Current Work

It’s been my pleasure to bring you an assortment of wonderful artists who are doing interesting work. But there’s a secret history of illustration too – of artists working at the top of their game who have been largely forgotten. Today, I get to talk about the seasonal revival of Small Gods, and shine a brief light on the remarkable work of Will Crawford who was born almost 100 years before I was, and who illustrated for Life Magazine before the turn of the 20th Century.

 

I like to use classic styles and works for my holiday-inspired Small Gods. I had a little fun with JC Leyendecker a couple years back (for The Small God of Baby Cheeses), but in this case I wanted some rich ink work. And who better than Crawford?
I hope you’ll enjoy the before and after below.

 

Giving thanks to you, one and all!
Lee
 willcrawfordsg387

Dealing with this Crisis

Dear Friends,
We have a lot of work ahead of us in these next four years.
The GOP has for years railed about how Government is the enemy, and, through the tragic technicality of the Electoral College and the breathless abetting of the media, they’ve set out to prove it once and for all.
With this firmly in mind, we’ve compiled a list from several different sources of ways to help in Portland Oregon. 
If you are not sure where to start your activism, maybe the list below can serve as a starting point. 
If there are assertions you’d like me to add, please let me know.
At the bottom of the list I have included a guide for dealing with PTSD.  It comes from the internet but having spent time with Venetia and others (and now studied for years), every point seems right on. Please send me a private note if you would like more resources for PTSD.
Much love to the loveable,
Lee

• Hands on Portland
https://www.handsonportland.org/
General purpose site for finding volunteer opportunities in Portland
• Willamette Week’s 2016 Volunteer Guide
A volunteer guide that lists several different organizations that use volunteers, categorized by cause.

 Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
https://www.irco.org
“IRCO’s mission is to promote the integration of refugees, immigrants, and the community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy, and inclusive multi-ethnic society.”
• Q Center
http://pdxqcenter.org
“Q Center provides a safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, equity, visibility and community building.”

• Planned Parenthood (Portland)
“Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.”

• Oregon Food Bank
Home

“Oregon Food Bank collects food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. We distribute that food through a Statewide Network of 21 Regional Food Banks and approximately 970 partner agencies serving all of Oregon and Clark County, Washington.”


• Standing Rock Donations

• SMART – Start Making a Reader Today
• Neighborhood Emergency Teams 
(NETs) are Portland residents trained by PBEM and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance within their own neighborhoods. NET members are trained to save lives and property until professional responders can arrive. These volunteers are specially trained to help others without putting themselves in harm’s way.

 Solve Oregon
http://solveoregon.org/
“SOLVE is a state-wide non-profit organization that takes action every day to keep Oregon clean and green. We mobilize over 35,000 volunteers and organize over 1,000 cleanup and restoration projects throughout the state.
Our mission: Bring Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship.”

• Old McDonald’s Farm, Inc
(OMF) is the only nonprofit in Oregon that combines farm animals, agriculture, gardens and natural resources to provide an educational enrichment program for all children including at-risk children and youth in a safe and secure farm setting.

• Growing Gardens
http://www.growinggardens.org/
“Our Mission: To cultivate community through sustainable urban agriculture.
Our Vision: People experiencing a direct and deep connection with food, the land and each other.”

• Books 2 U
https://multcolib.org/volunteer
“Books 2 U encourages children to read for personal enjoyment and to become library users. Library staff and volunteers bring high-interest paperbacks to classrooms and other sites that serve children. During their visits, they present short, high-energy “booktalks” designed to excite children about the paperbacks. The booktalkers also register students for library cards and promote library services.”

• Community Friends Program
https://www.lclark.edu/programs/academic_english_studies/community_friends/
Lewis & Clark College has a great volunteer program called the Community Friends Program. In this, you hang out and do fun stuff with an international student who is studying at the College for a semester, a year, or longer. The time commitment is pretty minimal, a couple hours every couple of weeks, and you do your normal activities, but include an international friend in them.

• Meals on Wheels
“Meals on Wheels are hot, nutritious lunches that are delivered Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to homebound seniors age 60 and older.”

• Bark
“Bark’s mission is to transform Mt. Hood National Forest into a place where natural processes prevail, where wildlife thrives and where local communities have a social, cultural, and economic investment in its restoration and preservation.”
• Maybelle Center for Community 
http://www.maybellecenter.org/volunteer/
To break social isolation. “We believe that no one deserves to live in isolation. We also believe that as people we have more similarities than differences and we each have inherent worth and dignity. And, we believe that the health of our community can be measured by how we care for each other.”

