Saturday, February 28, 2009

Excerpt from Naked Lunch

For the benefit of J.R. Spumkin, who says he's never read Burroughs, here is an excerpt from Naked Lunch, first published in 1959. The first sentence and a chapter.

First sentence:

"I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train..."

They say you can tell a lot about a book by its first sentence, but I'm not so sure in the case of Naked Lunch, where everything constantly changes.

Random chapter: Meeting of International Conference of Technological Psychiatry:

"Doctor 'Fingers' Schafer, the Lobotomy Kid, rises and turns on Conferents the blue blast of his gaze:
'Gentlemen, the human nervous system can be reduced to a compact and abbreviated spinal column. The brain, front, middle and rear must follow the adenoid, the wisdom tooth, the appendix... I give you my Master Work: The Complete All American Deanxietized Man...'
Blast of trumpets: The Man is carried in naked by two Negro Bearers who drop him on the platform with bestial, sneering brutality...The Man wriggles... His flesh turns to viscid, transparent jelly that drifts away in green mist, unveiling a monster black centipede. Waves of unknown stench fill the room, searing the lungs, grabbing the stomach...
Schafer wrings his hands sobbing: 'Clarence!! How can you do this to me?? Ingrates!! Every one of them ingrates!!'
The Conferents start back muttering in dismay:
'I'm afraid Schafer has gone a bit too far...'
'I sounded a word of warning...'
'Brilliant chap Schafer... but...'
'Man will do anything for publicity...'
'Gentlemen, this unspeakable and in every sense illegitimate child of Doctor Schafer's perverted brain must not see the light... Our duty to the human race is clear...'
'Man he done seen the light,' said one of the Negro Bearers.
'We must stomp out the Un-American crittah," says a fat, frog-faced Southern doctor who has been drinking corn out of a mason jar. He advances drunkenly, then halts, appalled by the formidable size and menacing aspect of the centipede...
'Fetch gasoline!' he bellows. 'We gotta burn this son of a bitch like an uppity Nigra!'
'I'm not sticking my neck out, me," says a cool hip young doctor high on LSD25... 'Why a smart D.A. could...'
'Order in the Court!'
D.A.: 'Gentlemen of the jury, these 'learned gentlemen' claim that the innocent human creature they have so wantonly slain suddenly turned himself into a huge black centipede and it was 'their duty to the human race' to destroy this monster before it could, by any means at its disposal, perpetrate its kind...
'Are we to gulp down this tissue of horse shit? Are we to take these glib lies like a greased and nameless asshole? Where is this wondrous centipede?
''We have destroyed it,' they say smugly... And I would like to remind you, Gentlemen and Hermaphrodites of the Jury, that this Great Beast'--he points to Doctor Schafer--'has, on several previous occasions, appeared in this court charged with the un-speakable crime of brain rape... In plain English'--he pounds the rail of the jury box, his voice rises to a scream--'in plain English, Gentlemen, forcible lobotomy...'
The Jury gasps... One dies of a heart attack... Three fall to the floor writhing in orgasms of prurience...
The D.A. points dramatically: 'He it is--he and no other--who has reduced whole provinces of our fair land to a state bordering on the far side of idiocy... He it is who has filled the great warehouses with row on row, tier on tier of helpless creatures who must have their every want attended... 'The Drones' he calls them with a cynical leer of pure educated evil... Gentlemen, I say to you that the wanton murder of Clarence Cowie must not go unavenged! This foul crime shrieks like a wounded faggot for justice at least!'
The centipede is rushing about in agitation.
'Man, that mother fucker's hungry,' screams one of the Bearers
'I'm getting out of here, me.'
A wave of electric horror sweeps the Conferents... They storm the exits screaming and clawing..."

This may be a little offensive, but that was his writing style. He was a drug addict who accidentally shot and killed his wife in a drunken "William Tell act". I put here before that I'd recommend Naked Lunch to a stranger, but with a warning: some chapters contain ridiculously violent and sexual scenes in great detail, so it's not for the weak of heart, because after you've read it, hardly anything will shock you anymore.

Last note: The book is nothing like Cronenberg's great movie

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some of my favorite paintings

You gotta enlarge these.

