Thursday, May 21, 2020

One Way Out

Whenever I try to imagine a path forward for our species, one of the few workable paradigms that comes to mind is the one set forth in Ursula LeGuin's "City of Illusions" -- a green luddite tribalism enforced by... well, I won't spoil the surprise, but people who say LeGuin wasn't writing about politics until "The Dispossessed" weren't paying attention!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Flash Fudd Healing Icon C19 Version

Flash Fudd Healing Icon (C19 version), 2020, edition of 23 unique pain-
tings + 1 artist's proof, enamel, acrylic and latex on paper, 7.5 X 5 ins

           I think this gif needs a soundtrack!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Live ZOOM interview with Crochet Coral Reef's Wertheim sisters TODAY at 1 PM!

Sorry for the late notice, but this just came together - At 1 PM (pacific time) I'll be talking live on ZOOM to Margaret and Christine Wertheim about the Crochet Coral Reef, the Institute For Figuring, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, recent bleaching events in the Great barrier Reef, and whatever else comes up. Open to Q & A at the end. Hosted by Metabolic Studios as part of their Interdependence Salon series. FREE, but you have to get the ZOOM link through eventbrite:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Doug on Suggs +

Check out Don Suggs' final body of work - these amazing stream-of-consciousness cartoons over typically exquisite color arrangements. Louver has put together a sort of virtual symposium with a walkthrough, brief videos from me (also embedded below) and Meg Linton and an essay by Constance Mallinson.

Sunday, May 10, 2020


This is like some lost Firesign Theatre movie! All are up against the Wall of Science!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Old Wounded Lion; Young Rubber Blanket

This brings back memories - Wounded Lion in their prime, when they were playing every few weeks around town with their idiosyncratic rhythm section. Too bad Ami didn't get to do "Career Opportunities!" But they're in righteous form on several other classics including the slower version of "Creatures in the Cave" and opening up with my fave "Carol Cloud." Dig:

Not sure if WL's on permanent vacation, but Brad, Jun & Lars' new band Rubber Blanket has just released their debut album, and these awesome vids to illustrate three of their hot new numbers, including the last - perhaps the greatest Captain Beefheart cover ever! Full tuneage available here:

Friday, May 8, 2020


Things have certainly changed in the 15+ years since I compiled this list -- vloggers are all over this stuff, and I could easily expand the list tenfold - Demolition Man anyone? - but in case Quar has made anyone desperate enough, the adventure begins here!

There’s bad and then there’s bad, y’know? As a connoisseur of fringe culture, I try to keep my threshold of intolerance high. If I feel it slipping, I pop one of these into the VCR. If I’m the last to leave the room clutching my head, I know I still have that edge.


Even better reshot in close-up and through a screen door!

Lukas Haas, following his child-star-making turn in Peter Weir’s Witness, plays a post-apocalyptic deaf-mute orphan who finds a glowing silver orb called “Bodhi” that can cure deafness and make it rain indoors, and doubles as a space-lacrosse ball. When a Native American orphan steals Bodhi, Haas chases him, followed by his entire Rollerblade team. Fortunately, the entire parched post-nuclear wasteland is crisscrossed with skate ramps. Then there’s a city made of tires, some eco-terrorists and a torture robot, and the plot kind of falls apart after that. But it’s an allegory, man. As one Amazon reviewer observes, “The kids are not following a glowing ball, they are following an ideal, a higher consciousness that we all possess if we can only find it. The water represents a rare kind of nourishment that comes from the depths of the cosmos, a nourishment that is indeed becoming more and more scarce in today’s world.” Amen.

Slapstick of Another Kind

This one isn’t even on Amazon. Released the same year as The King of Comedy, this Jerry Lewis vehicle is auteur Steven Paul’s incoherent adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s ’70s novel Slapstick. Lewis and Madeline Kahn play the mutant twins with hidden superhuman capacities, and Marty Feldman is their father. Includes cameos by Merv Griffin and — I kid you not — Sam Fuller. More effective at stopping rational cognition than a zen koan.

Leprechaun in the Hood

The fifth in the series, and second using Hollywood genres as a jumping-off point, following the highly compelling Leprechaun in Space. This gets the nod because of the presence of Ice-T and the heretofore-unsuspected resonance between the ancient Celtic tradition of limerick-speech and the contemporary urban subculture of rap music. Oh, wait: I forgot about House of Pain. They should cover the theme song, “Lep in the Hood — Up to No Good!” Talk about street cred!

