Friday, January 25, 2013





The immigrant falls in love with the lady. She is well educated, he is not. She is beautiful, he is not ugly, but of plain peasant stock. He buys her garish flowers. She reluctantly accepts if only not to hurt his feelings. They see each other in the street about twice a week. It is a random encounter for her, but an event for him. Each time they meet he is ready with another batch of flowers. Finally, she tells him they are too gaudy. He tells the florist this. The florist, an immigrant as well, is hurt, but gives him white lillies for her. The immigrant gives them to her. She says they are nice, though resemble a wedding, almost inappropriate, considering they hardly know each other. Also, his t-shirt makes him look like he is sophomore trying to look like a junior in high school. 

Our immigrant goes to a store that looks rather chic and tells the clerk this story. He cannot afford any of the clothes but the clerk, a gay man with a liberal political bent, is touched by his love for this random woman and accompanies him to the Salvation Army. There, they assemble a new, subdued yet stylish, adult wardrobe. 

He meets her on the street with a single purple and yellow orchid, clothes and a ready smile. Will you go to dinner with me? he asks. No, she says. Well, OK, she says, in appreciation of a man who does his best to please her. They face each other across the table in awkward silence. They've nothing in common. Suddenly, during the main course, she leaves.

A couple days later in the street, he sees her and expresses his horror. How he's done everything to try to please her and every effort seems to be met with greater and greater rejection. She says nothing. He gives her flowers, as usual. There is a homeless woman. She hands the flowers to the homeless woman and runs down the street to escape. Days later, in another neighborhood he spots her. Quickly, he finds a florist. He waits with flowers outside the building he saw her enter. A man comes out to tell him that the lady does not want the flowers, nor his attention. Oddly, the same homeless woman is standing near by. He gives her the flowers and leaves. 

The next day, he seeks the advice of the store clerk. He tells of their uncomfortable dinner. The clerk suggests that he listen to certain kinds of American music that he guesses the girl might enjoy. The immigrant buys a recording. In the street, in their usual location, he sees her, tells her about some wonderful music he has been listening to. She is touched that he appreciates at least a similar sort of music she appreciates and agrees to another date. 

They see a movie, and he tenderly holds her hand and kisses it at one point. She pulls away and runs from the theatre. He is devistated. He tells the florist this story. The florist gives him a tall, exotic bouquet. He waits in front of her office the whole day. Finally she appears. She is crying. Look, she tells him, you need to give up. You need to find an object of desire that desires you in return. I am simply the wrong person for you. He gives her the flowers, she gives them to the homeless lady and runs away, tears streaming down her face. For a moment he looks at the homeless lady. She is not alltogether ugly. Perhaps an immigrant herself. Yet, somehow, it would feel like defeat if he nurtured a relationship with this homeless lady. She would be grateful of his attention perhaps. Certainly she would appreciate a good meal and flowers. At once he is filled with rage (afterall, he has done everything correct, yet he remains frustrated). 

A couple days later, he watches her leave her office. She is frightened and wears a pair of large sunglasses. She looks around the street with trepidation. She does not see him and proceeds. He emerges from the shadows with flowers. She cries profusely, "leave me alone!" 
"Please take the flowers," he says. 
"Leave me alone," she says and hands them to the homeless woman. 

Now, he begins to simply stalk her, as the authorities might say. He knows where she lives. He knows her favorite bar. He knows she has 4 good friends, three women, one man. He watches through the window of the bar. She is describing the horror of her stalker, him. Nearing midnight, they appear to be smiling and laughing. In front of the bar they part ways. The immigrant, flowers in hand, approaches her, arms out bearing his gift of flowers. She screams. She hands the flowers to the same homeless lady who is randomly in front of this bar, and runs into the street trying to flag down a taxi. He is afraid she will be hit by a car and chases her down. She is completely hysterical. She falls in his arms. It is raining. He does not understand what she is saying. Though she is saying how much he hates him, he kisses her. She begins to kiss back, then with a sick feeling in her heart, she bites his lips and rips his pants open against the cab. They get in a cab and immediately fuck. At a stoplight, she slips the driver a 20 dollar bill. She slaps the immigrant, calls him a bastard, and runs away into the night. 

