Saturday, November 28, 2009

Flick*r Art Stars

Let's face it, like it or not, people will always have favorites in everything. The image-driven website Flick*r is no exception. I have five favorite artists on Flick*r who easily reign supreme above all the others, and I'd like to talk about them this week. In no particular order, they are:

1. Atelier Alesko (France): Completely original art, stoner art but way better because it has direction, his art is childlike but complex, colorful like Haitian art and actually flows with rhythm. Every piece is different than the last one - he always keeps you guessing.

2. Richard Mullins (Oklahoma): Gallery Director of the Blah Blah Gallery and a fine painter in his on right, Mullins' work is a wild cacophonous mish-mash of colors with an insane figurative busting into the foreground. Figuratives range from an organ grinder's monkey to Kermit The Frog to a kid with a paper sack over his head. His range is pretty darn wide, too: I think his best painting is the one of a faceless woman playing electric guitar.

3. Kittytown (California): Megan Gray aka Kittytown creates woodcuts that foil the current fever of big-eyed doll paintings (Mark Ryden rip-offs) that are so trendy these days. Gray's work is naive but has an almost early 20th Century romanticism added, where the sentiments are sweet but funny-weird like old Dick Powell numbers from the Thirties.

4. J.R. Williams (Oregon):
Legendary comix artist who has a pretty funny photostream. His work actually had a Flick*r censor filter blocking his pictures because he likes to draw topless pictures of Penelope Pitstop, Wilma Flintstone and Sling Rave Curvette. He's hardly an unknown but his notoriety on Flick*r would almost rate a legend in itself!

5. Gregg Griffin (Oklahoma):
Another member of the Blah Blah Gallery, but what makes him so awesome is his obsession with painting thousands of portraits of Batman acting psycho and yelling his head off at The Joker, punching Robin the Boy Wonder and scaring vampire bats with his bad breath. Frank Miller wishes he could portray The Dark Knight in such a brilliant fashion. Christian Bale take notes!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dr. Seuss: Fingerhut Gallery, Sausalito, CA

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is the amazing collection of "secret" (read: more mature) art, which employ his cute whimsy art depicting nude females and cats, lots of evil-looking cats, meaner looking than The Grinch. There are also some amazing sculptures of weird critters by him in the book. So, so, so, imagine the news when I came up north that he had a show at The Fingerhut Gallery in Sausalito (which sounds like Solla Sollew, whoa).

One of the bizarre facts to be gleaned from the show was that when Seuss was a Lil' Sneetch his Dad, who worked at a zoo, would bring home beaks, claws, and other disembodied animal parts for him to use to make sculptures. Kinda gives "Green Eggs and Ham" a whole new context.

The show did not disappoint, the animal sculptures were in proud display, looking just as great in person as they did in the book The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss. Also present were preliminary rough sketches for The Cat In The Hat, a bronze sculpture of Yertle The Turtle, The Lorax, and a bunch of Horton stuff. And lots of naked chicks! Some riding a fish, some bathing in the sun, some cooking a dish, and some having big fun.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Greatest Book Ever Written

Back in the day when I actually cared about having a band and brought guitarists on board this wonderful guy from Tempe, Arizona joined my band. His name was Mikhail Bohonus but liked to go by the name Mr. Bohonus, just fine with me. He looked like a punk rock Gary Cooper, almost seven feet tall and thin as a rail. He never did drugs or drank but he smoked like a chimney and chugged Big Gulps like a demon. All those sugary soda drinks made him act like a speed freak, hyper to the max and constantly imploring me at rehearsals to write new songs on the spot. "Come on, let's wrote some new stuff" - A.D.D. musicianship at its most scary, and good luck writing with him because he'd break into these rapid Robert Fripp guitarisms, surprisingly not punk rock so we never wrote shit together. He wrote the guitar line to "Phantasm III" but I had to harness it to a rhythmic booty shake so girls can enjoy it.

What Mr. Bohonus did better than anyone else was write and put out his own demented chapbooks. Screw that old whore Henry Rollins, this was underground writing at its finest. His short prose collections "Green Piss" and "Orange Donut With Sprinkles" were wild collections but he really hit his stride with "7 Steps To Hell", a collection of Jack Schick cartoons with obscene captions replacing the original holy roller sermon Schick schlock.

His magnum opus and my vote for the greatest book ever written is a genius work of art called "I Hate You", which sports a black cover and no title because the hate is real. This masterpiece is a scant twenty-six pages long, bears no punctuation or capitals and is a veritable Mobius strip of hate. The book begins with, and I quote: "you suck and i hate the fuck out of you and i want you the fuck out of my neighborhood you slimy sick excuse for rotting flesh that you are and you are too because thats all you fuck is rotting flesh your mother was a fucking corpse anyway and ill with countless sexual diseases because she got them from making it with the trash that your kind do it with and you live like a slob you dont even flush your toilet or use deodorant so you smell like the crack of a bums ass the kind your sister licks at lunchtime to get her nourishment at least when she isnt near a dirty scummy toilet she can lick and chew on the lumps of toilet paper that are filled with hard peanutty lumps of poop and thats what makes up her brain cause she is stupid and drives a really shitty car the kind they use in maaco commercials..." Blow me, Lydia Lunch. You wish you were this radical.

