Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tarantulas and Gummy Worms

Ø Rebecca’s pretty happy with her new assistant because she’s creative and eccentric, just like her. Her name’s Leah and all she eats are gummy worms and coffee and has a pet tarantula that keeps her company while she’s assisting Rebecca in her workroom. Before I create the perfect portrait of Rebecca I thought I’d warm up by doing one of Leah. The piece I created was called “Tarantulas and Gummy Worms” (‘nuff said).

Ø The sketch (depicted above) exhibits a skewered fusion of slacker lowbrow with German Expressionism (think of George Grosz or Egon Schiele). Leah’s shown holding a cup of coffee with gummy worms crawling out of the mug in one hand and holding a portable cage with her tarantula in the other. The splotch on her leg is actually a bitchen tattoo of her bat dog. The plaid micro mini is also one of her favorite things and has been immortalized.

Ø Rebecca increased the image on the scanner and then traced the image perfectly using red tracing sheets onto the rubber pad. This is interesting only because the format is called woodcuts but there is nary a trace of wood involved at all. It should be called rubbercuts because the pad utilizes the same substance used for pencil erasers, but hey, for the sake of this perverted blog, we’ll call it woodcuts.

Ø Rebecca loves to scratch things and if you even get close to the woodcut block she’ll bite you like an attack dog, so she pretty much carved the whole damn thing. Frankly I’m glad she did because she embellished it with creepy Vincent Van Go-Crazy ellipticals (“Starry Night”) complete with different kinds of moons, some with happy faces, malted balls, tumors, cannonballs, etc. Brilliant! This was becoming more of a collaboration and I thought it looked great.

Ø Once all the carving is done (45 minutes later) it’s time to make a pass, a printing pass with the brayer (roller) with one color over the pad (we went for dark purple). Watercolor paper stock was used – it’s practically card stock, a little harder actually so it’ll soak up paint without getting too soggy. The result is depicted below. Nice!

Ø Another few passes were made also with a small brayer rolling green on the foreground with the larger brayer rolling purple over the background. Several pads could have been used with registration lines just like a silk-screened image but we didn’t want to get too involved in this production. The two-tone image turned out pretty well, also.

Ø The end result of this project was most satisfactory to me. Rebecca’s embellishments and craftwork were highly complimentary to my artwork. Eventually I’ll have to carve something while she’s sleeping so I can acquire some experience. A few knockout drops should do the trick, heh! Just kidding.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

Some girls like to whine and pout and some like to scream and shout. I’ll tell you 2 or 3 things I know about her and why she makes a difference to me. There was this girl, oh, we’ll call her Rebecca, she was always a little bit different, much to everyone’s disgust, girls aren’t supposed to be, you know, different, but we can’t change how we’re made. Anyway, she lived in one of those suburban areas where nobody’s different because if you’re different that creates trouble to a lot of people. If everybody’s the same then people can go to sleep in peace, and for many life is all about eating until you burst and sleeping until you die. But the different people stop the not-different people from sleeping well and eating their daily intake of 10 tons of food, but I digress.

So in this land of not-so-different, this girl named Rebecca rode her bike home from school via a short cut of an empty grassy lot with a bush and a shrub here and there. She was riding her bike slowly through the remote path singing “la-la-la” to herself the way Little Red Riding Hood probably did. As she did some greasy maniac jumped out from behind one of the bushes and wrapped his arm around her throat, choking her. She reached back with her arm and smashed his pasty face. He grunted in his sloppy French like all Canadiens do, loosening his grip, and as he did, she kicked him several times in the shins until they were so bruised he couldn’t run after her. She pedaled away as fast as she could on her bike.

When she got home she told her parents about what happened. They reported the incident to the Canadien police, and were told to come to the station to file a report. Rebecca and her parents were informed that several girls her age had been attacked in that empty lot and a few were even killed. One had a hair brush rammed down her throat and choked to death. The police knew about this guy and needed a visual description of what he looked like. Rebecca gave them a full description of what he looked like, and within a few weeks he was picked up by the authorities and prosecuted. It turned out he was a boxboy at the supermarket a few miles away.

