Everything is Still, SVAC: She Just Wanted to Throw Some Men Around

As featured in Saturday’s Opening, June 29. Image shot with CineStill 800 Tungsten Color, Motion Picture Film.

The red and white, polka-dot dress on the mannequin draws you in. Enter Paper Doll Vintage Boutique on Main Street in Sayville, Long Island and you are caught in the mystery and find yourself trying on the red and white dress or oversized, bright yellow sunglasses, or lilac clip-on earrings—none of which you would have imagined your “style” until you play with the persona. Why not?

A plaid, mohair suit brings you back to the 60s. You remember yourself at another time or as the storeowner Dominique Maciejka says, you imagine someone else—someone you haven’t been or the someone who wore the suit once before. What’s an identity?

It’s all delight and possibility in Paper Doll until it isn’t—until Dominique— after taking a Merchant Cash Advance to open and stock another store—found herself in litigation for fraud and now dressed in fear.

They’re legal and sometimes a necessary means of borrowing money—not all are predatory, Dominique says. She’d borrowed from MCAs before. OK, a higher rate of interest than a standard bank loan, but in need of funds to quickly build business without leveraging your stock and trade, you take the deal which allows for repayment proportionate to monthly sales and receipts. Dominique viewed this option as manageable and a way forward. But some of these MCAs are unscrupulous, threatening, and flat-out cons. In defense, you dress in armor. (Bloomberg Series: Confessions of Judgement)

Dominique and her partner Joe Laspina own two clothing stores, the Sayville spot and another in Patchogue, also on Long Island. In July 2018, she took out a Merchant Cash Advance from Quicksilver Capital to open a third LI shop in Huntington. But Quicksilver immediately began withdrawing a daily, fixed rate from the business bank account—not proportionate to sales and over the legal interest rate in New York State (Newsday Business Article)

Dominique immediately began to make phone calls to Quicksilver to reconcile the payments but was put off. The people on the other end of the phone started to disguise their voices—which Dominique could still recognize from previous calls. “But when they put me on the phone with Frank Rizzo—a character from the Jerky Boys—as their legal attorney,” Dominique says, “I knew they were messing with us and were being shady.”

It took six months of paying the daily fixed rate, lost revenue, and the now necessary closure of the Huntington store to settle—all for an original loan of $45,000. “I might have taken them to court further,” Dominique said, “but I wanted to stop the bleeding and was frightened by potential further consequences and damage to the business overall.

To push back against the stress and fear, Dominique revived her high school moniker, Dominique the Freak and took up pro-wrestling, in order, she says, “to throw some men around. You know me, Carol, body and costume and theatre.” She turned to her own inventory—a black leather bustier, short skirt, knee-high boots and laced gauntlets—a new stage to act out other stories and roles with plots to step in and out of—let go of the past and enter a new ring.

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Everything is Still: Show Opening June 29/2019 Photographers Working in Motion Picture Film

Ben Parks, From the Small Hours

Very excited–on my way north to Southern Vermont Art Center for opening reception featuring my 30 x 30 portrait of Dominique of Paper Doll Vintage Boutique–otherwise known as Dominique the Freak who is oh-so friendly, kind, generous and overall imaginative but also no easy mark for con artists. Can’t wait to see what the other photographers created. 

In the area, come by for the opening reception, June 29th, from 4-6 PM, for an amazing array of photographic projects by a diverse group of image-makers who work in motion picture film. And, there’s a panel discussion on the 30th at 1 PM. Join us for an inside take on the aesthetic why and how of the artists’ film choice.  Need directions or further details: email or message me or take the link below:

Everything is Still: Photographers Working in Motion Picture Film

Mediatrix

Stills from a SNEAK PEEK VID — Click here to view entire Sneak Peek exhibit video

I created the interpretive installation, Mediatrix, as an exploration into childhood teachings that over a lifetime, rear questions about womanhood, maternity, and autonomy. I was prompted by the iconic imagery in Rutland, Vermont, for the show: “Rutland: Real & Imagined”–but am now inspired to continue the line of inquiry beyond this first execution—looking to follow the threads.
Exhibition
“Rutland: Real and Imagined,” curated by Stephen Schaub, will be on view at The Alley Gallery from Thursday, January 31, 2019 through Saturday, March 9, 2019. This event is FREE and open to the public.
Opening Reception
Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at The Alley Gallery, Center St. Rutland, VT.
facebook event page here

I Choose Film

bookwork

So excited to be featuring my accordion-pleated artist’s book at the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s group show, I Choose Film. I am looking forward to seeing the art book on display after the years of photographing and interviewing in Rwanda and the many hours of post-production. It’s printed on a luminous, white Japanese Washi, at Indian Hill Image Works, and will be displayed on 12-feet of floating glass so that the light enhances the texture.

The show opening, less than two weeks away, is July 8th from 4 to 6 PM, and is going to be a delight! There will be the opportunity to meet with the many other featured artists and the possibility of having a wet-plate tintype portrait created by the Penumbra Foundation, NYC, (on both Saturday and Sunday). For the young: a “Take Your Best Shot” instant photography contest.

Hope you can make the opening!

Admission is free.

The show is hosted through August 27.

http://www.svac.org/cat-blog-upcoming-exhibitions/405-i-choose-film

http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/i-choose-film-opens-at-svac,510430

Summer Update

The exhibit of my photography Reclamation: Twenty Years after the Rwandan Genocide closed at The Putney School, Michael S. Currier Center Gallery on May 15th. Thank you to all who attended and made it possible.

Stephen Schaub – for your guidance and artisanal printing of my works

Melissa Johnson – for your energy and assistance with a hammer, nail and eye!

Susan Brearey – for your coordination and support in curating this exhibit

Joyce Kennedy – for your expertise and care in framing

Eve Ogden Schaub – for your hospitality and talkin’ art

Claudine Uwamahoro – for your friendship, curiosity and ambition

My colleagues and family for your continued encouragement and honest feedback

A few of the comments from the exhibit:

“Stunning, transcendent & harrowing!”

“So moving. Stunning photography and commentary adds such poignant dimension too.”

“Thank you for sharing with us a culture that has been left behind the scenes.”

“So very impressive – wonderful talent!”

I’m excited to be collaborating with a few artists here in the States and in Rwanda this summer; I will keep you all updated…

Cooking Freak Open House

Saturday, December 11th, noon to 4!

Shop local….stop by this Saturday at Carol Moore’s Cooking Studio in Bayport where I’ll be joining local artisans for a holiday sale.  Carol (aka the “Cooking Freak”) will be featuring her new, honey-lavender shortbread, and I’ll showcase new work from Indian Hill Vermont as well as Shetland prints treated with encaustic medium. Meet artisans Kathy Seff (glass works), Ellen Cremer (Knit and Felt-ware), Sorella Design (Bridge Winery and plants in hand-painted pots), and Adrienne Lojeck (custom designed hula hoops). Hope to see you………www.cookingfreak.net.