Friday, May 16, 2008

The keg pump is at half mast....

It was Black Thursday yesterday with two icons in the world of Steve passing from this mortal coil.

First off, actor John Phillip Law passed away at the age of 70. Law appeared in at least two of my favorite sixties movies BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK! as well as other quirky treats like THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD and Otto Preminger's totally demented SKIDOO. (I'd forgotten he was in that last one, but it's hard to compete for attention in a movie when you're up against Jackie Gleason on acid and Carol Channing dancing around dressed like Captain Crunch.)

Law was a serious actor with chiseled good looks, but his career never quite kicked into high gear. Maybe it was those slightly crazy looking blue eyes. I mean, check this shit out:

Yow! Then again, I think Law's willingness to get a little nutty with it that added to his charm and made his movies so much fun. "I've had more kicks out of playing far-out things," Law told the Los Angeles Times in 1966. "It's like putting on a funny face and going out in front of people and going, 'yaaaaaa.' " Well put, and if he wasn't quite a household name, at least he had VIP status at the Playboy Club and a young Jane Fonda reached into his junk for her laser pistol. That's a pretty good resume in my book.

On the comic book side of things, cartooning legend Will Elder also passed away yesterday at the age of 87.

Elder is probably best known for his collaborations with Harvey Kurtzman, especially in MAD and on the LITTLE ANNIE FANNY strip for Playboy. (Maybe Hef is joining me in this overall mourning.) Elder pretty much defined the MAD style, what with his chameleon like ability to draw in different artist's styles, his flawless caricature and especially his ability to shoehorn an astonishing number of gags into a single panel. Elder oozed funny the way a southern sherrif oozes meat sweats.

Seriously, if you ever want to take yourself down a peg or two as a comic book artist, just look at Elder's work. Aside from the aforementioned MAD and LITTLE ANNIE FANNY there's also his work on TRUMP, HELP! and HUMBUG as well as some great movie posters and original paintings. The only thing Will Elder couldn'tdo as an artist was suck. You'd do yourself a solid by checking out the man's site.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cats n' Dogs n' Webcomics Talk

"...dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

Dr. Peter Venkman

If Bengo and Pug's webcomic Scratchin Post is any indication, the good Doctor was completely on the money. If you're not getting enough insanity from your own pets, or if perhaps you want the insanity of pets without all the peeing and pooping involved in owning them, or if maybe you just want a plain old fun time check this baby out.

Also, if you're like me and you're always scratching your head trying to find a good source of talk about webcomics, check out Bengo's blog Floating Lightbulb for the what's up on what's going down.

Yates brings the AWESOME

People who click links on my sites or are just plain hip to what's going down in this world should be aware of fellow Playground Ghost Chris Yates' madtacular webcomic Reprographics, (If not, FOR SHAME.) but I must also make sure you are aware that it is now available as a book type of deal called Set It To Awesome.

This can only be good news for people who enjoy fun and happiness and little one eyed aliens with twisty things on their heads. This is a perfect opportunity to enjoy Chris' adventures in the fresh aired wifi-less outdoors this summer.

P.S. Includes a guest strip by me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Meow Yow

A little delayed, but a new strip is up.

Available either here or with other fine strips at Jaded Publishing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Today we sing with Heino, tomorrow we conquer the world*

I first heard about the Teutonic troubador known as Heino from an interview with Jello Biafra in one of the "Incredibly Strange Music" books from Re/Search publications. (These books went a long way towards seriously effing up my musical sensibility.) Heino's considered something of a national treasure by older Germans and ironic hipster Americans. Heino is certainly a visually arresting figure, what with his tall, oddly shaped platinum blonde hair and his omnipresent dark sunglasses. (Heino suffers from Graves-Basedow disease, which makes his eyes buggy and sensitive to light.)