(above) The Cartoon Disease, Robert Williams

Twenty Cent Movie, Reginald Marsh

Hitler in Hell, George Grosz

Gala as Leda The Mother of Heaven, Dali

By the way, I got another blog,

Reading List

I don't read enough. I plan to read these soon:

War and Peace by Tolstoy
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick
Cities of the Red Night by William S. Burroughs
Junky by William S. Burroughs
Queer by William S. Burroughs
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Le Voyage dans la Lune by Jules Verne
The Phantom Carriage by Selma Lagerlof
McTeague by Frank Norris
Professor Unrat by Heinrich Mann
Scarface by Armitage Trail
Spurs by Clarence Aaron Robbins
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

I must be crazy! No one wants to read about this. I'll do a more interesting post...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

MAD Number 31

From my own collection. I got it for 5 bucks at a comics conventio-- uh, I mean eBay...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interesting Photos from my Local Newspaper

I was in a weird mood today, and decided to clip out all the pictures from my local paper that I found interesting. I only got three:

These look a lot better if you enlarge them.

The last picture is a little subtle to me. A little girl with a helmet, riding a pony, an old woman smoking beside her. I gotta get out of this arty mood.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm on ANOTHER friggin' blog!

Kurdt's accepted me as a contributor. You probably already know this, because the only people who read this blog (with the exception of Deniseletter and possibly Vince Musacchia) are also members. So all my future movie reviews will be on that blog. Won't find 'em here. Nope.


Kentucky Fried Movie
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
El Topo
Brand Upon the Brain!
Bright Future
Dr. Strangelove
Andy Warhol's Bad
Blue Velvet
Seven Samurai

The Great Bruce Bickford

The world's greatest clay-animator!

He did some great line animation too:

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Movies I've Yet to See

I got a long list of movies I should see some time:

Dead Ringers
Fireball Jungle
2,000 Maniacs
El Norte
Holy Mountain
Divorce Italian Style
The Thief of Bagdad
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Simon of the Desert
Time Bandits
The Goonies
Lower City
Barton Fink
Flight of the Red Balloon
Tokyo Story
Turtles Can Fly (now seen it)
Smokey and the Bandit
Coffee and Cigarettes
Cheech and Chong: Up in Smoke
The General
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Alice in the Cities
The State of Things
Mystery Train
Darwin's Nightmare
Little Terrorist
Dead in 3 Days
The Child
Journey to the Sun
Russian Ark
The Sentinel
Lost in the Desert (a.k.a., Dirkie)
Return to Oz
How I Got Into an Argument
Vengeance is Mine
Xiau Wu
Branded to Kill
All that Heaven Allows
The Cranes are Flying
Hell Drivers
The Cyclist
The Death of Mister Lazarescu
La Dolce Vita
Double Indemnity
The End of Summer
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Exterminating Angel
F for Fake
A Face in the Crowd
The Fallen Idol
Fanny and Alexander
Feux Rouges
Fires on the Plane
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Forbidden Games
Frontier of Dawn
Funny Games
The Furies
Gate of Flesh
The Graduate
Grand Illusion
The Headless Woman
Hearts and Minds
The Hidden Fortress
Hobson's Choice
How to Get Ahead in Advertising
I Am Curious-Yellow
I Am Curious-Blue
I Fidanzati
I live in Fear
I Shot Jesse James
I Was Born, But...
The Idiot
Imitation of Life
In My Skin
In the Mood for Love
Innocence Unprotected
It Happened One Night
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
The Lady Vanishes
Last Night
Last Tango in Paris
Rancho Notorious

Has anyone seen any of these? They're supposed to be great, but are they?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Primary Influences

I believe that primary influences date back to when you were really young and first discovered something and it made an impact. This strange new thing... it will affect the way you live the rest of your life. Artists I've discovered recently have little to no influence on me, no matter how good. When I was learning to draw, I studied a bunch of artists and cartoonists to teach myself (I had a really lousy elementary-school art teacher). I was handed down my aunt's old MAD magazines when I was about 8. So I guess my influences from those years would be:

Norman Mingo
Mort Drucker
Antonio Prohias
Basil Wolverton
Bill Wray
Al Jaffee
Don Martin
Dave Berg
Jack Davis
John Caldwell
Don "Duck" Edwing
Tom Bunk
Bill Elder

I copied them all over and over, so MAD influenced me more than anything else. Of course, I was also influenced by the newspaper comics guys:

Bill Watterson
Berke Breathed
Gary Larson
Charles Schulz
Patrick McDonnel
Tony Millionaire

Copied them too. Later still, I got my hands on a complete collection of Tales from the Crypt, so my influences from them would be:

Graham Ingels
John Severin
Al Feldstein
Jack Kamen
Johnny Craig
George Evans

Copied them more than anything else. Later than that (or earlier? I can't remember), I got a book, "The Comics Before 1945", which I read religiously, and it had its influence, possibly more than any (exclamation points by the greatest influences):

Winsor McCay (Little Nemo!)
Harold Knerr (Katzenjammer Kids!)
Harold Foster (Prince Valiant!, Tarzan)
Cliff Sterrett (Polly and Her Pals)
George Herriman (Krazy Kat!)
Richard Outcault (Hogan's Alley!)
Frederick Opper (Happy Hooligan!)
Gustave Verbeck (The Upside-Downs)
H.T. Webster (The Timid Soul!, The Thrill That Comes Once in a Lifetime)
E.C. Segar (Thimbe Theatre!!!!)
Bud Fisher (Mutt and Jeff!)
Rube Goldberg (The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts!)
George McManus (Bringing Up Father)
Harold Gray (Little Orphan Annie)
Frank King (Gasoline Alley)
Chester Gould (Dick Tracy!)
Billy DeBeck (Barney Google!, Snuffy Smith!)
Roy Crane (Wash Tubbs, Captain Easy)
Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates!, Steve Canyon, Male Call!)
Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon!)
Milt Gross (Count Screwloose)
Jefferson Machamer (Gags and Gals)
Al Capp (Li'l Abner!)
Ernie Bushmiller (Nancy!)
Will Eisner (The Spirit!)

More Laterer, I discovered the underground comics and MAN!!!! What an impact!:

Robert Crumb
S. Clay Wilson
Dan O'Neil
Jim Osborne
Robert Williams
Kim Deitch
Greg Irons
Rory Hayes
Vaughn Bode
Skip Williamson
Rick Griffin

Other than the comics, movies were also an influence upon my then tender young mind:

Plan 9 from Outer Space
The Shining
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Friday the 13th
Twilight Zone: The Movie
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
plus some b-grade comedies

Miscellaneous influences:

Saturday morning cartoon shows (particularly Looney Tunes)
Disney movies
Salvador Dali
John K.
Old sitcoms (All in the Family, Seinfeld, Beverly Hillbillies, etc.)
Ad art
Old, broken-down buildings
Tall buildings
Old people
Little kids' scrawled drawings

Put 'em all together annd whaddaya got?? ME!! Or at least my drawings. And personality.

On an unrelated subject: It should be noted that I won't ever mention these things on my blog: Religion and politics. One I respect (religion), the other I don't (politics). I believe that making fun of either is kind of sleazy (unless it's done tastefully like, say, Stephen Colbert). On a lighter note, does anyone share any of these influences?

Minnie Mouse: The Most Disturbing of All the Disney Characters PLUS: Coming Attractions

All Disney characters are sickeningly cute, but Minnie Mouse... oy!

Whenever I see a picture of Minnie, I want to look away and puke in a corner. Dan O'Neill's Air Pirates Funnies (which was brilliant), to me, is less disturbing than the actual Minnie Mouse.
Disney has done a remarkable feat. They have created a character SO cute that it is ugly.


Dan O'Neill's Odd Bodkins
Bruce Bickford
Toys from my collection
More books in my possession
More classics (possibly on Kurdt's Crud Load of Movies)
More artist analization (Crumb, Greg Irons, etc.)


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Another Classic Down: "El Dorado"

Now with the new-and-improved 11-star rating system!

**********+ (10 1/2 stars)
John Wayne and Robert Mitchum star in a classic gunslinger?! SIGN ME UP!! This classic gets a high approval from me. I knock off half a star for some slight overacting at the beginning, but that's nearly insignificant when you look at the movie as a whole. An unquestionable must-see!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

George Grosz

Ah, George Grosz, the great German painter... His work is amazing, flawless, just art at its best. I love it.

You have to enlarge these pictures to really see the work put into it.

One Classic Down, a Billion to Go

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Raging Bull

I just saw a movie I'd been meaning to see for a while: Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull. It was great! I can't reveal the plot because it would ruin it for those who haven't seen it (poor guys!). All I can say is that it's about a boxer. Now go see it!!

I'll do more posts on the classics I watch as I watch them. Maybe I should start a seperate blog...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Movies I Should See When I Get Around to it

I want to see every classic movie ever made. A huge task that may be, but it appeals to me. Here are some apparent classics (Some of these you won't believe I haven't seen):

There. Glad I got that off my chest. Now to head to Netflix...