Contemporary Prophecy


barbara_icon.gif cat_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Contemporary Prophecy
Synopsis The reopening of a gallery leads to an odd mix of people showing an interest in one artist's work.
Date November 3, 2010

Curt Marcus Gallery

Nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village, the Curt Marcus Gallery is one of what were once many small contemporary art galleries showcasing modern artists in New York City. In the years that have come since the nuclear explosion in Midtown, New York City's art scene has struggled to regain its legs where once it had a stable footing. Greenwich Village is one of many former 'art communities' struggle to regain lost glory.

Early in the evening in the middle of the week, the grand re-opening of the Curt Marcus Gallery is the first shaky step that Greenwich's art community has for reviving that sense of emotion and energy it once possessed. Just a block down from the thriving music scene of the Rock Cellar, a location that has been forcibly injecting art culture back into a now sparsely populated neighborhood that has not quite lost the stigma that the path of the fallout cloud left in the neighborhood's social consciousness.

The reopening of the gallery isn't to packed crowds, but a modest showing of some two dozen art spectators and former gallery owners. Suit jackets, cocktails and commentary highlight the evening of what is meant to be a showcase of Native American Contemporary artwork. Some have come here merely for the social gathering within the boundaries of the curfew imposed on New York City. Others have come for more selfish reasons, less in the vein of supporting artists and more about discovering the truth of their art that sometimes can reside behind layers of ink and paint.

Lester Dunn, a wiry and bald-headed gentleman that haunts the gallery floor is the new owner and manager of the Curt Marcus Gallery. A slim and near skeletal looking man, his rather public battle with throat cancer has become second to his proliferation of a cultural agenda in the city, trying to forward a resurgence of artists and support for their work.

Martini glass in hand, wire-framed glasses perched on the bridge of his nose and conversing with a group of three other visitors to the gallery, the proud smile that Lester wears is in spite of his own personal condition. He may not be able to heal his own infirmities, but in his mind this gallery's re-opening is healing a wound to the heart of art culture in New York City.

The latter wound he would be far longer remembered for mending.

Of all the things that Melissa might be mistaken for, an art lover isn't one of them. Especially not in her current clothing, which is her new I'm businesslike and important but still got style clothing. Which is to say, pinstripe pants and a simple pinstripe corset, her ankle length coat long since removed.

She makes her way around the room, so far simply looking at the art rather than socializing, pausing here and there when a particular piece really catches her eye. And the whole time, regardless of what she thinks or feels, a small smile curves her lips.

An art gallery opening isn't a place most who know of Veronica Sawyer would expect to find the agent; but then, those who know of her do not truly know her. Very few do. Long before she was an agent, she was the daughter of affluent scientists, neurosurgeon and geologist, and back in Southern California, the Sawyers had put an emphasis on culture of all sorts to ensure Veronica was well rounded, even as she seemed certain to follow in the footsteps and labcoats of her parents.

Vee isn't on the clock tonight, and so dressed unusually for herself in an actual dress, the illustrious "little black dress" so oft favored at such events. She sips from a glass of merlot as she studies a painting — not artistic herself by any means, she is able to appreciate it and see the elements that make a piece compelling, even if she lacks the skill to duplicate them and sometimes the vocabulary to label them.

Now, an art gallery is just the place to find Lynette Rowan, however. She always has loved this sort of cultural outing, after all, and when the Ferry noted that the Redhouse work would be there, well. It didn't take much convincing to get her to go along. She, too, has a martini in hand and a flattering pencil skirt and blouse outfit going on. And she is mingling. Because that's what social butterflies do best. And frankly, it's been far too long since she put those skills into practice.

As an artist herself, Harmony can appreciate the works of other people. She had a choice to make tonight though. The Rock Cellar, or the Gallery. On one hand, the Rock Cellar was awfully tempting, and she could see herself having quite a bit of fun there. Though there is this little thing she has about trying to interject a bit of culture into her life, so the Gallery is a more promising prospect for such a thing. The issue with the fallout cloud almost brought her to her final decision of music, save for one fact.. she's been found to be immune to things like fallout. She could breathe the air, drink the water or even roll around in it and be juuuust fine. So the exhibit it is for the evening. And she has ever dressed the part, switching from her usual hot pants and tight shirt to a rather elegant grey and blue short dress, equally tight of course, with a lovely pair of heels. The kind that look like a mix between platforms and pumps, with the heel being solid and bulky rather than thin. The bright haired blond girl makes her way to where she can get a drink. Clutching her little purse at her side, intending to make with the mingle.