The most noticeable thing about Heino's music is that it is waaaaay fucking German. I mean we are talking Kraut-To-The-Infinite-Power. Even when Heino is singing one of his many songs about Central and Southern America, there is no doubt of his Deutschland-ness. Seriously, this Octoberfest music could make Utah Mormons drink beer. Heino's baritone will not be denied.

I have a certain affection for Heino, having once made him a guest star in an early comic. Below are a couple of tastes of the HEINO EXPERIENCE.

The men in this first video who are "Singing Mit Heino" have got to be the most dead butch em-effers ever...even the guy with the neck kerchief.


*The menacing quote used as the title for this post is from the David Letterman Show, on which Heino made an appearance.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Paperback Babylon

One of our cherished inheritances is a good chunk of the collection of paperbacks my Wife's late Grandmother had built up. I think the original appeal was the cover art. I've become a big fan of the work of the talented and prolific Robert McGinnis who I consider to be the Gustav Klimt of the drugstore racks, and who did the covers of a large number of these books. (Pond Press not too long ago released a nice book collection of covers with a checklist.)

Also, it's just plain nice having the books around as objects, what with their slight whiff of paper decay and the conjuring up of mid 20th century America mass entertainment. (I like to imagine Tommy Newell's character Richard Sherman in The Seven Year Itch working for these publishers.)

Finally...THOSE BLURBS! Heaven's to murgatroid that's some racy-ass man fantasy! I wonder if the publishers ever realized that their product would have devoted followers who were older women living in Northeast Vermont?

Hey, despite not being an older woman, I suppose I should read one some time!

Here's a few covers from one of her fave series Mike Shayne along with the blurbs from the backs. Sorry I can't provide smell too, but I encourage you to huff any old paper you have lying around.


Not that Mike Shayne had any objections-who would when the lady has violet eyes, full lips and hair the color of cornsilk?

Still, with her husband dead of a heart attack only two days before, even tough, torrid Mr. Shayne was shocked when she whispered, "I want you."

Especially with the strong possibility that in this case the death of the lady's late husband had been a matter of murder.


First there was a murdered man-Mike Shayne's client.

Then there was the murder weapon-a filing spindle from Shayne's office.

And then there was the pair of dainty panties left behind-belonging to Shayne's secretary.

All the clues added up and pointed to the killer-Michael Shayne, private eye.


She was beautiful, blonde, and willing, with all the right measurements and all the wrong morals. To a guy just out of stir, she was the kind of dream that had warmed him all those cold nights in an icy cell.

She had provided everything. The food, the drinks, and herself as the entertainment. Now to top it off, she wanted to stake him to a bankroll and cut him in on a job with a $200,00 take.

During his 13 years in the prison, there were only two things he had wanted. The second was the soft warm body of a dish like her-in his arms. But the first was the cold, dead body of Mike Shayne-in the morgue.


Friday, March 28, 2008

When you're hot, you're hot...

Good news for people like me who are obsessed with defunct advertising mascots! (Hey! What's with the looks?) A news blurb courtesy of Cartoon Brew says that Renegade Animation has obtained the rights to the Funny Face characters and is working on a pilot for a potential cartoon series.

(This is a color version of a picture I did for the last issue of GRRL zine waaaay back towards the end of the 20th Century featuring Funny Face mugs.)

For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, some history: Back in the sixties Pillsbury (They of the giggling dough dude) were jealous of the bucks General Foods was raking in with Kool Aid. (Fun fact: Originally Kool Aid was a liquid concentrate called "Fruit Smack". No wonder Kurt Cobain used to use the stuff to die his hair...) Figuring to outdo Kool Aid's pitcher-with-a-face-draw-on (Later to be known as "Kool Aid Man") Funny Face drink packets featured a whole menagerie of cartoon characters, such as Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemon, Loudmouth Lime...and more controversially Injun Orange and Chinese Cherry. (These were later changed to the less racially divisive Jolly Ollie Orange and Choo-Choo Cherry.) Additionally, they created a barrage of merchandise featuring the characters, most popularly a set of drink mugs. (You can see a slew of Funny Face premiums and packages here at the wonderful Imaginary World site.) Unfortunately, although fondly remembered, Funny Face never did that well against Kool Aid. It didn't help that in the sixties is was made with cyclamates, and even after they were removed there was the perception among some that the stuff could still kill white rats.

