Viggo and Lynn
(this was taken the morning of the 11th at Robert
Viggo, Lynn and Mark
(at the Used Book Cafe, after the reading on
Viggo, Pilar and Lynn
(taken the morning of the 11th, at the RMG)
(the Poetry Reading at the Used Book Cafe, reading
from Recent Forgeries)
(the Poetry Reading at the Used Book Cafe, reading
from Rene Ricard's book)
Viggo and Rene
(Viggo and Rene Ricard dancing to "Sweet
Caroline" at the Used Book Cafe)
Lynn, Sotnos and Germany
(at the Private Opening, July 11, at the Robert
(NOTE: clicking on the pictures will open another window, and it will take a moment for the image to load.
some facts have been slightly altered to protect
the guilty (mainly myself) and some facts are missing
entirely (you can ask but I won't tell) but here is a New
York story for your enjoyment.
Mark (long-suffering husband of Lynn)
With brief appearances by a cast of hundreds
all started way back in the spring when I first got wind
that Viggo was going to have a showing in New York City in
July, 2002. I printed the info off of the computer and gingerly put it
into Mark's hands. (this is where the
"I-owe-Mark-big-time" clock starts ticking.)
We discussed it - then discussed it some more.
We were originally planning to go to NYC in
October, 2002, on the off-chance of meeting Gabriel Byrne
(obviously, I'm a playa!) and to meet on-line friends from
the Gabriel board.
Mark said, "make your choice because I doubt
if we can pull off two trips to New York
that close together."
thought about it all right. At this point, my choices were - wait for October
on the remote possibility of meeting Mr. Byrne OR go in
July for the very real probability of meeting Viggo.
So, feeling somewhat sad that I had to make a
choice, I took the plunge. The plan was to go to, what was
at the time, the public opening of Viggo's show at the
Robert Mann Gallery, go to the book signing and then go to
the poetry reading.
I learned that the public opening party had to be changed
to a private party because of concerns about space at the
gallery. Well, I wasn't born Southern and full of charm for nothing.
My invitation to the private party arrived the week
before we were to make the trip.
The President of the United States does not have
the security that that piece of paper had while traveling
to New York City!! I believed I developed OCD while on the trip because of
how many times I checked to make sure the invitation was
as we were getting ready for our trip, Mark had an
encounter with a pesky poison ivy plant.
His whole right arm looked like...well, I don't
even want to think about it anymore.
I spent a great deal of time in New York standing
between his arm and an unsuspecting populace.
Trust me, if you need extra space on the subway,
poison ivy is the way to go.
for a few non-Viggo related stories about our trip. We took Amtrak from Florence, SC to NYC.
I'm not much on flying and really wasn't ready for
it yet (after 9/11) so we thought we'd see how the train
worked out. Not
a bad trip, I'm happy to report.
We arrived safe and sound in the Big Apple on
We headed up to Time's Square, bought tickets for
"The Full Monty", went to eat (at a restaurant
that Mr. Byrne had had a birthday party in once - didn't
know that when I went in so got a small thrill of perhaps
sitting where his Irish butt had sat - this is where I can
see that the Looney Tunes theme song is beginning to run
through Mark's head on endless loop), went to Madame
Tussaud's, then saw the show (hysterical - highly
next day we went to Ground Zero.
It was a very emotional visit for both of us.
We stayed there for quite awhile and I left a poem
pinned to the fence that surrounds St. Paul's Chapel (the
church that withstood everything that day and had no
damage despite being directly across from the WTC).
That afternoon, I was able to meet one of my
Gabriel Byrne Internet friends who lives on Staten Island.
It was a great pleasure to meet her - felt that I
knew her already. Mark was the perfect gentleman.
I owe him big-time.
night, we went to see "Into the Woods" starring
Vanessa Williams. Very
I am already running over to Duane Reade (THE pharmacy in
NYC) to buy band-aids for all the blisters that I already
have on my feet from walking so much (and this is only day
feet look ridiculous but it's either bandage them up or
don't walk, so I bandage - heavily.
I am the walking wounded.
But, will someone please tell me how you get
blisters on the TOP of your toes when you have been
wearing open-toed shoes the whole time?
Thursday morning, I talk to Germany and Sotnos who arrived
the night before and we decide to meet for lunch in
Before we head out to meet them, however, Mark and
I decide to walk over to the Robert Mann Gallery just so
we can figure out where it is.
The party is that night and we certainly don't want
to get lost then!!