Let's fast forward to Page 6: "...get the fuck out of here i am going to rip you to pieces and cram them down the sewer so the rats can eat you and shit you out of their asses because you are a rats ass and rats shit and its what you deserve today right now you lazy fuck go die get leave and go stick your fat head on a railroad track so it can get squashed or i will nail you to the front of a semi truck and drive it over a fucking cliff you son of a bitch..." No screaming caps, no exclamation points, all subdued but pissed lower case. Genius.

Page 15: " are a walking comedy you are so dumb stupid and pathetic you dont even know how to play candyland and even if you had candyland the company who makes it would find out cause all of a sudden all the other candyland games would stink when children opened them up the company would take it back from you and slap you in the face for even thinking that they made the game for you..."

The greatest book ever written, and if you don't agree with me, "...i hate you the gods even hate you especially zeus he is just aching to pump countless bolts of lightning into your ass he will bring back to life every roman gladiator and they will slaughter you one by one over and over yes it will be a glorious undertaking the klingons will have their turn too and so will everyone else that has ever lived in fiction or nonfiction they will pay me huge sums of money to get a chance to destroy you and i will have a penthouse and women and you name it motherfucker i will tear you and punch holes in your tongue with an awl ya baby..." Nobody ever wrote a book this good, and no one ever will.

P.S. Mr. Bohonus currently lives in Seattle, Washington and has an Alec Empire-type electronic band called Warworld, a sort of musical counterpart to "I Hate You", abrasive and A.D.D. to the max.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Alain Delon

November 8th is here and some of my favorite actors are celebrating birthdays on the same day, like Parker Posey and Alain Delon. Since Alain Delon has been around longer I'm going to talk about him. Next year I'll get to Posey. Alain Delon has served as a sort of role model to me. I think he's a million times cooler and more sophisticated than a million other actors. I can't say he's the most likable guy on the planet (is any Frenchman?) and not every film he's made is cinema gold, but when he makes an impact, he's the greatest. Here's some of my favorites starring him:

Purple Noon (1960): Hands down the best Ripley, a man who's supposed to be charming you as he's strangling you. Delon is funny, friendly and deadly all at the same time. It's been said that Patricia Highsmith thought he was the best Ripley ever. By the way, the cinematography and scenery in this film is absolutely beautiful.

Eclipse (1962):
Antonioni's classic film of Atomic Age frigidity with Delon playing a dark stock trader to Monica Vitti's icy blonde. This time he's the lover who's being spurned, quite a turnabout from his heartbreaker persona.

Joy House (1964): A gigolo on the run from a mob boss who wants him dead for banging his wife, Delon hides in a decaying mansion inhabited by two fake nuns (Jane Fonda and Lola Albright). He becomes their chauffeur/sex prisoner until the two dames fight it out over him, and he plays his evil mind games against them both. The twist ending will drive you crazy.

Once A Thief (1965): Delon's a Frisco fisherman who's getting hassled by his creepy gangster brother (Jack Palance) to rejoin the outfit. His wife Ann-Margret tells him she'll leave him if he returns to his evil ways. There's a great scene when he pulls Ann-Margret out of the nightclub in her pseudo-Playboy Bunny outfit and she's crying her ass off! Ralph Nelson shot this film in an amazing neo-realistic style. You won't even notice how stiff Delon's Anglais sounds in this one.

Le Samourai (1967): Delon plays a cool gangster in this very chic Nouvelle Vague noir. I prefer him as the moody, quiet type he plays in this movie. He seems more dangerous that way!

Spirits of the Dead (1968):
"William Wilson", weird Edgar Allen Poe adaptation brought to you by American International Pictures. He plays a rakish sadist who cheats at cards playing against a black-haired Brigitte Bardot. If he wins the card game he gets to whip her naked. Guess who wins? It's okay, though, his doppelganger gives him the psych beat-down of his life.

Girl On A Motorcycle (1968):
Laughably miscast as a college professor (sporting glasses and a thick sweater) who gives Marianne Faithfull her motorcycle she tools around Western Europe in until she rides to her death. See it anyway, it's very funny.

Like I said, even when he's not at his best he's still pretty damn watchable; he never lapses into retarded boyishness, which is the bane of all young actors these days, and yet he's always seemed very young to me. I guess the reason some of us look up to actors is because we don't have enough common sense to figure out how to behave unless we see somebody incredibly cool in a movie to show us how it's done. In that sense Delon is one of the best teachers I learned from. Merci et bon anniversaire, M. Delon!