I flew from Miami to New Orleans last weekend. There is a gallery there showing some of my paintings and I wanted to go to the opening.  Victor came along because he really likes the food in New Orleans.

At the same time as the opening in New Orleans, there was a huge on-line auction of outsider art.  We had previously sent in some bids, but you could also bid live, on-line, with the people on the floor who were actually physically at the auction.   Before we left the hotel for lunch, we bid on a wax replica of Tiny Tim from the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  He was around about three feet tall and wore a little suit, complete with bow tie.  It appeared that we won him and we were ecstatic.

We walked to meet Ronlyn Domingue and Todd for lunch at Galatoire’s.  I had Victor practice their names.  By the time they came, he had it down as Toddlynn and Ron, having gone through many other permutations. (One was Scrodlynn and Dodd.  You get the picture.  I really can’t take him anywhere.)

When they arrived, they were just so young and happy. It lifts your spirits to be around people like them.  They told us that they heard that only the hoi-polloi are given seats upstairs, so we were relieved to be seated downstairs with the hoity-toity people.  Oh, and they were genuinely impressed that we now owned the three-foot wax figure of Tiny Tim in a suit!

I learned that I had been mispronouncing Ronlyn’s name forever.  I was saying  “Dominique” as though it were French, but it actually is Domingue which rhymes with Meringue, the dessert, (not the dance.) Victor is not the most patient photographer.  Here is a picture he took of Ronlyn and me:

When we got back to the hotel we got back on the auction web site. We then won a seven-foot tall, three- foot wide wooden door painted by Molly Proctor.

We were really doing well.  Then we bid on something and the bid came up green and then it said that we won the item, also in green.  Then we realized that if someone else on line clicks the next bid on his computer a fraction of a second before you do, they win the item.

Tiny Tim didn’t come up green.  Molly Proctor’s enormous door didn’t come up green.  We hadn’t won them.


But now we knew the rules.  Coming up soon was a repulsive pair of wooden carved figures: one of a crouching naked man and a matching one of a woman with three breasts and, um, a hoo-ha.  I really didn’t want this item, but Victor really did and he promised to put it somewhere where I’d never see it.

When the picture came on we were ready to click to raise our bid if we had to, but nothing happened for a while and then they said they couldn’t find the figures and went on to the next item.

Well, after losing Tiny Tim and a seven-foot wooden door, we were livid.  Someone had actually stolen those two repulsive wooden statues!

That evening we flagged a cab to take us to St. Claude near Spain.  It’s just Southwest of Treme, made popular to the rest of the country by the recent TV show by that name.  The Gallery was a madhouse.  Andy Antippas is the owner of the Gallery and I think he’s always been in New Orleans.  The show was very eclectic and wonderful. The gallery was filled to bursting with interesting pieces of art.  Some pieces were beautiful, some were shocking, some were kind of nasty; there was something there for every taste.

There were so many fascinating people there of all ages, each with his own idea of appropriate dress.  Some of the attendees had piercings and oddly shaved hair, and others looked like ordinary businessmen and women.  It was really fun to be there among all of them.  The weather was perfect.  I felt good seeing some of my paintings lined up on their very own wall.

(This is the web site for it:  http://www.barristersgallery.com/
in case any of you feel like buying three creepy weird paintings.)

It had been a wonderful weekend.  The weather forecast called for rain, but it hadn’t begun yet. This was a good thing because the taxi taking us back to the airport only had one windshield wiper, and it was on the passenger side, and that lone wiper didn’t come near to touching the windshield, it just shook in the wind as though it had taxi windshield wiper Parkinson’s.

A few days after we got home, we got an invoice for the Molly Proctor door.  Victor forgot that he had previously sent in a bid for it, so we were bidding against ourselves!  (HA!)  Pretty soon an enormous door will arrive that will have the power to make me smile every time I look at it.

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IRENE ZION has been married to the same curmudgeon for 40 years. She has 5 children, none of whom sufficiently appreciates her. The one you probably know is Lenore, who frequently gives her mother hives. Irene paints oil portraits and makes her own frames. She has been described as an outsider artist. Most of her paintings creep people out, especially her family. She finds this to be greatly satisfying. She writes non-fiction for TNB and loves every minute of it. She is writing fiction now too, but is too chicken to show it to anyone. She has two golden retrievers who will inherit anything of worth she leaves behind. Her kids will delight in dividing up her famous cork collection and her notorious stockpile of bubble wrap.

133 responses to “Our Short New Orleans Adventure”

  1. Melissa (Irene's friend) says:

    Yay you got a door. Actually it is quite unique. Did any of your paintings sell?


  2. Irene Zion says:

    Hello there, Melissa,

    Not yet, but there’s still a month to go!

    My door makes me so happy!

    I have no idea where I can put it!

  3. George says:

    How do you know that the wax figure of Tiny Tim is not the real Tiny Tim encased in wax? Haven’t you seen “House of Wax”? It happens more frequently than you think.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I did not see “House of Wax!”
      You don’t think his little body could be in there, do you?

  4. Kate says:

    I am so happy you did not win that horrifying Tiny Tim. So happy.

    • Irene Zion says:


      You can’t mean that.
      He’d just be standing on the floor minding his own business.
      Besides, you’d tower over him!
      You could push him around,
      move him anywhere you wanted in the house,
      and he couldn’t do anything about it!
      Just think of the power!

