Category Archives: porn

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.

That whole Shriiimp thing

Photo courtesy of Shriiimp.com

A few things I’d like to point out, in light of some recent comments disapproving of this piece. First, the misspelling of “Juxtapoz” was a miscommunication between myself and my editor, and for that I’m sorry. I’m not sorry, however, for reporting the story to the best of my abilities. I am not a publicist, and I was not writing a press release to hype up Shriiimp. One of the ground rules for journalism is that a story should never be one-sided; a variety of points-of-view are always necessary. I interviewed a plethora of sources for this story, from a large group of Shriiimp-involved people, to art experts, graf experts, artists, and other people with strong opinions about the site. I reported back a variety of opinions, both for and against Shriiimp’s concept – i.e., those who take it quite seriously as art, those who find it to be misogynistic, and those who think it shouldn’t be taken so seriously.

I have no problem with people posting comments on the story. No journalistic career is free of personal criticism, not even for Deborah Solomon. If anything, I’m glad that it was something that got people talking. It’s a good thing when people are talking about art, or journalism about art, and obviously the anonymity of the Phoenix’s commenting system allows people who would never have the courage to e-mail or call me personally, and express their opinion to make biting and immature comments, with no risk of exposing who they are, or having to elaborate their opinions further. Having someone refer to my writing as “insanely horrible,” and a “steaming pile of shit” is not exactly pleasant but, as a co-worker put it to me today, “internet backlash is the first sign you’ve made it.”

Fake peace?

Rue Ste-Catherine photo by Christian et Cie from the Graffiti Archaeology pool.

Afterthoughts from this piece:

Questioning whether or not Lavender Diamond is an act – theatrically, not just musically – may be pointless. After all, every musician is putting on an act on some level, right? The optimist in me wants to believe that Becky Stark is the only person, aside from beauty contestants and kindergarteners, who actually believes that world peace is an attainable goal. Maybe she’s talking daily random acts of kindness – put money in meters that aren’t yours, stop for pedestrians at the crosswalk, hold open the door, buy a stranger coffee, good karma-type shit? Or maybe she doesn’t read the newspaper’s (any newspaper) dire headlines each morning?

It’s a nice thought, but two things make me question it. One, Stark is apparently buds with Miranda July (funny chic, creative force behind Me and You and Everyone We Know, writes for the New Yorker), whose career is, for all practical purposes, based on making us guess whether or not she’s kidding – even less overtly than someone like Sarah Silverman. But that’s the point – she’s like a comical Rubik’s Cube. And two, the opener for the MFA show was a dude named Dr. Doo, who drummed to pre-recorded mixes beside a screen filled with trippy screen saver-esque graphics. In between songs, a cartoon wizard preached to us about the critical importance of Stone Temple Pilots, and confused Slint and the Smashing Pumpkins. Textbook performance art, and when Lavender Diamond took the stage immediately after, in that context, their show felt performance art-y too.

Or maybe I’m reading into it too much, and I should just watch my neighbors watch porn.