Category: ARTS

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Nyoka, Jungle Girl

Okay, it’s not exactly a panel, but it is sort of weird… And it did clue me into the some arcane tidbits of film history. For example, I didn’t even know about the fifteen part-serial Nyoka, the Jungle Girl (1941), which claimed to be based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs 1929 novel, Jungle Girl, even though ERB’s book takes place in Cambodia, and Nyoka (“snake” in Swahili) is clearly set in the Hollywood mythos Africa.

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Cabinet of Skeletons

Let’s ponder this odd cover by Russ Heath, which somehow perfectly describes the mood of the current administration’s Cabinet meetings. Just when it seems that everyone who knows too much has been stu

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The Music Business is Rough

The following panel explains the story in a nutshell: “He hired gangsters to get these bonds after his disguise as a musician failed to work. His violin bow fired the arrows.” Brilliant plan - and in

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In Search of Sanjuro Pray

Having searched high and low for my fine friend, John C. Pray, aka Sanjuro, I’ve just about given up hope of finding him. Repeated scourings of the net turn up no hits, so I’ve decided to provide some of my own in the hopes that _he_ might find _me_ one of these days. Sanjuro was a real one-of-a-kind. Surrealist, Haiku poet, social critic, Japanophile, former alcoholic and all-around gonzo journalist of the dust-blasted Albuquerque desert. We met as mutual wage slaves of the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, which owned B. Dalton Booksellers, the Albuquerque branch being New Mexico’s largest bookstore back in 1983. Our co-workers were a bunch of practically (if not verifiably) insane people, including Hugh Callens, Rachel “Moonbat” Dixon, Miss Piggy, Charles Vane, Ben Porter, Walt Carpenter & Marty Dusty Rose Snapless Bird. We all lived on the nervous edge of the 70s, which had not quite been extinguished down in New Mexico, apprehensive about the technology that seemed to be creeping in from the periphery. B. Dalton installed modems to send all the sales information to HQ up in Minneapolis every night, which seemed pretty futuristic to me back then. Charles Vane was given a primordial beta testing version of the original Macintosh computer, something like a bastard cross between a toaster and mini-tv set. I drew a doodle on it using MacPaint. Sanjuro and I frequented the happy hour at Japanese Kitchen which was barely fifty meters from the bookstore. We swapped tales of motorcycling, writing, psychedelic experiences and journalistic feats of derring-do. Sanjuro’s famous incident was the statewide media scoop of Patty Hearst’s capture in 1975 on KUNM radio. “Out of my way!” he shouted, thrashing the DJ onto the floor and sweeping the needle across the turntable with a fistful of teletype paper. “Breaking News! Patty Hearst, captive of, or conspirator with, the Symbionese Liberation Army, has been captured in Los Angeles.” What a moment! And how many gin fizzes, tequila sunrises, and straight up shots of Wild Turkey followed… as the years rolled by and the realization sank in: nobody gives a damn about politics, about revolution, about savage covert operations taking place in forsaken backwaters of Central America or in the fetid jungle swamps of American corporate boardrooms. Another round of bourbon whiskey and let it all ride on the twitching pony with the green nostrils and pupils as big as bowling balls! Because, damn it, if this flea-bitten horse can’t win a race at the State Fair in New Mexico, then it will have to be beer at Okie’s and green chile pizza at Jack’s for the rest of our stinking lives! What a treasure it is to have a political junkie, poet, and Master of Art History as a drinking buddy! Of course the alcohol nearly did him in and he had to kick it, but not until he had filtered a decade of hard stuff through his kidneys. And no thanks to the Hawaiian bartender at Japanese Kitchen who was always giving him freebies! For reasons of my own I had as much of a drinking problem as the next guy, but then again, I was already a haggard minimum wage-earning father by the age of 22, whereas John C. Pray was a single guy who managed to invent his own kind of drunken bushido.

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Anti-Art School

In case you dropped out of art school, or never had the chance to go, or if you are just a drunken bum who likes to draw - there is always Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. Indeed, this combination of

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Critics at Large

Among the many brilliant comedy sketches by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, their dialog over sandwiches at the art museum is a riot. Questioning the value of huge investments for public art, they pass

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Encyclopedias of Imaginary Knowledge

Books about imaginary fields of knowledge have always fascinated me. What started out in H. P. Lovecraft as an imaginary compendium of arcane knowledge Necronomicon, later became the fodder of wannab