      • Kate says:

        I had finally gotten used to that horrible clown thing by the tv, and now you’re trying to get something else to scare me. I might just start sleeping by the pool, like your alcoholic friend.

        • Irene Zion says:

          But Kate,

          The horrible clown thing is tucked away in a dark corner, you can hardly see him, really.

          You could sleep by the pool if you want.
          Do you remember that Victor bought a bout a dozen fish that eat mosquito larvae?
          Well, they are really fertile, and we have hundreds of them now.
          They eat mosquito larvae preferentially, then they like ants, then they will eat fish food.
          Because of them, we really don’t have a mosquito problem in our yard anymore,
          plus the weather is gorgeous,
          and there’s comfy new furniture to relax on by the pool.
          You could bring your pillow and blanket there.

          Maybe we’ll all sleep by the pool.
          it could be fun.
          The dogs would like that!

        • Irene Zion says:


          Which alcoholic friend?
          I can think of several….

        • Kate says:

          The alcoholic friend I’m thinking of is the person who drank a 24 pack of beer each day and slept by the pool. I think he or she brought some friends along….

        • Irene Zion says:

          That happens on a regular basis.
          This is South Beach!
          Silly people from up north, you just don’t know how we roll.

  5. Ben says:

    I wish you would have won Tiny Tim. I’ve always wanted to be in a horror movie, fighting a demon-possessed doll (and killer dolls are exceptionally scary).

    It could be a Thanksgiving themed horror movie.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Oh Ben,

      We thought we won him!
      We were so happy!
      Now he’s on his way to some lucky person’s house.
      Sometimes life just is not fair at all.

      We even have a seat he could have stood on at Thanksgiving dinner!
      He could have been in the family picture!
      Really, Thanksgiving is just ruined now.

  6. Frank says:


    Happy Thanksgiving! For the 2nd Time! Check your email! I feel like Dave Barry writing sentences where every one ends with an exclamation point! I am not making this up!

    Nice story- “so we were bidding against ourselves! (HA!)” Loved that line. I wonder who’d’ve won in a real bidding war -you, or YOU…?

    Congrats, Madame Artist! You look quite happy in the pics, as you should! A published painter and a hung writer -duex dans coup!

    Contrary to some, I kinda thought ole Tiny Tim was kinda cute. He’d be easy to fit in your gallery, er, hacienda… But, by the way -where the heck are you guys gonna put that DOOR…?!!??

    Have a great day -week- and feast -with the family. Say hello to Tim for us.


  7. Irene Zion says:

    Hi Frank!

    We probably raised our own price.
    Honestly, sometimes we do the craziest things.
    But think of it this way: we could have hardly lost it when we were the only ones bidding!
    If only we had done the same with Tiny Tim.

    (What does a “hung writer” mean?)

    I have absolutely no idea where that huge door will go,
    neither do I know for sure it will fit through the front door and down the hall.
    It should be fun trying, though.

    Which Tim?

    • Frank says:


      “Honestly, sometimes we do the craziest things.”

      More often than ‘sometimes’, methinks -which is why we all appreciate you two all the more!

      What does a “hung writer” mean?

      It means the same thing as a “published” painter!

      Oh, OK, here goes: Painters are hung when they make it into a gallery. I could’ve said exhibited, but you’re not the exhibitionist type… I don’t think… Writers are published when they make it into print -or onto the net in a site such as this. I just dyslexically pon urpose witched swords.

      Well, you guys gonna have a door-hanging party? Complete with a gallows? I know, I know -that’d be Victor’s Department, but it has a great ‘mind’s eye’ feel to it…

      Which Tim? Tim Z, that’d be he -not the tiny one!


      • Irene Zion says:

        Well Frank,

        You know we’re always up for a party!
        A door hanging party sounds grand.
        I’ll let you know when it arrives.
        As they say, we might could be needing some muscle getting it placed!

        gallows, huh?

  8. I’m with George up there. There’s a bit of a creep factor associated with wax figures thanks to that film. I almost picked House of Wax as one of my Halloween choices — the one with Vincent Price (as opposed to Paris Hilton, gah). Still, the wax Tiny Tim is rather charming. I like how he’s sort of shrugging in anticipation of something. Or maybe he’s on the verge of breaking out into a soft-shoe routine. How sad he’s not yours after all, but this was a great read!

    Oh! PS. I finally saw Devil’s Backbone. You were right. Loved it.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Cynthia, nice to see you!

      Yeah “Devil’s Backbone” is pure art.

      I never saw the really scary movies unless I was dragged to them, they frighten me. That’s why I never saw “House of Wax,” in any of its permutations.

      I think Tiny Tim is charming!
      I hope he’s making the person who won him as happy as he would have made us.
      Surely you wouldn’t adopt him unless you were going to give him a good home.

      Now that you mention it, I can see Tiny Tim doing a soft shoe.
      I can even hear it.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Loved “El Espinazo del Diablo!” The scene where the ghosts’s eye suddenly peers through the keyhole was one of my memorable horror movie jump moments. What is it about ghostly eyes? Sadako’s single eye through mass of black hair in Rung-u was much scarier than Samara’s full Linda Blair demon face in the american The Ring.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I absolutely love creepy, artsy, scary movies, but I simply can’t go to the kind where something jumps out at you. I’m quite sure one of those will give me a heart attack. Just hearing your description gives me the willies.
          Even when my kids were little, they were forbidden to jump out at me ever. They could play all kinds of jokes on me and got a pass, but I really think my heart just stops for a while when there’s an unexpected jump-out.
          Whenever it did happen, I would scream and clasp my chest as I collapsed on the floor.
          (I probably need psychological counseling.)