We are staying at a bed and breakfast in Chelsea -
we had stayed there before and it was a no-brainer
deciding to stay there again...especially when we learned
that the Gallery was literally right around the corner. So, we walked over to the gallery, found it and just sort of
stood on the outside, trying to decide what to do next. Finally, we decided that we might as well go on up and make
sure that we knew EXACTLY where the gallery was (you can't
have TOO much information, can you?!!).
So, up we went, to the 10th floor of the building.
There was a sign that said "Robert Mann
Gallery" and, on the closed and locked doors, another
sign that had the info about Viggo's exhibit and another
sign that said "closed for installation".
There was a doorbell, also, but somehow I
restrained myself and didn't ring it.
headed back to the elevator and waited for it to come up. The doors opened. And,
there and then, stood Mark and Lynn face to face with
Viggo and Pilar. Later,
Mark said he wondered if I was going to say anything at
all or just stand there like the grinning idiot I have
really hate to have my picture taken (and you can see why)
but I wish that, at the moment the elevator opened, there
could have been a snapshot of my face! It would have been the perfect picture of a woman losing all
her marbles. Finally (well, maybe 2 seconds went by), I said, not
"Viggo?" as you might have guessed but instead
"Pilar?" (I had bought a photograph back in
February and Pilar and I had kept up a slight
correspondence - I'm sure she thinks I'm the goofiest
person on earth!).
Pilar said, "Lynn"?
We chatted for a moment about being in NYC, about
the fact that we had been able to find the gallery with no
problems, etc. Meanwhile,
Viggo and Mark are just standing there - both thinking,
I'm sure, why am I even in this picture?
Then, Pilar introduced Viggo to us.
He shook Mark's hand, then mine.
Mark said, "nice to meet you" and I said
something really inane like, "how are you
think he said the same back to me...I have no idea.
My mind is a sieve at this point.
Pilar said something about seeing us later that night and
we said we'd be there.
Then I got bold and asked if there was anyway we
could walk into the gallery right then and get a preview.
Pilar said that they weren't finished installing
the photos and paintings yet and that it probably wasn't a
good time. I
said that that was fine but also said that I had something
I wanted to give to her and Viggo (and, remember, Viggo is
standing there the whole time this conversation is going
on) and could I just go ahead and give it to them now
instead of having to lug the gifts around from venue to
Pilar told us we could come on into the gallery. So, there we went. - all in a line - Pilar, Viggo, me,
We walked into the gallery.
The all white walls were nearly blinding - many
photos were already on the wall and I recognized many of
them immediately. Pilar
told us to look around.
She needed to go put something up in the back room
and she and Viggo disappeared for a few minutes.
Mark and I walked around the room, me whispering to
him about things I knew about the photos and paintings.
Mark saying nothing because, at this point, the
"I-owe-him" clock is ticking very loudly and we
can't hear over the sound of it.
big version of "Chetwood Forest #3" was on the
floor and we stood and looked at it awhile (I purchased a
smaller one). Then, we went to the other wall.
The man who was installing the photos and paintings
(sorry I don't know his name) turned on the lights so that
we could see better.
I was immediately drawn to a photo of pigeons,
their wings flapping.
Pilar came back out and I told her that I really
liked that one and she said that it was one of her
favorites and that Viggo had taken the photo during the
trip to NYC in April (the photo is called "April,
NYC, 2000). Meanwhile,
during this whole time, Viggo is walking in and out of the
room and I am trying my best to remain as cool as a
cucumber (or in my case, a watermelon).
I asked Pilar then if we might take a photo with
Viggo and she said that it would probably be better to
wait until the party that night and I said, because I am
SO easy to get along with (ask Mark), "okay, that's
opened the bag I was carrying and pulled out a book called
"Guenevere" (by Rosalind Miles) and asked Pilar
if she had ever read it - she had not and I said that it
was a gift for her but I wanted to sign it so I sat down
on a bench and inscribed it to her.
By this time, Mark is telling me that they are busy
and we really need to leave (maybe 10 minutes have
I get up, give him a dirty look and we walk back to the
desk and door.
Viggo is standing there and he pulls a pack of gum
out of his pocket and offers Mark some, and then me.
We both decline. Viggo
asks us what we have been doing while in NYC - and did we
go to any museums. We
told him that we went to see Madame Tussaud's (does that
really count as a museum?!! I don't think it does in Viggo's world! And, by the way, it
has to be one of the creepiest places on earth)
and that we had gone to see the Broadway shows
"The Full Monty" and "Into the Woods".
He asks us if they were good and I tell him that
"The Full Monty" was hysterical and that the
singing was great.
He knew that the show didn't take place in England
(where the movie was set) and asked us where it took place
in this show. I
told him "Buffalo".
He asked if the guys in the show were factory
workers and we said yes.
Mark told him how one particular actor had stolen
the show for us - Viggo asks us his name but, alas, I
didn't remember it (it's Daniel Stewart Sherman, for the
also asked us about "Into the Woods" and we just
said we enjoyed it.
At this point, I see Viggo's new books on shelves
behind the desk. I
blurt out, "It's so little!" (mostly talking
about "Hole in the Sun" but "Coincidence of
Memory" is not a
large book either).
"Oh, well," I say, "they'll be easy
to get home!". I
got a smile out of both Pilar and Viggo for my outburst. Then, I get the book of poetry out that I brought for
Viggo. I tell
him that I know he gets a lot of books but these are poems
by Southern authors ("Old Wounds, New Words")
and I wanted to give him something that was from the south
because that is where we are from..
He thanks me, says he's never read that one and
asks me where we are from and I tell him Georgia.
We talk a little about Sarah, our Irish visitor,
that we have this summer through Project Children.
I said I couldn't believe that I had left her and
my own children to come to NYC.
At some point during all of this, Viggo hands me
several of the postcards that have his portraits on them.
He said, "here you go" and I took them
and just said, "oh, thank you."
this time, Mark is really giving me the look that said
"we need to leave them to their business" and I
know that we need to go.
But, suddenly, Pilar asks Viggo if he would mind
taking some photos with us.
Viggo said, no, he didn't mind.
I am thinking about the roll of film in the
camera...we had taken a lot of panoramic shots of Ground
Zero and we really didn't know how many shots we had left.
I am thinking that one photo is just not going to
be enough...I am shaking inside...I am crazed....
while all of this is going through my head, we are still
discussing the Irish and how a lot of Irish people settled
in Georgia, etc. I
am inching toward Viggo for the picture (I was only a
couple of feet away as it was).
I didn't know
what to do. Just
stand there? What? The
dilemma is solved when Viggo puts his arm around me...and
what's a girl to do but return the favor?!!
Mark takes the picture....and the film immediately
begins rewinding. I hear myself blurting out again, "reload the
camera! Reload!" Mark is saying, "we
need to go...".
I turn to Viggo and say,
"can we reload?"
He says, bless his heart, yes.
we reload - I have no memory of conversation during this
point but I'm sure I was babbling.
Then, I say to Pilar, "I want a picture of
you, too.". Viggo
says, "oh, okay" and starts to move away.
I said, "no,
no, you, too" and motioned for him to come back and
he did. Mark
took a couple more pictures and, finally (tick, tick,
tick) we say goodbye, see you tonight and we actually
make it to the elevator before I have to grab the wall. "Did I make an idiot of myself" I ask Mark.
No. "Is my face red?"
that great?" Uh-huh.
then go back to the B&B to await a call from Sotnos
and Germany. They
call and I am just about beside myself. I
tell them I will tell them everything when we get to
we find each other is beyond me but finally we meet and
what a joy to meet these two who I have shared so much
with on the Internet!! We don't have to bond because we have already done it.
Our conversation is as easy as it can be.
Mark thinks we are all crazy.
We decide to take a cab together to the opening
want to arrive together because we are all a little
nervous (well, all but Mark - he is beginning to wonder if
he should open an escort service).
in hand, we arrive at the party and are waved through the
see Pilar very quickly and she greets us all warmly and
says that she is glad that we are there.
(Oh, Pilar, not nearly as glad as we are!!)
There are already a lot of people there but I don't
see anyone famous (or anyone I recognize). We start wandering around the room, looking at the
photos and paintings.
The room begins to fill and the noise level is
it's hot. I
am so glad that I didn't wear my original outfit.
I would have fainted. Which might have not have
been a bad thing, now that I think about it...
comes in and people immediately surround him.
We see that Henry is here, too.
Henry is taller than I expected and looks very much
like Exene. Viggo
is wearing the same thing he was wearing that
morning...dark pants and a grayish t-shirt.
It looks like it is turned inside out.
