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)

Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the weekOn Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Day Trip to Guam

A piece for two voices

Voice 1: Bold Text         Voice 2: Italic Text         Voices Together: Underlined Text

(Lights up full on two podiums. Voice 1 stands behind one, and scans the audience and finds the most suitable “volunteer”. This may be prearranged or not. Either way, Voice 1 needs to find someone who is willing and able the first time out. The feeling of spontaneity is important, but there’s no time for refusals.)

I’m so relieved that you are here tonight. You are the very person I need to help with this piece. Will you help me out?

(Voice 1 quickly leaves the stage, hands the volunteer – now Voice 2 – the script and points out the italics and the underlined end, retakes the stage and tells Voice 2 to stand behind the other podium and study the script while Voice 1 speaks to the audience.)

Years ago in Florida I sat down and talked with noted author and curmudgeon Kurt Vonnegut – Author of Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, and other light classics. I found myself amazed by what he told me: “I don’t write science fiction anymore. Why bother? There’s no point. I mean it’s only a small – and probably stupid – idea to begin with. Why waste my time and your time writing a book that takes 200 pages to get to a damn punch line? Life’s too short.” As someone who had recently enjoyed Cat’s Cradle, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Was he fishing for flattery? No. He was telling me the truth, and as I get older, it makes more and more sense.

Aren’t we all tired of “ Didja ever wonder why… ” and “It really bugs me when…” and all those other lame stand-up intros? Haven’t we seen enough of those? Vonnegut wrote his later science fiction novels down as single sentences on napkins at parties. They were a big hit.

So inspired was I by this advice, that – with the help of this kind volunteer (indicates Voice 2) – I’ve decided to follow it. It goes like this: (start fast!) Military Intelligence

Urban Planning

Nuclear Safety

Vacation Bible School

Good Old Boys

Compassionate Conservative

Friendly Fire

Little Big Horn

Head Butt

Butt Head

Holy Shit

Holy War

Holy Roman Empire

Free with Purchase

Army of One

Shit-eating Grin

Hell’s Angels

Final Fantasy Four

Living Dead

Grateful Dead

Dead Reckoning

Dead Drunk

Smart Ass

Good Grief

Wireless Cable

Legal Brief

Wicked Good

Microsoft Works

Passive Aggressive

Assisted Suicide

Instant Classic

English Cuisine

Lingua Franca

Television Special

Black Lightning

White Tornado

Black Gold

Liquid Paper

Utah Jazz

Open Marriage

Even Odds

Virtual Reality

Happy Meal

Fire Water

Junk Food

Aerosol Cheese

Tofu Burger

Jumbo Shrimp

Fat Boy Slim

Fats Domino

Chubby Checker

Pudgy Parcheesi

You made that up!

Yes, I made that up.

Definite Possibility

Final Draft

Totally Unfinished

Half Assed

God Awful

Rap Music

Quiet Riot

Led Zeppelin

Madonna

(blackout)

Art Appreciation

Dawn Wilson-Enoch – I met Dawn many years ago in Washington DC when she was just breaking into illustration. These days she lives in New Mexico and makes jewelry. In between she painted some of my favorite pieces in the genre. While very few of her pieces can be found online, I am pleased to say that two of these hang on my wall.

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Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the weekLonesome West by Martin McDonagh.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Ringer

Cast

Performer – A young woman unafraid to take the bull by the horns.

Ringer – A young man who’s world is about to be shaken.

A Confederate – Someone who can quietly phone Ringer, covering up the receiver to make sure nobody hears “the other end” of the call, and hanging up when Ringer answers.

The Audience – Unpredictable. Watch out for them.

Props – One of Performer’s journal and a cell phone “hidden” in a bag or jacket.

Lighting: Performer asks for a center spotlight, with very low lighting on the audience. Tell the lightboard operator to go to blackout when you mention “Cigars”.

Direction – Fast – I cannot stress this enough, rehearsed and realistic. If you are too slow, the stage manager, or others might intervene, and that would be bad. Too unrehearsed and the crowd will get that it’s an act. So please be yourselves. If you feel these lines sound unnatural coming out of your mouths, feel free to emend them in rehearsal. This should be an unprecedented scene, and a lot of good clean fun, but remember to have the courage of your convictions and don’t let anyone interrupt you.