  9. Zara Potts says:

    I love auctions! I love that you won the door! I love that you had dinner with Toddlyn and Ron. Aren’t they fantastic?
    Miss Ronlyn and Mr Todd are two of the sweetest and charming people you could hope to meet and I am so glad you got to enjoy their company – and they yours.
    I wish I had been at the dinner table with you and Victor and T and R.

    Oh and wax is a bit creepy but not that bad.. I had a china doll who I adored right through my childhood and she had wax teeth. As she got older the wax started to decay and stain a little, just like real teeth.
    I loved her little waxy teeth. She was a glorious doll.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Hi Zara!

      We love auctions too. We’ve gotten furniture and a silverish camel who can turn his head and lots of what we call art. (My kids don’t always agree….)
      Ronlyn and Todd had the same impression of you and Simon. They told us how much fun they had with you wandering duo.
      If you had been eating with us, you would have lost some hearing. It was terribly loud inside the restaurant. We had to shout to hear each other.

      Do you still have that doll?
      I’d love to see a picture of it.
      I never heard of china dolls having wax teeth.
      That is way creepier than poor little Tiny Tim!
      Maybe you don’t have the doll anymore, but you have pictures of the doll with cavities?
      Please, please look.
      I have to see this.

      Maybe your mom saved it?

    • Ronlyn Domingue says:

      *sniff* I miss Miss Zara…. You and Mr. S were the bomb.

      Is there an essay brewing about your doll? Those teeth…did you give her coffee or cigarettes?

      • Zara Potts says:

        She was a heavy smoker, which is very naughty in a doll.
        She didn’t like coffee though – she preferred orange juice, which come to think of it may be the very reason her little wax teeth started to decay.

        The funny thing about that doll, who I loved so much, was that she never had a name.

        Oh, I miss you too! I want to have a pecan praline with you and go squirrel watching…

        • Irene Zion says:


          Do you still have her?
          Does your Mom?
          Do you have pictures of her?
          I really need to see this nameless doll with wax teeth.

          Has anyone else heard of a china doll with wax teeth?
          I never have.
          You might’ve had the only one ever!

        • Zara Potts says:

          She also had a jaunty beret.
          And her eyes moved back and forth when she walked. She really was something.
          I’m going to try and find a picture for you..

      • Irene Zion says:

        Obviously the New Zealand form of DCFC should have been called in!

      • Ronlyn Domingue says:

        Z, the orange juice ate everything away. Regular brushing might have helped.

        Fascinating that she was so loved and was nameless. Seriously.

        The squirrels are damn near at their cutest now. During the fall, they gather nuts and bury them in the yard. Each nut gets patted down gently, and nearby leaves get piled on top. You’d swoon.

        • Irene Zion says:

          But Ronlyn,
          Wouldn’t brushing wax teeth rub them away?

          Do you know about the white, not albino, squirrels of Olney, Illinois?
          I have a picture.
          I’ll look for it to send to you and Zara.
          They are so beautiful.
          We have regular grey squirrels here, but they are really so lithe and quick,
          it’s a pleasure to watch them.
          We also have roof rats, or tree rats, depending on what you call them.
          They are so very cute.
          They are tiny and live in the trees.
          I fed them for awhile when we first moved in,
          but was dissuaded from doing so by the terminex man.
          Apparently they can eat your house.

        • Ronlyn Domingue says:

          Ah, the trouble with written text. I wasn’t serious about the brushing. Is there an emoticon for droll humor, or an attempt thereof?


          During a recent trip, I stayed with a friend in Georgia who had tree rats. His cat and I watched one climb a bush up to the roof of the house, its mouth full of nesting material.

        • Irene Zion says:

          See, Ronlyn?
          That’s the second time in this one comment board where I missed a joke entirely.
          I really do need a joke seeing-eye sniffer dog!

          I’ll send you and Zara a pic of the Olny white squirrels.
          Give me a minute to find them.

        • Zara Potts says:

          I was very remiss in dental hygeine for my dolly.
          Now that you guys mention it – it IS strange to love a doll that much but not even give her a name.
          In fact, I don’t think I ever really named any of my toys. They were given generic titles. ‘Doll’ ‘Giraffe’ ‘Doggy.’
          I think I saved all my good names for the millions of pets I had.

        • Irene Zion says:


          The baby doll I was allowed to play with was named “Susie.”
          I wish I still had her.
          She was really loyal, which is what you want in a baby doll.

  10. Rachel Pollon says:

    I love that door! And I love that picture of you and Ronlyn. And congratulations on having a fancy out of town art show! Lastly, love your description of the windshield wiper. xo!

    • Irene Zion says:

      I’m so glad you appreciate it too, Rachel!
      It’s hard to see with the little picture from the catalog, but she’s made up of paint brushes!
      Oh, isn’t she just so happy?
      Who’s mood wouldn’t be lifted by looking at her?

      We were VERY lucky that it hadn’t started raining yet on the way to the airport.
      The poor cabby would’ve had to stick his head out of the side window to see!

  11. ksw says:

    when one door closes another opens. ups would like to personally thank you for keeping them profitable this year. please buy the mobile walls for the storage room so you can properly store your items.

