thoughts for march 2006

trail of crumb's

Posted 11 years, 7 months ago

Here’s your assignment. Get ahold of a copy of the dvd/video/laserdisc “The Confessions of Robert Crumb”. Also acquire the dvd/super8/whatever “American Splendor”. Either watch both of them back-to-back, or one day after the other. Start with “Crumb”. If you’re feeling adventurous, go to the local Barnes & Noble and peruse the shelf copy of Gotta Have ‘Em. Peruse doesn’t mean “steal”. It means “look at”. You could even buy it if you’ve got money to blow.

So, do all of that and see what happens. I borrowed those videos from the library, right after purchasing Joann Sfar’s book (see below). Now I’ve been bitten by the sequential art bug. Maybe I’ll reformat bat brown. Or maybe I’ll start with something fresh. I’ve got another project to finish first, but this sequential art idea will be good to kick around in my head for a while.

going sfar, and no farther

Posted 11 years, 7 months ago

I’ve just picked up the book Vampire Loves by Joann Sfar. The back flap on the cover of Vampire Loves says that Sfar has produced over 100 books since the early 1990s. Makes me wonder what the hell I’ve been doing. Oh yeah, working.

color films

Posted 11 years, 8 months ago

Anybody notice that two of the movies that are showing in theaters now are called aquamarine and ultraviolet?

poos pic

Posted 11 years, 8 months ago

New painting: miss poos.

misheard song lyrics

Posted 11 years, 8 months ago

After being reminded about the idea of misheard song lyrics, I decided to reconstitute a song I remember from childhood—including the secret words to the guitar solo. Somehow I knew about the Hebrides. But don’t ask me where Goalpost, Connecticut is. On with the show.

She keeps a-mowin’ the summer
In a pretty cabinet.
A jesters a-face she said
Just like Marie Antoinnette!
Buildup and Zebedee,
Cruise dressin’ calamity
Blobitty obbity obby ob sublime.

Caviar and cigarettes.
Goalpost, Connecticut!
Extraordinary and nice
She’s a Killer!

Clean… cutback with Hebrides
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow you mind.
Why try?
Recommended applespice,
Place to put an appetite
Any time!

Doont doont dune

Avoid complications
She never kept the same address (ding!)
In conversation
She spoke just like a baronettes!
Mandarin from China
Went down to Aunt Jemima
Thanagan siddently
You’re inclined…

She came naturally from Paris, (naturally)
But she could care less.
Fuss diddious and precise
She’s a Killer!

Clean… cutback with Hebrides
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow you mind.
Why try?
Recommended applespice,
Place to put an appetite.
Any time!

Doont doont dune. Wahrnar. Wahrnahr.
Wahrtin nar nar narnarrrr…
Woot doodle oodle-oo
Doot-n’-doodle-a-do
Woot-doodle-oodle-oo
Woot-a doodla doodla doodla
DO!(do) Do (do). Doot-da doo doo
Doot-dada doot-dada doot doo dooooooo
Doot n’ doot doot da dooowwrrr—
Rubberband!
She’s a swilligan (zlink!)
Graceful as a pussy cat.
Oh, temporarily out of action,
Temporarily out act—
She’ll absolutely drive you wild, wild!
Caesar Gootu.

She’s a Killer!
Clean… cutback with Hebrides
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow you mind.
Why try?
Recommended applespice,
Place to put an appetite
Any time!
Wahrnahr! nittlynittly Wahrnahr! nittlynittly Wahrnahr! nittlynittly(repeat & fade)...

auf wiedersehen

Posted 11 years, 8 months ago

Yesterday, the owners of the 107-year-old Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago turned off the lights and closed the doors for the very last time. Herman Berghoff, 70-year-old grandson of the founder, wants to retire and lease the building to his daughter for her catering business.

I was curious about the opera, so I got season tickets last year. I would take the train in early, so I could eat at the Berghoff before the performance. Since I went alone, I was always able to squeeze past the line and get a table for one in some eclectic little corner. While waiting for my dinner, I would attempt to sketch my surroundings. Even drawing the steins, the signs, and the stained glass, I never could capture the glowing warmth and rich laughter that seasoned the honey-panelled walls.

My great-grandparents were German, and so my grandmother. While my grandfather was Dutch, the earliest memories of my Chicago childhood are colored by German accents, games of pinochle, and the smell of cheeze blintzes frying in the iron skillet. So I tend to think of myself as German.

I remember one visit to the Berghoff, and while it wasn’t my first time there, it was the most important. After a disasterous first semester at a small college, I decided I wanted to go to art school. I put my best work in my portfolio, and my father and I drove to the American Academy of Art. My work was to be reviewed by Irving Shapiro, who was not only an excellent watercolorist, but also the president of the school. If you got the nod from him, you were in. At the time, it really seemed to be a desperate situation. I really didn’t know what I’d do if I didn’t get accepted.

My father and I celebrated at the Berghoff. It was 4:30 in the afternoon, with the winter sunset blinding through the windows. I remember all the wood and the old Chicago ambience of the place seemed to be very grown-up, like a place in old black-and-white movies where adults went to discuss very important things. My father told me once that he wished my grandfather was still alive, because he related to kids better once they got older, and not so well when they were little. I think that was true of my dad, also, at the time. It was a little awkward, just the two of us. But I feel that for the first time it was less like a father sitting with his child, and more like a father sitting with his son.

So the Berghoff Restaurant is closed. The barkers will auction everything off Saturday, and soon nothing but memories will remain. I’ll still have my memories, but they are doubly sad since I said goodbye to my father, who passed away from an unexpected heart attack only one month ago.
berghoff memorial