MUSIC REVIEW: NEW HENRIETTE VALIUM CD "TERRE DE NOUMA: L'EXIL"! THROWBACK COMEBACK ATTACK! SUPER WOMBMAN! MIA DEE PHOTO EXHIBITION AT CASA DEL POPOLO! FUNNYBOOK REVIEW: The "SENSUAL, WILD & SEXY PIN-UPS" of new Montreal book "FLIRT"!
All contents © 2000-2002, Rick Trembles
UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION STRICTLY FORBIDDEN
January 31, 2002
MUSIC REVIEW: NEW HENRIETTE VALIUM CD "TERRE DE NOUMA: L'EXIL"!
Montreal experimental/under-ground cartoonist Henriette Valium threw a little going-away bash at his loft-space last Saturday. He told me he's leaving to France for a while to do some animation for the next Dernier Cri short. His place looks like one of his comix with cartoony signs he drew hanging all over, pointing at different landmarks, like where the "exit" is & where the "toilet" is. I bought a copy of his brand new CD Terre Du Nouma (pictured above). He used to front a punk band called Valium Et Les Depressifs but his latest offering is more like trance-inducing background "ambient music." I thought I'd review it word-association style just typing whatever comes to mind evoked by Valium's soundscape as I hear it for the first time. Click here to email him for ordering info.
Track A) L'EXIL… Sounds like someone hammering inside a large abandoned warehouse. I hear Godzilla hollering way in the background. No, wait a minute, it's too faint. It's more like faraway screeching wheels of a train. Metal scraping metal. There's a low guttural hum throughout, like some kind of religious chorus, but only one low note. I here someone whistling now. Some feedback too. The feedback's a little distorted. Unintentionally distorted sounding: it's coming out crispy-crunchy on my speakers. Maybe the CD's fucked or maybe it's intentional. This track's 12 minutes long & we're only halfway through, I hope something happens soon. Oh, there's Godzilla again. I see a large abandoned building next to the railroad tracks full of unchecked industrial-strength toxic waste. It's fenced off, but there's plenty of ways to sneak in. Some ghost is hammering on rusty metal parts, whistling occasionally.
Track B) THE BABY… A somber, operatic woman's voice loops & the speed wobbles as if someone's sticking their fingers in a tape machine. Accompanying orchestral symphony does likewise. A younger woman's telephone voice jitters, explaining something. Or is it from an instructional TV show? I'm waiting for somebody to repeat, "Number nine, Number nine…" or at least for Barney Gumble to come in with, "Number 8 - BURP!, Number 8 - BURP!…"Another woman asks the first woman: "D-Did y-you e-ever h-have s-sex w-with an uh-ah-um-um-uh…?" (the voices are altered to unintelligibility, but after multiple listens I'd probably start imagining lurid dialog taking shape). It ends with some kind of looped response; "Bah-dah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-uh…"
Track C) LE CLIENT… Now we've got a mumbling slo-mo voice sounding like Jimi Hendrix's intro to "And The Gods made Love: Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)": "Mush-Nuh-Mush-Nuh-Mush-Nuhhhhhhhh…" But it sounds real whiny, as if whoever it was taken from was bitching about something. There's the deep hum of some kind of ventilator in the background with faraway droplets & reverb-drenched clicking keeping pace.
Track D) DESCRIPTIBLE LIFE… Birds flutter & a toddler's voice murmurs. Someone throws scrap metal & two-by-fours around while whistling & hollering "woo-woo." Then there's footsteps with cheesy ascending/descending synthesized horror-movie soundtrack violins, plus splashing. Feels like I'm trespassing on some dirt-poor family's dilapidated sun-bleached weed-filled property next to a hazardous scrapyard. Broken car parts on the lawn. Someone just guffawed in the distance (Freddie Krueger?). Someone's dragging steel poles on asphalt. A kid in ripped up clothes with black grease stains smeared all over his face bounces around on a squeaky fence. Someone should get that kid out of there, it's too dangerous to play around there. Hendrix's mumbling slo-mo voice comes back & then drools repeatedly.