Even though the attacker was now in prison Rebecca’s parents were worried about her safety. The possibility of another attack was still fresh in their minds, so they enrolled her in a martial arts school. Nothing fights off rapists better than judo, the martial arts where one can deflect any powerful, detaining hold they’re placed in. Rebecca enjoyed fighting people, so much so that when she fought her opponents she always had a smile on her face. Her sensei, a kind, diminutive Japanese man would admonish her, “No, you no smile. Have to look angry! More powerful that way!” Nevertheless, Rebecca won every match. Her room was filled with medals and trophies.

Judo was fun but there was wrestling lessons at school. She enrolled in those courses and was a terror in classic wrestling, beating all her opponents, mostly fat Iroquois girls from the reservation like Suzy Three Wolves and Cathy Spotted Deer. Their brothers loved to huff spray paint cans in a paper bag in their pickup trucks and listen to Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Rebecca became the girl’s wrestling champion of her school, trophies accompanying her judo medals. Her parents wouldn’t watch her compete because they couldn’t bear seeing her get thrown around a wrestling mat and tortured. It didn’t matter, though, because she always won, anyway.

Unfortunately, once she ran out of female opponents she was now pit against male competitors. Great, back to the egg: being grabbed by men. She didn’t like it, it creeped her out. They would reach for parts she didn’t want groped and put in positions that she wasn’t cool with. She unceremoniously bowed out of the wrestling game, but the end result was a triumph: judo medals and wrestling trophies lined her room and she gained confidence that was valuable.

Years later, men would make the stupid mistake of thinking she was a pushover and hassle her. She’d throw them into the wall in her furs and high heels and they’d discover she’s a lady, but the most powerful one they would ever meet. And that’s one of the things that makes her different – she’s a beautiful girl but the deadliest tomboy alive. If that isn’t wifey material I don’t know what is.


When Rebecca recorded Shonen Knife’s “Public Baths” with her band Frightwig for the “Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them” compilation in 1989 several months later she got a letter from the band telling her that they enjoyed her cover and thought it was the best track on the album. A year later she covered Yoko Ono’s “Sisters O Sisters” with The Tater Totz and shortly received a fan letter from Yoko Ono telling her she loved her version of the song. If the Japanese can get behind Rebecca Seven then so should you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stuff I Burned From TCM, Part 7

Considering the star power that fuels many of the films listed today you would think that these gems would have seen the light of day on DVD already, but given the poor economic weather it won’t be for awhile. It’s probably cheaper to release the latest Judd Apatow brain rot than pour some money into cleaning and digitally processing some Ann-Margret wank fest. That’s why DVD burners are crucial with TCM on all night long, and here’s some of my epic finds:

I Married a Witch (1942): Veronica Lake looks sexy but she also looks funny, as in funny lookin’, so she’s perfect in this goofy comedy. A witch burned at the stake during the Salem trials era travels through time to torment the future generation of the judge who prosecuted her, but she falls in love with him instead. Mr. Right is played by the perpetually stiff Frederic March, no dreamboat in any shape and form. Gossip has it he was a creep to poor Veronica during the filming, which I believe. They should’ve gone with Fred MacMurray or somebody halfway likeable. Any screen time without Veronica Lake is a waste of film.

All Night Long (1962): This film, touted as “the jazz version of Othello” fairly disappoints because the wife doesn’t get killed during the course of the movie but instead scats and sings with a frozen puppet face all the way through. Notable for five minutes of footage of Charles Mingus, who gets some juicy dialogue, like “let’s swing, cats!” Notable for watching a young Patrick McGoohan playing a reptilian drummer conniving his way around the swinging British jazz world. Overly talky and frankly boring, it’s worth one watch if you can mange to stay awake “All Night Long”.

Swinger (1966): If you thought Ann-Margret’s dance routines in “Viva Las Vegas” was Cinema Gold then your head will explode watching this narishkeit, the money scene showing her in a body painting party dancing and whipping her endless miles of red hair around. Tony Franciosa plays a girlie mag Hugh Hefner-type, the kind of typecast he was saddled with during the swinging Sixties, just like in “The Sweet Ride”, "Fathom" and “The Name of The Game”. Needless to say he falls head over heels for a wholesomely harlotic heroine. Pretty trashy business, but if you like psychedelic sex comedies this one’s amusing.