So will the cartoon be any good? I admit I've never seen Renegade's TV shows Hi Hi Puffy Amy Yumi or the Mr Men show, but I do remember when Elmo Aardvark was running strong. That and other shorts of theirs I've seen were highly entertaining, so here's hoping...

In the meantime to whet your appetites (Or thirsts, as the case may be.) here's a couple of vintage Funny Face spots:

The sixties version with the original politically incorrect lineup.

The seventies version with less cancer and less appealing art direction.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ABC with two extra D's

It's come to my attention that one of the hottest YouTube vids right now is a demonstration of French designer Marion Bataille's new pop-up alphabet book ABC3D , and that it's the brainchild of fellow Playground Ghost Colleen AF Venable, who also provides the hands! (She being the creator of the always fun-tastic Fluff In Brooklyn webcomic.) It's been blogged about on the New York Times webpage, and the book(Although not due to be released for 8 months.) has shot up to #160 on Amazon's rankings.

Check out the video below. If you want to pay back some joy, leave Colleen a nice rating or comment here to help Roaring Brook Press realize what a marketing genie they have.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Great Scott

Whatcha Reading: The latest installment...

Okay, this one's serious old news to a lot of comic readers, but I've just gotten around to it..."It" being Bryan O' Malley's SCOTT PILGRIM comic.

For the uninitiated: the comic's titular hero is a scruffy Toronto resident who's the bass player for the band "Sex Bob-omb". At the outset of the series Scott (Who's 23) is having a rather chaste boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with the seventeen year old Chinese-Canadian high school girl Knives Chau. Scott's fairly satisfied with this slightly jail bait-ish romance...until American ex-pat delivery girl Ramona Victoria Flowers rollerblades into his dreams and then his life. Scott wants to date Ramona, but to truly secure her love he must defeat her Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends in bizarre combat rituals.

If that last part seems a bit weird,it seems a lot more normal in the comic itself where slice of life romantic comedy brushes up against a surreal sensibility that's part video game and part manga. It's not unusual for characters to have bizarre super powers or generally subvert the laws of physics or common sense. Yet it all works somehow, or it least I think so.

These books are generally shelved with manga and there's certainly a strong influence evident, but O'Malley keeps the approach fresh and avoids the kind of paint by the numbers slavishness that bogs down so many Japanese influenced Western comics. His chops have grown impressively over the course of the series. The linework is lively and the images practically jump into your lap. And it's funny! O'Malley uses everything from dialogue to labeling to keep your face smiling while you read.

So consider me a convert. I'm already chomping at the bit for volume 5 where Scott must confront THE TWINS. (Eek!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Saturday Morning Breakfast Psyche-Out

A little shmear of somethings for your weekend...

In the late 60's/early 70's the two biggest cartoon cocks of the rock were SCOOBY DOO and The ARCHIES. The success of these shows paved the recipe for most of the cartoons that followed for years: Groovy Mystery + Teenagers (Mix of cool kids and neurotic cowards)+ Goofy animal sidekick + big musical number at the end. The musical numbers tended to either involve a band playing, people running around being chased by bad guys or some combo of the two. It's not surprising that these segments were popular with animation houses of the day, as they usually featured 50% or more recycled animation mixed with a lot of cartoon psychedelic foofah. Combine this with the sugar stimulated brains of the target audience and SHAZAM! Instant stupefication!

