I met Doris in the park, like, my first week out there. Doris: He was, um, doing his puppets in the park,
and I’m very interested in puppets. I brought him a couple of my articles that I had
written for the paper. She was a columnist I guess, way back. So the next time he saw me, he said, “Oh,
I have something for you.” I sat down next to him and he pulled out the
Little Doris puppet. Ricky: I decided to make a marionette of her, just
to wow her, like all right you want to be nice to me, well here we go. Come on inside. I’ll show you the place. Sometimes
I call it “the garagenous zone.” This is what would normally be like my little
general store, you know. Nothing you have to buy, but I keep little chips over here
on a little rack here, you know. Look at Little Red. Watch Little Red.
Oh, he’s wicked. Look at him. Hey, why don’t you help Stix out with his—
oh. Never mind. This is my very, very first marionette, Elwood.
As I carved out, he started to take on this, like, Haitian artwork. That’s what it reminded
me of. So I said, you know, I said I’ll make him a little beachcomber. A little
Haitian beachcomber. Turn on the little house light here in the
center and, you know. I’ll show you a little bit of inside the dog here. Wood, and string,
and eyelets, uh, you know, a piece of rubber hose. This is a Glade Air Solid cover. I sculpted
the mouth and the lips and the whole head out of tin foil and then little glass marbles
I used for the eyes. Then there’s this really wicked looking control that just looks like
it wasn’t built overnight, for sure. I hated work more than anybody. Hated being
there. Hated having to be there, driving there when everybody else was driving there. Ah,
man, being in the rate race was just—and I wanted to be out so bad. So you know what?
Music was my halfway step out. Doing my music gig. During all that time I had all week to
do what I wanted to do, and these marionettes I started making. And I took them to the park
when I was going to street perform and, you know. I would rather die on the street as
a street performer than try to create some sort of life that’s going to satisfy
somebody else. This guy’s name is Chops. He was a prop for
this music video I did. This is actually my face. See, this was me under all this. Without
the bandana and this, it’s really me. Come on in. I grew up up until high school in Queens.
And then my folks moved to Massachusetts. And small town was not for me. I came back
to New York. I got married to the guy who had this apartment. We never had any kids.
We had sex, but nothing happened. I have no sense of age somehow, which everybody
gets a kick out of. I can’t tell whether they’re 25 or 45. When I go to the park, any number
of people from different groups and ages and so forth come over and greet me. If the person
is interesting, that’s what I relate to. Not whether they are black or white or 60 or 15.
Well, 15 maybe is a little bit—20. Oh, I think Ricky is supposed to be coming. Doris: Hello?
Ricky: It’s the IRS. Hey! Doris: Well hi there! Ricky: Hey. Doris: Oh and here’s the puppy, too. Little Doris has curly hair now, and I don’t
anymore. Yeah. Are you going to make me change the
hair, or are you going to change yours? Doris: I guess it was about two weeks after he made
it that he said he was going out and get something for lunch, could I watch the puppets while
he was gone? So he came back and he discovered that I had a whole line for the puppet that
he hadn’t even thought of. I had the puppet waving to people when they came by, you know,
and people would wave back to the puppet. Ricky: She likes to do her thing where she doesn’t
want to dance with Stix. Like, Stix goes to dance with her, and she moves away. And then
she gets her cane and shakes her cane at Stix, you know, and then Stix walks over to the
bench all bummed, you know, and I’m like, “That’s all right, buddy, just drink it off,”
you know. People would walk by and take pictures of
her with the puppet, and she just felt like a queen, you know. And her friends are telling
me that, you know, since this puppet, man, you know, she’s really, it’s like she’s getting
younger, you know, and I’m going like, oh wow, like, you know, did I do that? I went from having to play gigs and, you know,
pull concrete and all that to I’m doing this and people are putting money in my hat and
people feel like this. I was just overwhelmed. All these years I haven’t been a laborer trying
to be an artist or a, uh, steelworker trying to be an artist, you know. I was an artist
trying to be all those other things. So that’s who I really am. (singing) Your Cheatin’ Heart will make you weep. You’ll
cry and cry and try to sleep. But sleep won’t come the whole the night through. Your cheatin’
heart will tell on you. When tears come down like falling rain, you’ll toss around and
call my name. You’ll walk the floor the way I do. Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you. Hahaha.