Track E) ESQUE?… Looped French voices stammer unintelligible conversation over polite classical strings; "esque?… esque?… esque?"
Track F) APPELLE QUELQU'UN… Barely discernible, far, faraway suspense music backs up distorted (only hinted at) barking at a construction site. Feels like just before you fall asleep & you can only make out sounds faintly, just when dreaming starts creeping in & interfering with consciousness. Slight reluctance & dread over letting go & conking out, as if you know some kind of terrible nightmare's inevitable but you're too tired to fight it. Uh oh, a demonic voice is starting to repeat "appelle quelqu'un" (French for "call someone").
Track G) PARLER… Looped voice repeats title, "parler" (French for "talk"). Machine sounds provide percussion. Phrasing gradually varies.
Track H) JE NE PEUX RIEN FAIRE POUR TOI + THE DARK… Distant thunder repeatedly echoes from one speaker to another. Whispered demonic incantations I can't make out repeat over more cheesy horror-movie soundtrack style synthesized violins. A meeker voice joins in. Thunder reverberates & circles around in swirls, transporting them to some netherworld like at the end of Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop."
January 24, 2002
THROWBACK COMEBACK ATTACK!
Dug up these old funny reviews for my band The American Devices' 1989 LP Decensortized. Wonder whatever happened to these writers. Wonder whatever happened to The American Devices. Hey, wait a minute, NOTHING ever happened to The American Devices. We never went anywhere! That's why we're still here. We never broke up. If only we did, then maybe we'd have something to "reunite" or "revive" as seems to be the fashion with every other band born out of the early eighties. I'm hearing Montreal's Men Without Hats & Three O'clock Train are threatening to make "comebacks" this year (groan). Sigh... left behind to eat the dust of our trailblazing counterparts once again. OK, I hereby declare The American Devices officially broken up for the next 30 seconds (30 seconds goes by)... OK, now I hereby declare The American Devices officially back together. Now can we be the darlings of all you lazy hack music writers out there? The following circa '89 reviews are decent, & if anything, we've gotten "weirder" since. Only, instead of playing to crowds of 14 people tops "back in the day," now we play to 4 (ourselves). So what're you waiting for? Go to our merch page & buy something!
Massachusetts's Forced Exposure Magazine review by Jimmy Johnson…
Here's one of the nice benefits of the current document-everything indie principle. A Canadian band, who've been operating in one form or another without the merest nip of acknowledgement for the better part of a decade, got to put out a collection of various recordings they've made over the years (and I don't think they're even defunct). So a few lucky folk get to sit around and try and figure out what they sound like. Which is not all that easy; American Devices are a post-everything (even if they precede some of these "things") guitar based outfit. They're off center enough to be of interest & they obviously don't steal their influences from any one source. They wouldn't really sound out of place on Flying Nun or Alternative Tentacles or maybe even Ron Johnson. Hard-assed guitar burn (more drilling than riffing), a weird control of melodicism (for some reason I keep internally comparing 'em to Bailter Space, which may not be accurate but there is something to it) and a healthy, downtrodden lyrical touch (sometime vocalist Louise Burns expresses the phrase "Got the feeling I'm a fucking asshole" in such a way that I think every single reader of this magazine could identify with it). The front cover, which is made up of a pornographic sculpture and some Sergio Arogones-style smut-border doodle, by artist/guitarist Rick Trembles is brutally great; the shrouded nippies of Ms Burns on the back cover are equally fine. I wish the thing didn't have a version of "The Ballad Of The Green Berets," but otherwise this is pretty worthwhile.
California's Flipside Magazine review by KRK…
Another splendid reason why sexually deprived art students on acid should not be exterminated, as opposed to popular belief. When not producing comix 'n' fanzines or short horror films, these multitalented nuts can be heard pounding and assaulting their instruments into a push 'n' shove, guitar-detailed dreamland. Combining countryish, 60's, folk, with modern-day distortion-fest noise at unbelievable speeds and accuracy, they make most of those SST "new generation" bands look like high school talent show rejects. The cover itself is worth framing.
Wilmington, Delaware's The Bob Magazine review by Fred Mills…
Subtitled "Greatest Tits," this product from north of the border is the culmination of the band's seven-year history of chaotic gigs, avant-garde films and battles against censorship (the latter at least on the part of guitarist Rick Trembles who is also an underground comic artist --his amazing, surreal, raised-edge cover art has at least four erect puds carefully cloaked by title stickers). The music? Truly bizarre stuff, ranging from an effective and satirical reading of "Ballad of the Green Berets" to several psychobilly numbers (including "Coalshaft," live at a psychiatric hospital) to fairly complex prog-funk-rock-guitar workouts. "What is the Meaning of Life (The Abortion That Lived)" takes off from a nominal series of twisted surf riffs and heads off into Bob Fripp-meets-D. Boon territory. Indeed, the album is a guitar nut's dream with only a few overly indulgent moments; spazz-out sections populate each track, coming outta dimensional folds and trapdoors to buzz around the head like android flies. The lyrics similarly spit invective at perceptual placidity, asking the listener to explore the inner axis and ponder "the effects" of interpersonal-chemical chaos. Far from being a bunch of hyper manic-depressives, these Canadians chart new avenues in polyrhythmic exploration and guitar/bass (frequently six-string) interplay. That is I dig it mightily.
Green Bay Wisconsin's Sick Teen Magazine review by Reverend Norbert E. Ugly…
Ye gods, a bunch of twisted Art Canucks three-quarters out of their minds on Ibuprofen and Doran's Lager oozing out a spate of dagger-to-the-gonads, rockin-the-monad spew complete w/Upwardly Noodley bass, wobbly guitar and nervous beats... I betcha seein' 'em live would be no small treat, cuz their cover sculpture and Sergio-Aragones-covers-the-infinite-Nirvana-orgy marginalia thang are wondrous to behold indeed ..."Suck My Rocks," eh?
Cleveland, Ohio's Alternative Press Magazine review by Mark Rhodes…
A remarkable Canadian quartet. The dozen songs here were written & recorded throughout the decade, but without studying the liner notes, you'd have a hard time saying which came first & which came later. Not that they haven't changed but that they've never fallen into a mode that you could hang a date on or see as moving wholly along one path. The songs are uniformly busy with guitar riffs that veer into surprising directions ("Trigger Off" suggests what the Grateful Dead might sound like if they played hardcore before jumping into a thrash/wah realm of smile-pop), but they're sculpted into the mix in more of an art/pop than hard rock way. The ethos is perturbed liberal. Rick Trembles (guitar, vocals, bass), a visual artist whose works appeared in Weirdo Comix & Cinema Canada, is still hacked off about being fired from the Montreal Mirror for being sexist & obscene. Keyboardist Louise Burns --whose vocals are the most fiber-deficient-- is an ardent enemy of sexual repression, so aside from her scathing "Wet Nurse" number, she posed for the back cover clothed only in a surprinted lyric sheet entitled "Greatest Tits." Their hard look at the US, "Coalshaft," was recorded live at a psychiatric hospital; the lone cover is Sgt. Barry Sadler's "The Ballad of the Green Berets." I imagine they're all very close, dear people, repeatedly stunned by the reticence of their neighbors. With luck, the production will be brighter next time & the songs half as creative.
January 17, 2002
SUPER WOMBMAN! (Pictured below: Mad scientist with woman's pelvic region grafted onto forehead in order to impregnate brain & give birth to the piggybacking parasite that'll inherit his knowledge. Excerpted from storyboards © Rick Trembles 1992)
The American Devices used to make live-action super-8-film horror movies directed by our drummer Cups Von Helm to accompany our music in the 80's. Sometimes we'd project these films behind us when we played live. Each explored perverse themes of insemination & impregnation. Super Wombman was to be the last in a trilogy, following The Abortion That Lived & Womb Service (email me for ordering info). Some preliminary work was done but it became evident we bit off more than we could chew when funding proved to be impossible. I drew full storyboards for it which I published as a comic in Sugar Diet #2 & the penis-brain pterodactyl/bat creature from it became our band's insignia, gracing our first LP cover Decensortized as a 3-D embossed sculpture (pictured on Snubdom's front page sidebar).
