Viewing Art by the Diva of Detritus in Northampton

Last night was spent in the big city. Big city, of course, to a rural guy like me being Northampton. I called my pal Jack up, who doesn’t get out of Greenfield much, and he whisked me away in his Lincoln to the Center for the Arts. There I had heard about an art show by Shawn Farley, and she was there to greet me at the door with a hug. Farley calls herself “A Diva of Detritus” which means she makes really cool art out of found objects.

Her pieces were boxes arrayed on the wall of the gallery. They were fascinating combinations of doll parts, pieces of wood that looked like asparagus spears, and tiny tips used to decorate cakes. But in their new incarnation they were all painted and parts of these clever assemblages, an intriguing medium that makes very good looking art. Then it was time for a drink, since all of the free wine at the various art galleries around town had long since been drunk.

We settled on Spoleto’s. At one time a few years ago, getting a seat at this bar was a tough call, but now it’s a little easier. The man himself, Claudio, came into the bar and I wanted to ask him about his new venture, taking over the massive Onyx restaurant by the Springfield riverfront, replacing it with a new incarnation of Mama Iguana’s.

But I was entrenched in conversation with Jack and two women who sat next to us. One was a visitor, she had moved here two weeks ago from Hungary. I think she was pleased when I told her that I’d been to Budapest and knew that it is actually two cities…Buda, up on a bluff, and Pest, down below, separated by the mighty Danube. She said that she had gotten a job quickly, delivering newspapers, and she said that being a gay woman was getting difficult in Hungary.

Over the past five years or so, she said things had changed and it was no longer as tolerant as it once was. She sounded happy to be here in Northampton, where it’s almost more normal to be a gay woman than a straight one