Sunday, October 30, 2005


must see TV

i've developed (yes, Gayle knows) a serious tv crush on FBI profiler Dayle smartpants solvin' crime....such a voice...she can profile me any old time...

Saturday, October 29, 2005


this fucking governor's one thing to have an honest dispute over issues, but Arnold's latest ads using corporate right-wing shills lying about the current rules for union members is just sick.

everything we value as a society about worker's rights was fought for (sometimes, literally, to the death) by unions and union members. it's a huge blind spot in the american educational system, largely because our schools are being privatized (read: run by business and teach the propaganda of both parties)...and the history of the american worker is being silenced, along with their current voice.

as the government runs wild with corporate welfare (from the supposedly anti big government right wing), it's astonishing to me that people don't identify themselves as being used by business...unions protect us from being nothing more than tools for the share holders. get fucking angry, people.

and if you vote against unions, don't ever cry when you (and not if) get fucked at the end of your career by the Enrons of the world. you voted for them.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


robappalossa (sp?)

i know, i have the books, the blog, the annoying personal appearances...and yet you need more of me (unless you're tod goldberg, who has, as he points out, spent more time with me than with his lovely wife Wendy over the last few weeks)...lucky you that the cool web site has seen fit to interview me for their latest Q&A...check it out here:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Guitar porn...a day late

hey...i'm sick as a dog, so, it's a short git porn day here...a link to my buddy mike robinson, who has the coolest collection i know of...and he's selling some of 'em...check it out:

if you want to get me a 'get well' present, i'll take the airline in sea foam green :)

Monday, October 24, 2005


what i learned in vegas

some were lessons re-learned...those being,

1) Francois Camoin, Steve Almond, Erin Falkavitz (i think i'm spelling that right...Erin?), Tod Goldberg, and Gayle are all fucking awesome to hang out with...a great time...great writers, great funny minds, and all E-ticket attractions...

the new lessons...

2) Jeremy Schaap is a really nice guy...and very funny...

3) Neal Pollack gets really good weed.

4) "master of darkness" John Shirley needs to actually read some post-modern theory before he spouts off about it....this from me...the self-proclaimed "puppet of lightness."

5) i seem to be incapable of NOT getting into heated debates (read: fights where i publically call someone a this case the master of darkness) when i am on panels at the vegas valley book faire...i am now 2 for 2...

6) not EXACTLY a lesson from vegas...BUT...if you drive a subaru, try not to break down 35 miles east of barstow...try not to spend 2 hours waiting for your tow...and try not to pay an obscene amount of money to get the hell out of barstow (well, actually, you have to)...there are not many subarus, or subaru parts, in barstow...if you break down there, try doing so in a 1973 ford pickup, is what i gather...

7) H. Lee Barnes is the writer i'd most like to have my back in a prison break/bar fight or west side story dance/shiv fight...sorry, Tod.

8) if you want food in a hurry, DO NOT hang with me and Tod at a time--no trouble...but, together, it takes us a tremendous amount of time to find food...i learn this over and over...

9) The Four Queens is skanky...but not as skanky as the El Cortez or Brittney Spears...

10: i can eat 50 eggs in an hour.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


this from mike watt, re: raymond pettibon (one of the local great artists)

in his own words...

(check out the video at that link)

Gumby, Vavoom, & Baseball Players

ART:21: Are any of the characters in your work ever heroes? Say the baseball players.

PETTIBON: I'm not in awe of what most people would consider heroes which would be someone of stature and power. In fact those would tend to be people who I don't respect at all. The public has a kind of natural awe of them that tends to be a mixture of fear, control, and violence. You could say the loss of innocence in baseball began with the fixing of the games in 1919 with the Black Socks World Series Scandal.

Players--they all can't live up to be a perfect model hero like Steve Garvey who had an elementary school named after him. But, that actually isn't a good example because he had some pretty major scandals himself. But there's something about athletes and even horse racing. Horses are athletes of sorts too. They can have a heroic stature to me. People usually tend to value an extreme one thing or another, whether it's the intellectual against the athletic. Like the jocks never mix with artists or the people who are studying physics. I admire both, but in a moral sense. I don't have any expectation for anyone other than behaving decently to other people. That's really not the true definition of a hero though.