He waits all day in front of her office. He waits all night in front of her apartment. Alas, in the morning she emerges on crutches. He finds some cheap lillies from the Korean deli near by. He approaches her. She laughs hysterically. The same homeless woman is standing nearby. 

"Are you with him?" she asks the homeless woman.
"No," she says, "but I am as concerned about you as is he." 
"Your concern is killing me, you stupid slut." She fumbles with her crutches and from her purse she takes a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. She lights one. "See I'm smoking! " She's yelling this to the homeless woman without actually acknowledging the presence of the immigrant, whose breath she can nearly feel against her shoulder.

He presents flowers to her. She violently shoves them into the homeless woman's chest. She hobbles away over the uneven slate sidewalk, on her crutches, juggling a cigarette. She turns and looks at them. "Don't just stand there, you morons, hail me a cab!" The immigrant runs into the Avenue, flags down a cab and opens the door for her. At first he tries to get in with her, but she pushes him away. He watches her give the driver directions. The taxi disappears into traffic. 








Friday, June 10, 2011

New Art by Teddy Schapiro

I visited my buddy Teddy Schapiro yesterday. Picked up 30 drawings. I've posted some here before. His style has since simplified into a black and white, thick and thin lined graphic a la caricatures from the 60s, which is consistent with Teddy's interest in toys and pop culture of that era. Thematically, there are a lot of "Toys as Best Friends", his signature fascination with women, feminists, lesbians, Kafka, and his curiosity about death and the trappings of funerary culture, including this rather grim "morgue shot." In a way, he has focussed on some point in his development and decided to simply strip-mine that phase of his emotional development. I enjoy the free association, the automatic drawing frame of mind, the freedom of it. At times they seem glum and claustrophobic, but in another way imaginative and an escape into the mind's interior, as opposed to a vista in the countryside. Anyway, here are 3 of them. I'm selling them for $25 ea. I have 27 others. I sold the entire last batch I had, so act quick! You can find me at the 25th Street Garage fleamarket (where I met Teddy in the first place).







Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bicycles


I got these a while back. Thought I might take them to the Greenwich CT ephemera show, but I think I'll just keep 'em...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

THE HIDDEN TRUTH BEHIND FAMILY PORTRAIT CAMPAIGN POSTCARDS:




Dear friends and peoples of the internets, I picked up these political campaign family postcards at the Allentown paper show. I can't stop looking at them. They are a creepy reminder of the fragility of the human spirt, as well as a creepier reminder of American ambitions, which are: You got your basic human beings overcompensating for their weaknesses by joining forces with the megalomaniacal Satan, Prince of Darkness to conquer and rule other people. This in turn reminds me that no matter how hard we try, how far we go, inside we're a weak karmic-biological mess: moist to the touch, in a mildly off-putting way, with a specific odor that triggers the instincts of large, toothy animals to kill -- yet we are afflicted with a cruelly ironic need to cuddle.


So you cover your weakness with that charcoal suit and power tie. You look into the mirror, gazing into your own eyes with that smile meant to project utmost confidence and say, "You are a winner, Sir! Go run for public office!" But no matter how much hairspray or hair tonic, deodorant or cologne, any amount of shaving...wherever you shave... or starching of clothes, me and you is just people. People too often under the influence of a certain prince in red, with a forked tongue, horned head, tail with a spade at the end, who roams this earth on a shopping spree for sinners' souls...


See, Satan, gains control of an average feller's mind and tells him he is better than all the other fellers. That is why they run to rule, rule to run, rule to rule, and sometimes run to run. They want your money as bad as TV preachers, they want your devotion as if they are the Lord above. In the meantime, they prey on their fellow man's fears, weaknesses, and sinful appetites. Depending on which course will bring the most political gain, they alternately seek reward or retribution for themselves and the general populace over human behavior that always has been, and always will be, creating demons and false idols along the way. Sure, we all meet our demons. Most of us in the depths of our souls. But some meet them right there the media spotlight for all the world to see.


EXIBIT A is in the above 1967 Arlen Specter for Mayor campaign postcard. The first question is: Why must a politician put his entire family on a pedestal when running for office? Why must two 8 year olds in uncomfortable wool and polyester church clothes shout "Yay for Daddy!" instead of shouting "Get me out of these itchy things!"? Because. Because the devil makes their daddy's ass do it. And you will see in some of the other cards, the complex netting the devil has woven to capture souls.


[By the way, a pencilled note on the back of this card put there by a previous owner says that Arlen Specter lost this race. I wonder if this photo was the tipping point in voters' minds? -ed.]



* * *





EXHIBIT B:




This postcard was made the year they invented hairspray, and was in fact the inspiration for the John Waters most sinfully embellished movie titled "Hairspray." There's also an underpinning of baroque drama in it all...or in shall I say, they are opposite of the cast of Dangerous Liaisons. Such a quandary: Although embarking on a quest for power, these people, if they were ever allowed in the French court would have been laughed out, or even executed for such profound buffoonery. Luckily they are American. Allowed to wallow in their professed innocence. And they are kind of sweet... Refreshingly not aristocratic, in that powdered wig sense. Perhaps they are just regular folks...NAW! ARE YOU KIDDING? Has the devil once again placed his cloak of deceit over your eyes? Wake up, Leviticus!


Although the kid with the crewcut is completely captivating, in reality, he's simply race trained. His dad has just said, "now put on that 'good-boy' smile we talked about," and turning to his wife said, "You, too, Gertie." Little do we suspect that overgrown cherub is in fact the class bully, leaving a trail of crying, pants-wetting wimps strewn around the elementary school playground after every recess. But there it is in a postcard, mailed out for thousands to scrutinize. If that there James R. Cavanaugh (with such a nice, tongue-tickling Eerish name) produced this smiling little kid, what will the city budget look like?


This card also reveals the family "dark side," and her name is Gertie... Is his wife completely world-weary or what? Don't worry, Gertie, next year valium will be all the rage. And the attire for that little girl on daddy's lap? Holy cheesecake! ...do you see that?... Uh... I can't see that passing muster in today's pedophile-phobic environment. I mean, it looks like -- and I'm just sayin "looks" like -- he's ever so subtly lifting up his little girl's skirt as some kind of practical joke! I think I know what the city budget will look like now: Completely transparent. The other daughter is speaking to the camera in a secret, evil code. She's saying, "when I'm 17, I'm splittin' to Vassar. But first I'm gonna reach under my baby-sister's dress and pinch her ass!"


It doesn't end there. Upon further examination I discovered the similarities in the smiles between Gertie and son...you see it as plain as I do, don't you? Their lips, their eyes, their bewitching wiggling noses. Fer sher: They house spirits of darkness. The knowledge of evil. Now look at the son's ear. Now look just above it: the pin on Gertie's blue dress. That is a huge clue: 'Tis the ring of the dark Lord Sauron, secret suitor to "Mrs. Cavanaugh" and father to that loathsome bastard in a pint-sized suit! Folks, before you is not simply the offspring of an aspiring Philadelphia politician, 'tis non-other than the son of evil, Daemien, the Beast as prophesized in the Book of Revelations!


