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at Carolyn Brady and Bill Eptons Wedding

Carolyn Brady and Bill Epton’s wedding 1967

Carolyn and Bill's wedding

Carolyn and Bill’s wedding

By 1967 Ray Stevens and I and baby Susan were at “the Farm” in Baltimore County Maryland -just over the Mason Dixon Line – we would go to NYC and New Yorkers would come to the Farm…. we went to Carolyn Brady and Bill Epton’s wedding -they were living at Max and Janet’s Dutch barn behind modern apartment houses near the Bowery … it was filled with tulips, the famous “Judson Church theatre “- Al Carmines was officiating, I always felt he had accidentally married all of us.B Stevens

Franklin MacFie was working at the Jack Prince Design Studio in the early 60’s as was Carolyn Brady. Carolyn and I and Bill Epton came from Oklahoma to New York City -so we met Franklin that way. I remember the many apartments that Frank Macfie had during that time that he tore apart and remade- made an art form of it. When I was taping some memoirs of Franklin a month before his death we hit upon this story:

So I ask him to talk about all his art stuff which includes every house he ever lived in… I start remembering the house with a hole in the wall and the floor paved in broken mirrors …. we were staying there, Susan was about 2 . He says “I didn’t think a baby could have fit into that hole in the outside wall!”-six floors up.! He said “I lived on Spring Street for a few years in a sixth floor walk up which major feature was that it was very bright . So I tore all the walls down which was the fashion at the time to get down to the brick. The landlord knocked on the door-it was one of those where the bath is in the kitchen, which was in fact right next to the door. He said Mr. MacFie I hope your not putting any nails in the walls. No, I am definitely not Mr. Fernbaum putting any nails in the walls. He says Let me come in and look….. Franklin says — I am in the bathtub right now -He says I can wait….. I am a very long bather…this went on for a while -he finally waited me out and he came in -there was a pile of bricks in the middle of the floor and old joists and he nearly had a heart attack. He went to the exterior walls, the windows and he said why didn’t you tear that down too! I kept telling him how wonderful it was gonna look and its the latest style and then I realized of course what I had done was turn a 3 room apartment into one room which would give him much less rent. His major concern.”

Ray and Barbara and Franklin -top right corner of the Bowery Dutch barn hayloft at the wedding

Ray and Barbara and Franklin -top right corner of the Bowery Dutch barn hayloft at the wedding

The following are excerpts from descriptions of a VISIT TO FRANKLIN’S PLACE SOMETIME IN 1968

Delmas and Lou drove out from Willis, Oklahoma in brown “67 mercury station wagon …and the four of us drove on up to New York City to..I think … Franklin’s 20th street loft. Ray remembers the part when Delmas goes out to get cigarettes and doesn’t come back for hours. Lou says that’s just the way Delmas is . When he does come back we learn that he saw this old boy laying on the road ( doesn’t this sound the Bowery !) so, this old boy used to be a pig farmer and we got to talk about raising hogs.(Delmas, naturally had started out by asking him if he was ok) Delmas must have been talking to the Bowery bum for more than an hour about raising hogs. The way I remember it – he talked to everyone he encountered just like he would have back in his southern Oklahoma voting district, during an election year, you know, to see what was going on with each and every one of them!

Delmas and Lou remember that it was 1968, and Nixon was running for president.We went to the the amazing Living Theater at the Brooklyn Museum and Delmas made friends with the ushers. (he didn’t think they were “doing it” on stage like I did).

They describe the 20th street loft as an empty warehouse building, with a door on the street and a long flight up with sex photos all along the walls ( all genders, etc.) up the stairway (now that Delmas mentions this I can remember that as well). He remembers it as being close to the Village.- Ray as it being close to the Bowery. Delmas remembers that Franklin’s ice Box was completely full of Amal nitrate ( one snuff will extend and enhance your climax! ) They remember sleeping on the floor, going out for Chinese food, near the Brooklyn Bridge and that Franklin’s friend Michael Maslansky had sent an envelope really reeking, full of Marijuana from India  or somewhere, dutifully  delivered by the postman!

And then Delmas describes the working TV in the loft. no case, no back – all the tubes and electronic stuff exposed and the TV’s picture tube on!. (then I remembered it -a scary Art piece!)

Also Abigail Grafton was around (this was the period Franklin and me and Ray were involved with Abby and the “peace movement”-) Delmas remembers Abby telling about throwing ball bearings at the police horses feet while rioting in Berkeley.

One more of Frank MacFies NYC environments that I can remember was a large place -all black lights ….one room was painted all black -floors, ceiling , walls, empty except for a huge , painted white with black ribs flexible tube – as used in “manholes” ,etc.- that you could crawl through – sewer fresh air tubes. (later he turned a ‘shed’ room we were renting in New Mexico into an art Installation using cast off highway signs and one of those orange and black ribbed flexible sewer things as”Found Art” and turned it into a light.)
The way I remember it we were staying with Franklin in his “black light “apt in 1968 the night we heard they shot Robert Kennedy. Barbara Stevens

Franklin MacFie words for Bill Eptons memorial….. 2007 (a year after Carolyn’s memorial at Nancy Hoffman Gallery and a year before his own.
Bill Epton
Hokey Michaelangelo
Sovereign beauty of a man
American Gothic
Perfectionist
Perfect mate to a perfect wife.
Aways ready for a game/leaving you as big-hearted as he.
One of the very few truly clean souls.

American gothic 1967 Portait of Bill and Carolyn by Barbara Stevens see:barbarastevensart.wordpress.com

Frank MacFie's photo of Barbara Stevens

Frank MacFies photo of Barbara Stevens

Frank MacFie’s strange photo of Barbara Stevens after the Epton- Brady wedding, wearing an optical paper dress,soon to be torn off! in a homage to Marcel Du Champ by Bill Epton ( as an artistic inheritor). Reversing “the Bride laid bare by her Groomsmen “- with the Bridesmaid laid bare by the groom.

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One Comment

  1. Love seeing all of us at Carolyn and Bills wedding.


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