Maybe that side was cleaner.
is beside him and motions to him that Sotnos and Germany
are there. They
move in to talk to him and Mark and I move away to give
them some space. I
have already had my time that morning and, while I hope to
speak to him again, it is okay with me if I don't.
I do get my time. I
have jokingly said that, after calculating the number of
guests with the length of time of the party, that each
person gets "one minute and twelve seconds" of
Viggo face time. Mark
has told me (oh, generous man!) that I may have his
alloted time but he ends up talking to Viggo just as much
I as I do (grrrr...get out of my
Viggo obviously recognizes us and asks us what we
did the rest of the day.
I tell him that we met Sotnos and Germany for lunch
and he tells me how nice they both are. I agree with him. Mark
says something about how I met them on the Internet and
how you have to be careful whom you are meeting.
Viggo tells me that he read some of the book I gave
him that afternoon and that many of the poems are funny (I
had read some of them before I gave it to him but not
all). He told
me about one in particular that concerned a Southerner
writing about what a "Southerner was supposed to be
like" but at the end it said "but I'm not those
have to go order the book for myself now so that I can
read that one (I am nodding all the while he is telling me
this, like I know what he is talking about).
He also said that he often reads works by other
authors when he does a reading and that he might read
something out of that book.
I am thrilled that he would even consider it (so
that you don't have to wait...he did not...but it was a
thrill anyway!!). I
then told him that I wanted to thank him for "Chetwood
I told him that I knew that he had planned to keep
that particular photo for himself but had let me have it
when I requested a LOTR photograph in that price range
(the photo is an "artist's proof").
He just gave me an "aw shucks" kind of
look and I told him I really loved it.
Then, it was time for him to move on to the next
person but before he walked away he said, "make sure
you get some chocolate - they're very good". (this, I
think, was the line he used to indicate that he needed to
move on to the next person)
But, by the time we got down to the table, the
chocolate was already gone!!
I think people were just picking up the chocolate
for souvenirs. And,
to think, I could've had a piece of gum.
continued to cruise the room.
The only person I saw that I recognized was Steve
Buscemi. I didn't talk to him but saw him up close.
The room thinned out as the night went on.
The party was supposed to last only 2 hours but it
went over. Sotnos,
Germany and I wondered if we should leave - we didn't want
to look like groupies (too late!!) .
We hung around, though, and Pilar brought Lola
Schnabel and Henry over to meet us (Mark, Germany and
myself - Sotnos was talking to someone else at the time).
Lola asked us if we were "adamant" about
art or just about Viggo.
We were honest and said it was Viggo but we were
learning about other art through him.
She shook our hands and was very nice.
Germany brought up the subject of Lola's t-shirts
and told her that they were just a wee bit too expensive
for her. Lola told us that she only made about $60 a shirt
- and that she couldn't afford to buy her own t-shirts
either! Lola was interested in where we had seen her
shirts and Germany told her that we had seen them on the
told her that we couldn't remember the exact site - that
someone had put a link up once. Henry said something about "was it on Perceval?"
and we (myself, Germany and Lola) said no. We told her
that Pilar had let us see her book and that it was very
reached out to Henry and shook his hand.
I said, "hey, Henry" and he said hello.
I asked him if he was 15 and he said, "no
told him that I had a son who has just turned 15 and that
he loved the computer.
I asked him if got on the computer a lot and he
said, "not really."
Mark told him that he "sure was in a lot of
the photos on the wall".
And Henry just grinned and said, "yeah".
Germany asked Henry to be honest and tell us if he
was bored yet - don't tell anyone but he said yes.
Both he and Lola were very nice, very quiet and it
was a pleasure to meet them.
It must be weird for Henry to have total strangers
greet him as if they know him. Finally, we left - it was
hard to leave although we all had had just about all the
excitement we could bear.
Afterward, Mark, Sotnos, Germany and I went out to
eat at an Irish pub - it was the best food we had while in
maybe, at that point, anything would have been good!!
The "I owe him" clock is really loud but
I choose to ignore it.
can hardly sleep that night.
I wonder why?
decide to skip the book signing because I bought both
books at the opening and have already had them signed.
And, I also bought the photo of the pigeons.
I am a sucker for Viggo.
We learn later that the book signing, which was
supposed to last from 11 - 2 lasted until 5 PM. I
am feeling bad for Viggo and Pilar but Mark points out
that this is the life that they have chosen and I
shouldn't worry. But
that is my nature. I
am exhausted and I know they must be, too.
will be 10 reserved seats at the reading and four of them
are for us. I
breathe a sigh of relief because I know that the one thing
that Mark would have balked at would be sitting outside in
the heat, waiting in a line.