(Performer starts out under a spotlight – reading from a journal – the more involving and personal the journal, the better. Ringer’s cell phone rings after approximately 30 seconds, ideally in the middle of a long and intriguing passage. Performer stops reading and furrows her brow as she shields her eyes from the spotlight, and looks into the crowd to see who has the cell phone. Ringer tries – a bit frantically, and maybe with a little quiet swearing – to get to the phone, but he has difficulty as the phone is in a bag or coat, or lunchbag. Just as he finds it, the phone rings again.

Ringer: (answers it in a self-conscious whisper halfway through the second ring, looking around defensively in embarrassment) Hello? (short pause) Who? (short pause) Oh… (blushes, stammers.)

Performer: (to Ringer, pissed off) Hey! What the hell are you doing?

Ringer: (meekly to Performer) Talking.

Performer: (to Ringer) Talking? (Sarcastic) Ooookay.

Ringer: (covers receiver) Well, I had to answer it.

Performer: (to audience and Ringer at once) No, you didn’t. Hang up on them.

Ringer: No I ca… (trails off, distracted by the voice on the phone)

Performer: I would.

Ringer: (quietly into phone) Can I call you back? Please? (pause) What time is it there?

Performer: (walks toward Ringer) Give me the damned the phone. Here.

(Performer grabs the phone away from Ringer and quickly moves back to the center of the stage. Speaks crossly into it, moving in and out of the spotlight) This is a performance you are interrupting! Look, (pause to listen) Look Lady, I don’t care where you’re from…

(Longer pause to listen. Looks surprised) You’re kidding me.

No…uh–huh. (Performer looks around the audience and starts to smile evilly.)

Hey everybody, he’s (points to ringer) gonna be a daddy! (Ringer faints as noisily as possible.)

Cigars for everyone!

(blackout)

Current Work

Ah, the challenge of a 1 Hour Painting!*

This weekend’s HP Lovecraft Film Festival brought another fine Pickman’s Apprentice. This year it involved the Great Race of Yith and kissing. And the amazing talents at their respective easels? Heather Hudson, Frank Walls and the great William Stout.

*with 20 minutes of proper formatting in Photoshop when I got home.

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Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week, Rent.

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No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Life

Cast – A physical actor (The Kid), his voice (Vox), and another voice (Doctor)

(Spotlight shines dimly on The Kid – sitting in the window. During the piece, he will move around inside the window, silently following Vox’s instructions – kicking, punching etc.)

Vox: (from offstage) You may think your life is boring. But you don’t know boring until you find yourself in solitary. You can’t imagine how boring it is. You want out. You’d give anything to get out… but you don’t have anything to give…

Doesn’t good behavior count for anything anymore? Doesn’t the presumption of innocence apply to you? Doesn’t anybody care? You have no recourse to the law- not in here. Not in solitary… You really don’t know what you did to deserve this- It’s not like you’re a bad guy or anything. Maybe you sinned, but who doesn’t? You’re only human after all…

You try to break out. You try to dig. You try to tunnel. You try to crack the walls, but you can’t. Not with your fingers, not with your nails. Not with your fists. Not with your feet. Not with your head.

You sometimes hear muffled conversation from outside. You hear sounds, but you never hear any words. Sounds, but no substance. You are so tortured by these vague sounds- sounds that are always just beyond the threshold of hearing- that you put your hands over your ears. Then all you hear is your heartbeat… There’s no one you can talk to. There’s nothing you can do. There’s no music, no television, no theater.

Sometimes, when you are feeling philosophical, you feel bad for the other inmates. Did they get a bum rap too? You wonder what they did. You wonder if they are in solitary. You wonder if their sentence is any shorter than yours. You wonder if they’ve thought of something you haven’t. You wonder if they’ve found some way to escape.

Sometimes you try to communicate with them. You try to use the codes you’ve been developing in your head. The knocking codes. The kicking codes. The shouting codes. But there’s never a response. All sense of perspective, all sense of self, all stimuli, all that you want, all that you crave. All gone. Sometimes you hear a noise that’s just a little different. You imagine the footsteps and sense a chance. You think your time is finally up. But you’re wrong. You’ve always been wrong…

Until today…

(The Kid falls out of the window. All lights up full)

Doctor: (loudly from offstage) Congratulations! It’s a boy.

The Kid: (covers his eyes with his hands, slowly kicks his legs and wails!)

(black out)

Art Appreciation

Katy Hargrove – I encountered Katy’s work when she was leaving college and I was still Art Director for Digital Addiction. And if the Euro hadn’t picked that moment to tank, I would have hired her. Years later she paid me a visit as she drove north from LA to Seattle and her (then) new gig at ArenaNet making GuildWars. She draws and sculpts delightful creatures.

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