Saturday, February 17, 2007

Captain Outrageous at the Miami Herald

Here's the Miami Heralds coverage of Captain Outrageous.

Two of the cats referred to in the article were Miss Kitty and Little One. Captain fed them every day at 9 AM and 4 PM on the porch of the gallery, then he'd walk down to Green St. to feed two others who live next door to Kermit's Key Lime Shop, on the corner of Elizbeth St. He and Sherry cared for Clawed at their shared home on Florida St.

We stopped feeding them after the Captain died. Little One was taken away to be cared for elsewhere, while the people who live in Caroline's Guest House next door took over the feeding of Miss Kitty. She still comes around mooching, and sometimes people leave food at the front gate for her.

The other pet that Captain cared for is Rommel, a slightly overweight, seven-year old German Shepherd. Rommel is really the pet of Peter B., owner of the building that housed the Captain Outrageous Gallery. The Gallery is where he received guests, displayed his own art, and a large number of Key West-themed painting by his friend, noted painter George Crosby, now a resident of Blue Hill, Maine on the east side of Penobscot Bay.

Crosby has been coming to Key West to paint in the wintertime for 30 years. In recent years he could be seen on the front porch, painting. When he grew tired of chatting up tourists with no taste, and worse, not enough money to afford the $1,500 to $6,000 prices of his works, he would retreat to the open deck in the back of the house to gain some solitude. Now his world is rendered topsy-turvy, not only at the loss of a friend (though they often reminded me of the Grumpy Old Men played by Matthau and Lemmon in the movies), but also by the uncertainty of his status as a guest of the Captain in the house and by his need to earn enough money to pay the mortgage on his house in Blue Hill, a place he bought only lately, and on which he labored throughout the summer to fix up as his home.

The fate of the gallery is uncertain. It is closed for now, until matters of probate are dealt with. The Captain's own works and his few personal possessions are locked up in the Gallery, and Crosby's art is temporarily warehoused in there as well. Crosby leaves for Maine on April 29th and he needs to sell at least a few paintings from the large number that he transported here last year. Some of that art can be seen here. A standout among the tropical pieces that reflect Key West is a painting of Preservation Hall in New Orleans at early evening, with the shadows of sunset falling into the street. Another is a painting of fighting cocks about to be released into the pits. Captain often opined that it was a perfect painting for the office of a successful litigation attorney.

What I find remarkable about these two is that they sprang from Crosby's fertile imagination. He's never been to New Orleans and he's never seen a cockfight.

Crosby can be contacted by e-mail at georgecrosby@hotmail.com, or by calling (305) 304-1565. There's some room for negotiation, especially with those who might be interested in buying more than one piece.

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