The heroic has an epic scale to it. If you look at my baseball works, for instance, there is a kind of larger than life attitude to a lot of it. But then not all the works are a pure adulation of the ball players. I mean they go into some pretty sordid avenues. My drawings dwell on that subject quite often as well.

ART:21: You seem to like to mix the underbelly and the philosophy.

PETTIBON: Not always though. And not always in the same drawing. You can look at a lot of my baseball drawings and they don't have that kind of a resentment of most figures that you just automatically want to take them down a notch. There's quite a few that aren't like that.

ART:21: How far back does your interest in baseball go?

PETTIBON: Baseball has probably been my favorite since I was a child. Some of the others, like horse racing--that came in later--but football, basketball, track and field... I'm not obsessed with any of those. The reason why I keep coming back to certain images is probably most often that there's a visual quality that works for me, and that can be as simple as drawing horse races.

I think whether you are throwing the pitch or batting the ball, you do have that sense of movement and for an artist like myself whose work is about that one moment that can be a reason I do that. But sports, and baseball in particular in America, there's a lot more to it, there's a lot more nuances. Not just in the game itself--but that's also important to. My work on the subject does tap into some of the nuances of the game--the pitching of the baseball for instance, or hitting a baseball--but also it says a lot about what goes on off the field as well about the society in general. It's kind of a microcosm of the society as a whole.

ART:21: It's rare that an artist gives equal attention to both words and pictures. Could you have accomplished what you wanted as a writer?

PETTIBON: Yes, if I had to choose. But the point is I don't. I mean I don't feel I'm diluting what I'm saying by doing them both. Im not trespassing on one or the other. To me it's natural. I don't feel cheated. But on the other hand, I spend a lot more time writing than I do drawing. I really wouldn't want to make that distinction or feel the need to separate the two or make excuses. The fact is I make work that requires both except in rare, rare cases.

ART:21: Can we talk about the Gumby theme in your work?

PETTIBON: Gumby? To put it in general terms, you'll see in my work this tendency to take on some very ridiculous subject. Possibly you can look at it as being so far out there as to be kind of just a stray thought. Going back to the heroic figures, you can speak about a wider area of things that happen that puts the responsibility on the shoulders of something like Gumby. It's not done in any sarcastic way. It's not even meant to call attention to itself. All I'm really asking is for you to look at that with the same kind of respect that you would if it was some important historical figure or Greek statue. Or the usual subject matters that artists tend to use.

There's also a reason why Gumby in particular works for me so well. Because it does relate to the way I make work, which has very much to do with words and reading in particular. Gumby is a kind of metaphor for how I work. He actually goes into the book, goes into a biography or historical book, and interacts with real figures from the past and he becomes part of it. He brings it to another direction. And I tend to do that in my work. That's why Gumby is a particularly important figure to me. I have to give credit to the figure of Gumby himself because it's not something that I'm raising up by his bootstraps and putting in this high-art realm. Gumby's creator, Art Clokey, was a pretty brilliant guy, and it wasn't like the original Gumby cartoons weren't worth paying attention to and that I'm rescuing him from Saturday morning children's cartoons.

ART:21: Is Gumby like an alter-ego?

PETTIBON: Gumby represents an alter-ego for my work as an artist. He represents me as an alter-ego. There's actually a lot more to that figure then just 98 ounces of clay or whatever. Art Clokey was into Zen Buddhism and into a lot of pretty deep stuff for Saturday morning cartoons. Clokey was a pretty hip figure in Los Angeles and in the counter-culture of the '60s and the '50s. The beatniks and the hippies. I have a lot of respect and affection for him. And for Pokey as well, and Goo, Prikle, and even the Blockheads. One other thing that I've never thought of, but that Gumby does for me in some of his cartoons, is he goes into a biography or historical book and he interacts with real figures from the past. George Washington, or whatever. And I tend to do that in my work and in my videos as well.

ART:21: In some of the drawings Gumby is paired with a vast landscape. It's like one guy against the world.

PETTIBON: But you know who does more for me than Gumby--Vavoom. When I'm doing drawings of Vavoom I create a situation of putting him in this epic, sublime, romantic landscape and he is this little guy with a booming voice. It's a perspective that has this panoramic scope to it.