Ah, whatever, you say. Life goes on. As for the politics of James R. Cavanaugh, he is fighting on the side of the workers, with the Retail Clerks and Upholsterers' International Union. Or is he a typical Philadelphia mobster embezzler? Oh, but his PR team is pumping him as a watchdog to a corrupt democratic city hall. I can't find any wiki entries to verify the outcome of his life one way or the other. Perhaps he just lost and continued working with the unions. A pro-union Republican, back when that might occur. At least in local politics. At any rate, the internets bear no clue of the kid, but just be aware, evil can spring up anywhere!



* * *





EXIBIT C MY TEETH:




Lud Zupancic gained notoriety for his brief but torrid campaign against Fluoride and his familial involvement with the KGB. Running soon after our nation's water was first supplemented with Fluoride, a batch of water went hideously awry causing an apparent outbreak of lock-jaw and zombification. That's right, thousands of average Pennsylvanian volks were rendered zombie-slaves to their teeth. In this shot, though they appear to be a family with just very attractive teeth, the teeth of the Lud Zupancic family are indeed ciphers of their souls, and most certainly calling the shots, dragging their helpless bodies from dentist to dentist, sink to sink, toothbrush to toothbrush, tube to tube, in search of bigger and bigger doses of Fluoride, and sometimes even forcing them to watch sports. That is why they call Fluoride "the elixir of evil."


Of course, the Fluoride manufacturing lobby loved it. "Fluoride today, Fluoride tomorrow, Fluoride forever!" was the cry. There was a civic Fluoride holiday complete with a parade of marching zombified tooth-slave people dressed as toothbrushes and streamers made of floss, ironically held in Carbon, PA. Pennsylvania was soon nick-named "The Whitest State in America." It was impossible to stop. No insurgency could ever get off the ground due to the zombification Fluoride was able to cast over it's victims.


Part 2 of the Lud Zupancic saga is Carbon my friends... or rather a simple carbonated beverage (that contains a glut-load of sugar).


While touring a Coca-Cola bottling plant in anticipation of a whopping campaign contribution, the deeper, inner "Lud Zupancic" was growing sick of his zombified state. Pushed to the brink, Lud Zupancic attempted suicide by diving into a large vat of the world's most popular synthetic beverage.


"I was emersed in all the bubbles and the sweetness and the caffeine," Lud Zupancic recalled years later with a slight lisp, "I was prepared to meet my maker. Just floating in that dark, rich, sweet froth, gathering my last thoughts on earth. I had just mustered all my will to step foot over the guardrail of that factory ramp and leap into that gurgling vat of Coca-Cola. All the while, I was saying in my head, 'here I am oh Lord my God! Take me! Take me away from this Fluoride Beast! Take me to that special place you made just for me, Lud Zupancic.'"


Ah, but the devil is a tricky bastard! No sooner had Lud Zupancic re-gained his wits, dog paddled to the top of the vat of Coca-Cola and re-gained his breath at the rim of what an observer might say the largest Coke-float ever, then Beelzebub waltzed right over to his big tattooed arm in the form of Lady Wantsalot. You see, the only antidote to King Fluoride was to bathe in Coca-Cola. Lud Zupancic was suddenly aware that he may be the only fully sentient human being in the state of Pennsylvania. What power! What awesome power! But what would he do with it? With whom would he share the conquest? When he got home later, he called his brother Cvetko back in what is now Slovenia.


"Cvetko, my brother!"

"Ah, yes, my brother Lud Zupancic!"

"Cvetko, my wife, my son, my daughter, my peoples in my town, my superiors, my governor, my..."

"What, Lud Zupancic my brother, what do you want from me on this very expensive long distant call that makes me now awake at such an hour?"


"It's just... it's just..." Led Zupancic suddenly broke into tears over the telephone. He cried over their mother's death, the milk Lud Zupancic and his brother Cvetko would steal as a childen from their baby sister's bottle which eventually caused her to have rickets. How bad he felt leaving their small village festering in ticks and poverty and insurmountable amounts of incomplete paperwork that filled the streets of such inconsequential socialist villages, the endless yet useless piles of diplomas from free education, unbearable hum of vaguely intellectual conversation, the constant splash of refugees diving after cargo ships on which to escape to unknown ports. Yes, this ambiguous pain that hit poor Lud Zupancic like a ton of bricks was homesickness. He missed the old country. He love the old country so. But here in Pennsylvania they had cars. He promised his brother a car if he would join him in the states.