SCENE ONE: Close up of a job application clipped from a newspaper in a woman's hand. It reads: "Wanted: young, attractive, female assistant to work for world-renowned eccentric scientist," with address, etc...
SCENE TWO: During downtown morning rush hour commuting, camera follows BIANCA TATE down the street with research assistant application in hand. Establish her well and in a sympathetic nature. She is wearing tight white pants.
SCENE THREE: Ending up in a somewhat less congested area, she matches the corresponding address to the deceptively ramshackled safe-like heavy doorway and rings doorbell. Security digital sci-fi high-tech lights go on and off, mechanical beeps, clicks, and pressure giving way is heard. Door squeaks open, letting smoke seep out, and lets her in, after automated surveillance cameras pop in and out of concealed compartments to scan her.
SCENE FOUR: She cautiously walks down a long, dark, spooky hallway asking if anyone is there.
SCENE FIVE: A peculiar, menacing looking small robot appears at opposite end of hallway and stops as if preparing for a showdown.
SCENE SIX: She starts to walk away. Robot follows. She panics and rums. A chase begins.
SCENE SEVEN: Inside world-renowned eccentric scientist's lab... Reveal the robot's snickering, invalid manipulator to be (bald) doctor from job application with a mini TV monitor attached to his wheelchair showing the robot's point of view. Another monitor provides cartoon video techno-graphics of robot approaching target (Bianca).
SCENE EIGHT: Chase leads outdoors to a backyard. She is cornered. The robot extends a spring-loaded cookie-cutter contraption, which conforms to the exact shape of a human pelvis. In one quick thrust, robot removes her pelvic area.
SCENE NINE: Tubing and life support system mechanisms automatically hook up to various sections of her disembodied piece of anatomy to prevent it from dying. She screams.
SCENE TEN: Cut back to Bianca from the belly downwards. "A MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY PRODUCTION" in blood-red letters drips down into unrealistically clean outline of her hollow pelvic area. Background is visible through hole.
SCENE ELEVEN: Scream fades out as we dissolve from her to stage curtains, where the same blood letters are written and have remained in position. The stage curtains open up to reveal an outdoor miniature diorama. Employing tabletop animation, zoom into a hatching egg, past forest foreground, lizards and snakes scurrying about. Use a mirror as a lake (for reflections). Project a filmed volcanic smoke loop onto sky coming out of a mountaintop, etc... Remnants of an ancient civilization (Greek architecture pillars, etc...) scattered about. What hatches from this oversized egg is a brain with pterodactyl wings and legs. Insert quick close-up of a pulsating phallus making its way out of vagina-like opening at top of brain. Have it stagger around some, not quite balanced, stretching its wings a bit before final liftoff. The camera follows it as it proudly flies up... up past the clouds, into the pitch black darkness of space (use cotton and painted clouds preceding matte black outer space). It then freezes in midair, wings outstretched, center-frame, and becomes graphic logo. (Batman-like SUPER WOMB-MAN title). Theme music accompanies this. Afterwards, bat-like creature contracts in midair so all the limbs contain themselves inside (or behind, out of view to be unassembled) so that all that's left is a disembodied brain. Remaining center-frame, this brain does a few somersaults, then stops, facing frontward for doctor to grow out from in the following steps:
THE BRAIN'S NERVOUS SYSTEM APPEARS: Using both three dimensional and cel animation, make eyeballs, veins, nerves and spine grow out of brain.
THE SKELETON APPEARS: Dissolve bones over nervous system. Brain pulsates throughout.
MUSCULATURE APPEARS: Dissolve nervous system and skeleton out. Replace with sculpted latex head and shoulders musculature.
THE SKIN AND REST OF FACE APPEARS: Dissolve musculature out and replace with doctor's own face. Doctor's wheelchair robotic arms appear and create an incision down middle of his forehead.
SCENE TWELVE: Cookie-cutter robot delivers fresh pelvis to doctor's wheelchair robot.
SCENE THIRTEEN: Self robotic surgery grafts reproductive organ-filled pelvis onto doctor's cranium.
SCENE FOURTEEN: Cut to Bianca's boyfriend BOB entering apartment, "Honey, I'm home…" Finds message on fridge door with doctor's address. He's perplexed. He checks the time.
SCENE FIFTEEN: Cut to Bob's bedroom later on. Up all night, restless, worried, he looks at picture of Bianca on dresser.
SCENE SIXTEEN: The next day, door to doctor's building unpenetrable by boyfriend Bob.
SCENE SEVENTEEN: Demanding an investigation, Bob plops doctor's job application address onto police station counter. Cop points to obituary of doc's death: "World-renowned eccentric scientist in accident ...missing, believed dead etc..."
SCENE EIGHTEEN: Cut to doc's lab. Establish healed ovary pelvis graft on forehead. Doc inserts tubing into vaginal opening on forehead. Slow zoom out to reveal other end of tubing is attached to tip of his penis. A neck brace protrudes from wheelchair and wraps itself around doctor's throat to squeeze. Slow auto-asphixiation occurs. Electro-cardio beeps grow louder as penis grows harder. "Make me cum," the doctor says in synthesized compu-voice. Sperm ejaculate makes it's way into his brain causing an eerie glow to appear in his eyes.
SCENE NINETEEN: Electro-cardio beeps stop. Close up of doc's face. Ambiguous as to whether dead or alive but "FERTILIZATION A SUCCESS" appears on monitor.
SCENE TWENTY: Fairy-tale-like ripple-glass dissolve to orgasmic liquid light show into dream sequence of cel-animated zygote psychedelia.
SCENE TWENTY ONE: More dream sequence (now live action). Doctor fancies himself an Aryan-like physically superior leader (apply fake body builder physique), he is dressed as a superhero with cape and tights. Super Wombman logos on armbands and chest. He addresses his army of youths in a church-like hall from a podium.
SCENE TWENTY TWO: Establish youth's helmets. They are streamlined designs, more symbolized reproductions of what is about to occur to doctor womb-man for real, biologically and viscerally.
SCENE TWENTY THREE: The Super Wombman logo bat/pterodactyl dick-brain creature's appendages make their way out of doc's cranium. Phallus protrudes from vaginal orifice on forehead, etc… It eventually dislodges from his head and, grasping shoulders with claws, forcibly begins to rape womb-man's mouth with erect penis. To further indicate gender confusion he's experiencing due to self-impregnation, breasts grow forth and lactate. He begins trying to point at something past his followers. Panic in his eyes as he sweats and the sexual pumping gets harder and more furious.
SCENE TWENTY FOUR: Disillusioned army of youths disapprove, wondering what could be causing this disruptive & embarrassing display. Their attentions are directed behind them, where womb-man's pointing, towards entrance where a heavily backlit Bianca ghost stands in the nude, arms outstretched, light pouring out of cleanly cut outline of hollow pelvic area... beckoning, as if asking for her organs back.
SCENE TWENTY FIVE: Cut from dream sequence furious pre-climax pumping to reality, "NINE MONTHS LATER..." (in subtitles). After abrupt awakening from nightmare (in a cold sweat), the womb-man is now pregnant in the head (eyes aglow). Reproductive organs, vaginal orifice and pelvic bone still protrudes from forehead. Brain has swollen somewhat and it's folds, veins and crevices are visible. Buried between the two halves of the back of the brain is the head of a living extroverted human baby fetus, it's body piggybacking a lift from womb-man's neck and shoulders. Top of wheelchair accommodates baby with an incubator section housing a tiny toilet bowl.
SCENE TWENTY SIX: Cut to Bianca's boyfriend's apartment. Bob, obsessed with doc's published theories, clearly cracked over missing girlfriend. Articles & clippings litter the walls about doc's experiments and hypotheses on prolonging life, preserving brain, male pregnancy, etc...
SCENE TWENTY SEVEN: Womb-man's head gives birth. Doc by now is barely alive, hardly human, shriveled to the bone as if the baby parasitically sucked the life out him. Baby dislodges from doc, taking healthy oversized brain with it, leaving hollowed husk of dead doc behind.
