Who Woulda Thought?
Tuesday. Still early at 8:30 in the morning, home now from breakfast, the scaffolding people have yet to arrive. And I have yet to clean up the balcony, although the effort required is minimal: move a small charcoal grill, move two chairs that belong in a dump somewhere, move Ms. Emmy's litter box inside the apartment (for two weeks, dear god). The kitchen floor and the bathroom floor are tile, everything else is rug, I don't need a kitty litter box on my rugs so I will live with a kitty litter box either in my kitchen (where it will reside) or in my bathroom, which is too small, really, to hold it. So, an annual physical later this morning, a balcony to diddle with before I leave. Unexpected excitement, here in the apartment, enough undoubtedly to last the week.
I believe you said two weeks.
Later. I was expecting the flu shot, but not the pneumonia and the shingles shots, although none of them were anything to write home about. That's pretty much my description of my annual physical, some conversation on going to an acupuncturist, which I may do, some conversation about cameras as the doctor is another photographer. Another appointment in hand for next year. Three dollars and sixty cents to park.
The scaffolding is going up although the scaffolding team isn't sure what exactly the crew that's coming after them will be up to. Whatever, the scaffolding does make my balcony available to anyone who might climb up after midnight from the street so I understand I'll need to secure the sliding glass doors against visitors. Which I can do. Doodle-dee-do.
An interesting hour on Michael Krasny's program talking with Art Spiegelman, one of the early underground cartoonists in San Francisco during the seventies who became famous when he won the Pulitzer Prize in the early nineties for his Maus series on the Holocaust (cats as Nazis, mice as Jews, the story paralleling his own father's experience). I knew Spiegelman in the 70's, interviewed him once at his place for a friend doing research for a New York Magazine article asking him then how Maus was being received by the Jewish community in New York at the time.
No particular point in this, but it brought back a sense of the time as he talked about people I knew and how he felt the underground comix era fit into the Bohemian tradition that runs with different names in a line through twentieth century America.
Of course Spiegelman represents one current in that stream, his comment that he wasn't able to talk with the Texans about anything other than beer describes and circumscribes the limitations of his particular experience. I knew most of the Texans, considered myself one of them and, other than a few of us greeting, say, a hot afternoon with a few bottles, we didn't talk about beer. Too much happening, too much else going on as the Texas tendrils snaked back through writers, artists and even maverick politicos inventing and re-inventing the world.
I came from a small north woods town in Washington State transplanted at an awkward age to a small hot house suburban area in the city of Yonkers just outside New York City, someone who'd wandered as a kid alone in the woods who ended up in a place where people attended Broadway shows, actual operas and big league baseball games. The underground comix coming out of Texas were part of a much broader art movement originating in Austin - Doug Sahm, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Chet Helms, Tracy Nelson, Kinky Friedman - all of whom, coupled with others such as Wilson out of Kansas, Justin and Keith out of Chicago, Sheridan and Shrier out of Cleveland, Joel Beck out of Berkeley, Crumb, the many women (many of whom, such as Robbins, are still edgy and active) all of them from totally different experiences, cultures and methods of communication that not everyone who grew up as a cartoonist geek out of New York City such as Spiegelman, I suspect, understood. But what the hell? A proper movement, subterranean or otherwise, is full of cultures crashing, feuds, ideas bouncing about creating cliques, shredding and dying just as it's as rapidly coming together and being born.
Sounds pretentious as hell the way you put it.
Well, anyway. An interesting program on public radio. Spiegelman picked up a Pulitzer, though. It came the only way it could have come, I suppose, but who woulda thought?