Mr. Zupancic's brother Cvetko, detecting the severe urgency in Lud Zupancic's voice (and also looking forward to driving something besides a Yugo) schemed a way to get from his poor village, to the USA. He bribed a local bureaucrat the equivalent of $3.97 for access to the eastern block. Armed with a pocket knife and a story that was all heart, he traded his pocket knife to a Soviet bureaucrat for his citizenship in the great Union of Soviet Socialists. By bribing a Soviet immigration judge with a small, shiny trinket he had bought from a street vendor in a brief visit to Kosovo for the equivalent of 29 cents, he gained access into the Soviet air force. A Soviet aircraft pilot to whom he slipped the equivalent of 8 cents, was able to sneak him onto Soviet spy plane. Aboard this great craft, some 70,000 feet over Pennsylvania, with his last possession, a stick of gum, he was able to bribe a paratrooper into giving him a his jumpsuit and parachute. The paratrooper gave him only the briefest instruction, and in one quick nudge Cvetko was out the hatch. It was a glorious free fall, then a soft, angelic glide strapped to a parachute over the lush land of Pennsylvania, until he landed on the hood of his brother's gas-guzzling sedan.


Little did Lud Zupancic know, but his brother Cvetko was still bitter over the mutual love of their life, the svelte Ancka Svetandrojcek. Though Cvetko originally arrived with the best intentions, he quickly was overcome with long past romantic jealousies and jealousy of the bright red color of Lud Zupancic's Galaxy 500. It also occurred to him that this was a prime opportunity for an aspiring communist spy. On the first eve of his arrival Cvetko and Lud Zupancic drank to their health and happiness. However, inside his government issue long-underwear, eluding the scrutiny of his cleverly bribed superiors, was a hot and hearty 127 proof national beverage of their native land, much able to mask the taste and smell of high octane Fluoride mint toothpaste. He got Lud Zupancic all hopped up on the zombifying drug once again. Lud Zupancic slipped into the back of his "Lud Zupancic" soul as if the sweet freedom of that glorious Coca-Cola bath had never happened. Cvetko gained complete control over Lud Zupancic, Mrs. Lud Zupancic and the children of Lud Zupancic, thereafter heartlessly controlling the entire family under an oppressive Fluoride fist, providing the KGB with numerous inane details of life in Allegheny County.


Enter Dottie Tassel, a 22-year-old Pittsburgh steel-worker's daughter, exotic performer, and most importantly, mistress and stylist to J. Edgar Hoover. On a visit home she noticed something peculiar. Her father's neighbor's brother Cvetko seemed to be the only person in town with bad teeth. "Why, who would go around with those nasty brown things pointing all this way and that?" she was quoted as saying by an FBI informant, "it's simply uncouth."


This immediately brought the entire family under suspicion. Several inquiries were made as to the motivations of Lud Zupancic and his brother Cvetko. Although it was at first a small domestic, covert operation, Hoover made sure no amount of money was spared. The UPS man was in fact an FBI plant. The phone company tapped wires. In after a brief time, endless amounts of Pentagon resources were spent monitoring the activities of this family of Fluoride zombies and their one sentient uncle. The conclusion: The uncle was a misfit. And to Cvetko? Disappointed in the vacuous whiteness of Pennsylvania, the watery beer, the soggy pretzels, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Mister Rogers, Cvetko caught the next garbage barge out of town, and was off to freedom in New Orleans, where he made a living by playing his concertina in the streets with a sage monkey (to whom he eventually married) and a string of indigent, tap dancing street urchins of color, to whom he taught a vast repertoire of Slovenian minstrel song and dance bits that eventually gained the attention of the one and only, Louis Armstrong. But that's another beverage altogether...