Here's a few musical numbers for you cats and chicks:

As we see here, the Hardy Boys realize that solving capers for their Dad isn't all there is in life... there's also rockin' out in front of screaming babes! Heck, check out the blonde number on stage go-go dancing her little rotoscoped heart out! (Warning, this clip is not recommended for epileptics...)

Next up, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kids! Yes, you heard it right. There's no real relation to the Newman/Redford movie, although I'd like to imagine at some point someone said "The next time I say, "Let's play a gig someplace like Bolivia" Let's play a gig someplace like Bolivia!"

Note that at least in this case they give the extraneous rotoscoped blonde girl a tambourine to play with. "Look! I'm a musician!"

Finally, we have the opening segment of MISSION: MAGIC featuring...Rick Springfield! Yes, that's right, before Rick was breaking hearts on GENERAL HOSPITAL or singing about how much he'd like to cock-block his friend Jessie, Rick had long hair, wore sweater vests and lived in a magic land on the other side of a chalkboard with a little blue owl. CONSIDER YOUR MIND BLOWN. (Catchy tune eh?)

Have a groovy weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Sixties, Eighties style

Okay, this Wednesday I figured I'd break from French music and posts some YouTube clips of bands from the good ol' YEW ESS AAY!

One of my favorite bits from an old issue of Daniel Clowes' Eightball comic where he was giving predictions of the future. One of his prognostications was that rather than have anything new, nostalgia for past decades would just rehashed endlessly. He illustrated this with an amusing fight between a guy who liked the Seventies version of the Fifties (Like "Happy Days") and a guy who prefered the Eighties version of the Fifties. (Like the Stray Cats)

I'm as guilty of this as anyone...but hey, it's fun! So I figured I'd post some examples of the Sixties as interpreted by the Eighties. It's weird to think of the juxtaposition of the two decades, as the Eighties seemed on some level like a refutation of the Sixties. It's worth remembering that inbetween New Wave, Hair Metal and Early Rap there was also a fair amount of 60's nostalgia. Tie-Die and paisley shirts made their brief comebacks, the Monkees reunited and the Grateful Dead finally had a hit single. Here's some examples of bands that made new music with an Aquarian twist, known under the all encompassing monker "The Paisley Underground":

First up, The Three O'Clock. These guys started out as a somewhat punkier outfit called The Salvation Army...until the well known charity group called foul. The band gradually developed a more psychedelic pop sound, sort of like the Lemon Pipers but with modern synthesizers. Like their contemporaries The Bangles the got a major labeol deal and had Prince writing them material. Unlike The Bangles, this effort (Which lacked a lot of their signature sound.) totally tanked and the band broke up. Check out lead singer Michael Quercio's bitchin' Partridge Family outfit. (He actually looks a bit like a teen idol version of "Z-Man" from the movie BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.)

Next up is The Long Ryders. These guys were an example of the "Roots Rock" movement of the time that drew inspiration from bands like The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. The band seemed poised for a larger audience, but took a hit authenticity-wise when they and fellow roots rockers The Del-Fuegos appeared in a series of Miller Beer commercials ("Miller's made the American waaaaay!") and they too disbanded before the decade's end. (Although they have recently reunited for some gigs.) Watching this vid, I can see they have the Peter Tork mop top hair shake down to a science.

Finally, representing the Garage Rock Revival, we have The Chesterfield Kings. Unlike the two preceding bands, The Chesterfield Kings never had a major label record...which ironically may be why they never broke up. Bands like these paved the way for the plethora of "The" bands of recent years, too bad they never saw all that cash.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hogans scoop Emerald Isle

Due to scheduling problems, this year we at Hogan Manor are having our annual St Patrick's Day party a week early. The luck of the Irish still persists though, as we are still having the traditional bad St. Patrick's Day party weather. (Freezing rain is a new twist.) That person you see skidding off the road may be one of our guests, so please treat them kindly.

If you never see another update here after tonight, blame the Jameson's.

