Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Descent of Sockmonkey

3 local artists provide a rousing poke at seriousness.
Minister turned artist Marty Gordon collages vintage images from books, religious materials, and encyclopedias for a comic book style commentary on the many ironies within human nature. Gordon will be one of forty artists featured in the upcoming Lark Books publication, “Masters: Collage” coming out in May 2010.
Terence Healy’s
paintings on salvaged wood are an anthology of US culture via toys. His ongoing search at thrift stores for misplaced toys provides us with whimsical juxtapositions of Barbie and sock monkeys as well as the infamous Magic Eight Ball in this delightful selection from his Toy Life series.
Robin Harlow
paints surreal illusions of the dreams, and nightmares, of youth with a proclivity for 19th century Victorian imagery. Her large scale paintings employ a sweet sadness as a winged goat with party hat pronounces he is “Feeling Lost Without You” in the title. True to surrealism, she works unencumbered by social restrictions and creates freely from her imagination.

City Arts Magazine

Someone at work spotted my art in City Arts Magazine. It's being used to promote the upcoming show Descent of SockMonkey. What a nice surprise. Here's the page layout and a zoom in.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Freddie and Me: A Coming-Of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody by Mike Dawson
This graphic novel chronicles Dawson's life framed by his obsession with 70's rock band Queen. I saw this at the library and figured, "What the heck. I might as well give it a go." It was just okay for me. Dawson's art is fine and the story is fine. I just didn't find it particularly that interesting. It did, however, make me want to listen to Queen.
Small Favor: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
I think I may be done with the Dresden Files books. I slogged thru 3/4 of this, put it down and just couldn't be bothered to pick it back up. I was bored. It just didn't hook me. I absolutely hate that I haven't liked the last few books. I loved the series in the beginning. If you ask me, Butcher has too much on his plate and he's cranking these puppies out too fast. I can't tell you how many grammatical errors and typos I saw. That really gets on my nerves too. In all fairness to Butcher, I have to admit that I haven't liked any of the books dealing with Fae-related storylines. When he's stuck with the vampires, werewolves and ghosts, it's been great. So, I think I might be done. I'll probably see what the next one is about before I make a final decision but it's been a while since I've enjoyed this series.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Places I've Lived: Seattle

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Since the "Places I've Lived" feature is almost over, I thought I'd extend it by adding one that probably shouldn't be on here. When I moved to Seattle, I stayed with some folks that work at the theatre. It was so nice of them to open their door to me. I can never repay their kindness.
The house had a separate upstairs living area with it's own entrance. Gary's office was up there but it also had a small bedroom. That was my domain for 3 months. I didn't intend on staying that long but I couldn't find a job. Eventually I just had to move in with Sarah even though we weren't married yet. GASP! We bought a futon and I slept on it until the wedding. I guess we're probably some of the few folks with old fashioned values still left in the world.
I enjoyed staying with Gary and Sheri though. Their house is in Shoreline which is a great community. From the upstairs deck I could see Puget Sound. It was my first taste of seeing all the ships heading to and from the ocean. They live near a beach so I went there to think sometimes. Like I said, it was great of them to let me stay. It was a big help in a transitional time.
Next: Seattle Part Deux

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III
I never read these so I saw the first volume at the library and thought I'd try it. Weird. Not for me. I guess there must be something wrong with me because I don't worship at the altar of Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore. I guess I just prefer the superhero stuff. Call me old fashioned.
Chickenhare: The House of Klaus & Chickenhare: Fire in the Hole by Chris Grine
I enjoyed these books. The stories are simple and definitely aimed at kids or younger adolescents. I really love the art. Grine is very talented. (I love his robots on the Shoebox blog) His style seems reminiscent of Bone artist Jeff Smith. It's books like this that make me want to start drawing cartoons again. I understand that Dark Horse won't be publishing anymore Chickenhare books. Too bad. I hope Grine finds another outlet for his art.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Places I've Lived: Asheville, NC

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Just to catch you up, I lost my job in SC in April of 2004. Sarah and I had been dating for about a month. She lost her job a month after that. Consequently, we spent a lot of time together that summer. I burned up the roads between SC and NC. A couple from Sarah's church allowed me to use their garage apartment. They basically said it was mine anytime I needed it. I spent most every weekend up there during that summer. Eventually it was decided that I would move to Asheville and look for a job there.
I looked at many apartments and even found one that was a frontrunner but then I happened upon a sign for mobile home. After I saw it, I knew it was the one. It wasn't new but it was in good shape. It had 2 BRs, a laundry area and the landlord had just built a brand new porch. The best part of it was that it was located down a small lane on a beautiful piece of land. There were only about 10 mobile homes in this park and they were spaced pretty far apart. I could sit on my porch and view a hay field across the way. There was an apple tree in my front yard. It was shady and beautiful. I took it. Sarah and I actually made our first joint purchase for that home. We bought a porch swing and we loved it. I hated selling that when I moved to Seattle. I sold it to the lady across the street. I hope she's still enjoying it. It's unfortunate that Google Street View doesn't cover Apple Blossom Lane. It was a nice place to live.
Sarah and I both found jobs at the new A. C. Moore store that was opening. It's like Michael's only better. I worked as manager of recieving and she as classroom coordinator. It wasn't the greatest job in the world but we worked with nice people and it paid the bills. We spent time with friends, explored Asheville, ate (Asheville has a lot of good places to eat), made art (Sarah got me hooked on collage) and even participated in a theatre production. Unfortunately we knew that Asheville wasn't going to afford us opportunities to find a decent job. We loved Asheville but knew we'd have to leave if either of us wanted a career. I was unsure if I wanted to return to ministry. Sarah had thought about returning to teaching. She'd even put her teaching resume out online. That's when it happened.
Over the course of many months, Sarah began dialoguing with Taproot Theatre in Seattle. The opportunity fell thru once during the summer than came up again towards the end of the year. In January, Sarah flew to Seattle for an interview and by the end of February she left for NW. I stayed in Asheville to tie up some loose ends and joined her in June.
Next: Seattle.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I did. Last Saturday. I thought I had written about it on here but I guess I haven't. Oops.
I liked the movie. In fact, I enjoyed it very much. As a not-so-die-hard fan of the book (I think it's over-rated) I've only read it once. My impressions of the film are:
- For me, it works better as a film. They cut out all the stuff that slowed the book down for me. Still, I think a few minutes could have been knocked off the film as it is. I'm curious about the director's cut that is being released in June. It's supposedly 25 minutes longer. I'm not sure it needs it but I'm open to the possibility.
- The best part of the film for me was Jackie Earl Haley's portrayal of Rorschach. He was incredible. That guy deserves a comeback and I hope he gets it.
- The funniest thing that happened during the film was during the debut of Dr. Manhattan's blue johnson. The theatre was dead quiet then a girl near the front yelled, "Oh, shit!" Hilarious. Later, when Manhattan is descending some stairs and his indigo willy is about to get a close-up (thankfully it didn't) you could feel the nervous tension in the room along with a few giggles.
- This was the first time we had attended a movie at the Cinerama. It is a fantastic, renovated theatre from the 60's with state-of-the-art sound and a huge screen. It won't be the last time we go to a movie there.
Like I said, I really enjoyed the film and would like to see it again. I know it didn't do well on it's second weekend so it might not be long before we see it on DVD. It looks great though so do yourself a favor and see it on the big screen at least once.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Hold Steady