* * *





EXIBIT 4:





Fancy Eastern Liberals. Just look at them. I'm not even spending time on them. Them and their hippy-hair, snazzy striped sports jackets, poofy peasant blouses, Gay-liberation inspired Stars-and-Stripes cut-off shorts. Women in pantsuits! Go on! What was he running for? Pot dealer or massage therapist? On the back of the card has this plea for 1973:


ELECT THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC CONSTABLE IN CHELTNHAM TOWNSHIP HISTORY!!


The double exclamation may as well have been "fat chance" in parenthesis. Well, don't count this north-of-Philly follically deprived dandy out for the count. Nay, Harvey Portner went somewhere...check THIS out. I didn't say somewhere fabulous... just somewhere.


* * *





EXHIBIT [BAN THE JACKSON] 5:





"My daddy's the most famous racist in the whole USA!" Yes, the family of Alabama's own George C. Wallace. Talk about sins of our fathers! Being the son of George C. Wallace must be like being birthed from something that just farted. Watch: That little zeppelin he's holding will now burst into flames. (Oh, the party favors at those klan rallies.) His mother has just been infiltrated by a satanic spirit and presently has stuck her index finger through the back of his scull to insert a soul sucking, mind-controlling, barcode reading computer chip.


The wiki entry for boxer-turned-politician George C. Wallace reads part like the education of an imbecile, and part like a story to end all stories. I will refer you to the actual wiki entry, but to give you the gist... While early on in his political career as a circuit court judge, he appeared to be somewhat liberal: "He was the first judge in Alabama to call me 'Mister' in a courtroom," recalls one Afro-American Lawyer.


However, after apparently deciding to ride the populist surf of racism, in 1968, Wallace decided against having Happy Chandler, former baseball commissioner as a running mate for president because Chandler had years previous been in favor of the Brooklyn Dodgers hiring Jackie Robinson. Of course, most of us remember George C. Wallace most fondly for this ole chestnut:


"Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."


As for the enemy, hippies, he told this (anti)Christ-like parable: "If some anarchist lies down in front of my automobile, it will be the last automobile he will ever lie down in front of..."


Just think about it: There was this cracker out there running for president, started his own party and in 1968 gained 13.5% of the vote, the best run for any post-WWII non major party candidate, and his politics were to the RIGHT of NIXON! The would-be assassin's bullet, shot by another whacko, the Milwaukee-born loner Arthur Herman Bremer, left George Corley Wallace wheelchair-bound, and the historical event inspired the film "Taxi Driver." (: Always a silver lining ;)


As bizarre, and unfortunately violent as George C. Wallace's story may have been, it apparently inspired son-of-the-south, George C. Wallace, JUNIOR to follow in his father's footsteps. Hmm. Look at that picture once again... the soul-sucking, chip implanting mother... with parents like this, I doubt even a social worker could turn him around. Predictably enough, Junior grew up to be a Southern-fried Manchurian Candidate. He ran a successful covert campaign to thwart the popularity of Neil Young through his secret authorship of "Sweet Home Alabama." It caused such stress in the lovable pothead Neil Young's psyche that he consequently put out the worst record of all times titled "Trans." Junior ran and gained more visible offices under both the Democratic and Republican Banners, but with the historical climate of the nation firmly planted against racial segregation, Junior's national popularity always seemed just out of reach.


Just where exactly did Junior stand in the political spectrum? In 2005 a speech by George C. Wallace, Junior opened the national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group described as white supremacists, as well as appearing as a guest on "The Political Cesspool", a white nationalist radio talk show.


Poor kid. He never had a chance.



