November 8th, 2006

WowieKazowwie! No, that not one of my Polish ancestors, thats my reaction to the great review of DRAWING THE LINE on the website Jim Hill Media. Out of the Hickory State, its a great site on Disneyana and related animaton subjects. Merci and Gracias Jim!

November 08, 2006 weds
November 8th, 2006

Recently I was visiting my neighborhood comic book store when I chanced upon a wonderful tome I had been anticipating.

Artists seem to go in and out of fashion. Remember how a few years ago people seemed to never get enough N.C. Wyeth? And before that it was Leyndecker? Meanwhile Howard Pyle, Andrew Loomis, Pettigrew and their contemporaries lay in obscurity but for the most ardent researchers.

Wally Wood's name is not as well known as it was say, twenty years ago, but among his contemporaries he was a giant of the cartooning and fantasy illustration world, who came to a tragic end. This book by Steve Starger and J. David Spurlock is the most concise and thorough work on the life of this curious man I have read. They rely on many oral histories and reminiscences, plus comments from other great artists like Frank Miller, Will Eisner,R. Crumb, John Romita, art speigelman and Jack Davis. They all attest to Wood's amazing output.

Mad Magazine, Weird Science, Sally Forth, Mars Attacks. While some are action adventure cartoonists and some were comedy specialists, Wood moved easily in all mediums. His action/sci fi/fantasy was very dramatic, his comic work very funny, his sexy stuff very sexy and his sentimental work very, you know...sentimental. His Disneyland Orgy poster for an alternative magazine called the Realist in 1966 was so on-model, that many assumed it was done by moonlighting Disney animators. How could someone outside the studio precincts draw the characters that well?

courtesy of psychosaurus.com

This is probably the only part of the Disney poster I can show thats not pornographic.

This lonely man who ended his life with a .44 Magnum on Halloween night 1981 was one of the great cartoonists of the twentieth century. Hopefully books like Wally's World and the Wally Wood Sketchbook will help to restore the lustre to his brilliant career and introduce new interest in his work.

Birthdays: Roman Emperor Nerva, Bram Stoker, Sir Edmund Halley, June Havoc, Margaret Mitchell, Joe Flynn- the cranky captain in the 60’s TV comedy McHales Navy, Ricky Lee Jones, Bonny Raitt, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, Ester Rolle, Katherine Hepburn., Parker Posey, Gretchen Mol, Tara Reid

1789- Elijah Craig first distilled whiskey from Indian corn and strained it through a wool blanket. He lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky, so the stuff soon became popularly known as Bourbon.

1793- In one of the positive results of the Reign of Terror, the French Revolutionary Government opens the royal art collection of the Louvre to the public as a museum.

1805- Lewis and Clark stand on the sand at the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River.

1880- Famous actress Sarah Bernhardt made her American stage debut in La Dame aux Camelias. She made a further ten tours of the US, all billed as Farewell Appearances.

1887- Dentist-gunfighter Doc Holliday dies of tuberculosis or consumption at 35. He knew he had it for a long time, and in those days it was considered fatal and incurable. Some say this knowledge is what made him such a bold pistolero. But unfortunately for him, he won all his gunfights and died in bed anyway. His last words after taking a shot of whiskey were:" Well, I'll be damned!"

1929- New York’s Museum of Modern Art opened.

1943- The first one man show of American abstract painter named Jackson Pollock. Pollock later created his brushless dripping form of painting that earned him the nickname:”Jack the Dripper”.

1965- The Days of Our Lives soap opera first premiered on TV.

1966- Former actor and SAG president Ronald Reagan elected Governor of California.

1991- Marion Barry was re-elected Mayor of Washington D.C. despite serving time for smoking crack cocaine. Comedian Chris Rock wondered:” Who did he run against? Who was so bad you’d rather vote for a crackhead?”

" Vote, noun. The instrument of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country."