Barbara as well is no stranger to art galleries; once upon a time she had dreams of showcasing in one someday. Sadly, tonight is not that day. Still, she is here to be productive, having come along with Lynette and Cat in an effort to inspect teh various paintings up that day, both by "Redhouse", and in her case, otherwise. After all, there's nothing wrong with taking a little time to just appreciate the various pieces on display. As opposed to Lynette, she remains mostly quiet, just moving from piece to piece, gazing at each with a distinctly appraising eye.

Milling among the small crowd in the company of Barbara and Lynette, Cat's right hand features a wine glass she's sipped from only once or twice. Chosen attire is a black dress of modest quality, reaching the middle of her knees with a neckline less expository than most such garments feature. Alert eyes troll the interior despite the nonchalance displayed on her features, and settle on the owner. Society events bore her for the most part, they represent a world she disdained so many years before when the Chesterfields tried to shoehorn her into a life which would consist primarily of such functions, but she knows how to fit.

But this one is viewed far more favorably than most such occasions, she perhaps finding Mr. Dunn a kindred spirit who shares in her goal of working to rekindle the Village. At some point she'll need to intersect with him, but for now something else is priority.

She's drifting toward the works of one Thomas Redhouse.

The diversity of the artwork on display in the gallery in surprising. While contemporary Native American artwork covers a wide breadth of mediums, most people have certain preconceptions when they think of Native American art. Perhaps the notion is misleading, as the artwork isn't just steeped in their culture, but also conteporary artwork simply done //by/ Native Americans.

Galleries of elaborate beadwork, pottery and glasswork is only one aspect of the art on display. Three members of the Ferrymen in Catherine Chesterfield, Barbara Simms and Lynette Rowan have come to see one such unusual artist's work. Thomas Redhouse's artwork isn't traditional in any sense, unless you count the names Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as traditional.

His artwork is pulp, it is linework and pencil sketches, sequential panels and raw comic book style. His linework is at times rough, an impressionistic sketchy style that leaves his work whispery and whimsical, but containing a certain emotive heart in the expressiveness of his characters.

Surprisingly, for a man that the three of the Ferrymen know is a precognitive none of his artwork seems strictly resonant with future events. Redhouse's noir-style detective comics with their trenchcoat and fedora protagonists are like a slice out of a grittier Norman Rockwell painting, done in crisp black and white with a heavy Frank Miller influence.

Descriptions beneath Redhouse's work explain that he was a prolific comic book artist in New York during the late 1970s and early 1980s during the boom of comic books in American media and one of the few Native American artists at the time.

Furthermore, his most recent work on display is featured just behind where Lester stands in conversation, a framed first printing of 9th Wonders, Issue 9, which Redhouse is commented as being the cover artist for. The cover itself, depicts a ruined New York City on fire.

Art imitates life, and vice-versa.

Ahh, familiar faces. Melissa ends up making her way towards the group of Ferrymen, offering a smile. "Hello Cat, Lynette," she says, nodding to Barbara. The work on the wall nearest them is looked at, and her head tilts as she spots the 9th Wonders cover. She studies it, as she has other works, but says nothing.

Turning away from the piece she's looking at, Veronica happens to find the trio of women, now joined by Melissa, in her sightline, recognizing easily enough Cat and Lynette — that they are together gives her pause — and what seems to be Tracy Strauss with red hair. Her brows twitch slightly as she considers greeting them, but then Cat might feel the need to explain to Lynette who Veronica is, and that's not something she's sure she wants her childhood friend to know.

This was probably a bad idea.

Rather than move closer to the four, Veronica moves to the next item on display, sipping the merlot and nodding to something a fellow art patron mentions about the brush strokes and juxtaposition of colors.

