Monthly Archives: January 2008

Sex and comics.

Art by Alex Barry.

Josie and the Pussycats were sexy for cartoons, but they were a fairly chaste trio — too shy to appear in full-frontal shower scenes. What would they have thought of Tijuana Bibles, the genre of comic-book pamphlets (circa 1930s), described by Pulitzer-winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman (Maus), in an introductory essay to the 2004 anthology Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America’s Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s, as “cheerfully pornographic and downright illegal . . . they seem to marvel at the very idea of sex”?

Today, explicit sex still thrives in underground comics and graphic novels, and the Washington Street Art Center (WSAC) is taking a close look at the genre with an exhibit titled “Inappropriate Touching: Dirty Comics and Art,” opening Friday. The show includes works from more than 20 contributors, including  Whatever artist Karl Stevens, Vice magazine back-page creator Johnny Ryan, autobiographical comic artist Ariel Schrag, and Chicago Comics artist Jeffrey Brown.

“I see this as a sort of celebration of the medium’s stranger histories,” says local artist Alex Barry. One of his contributions to the show is a drawing of a smiling animal of uncertain species, standing with one hand down his pants beside the words “Please don’t judge me.”

“I’ll admit that there’s some pretty twisted stuff in there, but my aim isn’t to offend anybody. It’s more like poking fun at our right-leaning culture through irreverent wit,” explains Barry.

Read more here.

Also, I met Lisa Loeb.

It’s enough to make you want to buy ugly.

I read an intriguing short story called “Off,” by Aimee Bender (who is a friend of Alice Sebold, according to Wiki) on Nerve yesterday. The writing is somewhat stream-of-consciousness at times, but it’s also very witty, and successfully combines hilarity and tragedy in the same way that I always adore/am astounded by when I read shorts by Lorrie Moore and J.D. Salinger. Plus it’s set from the point of view of a bored, rich girl, the pivotal object of fascination on television shows (both reality and scripted) in the past decade or so, and it makes me feel a bit like I’m reading Paris Hilton’s (or, insert name of any Manhattan socialite frequently mentioned on Gawker here) diary. Here’s an excerpt:

At the party I make a goal. and it is to kiss three men: one with black hair, one with red hair, and the third blond. Not necessarily in that order. I’m alone at the party and I have my drink in a mug because by the time I got here, at the ideal moment of lateness, the host had used all her bluish glasses with fluted stems that she bought from the local home-supply store that all others within a ten-block radius had bought too because at some inexplicable point in time, everybody woke up with identical taste. I see two matching sweaters and four similar handbags. It’s enough to make you want to buy ugly, except other people are having that reaction too and I spot three identically ugly pairs of shoes. There’s just nowhere to hide. I know the host here from highschool and she likes to invite me to things because for one, she feels sorry for me and for two, she finds me entertaining and blushes when I cuss. It’s how we flirt.”

Read the rest here.

And speaking of reality TV, I might get to interview Lisa Loeb face to face tomorrow. More on that later.

Photo Friday.

(Stolen from the Phlog. Read the Phlog!)

I recently discovered that the Library of Congress has a Flickr page, and I can’t stop looking at it. Srsly. I need to be banned, or I’m never going get anything else done. Here are a few of the best flicks – visit the actual page if you like, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The coloring on this one is amazing:

Description: “Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies. 1942 June”

“Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Mass. 1940 Dec”

“Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas. 1943 April”

“Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, [Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, Calif.] 1942 or 1943.”

Look at all of these bad-ass women! These ladies rock:

” Women at work on C-47 Douglas cargo transport, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942 Oct.”

“Woman machinist, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942 Oct.”

“An A-20 bomber being riveted by a woman worker at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif. 1942 Oct.”

“Yaqui Indians. [between 1910 and 1915]”

“Lincoln, Nebraska. 1942”

(I wonder how much longer that lasted.)

The penny, defended.

Read more here. Also, go see some drag photography.


Photo by Kelly Davidson, from “Drag Me Out, Drag Me In,” at the Paradise Lounge Gallery through March 7.

He is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.

Awesome op-ed by Gloria Steinem in the NYT today. A taste:

“So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.”

Okay, okay, I’ll get back to talking about music again soon. Here’s something to get you started – call it my best discovery in 2007 of a band that was around about 30 years before 2007:

Once again the New Yorker kills it.

In a good way, with this piece. An excerpt:

The candidate went on to patronize rival religions, administering quick head pats to Catholicism (“I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass”), evangelicalism (for the “approachability” of its version of God), Pentecostalism (“tenderness of spirit”), Lutheranism (“confident independence”), Judaism (“ancient traditions”), and Islam (“frequent prayer”—a bit feeble, that).

Missing from this litany, of course, was something to the effect of “I appreciate the deep commitment to reason of the agnostics and atheists.” Indeed, the only “religion” that Romney had anything rude to say about was “the religion of secularism.” He pointed scornfully at the “empty” cathedrals of Europe as evidence of “societies just too busy or too ‘enlightened’ to venture inside and kneel in prayer,” adding a little later that “any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty” has “a friend and ally in me.” Take that, NATO. On your knees.

Secularism is not a religion. And it is not true that “freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom,” as Romney maintained. What freedom, including religious freedom, requires is, precisely, secularism—which is to say, state neutrality in matters of religion.

The more I think about it

I shoulda gone with my instincts and kept Pocket Symphony on my “Top 10” list, because this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard: