Thursday, October 2, 2014

Yes I'm still here!
I'll have some news very soon in regards to a new exhibit that will happen in Brooklyn
Stay tuned and thanks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One hundred years of Herman Rosenthal


Today marks the 100th year anniversary of the murder of Herman Rosenthal.

Much like one hundred years ago, New York City and rest of the east coast has been enduring some punishing heat these last couple of weeks.  But back in July of 1912, a different kind of heat was boiling just under the surface as Rosenthal’s last days were counting down. He was desperate and despondent, narrowly escaping one murder attempt already and constantly looking over his shoulder. His gambling business was in ruins and he pointed the finger at only one man, Lieutenant Charles Becker of the NYPD.

Rosenthal’s story and murder represented a tectonic shift in the Jewish underworld, shutting the door on the old ways of business and opening the next.
Below is part of that story, some of which has appeared here before, while somewhat lengthy for a blog post, felt strongly it should be revisited again on its 100th year.



Herman Rosenthal had a hard time getting anyone in New York City’s municipal administration to hear him out. Newspapers had been following his story while he filed complaints with the city’s various departments, but reporters weren’t getting any real results from him and relegated Rosenthal to the back pages. These were serious allegations, without any corroboration; it was one small time gambler’s word against a police department whose corruptible habits had a long history and was in itself not a breakout story. Rosenthal’s initial claims and complaints were broad and vague. With no willing witnesses to come forward and back him up, Rosenthal was alone, having a hard time selling his story.
It was a young reporter for Joseph Pulitizer’s The New York World, Herbert Bayard Swope, who finally heard him out after constant prodding from Rosenthal.
Swope had his ear to the ground and knew Rosenthal from frequenting East Side gambling parlors himself, and had a better understanding the underworld gambling world than most journalists in the city and his star was quickly rising.  He was the best man at Arnold Rothstein’s wedding and maintained curiously balanced life of swimming between street level and high society social circles. He apparently brought Arnold Rothstein to a party in Long Island and introduced him to F. Scott  Fitzgerald,  who was hosting the party. Rothstein made enough of impression that Fitzgerald made mental notes and transformed the underworld kingpin in his Meyer Wolfscheim character in The Great Gatsby.

Swope knew Rosenthal had a sensational story that could also do wonders in advancing his own career. Rosenthal promised Swope full exclusive details that he had yet to reveal to anyone else if he would write the story and Swope convinced his editor to take the risk
On Friday July 12, Rosenthal spilled an affidavit to Swope in full color, not holding back on details, and named Charles Becker as his silent partner. Swope also helped arrange a meeting with Manhattan District Attorney Charles Whitman on the following Monday, after Rosenthal’s own earlier attempts had failed. Word reached Becker quickly through his many municipal moles about Whitman’s interest in finally hearing Rosenthal’s case, and it set off alarm bells. Newspapers stories were one thing, as slander and libel was manageable, and he was already preparing to come to his own defense. Whitman was another matter entirely. He was an ambitious Republican with an eye on the Governor’s chair in Albany and a strong distaste for Tammany Hall.  The results could be very damaging to everyone and Becker knew Rosenthal needed to be silenced without further delay. 

Swope’s breaking story headlined the Sunday, July 14, 1912 edition of the New York World as a two-page spread. It not only detailed Becker’s involvement, but also the NYPD’s long history of graft and corruption. Already in the middle of a brutal heat wave, the city heated up figuratively as well, buzzing with this scandalous story that hit the papers on that summer morning. The underworld meanwhile got hotter under the collar, and everyone agreed; Herman Rosenthal was a dead man.


On the evening of July 15, Rosenthal was sitting in D.A. Charles Whitman’s office, legally delivering his affidavit detailing all the aspects he had covered with Herbert Bayard Swope. After the very lengthy meeting ended around midnight, Whitman, fearing Rosenthal was probably a marked man, warned him to go straight home afterwards, but Rosenthal callously shrugged off the suggestion. 
He strolled down to the Metropole Café and Hotel on 43rd Street below Broadway; a favorite late night haunt for gamblers in the Tenderloin whose convenient twenty four hour business schedule appealed to many of the districts’ night owls. Even though it was late in the evening, the heat wave was still burning away, and Herman was in need of a celebratory late night meal. 

The Metropole was quiet, with just a few customers milling about, and no one seemed able to look Herman in the eye when he strolled in.  In fact, all of 43rd Street below Broadway and 6th Avenue seemed eerily somber. 
With a bellyful of steak, Herman cooled himself with a Horse’s Neck, consisting of ginger ale with a twist of lemon, and spread out the late editions in front of him. Every newspaper in town had now picked up yesterday’s breaking story, his name in tall black and white headlines on every front page. Patrons in the Metropole ignored Herman’s smug, prideful boastings of his newfound fame, and kept to themselves. Bridgey Webber dropped by around 1:30AM and the two exchanged a few innocuous words, perhaps to put Rosenthal at ease, before Webber turned on his heel and left again. Twenty minutes later, a man never properly identified, approached Rosenthal to tell him that someone was waiting for him outside and if he could come out for a few minutes. 
Rosenthal gathered his newspapers under one arm, adjusted his tie and left a hefty tip for his dinner on the table. ‘Finally’ perhaps thought Herman, they had come to their senses and it was time for a payoff.  Heading out into the hot night air, Herman’s messenger disappeared quickly to the left ahead of him as he made his way through the lobby and down the steps of the café. The approaching sound of clicking and shuffling shoes against the hot pavement came from his right, as four shadowy figures silhouetted by streetlight, called out his name and quickly approached. 
It was the last thing he ever saw. Rosenthal hit the pavement face down in a macabre moment of choreography as newspapers with headlines baring his name strewn all around to drive the point home. Four bullets, one to the chest, three to his head, had put an end to the life of Herman Rosenthal.

 
Rosenthal’s murder led to many aftershocks that reverberated and rippled for a long time. New York’s layers of corruption were peeled away like a rotted onion. Here was a man whose public accusations of the police department left him dead on the sidewalk less than thirty-six hours later. It was hard not to believe members of NYPD’s finest were involved, and the killing went beyond a mere gambler’s quarrel as initially reported. While the murder took place in a very busy part of town, there were no solid witnesses, and confusion on details abounded. The initial police investigation was a bungled up affair, with witnesses intentionally disregarded and misleading information on the license plate number of the Gray Packard that carried the gunmen. Charles Whitman believed he knew deep down who was behind the murder and the obvious cover up, and speed was the key in gathering sources and witnesses.  His suspicions were strengthened when Becker arrived at the 16th precinct a few hours after the incident to view Rosenthal’s body. 
According to Bald Jack Rose’s court testimony a few months later, Becker, upon seeing Rosenthal’s corpse, later boasted to those close to him: “ It was a pleasing sight to me to look and see that squealing Jew there, and if it were not for the presence of Whitman, I would of cut out his tongue and hung it up on the Times building as a warning to future squealers.”

Whitman was determined to bring the entire matter to justice and through quick vigorous investigating from him and his staff he succeeded.  It was the kind of case that made a man’s career, and would help propel him to Governor.  Information on the correct license plate number of NY43313, was the first break, leading to the car’s actual owner, Louis Libby.  In less than 24 hours since the murder, Libby, driver Willie Shapiro, and Bridgey Webber were in custody, and the chips fell steadily in place from there. Bald Jack Rose eventually gave himself up as well; momentum on the case against Becker was building quickly and his name was in the papers too often.  Becker’s biggest mistake was his trust in his underworld associates, and his years of experience swimming in the dirty water of this social pool should have provided him with better judgment.  The rats abandoned ship. Rose, Webber and Harry Vallon all flipped to save their skins when it was clear Becker wasn’t lifting a finger to help them out.  Becker himself was sitting in the Tombs by the end July. Fearing for their lives, all three men requested to be transferred to another jail uptown after Becker’s arrival.


Building on the momentum created by all the press attention the case was getting, Whitman cunningly fast-tracked it into session.  On the eve of Becker’s first trial to begin on October 6, he found himself short one winning card of a full house after Big Jack Zelig was murdered.  Rose, Webber, and Vallon could not serve as key witnesses as there were also accessories to the crime, and it was with a man named Sam Schepps that he was dealt his winning hand. Schepps was a gambling associate of the three men and apparently party to Becker when arrangements for Rosenthal’s murder first took place. He however did not participate in anyway, giving him corroborator status for Whitman’s prosecution. Schepps had left town after the murder but was picked up in Hot Springs, Arkansas and brought back to New York for the trial. Becker should have been a little wearier of his presence at the time of the assassination arrangements but truly thought he was untouchable, never entertaining the idea he would actually be arrested for the crime. As sordid details from the separate trials for Becker and the four gunmen came forth, press coverage was un-precedented for its time. The rest of the country was transfixed by its daily developments, re-affirming its theory that New York was indeed a wicked place where values and moral standards had been over-shadowed by corruption and greed. Papers as far as London and Paris reported with morbid fascination as well. 

The New York Jewish community was going through a moral crisis as well while the trials continued. It had come to the attention of its leaders that the entire affair had become a very Jewish one. Of all the men involved in the case, it seemed only Becker and gunman Dago Frank was not Jewish. The names and photos of Horowitzs, Rosenbergs, Shapiros, Rosenthals, Rosensweigs, and other Jewish surnames were mentioned daily in the papers; quick-witted journalists aptly describing it as ‘The War Of The Roses’.  The community looked inwards wondering where it had gone wrong. 


 
Uptown Jews felt the need to take action into their own hands on dealing with the growing downtown problem, and a communal body called The Kehillah was set up as a Bureau of Social Morals to investigate its own. They employed undercover investigators to infiltrate and identify Jewish criminals and places, sending lists of perpetrators and suspects to the Mayor and the police department, leading to numerous raids and arrests. The Kehillah’s main investigator was Abe Shoenfeld, who probed all manners of Jewish criminal activity, and was personally impacted the most by the state of prostitution carried out by many young Jewish women, and in the dangerous conditions and unhealthy lifestyles they lived. Though with all of The Kehillah’s intentions well placed, and with a respectable amount of results on a street level, the underworld, though turned on its axis as a result of the trials, remained one of transgress.  No one saw the future more clearly after Rosenthal’s death than Arnold Rothstein, inventing the floating casino in the aftermath. By moving a gambling operation into different rooms and venues all over the city, it was an almost surefire method that raids could never be carried out if an operation was never in same location more than once.

With little fanfare, they buried Herman Rosenthal in Brooklyn’s Washington Cemetery. 
What Rosenthal yearned in life, he only got in death. 
He  sought recognition and succeeded only by default by being murdered; the result unveiling a side of New York City that had long been hidden from public view.   
He unknowingly challenged his own Jewish community as well, to question what was happening in their own neighborhoods and to their sons and daughters. He forced an underworld to change strategies on many levels in order to continue, and in-turn, a new era was born which would eventually flourish in a more organized manner.   
Herman Rosenthal should have been a minor, supporting player in the annals of early Jewish crime. And had his life not taken its fateful route, the city’s early 20th century history would have perhaps been documented very differently.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Here are some photos and short write up for the show currently on display in Los Gatos, California... just click on here for a quick glance.

In preparing for this exhibit I thought I would contribute some newer portraits that I completed the last few months leading up to this current exhibit.

They include new versions of
Irving 'Big Gangy' Cohen and Meyer Lansky, and the un- cropped version of Dutch Schultz, which was used in the publicity materials.
I realized they hadn't been posted here as of yet so here they are...

These new portraits were done partly due to the fact that some original artwork from past exhibits are no longer in my possession, but also, this, and past exhibits, are not just the portraits hanging on walls, but also represent the historical arc of the Jewish Gangster from the turn of the Twentieth Century up until the mid 1940's in the way it's displayed. So, it's important that key players are included in the exhibit.
Also it's a continuous strive on my end to come up with stronger artistic representations when I feel its needed. These three, among the couple of others that were completed for the show..

Monday, March 21, 2011

From Underdog To Underworld


I'm happy to announce that another comprehensive exhibit, which will feature a selection of over 40 original pieces has now an official opening date.
From Underdog to Underworld: Jewish Gangsters and the American Dream is third curated title, following Real Machers in Washington, DC (2009) and Wise Guys: Mobsters In the Mispacha last year in San Francisco.

This exhibit will be held at the Addison - Penzak JCC Levy Family Campus in Los Gatos, California - which is nestled in the Silicon Valley about 90 minutes out side of San Francisco.
The exhibit dates are from
May 2 - June 30 2011.
There will be a selection of new portraits that I've added for this show and I will update with more details as I have them in the near future.
My thanks to Lisa Ceile - curator and coordinator for her help in getting this show together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The ballad of Waxey Gordon and Gypsy Rose Lee...


Had Gypsy Rose Lee shimmied her way to a ripe old age, she would of turned one hundred years old this past January 8.


It wasn’t an easy road for the preeminent first lady of Burlesque to get herself to the top of the heap when she landed top billing at Minskys’ Republic Theatre in 1931. The Minsky brothers ran a string of theatres of what would be considered by some as the poor man’s version of the Ziegfeld Folies. These were New York’s first in a string of ‘variety’ theatres that the Minksys excelled at; part vaudeville, part striptease, with a good dose of Paris’s Le Moulin Rouge thrown in by instituting the runway leading out from the stage into the seated crowd - a first for American theatres.

It was a big part of live entertainment’s growing pains following the quick demise of vaudeville and the rising competition of the talking picture. A trip to Minskys always guaranteed at least a shimmer of exposed skin and lowbrow laughs, keeping patrons queued up on the sidewalk on any given night.


Gypsy Rose Lee, born Rose Louise Hovick, knew vaudeville well, having endured hard scrabble years on the circuit with her domineering stage mother and playing second banana to her seemingly more talented curly haired younger sibling Ellen, who later changed her name to June Havoc.

At the age of thirteen, June, who was the star of their act, had had enough and ran away with a boy, leaving her mother and older sister to fend for themselves. Gypsy reinvented herself as a means to take center stage as she wasn’t really the typical beauty of her time, or the kind theatre owners looked for in a headliner. Constantly fighting with her weight, she towered at five feet – nine inches and had a pair of small breasts and an unassuming caboose. She had legs though - long and elegant in stride, and through strict dieting her teenage body morphed into womanhood. It was during this metamorphosis that she officially renamed herself Gypsy Rose Lee as a proclamation of her rebirth.

And there was something about her.

Billy Minsky noticed it when he spotted her act across the Hudson River at the Empire Theatre in Newark in 1931, where her run was starting to garner enough media attention for Minsky to raise an inquisitive eyebrow. She handled the crowds well with a coy yet domineering attitude on stage mixed with a razor sharp sense of humor. Something about her crackled, and with a little bit of grooming from Minsky, she would eventually conquer the Empire City.


Gypsy Rose Lee’s act swooned a depression-era New York and her star rose quickly within the first year of working for the Minskys. She charmed the likes of Mayor Jimmy Walker and noted columnist and radio personality Walter Winchell among many others including the literary set. It was a combination of smarts and just enough tease to keep audiences clamoring for more and she understood the power she held under the spotlight.

Prohibition was still in play and with popularity came numerous invitations to clandestine parties and passwords into the peepholes of speakeasies around town. It was on such an outing to a private party on Eight Avenue that Gypsy, with her mother in tow no less, made the acquaintance of Irving Wexler, better know in underworld circles as Waxey Gordon.


Irving Wexler’s upbringing was a far cry from the one Gypsy Rose Lee had, though both knew struggle. Lee spent much of her childhood years on the road with her mother and sister in a long string of motels, and when finances were so low they even resorted to staying in tents.

Waxey Gordon came from a wretchedly poor Polish-Jewish family on the Lower East Side and endured the tough tenement life. He earned the nickname of Waxey from some who said he was able to remove a victim's wallet 'as though it was dipped in wax', while others claimed as a kid would stick wax to the end of sticks to poke through subway grills to collect the loose amounts of dimes and nickels. Its also claimed it was as well a play on his last name

His police record started relatively early with the first arrest in 1905. He spent time as a strong-arm man for Benjamin ‘Dopey Benny’ Fein who led one of the last pre-WWI Jewish gangs of considerable strength in numbers. The Dopey Benny gang specialized in labor disputes and strike breaking during a particularly intense wave of labor unrest in New York’s manufacturing sector, especially in the garment industry.

Waxey came up through the ranks and had a considerable amount of talent for schlamming despite his unassuming size, making him an asset on the frontlines. He spent some time at the Elmira Reformatory as a result of his wilder younger and delinquent days and eventually his crooked path led to a two year term in Sing Sing, which kept him behind walls until 1916.


