Monday, July 17, 2006

Tribute to the Artastic Couple

"Let me just say before I began I thank GOD for Affirmative Action…Because if it weren't for Affirmative Action I would have never met Dustin at Governor's School, I would have never met Erin at Washington University and I sure as hell wouldn't be here in this place with all you White people."
(The beginning of my roast speech for Dustin and Erin, Sunday Brunch at the Chase Park Hotel May 28,2006)
Now What Should I Say Next??? O Well Here I Go...

Memorial Day Weekend 2006 will forever be known as one of the greatest weekends in my life
...Not because I was "Da Best Man of the Hour or Weekend" (many would argue that I was!!!), but because I witnessed two of the most unique and beautiful people that I ever known form a blood and love pact to step into their individual bright futures and destinies together as one…Dustin and Lena Hurt are a couple made for legend…These two supremely talented and affable human beings decided for better or worse to ride together on this journey known as life to destinations known only to their Creator and the deepest recesses of their hearts and desires

D. Hurt and I a.k.a. The Odd Couple
D. Hurt and Da Best Man R2C2H2

D. Hurt and I have known each other for 9 years (since the summer of 1997)…What drew me to Dustin at first was his manic and intense energy, but what kept me close and in awe of Dustin for almost 10 years has been for the most part his amazing artistic talent and skillWhat Dustin can do with paints and brush couldn't be taught, but is something that he was born with…I feel that art for D. Hurt is essential as breathing for all people and beings living…Dustin's personality is also very uniquely his own as well…In a lot of ways Dustin fits the true definition of the artist type by deed, appearance and thought…If Dustin's life was made into a movie he would probably be played by a Christian Slater or a Johnny Depp … Dustin is like Jacques-Yves Cousteau only he uses paints, brush, and canvas instead of scuba gear to do his explorations and investigations …It seems from the get go that Dustin would always strive to delve and dive and probe through the deep inner workings of the human psyche by not only pushing paint with brush on a primed canvas, but also by pushing people's buttons, always asking questions and making acute observations to initiate a thought provoking dialogue or responseDustin like many of the Great Ones is a walking contradiction but not necessarily a hypocrite…He complicated…He is esoteric yet very "accessible" (when you can actually track him down and talk to him); illogical at times yet extremely articulate; shy yet outspoken; easy to love , but at times hard to know…Nevertheless, Dustin through his individuality and mammoth sized artastic gifts always provided things and ideas to think about as well as to reconsider…He always provides a palette for commentary…I always thought of Dustin and I as reincarnates of Vincent Van Gogh (Dustin) and Paul Gaugin(me) respectively… Both Old Masters represent our individual idea of a complete artist with an extraordinary vision…Just like Van Gogh and Gaugin, Dustin and I wouldn't probably get along well living and working in the same space, but I am sure as hell that it would make for great "must see" and reality T.V. (VH 1 or Fox holla at us!!!)…Actually I could be wrong about the last statement, but at least it got yall's attention!!! However, I do not doubt for a minute like Van Gogh that Dustin wouldn't hesitate to "lend me his ear" if needed…Fortunately, unlike Van Gogh, Dustin has sold more than one painting in his lifetime (thanks Lena's Dad and Mom) and will sell many, many more before it's all said and done...Another fortunate thing for D. Hurt is the fact he won't be alone and sad like Van Gogh, never realizing or finding in his lifetime his one true love/soulmate or as R. Kelly would say his homie/lover/friend (Thanks once again Lena's Dad and Mom!!!)

In closing I feel that Dustin and I will always be connected throughout our lives as great rivals as well as great friends…Dustin is Larry Bird to my Magic Johnson, Frank Sinatra to my Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Teagarden to my Louis Armstrong, Gil Evans to my Miles Davis, Mel Gibson to my Danny Glover, Gene Wilder to my Richard Pryor, Nick Nolte to my Eddie Murphy…Can yall see the Ebony and Ivory theme here!!!

