Posted by panchmaster from pool0520.cvx24-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (126.96.36.199) on Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 0:22AM :
Okay...the trouble starts with John Nimrod...he's the source of it. Helen and I were happily making sculpture...she liked the work...she felt she was paying a fair price...she commissioned me last to make portraits of her family...then she died and I had several pieces in process for her...portraits of her family members, including her brother John she'd sent me ...along with a twenty thousand dollar deposit. No sooner was she dead than John said she never wanted all the other sculptures just the ones of her and her husband. It was his chance to stop the cash flow out West...her own money mind you.
So I sue the bastard...through her estate because he'd lied to her son's as well and they are the executors. We go back and forth until we produce a letter from John"s wife telling me that John did indeed know about the entire commission...and approved. Not that we ever needed his approval before for anything.
But because of this suit...John has retaliated by threatening the city of Chicago with a lawsuit...and refuses to write the letter they are demanding before they'll reconsider installing it...a letter holding them blameless etc. John writes to me and says it's MY fault...he and Janey come from the same school...that if I drop the suit...he'll write the letter.
Finally...when his lawyers see the letter from his wife to me...he pays up.
But...the Chicago Assyrians are pissed because I've "attacked" their man...on the principle that "he aint much, but he's the best we got"....and I ought to leave him alone...a great way to make sure our shit rises to the top and curdles our cream.
First warning I get that things might get rough at the Chicago convention is a call I get from Dr Eden Naby telling me that the Chicago thugs want me removed from the speakers' list...no one suing an Assyrian should speak about sculpture.
They relent finally when Eden tells them to go to Turlock...but I take the precaution of asking the Federation for a written invitation stating what I can expect. I get it and keep it in my pocket all through the convention.
Now you'd think that with the president of the Federation being from Chicago...the Chicago thugs running the convention...also from Chicago...and John and his sister from Chicago...plus the Federation itself having given $10,000 three years earlier towards the Shumirum...these guys would WANT the Shumirum to come to Chicago. Only John is blocking it...so they have to support HIM...cause they're watching out for YOU. You ask them...
The only hope I can see is getting a lot of signatures on a petition to present to the Arts Council so maybe they'll roll over Nimrod. Before I can get fairly set up in a hallway, they confiscate all the materials...although all I had on display were actual letters from all the parties involved...and one pamphlet explaining my point of view. I'm also trying to get Sargon Lewie, the president, to allow me to address the delegates and get them on board...I figure for sure they'll be interested. Sargon wont see me...and when I move the petition and materials to the room reserved for my sculpture...the local thugs, courtesy of Alladin Khamis, show up to remove everything...threaten to break my sculptures and my teeth and put me in a hospital. I remain calm...call the cops on THEM this time...and they go running off to hide...sure proof that they MUST be Assyrians...right? Well...I relent and don't press charges so Alladin can get his workers back to help finish the convention...and I come away with no signatures...never having been allowed to circulate the petition.
All is going well up till two weeks before the NEXT convention when Jackie doesn't get her way with me...gets pissed and tells me I can't show my sculpture...after screwing up on getting Shumirum installed in San Jose...so I call Atour and say I have a RIGHT to be at the convention...not an absolute right...but based on 22 years of experience and the fact that I was welcome all along and Jackie's personal rage didn't disqualify me all of a sudden.
Atour can't tell the truth when he needs to so he yammers and hums and haws and Janey tells me to come and not worry about it...all will be well.
So I come...set up my sculptures and all goes well until I ask Nimrod one question...all very orderly and polite...except I do flip him off from the back of the room where only the hotel manager happens to see me...big deal.
Then they present me with a contract a half hour later...and force me out through lies and trickery...too detailed to go into here.
At no time do I raise my voice...hit anybody...cuss anybody out. It's just that Jackie can't stand the idea of someone refusing her and living to tell about it...that's all.
No "trouble" at any time...except what these incompetant people can't deal with...people who work themselves into a lather running a three day convention...who staruggle against themselves to wind up exhausted...convinced that since they are tired enough to have climbed Mt Everest...they MUST HAVE climbed at least Mt. McKinley!
The mark of a pro is that he or she makes you think its simple to do what they just did...that it's no big deal...only when you try it you realize just how much was involved. These guys have us convinced that a Federation convention is a wonder of the world...and also that a monument is no big deal..."where's the loss"?
The monuments...theatre groups...concerts, novels, dance companies...none of this stuff matters to them...what they live for is "control"...determining what Assyria will be...and defining it in such a way that their spare-time efforts and volunteer work will be the highest standard we have...we are allowed to have. It would have been so much easier for all of us if they had just let me show the sculpture...where was the harm? They're going to all work a lot harder...spend a lot more money...do far more damage than I ever would have done at the convention...but that's okay because they feel they are in CONTROL now...that THEY decided what was what...that I didn't get "MY" way. What way was that? To show sculpture as I had been doing for 22 years before these people came along?
Would Atour work with someone at Ford on a project, as stupid as he is about sculpture...or how you treat engineers and their work? How would he respond to a sculptor getting a hold of their protoype for a new car and re-designing it...welding it up a little here and there where he thought best? Hell no. So why should I? Because I am an "artist", I have to pay for being one? How much of a crime is it in our community to be one...to try to be real one...one who can hold his or her own among the best this country can produce?...I have to apologize and be humble and meek and "patient" and take advice from anyone who decides to bestow some on me...because a white man doesn't pay me...or "approve" of me?
I make my living as an artist...but as an Assyrian artist...with Assyrian Art and Assyrian themes...even selling to Assyrians so they can put Assyrian sculpture in their homes for their Assyrian children to grow up around. Which part of Atour's work is Assyrian...or Janey's or Jackie's or Nimrod's? Is Ford an Assyrian company...is it "Assyrian" engineering he does? Does his pay depend on how well he does anything Assyrian? Does Jackie"s? To these guys being Assyrian is something they do in their spare time...and they can't stand the person who devotes his life to it...risks his life for it...and the well being of his Assyrian children for it. You think a one of them would do that? really?
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