  12. Irene Zion says:

    HA! ksw,

    I am pretty sure that UPS won’t take the door. It’s really heavy wood and 7 X 3 feet!
    I believe it’s going to be put on a moving van with a bunch of other stuff and dropped off when they can get it here.
    I’m going to be needing a few good burly men for the job of getting it set up.
    I’m sending out feelers for helpers, here….

    I want to get the mobile walls for the art storage, but a certain husband of mine is not on board with the idea. Maybe you can work on him a little?

  13. M.J. Fievre says:

    Funny that you got your door! Good for you! And these wooden figures ARE creepy.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Irene. I feel like I’ve been there with you.

  14. Irene Zion says:


    We were so surprised when we got the invoice.
    It’s such a happy, happy door.

    I agree completely, they are totally creepy, and yet, someone stole them!
    Weird, huh?

    I wish you had been there, you’d’ve enjoyed the fabulous food with us and met Ronlyn with the hard to pronounce last name and Todd!

  15. Irene,

    Super cool stuff. I so want that “repulsive” couple who, as are so many repulsive, naked things with drooped genitalia, are so damn attractive. Great piece!

  16. Irene Zion says:

    Matthew Gavin,

    I thought they were a bit, um, explicit,
    but Victor was devastated that he couldn’t even try to win them.
    Some ne’er-do-well stole them both!
    Victor would be pleased that someone besides himself and a thief liked them,
    of course, he’ll never know, since he doesn’t read TNB.

    (Did you ever explain why you are sideways in your gravitar?
    I’m curious.)

  17. jmblaine says:

    I love the thought of
    you and Victor bidding
    on folk art
    & getting all excited
    about it.

    Spent a lot of time
    in N.O. but never could
    like the food.

    Ah, the life of Irene.

    (& Victor!)

  18. Irene Zion says:


    If you’ve never been to an auction,
    you do not know how much fun you have!
    It’s thrilling, that’s what it is.

    (I simply can’t believe
    that you don’t like
    the fabulous food
    of New Orleans.)

    • jmblaine says:

      At the risk of sounding completely
      and being throughally outcast
      from not only TNB
      but all Caucasian artistic endeavors
      – I never liked New Orleans.

      And cajun/creole cuisine wasn’t my thing.

      OK, Ok. My cousin and I used to
      climb the big pin oak on the
      Lakefront turn around and watch
      lightening storms over Pontchartrain.
      I loved Mandrville/Convington.
      But not NO.

      • Irene Zion says:


        I didn’t know it were possible for anyone to not like cajun/creole cuisine.
        I’m flummoxed by your statement.

        I used to cook it for the kids back when we were in Central Illinois and we even had a New Orleans bash with scores of people. The kids all drew alligators and ghosts and stuff to decorate. We had fresh oysters flown in because if you ate an oyster in Champaign, Illinois at that time you were signing your death warrant. We had filé gumbo and red beans and rice and jambalaya and I can’t recall what else.

        I do remember always hesitating before cooking this type of food after seeing what it did to Paul Prudhomme. He shouldn’t have put his massive picture on the cover.

        I suppose this is one of those instances where you realize that it is true that you can’t account for taste.

  19. Tim says:

    So, you did get the door! Awesome.
    Glad, frankly, that you didn’t win Tiny Tim.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I was sure that you would like Tiny Tim!
      This really surprises me.
      You don’t think he would have been perfect, just standing around our house?
      We could easily move him to be with us whenever we changed rooms.
      It’d sort of being like having a kid at home again, but forever.
      How could you object to that?

  20. Don Mitchell says:

    This is totally cool in every way.

    But about the picture of you and Ronlyn. It looks like you’ve both just seen giant images of the crouching figures.

    The man is very Sepik — the way his face is tilted up. The woman’s very ah, I dunno.

    I can see why you loved the door. So alive. Put it on the ceiling over a bed, perhaps at a slight angle. Wake up in the morning, feel good.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Actually, Don,
      about that picture?
      I thought it looked like there was a truck barreling towards us
      when it was taken.

  21. Irene Zion says:


    Victor is not a patient man when you hand him a camera.
    You REALLY have to be ready when he shoots.

    Sultan Rogers is the artist of the two figures.
    I don’t actually know anything about him, except perhaps that he does not understand female anatomy.

    It is alive, right?
    I like your idea of having her up on the ceiling to see every morning when we wake up,
    but on the other hand, it is extremely heavy, being an old solid wood door and all.
    I’m not sure that I could trust that it were secured well enough that it couldn’t fall down and crush us in bed. That, right there, would take all the happy out of it, if you know what I mean.

    • Don Mitchell says:

      Nah. You don’t have earthquakes in Florida, do you? Just hang it carefully. Or screw it to the ceiling.

      However, true, it would take the happy out of it. It could use a little more red, though.

      • Irene Zion says:


        Remember that this picture is a scan from a catalog. It’s way more colorful,
        (and bigger!) in real life.
        Victor just nixed the attaching it to the ceiling idea.
        He thinks he’s living on borrowed time and that the door would surely kill him.
        (This isn’t rational, it’s just Victor. It’s a story in itself one day.)

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Red as in blood. I was making a sick joke, Irene. Sorry, Victor.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh darn it!
          I always miss the subtle jokes.
          I need a seeing-eye joke sniffer dog, Don!

        • dwoz says:

          I think you have to nix the “hang from the ceiling” idea just on the basis of having to put holes in the door.

          That’s fine to do to a DOOR, but not to a work of art.

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Well, a couple of cross-pieces well-screwed into the door from its back, which then are fitted and horizontally-screwed to pieces strongly screwed to the ceiling.