Upon his release he spent the next few years drifting and hired himself out as a labor goon and whatever else would come along that didn’t involve an honest moment of work. He had lost a benefactor with the leadership demise of Dopey Benny, whose place of prominence on the street had vanished and Jewish gangs had become fractured and fragmented. New rivals like Nathan ‘Kid Dropper’ Kaplan and Jacob ‘Little Augie’ Orgenwere vying for power and control for much of the East Side with no consideration for, or want, of ethnic alliance.

1920 and Prohibition changed everything for many including Waxey. It enabled Gordon to take himself off the street and behind a desk realizing how profitable smuggling whiskey in from Canada and the United Kingdom could be. He set up a Central Park bench meeting with Arnold Rothstein to layout his plan and asked for a $175,000 start up loan. By the time Gordon eyed Gypsy Rose Lee across the room in the smoky haze of the Eight Avenue speakeasy he had banked nearly two million dollars and owned a ten-room apartment on the Upper West Side.


Gordon sent over four bottles of champagne to Gypsy’s table. The lucrative years were evident on his physique - the once trim labor slugger now had put on considerable weight due to complacency and financial comfort as he slightly waddled over to introduce himself. Whispers at her table explained that he was a big shot gangster but Gypsy thought the now middle-aged Waxey looked more like an unassuming banker than a feared underworld figure whose jacket buttons were at the breaking point over a considerable paunch. Flanked by bodyguards Gordon exchanged pleasantries briefly and offered them anything they wanted “ on the house” before tipping his hat in a departing gesture of gangster grace. Gypsy flashed a thankful smile, and Gordon seemingly winced on the inside as he turned on his heel.

Gypsy Rose Lee, despite her numerous psychical attributes, unfortunately had a set of sadly crooked front teeth. As Gordon made his exit he was rumored to have commented to those close by that she was “ a great looking broad but those chompers have gotta go”. And he made good on his word.


The next morning her phone rang and a Gordon underling who never identified himself explained that her ‘friend’ from last night had set up on appointment for her at the dental office of Dr. Sam Krauss at 1605 Broadway for 10:30 AM and that she should get over there. As a confused Gypsy Rose heard the phone click dead on the other end she couldn’t quite understand what had just happened and never showed up for the appointment.

Another mysterious but now irate phone call followed her performance that evening, demanding to know why she never showed up for the dental appointment. A bewildered Lee let her mother finally interject and saying they couldn’t afford the dental work, nor did they even know the dentist. Reassurance came from the other end of the phone line that the fee was not to be worried about and “ if the boss wants you to get your teeth fixed you get your teeth fixed if you know what’s good for ya…”.

How much of that conversation rings true is perhaps debatable as it reeks somewhat of scriptwriter scribe; but under Waxey Gordon’s insistence Gypsy Rose Lee did spend close to two weeks of return dental visits before the procedure was over. It ended up that Dr. Sam Krauss had grown up with Gordon on the Lower East Side, and his childhood friend whom he still called Irving, had paid to put him through dental school in order to make a better life for himself as Gordon’s bootlegging empire grew.


And so began the web Waxey Gordon had woven to lure in Gypsy Rose Lee and use her to his compliance and at times, human accessory, during their short years together.

She had felt compelled that she owed him by accepting his first gift of dental repair and though the murky new world she had now entered had probably left her somewhat uneasy at first, she understandably was unwilling to take a stand due to the fringe element of lawlessness.

But she was also strong, fiercely independent, and intelligent, and quickly adapted to these new surroundings and learned to use her position as an appendage within the underworld to her advantage. Gypsy was whip smart even if she felt intimidated, and read through much of the underworld façade of materialism and ego that pervaded these fedora cladded roosters.


Her fees from Minksy’s Republic had steadily risen, allowing her to buy a home in the Rego Park section of Queens. Gordon sent over an elaborate dining set as a housewarming gift. In turn, he requested her by his side at certain events as a ruse to impress his gangster compatriots - the towering jewel of burlesque and gangland’s ugly duckling. He would bed her when he felt the need and Gypsy was able to become emotionally disinvested, allowing Gordon and at times others from his circle to have their way as long as there was a possible benefit of career or social advancement as a reward.

One of those rewards were Gordon’s Broadway connections that eventually landed her a top spot in a Ziegfeld production called Laid In Mexico, though the title was eventually changed to Hot Cha! at Gypsy’s insistence. Gypsy had quit Minksys in lieu of the chance to work with Ziegfeld.