ART:21: When did these characters become part of your self or your repertoire?

PETTIBON: I don't know the exact way that works. Usually there's not any forethought. I don't investigate and find the right character that is going to express the way I want to do things. But it starts inevitably with just one drawing. It resonates and it keeps going from there. It snowballs into a persona that I keep going back to. But there isn't any design to it. It establishes it's own kind of momentum and I don't really have to consciously think about it

I get asked a lot on this subject--"Why is that character so important to you?" and so forth. It's not something that I thought was especially important the first time I did it. I may have drawn certain subjects numbers of times but it doesn't mean that I'm to this day obsessed with a character or dwell on it as the subject matter. Or that I'm aching to get back to it as soon as possible. I feel that an artist has so much to see and he just kind of works on. And you could probably say the same thing for just about any subject or profession, including, well, really anything.

Political Cartoons: Patty Hearst & the Presidents

ART:21: There's an anger and a kind of social criticism in your work? Can you talk about that? Where does that anger come from?

PETTIBON: Well, it just wells up from deep inside me so watch out, it's likely to blow any time! [LAUGHS]

I can't really say that it doesn't somewhat come from me, but my work is a lot more impersonal than most people give it credit for. It's not that I'm not angry, it's that it's not a really personal thing. Well, I don't even know about that... I think when anything is worth getting angry about you want to hold back and look at it from a distance and without this emotion, if possible.

ART:21: Is the anger an undercurrent in the work?

PETTIBON: It's a mistake to assume about any of my work that it's my own voice. Because that would be the most simple-minded ineffective art that you can make. That would really be talking down to people, and if I had such a burning need to express my opinions or whatever then I don't think art would be where I'd want to do it. It's not a good area for that. But when we're talking about the schools and gangs and segregation and so forth, those are very obvious problems and no one really needs my weighing in on it. But there's more underlying problems or issues, and those will be the things I would want to cover in my work.

And you know that's what I do all the time. There is a very direct kind of anger in some of my work to figures like Ronald Reagan or J. Edgar Hoover or whatever. You can have a million artists sign petitions one side or another--and so what? You'd really have to go back to the Greeks and the Romans and to the satire or the very personal kind of rancor that they wrote about people of the day to see what I'm doing. The pretentious, the powerful, the decadent and the corrupt. It's not done from analyzing their positions and correcting them or weighing in your own solutions, because it's not the kind of form that works.

It's like when we were talking about heroes and I brought up that the usual person who is considered a hero is really the opposite of what I would consider. And it's a way of trying to break down this kind of natural awe and respect that comes out of a fear or envy. There's this built-in respect that shouldn't be there completely. I told you how much I consider characters like Gumby with respect. And just on the face of it anyone, I think, should compare cartoons to the president of the United States. This one or anything of them really. Those are the real cartoon figures and those are the real ridiculous figures. I want to make works where someone like Gumby or Vavoom or Felix the Cat or whatever comes out as someone to respect and to listen to and you're glad you did when you're given that opportunity.

I've never considered myself much of a political artist. And most of my art doesn't really deal in explicitly political issues. But I'm not going to apologize or shy away from it any more than I would any other subject. But there is no area where anyone is dealing with this in the way I am--which is for once not to assume someone like the President automatically has a claim on anyone's respect, to follow him or to take him seriously. We don't see that at all because the real pathetic thing is this generation of journalists. Not that it was any better really that much before, but it is really incredible today because they probably pat themselves on the back and say, "Well, we're responsible journalists," and really they're just the punks of the political establishment they cover. I'm not trying to encourage art to become political. Just because you're artists doesn't mean you should have a platform. When Hollywood figures or artists decide to get on their platform, often that is going to do much more harm.

ART:21: Anger and humor. It's a delicate line.

PETTIBON: I don't think humor is a bad thing at any time really, or in these times. I make decisions all the time in my work that I won't make fun of someone just for the sake of going for some cheap laugh. I won't do that if it hurts someone who I would feel bad about. If it's based on things that people have no control over. That should be condemned for any reason. We as humans still so often times feel the need to have someone to pick on who is different.

