Monday, November 02, 2009

This interview of Peter Blegvad in the new issue of The Believer is phenomenal. Blegvad's work is fascinating: I'm more partial to the Leviathan comic than I am to the music of Slapp Happy but that both, and more, originate from the same man is mind-blowing. It's sort of astounding how much one can accomplish if one stays alive long enough and continues to work as an artist, especially if one doesn't limit oneself to one medium.

This coincides with my recent discovery that Gregg Turkington, aka Neil Hamburger, was an original member of Caroliner, edited the Sun City Girls' Midnight Cowboys From Ipanema tape, and ran Amarillo records (with its own vast catalog). This sort of thing really helps me connect the dots of various artistic activity. I imagine early issues of Bananafish would also help elucidate a lot.

Since living in Baltimore I've made the acquaintance of all sorts of accomplished types, one of which would be Daniel Higgs, whose own life and musical history maps a wide territory in its movement from punk to mystic. Then I discovered that in 1994, he was a part of the first show at Alleged Gallery in New York.

What's interesting about this stuff is that it really goes beyond any notion of a scene, there's nothing that can be pigeonholed. It's just individuals who end up in a variety of places, largely by virtue of staying productive while alive, and outlasting the immediate surroundings to go somewhere else. It's deeply inspiring for the way it reminds what life is, existing in time.

While I'm saying all this I can also point out how semi-strange it is that there's a They Might Be Giants song about one of the guys who co-created Wonder Showzen, and that I am really looking forward to Drag City's release of Vernon Chatman's Final Flesh in a couple weeks. They Might Be Giants were my first favorite band when I was in middle school, and while I've stopped caring, and find the fact that they're making children's records for Disney really strange, they did a CD to accompany the sixth issue of McSweeney's, which, while this happened after I'd stopped caring about them so intently, was still one of the first things I'd heard about that periodical. I would also like to salute McSweeney's for the fact, learned from their website, that their upcoming newspaper's comics section will contain a Savage Dragon page from Erik Larsen in addition to Chris Ware and Art Spiegelman: Right on. (Alternately, when They Might Be Giants showed up as voices on Home Movies it really solidified the way that show captured much of my childhood-through-college interests in miniature.)

And all these things I'm writing paragraphs about have never intersected in anything more than super-tangential six degrees of separation style.


laura said...

I wonder if you also read Chris Ware's interview with Jerry Moriarty in that same issue of The Believer? They had a really good conversation about "art guilt" and art in general and weird sleep schedules. I've always loved Chris Ware but the interview sold me on Moriarty too. Pretty inspiring people.

The full text isn't available online but I think it's worth a trip to the bookstore.

Brian said...

I just read this other Jerry Moriarty interview, where he talks about buying hawaiian shirts on Ebay, because he loves the colors, and how those colors are showing up in his new paintings. I don't really like his stuff, but that's awesome.