassikas at the Athenaeum

Congrats to our own Georgia Nassikas - Join her on March 20th from 4 - 6 pm for the opening reception of her solo show “Quietude: Works in Wax and Oil” at the Athenaeum in Alexandria, VA

A beautiful venue by the way! 



Sunday, March 06, 2016

Ten worst art fair mistakes

Number one is the same one that I've been warning artists about for years... and still lots of artists bite this bitter pill each year...

Read it here.

Banksy has been identified

“Geographic profiling”, a technique used to catch serial criminals, has proved that the elusive artist Banksy really is Robin Gunningham, according to academic research.
 Scientists at Queen Mary University of London claim to have “tagged” Banksy, by identifying a pattern between the locations where his graffiti artworks most frequently appear and addresses with a close association to Gunningham, named as Banksy in a 2008 newspaper investigation.
Read the whole article here.

Opportunity for artists

Deadline: March 14, 2016

The Young Affiliates of the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC) host a juried art show in The Mint Museum Uptown in commemoration of The Mint Museum's upcoming 80th anniversary.   

To submit and for guidelines, visit www.youngaffiliates.org/80x80. For any questions, email 80x80show@gmail.com

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Congrats!

Carla Goldberg, represented by Alida Anderson Art Projects, LLC
To AAAP artist Carla Goldberg,  who has been commissioned to create a 16 foot five panel moon and water scape on plexiglass for the Hammond Museum for their summer 2016 exhibit. 

Also, three 14 foot water images of hers will grace the outdoor solarium on the newest Royal Caribbean cruise line ship currently under construction in Norway and set to launch this summer.

Also congrats to AAAP artist and DMV resident Elissa Farrow-Savos, as last nigth was the opening of her show, "If I Were You and You Were Me", at Gallery C in Raleigh, North Carolina; a gallery by the way, that discovered her work at a recent art fair a couple of years ago!

Art Scam Alert!

Beware of this rip off:
From:  Julian Smith (juliansmith@126.com)
Hello, my name is Julian and i am from Sinara Group Co.,LTD in Russia.We are glad to know about your company from the web and we are interested in your products.Pls send us your Latest catalog and price list as soon as you can.
Ms Julian Smith, Manager Importation

Opportunity for DMV artists

Deadline: April 29, 16. 

Christopher Newport University Dept. of Fine Art and Art History is looking for artists (in VA, DC, Baltimore) who can offer a workshop to their students as well as an Art Exhibition/Gallery Talk of their work during the 2016-17 academic year. 

They will provide reasonable stipend to assist with travel/shipping depending on circumstance. May offer honorarium to cover expenses associated with a Visiting Artist Workshop on campus. Contact jodie.gordon@cnu.edu to request submission requirements. Subject line: Call for Proposals. No phone calls please.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Part II of The Prostate Surgery: Borg

Part I here.

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!

5 tips for setting up (or improving) your photography website

For a photographer, setting up a website comes with a lot of pressure. As artists, our websites need to reflect our style and showcase our work, but they also need to be easy to navigate, fully functional on all types of devices, and make it easy for clients to book a session or purchase prints. All of this can be overwhelming, but since there is no better forum for displaying photos and having a wide reach, every photographer should consider having a website.
Read the whole article here.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Field trip to see Holly Bass' first solo!

Holly Bass
This Saturday there's super cool way to see something unique and important in the visual arts, see a gorgeous art space near the DMV that most city folk have never seen, and experience one of the DMV's most talented artists' first solo show.
My friend, the very talented  Holly Bass, is exploring her family roots through poetry, visuals and song at her first solo show in the beautiful Black Rock Arts Center. To make it a whole package, there is a chartered school bus going to BlackRock on Saturday! It leaves from Dupont Circle and goes to directly to the gallery with complimentary Dos Equis beer. 

Field trip!  

Saturday March 5

Root Work: Exhibition & live performance

Black Rock Arts Center
12901 Town Commons Dr.Germantown, MC 20874

This performance, video installation and photographic series explores the intersections of land, labor, and family.  Bass went down to her father’s birthplace in Georgia to share his story of growing up in a family of sharecroppers, picking cotton by hand, providing a window on the complicated roots of one aspect of our national identity. The exhibition will remain on view in the gallery through March 26.

Take a chartered bus from Dupont Circle to Black Rock on Saturday. Click here for $6 bus tickets!

