Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Illstrich of Ostogether

The Next Day...

At one point in my life I kept a dream journal, but I began remembering so many in such detail that I was writing for a couple of hours every morning, which cut into my drinking time, so I quit.

Since then I've remembered a lot of dream stuff anyway, but lately I hadn't been, and about a week ago I thought "I wish I was remembering more of my dreams these days."

Lo & Behold, I remembered two big dreams in two days - the first one was scary, and I might get around to recounting it if I can remember it, but the second one has action film option written all over it, so I wrote it down, and I figured I'd share.

So in the dream, the night before the above illustrated moment, I was walking through a busy urban shopping district, lots of people bustling, and the guy sitting on the right there sidles up to me and starts to hustle me to do some kind of job for him. This isn't weird - turns out later I'm some kind of private investigator. 
This guy's just a kid, doubt he's even 20 years old. Very enthused, but it's hard to get a handle on what the job entails, because he immediately gets into a ridiculously theatrical kung-fu fight with a black pimp-like dude, just slightly older than the kid. Some old unfinished business, I figure. 
They both strike outrageous poses and make Bruce Lee squawks and tongue-clicks -- but when they make contact I see it's for reals. They're both very accomplished fighters. People notice, but don't seem to be very freaked out. 
The kid seems to be the superior combatant, and each time he lays the pimp dude flat, he declares some arcane score, like "17 for me against 875 for you!" and the pimp guy then slips away. We continue walking past these open stores, and he resumes his pitch, but the black dude leaps out again and it happens all over, 3 or 4 times -- the kid winning, and modifying the score each time. 
Then, just as we've turned to go through a store-lined underground passage, he's back again! But this time pimp dude lands a crippling kick to the kid's leg! In obvious pain, he still manages to declare "That's 20 bucks to you, and 10 for me!" This morphs into some kind of rap (sorry, can't remember it, but it was sort of like a musical theater version of rap), as the pimp dude picks him up and slams him down onto a display table of high end Chuck Taylor sneaker copies, which the both of them, in a sort of choreographed routine, begin stuffing into conveniently placed gift bags, as the musical number continues, with backup singers and dancers gathering around. 
Just then, another black dude is standing next to me - this one's wearing glasses, with a sort of Curtis Mayfield vibe. He says "Harvey, are you buying this shit?" I recognize him from somewhere - school? This is when I realize I'm a P.I. and I know him from the street. He's with a woman and they start walking with me, away from the ongoing fracas. 
"The hip-hop-lite kung-fu shoe commercial musical?" I shrug "I'm just rolling with it." 
"What did that kid want from you anyway?" 
"He wants me to use my skills to determine who has been sitting in a series of couches." 
At this, Curtis looks at his lady knowingly, and a sequence of quite beautiful visual aids appear in the air to illustrate how traces of various materials -- perfumes, hair oils, body odor, DNA, etc -- could linger on and around various couches. They look like shifting, layered, color-coded pointillist snowflake patterns. Curtis and his lady move off, and I worry that I've said to much. Who is this cat anyway? 
But the next day, I'm summoned to the hillside estate of the kid, who's unperturbed (and seemingly uninjured) by his defeat. He receives me on the back patio overlooking a beautiful, hilly Southern California landscape, and wants to continue discussing the job. 
His girlfriend is with him, and they're wearing a puffy rectangular twofer robe, printed to look like the cover of a mass market book entitled "The Illstrich of Ostogether: Tales of Love and Ostrich Farming," with a picture of him and her on an ostrich farm but otherwise looking exactly as they do before me. I recognize the title as a play on the familiar phrase "The ostrich of illtogether" then actually wake myself up laughing!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Archives: Blackness is All Around!

Been scanning a bunch of assorted ephemera - this is a comic I did when I must have been about 15? India ink on typewriter paper. Didn't show it to anyone at the time because I didn't want to get sent to the bughouse!

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!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Archive: The Boil on Audrey's Back

Scanner's working, here's a comic I did when I was 16 or 17 - ink on notebook paper. I may have been high on the marijuana. PS: The Little Green Leaf Men were from one of those weird Sunday funnies that had craft projects and birdwatching tips, and they became occasional characters in my graphic fiction thenceforth!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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.