13 Women (1932): Myrna Loy plays an evil Eurasian woman who systematically plots the killing of the 13 sorority sisters that bullied her back in college. All of her victims are of the snotty super-white finishing school snob variety. The film runs approximately 59 minutes and never wastes a minute of action, and Loy never looked so cool. This film has to be seen to be believed.

The Screaming Mimi (1958): Anita Ekberg (“La Dolce Vita” era) plays a severely traumatized stripper who’s being manipulated by a sleazy psychiatrist. I guess back in the Fifties this was a serious plot point. Nowadays it sounds like another day in Hollywood! TCM never disappoints.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fast Food Crime Scene

Pizza Hut (4251 Beverly Blvd.)= In an effort to top Shakey's at their own game the Koreatown Pizza Hut has a lunch buffet set-up Mondays thru Fridays for $5. It sounds like a great deal until you realize there's a fucking middle school 2 blocks away, do every pizza faced brat descends on the place like a swarm of locusts. This means as soon as the servers nervously place a new pie on the counter all the kids swarm and gulp down very slice before you can even reach for one.

If you're watching your weight (what are you doing here, then) there's the most bizarre Caesar's Salad ion the planet, no croutons but tons of bacon bits. So many bacon bits it looks like a rabbit relieved itself in the bowl. A pig gave his life to finish a Caesar's Salad.

I don't know what I'm complaining about, there are places I was never meant to go to = stadium concerts, poetry readings, visiting the in-laws, comic book conventions and Pizza Hut. Oh, and if the one-armed Mexican boy still works there tell him Andy said hi.

Carl's Jr. (1111 N. La Brea Avenue)=
I don't know if I'd come here for food, I mean let's be frank, this is a tranny crash pad masquerading as a fast food joint. Am I outraged? Fuck no, what better way to flip the bird to dead fascist Carl Karcher than have every torn-up drag queen and Santa Monica Blvd teen runaway hustler all passed out in dead cattle grease stench.

Let's try that again: Fast sex flesh passed out in fast food flesh stench, you can hear the snores from whores and see the snooze spit bubbles popping out of smeared dude lipstick lips.

Sometime they try to infiltrate the court yard at the SM Gateway across the street but the Security Guards chase their asses off. Sometimes they sneech right through into Target and elbow their way past chola bull dykes and Communist poon strippers. It's complicated, baby. Like the tranny hustlers say, "If it's not all over the place, it's right in my face." Get it, girl.

Pink's Hot Dogs (709 N. La Brea Avenue)=
Pinks is the Eiffel Tower of grease and everybody has to go to The Eiffel Tower at least once in their life so I went and I waited and waited and waited and nobody loves hot dogs more than Andy Seven but fuck me these dogs had the hardest casing I've ever bit into. I felt like I was giving GI Joe a titty nipple hickey, like bad hard vinyl plastic cock'll do the do and Orson Welles must have been out of his mind pulling up here and ordering 16 chili dogs and macking them down in one sitting even his Pekingese must have stared in horror and it always crawls up my ass when people write one sentence reviews so here's my one sentence bon appetit Steinbeck.

Burger King (5118 Wilshire Blvd.)=
Rebecca and I call this "Teen Trauma Burger King". It rocks! Half of the time there's a yellow crime scene tape wrapped around the front of the place because when the High School down the street lets out the Degrassi Devils end up waxing each other. The tape stays out for the next few days and the BK staff does a sloppy job of hosing the blood off the sidewalk (BK staffers doing a sloppy job? Impossible!) I'll be the dues at the Jack In The Box across the street are jealous of all the drama.

But there's more: There's a big, big, big "Oasis" Christian youth center next door, so the Oasis jesus kids are probably wishin' and hopin' all the gangsta thugs will throw down all their weapons and come right in after school and repent. The drama is so intense it beats watching "The Best Years".

Oh yeah, the food. What about the food? It's Burger King. Shee-it!

7-Eleven (8077 W. 3rd Street)=
If you want to know what jail folks really look like hit the local 7-11. I'll be boiled if I ever saw a chick at one, it's usually guys that look like they got tossed out of the drunk tank. They puke right by the front door and the cashier who has "F-U" tattooed in his brain won't mop it up.

