Sunday, January 28, 2007

I'd Rather Feel Like Shit Than Be Numb

Wig Wam Bam: a meditation

If all I do is spread the irresistable gospel of The Sweet at their peak I will occasionally feel fulfilled. The calculated bubble-gum AM trebly sound of Wig Wam Bam on "repeat" puts me in touch with 1972. That is, it is a time machine that evokes ALL of being 11 years old listening to glam and glitter rock, reading Marvel Comics and Lester Bangs' Creem magazine.

As far as Creem and Marvel were concerned, punk rock had already been invented. Gil Kane inked by Johnny Romita Spider-Man howling in pain, ostensibly about Gwen Stacy getting pitched, but more globally for me as a zinger of expressionistic URGH or AARGGH lasered its way into my cortex, displacing Curt Swan gentility for the next decade or more. That inking style and those Artie Simek handlettering was an analogue to festering pubescence, hormones, awkwardness... The SHINY SURFACE of bubble-gum was gleaming Neal Adams draftsmanship all over Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Batman, X-Men.

Where is the Hernandex Bros. Comics Journal interview #1, where Gilbert says, "That's the way it was with me...the Batman TV show meant everything and long division didn't mean shit."?

Not only does the literal meaning of that sentence ring true, but the essential vibration of that sentence is a touchstone.

Listen again to the opening chords and candy coated lyrics...

Hiawatha didn't bother too much
'Bout Minnie Ha-Ha and her tender touch

Till she took him to the silver stream

Then she whispered words like he had never heard

That made him all shudder inside when she said

Wig-wam bam, gonna make you my man
Wam bam bam, gonna get you if I can
Wig-wam bam, wanna make you understand

Try a little touch, try a little too much

Just try a little wig-wam bam

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mission. Of. Burma.

Saw MOB in NY last night. Saw David McQueen's new creation in the window of Parker's Box. Saw the new Richard Foreman, Wake Up, Mr. Sleepy! Your Unconscious Mind is Dead!, the night before.

I feel like I took a whole can of Popeye's spinach!!!

Notes to follow.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"When These Guys Cut and Paste, They Really Cut and Paste!"

I revisited the Comics show at the Jewish Museum today and the flow between the Kirbys, Kurtzmans, Wolverton and Crumb was striking once again.

Tammy Wofsey, painter and maker of books, accompanied me and is the author of the above quote, referring specifically to a Chris Ware page of original art with heavy reworking.

(Examples of her work can be found online here and here by the way.)

Her great aphorism also applies to most of the art in the comics show since it was all made for reproduction and blue-pencil, white-out and overlays are common since the "real thing", so to speak, was the reproduction, not these originals now exhibited behind glass, but once carelessly piled in back rooms or summarily disposed of.

The physicality of the marked up originals just adds to their vitality (same as the Rouault prints at the MET and for much the same reason).

The reworked cover for MAD #1 and 2 Kurtzman shorts, '"Corpse on the Imjin" and "Three Dimensions" were standouts for me today. A lean, unglamorized war story and a wild parody of the 3-D glasses fad mixmastered with a critique of the comics form itself--each story 6 pages--a reminder that this master cartoonist was expansive in scope and economical in means.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pete Townsend will kick your ass

Here is an inspirational quote of the day:

When I'm on the stage, I'm not in control of myself at all. I don't even know who I am. I'm NOT this rational person who can sit here now and talk to you. If you walked on the stage with a microphone in the middle of the concert, I'd probably come close to killing you. I HAVE come close to killing people that walked on the stage...

It's not like being possessed. It's just __I__DO__MY__JOB!__

Why lick the Bonnards? Why artists must be like a VIRUS to the museums.

(Here is a rough rant I want to develop into a full fledged soapbox flipout tirade.)

I need to write something about why the artist must not think that the museums are his friend. David Smith has a great remark on this in "Smith On Smith", and I think Ben Shahn made a good distinction between Art and Culture that still stands.

All I will say at the moment is that a "no sketching" policy at museum shows is proof that the creative person should neither expect nor give any quarter when dealing with the machinery of Culture, but just go, get the booty.

(There was a cool newspaper article about me fighting the law and winning back in the '90's at the Cezanne retrospective in Philly and I will link to it when I revise this post.)

The Vollard show at the MET was the latest one to have this idiotic policy. Fortunately the guards were human, inefficient and lax in enforcing it. Of course, they also failed to enforce the vital "no cellphone blabbing" rule, but I was happy to make a citizen's arrest in this case for some fucktard who thinks her weekend plans are more important than Picasso's Vollard Suite.

Didn't the Israelis have some way to make those cellphones blow up?

Anyhow a friend asked what is going on when we sketch in museums. It is like a cook tasting food before serving it. The index card size sketchbook doodle is not meant to be a precious little masterpiece, it is a way to DRAW and SEE what is in front of you. See what is there, not what you THINK you SEE. This is an old art school truism, but worth repeating for the curious.

The Bonnard prints, the Rouaults, the Picasso Vollard Suite all were great to see, make doodles of and remember the serious focus of the artists Vollard showed. Plus the shirtfront of Cezanne's portrait _is_ fucking majestic, a throwdown to all comers since 1899. The window to Vollard's side is pretty much a big chunk of Matisse as well! The Bros. Hernandez called Steve Ditko a killer cartoonist. Period." Picasso is a killer cartoonist. Period.

Bottom line: I get alot out of seeing great art and I do my job however I need to. Just gotta grumble sometimes about Das Kultur Machinen.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iPhone Gadget Lust Letter

Here is a comment I submitted to Scoble that is pretty much a love letter to Apple and its cool new phone design.

(Btw check out Fake Steve Jobs' site -- 1/17/07 Edit: also, check out Tog's article)

Some notes on my own enthusiasm for the iPhone:

If I don't wind up buying an Apple product, I surely will be buying something that the iPhone makes possible because of its critical redesign of the whole smartphone/pda concept.

The iPhone is going to make voicemail usable. Indexed vm is a great idea.

It will be the successor to ALP/Palm as those guys insist on committing a long, public suicide. Palm OS 4 is as black-belt a productivity/communications tool on a small phone as I could currently wish for.

I want Notes, Contacts, Calendar, To Dos and email in my pocket. I want them to sync reliably with my Mac. Am using a great flip phone, Samsung i500, that had no successor in this country. (Mexico and China got the i550).

The iPhone means that by the time I am ready to change phones I will have a well designed tool. Yes, I am looking for a more "Nano" solution than a bulky brick. No Treo in my jeans pocket, maaan! But probably no iPhone v.1 either.