Pansy Copeland, Bud’s mother Pan, ran a gallery and deli in Woodstock and was a fixture, active in the playhouse and a founder of the original Woodstock Soundout Music Festival. With a couple of friends from the Pennsylvania Academy, Bud established the Espresso Café in the town center in 1959. The atmosphere was casual, given to levity --- Bud once awoke in the midst of a marching band and parade of Little Leaguers. A popular spot for several years, it fell victim to the general perception by clientele and proprietors alike that it was a not for profit charitable organization in support of artists. He participated as an instructor in Bob Liikala’s Inter Arts Workshop on route 212 and aptly called 212 (boiling point of Water), producing a Happening on the Woodstock town dump. “Outsider” Clarence Schmidt found in him a kindred spirit, and after moving to Manhattan in 1960 Bud continued to furnish him material for his Woodstock dream castle, including the discarded inventory of a Chelsea display window mannequin factory.
On the road, in his Caddie covered overall outside with transfer print photo collage, he fit to a T the beat generation profile. Over the driver’s window he placed a life sized photo image of the flat brim and dark aviator glasses he might expect just there after any toll booth --- “to put them at ease,” he said. Ruth, in recalling events, refers back to their cars of the moment: the Chevy Bud wrapped around a pole (in a pile worthy of Chamberlain) after their introductory blind-date in 1949; the Porsche totaled at a Pennsylvania Academy student-faculty party in a demonstration of its superior suspension; a Fiat; and the “American Dream” , the decorated Cadillac that led in 1972 to a commission to decorate a Buick and a Chrysler for the grand entry of the Rolling Stones, and John Lennon and Yoko, et al, to a street festival for a movie opening at the Ziegfield theater (Warhol did a balloon). But, the expected crowds grew far too vast to handle and the city revoked permits to assemble, so no parade and no pay from promoters --- “They were my best cars,” Bud lamented.
Similar anti-climax followed a commission for a major part of the design and decoration of an uptown apartment, a multimedia environment subsequently featured in Vogue and Look magazines, but without any mention of his part. He arrived at his solo show on Madison Avenue one day to see Clement Greenberg walking away, locked out of the gallery by late opening. He lacked the support of an aggressive gallery. Although Leo Castelli seemed to like his work, his associate said, “Bob (Rauschenberg) is doing that.”