Harmony is expecting things to be like in the movies where everything is so romanticized and high class. Something she could call 'normal' without the possibility of gunfire or a fight. That means no stress, just relaxation and the possibility to meet some decent and maybe important people. She goes with a martini for now, something neutral and known to be classy as far as drinks go. The click of her heels across the floor as she moves from one exhibit to the next, pausing near the small group near the comic. Her bright blue eyes looking with a small arch of a blond brow. Now this is something she wasn't expecting. Comics? She has to wonder if this is pretty standard for these showings. "Hmm.." she comments aloud, "Interesting.."

"Melissa," Lynette greets, lifting an eyebrow as she looks over the girl's new look, "It's been a while since I've seen you out and about." Joining the group around the cover art, she looks over at that piece, her head tilting as she looks it over. Well, that's decidedly unhappy, isn't it. "Well. He really was something, wasn't he?" she comments dryly.

"Melissa," Cat greets in return with a slight smile displayed for the corset-wearer, "you've been well?" Eyes linger briefly on the Mistress of Pain, then drift back to the exhibits at hand, eventually settling on the 9th Wonders issue. Not something she hasn't seen before, having been alerted to their existence and read the entire collection long before, but still notable for being present.

She lifts the wine glass to her lips and sips from its contents as eyes move onward and roam across Veronica, but she doesn't show any sign of recognizing the woman. It's as if she never met the Institute agent before.

Melissa nods to Lynette. "Yeah, guess it has. You doing well?" she asks before giving Cat a shrug. "I'm alive, and free for the moment, so I'll consider that well enough. You?" She looks back to the artwork. "Didn't expect to see either of you here," she admits.

Barbara meanders her way over to the 9th Wonders cover, eyeing it and the other pieces of comic art with a bit of surprise. "A comic artist?" she muses out loud, more than a bit of surprise evident in her tone. She had never been one for comics, and the idea of a precognitive comic artist strikes her as odd.

Someone should tell her about Issac Mendez sometime.

A glance is given back to Cat, and then over to the woman she addresses - Melissa, was it? - before she looks back at the comic panels in front of her. Grimacing, steps away, moving towards Mr. Dunn. "Excuse me, sir?" she says iwth a widening smile as she walks towards him. "is there anything you can tell me about Mr. Redhouse? I mean… besides what is already up."

"Oh, I know.." Harmony comments to Barbara's comment about the comic, "It's something I wasn't really expecting out of one of these events. Then again.. my first, so I guess it shouldn't be too surprising?" The blond woman lifts her martini to her lips, taking a tiny sip, leaving a mark of her lipstick on the edge. Her eyes don't really leave the comic however, as her comment was just lightly tossed about in the air. After a few moments longer of investigating the piece, she takes her eyes off of it, looking over to the woman who made the initial statement, "What do you normally do at these things? There isn't some kind of auction or anything is there? Do these items typically go on sale?"

Lester offers an arch of one brow as he considers Barbara on her approach, lifting up a hand to the peopel he was speaking to before stepping aside with an apologetic smile and closer to Barbara. "Interested in the works of Mister Redhouse?" One dark brow lifts as Lester looks over at the framed boards and sketches, a few watercolors. "Thomas is a transplant to New York from New Mexico, member of the Zuni tribe…" considering the artwork for a moment, Lester offers a look back to the group Barbara broke away from, spotting Cat as he immediately stands a bit straighter and fixes his tie.

"He ah— Mister Redhouse moved to New York in 1985 to work for Helix Comics, though he professed to have a love for the city and visited several times in the years prior. He was close friends with the founder of Helix Comics, Carlos Mendez. Unfortunately for the art community, Mister Redhouse retired from comic book work following…" Lester's brows furrow nervously.

"Well, following Midtown. He retired and moved upstate to Buffalo, I don't have much information on what he's done since. Though he does have a daughter who is a sculptor that lived here in New York for a time, however I wasn't able to reach her for contributions to the gallery."

All of this, well within ear-shot of Harmony, also comes with an interjected explanation with a crooked smile from the gallery owner. "None of the works here are up for public sale, though you could get in touch witht he respective artists. I have Mister Redhouse's contact information should you be interested in following up about any of the particular pieces."

To Melissa, Lynette gives a crooked smile. "Why not? I like art, I like martinis and it's about time New York City started putting them back together again. As for me… I suppose I'm doing alright."