Slante bitches!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nous aimons Serge Gainsbourg

It's wednesday, so how about some more French music? This time out the focus is on the late Serge Gainsbourg, who probably embodies the notion of the "Naughty Frenchman" more than a hundred "Lucky Pierre" jokes. Gainsbourg delighted in causing outrage, whether by singing a raunchy reggae version of the French national anthem or doing a duet with his preteen daughter called "Lemon Incest". Here's a few choice tranches of Serge:

Let's start out with Serge's biggest hit "Je t'aime... moi non plus". This orgasm laden number was too hot even for original vocalist (And Sege's one time lover) Bridget Bardot to handle. Serge eventually moved on to a relationship with actress Jane Birkin who agreed to handle oohing and aaahing chores. The song went on to massive sales and Vatican condemnation.

Next up is a song that Bardot DID agree to do. Not all that naughty (Not that you can ever be too sure with Gainsbourg. Those sound effects could signify almost anything.) but it sure seems appropriate for this site.

Finally, not a song, but a classic talk show incident that really sums up how Serge's head worked. (Not necessarily work safe audio-wise.)

Have a great wednesday and remember to cherchez la femmes....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lay me among the swee' peas....

The "Whatcha reading dept.":

Lately I've been reading a collection of "Thimble Theater" daily strips circa 1930-1931. For the less cartoon savvy, "Thimble Theater" was the strip that introduced "Popeye the Sailor Man" to a waiting world. Popeye wasn't there from the begining though. Elzie Segar's "Thimble Theater" first appeared in the New York Journal back on December 19, 1919. Originally the strip focused on Olive Oyl, her boyfriend Ham Gravy and her brother Castor Oyl. Popeye didn't join the cast until nearly a decade later on a January 17, 1929 as a minor character.

At the point I'm reading Popeye's been around for over a year and the strip's adventures largely revolve around him and Castor Oyl. (Starting out with the introduction of long time villainess The Sea Hag.
) What's interesting at this point is that while Popeye has started to take on a bigger role in the strip and evolve into his more familiar persona, he isn't quite there yet. He's got the familiar sailor suit, but his face is longer and it's made more explicit that he's old and missing one eye and all his teeth. (In one hospital sequence our politically incorrect hero smacks down and swears at a nurse who dares to bring him soup, demanding instead beef or salt pork. When the nurse complains that he has no teeth to chew with, Popeye asserts that "I kin gum it sumpin' arful-I got swell insides anyways-I even eat nuts!")

The early Popeye is something of a less heroic figure. He's brave, albeit in a somewhat scrappy sadistic fashion (He repeatedly tells one villain "Snorky, ya got a chin I loves to touch" before punching him.) but his superstitious nature leaves him deathly afraid of "Evil spiriks". He's also not the most honest of guys. Popeye frequently takes credit for Castor Oyl's detective work, and in one sequence he sets out to buy loaded dice for playing craps. (It's suggested that Popeye has a bit of a gambling problem.) He doesn't yet have spinach as a super powered backup, he's just really, really one point absorbing multiple gunshots at close range and surviving. Finally, it seems like Segar was still experimenting with catchphrases and whatnot. Although Popeye's already doing the familiar "Blow me down" bit, he also frequently talks about him or his opponent "Laying among the swee'peas" as a euphemism for defeat or death. (Segar would of course finally indulge his sweet pea obsession with a Popeye's infant ward.)

So it's some fun (If somewhat crude) stuff with an endearingly rougher edged Popeye. I'm reading one of the old 90's collections, but Fantagraphics Books has a a new set of reprints available. Just to remind you how everything turned out, here's the very first Popeye animated cartoon:

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Ugh, I'm now getting over my second cold in one month (How I got this second one is beyond me, I'd just started a health regiment that week.) and I am happy to see February gone gone gone. Now if winter itself could join it. There's been enough snow to dismay a mastadon this year, and I am more than willing to put up with the inevitable mud and thawing dog turds if I can just see ground again. Under the circumstances, I suppose I should be thankful for my relatively small and stubby driveway. (I was amused though, that a "College student needing tuition money" left a flyer in my mailbox offering to shovel my driveway for 20 bucks. 20 bucks for less than a half hour's work? Shouldn't that be the goal after you graduate?)

