Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving, and We’re Not Jiving

Happy Thanksgiving Charlie Brown
This year has been a disorienting whirlwind for us, but it’s been great. Like Snoop says: “Ups and downs, smiles and frowns.” There have been way more ups than downs and we have a bunch of folks to thank for that.
We are truly thankful for all the new and old friends that we have. We want to say thank you for all the love, support, encouragement, inspiration and blinding brilliance these people have so generously given us this year. Here they are, in no particular order, the coolest, most gifted group of people ever:

Justin Romito
Bryan Jones
Melanie Phillips
Marty Vaughn
Skip Vaughn
Bees' Family
Erik Groff
Erica Sheets
Ben Pederson
Humphrey Bilger
Justin Horne
Randall Friedman
Paola Nazati
Paul Celentano
Liz Scott
Danny Heller
Daniel Hipolito
Brandi Strickland
Jen Zahigian
Tracy Jager
Allison Newton-Durham
The nice guy from Chattanooga who sat beside us at the Phish show in Knoxville

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mutual Admiration Society

Imagine my surprise when trawling the internet I came upon this:
Irises - Keith Vaughn
And this:
The Last of the Jesus Acid - Keith Vaughn

on The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Myspace blog. I have no idea how these guys found me, but I’m way flattered. If you are unfamiliar with The Brain Jonestown Massacre don’t admit it to anyone, and check this out:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Norman Mingo, the Manet of MAD Magazine, (or MAD for Modernism)


Norman Mingo

Norman Mingo is one of my favorite painters. His work has a lot in common with that of Edoaurd Manet, another favorite. Both Manet and Mingo convey much about their subjects by depicting them with only a few specific details, the backgrounds are minimal and flat.

Edouard Manet, Dead Toreador, 1863

Manet’s work depicts styles and attitudes at the cusp of the twentieth century. His technique basically founded Modern painting.

Mingo’s work pretty much just uses a lot of visual puns to attract kids to spend their allowances, and remind us that Alfred E. Newman is an idiot born under a bad sign.

Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863

Manet employs his fair share of visual puns too. All those cats, flowers, and fish, aren’t fooling around. They represent exactly what you think they do. And, certainly it’s not missing the point to think that “Dejeuner sur l herbe” is sort of funny. It’s at least uncommon, even now, in it’s balance of technical merit and raunchy sense of the absurd.

Edouard Manet, Dejeuner sur l'herbe, 1863

Norman Mingo

Norman Mingo’s MAD Magazine covers have a way more obvious context in the Saturday Evening Post covers of Norman Rockwell. Both artists use narrative to convey a certain attitude and cultural position. Reading Mingo’s work as parody of the mainstream manners of the Saturday Evening Post, (except when it’s blatantly a parody), while accurate, feels reductive.

The way Manet and Mingo deal with comedy is similar.

Norman Mingo

They both have a fondness for lowbrow jokiness, which makes sense in both cases. Manet is only funny sometimes; most of his work isn’t funny at all. Manet and Mingo depict their subjects in strange world’s of their own, worlds that have their own physical laws yet are superficially similar to ours in the fine details. The subjects are presented in odd, stagey circumstances, and frequently they regard the viewer with an attitude of bemused nonchalance. “What, me worry?”

Norman Mingo

Edouard Manet, The Ragpicker

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back to Work

Jeff lynne
I'm not usually a "greatest hits" guy, but I am a liner notes guy. Today I was reading the liner notes of "All Over the World-The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra," and I came upon this bit of wisdom from Jeff Lynne:

"I had a lot of responsibility and it could get intense. But a good kickabout down the road would clear my head. Then, let's get overdubbing."

A kickabout for me and a kickabout for Jeff Lynne are likely to be two different things, but mine is no less good.