From the Boston Phoenix online, The Phoenix Phlog by Mike Miliard


Thursday, May 24, 2007


Providence photographer (and Phoenix contributor) John E. Coli Nikolai’s Siberian cat, Bela, doesn’t always look so scary. The fearsome screaming creature you see above is just a trick of the lens.
In fact, John reports, Bela is “the most affectionate and loving creature I have ever known. He's like a angel with fur.”

Unfortunately, seven-year-old Bela was recently diagnosed with kidney disease. It’s not necessarily a death sentence; in fact, John says, Bela “is currently happy, playful and  unaware that he has this health problem. My goal is to keep it this way as long as there's anything I can do about it, but apparently this will eventually start to catch up with him more.”

In the mean time, John is facing some fairly steep veterinarian bills. And, as you might imagine, as a freelance photographer John is not exactly rolling in the proverbial Benjamins. So his latest exhibit, “Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipebomb” — which hangs at ZuZu until June 2, with a reception on Sunday, May 27 from 7-9 p.m. — has been recast as a Bela benefit: any money generated from the sale of artwork in this show will be put towards kitty’s medical bills and healthcare.

John’s one heck of a shutterbug, having gotten up close and personal with everyone from Howard Zinn and Betty Friedan to Joey and Dee Dee Ramone and the stray dogs of Havana. (Read here about his photos of aging punk rockers). But he’s also an excellent sculptor. Witness his recent masterwork “Snatching A Glance,” in which a glass eyeball peers penetratingly from a pair of crotchless panties.

Hot stuff. However, John clarifies: “even with the interspecies action, altered sex-toy sculpture and a couple of semi-to-full-on explicit photos, “Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipebomb” still winds up being more erratic than erotic.”


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