          Bedroom, so lots of . . . oh, never mind.

          If it could be gotten up, it would stay up and the screwing wouldn’t visible.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I know that you are right, Don, but I am not the half of the couple who thinks that the sky is falling on him, you see?
          I will, nevertheless, try to carefully suggest this approach, since I do think that it would be wonderful to wake up to “Wee!” on the ceiling every morning.

        • Irene Zion says:


          I’m pretty sure that your argument would be the next one for Victor, had he not already used the “I will be killed by that door” argument.
          I’m pretty sure she is not going to be on the ceiling, unfortunately.

      • Irene Zion says:


        I don’t think we have earthquakes in Florida, but the roof rats do make a commotion on the ceiling at night.

        Once when we were still in Champaign, we had an earthquake.
        I went to the bottom of the stairs and yelled at my daughter, Sara,
        to stop jumping on the bed because she was shaking the whole house.

        I felt pretty bad about that when it turned out to be an earthquake.
        Poor little Sara.

  22. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    We WERE totally impressed with the Tiny Tim. After seeing his photo, he is a bit creepy. What’s with that bare belly? And I dig that door!!! Somehow, after meeting Victor, the statues make sense. Your husband is quite the character with an eye for the unique. Beware if those things end up being fertility dolls.

    That photo of us will always make me laugh!

    I told you T and I went to the gallery to see what was up. The pregnant Virgin Mary stopped me in my tracks. That sight alone might have quickened the process of purging the last of my inbred Catholicism. Days later, I STILL think about your piece–the mother one with the birds.

    Give Victor a hug for me! Hugs for you, too.

    Oh, please write an essay with pictures if he cooks the sheep’s head for Thanksgiving!!!!

    • Irene Zion says:


      I think his shirt just shrunk over the years.
      That’s the only reason his tummy is showing.
      He’s an old soul, you know, Tiny Tim is.

      I’ll put up a picture of the actual door when it comes.
      It is so totally glorious.
      I’m really, really lucky to have gotten her, after all.

      I love that photo too, and for the same reason, it makes me laugh!

      Thank you so much for introducing us to handsome Todd and for driving so far to see us.
      We really had a ball with you!

      I’d hug Victor, but he’s famous for the “hug and shove,” (some of you may know about that.)

      Victor already has the sheep’s head in the freezer.
      He has the recipe.
      He will make the sheep’s head,
      and I will, naturally, take pictures.

      • Ronlyn Domingue says:

        It was our pleasure to drive out to meet you. If you’re back this way again soon, let me know.


        • Irene Zion says:

          Dear, sweet Ronlyn,

          I apologize profusely for spelling your name incorrectly at the start of this.
          I was told about it and, although it took me forever to see what I did wrong,
          (it was that extra ” i, “)
          I’ve fixed it.
          I hope.
          Does being dyslectic get me some points here?

        • Ronlyn Domingue says:

          No worries, Irene. My last name challenges most expectations for the way letters are arranged.

          There’s a family joke that one of us has to get famous so people spell our name correctly. Ha!!! Both my brother and I had to have our college diplomas remade because our last names were misspelled. Do not even get me started on the issues related to my first name.


        • Irene Zion says:


          You should write a story about your name (s) and the problems they’ve caused.
          It’s sounds interesting!

        • Ronlyn Domingue says:

          The essay idea….hmmmm….that’s something to mull over.

        • Irene Zion says:

          You know, Ronlynn,
          just when you need a change of pace,
          so to speak.

  23. Simon Smithson says:

    Irene! I’m so happy you got to meet Miss Ronlyn and Mr. Todd! Aren’t they a wonderful couple of people to spend time with?

    But Tiny Tim terrifies me. He reminds me of this particular piece of monstrosity:


    Mark my words, whoever got him is going to be found chopped into pieces of hamburger the morning after the next full moon.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Miss Ronlyn and Mr. Todd are indeed a wonderful couple to spend time with, Simon.
      Meeting them in person was such a kick!
      I’d like to meet you all in person, actually.
      Maybe someday we’ll have a TNB convention…in Hawaii!
      Yeah, that’s the ticket.

      Simon, I absolutely adore “The Hands Resist Him!” If it weren’t millions of dollars, I would buy it in a minute. It says at the end of the article there are other paintings of his for sale, I might look into it, but I’m sure they, too, are pricey.

      I don’t think Tiny Tim is going to chop up his new owners into hamburgers the morning after the next full moon.
      I think the lucky new owners will carry him around the house with them and always have someone to talk to, who is a very good listener.
      They might buy him another shirt that covers his tummy, though.
      But his tummy is sort of sweet looking, right?

      Funny that all those people died who owned that painting.
      I wonder if that’s true or not.

      • Irene Zion says:

        I sent the link to Victor and he says we can’t even look at the other paintings.
        Apparently he thinks they have bad juju too.
        It’s this fear of imminent death thing, usually he’s really rational.

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Hey, I have two very fine paintings by an artist named Pat Lasch. They are her Pompeii series, I and II. Everybody’s dead in them. Plus there’s some nudity. And postage stamps.

          Nobody I ever lived with liked them but me, so I’d be willing to sell them. They don’t get looked at enough.

          Tell Victor — not haunted, well-done, death and breasts. And postage stamps.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Don, You NEED to see what our house looks like.
          It is FULL. I don’t know why we keep getting stuff, but every Thanksgiving the kids bring an extra suitcase and I provide the pop-it paper to pack stuff and they go home with stuff they like.
          Then we have room for MORE stuff!
          We have NO self-control.