Ambrose Bierce, the Devil's Dictionary,1911

Birthdays: Francesco Zubaran, Madame Curie, Billy Graham is 88, Leon Trotsky –real name Lev Bronstein, Albert Camus, Al Hurt, Joni Mitchell, Joan Sutherland., Judy Tenuda, Clive Barnes

1914- THE MASS MOONING OF TSING-TAO- Japan had joined the allied side in World War One to attack German colonial holdings in China. The British Navy helped the Japanese Army attack the biggest German fortress in Asia, Tsingtao, home of their famous brewery, built in 1896. The surrendering Germans were angry that the British, their fellow white Europeans, with whom they had stomped the Chinese nationalists together, would aid another Asian race against them. Hadn’t that Englishman- Kipling wrote that poem about the “White Man’s Burden”? As the British troops marched in with the Japanese, the German P.O.W.'s executed a smart about-face, dropped trousers and executed a smart "group-mooning".

1917- RED OCTOBER, THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION- As the guns of the battleship Aurora boomed out across Petrograd (St. Petersburg) Lenin's Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace and overthrew the provisional government and established the first Communist state, the Soviet Union. Two Bolsheviks sent to take over the telephone exchange had forgot to bring their weapons but succeeded nonetheless. Red Army leader Leon Trotsky had at one point lived in exile in New York. This day a Bronx newspaper proudly put as it's headline:" Bronx Boy Seizes Power in Russia !"

Comrades! Have you bought Comrade Sito's book yet? The story of the painter with her bra full of pushpins made me laugh until I plotz!"

1937- Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels sent an emissary to Paris to talk Marlena Dietrich into coming home. But Germany’s greatest movie star hated the Nazis and all they stood for.

1945- The Weisbaden Mainfesto- at the end of World War Two thousands of priceless works of art plundered from museums across Europe were hidden by the Nazis in salt mines in Bavaria. The victorious Americans sent a squad of art curators to catalog the treasures, then were ordered to secretly ship them back to the U.S.. This order morally troubled the team, and a Colonel Obermeyer and a Captain William Farmer wrote a protest petition to the War Department and published it, saying we would be no better than the Nazis themselves if we took the artwork. Washington gave in to the embarrassment and the 200 works of Durer, Raphael, Titian and more were returned to their proper museums.

1956- Eugene O’Neill’s biographical masterpiece play “Long Days Journey into Night” first premiered.

1957- Communist East Germany debuted the Trabant automobile. Trabants or “Trebbies” quickly entered legend alongside Yugos and Edsels as one of the worst cars ever made. Eastern Europeans spent many happy hours on the side of the road trying to get them running and making dozens of Trebbie jokes. “Did you hear the Ministry of going to make Trebbies with dual extra long exhaust pipes? Why? Because then after it breaks down, at least you can use it as a wheelbarrow.”

1963- The movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” premiered at Hollywood’s new Cinerama Dome theater. Titles by animator Saul Bass, effects by Linwood Dunn and poster by Jack Davis.

1965- the first Pillsbury Doughboy commercial debuted. ‘Tee-hee-hee!”

1980- Rebel actor Steve McQueen died of cancer at age 50.

1991- “Even Me”-Los Angeles Laker Basketball star Irvin “Magic” Johnson admitted to the world that he was HIV –positive. He said he got it from casual sex and was retiring from the NBA. Coming soon after the death of movie star Rock Hudson , Magic Johnson’s example brought home to the world that HIV/AIDS wasn’t merely a “gay plague” but that straight people get it too. His life is also an example that an HIV positive person can still lead a full productive life.

1997- Someone published a stolen home video of Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and rock star Tommy Lee having graphic sex on their honeymoon, not to mention Tommy steering his boat with his John-Thomas. The Pamela-Tommy video became the most downloaded file on the Internet and rented video in history. In 1998 Pamela Anderson Lee was the subject of 1% of the Total Traffic on the entire World Wide Web!

November 06, 2006 Mon
November 6th, 2006

Ahh, my people!

Tomorrow in the U.S. is Election Day. Among other things I tried to show in my book DRAWING THE LINE, was how external conditions like national politics could effect your career, regardless of how talented you are. Artists like Michelangelo,Leonardo Benjamin West, Jacques Louis David, Daumier, Siqueros and many more at one point in their careers were involved in politics.

Even if you don't care about abortion, gay marriage or who your governor is, it's what politicians really plan to do next year that should worry about.

Baby Boomers should know that Washington insiders have dropped hints that they want to go after Social Security again next year. Students should be aware that as the US military gets stretched thinner and thinner to cover world crises, the call for a Draft may again come up. The cost of going to school has risen alarmingly as has health costs. All should be concerned that the House of Representatives and the Governors office have tried several times to reclassify overtime as being after forty hours, instead of the Eight Hour Day. So an employer could work you ten hour days for days without any additional compensation.