• Audubon Society of Portland
“The Audubon Society of Portland promotes the understanding, enjoyment, and protection of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats.”
• Providence Medical Center for Medically Fragile Children
“We are the only pediatric skilled nursing facility in the Pacific Northwest, providing 24-hour long-term, short-term, respite and end-of-life care to medically fragile children and young people ranging in age from infancy to 21 years.”
• Basic Rights Oregon
http://www.basicrights.org/
“Ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Oregonians experience equality by building a broad and inclusive politically powerful movement, shifting public opinion, and achieving policy victories.” 
• American Civil Liberties Union
“The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
• Hacienda CDC
“Hacienda CDC is a Latino Community Development Corporation that strengthens families by providing affordable housing, homeownership support, economic advancement, and educational opportunities.”
• Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
“The APANO is a statewide grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. We use our collective strengths to advance equity through empowering, organizing, and advocating with our communities.”
Copied from Pantsuit Nation,  advice on stress:
Citizens of Pantsuit Nation! I’m a psychotherapist (not actually Anita Hill, alas…) and I want to share 10 tips for processing the trauma of this last year / week and all of the abuse that is unfolding. When we’re in stress cycles, our executive functioning brains shut down. While some of these tips are common sense, I find the reminders helpful. Please pass it on to support others.

PTSD: some tips for processing stress and trauma.

1a) If you find yourself shaking, let your body shake. This is a natural mechanism of our animal selves to release stress. Humans are often embarrassed or scared by the shaking that may occur in stress so we shut it down. Try not to. If this process can unfold naturally, you’ll feel relief when it’s over and stress that might have been trapped in the body just goes away.

1b) Energy or tension in your fists/hands/arms/shoulders can be trapped from the “fight” response. In the legs/feet the “flight” response has been stalled– don’t be scared. Let the energy out. Punch a pillow or run it out until you get to emotion or exhaustion. If you start crying, let it out until is stops on its own.

2) If you find yourself going through cycles of cold / hot fever states from emotional stress, again let it happen. Your body is working to release stress. Try not to worry about it or make it go away. Like a fever with infection, it will pass on its own and leave you healthier and happier. (Of course, if this cycle continues for too long, check in with your doctor.)

3) Sleep as much as your body wants and as much as you’re able. Sleep and REM sleep naturally process stress. We don’t get enough of it.

4) Remember to eat good food and try to limit alcohol, sugar, coffee etc., all which can throw off the adrenal system and cause anxiety and more stress.

5) Get hugs and affection and provide the same with safe people. This is absolutely necessary for the management of stress and trust in safety right now. Same goes for talking and crying. If a person cannot hold your tears and feeling, don’t ever let them tell you you’re “taking things too seriously” or “being dramatic.” Find someone who can listen.

6) Find a therapist trained in EMDR — a very simple trauma processing technique that is highly effective and heavily researched. Even a few sessions can help to get to the root traumas that this whole horrible election cycle and loss may be kicking up. I know it has kicked up a lot for me. If you’re feeling “overly” reactive, it is likely that an underlying trauma is being triggered. (*If you don’t feel comfortable with the therapist you find, find another one).

7) Walk walk walk. This is another natural way that humans process stress. Grab friends and walk together.

8) Laugh: find safe TV shows or comedy to just laugh and smile. Read Harry Potter — good for remembering the fight we’re entering! (Truly). Maybe find shows with good female leads…

9) Create: make art, make music, write, get your imagination moving. When we’re scared, the imagination contracts. Work to expand your sense of hope by giving space to your imagination. This is *useful* to society as well. Patriarchy tells us that only “practical” things are valuable. Don’t believe it!

10) Take 2 minutes periodically to breath more deeply. Lengthen your inhales and exhales. After a long inhale, try to swallow before exhaling. Repeat this 10 times. This simple practice can help regulate emotional stress very effectively.

Current Work

For each of the last 6 years, it has been my pleasure and honor to participate in a game run by Murray Writtle.

In past years I have often drawn in ink as the game progressed. This year was no exception, but the wrinkle is that I was not working on white paper and that I couldn’t just polish off the ink drawing and declare victory. Instead, I got to work a few hours today as my curious schedule allowed and… well, I won’t call it finished. But I hope it manages to hint at some of the game’s remarkable atmosphere.

rebmaho

Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week, Macbeth.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Owning Up

(lights up slowly)

If you’re like me, you can be just a little bit excessive.

…Did I say excessive? I meant obsessive. Same thing really.

You don’t want to own up, to come clean, but I know you are.

Maybe not about the small things, maybe not about the large things, but there are some things you just     can’t     let     go     of.