He won't clean the cherry Slurpee machine either, so the red sludge hardens around the nozzle looking like Joan Crawford's last period. All the cons look like they want to punch you out just because you're using the ATM machine and they can't, because they think you need a PhD to punch in your PIN number.

I smelled more unwiped asses here than I did at the local maternity ward. Maybe it wasn't ass but the odor of delicious 7-11 burritos "percolating" in the microwave. So if you love doughy beer monsters with shaved heads and 100 zits poppin' out of their skulls and think "OZ" was an epic TV show, you're so 7-11 material.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Going Steady With Jesus

One of the most disturbing aspects of growing up a Jewish teenager in the 1970’s is being thrown to the lions, theologically speaking. It was the era of The Jesus Freak, Jews For Jesus, “Godspell” and countless bad musicals trivializing God and his many prophets, etc. If you were young and Jewish the Jesus vultures chased after you like you were so much potential carrion.

Here’s a basic rundown of what I had to endure during the Disco Deity Era: One afternoon I walked up the alley to the market and a VW bug with three hotties drove by. They pulled up and flagged me down, a hot chick leaning her head out the window. “Hey! Hey guy, can I talk to you for a second?” calling me with a smile on her face. I can’t believe my good luck!
“Okay, what’s up?”
“Did you know Jesus Christ loves you and He’ll save your soul? Do you want to be saved?” Oh shit, she saw my yarmulke.
“Ahem, I-“
“Here”, she pulled out some crummy pamphlet. “Here’s something you can read today. We’re having a teen rally this Saturday, and-“
“-we’d like to see you there, tee hee”, the girl driving the car giggled.
“Go ahead, take the booklet!”
“No thanks”. I walked away.
“Your loss. Bye! Jesus loves you!” They finally drove off. It wasn’t His love I wanted.

If there’s one thing I can’t stand to this day it’s Jehovahs Witnesses marching into Jewish neighborhoods during Passover and the High Holiday Season. As if the entire Jewish population is supposed to toss aside their faith on a holy day. Many was the time you’d see them from your living room window marching up to your front door and they’d ring the bell over and over again. I would sit on the sofa and just wait for those idiots to turn around and leave.

One of the worst places for Jesus brainwash was in Westwood Village by the UCLA campus, one of the hottest hang-out spots in the Seventies. Saturday nights were bad. As my brother and I went on our way to the movies some smelly, stringy-haired hippie yelled at us, “Excuse me sir, are you ready to be saved?” My brother stopped dead in his tracks, and turned around and said, “Listen, you moron, I’m sick and tired of being preached to, why don’t you take your religious bullshit somewhere else? People don’t come here to be bugged, okay?”
“Sir, I sense some hostility in you. As a formerly member of the Judaic tribe”, the crazy hippie whines, “I’ve found Christ, and want to share my gift of eternal salvation with you. As it says in Romans 33:7”, he cracked open a thick, greasy Bible.
“We don’t follow the New Testament”.
“I understand your anger, once I was a lost lamb in the land of Canaan. As it says in the book of Matthew, Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, so I will pray for you as Christ did for Pontius Pilate”. He shut his eyes tightly and spread both arms out in the iconic crucifix position, his fingers trembling as he did so.
“No one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him", he bellowed. Everyone walking by stared at this foolish apparition and a couple of girls giggled. “Offer the wicked man no resistance, and if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well.”
I tugged on my brother’s arm, and nodded for us to hightail it while little Savior was still reciting scriptures with his eyes wide shut.
“For behold, I, God, have asuffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink”, he continued. “Do you hear me, brothers?”
He opened his eyes to find no one in front of him. We were off eating bagels on Broxton Avenue.

Sometimes I wonder if any of these proselytizers have kept the faith since then or if they treated it like a passing fad. Religion was a fairly trendy thing at the back end of the Sixties because many felt they had a lot to repent for. Perhaps that was the most annoying aspect of the Jesus craze: once one fuck-up was saved they assumed everyone needed salvation, but we just didn’t give a damn. And we still don’t.