The electrokinetic turns to Barbara at her musing and she notes, "Pop art actually has pretty frequent jumps in popularity. It's a great way to get your work sold, if you're more worried about dinner on the table than expressing yourself in a graceful manner." There's a lift of her shoulder there, and she turns back to the others as Barbara moves off. "Normally? You drink and mingle and network and make pretentious comments about the mood of the piece you happen to be standing in front of." She does glance over to see how Barbara's doing, but lets her do her thing over there.

Melissa's head tilts a bit at the name Mendez. She may not know who Redhouse is, but Mendez she knows. Even if she doesn't know everything. "Didn't peg you for an art lover is all," is her answer to Lynette before she turns to move over towards Lester. "I'd like that information, if you don't mind," she says, giving Lester a bright smile.

The mention of Isaac Mendez earns Lester Veronica's glance, and she moves a little closer, though she lets her dark hair fall forward to shield her face from Lynette. She studies the cover art, head tilting curiously. Is this a vision of the city on the 8th? If it was Mendez's artwork, that would fit, but Redhouse? That would certainly explain Ferry's interest in it — if Cat and her group are there on business rather than pleasure.

The mind is at work as Cat listens to exchanges between Mister Dunn and her companions, ears are intent on catching the contact information for Thomas Redhouse. Buffalo? Maybe. Her money would've been on the reservation in New Mexico. Still is, but that won't stop her from checking out the possibility. No words are spoken, she opts to listen and observe while sipping from that wine glass, mentally noting the change to Mr. Dunn's posture when he saw her and Veronica's behavior.

"His contact information?" Barbara expression upturns into a grin, another glance offered back to Melissa. "I would as well, if it's not at bother. You say he's retired? That's a shame, I like his style. I had been hoping to possibly commission a piece." Given that she doesn't look like she comes from money or the art scene, it might not be hard to pick up on the fact taht she's lying, and poorly. Still, it's better than nothing.

"Ahh." Harmony says, refreshing her mouth with another small sip of alcohol before speaking again, "Buying art like this? Probably just a little bit too rich for my blood at the present time. But maybe soon.." she turns to look at one of the pieces. "I wouldn't mind having one as a conversation piece at some point, so.. sure that might just do." she nods to the man. She's getting culture already, see? She learned a little bit of a history of the artist. "Sure.." she decides, "I'll take the contact information." she nods.

"Sarah!" Lester calls out with a raise of one hand to demonstrate both his urgency and location. Flagging down a mid-twenties brunette woman in a pencil skirt and blazer, Lester offers the group he's speaking to a lopsided smile before briefly side-stepping away from them, keeping his martini perfectly balanced all the while.

"Sarah, could you go up to my office and get the business cards Tom left for me? I have some women interested in his information." At Lester's request, Sarah offers a curt nod and a look over his shoulder, before her brows furrow together on spotting something — or someone.

"Les," she offers in hushed confidence, "isn't that Jenn Chesterfield's daughter?" At the question, Lester lifts one hand and presses a finger to Sarah's lips.

"Sssh!" he exasperatedly hushes. "Don't you go making a scene, she might be here to make a donation and I don't want to scare her off! Ixnay on the Other-May." Both of Lester's pencil-thin brows lift up, and Sarah offers a somewhat put-off expression as she backs away, nervously nodding before turning around to leave the gallery and fetch the business cards.

"Ladies," Lester croons as he turns around, arms outspread. "I apologize, I apologize. Miss Watson's going upstairs to get Tom's cards for me. You know I expected Mister Redhouse's artwork to be the least popular of the collection, good to know I can be wrong sometimes!"

To Veronica, a lot of this is adding up oddly. An artist being hounded by at least three Ferry operatives with ties to a Company Founder. She may be off the clock, but she's never off the clock.

The bright smile lingers on Melissa's lips. "Least popular? When he has ties to the Mendezes? Everyone knows who they are. And my brother is a comic book freak." Which he proved when he flipped over meeting the real live Hiro. "If I didn't try to get some of his work I'd never hear the end of it."

"It is hard to predict the ebb and flow of popular opinion from time to time, Mister Dunn. Perhaps pop art is back on the upswing again. I do love his noir work," Lynette says with a gentle smile. It's hard to say if she notices the woman with such unruly hair, as she doesn't seem to ever quite look in Veronica's direction completely. "Will the gallery be showing any more of his work anytime soon?"

