Monday, April 4, 2011

In the Beginning

Aside from the fun of it all, my interest in putting on this show is fairly selfish. In the grandest scope of things, we all do things that make us happy. If it makes us happy, we do it, and we become happy. Of course I can't really say I'm happy so far, let's just say I'm happy enough, so far.

The town of East Hampton has its own special brand of chill. They've found their own formula to deal with anxiety, usually in the form of a long sigh of resignation. The people are beautiful, like tempered steel, to have survived an escape from the harrows of Manhattan, to weather the brutal biting winds of winter, to have resigned themselves to tolerating the idiotic masses that mill through their little slice of calm and order.

Initially the notion of staging a fine art festival in East Hampton seemed to be daunting, the local Art Guild has their own version of an art fair, with piles of artwork leaning against every wall and table and chair, stacked 6 deep with no sense of propriety or presentation. East Hampton takes it all in stride, picking a treasure out of the stack of artwork is akin to finding a particularly beautiful shell on the vast windswept beach.

Aside from the stratospherically expensive storefronts and town parks that maintain the manicure of Japanese moss gardens, a fine art fair in East Hampton is all but impossible. So...start driving out of the town, heading....east. Head toward the sunrise, head to where the forest fades out and the road is flanked on both sides by water, head out toward the very end of Long Island, toward the town of Montauk (aka "the end") and the very next town is the very charming hamlet of Amagansett.

Just east of the village of East Hampton, along the Montauk Highway, lies the town of Amagansett. Amagansett derives its name from the Native American Montaukett name for "place of good water". I've never found the "good water", but my guess is that any fresh water spring was better than seawater way back then.

In 1942 the beach at Amagansett was the landing point for German saboteurs, who buried enough explosives and fuses to support a two-year campaign of sabotage and tomfoolery called "Operation Pastorius". The plan failed, and the beaches of Amagansett are once again serene and safe from the threat of German invasion.

However, Amagansett is not safe from the invasion of artists in an operation called The First Annual Amagansett Fine Arts Festival and instead of arriving by sea the invading forces will arrive by land. Instead of incendiaries and explosives the necessary artillery will be paintings and sculptures, and the staging point shall be a small grassy field by the American Legion Post #419 at the address of 15 Montauk Highway, in Amagansett, NY. Just to make the event truly commemorative, the invasion will take place on the day of celebration of United States independence from foreign rule, aka 4th of July weekend.

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