At Last To Dream Impossible Dreams…In Comes Lena the Great…
R2C2H2 and the Bride of D. Hurt, Lena Hurt or the Artist Formerly Known as Erin Whitten

I knew Lena or the Artist formerly known as Erin Whitten was a Great One when we first met back in the fall semester of 1999 at
Wash U.…Dustin actually introduced me to his future partner in life and the arts in his unique, charming and casual way…Lena, even from the first time I met her, strucked me as someone who was very confident and comfortable with who she is as well as ambitious…Lena even back then had an unique way of controlling the space she occupied as well as the ability to draw all eyes upon her in a room…Not only was she physically attractive with her brown hair, deep dark eyes, and fine athletic build (thanks in part as she would say to her German heritage), but she also had a very attractive, positive and engaging personality…She seemed to accept me without even probing deeply into who I was or what my intentions in life were because she held Dustin's judgement and opinion of people in high esteem which to me said volumes about how much she trusted Dustin…I think actually one of the first times I recognized how gifted Erin was when I attended the Man of La Mancha play put on by the Wash U. Drama department …She truly excelled in the leading woman role…During parts of Erin's briliant performance I saw flashes of Katharine Hepburn,Judy Garland, Carole Lombard, Liza Minelli as well as some other true divas of the screen and stageLena PROVED that she was born for the stage and movie screen just like Dustin was born to manipulate paint and create images…Lena in my mind represented that night what a true star should be about which is STAR POWER or the ability to shine brightly and prominently without regard to situation or plot
"Bella Bonita Bonitisisisisima"...To see more of D. Hurt's incredible works of art please click here

In spite of all of Lena's incredible gifts I never saw her act snobbish or uppity towards anyone…As a matter of fact, Lena was always supportive and very encouraging of her friends even as much in edging them on to greater heights of creativity, achievement and excellency
…When I was doing my panhandling act and prostituting myself (aesthetically and creatively speaking of course) in the open lobby area of the Wash U. Hilltop Mallinckrodt Student Center she always made me feel like a valuable and worthwhile member of the human race…Lena always paid more for my pics than I requested and always told and encouraged me to turn up the volume on my jazz, blues and r & b music that was blasting from my cd player (which I used to bring attention to myself and art)…This irritated the hell out of the Wash U Drama Dept. which was two floors above me!!! I also remembered when I had my opening reception for my one person art exhibition at the Sheldon Art Galleries entitled R2C2H2: Visualizing Jazz a year after I graduated from Wash U., one of the first faces I saw at the venue was none other than the Patron Saint of the Marginalized Starving Artist herself Mrs. Lena Hurt (who was Erin Whitten at this time)...Seeing her radiantly smiling face electrified my conscience and presence and really made the museum like setting seem more comfortable and inviting…As proven by my testimony like the great thespian that she is Lena always understood timing and always realized when to say and do the right thing at the right time…
They Finally Got A Piece Of The Pie I Mean Cake (think The Jeffersons Theme Song).
As you all know there's a lot more to this story, but yall already know the ending or should I say "The Beginning"…Thanx Dustin and Erin for making this Invisible Man "visible" and for letting me share in the formation of hopefully "a more perfect union."

Your Brother In The Arts and Admirer,

Ron Herd II a.k.a. R2C2H2 Tha Artivist
*A Special Shoutout to All the families and influences involved in creating these beautifully connected individuals…Although we all have rotten apples it good to know that good trees with strong roots and lots of love and nourishment can still reap amazing fruit…Special thanks to B. Hurt (D. Hurt's sister) for providing me with most of these wonderful photos… *

R2 With D. Hurt's Other Renaissance Siblings Ryan (R. Hurt) and Brandy(B. Hurt)

Da Artivist Hanging Out With Da Hurts!!!

1 comment:

Sam & Nanci said...

Dear Ron (a.k.a. R2!)

Like your toast at the Sunday wedding brunch, your website tribute to your friends Dustin and Lena (always and forever Erin to us!) was fantastic.

It has been our experience over many years that true friends bring only good into our lives -- and Erin has brought you and Dustin into our lives and for that we will be eternally grateful.

Your words enlighten our souls, and the feelings they evoke brighten our lives. We thank you, Ron, for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with us.

May God bless you always.

Love, Sam and Nanci
(aka Erin's "Godparents!")