Well he can't exactly take back what he said. The hushed conversation is observed by Harmony, and she immediately gets curious. Wondering about these people mentioned and their significance. The blond takes a look around, short of stretching her neck to search, before abandoning the quest and sipping her drink. Back to Lester, Harmony just smiles, "Yes, it's like she said, you can't be sure what is popular. Something like this would actually suit my place a bit better."

The agent simply stands a little left of center, listening but not commenting, looking at art on the walls but not to the discussion taking place so close by. If Redhouse is somehow in danger and the Ferry is trying to help him, the less she knows, the better. If there's something he knows that could help them keep the city safe on Nov. 8 — she might just look him up herself. But she doesn't step up for the business card — she's pretty sure if Lester has the information to hand out publicly, she can find it, too.

Did she hear what Sarah said regarding her? If so, Cat's features don't betray any reaction to such words. She isn't scared off, in any case, retaining her silence as others around her float the same questions she herself would. Eyes and ears, as well as three other senses, continue to record while she also mulls over how to bump into Veronica and communicate without undermining her cover.

"It's an interesting style," Barbara adds to Melissa's comment, looking back at his section of teh showcase. "Not something I would expect to see in an art gallery, which is why I suppose you expected it to be the least popular." Running a hand back through her red hair, she grins and shrugs. "Sometimes the most out of place pieces are what get the most attention." She winks, before turning and taking a few steps back towards the 9th Wonders cover - she'll get a card when they come. For now, shes tares at the burning city, a look offered back to Cat. Perhaps someone has a hold of this issue of the comic. Perhaps, the cover is fitting of the contents.

"Ahh, yes. Isaac Mendez' popularity is on the rise as of late. I heard some of his paintings were aucitioned off at a club on Manhattan recently, for— charity I think? He'd have liked that. This gallery won't be doing another Native American showing after the thursday encore, for a while. Though given the reception to Tom's work, we might do another pop-art feature. Getting some of Mendez' work from the Linderman Group's collections would be a great boost to the gallery's popularity. I know that there's a handful of other famous pop-artists in and around the New York area we could showcase too…"

Lifting up a hand to his chin and rubbing slightly, there's a faint smile that crosses Lester's lips. "Maybe I'll hound Teasdale for one of his old pieces or something…" There's a huff of breath from the thinly mustached gallery owner moments before Sarah's narrow frame comes striding back into the gallery from the direction she'd left earlier. A handful of business cards are pinched in one hand and then waved in the air.

"Here we are," Sarah says with a bright smile, "these business cards are for Mister Redhouse's automotive repair shop in Buffalo, the second phone number is his home phone and the physical address is for his work.."

Melissa's bright smile grows a bit warmer and she nods. "Yeah, that was my club. Or, well, the one I manage. We had three of his paintings donated by Linderman. Beautiful pieces," she says, taking one of the cards, then sliding it into her corset. It's not a bra pocket, but it'll hold the card easily enough. "If you ever do a showing of Mendez's work, I'll definitely have to make an effort to attend. Though my favorite piece of his is owned by a friend." It would've just been crass to try to buy it after that.

Harmony's lips purse together for a moment and she bites upon the bottom one, "You know, it's a shame.. when it comes to art, and artists, it takes your end for your works to become really popular. Music is almost in the same boat, only, your talent can possibly be recognized when you're alive much easier than.." she gestures to the art on display. As the cards are offered out, Harmony takes one and tucks it into her little silver purse. "Thank you. I'll give him a call when I'm ready to make a decoration decision." she smiles.

When the cards arrive, Lynette steps forward to take one for their little group. "Is it usual for artist's to be so free with their contact information? You'd think people would be more careful, this day and age…" That card is passed Cat's way, so she can get a look, before she slips it over to Barbara, who asked for it in the first place. "It's all about who you know, darling," she says to Lynette. "If you have someone who can get your work out there and seen, it helps a lot. If you don't, you'll be one of those… appreciated after your dead types." Cheery, this one. She's so blase about it, too.

"Anyone who wants to sell their work and make a buck needs to be available," Lester comments with a faint smile, "that's the way I see it atany rate. Mister Redhouse isn't much of a recluse, but he has said that if you're calling him to purchase new work, not to. He wanted me to stress that he is retired from the art field, but would be willing to part with things among his collection."

