Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Seize her!"

"I sees her.  I sees her.  And she look...MIGHTY FINE!"

I'm reading a dirty book.  And when I say "dirty," I don't mean pornographic.  I mean dirty.  As in filthy.  Covered in filth.  Encrusted with the excrement of past readers.  Water marked pages like blood stains.  Bits of DNA.  A crime scene cacophony.  But I don't mind too much.  For this is the added joy of the ancient library experience.  A volume not of my own collection.  A reminder of youthful days.  Of how being not allowed to swim or play in the elementary school pool because of a miniscule athlete's foot infection, led me dejectedly to a parked bookmobile.  A tiny event with earth shaking consequences.  A transformation from outdoor sport boy to indoor academic.  How a Conservative can change to Liberal without anyone the wiser for setting off the deed.  Like some cretin crushing an ant colony underfoot in the brush.  Unaware of the outrage one has inflicted.  And this is how tiny revolutions are started.

But I digress...

The book in question, the dirty one is Aldous Huxley.  EYELESS IN GAZA.  A 1969 British edition of the 1936 work.  Filtered down through the Scentral Coast Library System.  A Relic from the ancient days of lending, complete with antiquated card holder, now empty of the record, persons past who perused these pages.  My Summer Read of the moment.  I'm digging it.
 
After a plethora of biographies, auto-biographies and histories, it is time to delve into the forgotten nuggets of literature.  Summer reading demands it.  This is usually the time I feel the urge for Gothic Romance.  Radcliffe, Walpole, Shelley or Poe.  Or something Italian.  A re-read of Casanova.  Or maybe more recent, like Sergeanne Golon (if recent can mean the '60s, when I first read the husband/wife authors).
 
A taste for the Greeks is possible.  When one can't get to Olympus, Athens or Mykonos, one must bring the Gods to thee.
 
I have the feeling I will finish the book, all 620 pages of it, before I complete this entry.  But then a package of Robert Crumb WEIRDO comics (3) arrived today, so I may be sidelined.  My love of books and magazines comes from my most earliest days and a newsstand can still magically pull me out of my moment and surroundings.  Recent trips to metropolitan Oakland and Los Angeles were punctuated by the sight of such newsstands and bookstores, enticing me like a brothel of the mind.  In transit with the wife towards predestinations, these opium dens were bypassed, their temptations wistfully denied.  Even today, if in a pharmacy or such, the sight of the newsstand is an instant magnet.
 
But I do succumb to the nostalgic sight of paper in the past, the various periodicals that come up for bid, or Buy It Now on eBay.  Sometimes a classic MAD or HELP!  Comics, of course, old AND new.  Things that take me back to say, 1957-58, to about 1962.  Vintage men's magazines often tempt, like Rogue, Cavalier or Gent.  Or the lost culture magazines SHOW and SHOW BUSINESS ILLUSTRATED.  Sometimes the scandal rags CONFIDENTIAL, HUSH HUSH, WHISPER and ON THE Q.T. bring out a dark humour in me.
 
Fifties Science Fiction magazines bring back a flood of future memories as well.  Let's not even begin on FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, FANTASTIC MONSTERS, CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, SPACEMEN and even, on occasion, WILDEST WESTERNS.
 
Like those fading news shops, I'm sure I will return...to this subject.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"...than Heinz has pickles."

"I have more ideas..."
 
One tries to keep the Regrets In Life Department well swept out, for any changes in the past would null and void being in the here and now.  Still, my list of mad ideas and possible schemes seems endless and in a parallel world that continued from fixed points, I wonder "what if?"
 
In the theatre world, the productions that were contemplated seemed to keep the cosmic giggle going.  After NOTHING IS SACRED in 1973, a follow-up was considered entitled ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  The main set piece of the thing was a full blown satire of the Clint Eastwood film Magnum Force, called Magnum Forks.  This was because San Francisco cop Glint Eastwest was also a world class pastry chef, known as Desserty Harry.  The oversize magnum pistol of the original movie poster was replaced by an oversize wooden outdoor garden fork, purchased for the photo from the Akron.  The story as it was, dealt with a homicidal food poisoner, who of course kills Harry's disposable partner.  The play concluded with a filmed chase involving shopping carts: first filmed a la Bullitt style in the supermarket, then concluding in the actual streets.  I believed it was possible but then abandoned it because I thought the satire would get too dated.  Big mistake.  Years later, after seeing the sequel after sequels The Dead Pool, I realized the satire had become the satirized.

Ideas I had from NOTHING IS SACRED but didn't use, I wanted to carry over.  These included using the Snack Bar and Coming Attraction trailers from the local cinema chain for the Intermission.  I also wanted to wire up Drive-In speakers to the end of each theatre aisle.  Madness.  And unusable.

Another theatrical project was my parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, here named A CHRISTMAS MAGGIE.  "I don't remember Carol, but I DO remember Maggie."  Maggie was the wife of Bob Crotchitch or Bob Crotchairs as the character's name alternated.  This was a fully developed play after CASANOVA's LIPS and was a recurring pipedream year after seasonal year.  My image of Ebeneezer Scrooge in full Victorian garb, but wearing lapel buttons that said 'Nixon's the One' and 'Bomb Hanoi' still bring a smile to my knees.  Although a stage version with extra surrealism never saw the limelight of night, a number of audio versions surfaced on SPACE PIRATE RADIO.
 
More often than not, concepts or snippets for the stage unused would wind up on SPACE PIRATE RADIO.  But some cross pollination between the two would occur.  Oscar B. Chow, a regular from the radio show, wound up at the end of CASANOVA'S LIPS in 1976.  Doctor Einstein in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE in 1979 was definitely a voice and being from the wireless.  Crazy Germans and lunatic Viennese are a favourite.  A play called SCHIZ (rhymes with 'shits,' a danger for the critic's revue) was written.  "A One Man, Two Person Show" featuring the Weiner psychiatrist Doctor Emil Hunger.  In the files.  As is a very involved comedy about the Third Reich.  Titles withheld.  A million bittersweet laughs, I guarantee.  And one that gets more relevant each passing decade. 
 
There are always serious undertones in a satire, but in my earliest days I considered doing some pure dramas.  Wisely, I outgrew the temptation.  Part of the Rock Star meets Shakespeare phase.  A Brian Jones as Hamlet was once kicked about.  Later it was Brian Jones as DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY.

Age and Reason have tempered these pursuits.  And parking the car called Ego, or the "Look at me!  Look at ME!" of the child performing in his room for a captive audience.  As I've said before, I stopped being a Narcissist when I got out of the pool.
 
But the ideas haven't stopped.  And when I think of the simplicity of a Spalding Gray type performance... well, maaayyybeee.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"I'm thinking outside the envelope. I'm pushing the box."

Two blog entries here on the subject of ideas, although this initial entry will probably boil down into randomness.  Ayn Randomness, more likely.  If I'm at Liberty to say.  Atlas Shagged.  The Fountainhead Rush.  Labour of love?  Or can you tell I'm not a fan?

For the present, I've been digging into and Digging into the past.  My Wayback Machine, the Re-Tardis, time-wise is always all over the map.  But lately it's been focusing on about 1956 to 1962 with jumps to the early '70s or the '40s.  As always, my obsessions are variable.  But the focus has been considerable on satire and art from the Cold War Era.  This is an outgrowth of my reading the Harvey Kurtzman biography.  I'd already acquired the 2 volume boxed collection of the complete HUMBUG, which I'm still savouring.  I added the hardbound Art Of Harvey Kurtzman since, reliving my collecting days of MAD Magazine and HELP!  Finishing that, I now begin the hardbound reprint of Kurtzman's JUNGLE BOOK.  Adding to the time frame and comedy connection has been the acquisition of The Ernie Kovacs Collection Volume 2.

B to Z movie sci-fi always adds to the flavour.  Red Scare or Radiation mutated cinema from the '50s.  Any film with ATOMIC or COSMIC in the title.  Or SHE as an adjective.  As in She Creature or She Demons.  Throw in a German character actor portraying a mad Nazi scientist, a Chinese actor who once played Charlie Chan's Number 2 Son as a hero's sidekick, AND
SHEENA, the Jungle Woman...Well, you have a recipe for delicious brain cell loss.  On a more reputable note, I did watch sixteen episodes of the Ray Bradbury Theater over two weeks.  And I took the little lady to the cinema to see TOMORROWLAND.

Comic art delights me.  Especially since it is a field I take no claim of talent in.  My art is confined to collage experiments, which still attract.  As well as the Triple Entendre photo thingees, that pop up here with my wife's collaboration.  And then there are the new style fumetti displayed.  Egg Y Nudo.  An experiment in comic strip that combines static HELP! Magazine fumetti, with Underground weeklies and Peter Blegvad LEVIATHAN style surrealism and alchemical philosophical humour.
 
