Lauding the mischievous mage of Main Street at MannyFest

Manny Lipton, circa 1970, surrounded by stuff in an area in the middle of the store, which he called his office. (photo by Jack Murphy)

There is Manny’s, as in Manny’s Art Supply store on New Paltz’s main drag. And there is Marilyn Golgoski, the proprietress of the said Manny’s. And there is Manny himself: one Manny “Buddha” Lipton – Marilyn’s father – who, with his understanding wife Frieda, owned and operated several incarnations of the singularly strange store and brought it to iconic Hudson Valley status. In fact, it is 50 years since Manny and Frieda opened the very first store: David Gill, Jr. Paint and Tile on the corner of Manheim and Main in New Paltz. And who was David Gill, Jr.? you may ask. Why, one Manny Lipton, of course.

Manny was a lot of things to a lot of people: ribald, contemplative, obnoxious, flirtatious, warm, brittle, understanding, tolerant to a fault, and with Frieda his best audience. “A lot of people were put off by him at first meeting,” said New Paltz griot Jack Murphy, “but he truly engaged with people. And every Art major who ever came to New Paltz wound up at Manny’s.”

“The thing with Manny was that he looked normal,” added Murphy, who is organizing the third MannyFest with Marilyn, “with his dark slacks, white shirt, horn-rim glasses, dark, slick-backed hair. But he had this never-ending rap, holding court with whomever came by his little cubicle (he called it his office), right in the middle of the store and surrounded by rubber chickens, fake dog crap and vomit, action figures of Jesus, Freud, nun puppets, erotic magazines from Denmark and art supplies, plus used books and records.”

So, on Saturday, August 10 from 2 to 10 p.m., Manny acolytes will resurface at Joe’s East/West in New Paltz to pay homage to this merry prankster/philosopher and, of course, Manny’s itself. The first MannyFest in 1997 was to celebrate Manny Lipton’s 80th birthday, the second in 2004 to celebrate his life (he passed away in 2003). This third MannyFest is to celebrate all of it: Manny, Frieda, the stores, Marilyn, all the artists and fellow travelers who walked through the emporium’s doors through the past 50 years and managed to get a word in edgewise with the Maestro. He was, to use the 1960s parlance, a trip.

MannyFest III, Saturday, August 10, 2-10 p.m. at Joe’s East/West, 254 Main Street, New Paltz, (845) 255-9902.

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