Can’t let out of your clutches.

I mean, you’re only human aren’t you?

You hear something once and maybe, well, maybe that’s it.

I mean, you need it. You hear it and boom- you’ve got to have it.

Maybe it’s a taste, a perfume, a painting.

Maybe it’s a statue, a song, a TV serial. Anything.

With me, as you must have already guessed, it’s the music of Stephen Sondheim.

No, I’m not one of those queens that loves Liza, or Bette, or Julie Andrews unconditionally…

I have a condition.

Put them all on the soundtrack of a Sondheim play, and then…. Only then will I bring the old girls round. I’ll bring them and play them like they’re going out of style. But thanks to Sondheim, they never will. Not with me.

With you dear, despite our certain similarities, it’s probably something different. Maybe you’re a Gershwin fan. Maybe you dig Charlie Mingus. Maybe its Jim Bloody Steinman or –god forbid- Andrew Lloyd …ah yes. I see. Andrew Lloyd Webber is it?

(sings) “M i d – n I g h t”… blech.

Some pleasures are, of course, guiltier than others.

Whatever it is, we bring it home, and we obsess.

We fawn over it, pet it, clutch it to our breasts, devour it.

And then … well, it’s our OWN isn’t it? It’s our own. We own it!

And I suppose, in a way, it owns us back.

It’s a bit fetishistic really, isn’t it?

Have you thought about ownership love? I mean really thought about it? Do you have all of Sir Andrew’s works?

Yes, I thought as much.

In your country there’s a saying that “The Grass is always greener on the other side of the street”, and that’s a piece of it… yes, but it doesn’t tell the story. I might be more apt to say “I’ve owned this bit of turf for years and now it’s getting a bit old. It might be nice to own a bit of yours too. You know, go for the whole collection”.

A lot of wars probably start that way…

What’s wrong with me?

Why do I need to own things anyway?

I long to hear “Company” as if it were the very first time. But I can’t. I bloody own it and my own all-consuming passion for it gets in my way- Numbs me to its charms.

I had it on all week, must’ve played it 80 – 90 times, and though I sang along every time, I didn’t really love it enough. Not in that pure way, and I miss that purity, that… religious… purity.

I take it for granted now. I suppose we all do.

I know the neighbors do.

They all hate me of course, but why should I care?

They never take any interest in anything I do any more. They’ve heard West Side Story drifting down the street a million times over by now. I could have a heart attack- I could go stark raving mad and break everything in the house, and they wouldn’t even think to look in. No, not any more… Sondheim and I have seen to that.

I mean I’m just lucky that Sondheim is still with us. I… I sometimes think if he dies, I’ll lose all hope. I can’t own all the Sondheim now, because he’s not all done, is he?

The complete collection remains mercifully incomplete. There’s more to come, and that is the sweetest feeling in the world- that anticip…ation.

Imagine being the poor bastard who owns all the Queen albums and Barcelona, and that bloody Highlander soundtrack… Everything there is to get hold of, but dear dead Freddie isn’t coming back. He’s lost the low spark of his high-heeled boy now, hasn’t he? There’s nothing left for him to hope for, is there? I mean, every time he plays Bicycle Race or Seven Seas of Rye, it comes back to him more and more distant… negligible. More a private soundtrack and less the arresting, affecting Aria he fell in love with and brought home to mother…

And one day, it will just disappear into the background of his desperate life. He’ll be forced to do something rash- sign up for French Foreign Legion or the new Survivor just because he needs to leave dear Freddie behind for a while- a trial separation. But oh, oh the joy when he comes back and finds Freddie, his Freddie, waiting just for him!

But I’m not going to be that poor bastard now, am I?

No.     I.     Am.     Not.

And that brings us round… to you.

I need to own things, collect things. I think that should be clear to both of us by now. And you, aren’t you are just the little darling to help me out like this?

Why do I love Sondheim so much? I think it’s because, in addition to his vast musical gifts, he understands me, the real me. The real deep down, obsessive me. The first time I heard Sweeney Todd, Oh my!

That sweet and succulent Little Priest… “Those up above will serve those down below”.

I mean that song was written with me in mind, don’t you think?

I think Sond… Oh, is this distressing you? My Sondheim-this and Sondheim-that? Is it perhaps just a little too familiar for you? Too disrespectful? Alright.

What do you call him then?

Uncle Steve is it?

Very well.

I’ve read every interview your Uncle Steve has ever granted. I’ve seen the Last of Sheila 47 times. He has a quirky and subtle wit, but I know his little secret. We both do, don’t we?