With this winter being the worst worldwide in awhile, some people are saying we are now facing Global Cooling. I'm not convinced just yet that Al Gore has been punking us and it's time we all bought Lincoln Continentals, but if we are going to freeze to death I prefer the explanation in this vintage radio program. A conspiracy involving the northern lights and transdimensional cold craving woolly bear caterpillars who sing vowels? How wild is that?

By way of explanation, that show is an episode of "Quiet Please", a classic old time radio show created and written by Wyllis Cooper who also created the better known "Lights Out", series. Ol' Willis crafted plenty of weird and imaginative stories, including the best known "Quiet Please" tale "The Thing On the Fourble Board" which is probably one of the creepiest mixes of terror and romance ever. (Seriously)

Chilling radio on top of chilling weather. It's the sadist/masochist in me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yé-yé Yeah!

What's that you say? Got the late February hump day blues? How about a steamy soufflé of swinging sixties yé-yé merveilleux-ness?

Yé-yé was the French pop movement that mixed influences from the British Invasion and the Girl Groups with a subtle dash of Jacques Brel and Francophone ennui. Yé-yé is considered to include non-French performers like Petula Clark, and it certainly had it's share of boys (Like Françoise Hardy's future husband Jacques Dutronc.) but it's probably the hoemgrown french yé-yé jeunne filles who are best associated with the scene. Here's three of the most famous:

Françoise Hardy

(Wheee! Upskirt action!)

Sylvie Vartan

(The Barbarella-esque art direction in this clip is AWESOME.)


("Aqua Net, Je t'aime!)

For more info on this Gallic Go-go scene I recommend checking out the website Yé-Yé Land.

Stand by for ADVENTURE

Okay, for a switch here's something that has nothing to do with booze. (Which isn't to say you might not enjoy booze with it...)

One of my fave obscure old cartoons is a little number called COLONEL BLEEP. I first became aware of the Bleepster back in the 90's when I read an animation magazine article on him. Colonel Bleep was having a bit of a mini revival, what with having the episode "The Treacherous Pirate" included in Speed Racer The Movie and two videocassettes having been released by Tapeworm Video. I missed out on all that at the time, but later managed to get a bunch of episodes on a bootleg video off of eBay. A lot of things don't live up to my anticipation of them, but such was not the case with Bleep.

Starting in 1945, the inhabitants of the planet Futura begin witnessing man's atomic age culminating in guided nuclear missiles. To the Futurans this means trouble, "Trouble in SPACE!" The "Futura Interplanetary High Command" thus sends Bleep to earth to do...something. With pretty much no explanation why or how, Col. Bleep hooks up with Squeak (A little boy puppet in a cowboy costume) and Scratch .(A bald caveman who was blasted out of his cave by an atomic explosion.) The three get a fly glass domed pad on "Zero Zero" island and proceed to have a bunch of far out adventures which don't seem to have much to do with nuclear proliferation.

Colonel Bleep was the first color cartoon made for TV, and color was pretty much it's one nod to lavishness. The need to economize can be seen in Bleep himself, his body merely a series of white lines perched on top of a circle. (Representing some kind of minimalistic alien unicycle I guess.) Bleep's bubble helmeted gumdrop shaped head doesn't actually omit speech so much as make a bunch of sounds resembling the warbling of an electronically treated flute. In fact, our heroes pretty much never talk, leaving the heavy lifting to the narrator. (In Squeak's case we are given the somewhat weak explanation that Squeak can't speak "Because as you all know, a puppet cannot talk for himself!" Independent thought and locomotion sure, but talking? Feh!) I can forgive all these attempts to save costly and time consuming lip synching on the strengths of narrator Noah Tyler's efforts. Dear God this man has heart! Whenever our three merry heroes are in trouble Tyler wails and laments the situation like a tortured soul (I like to imagine him rolling around on the floor tearing his hair out.) stopping just short of crying "OH THE HUMANITY!"