SCENE TWENTY EIGHT: Baby instinctively crawls towards a manmade lion-sized sphinx down a red carpet. Tacky Egyptian backdrop adorns the wall (pyramid, desert terrain, etc...) to stimulate learning process. Baby suckles sphinx breast for nourishment (it's hooked up to a live cow's udder visible in the background). In place of a face the sphinx has a video monitor. Once baby's lips meet nip, TV is activated along with other surrounding electronic compu-debris. Televised is a close-up of a pair of lips with too much lipstick on, consoling the child in a forced motherly voice. Slowly zoom out to a head and shoulders shot of the person belonging to these lips. We find out it's a pre-pregnant Super Wombman dressed in drag trying to provide babe with a motherly figure to grow up to. In the tradition of the sphinx, womb-man immediately begins quizzing the child with complex riddles on physics, mathematics, etc... to begin education and testing. Since the babe successively came away with womb-man's brain intact and in working order, the child answers riddles properly, but in a gurgled underdeveloped fetal voice.
SCENE TWENTY NINE: Close up of TV womb-man: "Brain transplant a complete success no further testing necessary..." Sphinx explains: "...pituitary gland acceleration granted." Rapid growth process about to occur to baby.
SCENE THIRTY: Strange incubator dome lowers over babe.
SCENE THIRTY ONE: Cut to outside of building. Dusky evening clouds whirl restlessly and open up (cloud tank F.X.) allowing lightning bolts through to strike laboratory rods protruding from roof. Bystanders notice in awe and point.
SCENE THIRTY TWO: In lab, strange electric light and sound fills incubator dome. Before our eyes, the child blossoms into a full grown woman. Healthy brain remains same size throughout as the rest of body fills out & catches up. During this process, the sphinx voice recites the riddle it's famous for: "What animal walks on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three in the evening?"
SCENE THIRTY THREE: Close-up of this woman reveals her to be spitting image of Bianca (pelvis donator) with same eerie glow in her eyes that womb-man acquired during impregnation.
SCENE THIRTY FOUR: Weird lights emanate from windows of doc's building (bystanders in awe). Police cars arrive to investigate. Crowd forms outside.
SCENE THIRTY FIVE: Cops storm into lab with Bob. While incubator is rising, Bianca emerges immaculate, celestial glow just subsiding. Her arms are outstretched, beckoning. Bob runs into her arms. She doesn't respond (catatonic expression on her face).
SCENE THIRTY SIX: Cops investigate doc husk, moo-cow, baby goop, etc… in disbelief. Bob and Bianca "Babe" break away.
SCENE THIRTY SEVEN: Bob and Bianca "Babe" tenderly end up in back yard, Bob trying to comfort her, "...I know you must be traumatized." He caresses & kisses her.
SCENE THIRTY EIGHT: Cut to original pelvis-free Bianca's rotting corpse in foreground, as Bob lays down duplicate Bianca "Babe" in background in order to get really tender.
SCENE THIRTY NINE: Tender lovemaking commences (not explicit), slowly building up to climax. Bianca "Babe" gradually wraps hands around Bob's throat and begins to squeeze too much. "Bianca, your eyes have a peculiar glow to them," he says. Perplexed & helpless, Bob begins to choke and turn blue. Cardio-beeps are heard out of nowhere, getting louder and louder.
SCENE FORTY: Close-up of Babe's enraged satisfaction-craving face. In Super Wombman's deep syntho-voice, she demands: "Make me cum!"
SCENE FORTY ONE: Bob flops dead limp. Cardio-beeps stop. The End.
SCENE FORTY TWO: Stop-motion animation during credits: In a centered circus ring, Bianca rides, standing on top of sphinx (with doc video-head) which has come to life. She's wearing Super Wombman superhero costume and streamlined logo creature helmet. Light emanates from her hollow pelvic area, eyes aglow.