I don't think there is subject matter to consider too important to use humor with. A lot of times, people wonder if any of this was intended--you know, like humor is just by accident all the time and maybe it's not a good thing to laugh, or maybe they're not getting it, maybe they're seeing something in it that they shouldn't. But that's not the case. I have no problems with my own attempts at humor.

ART:21: A recurring subject in your work is Patty Hearst and the SLA. Can you talk about that in relation to your use of humor?

PETTIBON: Patty Hearst and the SLA would really be impossible not to treat with some broad comic aspect to it because the SLA and the whole situation was such a broad burlesque. A lot of the best humor, whether it's the Three Stooges or Moliere, is about someone who is really strident or pretentious. The SLA and a lot of political groups from the '60s and '70s--to any time period--are so strident and they're so full of their own righteousness for the moment. Inevitably a year later, like in Patty's case, she went from being a debutante to an urban guerilla and then back again where she married her own bodyguard.

Any one from groups such as that who have gravitated to the other extreme--such as the current radical right, the reigning power of now, the neo-conservatives--that all comes from a very left wing position. Almost all those guys were at one time the opposite. And so it's hard to take that sort of thing seriously if you can see it from any historical distance. If you look at the Hearst case from the beginning to the end it's like the Keystone Cops. That can happen by chance or by the kind of ideas behind it as well.

Humor doesn't trivialize the real consequences, the people that get hurt, for instance. I'm not making light of that. If I'm going to be condemned for broaching that subject from a comic angle, that is completely absurd. I'm not a fan of the underground or the SLA. Personally or their politics. But to demonize them in particular when you had a war going on that was killing millions--the Vietnamese people and all people who should be allowed to live--it's a way for me to objectify the lines there. To even the playing field a little bit rather than picking one enemy and demonizing them to basically cover your own ass. It's a way of making nothing sacrosanct and above comedy, and at the same time not taking away all their humanity by completely objectifying a whole group of people in a way that makes them totally disposable either. I'm not doing that with any of those groups.

ART:21: Portraying people is always tricky. For instance, some viewers might think the way you depict women is misogynist. How would you respond to that?

PETTIBON: When you get asked something like that you almost expect someone to be disingenuous about it. In my personal life, of course, you can't read my mind... My work really isn't coming from a very personal point so to psychoanalyze my work really isn't going to reveal anything. But then again that becomes a very circular kind of thing because you could say, "Well, maybe it's hidden under the surface and he just doesn't realize it," or whatever. But specifically, like with Gumby, I never had a doll phase or an action figure phase and certainly not now. So that wasn't an obsession for me or a very personal thing. It came out of a certain subject matter used in a certain way. I think a lot of the work that would be considered misogynist comes from a strain in my work that is usually described as a film noir type. Most of my work that would be considered the most misogynist would be work where the women character is like a caricature in comic books, like the Dragon Lady in Melton Kaniff, or a girl usually named Velma or Velvalee or whatever.

I've been asked a few times of my work that all the characters, almost without exception, are white. That's a legitimate question. But there still is an element of caricature to my work and I'm not representing this kind of multi-cultural melting pot in my work just for appearances sake. If you looked at my work based on race, the work would call attention to itself in ways that would make it a completely different kind of work. I don't make any apologies for not doing that because it's for what purpose?

This is not autobiographical work, by any means. Even the emotions involved. If someone thinks they understand me and disagree, then okay. But there's something in the nature of comedy and especially in the element of caricature and cartoons that my work retains. An editorial cartoon is trying to be positive. It's usually really very cloying and sappy and there's no hook to it at all. I also don't like my humor to be in the service of making fun of people based on superficialities. People get picked on or looked down at. I'm conscious about that as a problem.

ART:21: Do you think there are elements of failure and longing in your work?

PETTIBON: Longing yes, because I think it's work that is best when there isn't any final resolution. When you don't finally arrive. And failure...I have to say that maybe that's because this sort of work tends to have more of a negative edge to it. There probably is more failure depicted in my work then there is success.

ART:21: Is there sadness in the work?

PETTIBON: Yeah. I think maybe it's as much as humor. It's just more latent. I think the life of the drawing is that you're always kept in suspense. It's like a serial which goes on from day to day in the paper. There's always something from the sky just about to fall on you. Even though my work is usually just one drawing, it is more of a narrative than it is a cartoon with a punch line and a resolution and a laugh at the end.