If he didn’t have a little secret like you just…LAYING…about, I’m sure his work wouldn’t speak to me in quite the same way. We’d have less in common, wouldn’t we?

So, let’s go through this once again, my new     best     little     friend.

Whatever are we going to tell Uncle Steve when we get him on the phone?

Don’t worry, I’ll let him speak to you dear. Perhaps I’ll even let you speak to him…

Or maybe not.

I do believe it’s time for a new piece. Something special. Something nice. Something… that speaks to me. After all, Uncle Steve won’t last forever will he? I’ve seen his future…

And when he’s gone, I’ll need something of my own, won’t I.

Something of my OWN…

(blackout)

Art Appreciation

The first time I saw Daphne Yap’s work it was on a book cover in Bud Plant’s delightful catalog of art books. It was an orange cover with a curiously costumed baby. And I hated it. But when I encountered the book in person that year at the SanDiego ComicCon, the cover and its lingering aftertaste were rendered instantly moot. Inside was one of the most astonishing collections of pencil work I’d ever seen, and from an artist much younger (and better) than I. And while she went on to work on Avatar, and many other projects, I’ll always remember judging her book by its cover.

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Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the weekThe 7 Wonders of Ballyknock by C. S. Whitcomb.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

The Wm. S. Burroughs Puppet Show

(lights up full)

3 weeks ago, the spirit of noted Beat Author William S. Burroughs came to me as I sat working at my desk. I was as surprised as anyone.

He told me he’d come back from the Western Lands to commission a worthy vessel for his spirit- a “Homonculus”. Who was I to disagree? I’d never had a visitation before and besides, I was pleased he liked my sculpture. Most people don’t even know I sculpt…

So I set to work- Needles, thread, cloth, felt, wax and a little human hair. I was building what Burroughs a magical form which he would animate when I’d gotten the form just right. He promised me 2 grand and some dirt on Ken Kesey… and I actually believed him. Even dead I figured, he has more connections than I do, and his books are still selling.

So… it was after 2 in the morning and I had finished the figure at last.

I was walking upstairs to sleep when I heard the basement door creak … open … slowly.

I ran back downstairs and found that the figure gone. All that was left on my work table was THIS– a single sheet of typewriter paper with a few hastily typed words…

So if you see an emaciated wax figure about 3 feet high, bald, dressed in a black suit and a dark felt fedora, tell him I’m looking for him. Bastard owes me money…

(Lights to half. The actor dons a black suit and a fedora, pauses, then continues doing his best Wm. S. Burroughs impression. The lights gradually raise again to full as he speaks.)

My trip back from the Western Lands- A tale in 3 parts by H. Bugjuice Lee.

Part 1: Cats.

Those crazy mewling puking cats. They showed me the way. Not at first. Later. After the entrails were finished and they were wiping their paws on what remained of my pantleg. I won’t miss them.

Part 2: The Appalling Hand of Parody

The head came up just like a big bald sun.

I stood, reached into it, and squeezed its pustulent grey mass of congealed gravyboat pulp. It knew me then — The recognition of the killer returning to the scene of his crime — But before it could act — Gulp, I pulled it apart. I stretched a brittle grasping hand inside the glistening petals of viscous pancreas flesh, the gout and seep reminding me of Joan. The only downside to shooting my wife through the head was that I could only do it once. Ask anyone who was there. It was a hell of a shot- the dear sweet natural Junk to steady my aim. You should have been there, and after there, in the bug room. I saw things there — Little things — Specks of foam – Spittle – Gristle — Vile orange grit — Shedding dirt from the crossroads — And caught in the gaping maw of memory were acts and encores that beggar description except for the fact that they were all true — Every God forsaken one of them. The plain of Mexico and the place of dead roads stretched out in varicose nostalgia from the Western Lands. The words- the God damned nuzzle of the virus. I should have stayed in Vienna with Benway. He knew the big stout fix. Why did I wait so long? “Show me a man who says he prefers a woman to a 10 year old Turkish boy, and I’ll show you a liar.” Maybe I said it. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I believed it.

Part 3: This Word did not Exist.

The scorpion’s arm is waving — Waving in errant salute — Hello — Razorblade — Swop — Heat Engine — Goodbye — Our time on this ball of dung is past — So a salute to the rest of our twitching juicy body parts as the bug’s arm moves in spasm and swoon across the rough wooden floor — Other pieces shimmy and jerk, like the mirage of a shotgun shack — Like the fetal earthquake inside Joan’s decaying womb — Like the St. Vitus dance of wounded toys — Winding down forever.

Nothing is true.

Everything is remitted.

(blackout)