Driving a taxi and meeting someone famous is always a fun thing, unless its Charlie Sheen on a bender and he's trashing my cab and running from the bill...but I never had Charlie in my Taxi, and I'd bet he'd stiff The Waldorf before he'd stiff a Taxi. Anywayyyy...
This past Halloween as I was headed home from the parade, I was walking to the subway and saw this man below making funny faces and charming children that were walking by his home. He was only wearing a simple clever mask made out of what appeared to be an index card, and I asked if I could take his picture for my blog, and he agreed. I told him I was a Hack and he immediately asked me, "How do I compete with all the other crazy drivers ?" I told him, "carefully, or I wouldn't make any money"...I showed him some of the pictures in my camera of the costumes I just photographed, but told him that I think I will remember his costume the most, and that the children seemed to find it very amusing compared to all the elaborate and expensive disguises. I told him about my blog, and gave him my card, but he told me he really doesn't use the computer.
I've met so many people who have not embraced computers and refuse to..amazes me.
I then asked him if I could have his mask so I could scan it for my posting, and he said "of course" in a foreign accent that I could not pin down, and I'm pretty good because I speak English in 40 different accents. ;)
As he went to hand me the mask, a gust of wind blew it down the street and I chased after it where a lovely buxom woman saw it flying by with me in tow and stepped on it bringing it face down to a halt... I said mockingly "Oh Nooo!! You stepped on a MASTERPIECE !" ... and in true New York fashion, she didn't miss a beat and said, "careful honey, you don't know if I just increased its worth BECAUSE I stepped on it"
Touché...well played footstomper of the night.
So I went back to talk with the Gentleman, and we laughed about how I saved his "masterpiece" and he told me how my pictures of Halloween were so different from his as a child, and we began to exchange childhood memories of Halloween..He making costumes out of paper, and myself recalling how I used a burned cork to blacken my face as a hobo...We discussed how Halloween is now a BILLION dollar industry and not the same as it was when he celebrated, nor I. Below is the mask he was wearing with a little cut-out that his nose fit through. Brilliant. He had shopping bags with him, and I'll bet he made good use of this mask ALL day.
He then showed me how if you draw the face on the paper, then fold it in half like below...and just rip where your nose will go ..."Voilá !!!" a Halloween mask that didn't touch your bank account.
He then pulled a blank piece of paper from his pocket and showed me how to do it from scratch and handed me the mask below...once again.. "Voilá !" I then inquired if he was an artist of any kind, and he humbly said yes I am an artist of many different things, and quickly changed the subject asking me if there were any children in my family and I said "yes, and of various ages"...I hope I wasn't his subject in this work below....but then again, I was the only one there now !! lol
So he pulled out another piece of paper, same size, and began to draw while looking at me...Uh Oh !! ...so he laughed as he drew and told me the children will laugh when I show them the picture of me that he was making...I was laughing out loud waiting for this caricature he was creating to make more kids laugh with his creations and humor...and once again "Voilá !! The King Caricatured !!! ...or maybe not ;) HA ! As I was observing the pic when he finished and I wondered why he drew two lemons on my head, however he kept writing in the bottom right corner...
...and he signed it.
Jacob El Hanani, I googled him when I got home and his accent was hard to pin point because he was born in Casablanca, studied in Tel Aviv and Paris, and worked in New York City not to mention all over this country. His works have been shown at MANY important places such as The Guggenheim, The Whitney, The British Museum, and the most important, The King of New York Hacks Refrigerator.
I'm in good company. ;-)
...and those lemons, were actually sunglasses I forgot were still on my head after the long chilly night, even had a rosy windburn ! lol ...However, I am not as good looking as he made me out to be, what a nice guy. ;) I assured him my family would laugh at this pic of me, nor would they let me forget it !! LOL I shook his hand, thanked him, and we wished each other well...as Halloween, came to an end.
..all....in a New York Minute.
Just click here to see his history and works-------> JACOB EL HANANI
...or click this one from The British Museum which shows Jacob without the mask. --> JACOB
Pretty impressive collections he has created...but certainly not the masterpiece portrait of The King that will fetch a gazillion dollars at Sotheby's on auction...nah, I think I'll keep this one for me...Thanks Mr. Hanani, you are a kind man with a humorous mind and heart...and I could never auction off a priceless New York moment like that...I'm not greedy, and I'm no artist....I'm just...
The King Of New York Hacks
Peace out peeps.