Last Saturday was the Indian Larry 13th Annual Grease Monkey Block Party!
As this day would include tasty beverages, I left the bike parked on my island and we took the ferry to Brooklyn.
Before the block party we went to Café de la Esquina on Wythe Street and filled the belly with goodness.
Then on to 15th Street for the festivities. Actually we entered on 14th Street through the back of Indian Larry’s shop.
The streets are lined with bikes from Larry’s shop along with many vintage beauties.
Endo Makoto was on hand to do his remarkable chopstick paintings. Here he is painting an Indian Larry bike.
We bumped into this dude Kenny who we met the night before when he had just pulled up with his track racer on the back of a pick up truck.
Kenny was at the block party promoting vintage motorcycle track races, the Appalachian Moto Jam and his site hot-doggin.com. The Moto Jam looks like fun! It takes place October 8th in Cuddlebackville, NY.
Besides the many motorcycles, there are always some vintage 4 wheeled machines about the neighborhood.
While cutting through Indian Larry’s shop to get to 15th Street we saw Bean’re’s bike parked in the garage. This is a huge motorcycle! Bean’re is a bigger than life character in the bike world.
Bean’re was selling a couple books he wrote. I got his bio and am presently reading it. I have read enough to know Bean’re’s first bike was a Triumph!
And here’s the Bean’re boots! They are proportionately sized with his bike. Bean’re lives large.
Meet Timo and his nut sak. He was set up next to Bean’re. He rolled down to the block party from across the border to the North. In Canada he makes these waterproof duffles called nut saks as well as other leather goods.
This is Timo’s shop Mad Squirrel Leather.
Here’s a look inside Larry’s shop.
While in Larry’s shop we met Gloria Struck and her daughter Lori. Gloria is 91 years old and still riding to Sturgis and Daytona from her home in New Jersey. She has been riding since 1941!
This October Gloria will be inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame!
Gloria has ridden all 48 states numerous times as well as travels throughout Europe. Below is a photo I grabbed from the net of Gloria posing with David Uhl and a painting he did of her as a young lady. She is a super sweet and laid back lady.
I saw this guy in the blue shirt passing by. I said, “Hey! Aren’t you the guy who gave a bike to Mothership at Sturgis?” Indeed it was! Meet Mike from Chop Machine Cycles.
At Sturgis Mike rolled the Sportster he built on to the stage. He had just won the custom Sporster contest. Then Mike gave the bike to the band! What a blast! Mothership fucking rocks and the addition of “White Chocolate” made it an even wilder time!
Looking in NYCMC. New York City Motorcycle is on 14th Street.
I flipped out when I saw the Evel Knievel stunt cycle. The owner Larry then took it outside for a demonstration. Nice! I hadn’t seen mini Evel ride since the seventies!
Outside of NYCMC.
Back to the Block Party! More bikes.
And Rock n Roll! This old dude was swinging around a tomahawk and having a swell time.
Finally after a long, fun filled day it was time to go home.
It was a great day! But there’s more! One thing I haven’t mentioned yet and it comes with a story.
I used to paint signs. I worked for a guy named Jaime. He was a master of the brush stroke from Guatemala who came to New York, fell in love and married a Scientologist. I’m not sure how they didn’t see it, but that marriage didn’t turn out well. That was an underlying drama going on at the time, but for me it was a fun time. Before I met him, Jaime used to hang from scaffolding to paint giant billboards in Times Square. Now he was on his own and he took me on to assist him. This guy Gottlieb (who owned half of Greenwich Village) let us use one of his buildings on Little West 12th Street. It was a huge 12 story building with a car elevator. When Jaime was having marital problems he would sleep in a van parked within the building. We went around the Village door to door soliciting for signs. We did good business. We ended up painting many signs around the city. In fact at one job on 9th Avenue and 44th Street, we were doing a job for a photography shop and right there on the street I painted my first car flat black with a paint brush. It was a 1971 AMC Matador I bought for $300.
I could park my car in that building on Little West 12th Street too. Since it had an elevator I randomly placed my ride wherever I wanted in that empty warehouse of a building. I’ll bet that building is worth at least 20 million dollars today. Those were different times.
But that’s not the point. The point is, Jaime taught me the art of the One Shot brush stroke. It takes an artful, steady, confident hand to guide the sign painter’s brush filled with the glossy enamel of One Shot. I would watch Jaime and do my best to mimic his hand, but quickly recognized this was a master I was following.
When I saw the work of Darren McKeag, I saw for the first time in 30 years another master of the One Shot brush stroke. Below is a helmet he painted from his Instagram page.
And here is another shot he posted of the helmet in the progress of being painted in his studio. If you look closely you can still see the sketch beneath the paint. Beautiful! I have praised The work of Darren McKeag many times on this site. I have bought a print and a T-shirt of his work in the past. I bumped into him at Sturgis this Summer as well as seeing more of his artwork at the Buffalo Chip.
But last Saturday while in Indian Larry’s shop. I was looking at helmets. I wanted to try on the Gringo helmet by Biltwell. Presently I wear the Bonanza open face helmet. As I was looking at the many helmets I noticed the helmet Darren had painted on the top shelf. At first I though it was possibly a manufactured helmet using McKeag’s design. But once I held it I recognized the artistry and the brush stroke that I admire so much. And it was for sale!
I couldn’t believe it! It was in a price range that smarts a little but I could swing it. I was not going to let this opportunity to own an original McKeag go by. I bought it and still can’t believe this is mine! Below is a photo of Jillian wearing it.
Not only am I honored to have this work of art, proceeds from the sale go to the Aiden Jack Seeger Foundation. Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation was established to address the need for information and newborn screening with respect to Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). In addition they help and support families to cope with the demands of the disease. So a win, win!
I was hoping to see Darren himself at the Block Party but he wan’t around this year.
I am told Darren and his fiancée Missy are getting married this weekend.
So here’s to Darren and Missy! Cheers!