    • Ronlyn Domingue says:

      Simon, I still think you’re wonderful even though you continue to post a link to that creepy, creepy painting!

  24. Greg Olear says:

    I was wondering how that photo of you and Ronlyn came about. Congrats on the gallery opening — that’s very cool. And I’m glad you won the door…it’s the best of the items you bid on, although it is quite big. And Galatoire’s, yum (although not, in our experience, as sublime as Commander’s).

    • Irene Zion says:

      Thanks, Greg, that’s very sweet of you.

      This is the story of the photo.
      “Victor,” I say handing him the camera, “take a picture of Ronlyn and me in front of the restaurant.”
      “Fine,” says Victor.
      He takes a picture the instant he has the camera in his hands.
      “Victor, we didn’t pose yet,” I say.
      “You said take a picture and I did,” he says, handing back the camera, finished with that foolishness.

      I think we ate at Commander’s Palace years and years ago, but I don’t remember it. I don’t know why we picked Galatoire’s. It was good food, but very, very loud.

  25. Erika Rae says:

    This post sho nuff brought me joy. I love that you met Ronlyn (my older sister shares her name, and I’ve always wanted to meet her partly because of this. Jealous!). And those statues that Victor wanted! hahaha Fabulous. Congrats on your showing, as well. All around happiness in this post. sigh.

    • Ronlyn Domingue says:

      Erika, how did your sister get her name?!!! Ours is SO uncommon. I’m from the South, where the -lyn(n) suffix tacked on any masculine name instantly feminizes it. My father was in Vietnam while I was in utero. You can guess the rest.

      For the record, Irene’s work at the gallery was riveting! I loved every piece, but one really lingers with me.

      • Irene Zion says:

        I’d like to know that too,
        I’ve never heard the name before.

      • Erika Rae says:

        Our dad’s name was Ron, her mom’s name is Lynn. (She’s my half sister – obviously) People always ask if she’s half Asian because of it… At any rate, I’ve never met another Ronlyn.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @Erika Rae

          I think it’s way prettier to put “lynn” at the end of a man’s name to feminize a baby’s name than “ette.”
          I know people named things like “Johnette,” which I think would have been prettier as “Johnlynn.”

          But I guess it’s all in how you look at it, eh?

        • Ronlyn Domingue says:

          Erika–how funny that’s she’s asked if she’s Asian. Once, someone asked me if my name was Celtic. (I guess he meant Gaelic?) That was a treat compared to the usual, “What? Roslyn? Huh? Roblyn?”

          Irene–I might, in fact, write that essay at some point. After I posted my comment yesterday, a dozen memories flooded back related to name issues, first and last. Sheesh. Oh, and the -ette!!! I would not have survived adolescence if I’d been named “Ronette.”

    • Irene Zion says:

      @Erika Rae,

      It really was all around happiness!
      My paintings in a gallery.
      Meeting Toddlyn and Ron, Scrodlynn and Don, wait, Ronlyn and Todd.
      Winning the door we thought we lost.
      Not getting killed on the highway because of rain.
      All around happiness!

      • Erika Rae says:

        That door is so amazing. How can anyone be grumpy looking at it? You must put it where Victor can see it so that he can have happy dreams in his weird sleepland. ( :

        (My Scott says hi.)

        • Irene Zion says:

          @Erika Rae

          (Hi Scott!)

          I know!
          It’s the happiest door I’ve ever seen.
          We’re so lucky!
          Now we just have to be able to get it in the house and down the hall….

  26. Richard Cox says:

    “There were so many fascinating people there of all ages, each with his own idea of appropriate dress. Some of the attendees had piercings and oddly shaved hair, and others looked like ordinary businessmen and women.”

    I love how polite and accommodating you are, Irene. Sounds like you had a blast! Wish I had been there with you guys.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Oh Richard,

      It was so much fun to be in the middle of all that!
      There was such a variety of visitors to the show.
      I think that is partly because it is New Orleans.

      I wish you had been there too!
      You could’a met Victor!

      This next sentence does not have an exclamation point.

  27. I love New Orleans, and I love that door, Irene. I’m jealous. I want it in my house.

    When I was busy being super-arty in college, I once drove by 3 ancient refrigerators someone put out on the sidewalk. I got a crowbar and took off the doors and brought them to the painting studio, made a triptych, and hung them from the ceiling. The teacher wasn’t impressed. Class hammered me in crit. If I’d only known then I was an outsider!

    Great post.

    • Irene Zion says:


      You and I are both Outsiders!
      Neither of us even knew it.
      There was another door also, a bit more narrow, but I didn’t win that one.
      I’m just glad I got the one I did.

      Do you still have the triptych?

  28. Ed says:

    Had to take a closer look at your paintings and really enjoyed them. “Dad” and “Mother” have plenty of symbolism I don’t get, but am more curious about “Arundhati Roy”. She’s a pretty bizzare character, at least according to Wiki. The incest ending of “God of Small Things” doesn’t seem like what I would have thought would appeal to you. Not to mention her very far left inclinations in general. Or, is it that all this just qualifies her as an “outsider”?

