Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lowest Common Denominator

The Best of LCD, The Art and Writing of WFMU-FM has arrived in bookstores. The always weird and wonderful WFMU is the country's premier freeform radio station, playing virtually everything audio and specializing in the most obscure underground music imaginable. If the sounds of Rodd Keith, Lucia Pamela and the Shaggs are music to your ears, you will find them all within the vaults of WFMU. Whether your groove is Exene, Esquerita or Esquivel, the little Jersey station is the heartbeat of a universe that remains hidden to the packaged pop of the 21st century.

Published by Princeton Architectural Press, the book features the best writing and artwork drawn from 25 strange and fascinating issues of this now defunct, sorely missed zine. The contributor list is a virtual who's who of underground and alternative artists like Charles Burns, Justin Green, Kaz, R. Sikoryak and Jim Woodring——heady company indeed. Also present are old friends Dan Clowes, Gary Lieb, Terry LaBan, Jay Lynch and Harvey Pekar. I'm honored to be part of this bunch, represented with my Rudy Vallee and Phil Spector bio-comics and the one-off "Neanderthal Nancy" shown below. Thanks to Rex Doane and Ken Freedman for originally bringing me into the fold and to Dave "the Spazz" Abramson for including me in the collection.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Toy Karma at Rotofugi

This past month has flown by for me as I've been fortunately swamped with various freelance work. So it's with some chagrin and more than a little cold sweat that I'm just getting around to posting about the incredible Toy Karma show at Rotofugi Gallery.

Lesson learned, always bring a camera! I wish I had recorded for myself the many amazing figures, paintings, and alien artists who had gathered for the evening. Instead, I've had to "depend on the kindness of strangers," for the images in this post. It was a real treat to meet husband and wife art partners Zakka and Rae Huo, whose good grace and fiery flash provided the photo below. That's me getting anxious about spies from Chaiyo trying to co-opt my Ultraman painting. Check out more of Rae's photo work here.

First on the scene (if not first in line for the exclusive toys) was the Omni-Monster himself, Geozilla, who snapped this terribly flattering shot of me struggling to keep my eyes open. No matter, it was the M-1go vinyl Matango pendant I was wearing that George was after. That's Julie in the background—she and Deborah are pretending they wouldn't be caught dead in the company of a man who considers a pink vinyl mushroom monster a fashion accessory.

The joint was packed, Jack. Whitney and Kirby are to be applauded for this historic event bringing the Urban Vinylists tail to toe with the Kaiju Kollectors. Security was necessary to monitor the legal occupancy for the cozy gallery space. Next photo is courtesy of Main Man Mark Nagata and gives a hint of the congestion during the opening. Shown au derrierre are, left to right, Ms Julie in hoops and ponytail, Princess Deborah (at least her platinum mane), Ms Denise and Ms Kathy. Respectable citizens all, hardly the types to cozy up to scaly denizens of the void except for the occasional slice of nigirizushi. You know, collectors often remark upon a piece of "tasty vinyl."

For more coverage, please check out Geozilla's Flickr page and Kirkland Jue's page on his Toybot blog. Thanks again to Rae, George, Mark and Kirkland for the offer of their photos!

I exhibited the original acrylic paintings for Better Homes and Robots, Tokyo Throwdown: Ultra Kaiju Daikessen, and Kaiju no Kamisama: Eiji Tsuburaya.

Also from the vaults were the "Turbo Ultraman" series of plastic figures that were made by a Hong Kong toymaker from my designs.

Mark is busy this week with his second show in as many months, the Beyond Ultraman exhibit at the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusements Museum. Once things settle down for Mark we can start bugging him to get planning on Toy Karma 2: Invasion of Japan!