Monday, April 27, 2009


Mike played this for Kali, John and I over the weekend. I'm ashamed to say that I never heard of Sam & Dave before I saw this. Boy, they sure put on a show! I read that these guys actually hated each other. 

The studio band behind Sam and Dave was Booker T. and the MGs. Here (above) they do their own number, "Green Onions." When I get rich I want this to play whenever I enter a room. Imagine everyone dropping what they're doing and making a path for you as you stroll in, cigarette in hand and Rayban Wayfarers (sunglasses) on nose, through the awed crowd with this music playing in the background.

Gee, I wish cartooning was like this. Wouldn't it be great if what we did with a pencil was just as entertaining, just as cool, and just as innovative and soulfull as what Sam & Dave and Booker T. did?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I love the art of the South Pacific Islands, which is also called "oceanic art."  There are striking similarities in the styles of islands spread thousands of miles apart, and it's hard to resist the idea that all these cultures had some common country of origin. I'd guess a combination of ancient India and aboriginal Australia, but what do I know?

This art is memorable because of it's complete "otherness." Europeans just don't think this way. The make-up and masks seem to threaten with weird, supernatural horror. 

But the difference is greater than that.  If you can judge by the sculpture, island people seem to have had more of a sense of humor than Europeans. A lot of them were of the opinion that their their neighbors were outrageously funny-looking, if not downright ugly, and they took every opportunity to lambast them with carved caricatures that they set up outside their huts. No wonder they were at war all the time. 

Gee, maybe some of them (above) were kind deficient. 

I've seen lumpy heads like this one (above) plenty of times in the National Geographic. I guess that's what happens when you live around trillions of bugs.

There's a theory that primitive people who go around naked don't think of themselves as naked. As long as they have that little string around their waists they feel completely clothed. Woe to the uncouth villager who forgets to put his string on in the morning.

Some sculptures (above) appear to have been caricatures, pure and simple.

Others (above) seem to have had deep, mystical significance. 

Here (above) Balinese style seems to merge with an island sensibility. And look at the symmetry. It's odd how primitive man is often so wedded to symmetry

Nice mask (above)! A flat out caricature!

I didn't know that Sammy Davis Jr. (above) used to live in the tropics.

These masks from the 19th Century all look contemporary. I just can't believe they're as old as claimed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Here's one of my favorite pictures (above) of Veronica Lake,  who sacrificed half her vision to give her fans a new look.  Here the hair looks like it's glued on her face...Holy Cow, maybe it was!

Big ears, bare neck and a shaggy poodle skin collar with Frankenstein shoulder pads.

Poodles (above) have great hair...but you know that already.

Here's (above) one of my all-time favorite girl drawings. It radiates humor and energy!

This (above) portrait photo would be a great present if it were larger and framed. Maybe it needs a little cropping on the sides.

I'm speechless!

Sam Shepherd (above) in drag?

I propose that the National Bird Dropping Society use this picture (above) for their logo.

Here's a picture (above) of Camille Claudel, sculptor and mistress of Rodin.

Here's (above) a famous portrait by Edward Weston. Boy, Weston sure could take 'em!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Has anyone, except maybe Peter Lorre, ever taken as many sickly pictures as Marlena Dietrich? There are a ton of them! Even her happy pictures like the one above, have an eerie, just-back-from-the-dead quality. This isn't a criticism, I like these pictures, I just think they're funny.

Here's (above) Marlena in what appears to be a picture of a dead person poured into a chair. Her hat is a crow, ready to feast on the carrion.

Dietrich's face (above) is a skull.

Here (above) Dietrich looks up at us like one of the pit characters in Dante's "Inferno." It's a beautifully executed picture. I wonder who made it. Maybe Steichen. 

Lots of pictures show her hanging on things, so as not to fall on the floor.

Oops! Too late! Here (above) she catches herself in mid-fall, while her other tortured self looks on.

This time (above) she clings to a pillar.  

Above, the just-poured corpse again.

I wonder why the death motiff was so popular in Dietrich's time. Was it a product of WWI or the Spanish Flu? Maybe it came out of the over-the-top pulps.

Here (above) she appears to be seconds from death.

Garbo also sat for a lot of sickly pictures, except Garbo seemed to exemplify severe depression rather than death. 

During the WWII years sickly was out and the healthy, wholesome look was in. 

Monday, April 20, 2009


I just found out about this show. I never heard of it before today. Are all the episodes as funny as this one?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Last night I had a dream.  In the dream heavy winds ushered in menacing storm clouds.

Some one said the weather was caused by a gigantic near-Earth asteroid. I looked up and there it was, immense in the sky.

It didn't take long for the clouds (above) to cover everything.

The clouds formed a roof, trapping every one beneath.

Then the rain (above) started. 

It was an ugly, grey rain, the kind that saps your energy and makes it impossible to think. I ran into a restaurant to get away from it.

Inside I was beset by visions where I could see through the eyes of other people. 

For a moment I was a boxer who'd just been hit.

Then I was a sailor looking over the railing at a rough and surging sea.

Miraculously a break in the clouds appeared and the rain stopped.

Overjoyed, I raced out the back door where I found a steep set of stairs. Something felt wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  A bicyclist raced by. I ran down the steps to flag him down.

Out on the street (above) everything was dry and silent. No sign of the bicycle man. No movement of any kind. It was like a frozen frame in a piece of film, only it was real.

I wandered into an apartment building (above). One of the doors was open, and I stepped inside. A man was there but he refused to talk or even look in my direction. 

In a corner a couple made passionate love. Their heavy breathing and my own footsteps were the only sounds I could hear.  

I turned to leave and found a woman sitting on a chair by the door. She just stared at me, as if she expected me to do something.

Somehow I knew that if I touched the woman something horrible would happen. I ran out onto the street but nothing looked familiar...

...and that's when I woke up.

Or it would have been if I had actually dreamed this dream. I have to admit that I made it up. One of these days I'll put up a real dream if I can remember to write it down. 

BTW: some of the photos here are from a terrific blog called "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats."