Saturday, November 7, 2015


FIRST, WATCH THE VIDEO                     

It was sometime around '94, soon after I took up with the artist and social critic Michelle D. Cook, that I began studying the accordion (the two were NOT coincidental). Perhaps it stems from her love of cats, but  Michelle's sardonic perspective imagined me, a morose German, hopping & skipping in lederhosen while squeezing something. 

She's always been the idea person in our relationship and being well-trained I immediately began my studies. To help me along she purchased a Hero Midget 

and presented it to me on the Solstice. 

As a busy art dealer, I made time to practice while waiting at red lights.  As incentive, Michelle composed a new national anthem. I spent several months learning it. (As you're aware, literary folks are drawn to magazines and journals with the word REVIEW in their title; Bloomsbury ReviewThe New York Review of Books and The Yale Law & Policy Review are popular. Cats, being the olfactory creatures that they are, get their news via the Cat Odor Review -- which comes via pee-mail.)


I never progressed beyond C. O. R., but our enthusiasm led us, in 2008,  to attend the Cotati Accordion Festival in Cotati, California. The festival was curated by Renee de la Prade and included the great Duckmandu


While surfing the web the other day I stumbled upon Renee's 2015 calendar

 that comes with a music CD. I ordered, paid and went on my way.

Now, a month later, while perusing emails I noticed a paypal receipt. One thing led to another and the following email soon arrived.

I'm sorry for the delay Michael!
I'm very disorganized this year because I moved to Europe and my regular mail-order-filler was on extended vacation, so it's a bit of a scramble. When I publish future editions, (the next will be 2017,) I plan to sign up with either CD Baby or Amazon or both, so that it's easy to fill orders in a timely manner, even when I'm travelling.
Thanks for your patience, thanks for contacting me. I'm sending you a special present along with your original order; you should get a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number within the next few days.
Best wishes,
Renee de la Prade

Renee is in Hamburg, Germany, where she resides with her new (as of August) husband, Ingo. That's Ingo on drums in the first video.

So that brings us to today. I'm in Albuquerque, the armpit of the SW, where Michelle's mother is dying of olde age. And although the sun is shining, it's cold and I felt the need of a bit of jollility. 

I hope you too got a chuckle.


Susie slid into the otherworld at 11:43 p.m. on Nov 12, mere minutes before what is known as ALL SMIRKETS DAY (Friday the 13th). Smirket, for those unfamiliar, is the proper term for a black cat.


Jozien Keijzer said...

sharing in your jolility thanks

Pepper Mckean said...

Love the accordion - Dennis Stroughmatt absolutely rocks it as well. Beer Polka music is always great especially with a hefeweizen. I am definitely going to check this group out.

Michelle D. Cook - I am making a note to myself "Find A Real Job and Buy Michelle's Art." She is great! Hired Hands and Survival of the Modest... can I borrow $500?

Cat Odor and DUCKMANDU - sometimes we all need a laugh. Remember staying busy is the best form of escapism. I am a professional at it. Mom and I gave up living in a van because of health reasons. I am helping her with her final journey in this life. Currently we are having a ball roadtripping.

MFH said...

@Pepper McKean

Wow!!! Thanks for the lead on Stroughmatt, he's amazing! I look forward to hearing him live.

It's always wonderful to hear enthusiasm for Cook's work. Only the Japanese produce serigraphs with greater than 40 colors. They're STILL held up in the Univ of NM College of Art as incredible examples. I've yet to see another who could come close to doing shadows they way she drove her nuts and she finally, in 1993, quit. Her imagery, in my esteemed opinion, is, even after 20 years, as fresh as when it was produced. My fav is *Huh, Oh, Reality Draws Near.*