We arrive at the Used Book Café at 6 PM.
There is no line outside.
Many people are already seated inside.
I don't see Pilar and am not willing to just go
take a seat up front before I talk to her.
We go up on a balcony to watch from above.
Mark finally has enough and goes to an employee and
tells her that we have reserved seats and asks if we can
sit down. The
woman takes our word for it and says yes.
On each of the ten seats there is a piece of paper
marked "reserved" - we go and sit in the second
row. We are
told that we can sit on the first row but that doesn't
seem right. I
keep my "reserved" paper and almost ask Viggo to
sign it later but some sort of latent dignity makes me
stop. We meet Toni
and Daz - it was nice to put faces to names. As show time
approaches, Lola, Henry, Rene Ricard , Pilar and another
young woman take the first row.
I am glad that we didn't.
I would have been totally embarrassed.
band "OneRingZero" play first.
They do a couple of songs and are quite good. Not what I expected but I don't know what I was expecting
two poets read some of their work. The first poet, Ben
Greenman, read several poems then Laurence Krauser read
one (a very long one!).
He scared me when he first started reading - I
think our whole row jumped!!
Both were quite different in look and appeal.
But that is what poetry is all about as far as I'm
Viggo came out to a long round of applause.
He looked pretty fresh considering the day he had
had. He had a
plastic sack with him and pulled out several books.
He showed us his notes (on paper and written on his
hands) and said that that was how organized he was (I
don't think anyone but Viggo could have read those
then read several of his own poems including
"Edit" and "Fossils". Someone shouted for him to read something in Spanish and he
Someone asked for "Communion" but he
didn't read that. He
dedicated "Ontario" to Lola (but said that he
had written it before he met her) and "First
Light" to Henry.
He read a couple of pieces by Rene Ricard (who was
sitting in front of us and had been at the party the night
was quite animated and seemed to be enjoying himself.
Then, he finished and left the stage and
OneRingZero played a few more songs.
they finished, Viggo came out and said that he thought
they should play "Sweet Caroline" (for those of
you who don't know, "Sweet Caroline" is an old
Neil Diamond song). Everyone
started laughing and some shouted that Viggo should come
sing the song. He
beat a hasty retreat from the stage then the band starting
trying to figure out the song - they did and began to play
it. It turned
into an audience sing-along then Viggo came out, forced
Rene Ricard out of his seat and starting dancing with him.
Poor Rene!! He
struggled mightily to stay in his seat!!
It was one of the most hysterical things I have
ever seen - Viggo was laughing and all of us (especially
those of us who were sitting RIGHT THERE) were giggling
were dancing so fast that I thought Viggo was going to
topple the poor guy right over into our laps!
all was over, everyone began to line up for a photo with
Viggo or to get an autograph.
We stayed in our seats - figuring that we'd wait
until the end of the line. The I-owe clock was ticking so loudly by this time that I
think everyone heard it.
Fortunately, since we were in a bookstore, Mark was
able to get up and go look at books (and he bought one).
Sotnos, Germany, and I ended up in line - all of us
feeling a bit odd that, once again, we were taking up
Viggo's time. As
I got closer to the front of the line, I motioned for Mark
to join me - during the photo taking the day before, I had
not gotten one with Mark in the picture.
Scowling, he joined me and I told him what I
had a mini-argument about whether he needed to be in a
picture with Viggo and me.
moment I walked up to Viggo, I told him that I was sorry
to be asking him for another picture but I wanted to get
one with Mark in it.
Viggo was so tired that he looked at me a bit
blankly but then I could see that he recognized us and he
said, "oh, hey, guys".
So, we posed again.
Mark shook his hand and thanked him (for what?
I'm not sure!! Thank you for giving my wife a
thrill?!! For making her OWE me forever?!). I also reached
out my hand to him and he took it and I told him how much
fun I'd had and how nice it was to meet him.
He thanked us for coming.
We walked away then stopped to talk to Pilar for a
thanked her profusely and she said that she was glad that
we came. Then,
finally, it was all over and we walked out onto Crosby St.
and into another New York night.
We put Sotnos and Germany into a cab then Mark and
I got on the subway.
you happy now?"
Mark asked me as we jostled along on the subway.
I said and we left it at that.
owe... I owe... so off to pay Mark I go.
Can't give you any details on that...but you get