Bus to BlackRock leaves at 11am.
Free performance at 1pm.
For more info: Black Rock Arts Center

Bonus:  Due to my current BORG-like state, where I am full of medical tubes, I can't go, but I would love to publish a review of the show here. If you do attend the show and want to get published, email me a review, and pending approval, I will publish it here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Exposed DC Photography Show – 10th Anniversary Exhibition

Exposed DC Photography Show – 10th Anniversary Exhibition

 
An exhibit of 47 images of the Washington metro area
Opening reception: Thursday, March 10, 6 to 10 p.m., Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW
 
 
Local photography groups will provide entertainment and activities in the ballroom
 
Exhibition Magazine and Poster: 10th year commemorative editions available for purchase
 Best in Show awards chosen by a panel of distinguished local photographers
Beer provided by Bluejacket Brewery; Beats by DJ Neville C.
Advance tickets: Adult $35 / Under 21 $20 / 12 and Under FREE
– Door tickets: $45 / Under 21 $30 / 12 and Under FREE
– #exposeddc #xdc
 
**********************************
Exposed DC is celebrating 10 years of the Exposed DC Photography Show this year. It will be hosted by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. from March 10 to April 1, 2016, on the second floor of the Carnegie Library.

These 47 winning photographs were chosen from a contest for their unique view of the Washington area – not as a political venue or tourist destination, but as a place where we live and work and love every day. Five of those photographs will be awarded our Best in Show prizes, each one chosen by a panel of distinguished metro-area photographers: Lucian Perkins, Susana Raab, Lauren Stockbower, Yodith Dammlash, and Carolyn Russo.

To celebrate a decade of amazing local photography, the Exposed DC opening reception will be held throughout the Carnegie Library; cocktail attire suggested. We’re showing our commitment to fostering photography for all skill levels and pursuits by partnering with local photography groups to provide entertainment and engaging activities throughout the Library: Critical ExposureCapital Photography CenterLeica Store DC, The Exposure Group African American Photography AssociationIGDC, HOIST Studio, and APA|DC
D.C.’s own Bluejacket Brewery will provide their original brews at an open bar; complimentary wine and snacks will also be available. DJ Neville C. will provide dance tunes in the Carnegie Library’s fantastic L'Enfant Map Room.

A full color 10th Anniversary Exhibition Magazine with the last 5 years of winning photos be available at the opening, along with the 5th Anniversary Magazine companion volume from 2006-2011.

Exhibit hours:
Tuesday-Friday: 10am-4pm
Saturday, March 12: 10am-4pm
(Exhibit closed March 17, 18, 22)
Closing day: Friday, April 1


All photographs displayed will be for sale.

Art fair fees

Just as an example of the spectacular financial burden of art fairs: Just finishing assembling all the paperwork required by my accountant to do 2015 taxes.

In 2015 we paid $66, 466 in art fair fees + $738 in art fair insurance + $3, 938 in travel/hotels to/from them + $908 in food + $1200 in shipping expenses after the fairs (we use the gallery van to drive the work to/from fairs and thus save those massive shipping expenses).

That's $73, 250 Samolians in expenses for five art fairs in 2015! About $14,650 per art fair.

And still, that's the main way to go if one wants to expose, expand and move artwork.

Scary.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

At Zenith Gallery: 38 years!

Celebrating Zenith Gallery's 38th Anniversary

Show Dates: March 11 - April 16, 2016   
At 1429 Iris St., NW, Washington, DC  20012

MEET THE ARTISTS RECEPTIONS
Friday, March 11, 4:00-8:00 pm  and  Saturday, March 12, 2:00-6:00pm

Featuring Artists:
Kim Abraham, Jan Paul Acton, Doba Afolabi, Mason Archie, David Bacharach, Andrea Barnes, Bert Beirne, Harman Biddle, Francesca Britton, Lenny Campello, Peter Kephart, Katie Dell-Kaufman, Renee DuRocher, Elissa Farrow-Savos, Richard Fitzhugh, Robert Freeman, Carol Gellner-Levin, Cassandra Gillens, Julie & Ken Girardini, Margery Goldberg, Stephen Hansen, Len Harris, Chris Hayman, Philip Hazard, Tony Henson, Frank Holmes, David Hubbard, David Jackson, Hubert Jackson, Robert Jackson, Peter Kephart, Gloria Kirk, Joan Konkel, Michael Madzo, Chris Malone, Paul Martin-Wolff, Donna McCullough, Hadrian Mendoza, Davis Morton, Reuben Neugass, Carol Newmyer, Tom Noll, Katharine Owens, Patti Porter-Firestone, Alison Sigethy Gavin Sewell, Sica, Ellen Sinel, Bradley Stevens, Charles Taube, Jennifer Wagner, Marcie Wolff-Hubbard, Mary Voytek, Curtis Woody, Joyce Zipperer and many more!

For over three decades, Zenith Gallery has been a pillar in the D.C. art community. In fact, this year marks their 38th year of business. "We attribute our success to our ability to transform with the ever-changing times. We do this by combining our longstanding commitment to inspired, unique artworks with our personalized, high quality customer service," notes Margery Goldberg, Zenith's owner and director.

"Over the years, Zenith has been evolving and innovating, just as our artists have", she continues. "Some of you may recall Zenith's humble beginnings on Rhode Island Avenue" (when Goldberg formed one of the District's first artist studio complexes). "Others of you may have first known Zenith Gallery in our 7th Street location when we were one of several galleries that lined what was known as 'Gallery Row'," she adds. 

Yet still others of you may have first encountered the current manifestation of Zenith Gallery - found within Goldberg's spacious Shepherd Park home. Present-day Zenith Gallery includes both a front and a rear Sculpture Garden, European-Style salon gallery displays on the main level and upper level of the complex, and, last but not least - a contemporary-style, conventional gallery on the lower level. 

In short, today's Zenith Gallery offers much more than merely a white walled art gallery with a few dozen works of art. Instead, "you step into a world that is a veritable kaleidoscope of art mediums and genres, with works ranging from abstract expressionistic to photo realism... with pieces that range in size from monumental sculpture to intricately fabricated one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry."
  
Join Zenith for their series "Speaking of Art..." as part of this month-long celebration!
Friday, March 18, 6:30-8:30 PM
Meet and Greet with Robert Freeman
Saturday, March 19th 2-4 PM
"Getting Started Collecting Art" - Featuring Collectors and Director Margery Goldberg and Peter Kephart
Thursday, March 24th 5:30-7:30 PM 
"Innovation and the Creative Spirit" - Featuring artists Len Harris, Peter Kephart, Katharine Owens, and Joyce Zipperer
Thursday, March 31st  5:30-7:30 PM
"Portraiture and Commissions" - Featuring artists Ken and Julie Girardini, and Bradley Stevens 
Saturday, April 2nd 2-4 PM  
"African American Artists in the20th Century and Beyond" - Featuring artists Chris Malone, Hubert Jackson and Gloria Kirk
Saturday, April 9th 2-4 PM 
"Appraising, Maintaining and Cataloging Art" - Featuring ISA Accredited Appraiser, Suzanne Alessi and Collectors

Monday, February 29, 2016

Models wanted

Seeking experienced artists models to pose for drawing/painting group at Mount Rainier Artist Loft,  3311 Rhode Island Ave,  Mount Rainier MD. 


They will meet on Thursday evenings, from 7 to 9. 

Call or text 202-427-2907 to discuss details.

Guayaberas

Two Cuban guys wearing black Guayaberas...



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jacobson on Ward

Read the review in the WCP here.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Typewriter artist

This is simply amazing... http://youtu.be/svzPm8lT36o

ABMB Week review

Just published! Check out my review (at Eclat International magazine) of the last Art Basel week, with a focus on LA galleries! A giant thanks to ├╝ber collector Ardis Bartle, who did most of the walking. Photos by L.B. Konopinski.

Review starts in page 18.


Debate: Should Art Galleries Split Commissions?

I recently received an email from an artist who ran into a bit of a dilemma (or at least she thought she did). She had been showing a piece of art in a gallery in her home town for a number of months. When the piece didn’t sell, she rotated the piece, along with several others, to a gallery out of town. A short time later, she received a call from the first gallery saying that a client had come in and was interested in purchasing this particular piece of art and wondered if it was still available.
The artist’s question to me was, “What should I do if the piece sells through the first gallery? Should I pay the second gallery part of the commission since it is now in their possession? How do I handle the situation without stepping on anyone’s toes?”
Read the whole thing here.

The 2016 Pothole Art Installation Project

Check out this amazing art project of this Chicago artist taking his set to the streets.


And let's just say that in the DMV we could use a few hundred of him!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Target Gallery Fundraiser

Target Gallery’s popular annual fundraising exhibition and art sale, March150, returns to the Torpedo Factory Art Center to raise money in support of the Gallery’s special exhibitions and programs. The work will be on view Saturday, March 5, through Sunday, March 20, 2016. 

Target Gallery, the contemporary exhibition space for the Torpedo Factory, raised more than $11,000 in 2015 through March150 and hopes to exceed that sum this year. It is an all-media exhibition of work created by artists local to Alexandria and the greater D.C. region. The only requirement to be included is that artists use the gallery-supplied 10” x 10” panel. All work in the show is priced at $150.

 March150 is a perpetual favorite with patrons and local artists alike,” said Kaitlyn Ward, director of the Target Gallery. “This fundraiser exhibition is a low-pressure environment, which encourages new art collectors to buy original work and sets the stage for artists to experiment with new techniques and ideas.” 

The two-week exhibition will feature more than to 150 square panels created by more than 100 regional artists, nearly 30 of whom are affiliated with the Torpedo Factory.

During the Art Party on Friday, March 18; 7 – 10 pm, work is priced at $100. Guests have an opportunity to mingle with other art enthusiasts and meet many of the artists who have contributed to the show. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door.

Memories from a Prostectomy: The Spirometer, the leak and the wasps

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.