Friday, February 8, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 02/08/08

Whoosh! There goes another week flying past. Fortunately there were some happy tidbits to note along the way...

1. I was very pleased to discover that there's a
new website for Isabel Samaras, one of my favorite contemporary artists.
(follow link)

A newer, more updated site, with some more recent paintings that I'd not yet seen.

I knew that she'd begun to stray from her familiar subject matter - - previously she was known for some wonderful, often 'classically' staged paintings with pop icons from the 1960's and beyond as her subjects.

As her expertise has grown, so has the territory in her landscape of the fantastic.
Some of her old repertory cast are still hanging around, but so too is new ground being covered.

It's all well worth your investigation.

The new website is also home for Isabel's new blog, as well as an archive for her 'classic site', where you can see the luscious and whimsically risqué images of Jeannie and Morticia and Lily Munster and Emma Peel and all the rest.

An additional piece of happy news is that Isabel Samaras has recently signed a deal with Chronicle Books, for the new release of a book collecting her artwork.
It's a void that's long needed filling. The current word is that it will be coming out in spring of 2009 - - It'll be worth the wait!

See also:
- A peek at Isabel's 2006 'Ex Animo' exhibit at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery.

- From a few years back, an interview at Grrl.Com, that displays several of Isabel's '60's pop-icon 'TV trays' and other paintings.

2. Steven at STWALLSKULL has posted a handy page at his blogsite, organizing the different historical comic strips he's been scanning and posting for the last year or so...

- Follow link to: Crumbling Paper Index

Steven says: "Here’s an index of old cartoonists and strips which have been featured on this site under the heading of CRUMBLING PAPER.

"Most of these links feature scans I’ve made of ancient comics, some over 100 years old, that generally have not been reprinted anywhere since their initial publication. This list will be gradually updated as I post more comics."

Among the comics creators included so far: Billy DeBeck, Rube Goldberg, F.M. Howarth, ➜
Harold Gray, Milt Gross, George Herriman, Gluyas Williams, Basil Wolverton, and many others!

Also popping up this week, a couple of other comics-related items, both via The Comics Journal's 'Journalista' blog...

3. 'Popeye Pimpery' - - A tribute to the original unlaundered two-fisk-ed sailor from E.C. Segar's original 'Thimble Theater' newspaper strip.

Johnny Go revels in the thrill of discovering the rough & tumble rawness of the 1930 Popeye, before any of the 'refineminks' that awaited him in animated cartoons.

Popeye duzz wot he duzz 'cuz he yizz who he yizz, and to hell with what anybody thinks!

Good to have the reminder.

4. Blog Flume reports on
'Thirst' - - an Aerial Gallery by Ivan Brunetti...

"The Aerial Gallery consists of fifty serialized artworks printed onto banners along Las Vegas Boulevard, running from the Arts District to City Hall.

"The exhibit will be on display from February 28, 2008 to February 2009."

So essentially, an oversized Brunetti comic strip displayed on the streets of Vegas. Worth checking out if you happen to be in the neighborhood!

- See also: Ivan Brunetti's Website

5. Mark your calendars for - -
RECORD STORE DAY: April 19, 2008 !!

(via Spyder's Random Things)

Quoting from their website:

"On Saturday, April 19, 2008, hundreds of independently owned music stores across the country will celebrate 'Record Store Day.'

"On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally.

"Plans are underway to set up special events at all of the stores on this day, as well as provide customers with a goodie bag that promotes new formats, new releases, and exciting information on music, theatrical, and gaming releases. Working with our partners, the indies will also link to run extensive marketing campaigns both on a national level and a local level."

Click over to www.RecordStoreDay.Com for all the info you need, plus several interesting and entertaining quotes from various entertainment industry folks regarding the importance of independent record stores, including...

Paul McCartney:
"There’s nothing as glamorous to me as a record store. When I recently played Amoeba in LA, I realised what fantastic memories such a collection of music brings back when you see it all in one place. This is why I’m more than happy to support Record Store Day and I hope that these kinds of stores will be there for us all for many years to come. Cheers!"

Patton Oswalt:
“The idea of, ‘The journey is the destination’ is put into action by browsing in an indie record store. Besides, a human being is a much better guide than a ‘More Like This’ link on the internet.”

Shelby Lynne:
"You can't roll a joint on an iPod - buy vinyl!"

Ursula 1000 (DJ on ESL – Thievery Corporation label)
"The indie record shop is the nucleus of the nerd...the internet has it's temptations but physically digging for booty? there's no substitute."

John Doe:
"The physical act of picking up a recording (CD, vinyl, cassette), checking it out, finding something unavailable, etc.; is an experience you will NEVER get online. And now it's becoming common knowledge that CDs have more digital information than most files, so they sound better. A great or even good record store is like no other."

Cameron Crowe:
"The record store. Where true fandom begins. It's the soul of discovery, and the place where you can always return for that mighty buzz. The posters. The imports. The magazines. The discerning clerks, paid in vinyl, professors of the groove. Long live that first step inside, when the music envelopes you and you can't help it. You walk up to the counter and ask the question that begins the journey -- 'what is that you're playing?' Long live the record store, and the guys and girls who turn the key, and unlock those dreams, every day."

Ian Gillan (Deep Purple):
"Buy real records in real shops, or I'll come round your house and scream at your mother.”

6. There's a new mammal in town!

Say hello to the Grey-faced Sengi!

Not actually new, just new to us.

The Grey-faced Sengi has been hanging out in the forests of Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains, and until very recently has been a previously unknown species of giant Elephant Shrew.

Elephant Shrew expert (and leader of the discovery team) Dr. Galen Rathbun says that "This is one of the most exciting discoveries of my career.

"It is the first new species of giant elephant-shrew to be discovered in more than 126 years."

Weighing in at a pound-and-a-half, it is named for its gray face, which gives way to a reddish-orange back and a black bottom.

The Grey-faced sengi uses it's long, probing snout to hunt insects for food, not unlike an aardvark, to which it is more closely related than a shrew.

In an age when it seems we mostly hear about the disappearance of animal species, the discovery of 'somebody new' - - especially a mammal, who knew? - - comes as most welcome news indeed.

Take a good look now, while you can...


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