    • Irene Zion says:

      Hello Ed,

      Many years ago, I was given a pre-published addition of Arundhati Roi’s first novel: “The God of Small Things.”
      I was swept away by the richness of her words. I could smell and taste and hear what she wrote. The story was captivating.
      For reasons that don’t make sense now, (since she became massively famous,) I thought she would not find an audience, so I set about trying to help her in a small way by painting her portrait and woodburning the first four paragraphs of her novel on the frame, for others to see, and perhaps read and want to buy her novel.
      Her politics are not mine, but in reading a novel the politics are not necessarily a viral part. Her writing is the kind that transport you to another place, another time and makes it almost impossible to return to the real world. By that I mean that it takes a minute before you realize someone is speaking to you and you are who you are, where you are, and not in the novel.
      The subject of a novel is immaterial when the writing is excellent.
      She is in no way an “outsider.” She is schooled in writing. An “outsider” has no education in the art form in which she works.

      Thank you for asking such good questions. You would make a good interviewer, which is quite a difficult job.

  29. Joe Daly says:

    Fun stuff! Love the pictures to accompany the piece- great flavor. And hilarious ending with Victor’s bid confounding it all.

    I love N.O. and this piece was a nice little reminder that I need to get my butt back there. Thanks for transporting me back there and for giving me carved wood piece envy.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Hi Joe!

      I adore New Orleans too. The pictures of the art work were a bitch to work with since they had to be scanned first from a catalog and then I had to clumsily erase the non-essential clutter. I could use some education in the use of these tools.
      We were so happily surprised when we found out our only other bidder was ourselves and we won the Molly Proctor!

      That makes three of you so far, not counting the thief, who actually wanted those nasty little statues..
      Not a large group, but an unique one.

      I do love it when you come to read.

  30. Marcia (former next-door neighbor in Illinois and frequent visitor to Florida) says:

    Why not add two other pieces to the door and make it into a screen? Or you could probably bolt it to a wall somewhere. You forgot to tell us what you ate in New Orleans. Were there any oysters????

    • Irene Zion says:


      The oysters were so fresh and so perfect and so cheap, compared to here!
      We told the nice young man who shucked them for us that we so looked forward to eating oysters that we dropped our bags at the hotel after the flight and just ran right over.
      He told us that old people like us sometimes have more energy than young ones.
      We thanked him, since he really thought it was a great compliment.

      You’ve seen our walls, Marcia! There is not room for a postage stamp. I have to find a place for this enormous door before it arrives or there’ll be hell to pay, I can tell you that.

      There was another door which I wanted, but we didn’t win it. I suppose we could have hinged them together, but they are really heavy and if they fell they’d flatten us or the dogs, so it’s just as well we didn’t win them both.

      Oh my, those oysters,though. You need to fly down there just for the oysters alone!

  31. Ashley Menchaca (NOLAdy) says:

    I wish I would have known you were here in NOLA! I would have gone!
    Oh well…maybe next time.

    “Some pieces were beautiful, some were shocking, some were kind of nasty; there was something there for every taste.”

    That line alone describes not only the art of NOLA but also, the people. Oh, and Galatoire’s? I’ve lived here my entire life and have never once been in that place. It’s reserved for New Orleans high society and tourists and I am neither. Maybe next time you come you could get ME in.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I never realized you were in New Orleans!
      You could have come with us; we had so much fun there.
      (I am trying so hard not to put an exclamation point there⇑.)

      We just love it there.
      You are so lucky to live with that great diversity of people and art and the oysters!

      • Ashley Menchaca (New Orleans Lady) says:

        Yes, I need to keep my name the way I have it now.
        I was a commenter forever as “New Orleans Lady” but when I started friending the TNB writers on facebook, I thought I should change my name here, at TNB. This has led to some confusion (Reno knows first hand) so I’m going to have to keep both names up until everyone catches on.

        New Orleans Lady and Ashley Menchaca are one in the same. Sorry.

        Next time you’re here, HOLLA!!

        • Irene Zion says:


          We will be back there since we love it so much, and when we are going to visit, we’ll let you know ahead of time.

          Good to realize who you are, I thought I was getting demented.
          Why don’t you put your gravitar on this name also?
          Then people will catch on more easily to who you are.

  32. I’m so excited that your paintings are in a gallery in New Orleans, Irene! That’s amazing. Wow, I wish I could dash down and go see them . . . (ah, this pesky Kenya trip standing in my way, ha.) I very much hope to get to see your work in person sometime soon.

    And thank you sincerely for the instruction in how to say Ronlyn’s name, because I confess I had no clue!

    • Irene Zion says:


      I can’t believe you have time to even read TNB, let alone comment. I’d be a total wreck about packing at this point, were I you. Thank you so much. I am thrilled to pieces about the show. Being there at the opening was an out-of-body experience.

      Ronlyn’s probably going to write a post about her name when she gets time. She’s got a lot of material pertaining to it. It should be pretty funny.

      Remember: Don’t put your camera stuff, any of it, even used SD cards in your suitcases!!!!!!!
      Take EXTRA camera batteries. Make your husband take pictures too, so you have the animals and the kids watching the animals! Have a blast!

  33. Oh boy, I have a lot of catching up to do… But let’s start here.

    Firstly, I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans. My parents went there a long time ago, and my friend Wayne made a great movie about a publishing company down there.

    Also, what a shame you didn’t get those figures. They looked wonderfully awful. The sort of thing you just have to have out in the open. When Amy and I were in Indonesia we bought a giant wooden penis to hang on the wall of our apartment. It was just irresistible to risk taking it through Korean customs. Anyway, it sat there and drew great conversations… until we accidentally found ourselves hosting a group of Daegu nuns. Yeah…

  34. Irene Zion says:


    Sometime in your travels you should experience New Orleans. It’s a very special place.