Florenz Ziegfeld had fallen on hard times, and as his health was failing by this period he resorted to borrowing money from Gordon and other gangsters in order to mount his next show. The show closed after only twelve weeks as a big fat flop.

She scoured Broadway for weeks, and in the interim lost her home in Rego Park and in her scuttle went back to work for the Minksys at a lower rate. Strapped for cash she was close to asking Waxey for a loan but the timing wasn’t on her side. Gordon’s illegal enterprises had caught up with him.


He had been on the federal radar all through the ‘20’s but lack of evidence eluded a formal indictment over and over. By the early 1930s, the sentencing of Al Capone had marked a new way of capturing gangsters with accountants rather than G-Men. New York’s Special Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey along with the FBI placed him on a most wanted list as Prohibition was on the road to repeal in 1933. Easily convicted of income tax evasion due to huge holdings in a variety of trucking firms, buildings and processing plants with no proper paperwork to back up his assets, he was fined $80,000 and sentenced to ten years in jail.


Even behind bars Waxey requested Gypsy Rose Lee’s company and had her come up to visit him (and impress his fellow inmates) at Northeastern Penitentiary before he was to be transferred to Leavenworth in Kansas.

Gypsy complied one last time with Gordon, knowing that she had no use for him after this visit. Enduring catcalls and whistles from inmates on all sides, she vowed to herself that this was to be the last time the two were to share the same room.


While Gypsy Rose Lee’s life had its fair share of ups and downs she did manage to build an impressive legacy and passed away from cancer in 1970.

For Irving Wexler however, ten years of rehabilitation seemed to have done him no good.

During World War II, he was caught selling 10,000 pounds of sugar to an illegal distillery during a time of rationing, and he served another year. By 1950, the narcotics bureau had built a hefty file on him and sentenced him to twenty-five years to life for heroin trafficking.

On June 24, 1952, while sitting in a doctor's office at Alcatraz, Waxey Gordon suffered a massive heart attack and died.



Select bibliography for Gypsy Rose Lee:

Gypsy - Memoirs of America's most celebrated stripper
by Gypsy Rose Lee
Harper 1957

American Rose
A Nation Laid Bare - The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee
by Karen Abbott
Random House 2010


Saturday, January 22, 2011

...and finally an update!

I've been a little behind on posting lately with other responsibilities on the go and time seems to slip by quickly and before you know it a new year has arrived.

First off - the Six For Five showing at the
Exhibition of the American Gangster officially closed last December 20 - my thanks to the organizers for hosting the show.
Seems they were not quite ready to let these portraits leave their walls completely, and now a set of framed gicleé prints are on permanent display for the indeterminate future, so if you are in New York City you can still drop by and check them out.

On the subject of the Empire City, I am happy to announce that a set of limited edition prints are now available at the newly inducted
MOB Scene Gallery. Curated by noted archivist and historian Arthur Nash, the gallery is located at 396 Broome St. in the heart of Little Italy between Mulberry and Centre Market.



With an unobstructed view of the Old Police headquarters, the MOB Scene gallery sits beside the former NYPD evidence vault from which the heroin seized in the
'French Connection' case mysteriously vanished. And serendipitously, in 1912 the gallery was a pool hall called the Little Rock, a hangout for some of the underworld's notorious figures.
For some more info visit www.mobscenenyc.com

Of course this is not the only option to buy some prints, the Six for Five shop on Etsy has now re-opened with a selection

of 15 different prints.

Also, there will be
another major public exhibition coming this spring in northern California and I will have more details in the near future regarding all that.

Finally, just so you know I haven't been sitting idly on my hands, here are three of the more recent portraits that were finished in the last little while - all re-workings of
Big Jack Zelig, Monk Eastman, and Dopey Benny Fein, who seem to always lurk me back to the drawing table to discover new ways to capture their collective essence.





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Six For Five exhibit extended in New York


I wanted to pass along a quick post to inform that the
Six For Five exhibit at the Exhibition Of The American Gangster will now run until December 15. There is a selection of thirteen original portraits on display with accompanying biographical material.
My thanks to all those who have dropped by to check it out so far, and also those who have purchased prints, your patronage is much appreciated...