Offering an askance look to Harmony, Lester cracks a fond smile. "Ain't that the truth, sister. You know before I took over this gallery I used to manage theater on Broadway, back when there was a Broadway to manage. Theater, music, all art is a posthumous-friendly world. It's a shame what happened to Mendez, he had a gift for really sharp art styles."

With the card in hand, so to speak, Melissa wanders off, heading towards the door, albeit slowly. She looks at some of the art on the way out, but she is, it seems, definitely on her way out.

She knows what happened to Mendez, but chooses not to speak of it. Commenting on the man being slaughtered and his brain stolen by a man she's occasionally allied with is so not the thing to do in a society environment. Thus, Cat continues to find value in retaining that silent observance. Eyes settle on the card Lynette shows her long enough to see and thus record the details.

"Broadway? Really?" Harmony arches a brow, impressed and her interest piqued. "That I wouldn't have minded seeing either." she swirls her martini, the olive rolling around within the glass and taking a small sip. "Not been much for theater, other than watching, though I admit to a little musical participation." she smiles to him warmly, recalling younger memories. Her eyes again turn to the piece on display, "My brother would kill for that, now that I think about it."

Barbara nods as the card is handing over to her, grinning. "If I leave you a number, can you contact me if you decide to hold a pop art show with more of his pieces? I would greatly appreciate it." Her card is slipped into her pocket. "Broadway? Ooh, that must have been quite the job."

There's a glance toward Melissa as she starts to move away, but Lynette's gaze moves back to Lester there after a moment. She doesn't seem to have anything to add, so the woman sips at her martini, savoring a bit, even. Ahhh, vodka.

"I miss it sometimes, the lights, the productions…" Lester offers a resigned sigh with a slow shake of his head. "I went to a midnight showing of Rocky over Halloween just to get a little bit of that vibe back. But no amount of corsets or stockings could really put me back in that old vibe again." Cracking a smile, Lester lifts up his martini glass to his lips, taking a delicate sip.

"I can very much pass along any info to him if he gets in touch with us, but Tom and I aren't in contact much anymore. I haven't spoken to him face-to-face in… god, almost four years now." A frown starts to sag at the corners of Lester's lips at that, as he stares down into his martini glass.

The quiet Institute agent finishes her glass of wine and moves away from the artwork to set it on one of the tables set up before heading for the door. Dark eyes glance back over her shoulder, something solemn and thoughtful in them, before she steps out into the chilly November night beyond.

Harmony chuckles, "Rocky?" she smiles and shakes her head, "Wow. I just went to a karaoke event with that theme. It was fun. Nothing like a production of it, but.." she shrugs her shoulders, "Gosh.. makes me want to catch a playy with my brother sometime. We haven't gotten to do much together recently."

"I'd greatly appreciate it, thank you very much!" Barbara beams for a moment as she pulls out a piece of paper from her bag, a pen to match. She hesitates for a minute when it comes down time to write a name. "Katie Sim" - she hates having to use a totally fake name, but when giving out a phone number ot a stranger it's better safe than sorry - along with her cell numbe, is scrawled down and offered over to LEster with a smile. "I'm sure I'll be through here before then anyway. It's quite a nice gallery."

Standing next to Barbara, Lynette watches the great phone number exchange before she touches the redhead on the arm as she smiles over at Lester, "Yes, you've done a wonderful job. Congratulations. I think… we're going to hit up the jewelry next. It's all so very fascinating."

"There's a little theater down in Chelsea," Lester says with a smile in Harmony's direction, "The Velvet Room, it does some off-broadway theater and has classy burlesque shows one night a month. If you ever get down there, tell the manager Margaret that Lester sent you, he'll hook you up with some show tickets. He's a good guy, always looking to spread the word of mouth."

Greenwich Village may be taking its first, frightened steps towards reclaiming its title as an avant garde art friendly neighborhood, but the investment of time and effort by people like Lester Dunn and Catherine Chesterfield go leaps and bounds towards making those first anxious steps safe and secure ones.

New York City has a long way to go on the road to recovery, but maybe — just maybe — there's time enough to mend old wounds, let scars fade, and go back to the way things were.

Unlikely, but it's a nice thought.

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