Wednesday, May 6, 2009

van the man solves yogurtgate (whew!)

The Big Ball o' Tape came out to play at Intuit, Chicago's Center for Outsider and Intuitive Art, and among the folks on hand was Van DeLisle--one of only a handful of people in the world who've purchased ALL OUR DVDs!   He and twenty or so others came out in the pouring rain to see our presentation, ably aided by Kelly  Ludwig and her superb Detour Art photos of self-taught artists and environments.  But Van didn't just come to hear us (wearing a Big Ball T-Shirt), he also answered our Facebook plea for yogurt, which the Holiday Inn Express hasn't offered at breakfast for not one, but the last two days.  Criminy, they just built the place last week, why don't they have at least a wee bit of the creamy good stuff to make our morning brighter?  So score 1 for VD on that!

And score 'em for Amanda Curtis at Intuit who also hooked us up with David Philpot, a carver of wooden staffs that dazzle the eye.  David told us he's guided by a power he can't explain, one that wouldn't let him refuse the gift of an ability to carve and create some truly amazing pieces, even though he was a slow learner!  His skills have sent him to foreign lands and into swanky Chicago affairs--not bad for a cab driver and "illiterate" as he modestly refers to himself.

Before our trek into the city, we'd started the day (unless you count the yogurt fiasco and a Starbucks employee burning herself) with a trip out to Lyons.  That's where 82 year old Stanley Szwarc blew us away with his boxes and crosses--shiny metalworks that start as scraps from nearby plants and emerge gleaming with beauty.  Stanley came here from Poland in 1977, an accountant and musician with no welding skills whatsoever.  He figured it out, figured how to channel his ideas into something others call art (but not him) and have fun in the process.  He's up most days by 3AM, working for at least four or five hours, and we think that says an awful lot about how this art really does do a body good!

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