    Victor is sad, but he gets over things pretty quickly. I know he would have loved to get them. I keep hoping they’ll find out who stole them and put them up for auction again, or, even better, let Victor win them, since he did put in a bid for them ahead of time.

    I wish I were a fly on the wall when those Daegu nuns noticed the giant wooden penis art. Must’ve been weird. Funny and embarrassing simultaneously.

    • Have you ever seen a man fly across the room and knock a giant penis off a wall, then attempt to roll over, stand up and pour a drink without acknowledging the fact that anything happened? That’s pretty much what happened.

      • Simon Smithson says:

        As a matter of fact, the answer is yes!

      • Irene Zion says:


        The world would be a wonderful place if your life were on line for all to see.
        If only that had been video taped!
        You have wonderful adventures and fabulous material, David.
        Write it all down.
        I would be poorer for now knowing you.
        Today is Thanksgiving in the States.
        I am thankful for you.

        • Thanks, Irene. I’m thankful for you and your amazing stories, too.

          I’ve been teaching my students about Thanksgiving. We had a huge turkey in class, which we all ate with chopsticks, while dancing to K-pop. Chinese people generally don’t eat turkey so it was a totally new experience for them. The K-pop, sadly, was not new…

        • Irene Zion says:

          What exactly are you teaching in China, David?
          What age students?
          How many in a class?
          Do they speak English well enough to follow?

  35. Judy Prince says:

    Love the piccie of you and Victor (handsome!!!)—-and especially your painting on the right, Irene!

    Oh yes, one needs to practice Ronlyn Domingue’s name. Prob is now I’ll only remember it as “Scrodlynn and Dodd.” HOOT!

    Fantastic Molly Proctor door! You were sooooo fortunate. Am I the only person in the world who remembers Tiny Tim as the strrrange man with the greasy long black hair who sang soprano whilst playing the banjo or some such?

    Great figure, this, Irene, about the “lone wiper didn’t come near to touching the windshield, it just shook in the wind as though it had taxi windshield wiper Parkinson’s.” 😉

  36. Irene Zion says:


    Marriage has addled you!
    That’s not Victor, that’s Andy Antippas who runs Barrister’s Gallery!
    One way you can tell the difference is that Andy has lots of hair and Victor has practically none.
    (Andy is handsome, though.)

    He had a hundred of variations of their names. I could hardly remember what was right anymore by the time they arrived. Victor is a bad, bad influence.

    Lordy, I do love that Mary Proctor! I am indeed a fortunate woman.
    I remember Tiny Tim, I think.
    Or else I remember stories about him like that.
    I’m not sure which.
    I need to look up his actual dates of birth to death to know.

    We were just lucky it didn’t rain as they said it would.
    We would’ve been in an accident for certain!

    (I do love it when you come visiting, Judy!)

  37. Gloria says:

    Man, Irene. The picture Viktor took of you and Ronlyn (with your brief parenthetical explanation) has me laughing out loud. I can’t even finish reading it right now. I really needed to laugh this very second. Jeez – thank you, Viktor! (even though he’ll never read this.)

    • Gloria says:

      I’m so glad you won the door! I agree with everyone else that the Tiny Tim would have been awful. I’m not sad you didn’t get the three nipple sculpture. Sorry, Viktor! (even though he’ll never read this.) I wish I could afford one of your paintings – I especially like the one of Michael Jackson. I hope they all sell!

      You are such a funny lady, Irene. 🙂

      • Gloria says:

        Wait, what did I say? The Tiny Tim would have been awesome. I’m 84% sure that was just a typo and not a Freudian slip.

      • Irene Zion says:


        That isn’t Michael Jackson, although you are not the first to think so.
        That is Arundhati Roi, and the frame has the first four paragraphs of “The God of Small Things” woodburned on the frame.
        You see I got a pre-publication issue of the book before she was famous and loved it.
        With my 100% wrong idea that no one would ever read this wonderful book, I painted her portrait and woodburned the first part of her book so that people would learn about her powerful, sensuous writing.
        Of course, she went on to become super-famous and everyone reads her now, but maybe it might have started with seeing her and reading her words on a frame….

        You can see the three paintings in the show better if you go to the website in the story. If you go to “click her to preview show” I’m on the first page slightly down on the left. When you click on each picture it gets larger so you can see the paintings better and the frames.

    • Irene Zion says:


      All his pictures look like that.
      I don’t know why I bother asking.

  38. Amy says:

    Thank god you didn’t win all the other pieces too, where in the world are you going to put that big door?

  39. Irene Zion says:


    The insight will come to me when it needs to.
    I have faith.

  40. Lisa B. says:

    Painter, writer and masseuse by the light of the moon. You’re a treasure!

  41. Irene Zion says:


    You are too sweet.
    (I wouldn’t mind hearing ole Victor say those words….)

  42. Busterboy says:

    Tiny Tim is up on eBay, no longer soiled and soot covered, waiting for his next adventure.

  43. Irene Zion says:

    oh! oh! oh! Busterboy!
    Could you send me the link? I’m looking at eBay, but I’m not seeing the little guy we want.
    I see some tiny tim guys but not the 3 foot wax replica from Barnum and Bailey.
    I so hope you’ve spotted the tiny tim we want for sale on eBay!

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