Wanna come in the back of the bar and see my etchings?
The long-awaited Linden Elstran show opened last night in the back room at the legendary Sunny's Bar and Grill, the local Red Hook watering hole now frequently frequented on weekends by Manhattanite hipsters so desperate for a dose of real life that they will risk a long taxi ride to this dark corner of the ancient waterfront just to escape the theme-park ambiance of the lower east side.
The hordes assaulting the cheese platter ("I don't think this cheese is from Fairway," said Nadia, after taking a nibble. And she meant that in a good way) and the cantaloupe cubes were not disappointed. Elstran's "Alcoholic Alphabet" is a tour de force, a series of 26 copper plate etchings, each representing a letter, and all featuring the trademark character beloved by her fans. This often grumpy and dismayed, but always expressive line-drawn female figure, a sort of Dora the Explorer on meth, wanders through the alphabetic landscape in various postures of festive disarray, celebrating, as is appropriate in a bar, drinking culture.
B is for bitter, or bitters, or B61
Of course whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my checkbook, so I set my sights on the letter U, which will go nicely in my kitchen; I'm sure you'll agree once you've seen it. "How much are these beauties?" I asked the artist.
Grumpy girl with latte waits for B61 bus: it doesn't get any more Red Hook than this!
Hold your breath. Wait for it. Now run, do not walk, all the way to Sunny's at the southern tip of Conover St.! For a measly fifty bucks you can own the letter of your choice.
But wait; there's a catch. As big-hearted as she is talented, Elstran isn't even going to keep your money. The picture of Ulysses S. Grant you exchange for an etching goes not into the Elstran coffers, but to the presidential campaign fund of Barack Obama. A bitter, cruel dilemma indeed for those short-sighted enough to be supporting any other candidate. Luckily, I don't have that problem.