- - - - -

...and what gets written about him in papers:


Dispatches from the peculiar world of artist Raymond Pettibon

by Angela Carone


Living large

Raymond Pettibon takes on a project at MCASD ( - 'I'm doing more wall works because of the opportunity. It's nice to be asked'

By Robert L. Pincus


guitar porn...the late, late edition

Here's an early 60's Airline 3 pickup model (pics from Mike's site at were coolio....they look like humbuckers, but that's actually a high octane single coil that can go froma nice round tone to a total snarl and bite...the body is Res-o-glass, which is actually fiberglasss, but with a cooler name. two hollow halves molded and then joined with a rubber gasket like the bumper on of the most beautiful american made guitars ever...



look out dan tanna...i'm in vegas this weekend...with friends Francois Camoin, Darrell Spencer, Tod Goldberg, Steve Almond, and a bunch of other fine people for the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

Vegas is cheap (at leats to get there)...c'mon out...what happens there stays there...including any fiction advice i give out on panels, which if you repeat outside county lines, you will have to be killed.

on the QT, hush-hush and all that.

Monday, October 17, 2005


maybe the coolest record player ever

check this out...

is that cool or what?

i may get it...or a close and play.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


i just stole this from my buddy Tod's blog

Tod Goldberg is reading tonight in Westwood from his new collection Simplify, which you should go and buy. And, if you get the chance, ask Tod about genital or anal fisting. He loves those Q's...

This (below) is from Tod's blog.....

Sunday, 7pm, Borders Books & Music in Westwood (1360 Westwood Blvd, just south of Wilshire): The First Official Tod Goldberg Reads His Work In Los Angeles Event.
No actors at this one, just me, my god, my country, and my undying faith in the sales power of Borders Books.

What You Can Expect At This Event: 1. Me, reading a story. I've not decided yet what I'm going to read, so if anyone has any suggestions, get them in soon. I'm edging towards "The Last Time We Never Met" but could be persuaded to read "Rise John Wayne & Rebuke Them" but not "Simplify" because, well, it takes about 40 minutes to read that story and even I get bored of that.

2. Some banter. I'm hoping for a good sized crowd and a good sized crowd always means I get to banter. I may even decide to have someone come up and banter with me. If you have any suggestions, or would like to be the one, do let me know.

3. My family. Here's your chance to witness first hand the Partridge Family of publishing. Talk to Lee about fan fiction, crime fiction and TV. Talk to Linda and Karen about art and journaling and travel and inspiration (not of the god variety, but of the creative, though Karen knows some god stuff, too).

4. Me wearing my official "tour outfit." It's pressed. It's clean. It's ready to go. I've tried it out at several events in the Midwest and Bay Area and it's a keeper. Classy, yet sexy. Professional, yet whimsical. Masculine, but tastefully done.

5. Michael Silverblatt. Or, at least, an imitation of him done personally for you, face to face. It's a thing of lasting beauty, I assure you.

What You Will Not Experience: Air quotes, vis-a-vis, motif, theme, a discussion on the latest book by Salman Rushdie (I have lied to people recently and said how much I loved it, but, alas, haven't actually read it), air kisses (If you wanna air kiss me, cool, no problem, but I'm going for the mouth and my tongue is coming with me), me pestering you about whether or not you're writing (this is for scared former students who think I'll badger them about their books...I'll just email you later), mentions of Hurricane Katrina as "our tsunami" or 9/11 as "our Pearl Harbor" or George W. Bush as "our President," any conversations that begin, "Yesterday, when I was re-reading The DaVinci Code..." and fucktards. I swear, all of my events are fucktard free.

So come by Sunday night. Even if you don't want to buy a book and just want to see what I look like in real life, I'd be happy to see you. (And by you, I mean, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. ) And the rest of you should come, too.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


guitar porn...the late edition

here's a mid 1950's Silvertone's way Tweed-riffic...

it's also for sale, for any of my local git prn readers, i'll cut ya a deal :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


back home

back home...too much road food, but me and tod goldberg had much fun and got to read to some folks and make fun of some others...including a VERY scary russian that we met wheile touring a canadian destroyer (hey, it was free)...we did a salon at an urban dwelling, a Q&A, a reading and solo acoustic show in the mission...way fun...

we were put up by the great peter, mary and dinah (and fine dog lucy)...good times...

i ate more fried greasy food in 4 days than i have in the last year. and cheese...the road is nasty for vegetarians.

and i did not sing The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald, but Tod seemed to forgive me. more soon.

guitar porn a day late to follow


Saturday, October 08, 2005


road trip

off with mr tod goldberg ( to san fran for some readings, a fic workshop, a salon (!?) and no doubt many stops at scenic fun sites along the 5 (harris ranch, the pea soup know the drill)...and my very first ever sober acoustic solo show...i used to do 'em, 20 years back, but, dude, i was sooo wasted....


Friday, October 07, 2005


to the library

Hey folks...our muscle-brained roid-raged fucktard of a governor is cutting good stuff left and right to pay for some rich fuck's gold lined toilet paper (i'm speaking metaphorically here, but only a bit), a your local public library in any way you can...Money and books, being the best ways...

off to the LBPL to give 'em some of my old books...

check them out at:

a great local



Wednesday, October 05, 2005


more from Deepthroat

My buddy who last week shared the truly frightening dinner theater story about Madame (sans Wayland)...and who i shall from here on in dub "Deepthroat," as he needs to protect his high security super secret job at Cogswell Cogs, and can't be found blogging and needs his ID protected...anyway, he wrote me this AM that Nipsy Russell had died (and, yes, of course, no man is an island, and everyone's death diminished me, and all that, but let's whistle past the graveyard a bit, shall we?)...which led me to write to him:

but nipsey russell was so lame
no one worse on Match Game.

which i thought wasn't too bad...but he topped me with:

That is true he was not
Charles Nelson Reilly, or even Debralee Scott.
His tired rhymes invariably stank
When Gene Rayburn asked him to fill the "blank."

Yes! Out of the park.

any comments or match game related poems are most welcome.

and stay tuned for more from Deepthroat on oddball popular culture refereneces...Good work, son. How does Vice-President Jetson sound?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


git porn and recording pics

tuner and home-made fuzz pedal (and Gayle's shoe)'s guitar porn day AND a bonus set of photos from the Danbury Shakes recent recording session (check back for links to the MP3's when it's mixed...)

here's Gayle, laying down some fat bottom with her 1962 National "Map Shape" Reso-glass short scale bass...WAY guitar porn on this one...

next is G with her black Supro "Pocket Bass...

that's Katrina, our producer, engineer, recording guru and tone Mistress...

me, with my super coolio Olympic White Mustang...faded to a creamy bannanama...

Steve, drummin...

Monday, October 03, 2005


WEHO Faire

was a panel with Catherine Daly and Mike Watt and Domenic Priore...all smart and interesting, generous folks...also got to see some old friends...(the fabulous Christine Berry of Smart Gals, who rocks, Monica Poling of, who also rocks...John,& Kev of LA Punk legends, the Urinals...Kathy Tally-Jones who's editing and co-writing a book on said legends o' punk) friend and co-plumber Russ...Bobby at the mystery bookstore who never seems to mind that no one wants me to sign my books at his events and...and many other fine buds out in the world of letters).

on a positive note, i wasn't Q'd by any lunatics...which is rare, indeed, post-panel :)

and, along with Watt, i got to meet Raymond Pettibon, who has long been a favorite artist of mine.

a good day...

Saturday, October 01, 2005


This tastes a little Seagal-y to me

My bud Kev Cain hipped me to the scariest energy drink in the world (thanks Kev!)...



West Hollywood Book Faire SUNDAY Oct, 2nd

I'm signing at the mystery bookstore tent at 11AM

on a panel (at 12:45) moderated by the very cool Catherine Daly an with legendary bass player and Tour Spiel writer Mr. Mike Watt...and Domenic Priore who wrote a good book about the beach boy's Smile album...(Was supposed to be Legs McNeil...but, sadly, Legs legged it elsewhere...damn)...

booksigning sponsored by Booksoup after...

see you there...

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