© 1988 by Rob Labelle, Rick Trembles & Cups Von Helm
January 10, 2002
I originally had second thoughts about offering to plug my ex-girlfriend's photography show with a picture she took a couple of years ago of my stiffening schlong. "I'll still plug your exhibition next week in snubdom if you want but I don't think I should use that picture you took of my wiener…" I emailed her, "…it's too weird. All that stuff's too much in the past or something don't you think?" Guess I was worried resurrecting it would come across as if I'm still harboring sentiments that're supposed to be dead & buried (fuck I hate being single). Am I groveling yet? She called back the same night & asked me what the problem was, she'd love to have her work represented by a "local celeb's" cock. We'd been going out a few years when she took that shot. I remember showing up at her place kind of exhausted. I kissed her, which triggered an uncomfortably tight bulge in my pants so I had to loosen up & simply unzipped & unloaded my inkling of a boner. I don't even think we ended up having sex. It's a fine picture & seems representative of the direction she told me she's going in but this particular pud unfortunately won't be gracing the Casa's walls. A photo of some other guy tugging his meat is, along with a hearty handful else of her intriguing & turbulent brand of portraiture. Mia's now making plans to assemble a collection of bad boy pictures for a solo exhibition in Toronto in September so if you think you got what it takes, leave your name, number & attributes at the bar. Sharing the walls with her are dreamy cityscape snapshots by Leah Grahovak. Until the end of the month @ Casa Del Popolo 4873 St-Laurent, 284-3804.
January 3, 2002
FUNNYBOOK REVIEW: The "SENSUAL, WILD & SEXY PIN-UPS" of new Montreal book "FLIRT"! (Pictured below, flirtatious feline ©2000 Thierry Labrosse)
Hot off the presses comes this handsomely laid out brand new 140 page anthology of cartoony "pinups" largely put together by local publishing newcomer Isabelle Stephen featuring artists "from around the world (Canada, U.S., Turkey, Egypt, Finland & Madagascar)." The term "pin-up" is used loosely here as FLIRT runs the gamut stylistically from japanimation jail-bait, to dungeons & dragons demoiselles, to Trekkie airbrushed van art, to flighty superheroine fantasies (one from an actual real live wrestler dude). There's some real bad art in here, it's kinda like Daniel Clowes' ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL come to life. But there's plenty pretty stuff too, some truly qualifying as of the genuine "pin-up" variety, most notably; Edward Reed's Vargas-inspired retro cheesecake, dreamy, timeless nudes by Mostafa Fahmy (that'd flatter any living room wall on black velvet above the couch), charming upskirt good-girl art by Thierry Labrosse (pictured above) & Donald Caron's gorgeous buxom pastels, one of which graces the full color back-cover (that should've been the front cover). Louis Lachance illustrates a humorous scenario starring an overweight Irving Klaw lookalike striking a coy Bettie Page pose to instruct his blasé subject with. Hell knows what I'm doing within these pages (but it tickles my fancy). The likes of my scat-fantastical toiletry tableaux featuring a trademark buck-naked bald Amazonian bitch-goddess x-rayed taking a hearty heaping dump while teaching her titless daughter how to slobber hot severed cock, doesn't quite jibe with some of FLIRT'S geekier superhero fare, but that's partly what makes perusing the book so much fun. The diversity of disciplines showcased in here is dizzying. I don't know most of the artists, many come from mainstream animation/comics backgrounds, but some local "undergrounders" are represented. Apparently Eric Braun's original contribution had to be tempered down from a voyeur's-eye-view double-penetration mid-spurt, to the current casual fishnet-stockinged dominatrix shaving her pudendum. Each offering's accompanied with bios penned by the male/female artists themselves, illustrated with miniature self-portraits. Some of these come across as either resumés, manifestos or cheesy odes to the feminine form. Rupert Bottenberg peculiarly compares cartooning (in the past tense) to the present-day work he's settled on over the comix rat race: reviewing pop music for local rag The Montreal Mirror (!) Interviewing Joe Strummer ain't gonna get you in the Louvre, Rupert. Keep drawing. Please. Body-painting & bands are promised at the FLIRT launch next Wednesday, January 9th, Café Chaos, 1637 St-Denis, Montréal (tel. 514 844-1301).