Flickinger Glassworks Newsletter
Our brief newsletter about Red Hook, Brooklyn...
and other people, places & things we think you should know about.

Welcome to the February edition.

This month we highlight a music hangout in Red Hook, we uncover some of the hidden beauty at Flickinger Glassworks, and we announce the opening of an art exhibit that has special meaning for Charles Flickinger: His 98-year-old painting teacher takes over an entire gallery at the renowned Noguchi Museum.
My Sensei Gets Her Due
Photo Credit: Randy Duchaine
"For years, I spent every Wednesday evening studying sumi-e brush painting with sensei Koho Yamamoto in her Soho storefront school. Classes always began and ended with bamboo flute music. Green tea was served. No idle chatter was allowed. The first 20 minutes were devoted to making liquid paint from a hard stick of sumi ink. You rubbed and re-rubbed the ink stick in water in a sort of meditation. Once the ink was dark enough, you could begin. For my entire first year, I was only permitted to paint bamboo. Once my bamboo renderings passed approval, I was allowed to move on to pine trees and rocks. After a couple of years, she permitted me to paint fish.

But Koho was never just an exacting teacher. She is an artist. Something she didn’t discover about herself until she, like other Japanese Americans, was uprooted from her San Francisco home to a Utah desert internment camp for the duration of WWII. Instead of foundering there, she soared. She grasped an opportunity to study sumi-e with a master painter, Chiura Obata, likewise incarcerated. It awoke something in her. When she was released, she moved to NYC where she continued painting, becoming influenced by the abstract expressionist movement in swing. When I began studying with her in the late 80s, I recall a period when she suspended classes to focus on what I call her “swamp paintings.” These powerful paintings — full of brooding darkness — are some of my favorite works of hers.

Koho’s students have always believed she's been overlooked as an artist. So I am thrilled to report that now, at the age of 98, she will have a solo gallery showing at the Noguchi Museum in LIC, Queens from March 9 to May 23, 2021. We are grateful to the museum’s senior curator, Dakin Hart, for recognizing her talent. It is open to the public by timed ticket. I hope you will visit." —CF

Koho Yamamoto: Under a Dark Moon
The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106

Go to noguchi.org for details and to make reservations.
The Record Shop Rocks
360 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn
When you walk down Van Brunt Street — Red Hook’s main drag— it’s always a good idea to slow down between Wolcott and Sullivan Streets. That’s where The Record Shop is located. You don’t want to miss whatever is wafting from its speakers in front. It might be reggae, pop, jazz, experimental, rock or something else altogether. But whatever is playing, it makes people want to pause and listen and linger. There is almost always a gathering, primarily locals. “I wanted to make a place to hang out that isn’t a bar,” says owner Bene Coop, who opened this used record store five years ago using his own huge collection as the initial merchandise. He also buys records for resale. (Call Bene at 347-668-8285.)

“What we have is a 3-pronged approach,” he says, referring to records in front (including a special section of protest albums), used books in back (Bene’s wife Sousan Hammad curates an interesting selection of poetry, fiction and non-fiction), and Friday night jam sessions in the basement that anyone can attend once Covid has been kicked to the curb. His store hours are Friday to Sunday noon to 7P.

“Red Hook is a musical and literary neighborhood. I feel lucky to be here in this spot,” says Bene, who sidelines as a decorative painter and finish carpenter and is the singer/songwriter for the psychedelic rock band Nymph. He also maintains a cache of basketballs in his shop for the neighborhood kids to borrow for the courts across the street. He’s one of those people who make Red Hook so heart and soul.
Inside Flickinger Glassworks
We invited staff photographer, Randy Duchaine, to visit the shop on January 21st to photograph what caught his eye. Here's a handful of our favorites.
If you'd like to learn more about Flickinger Glassworks, visit our website at flickingerglassworks.com.