John Adams once said: "One Useless Man in a Disgrace; Two Useless Men are a Law Firm; Many Useless Men are a Congress."

So tomorrow is your best chance for two years to show them what you think. It only takes a few minutes.

Please Vote!

Birthdays: Sophocles 495BC, Joanna La Loca (the Mad- 1479), John Phillip Sousa the March King, Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormons, Ignacz Paderewski, Charles Dow of Dow Jones, Adolphus Sax inventor of the Saxophone, James Naismith the inventor of Basketball, film director Mike Nichols, Edsel Ford, Terrytoons animator and strike leader Eddie Rehberg, Sally Field is 61,John Olsen of the comedy duo Olsen & Johnson, Harold Ross the founder of the New Yorker magazine, Maria Shriver is 52, Ethan Hawke, Rebecca Romjin

1566-Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe got his nose cut off in a duel. Thereafter he wore a gold cup over the scar held in place by a string.

1812- On this day during Napoleons Retreat from Moscow, it first began to snow.

1869- Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 in the first college football game.

1916- The elderly cowboy showman Buffalo Bill made his next to last public appearance in El Paso Texas. El Paso had been as wild and bloody a frontier town as Deadwood or Tombstone, but now it was a quiet modern city. Telephone and electricity wires crisscrossed overhead and streetcars clattered down the streets where gunfighters once shot it out. Buffalo Bills parade seemed to make plain to all the final passing of the Old West to the New. The wild cheers brought tears running down the old scout's long white mustache. It was a fitting final bow. He died of prostate cancer within a few weeks.

1966- A great flood hits the City of Venice. An international effort is mounted to save her priceless artifacts. Venice never suffered floods until the end of the nineteenth century when a deep channel was dug in the Venetian lagoon to accommodate modern heavy shipping to the new harbor of La Spezia. This imbalance messed up the natural flood cycle from the Adriatic. Added to that the whole darn city is resting on thousands of wooden pilings pounded into a sand bar when Attila the Hun was still running around. Venice is still sinking a few inches each century.

1975- First appearance of the band the Sex Pistols.

Birthdays: Eugene V. Debs, Art Garfunkel, Roy Rogers, Tatum O'Neill, Elke Sommer, Ike Turner, Vivien Leigh, Will Durant, Joel McCrea, Sam Shepard, Bill Walton, John Berger

In Jolly Old England it is

in -1605 Sir Guy Fawkes, a Catholic nobleman, was caught digging a tunnel under the English Parliament and filling it with gunpowder. His goal was no less than blowing up the King and the entire blinkin' government! Sir Roger Catesby was actually the mastermind of the plot, but Sir Guy gets the fame.
Modern day Brits commemorate this as a kind of April Fools Day with bonfires and merrymaking. Children go from door to door asking : "A penny for Sir Guy, please." But in olden times it was also a let's have a good laugh on the Roman Catholics day.
This is why George Washington was against transplanting the holiday in America. Pope Day was celebrated in some American colonies but it died out after the Revolution. In 1775 Washington called it :A ridiculous and childish festival, burning effigies of the Pope." Many English folks I know told me they celebrate the day they tried to blow up the government because wouldn't things have been lovely if he had succeeded !

1940- President Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to an unprecedented 3rd term. His defeated Republican opponent- Wendell Wilkie, became the butt of jokes in many Looney Tunes.

1954- THE WRONG DOOR RAID- Baseball great Joe DiMaggio was stewing over the collapse of his marriage to sexy movie star Marilyn Monroe. He was especially sensitive to the rumors that she was seeing other men. This night Joltin Joe was having dinner with Frank Sinatra and a few friends when a detective brought him a report that Monroe’s car was spotted parked in front of an apartment complex on Kilkea Dr.. Enraged, he drove out to the building and kicked in the back door hoping to catch her en-flagrante. But Marilyn was staying in a girlfriend’s apartment upstairs. This was the home of a terrified old lady named Mrs Florence Klotz. We don’t know what she thought about her door suddenly kicked in by Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra and the RatPack but the tabloids had a field day.

1977- George W. Bush married Laura Welsh. Laura was a lefty Democrat who campaigned for George McGovern in 1972.

1979- National Public Radio’s news show Morning Edition started.