To compensate for lack of fluid animation, director Jack Schleh frequently has the characters spend their spare moments doing extreme squash & stretch poses climaxing in having them swoosh around the screen in a burst of sparkly stuff before returning to the spot they were standing in. It may not make any sense, but brother does it look WILD. That maybe best sums up Colonel Bleep's appeal. In an era before kid's cartoons were designed by committee and prescreened by educators, Colonel Bleep just seeks to get it's sugar soaked youth audiences rocks off with as much frantic action as humanly possible. The results are a hallucinatory revelation, to say the very least.

A couple of years ago Alpha Video released a DVD with some of the good Colonel's adventures so you too can thrill to Bleep's battles with Doctor Destructo, The Black Knight,Black Patch the Space Pirate or whatever other wonderfully cockamamie thing creator/writer Robert D. Buchanan could come up with to throw at them. For a taste of what to expect, click the link below for Bleep's first adventures:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mardi Gras in the Big Freezy

Saturday Burlington had it's big Mardi Gras celebration (Much like with the primaries, we're way later than everyone else.) highlighted by a parade hosted by local brewery Magic Hat

(I didn't have a chance to photograph Heather's Magic Hat sign for Number 9 beer but it basically looks like this.)

This is the 13th year these counterintuitively frostbitten shenanigans have been going on. It mostly amounts to a big float competition (With beads and candy being pelted at spectators.) and any nearby establishment serving alchohol being packed tighter than a refugee camp. Burlington being decidedly less laissez-faire than New Orleans, you won't see people staggering around in the streets holding gi-normous hurricane cocktails or flashing their breasts. (Aside from the inhospitable weather, the fact that the parade is to benefit Burlington's Women's Rape Crisis Center it MIGHT send the wrong signal...)

I was actually involved with a winning float back in the mid-late 90's. At the time I managed the local indie record store Pure Pop Records and they'd joined the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, a collective of non chain stores using their "Taste maker" status as a means of getting record companies to spend money on them promoting up and coming bands. (The music business was just starting to tank a bit. HAH! Just wait until the new millenium starts boys...) Anyhoo, Virgin Records was promoting a band called SILVERJET (Not to be confused with a current band out of Sheffield England.) and the store owner got the idea to use the label's money to construct a big silver jet float for the parade and put the band on it. (Also arranging for the band to play a few songs near the parade route.) He got a sculptor friend to build the float while sometimes American Elf character Kerrie Mathes and I did the detailing. When the big day came it was colder than a subprime lender's heart and the band refused to get on the float or perform at the event. PUSSIES! The fallout was that despite the band's non appearance, the float won the competition and the store got a full Magic Hat keg party. The band, on the other hand, quickly fell into alt rock glut obscurity and you can get their one major label release for a penny on Amazon. The moral: NO GUTS NO GLORY. One does not trifle with Burlington lightly!

(Not that I had any interest in freezing my ass off on the float either...)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And lo, there was BLOG

Tap, tap, this thing on?

To quote Smokey the Genie from the Bugs Bunny cartoon "A-Lad-In His Lamp":

"I'm here! I'm here! Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! Feast your eyes on me! It's too good to be true, but I'm here! I'm here!"

Thus begins my new blog. I will assail your tender brains with the flotsam and jetsam of my world, a dreamy reverie of art, pop culture and booze. Drift down into the pulsing ripples of blogness, deeper...deeper...what's that gummy popping sound you hear? It's YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS EXPANDING. You're welcome!

So, to add another quote, this time from the incomparable Chuck Barris:

"We'll be right back with more STUFF."