I heard an interview with this band on a podcast and decided to check out some CDs from the library. So far, so good. I really like their sound. It's obvious they are influenced by Springsteen (someone I don't care for). I've taken to saying, "They sound like Springsteen if he was any good." Truth is, it sounds like good, old rock and roll to me. I like it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Encaustic Painting

I have wanted to learn about encaustic painting (painting with wax) for about 25 years, ever since I fell in love with the art of Jasper Johns back in college. I finally got around to taking a class yesterday. I attended a workshop by Janet Miller, a very talented artist who has a studio in the Pioneer Square district. She spent a little time showing us how to do it and then allowed us the rest of the time to "play." I really enjoyed it and the time went too fast. I didn't try to create a masterpiece, I just played with the materials and the wax, trying to get a feel for it. If I were to start using encaustice I believe it would take a substantial amount of time to begin feeling comfortable with the medium. I asked Janet how long she worked with it before she felt "good" and she said a year. I don't know how feasible it is for me to try and do this at the apartment. I suppose to start basic it wouldn't take up too much space but finding room to store the stuff is the biggest concern. My hope is that we can find a way to do it but I'll probably wait until after I'm able to take Sarah to a class. If I get her hooked then I'll have a partner in this venture.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to make collage art. I have recently been exploring new directions to keep from getting into a rut.

Image: "we still wake up every day" by Janet Nechama Miller, mixed-media encaustic on book (7 X 9), 2006.


Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
The year is 1964. On a cold spring morning before the sun, Cory Mackenson is accompanying his father on his milk delivery route. Without warning a car appears in the road before them and plunges into a lake some say is bottomless. Cory's father makes a desperate attempt to save the driver, but instead comes face-to-face with a vision that will haunt and torment him: a dead man handcuffed to the steering wheel, naked and savagely beaten, a copper wire knotted around his neck. The lake's depths claim the car and the corpse, but the murderer's work is unfinished as, from that moment, both Cory and his father begin searching for the truth. The small town of Zephyr, Alabama, has been an idyllic home for Cory and his friends. But now, the murder of an unknown man who lies in the dark lake, his tortured soul crying out for justice, causes Cory's life to explode into a kaleidoscope of clues and deepening puzzles. His quest to understand the forces of good and evil at work in his hometown leads him through a maze of dangers and fascinations: the vicious Blaylock clan, who defend their nefarious backwoods trades with the barrels of their guns; a secret assembly of men united by racial hatred; a one-hundred-six-year-old black woman named the Lady who conjures snakes and hears voices of the dead; a reptilian thing that swims in the belly of a river; and a bicycle with a golden eye. As Cory searches for a killer, he learns more about the meaning of both life and death. A single green feather leads him deeper into the mystery, and soon he realizes not only his life, but the sanity of his father may hang in the balance.*

I have read this book many times. On my list of favorite books of all time, it is number 2 (after To Kill A Mockingbird). I have recommended it to many people and I have never had anyone tell me anything less than, "I loved it." It is a fantastic book written by an under-appreciated writer whose talent is equal to, if not rivals, that of Stephen King. (I got tired of King years ago) Unfortunately, McCammon isn't as prolific as King. Back in the early 90's, McCammon had some bad experiences with the publishing world and he dropped out. He has recently returned with a few books but I haven't read any of them yet. I don't think I need to read them to know that Boy's Life is his masterpiece. It's a magical book. Here's a sample.

"Men and women are still children deep in their hearts. They still would like to jump and play, but that heavy clay (of time) won't let them. They'd like to shake off every chain the world's put on them, take off their watches and neckties and Sunday shoes and return naked to the swimming hole, if just for one day. They'd like to feel free, and know that there's a momma and daddy at home who'll take care of things and love them no matter what. Even behind the face of the meanest man in the world is a scared little boy trying to wedge himself into a corner where he can't be hurt."

Do yourself a favor and read it. My lowest expectation is that you won't regret it. My highest is that the book will take it's place in your list of favorites, just like it has in mine.

* From the book jacket