* * *




IN CONCLUSION, A SOBER WARNING:


Tuesday calls for no alcohol followed by no pot Wednesday. Barbiturates are nada for Thursday, and crank has headed for the hills on Friday. Manischewitz is celebrating a Holy Day on Saturday, wine is only allowed in the smallest amount at mass Sunday, and I don't know why I don't like Mondays... oh... get thee behind me, Satan...


Alas, these here modern days have overtaken them-there sweet foibles of the past. So, has it become more humane for political families? Have politicians scrutinized the errs of their past? Have political strategists and spin doctors consulted the greater good? Or is it the other way around? Were political family portraits as seen in these election campaign postcards simply a "gateway drug" to bigger sins? Let's ask Former President Bill Clinton:


"What a bunch of uptight old church bitties this country become. A rock star can't even splooge a groupie! Even if his wife is a lesbian! I had to pee in a cup just to get my white house pension check! There's a 25-year-old MBA out there repainting the traffic lanes of New York City, and people are still blabbin' on about that whole Monica thing! That was her name, right?"


In short, Bill Clinton's presidency was not taken down by any policy, political act or conviction, no bill shuffled through congress, NAFTA or otherwise, no bombing of foreign territory, provoked or unprovoked, no cocaine-for-cash-for-weapons-for-the-contras of Reagan years, not even the war crimes of the Nixon and "W" years. No, Bill Clinton's presidency was brought down by his not living up to "family" expectations; that he wasn't the "family man" a postcard of this ilk might project, and that's freakin' scary. Yes, it certainly seems Fluoride is king, but there are still glimmers of a Fluoride-free world. There are a chosen few who muster the audacity to elude the ever beating war drum...


My friends, they are your not just your teachers, your priests, your doctors, boy-scout troop master, your governors... They are your ATHEIST teachers, your GAY priests, your PRO-CHOICE doctors, your PACIFIST boy-scout troop leaders, your CONSTITUTION ABIDING AND SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE governors, your . They are you! You my human friends. You who refuse to put on that God-damned Fluoride smile, and God-dammit, even you who refuse to be happy about wearing it! Throw it away! Be free! You are healed! We are all sinners and saints rolled into one whiney baby god, capable of brilliance, capable of pooping our pants. You malcontents, you collegiate brats, you working class union ruffians, anarchists, baby-sitters, bare-assed babies, or as the French say, you freakin' buck-naked pagans!



PS... Aug 23, 2010... I sold the Cavanaugh postcard to Mr. Brainwash at the fleamarket over the weekend. He just honed in on it! If you get the chance, you should see the movie about him by Banksy called "Exit Through The Giftshop." One of the best documentaries I've seen in years. Though he's in no need of my lil' plug here, just thought I'd let you know, Mr. Brainwash presently has his work on exhibit at 415 W. 13th Street in the meatpacking district in Manhattan.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gene Bilbrew: Picasso of Porn


Just got in a new batch of vintage porn & I'd like to share...

Gene Bilbrew, like his classmate at the Art Student's League, Eric Stanton, is birthed from the age of Madison Avenue media culture that also illegitimately birthed Mad Magazine. Bilbrew, Stanton, Mad, they all share an apparent sensibility both in straight up line and color style, ie- amusement park caricaturishness and garish colors, as well as a subversive twist on mainstream advertising style. But Bilbrew's similarity to Mad Magazine doesn't bear a simple wink and nudge, but is rather located just this side of the sexual deviant wing of Bellevue. And I don't mean this in a bad way. I just mean it's "edgy". Obviously aware of his "underground" status, lettering is done in a purposeful home-made style like the afterthought $5 price tag on "ToGetHer" or "Frustration" where the lettering seems to have been done with white-out (had it been invented).




Bilbrew's women are oddly drawn cardboard cut-outs, billboards gone awry, collages made from random scraps laying around the drawing board, with dimples and creases almost randomly applied to buttocks, legs, underarms or whatnot... a seemingly mental ward folk-art fetishizing of female bulges and creases assembled into a superwoman of the mind. Compared to Stanton, Bilbrew's men look more sinister, more menacing, more lecherous, his women more depraved, wanton, and perhaps they get kickbacks from the STD clinic down the block. I feel like putting a condom over my head just talking about him! BILBREW.... It just conjures yeast.

Love the exquisitely penned lacy detailing to the undies on the left, while the corset to your right is a piece of architecture straight out of the Futurama exhibition at the '39 Worlds Fair.





This group is all from the late 50s, many printed right here in Brooklyn, by Rainbow Publishing, B & B Press and Kinney Publishing. They did not exactly run a shop with their name on a shingle... rather, they sold "discreetly" through finer retailers in the Times Square area. Publishers and retailers were constantly dodging the law, in Justin Kent's case (a nom de plume you see on a couple of these), he was held as a material witness for a month after police raids on Times Square shops! There's an interesting article by Jay A. Gertzman HERE.


The format is straight up octavo, 8 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches, or an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet folded, larger than the usual 12mo sized pocket paperbacks that is the format of most pulp fiction, which is mostly where you find Bilbrew's art. These were the early days of illegal porn. Before Ginzberg's Eros. When much the dirty stuff was still being imported from France!






Anyway, hope you dig these illos as much as I do... if I find out more about them at the Long Island Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend in Garden CIty (see sidebar -->) I'll add (or subtract if appropriate) to this post.


Go HERE to see what is said to be a Bilbrew self-portrait...








Saturday, March 20, 2010

Greek-out with Jeffrey Cyphers Wright...


MADE IN ITHICA


As time trickles through the Chambre des Deputes

The tendrils of my nose crinkle at its acrid passage

Time empties out the notion of authenticity

Time, you are a nervous imposter

You can remake yourself in the blink of an eye

Rodin pestering Phidias, Nestor attesting to glory

Time loves the one who knows love

I guess you had better guide me through the ropes

I dreamed a white robe walking to Morgantown

My broken watch weeps in a false spring

I wake bound to the railroad tracks

Emily Bronte sitting beside me on a wasp nest

We wait inconsolably in our vast ardor

As time trickles through an excess of small delay



MADE IN CHINA


Come on down to my boat, baby

Ready to flame the lawless airbrake

Ready to dazzle the bedraggled marmadukes

Ready to fray the nightie of Big Foot

Tell me about it, Hermes

Chupacabre to the rescue

Because we have yet to reinvent the past

Ink from the pen the filthy sun begging

I woke as a carpenter measured my remains

Ready to rip the bark off the stars

And claw my way in looking for grubs

A psychotropic melody strips the veneer

Scrolling down Emily Bronte’s heart

Ready for anything you can see clearly now






MADE IN CUCAMONGA*


Astarte walks through the Negro streets at dawn

I said a hey babe, you are everything you are to me

Let’s throw some darts at the imagination farmers

Taketh my hand and lead me on

Exult in your originality, phantom grafter

VISIGOTHS PLAYING AT HELL’S DRIVE-IN

Astarte lies under the stars in Bernadette’s dream

Camilla threw her javelin across the Tiber

May spins its wrecked gentians across your path

I wake in the fugitive tunnel glow

Emily Bronte [mug shot] dying for sanctuary

Deserted abruptly Time’s raft pitch and toss

This is what they say about you, Astarte

The lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove




*Shoshone for sandy place




"Jeff Wright", as he is known to Hollywood insiders, published the famed Cover Magazine from 1986 - 2001... 80 issues! (as a publisher of a much humbler print endeavor, I'm floored!) He's a terrific poet, curator (reading series at the Bowery Poetry Club, La Mama, etc.), and general man about town. He can even be found in various East Village Gardens beckoning fairies from flowers with the sweet nectar of verse and a puff of pixie dust... or maybe the pixie dust was just in the 80s... he even has a wiki entry... so hello posterity!






Wednesday, March 3, 2010