Mac and Me

This is not a really cheap version of E.T., okay? So there’s a loveable diminutive pop-eyed scrotal alien puppet hiding in a kid’s closet and nobody believes he’s there and the government agents are after them, but in MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature), the kid is in a wheelchair and played by a real authentic paraplegic, and there’s awesome cross-branding culminating in the big dance contest in the McDonald’s, presided over by Ronald McDonald himself, with MAC in a bear costume breaking on the service counter. And in the end there’s not just one MAC but a whole pop-eyed scrotal family and they put on dorky ’50s clothes and get sworn in as American citizens and drive off in a pink Cadillac down the 405, illegals no more! So much for your rip-off theory! Still waiting for the promised sequel.

Hercules in New York

Our former governor, a.k.a. Arnold “Strong,” in his first (1970) feature film as the heroic demigod transported to Central Park by a bolt of rebar. To find himself. This is so gay. The DNC needs to copy and distribute a few million copies before 2008. [Little did we know!]

(Originally published DECEMBER 25, 2003)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Rough Moods of Many Pearl

Quarantine isn’t much different from my old normal. In case you hadn’t noticed, this column is 99% reviews of things that I receive through the mail or via the web – anything that doesn’t require me to leave home and interact with my fellow art world and academic professionals! Karma being a bitch, though, my first recommendation is one that brings the art and academic communities to you, in comic book form!

With a protagonist getting by as an adjunct studio-art instructor at a trade college in a major metropolitan area, Kevin Mutch’s graphic novel The Rough Pearl packs a particular punch for me, as it will many Artillery readers. From the willful obliviousness of tenured administrators, the smug, vigilant authoritarianism of academic lefties, and the infuriatingly low expectations of the student body, Mutch’s economical satire bats 1000. And the art references are more authentic and nuanced than anything in recent pop cultural memory — it’s real enough to make any artist a little queasy...

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Charles Ray Experience: Hooked on Dialectics (1994)

The Charles Ray Experience were an experimental song-based noise collage band that emerged from UCLA’s graduate art school in the early 1990s. Their line up included Hector G Romero, Doug Harvey, Colin Cook, and assorted guest performers who all performed on a variety of instruments and usually included rhythm and electric guitars, trumpets, drums, drum machines, turntables, and electronics.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

You May Say I'm a Dreamer...

At least that seems to be the consensus in L.A. judging by the amount of freeway traffic we encountered on our emergency veterinary trip to Calabasas this morning! Jeepers gang! I even came to a full stop in the fast lane at one point.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Jim Shaw's Holiday Music

Mayday Celebration - For "The New Now Sounds of Today!" (2000) Jim Shaw wanted to do a song poem about a holiday that had never been previously celebrated in the song poem form, so he came up with this new classic, performed by David Fox of Magic Key Productions of Ogden, Utah!

"The dictatorship of the proletariat
Will form a human lariat
Take capitalism and bury it
In our Mayday Demonstration"

Song of the Decade

            This would explain many things.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Vegetable in a Sock!

Nice little docu profile of pioneer prank artiste Mal Sharpe, who just escaperood:

I probably first heard about Sharpe in the RE/Search PRANKS issue, still one of my top 10 most influential art books.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Easy listening

           This message has been approved by Gary Panter.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Purple bag and roach, Brookside Park

It may actually be a purple bathing suit, which is even cooler. It's all like, Gregor Samsa Beach Party a-GoGo!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Chilton Drowned Sibling Coincidence

Just started reading this bio of Alex Chilton, which starts off with an awesome "as spoken to Epic Soundtracks" quote:
Somewhere along the line I figured out that if you only press up 100 copies of a record, then eventually it will find its way to the 100 people in the world who want it the most.
(which is from a long interview available here). But the strangest thing was the rollercoaster of engagement and identification that V experienced due to a strange parallel in our early years. The first chapter consists of the usual genealogical backstory - interesting enough due to Chilton's aristocratic southern (ie: slave-owning) roots, but pretty dry.

But when it gets to Alex's childhood, and his brother falls out of a tree and goes into a coma, i started to get a funny feeling. The brother, Reid - 10 years older and Alex's idol - recovers but starts getting intermittent seizures. Sure enough, just about the time he's graduating from high school, be has a seizure in the bathtub and drowns!

My beloved 10-years-older-than-me sister drowned in the bathtub during a seizure when she was 20, and it was probably the formative event of my adultish personality, so this reading experience - going from this scholarly and impersonal family tree tone to a biographical anecdote that couldn't be any more personally riveting - all in the space of a couple of paragraphs - was pretty unique, and weirdly dreamlike.

So i'm hooked - i'll report back on any further synchronous phenomena. But if he runs off with a physiotherapist at age 15 i'm going to freak out.

UPDATE: It's been awhile since I finished reading this, but a couple of other synchronicities emerged: Not only did Alex's brother drown in the bathtub, but he was one of three (including Alex). Though not myself the victim of this most demanding of birth orders, those familiar with my unpublished pop anthropological blockbuster "The Trois Freres Syndrome" will know what I'm talkin' bout.

The other thing was that at a certain point when he'd already had his superstardom with the Box Tops, his failed artistic geniusy period with Big Star, and his eccentric proto-Punk psychobilly notoriety, he retired to New Orleans to dry out (!) and spent several years just washing dishes at a club to pay his way, playing music with friends occasionally, and apparently totally content. That is a mighty reversal of the default rags-to-riches journey at the heart of so many artistic biographies.

That's about it. I'm kind of more interested in his engagement with fame and money and his art than I am with his actual recordings, awesome as many of them are. There's some quality of interpersonal political responsibility and improvisational spontaneity at work in each of those areas that seems more surprising and creative than a lot of the music he recorded. Which I gather was ultimately the point.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

RiP Neil innes

Put together a youtube playlist in case anyone's unfamiliar with Neil innes' best work --

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Chernobyl for Reals

We've been watching the Chernobyl miniseries and the meticulous art direction reminded me of the work of one of my undergrad professors, David McMillan, who has been photographing Chernobyl since the early 90s, and, as it turns out, has a big-ass book just out from Steidl--


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

My He-Man Action Star Phase

When Cathy Ward posted this vintage image of your humble blogger from that summer in Banff 30 years ago, I actually thought it was Sly Stallone as Cobra. At least one of us has gone on to sell a few paintings!

Like Rocky, most of Stallone’s paintings contain a restless, pent-up energy. 
(Photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska) via The Telegraph 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

PLEASE HELP! at Wealth Management

"Please Help!" 2019, Peformance, costume, LA-Z-Boy chair, live electronic processing of 30- minute stretched version of Solomon Linda's 1939 recording "Mbube"

as experienced at

Wealth Management hosted by Jeffrey Vallance
May 16, 2019
Chatsworth, California

The second annual Financial Instrument™ group exhibition/art performance/noise music pop-up at Go Build Business in the bucolic Old West town of Chatsworth near the historic Santa Susana Pass nestled in California’s San Fernando Valley.

View, exhibit, and BUY experimental art of all genres and persuasions. Each participating artist will have their own corporate boardroom table for dynamic display of their visual art. A professional sound system will be available for experimental, liturgical, Cajun, and noise music. Live multimedia creations of investment-grade art will be continually projected on a large-scale theatrical screen. Well-heeled art consultants will head up embedded workshops on art acquisition, liquidation, and flipping.

Pathetic Art theory and practice, the abject, the sublime, the equine, the renegade, and the post-liminal will be foregrounded in presentations and discussions. Broaden your artistic girth and social network marketing skills and access creativity management tools! Our corporate staging platform will feature extreme performance artists and obscure polytheistic rituals. Experience Financial Instrument’s corporate slogan equation: ART + PEOPLE = MONEY. Again, join us for an evening of intervention and infiltration into the Corporate Global Art Economy.

Photo Credit: Kristine Schomaker

Sunday, May 12, 2019

G.D. Hustlers!

While going through my back issues of HUSTLER for [caf caf] collage material I came across these mysterious renderings...

While connoisseurs may detect stylistic similarities to the work of Georganne Deen, the credit identifies the artist as Godfrey Daniels. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Dismal Decade

Cover, Jeffrey Vallance’s reprinted edition of Blinky the Friendly Hen.

Eighties nostalgia is a sad and sick thing. In Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater’s early-’90s exercise in ’70s nostalgia, the character Cynthia (played by Beck’s future wife!) explains her Every Other Decade theory thusly: “The ’50s were boring. The ’60s rocked. The ’70s, my God, they obviously suck. So maybe the ’80s will be like, radical. I figure we’ll be in our 20s and hey, it can’t get any worse.” This was a joke directed at those who actually lived through the ’80s, which sucked in ways Cynthia could have never dreamed of.

But there was another ’80s—an ’80s that sought to continue the legacy of the beat/hippie/punk countercultural continuum of idiosyncratic DIY creativity, and—although its structure was appropriately rhizomatic and globally dispersed—much of whose most compelling content emerged from California...

 Continue reading at Artillery or ATJ