Robert Crumb is popping back as well.  Psychedelic art of the '60s in the form of poster art is obvious in recent entries.  Wilson, Mouse & Griffin entice.  It hasn't been that long since I finished the HIPGNOSIS Portraits hardbound as well.  Never far from the Art.  And let me identify this diary's illustration.  A recently excavated work from my friend David Fontana.  A Dada portrait done on the sly, either in my apartment or his ocean near pad in Santa Barbara, mid-'70s.
 
Humour in an Archie and Jugheadular Vein.
 

Friday, June 5, 2015

"Who is Guy Guden?" (II)

Graven Images, Part 5.
 
Normally, I don't identify the recent quoted titles till after I've rounded them up in batches of fifty.  The Indexes of Meddles.  But for those who have never heard the joke, these are The Five Stages of an Actor's Career.  Insert any actor's name into the lines, and you have a Thespian's chuckle, bittersweet as it is only too true.
 
And so ends momentarily my Beast With the Five Fingers entries, inspired by poster art of which only 3 were theatrical in a limelight sense.  The first and last, of course, are artifacts of my labour of love, the wireless wonder that is this page and was SPACE PIRATE RADIO. 

My heartfelt thanks to those artistes and artisans who helped make my follies berserk, my moulins rude.  And there's more to come.  The Vatican 69 Vaults are opening.  The relics are revealing themselves.  "I Was A Sistine Age Werewolf."  Let's have some fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"Get me a young Guy Guden!"

Graven Images, Part 4.
 
Stanley Mouse at the Moulin Rouge.
 
Here is the poster for "Casanova's Lips."  Thanks to the success of "Love Rides The Rails,"  I was invited back to Santa Barbara City College. Not as a failed student, but rather as a mediocre instructor given the task to write and direct my own production.  To bedevil the classmates unfortunate enough to act in it and the technicians assigned to build it.  *giggles*
 
The poster art is designed by my good friend, David Fontana.  The photograph is by his brother Paul Fontana.  The Freddie Mercury Player portraying the notorious Casanova is, ahem!...your most obedient servant.  The art is sumptuous.  Belle Epoch ah Lips!  The posters were printed on three colour stocks of fine paper.  A light yellow lemon chiffon.  A Dutch naval orange.  And a darker tangerine dream.  I have chosen the door hinge for display here.  David also did the programs and a wonderful bit of graffiti by a young Pablo Picasso on a tiny portion of the gallery wall of the Louvre set onstage.  It is one of the sad bits of my life that I do not have a photo of that piece of Left Banksy.  We did have a temps tres bon bon, however.  It was for us, how you Americains say...a French Tickler.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Get me a Guy Guden type!"

Graven Images, Part 3. 
 
Toulouse-Lautrec at the Avalon Ballroom.
 
This is the poster for my 1973 production, "Nothing Is Sacred."  Done immediately after the successful "Love Rides the Rails" with members of the same cast.  Born by fumes of inspiration from the Firesign Theatre, Ernie Kovacs and Mad Magazine, this surreal day of television programming, attempted to do new things.  The mediocre local TV station being parodied was KCOW.  An appropriate moniker on several levels.  My idea for the logo was artistically rendered by cast member Ken Brigance.  The result was as comic book flavoured as a Fifties E.C.  When Giant Crabs invade your town, you know you will have a blast.  We did.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Get me Guy Guden!"

Graven Images, Part 2.
 
This poster is from the 1973 comic melodrama, "Love Rides The Rails."  I did not design, or to the best of my memory, have any input into its creation.  Actor R. Leo Schreiber is on the left, portraying arch villain Simon Darkway.  He was wonderful in the role.  I am on the right, his fiendish henchman, Dirk Sneath.  We had a marvelous time doing this production for Director Max Whittaker.  All of us, cast and crew, were delighted to be in what was Santa Barbara City College's most successful comedy performed in the original Little Theatre.  The success of this show gave me the freedom to do further, and further out, productions for the college.  

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Who is Guy Guden?"

Graven Images, Part 1.
 
I've been doing an archeological dig in the SPACE PIRATE RADIO archives, searching amongst its artistic riches.  My mood has been focused on the art of others.  Comic book and poster related.  So let us capture the poster spirit, with a Five Finger Discount.  Thumbs first:  Here is an initial variation on our Exalted Namesake.  My Sanctuary.  My Fortress of Solid 'Tude.  The Melting Watchtowre.  Rendered with a cartoonist's flair by collaborator Mike Merenbach.