substitute: (dubbya)

from The Culture Ghost at Guys from Area 51
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eye scube

It was a challenge, alright. After several false starts, I figured out that using a drill was the best way to go about putting wire in an ice cube. After I figured that out, the adventure really began. I think this is ice cube number seven or so.
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I did not know Richard well — he was a friend of a friend and I met him only twice — but I remember everything about him. We were both in our mid to late 20s and our mutual friends were a circle of artistic types, dreamers, dropouts, and successful people who wished they were the first three things.

Richard was special. He was an effortlessly brilliant writer and illustrator, and he had a breadth and depth of knowledge out of proportion to his age. Talking to him was like a guided tour of a great library. He was usually doodling on something and the doodles turned out as perfect little cartoon stories sometimes. This was in the golden age of the "new comix" between Gary Panter in free weeklies and Art Spiegelman on coffee tables, when new styles of comic strip art were showing up everywhere.

Richard could have done well, made a living or better, made a name for himself. But he refused. He was not lazy, or disorganized, or dumb about money. He explicitly refused to show his work to a wider audience or to be paid for it. I remember someone joking that he was Kafka and some Max Brod was going to disobey him and publish everything, and he became very upset.

So Richard was poor. Very poor. He and his girlfriend basically cleaned toilets for a living. It wasn't clear to me why he dived that deep into the working class, since he had no romantic delusions of proletarian slumming. I think he just hated office work and liked being left alone to do menial labor.

Richard drank and smoked, a lot. Really quite a lot. I knew some hard drinkers at the time, but Richard was a full-service beer drunk. He never seemed to lose an intellectual edge, but his eyes were heavy-lidded and he swayed a bit when he walked.

He was living in San Francisco in the late 1980s, doing but not selling a long graphic novel and working his down and out job, when he and some friends took a night off and hung out on the top of a tall building downtown. They watched the city, and drank, and smoked, and drank some more.

At some point Richard, who was having a great time, was dancing around on balancing on something and stepped where the building wasn't, not seeing the gap between it and the next one. And that was that.

It still is not clear if there was explicit intention. Did he jump? Did he fall? Did he start to fall and then just decided to go with it? Did he even know what was going on? Was he in that situation half-hoping that something would kill him? No one knows.

He left behind a life incomplete in every way. Incomplete in years, incomplete in his art, just truncated. Everything about him was rolling along this curve towards something big — good or bad — and then stopped in mid journey.

Richard was a very sophisticated person, and the kind of artist who worked on multiple levels. Sometimes I wonder if his entire life, the shape of it and its end, could have been a work of art about truncation and incompleteness.

On the other hand, he was a drunk. And his father had committed suicide. So he might just have been a smart guy with some bad luck and some bad decisions. I don't know.

There are so many fakes and ridiculous twits playing at "tortured artist" who say and do things that sound a lot like Richard, but he was all real. And I believe he got what he wanted as an artist. I'm still not convinced, though, that he wanted or needed to die on the concrete of a San Francisco sidewalk that night.


Mar. 3rd, 2008 10:37 am
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mr toast

Dan Goodsell's Mister Toast consistently makes me happy.
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Joe Hall takes pictures of auroras and other beauties of the North. Special attention [ profile] pbd.
substitute: (beckett)
I have lots of dial-in meetings for my job. Some of us are on mobile phones, some on office phones, some in a room together with a speakerphone. More than one person is on a speakerphone at any given time. Many of my coworkers are quick, verbal people who talk over each other.

For months my frustration has risen. I can't talk or hear most of the time. Small noises near speakerphones are tremendously magnified: huge clacking keyboards, rumbling mice, ghastly gurgling mucus, and rustling paper like thunder.

Duelling cheap switches on speakerphones result in unintentional arguments, and questions that can't be answered because everyone is talking over everyone else. Frequently the system overloads and only a buzz or shriek can be heard.

Today I had a breakthrough. This is a wonderful industrial/cutup anarcho-postmodern noise piece. Cabaret Voltaire and Adrian Sherwood are in the house. We are smashing the already smashed mirror! We're going beyond! WE ARE ART DAMAGE!

But enough rejoicing. It's time for me to get back to tuning feedback into the mix of bug report discussions and the hellacious crash of plastic water bottles. My JUICES are FLOWING!!
substitute: (burnside)
Everyone talks about P.T. Barnum. Barnum Barnum Barnum.

What about Bailey? Doesn't he get any love? Are his contributions just forgotten?
substitute: (smartypants)
I scanned in some of my parents' 1950s jazz record covers. My favorite so far is the back page of a flexi-disc magazine called Sonorama from 1959. It's an ad for a perfume called "Rock 'n' Roll" and the artist is Salvador Dali!

Rock 'n' Roll Perfume Ad by Salvador Dali

Others are under the cut )
substitute: (tesh)
antebellum cap popper
I can't decide which I want more, the "give me a penny" coin bank, or the Black Lady Mechanical bank. The whole collection of Black Americana is OUTSTANDING. Kudos!

P.S. It's 2007.
substitute: (savagerepublic)
There are many reasons to order Bruce Licher's stuff: good music, he's a nice guy, honest seller. But my favorite reason is his letterpress art. The album covers are always amazing, he includes bits and pieces of letterpress from years past, and even the packaging is very him: Lots of labels, cool printing on things, and his own stamps along with the Postal Service ones. Edit: Go buy lots of stuff from him:

the stamps and package, large images warning )
substitute: (1967)
But I had to laugh at the Newport Beach Film Festival's very O.C. fundraising event. Just got this in the mail:
The Newport Beach Film Festival invites you to celebrate the art of intimate apparel showcased live on male and female models in a photo gallery setting. DJ, hors d'oeuvres and hosted bar provided. Sponsored by Level Vodka, Karl Strauss, Riviera Magazine, Vic Huber Studios, Quartararo & Associates and Bloomingdale's.
I guess technically it isn't a stripper show if there aren't any poles.
substitute: (blog about broccoli)
The maniacs at The Legacy Project have finally put Orange County in the news for something other than meth and reactionary politics.

They turned one of the hangars at the disused El Toro Marine base into the world's largest camera and took pictures with it.
substitute: (tanguy)
Let's Get rid of those whiny precious aristocratic post-literate disengaged "hipster" assholes and bring back Dada.

substitute: (me by hils)
Newspaper Nishikie is a huge archive of Japanese topical illustration from the 1870s: crime, politics, suicide, all kinds of weird topics. Below you see "Sumo Firemen". Thanks, Ursi!

substitute: (shutup)


This looks like the This Is Spinal Tap of art school. To quote the Fluxblog review:
Art School Confidential - This film is pretty much guaranteed to become a cult classic for most anyone who has ever been to art school, or has been involved with the art world. Set at a fictionalized version of Pratt , Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff build a thoughtful, highly critical movie about art and artists from the comedic blueprint of the art class scenes in the Ghost World film and the original four-page "Art School Confidential" strip from Eightball. Art school is such a largely untapped comedic oilwell that it never seems like a retread for Clowes, especially when the archetypes of the art world are rendered so accurately that they often inspire cringing recognition along with giggles and guffaws.


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May 2009

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