Madfunk Art After Xmas: The Hairy Who

Screamin Jay.jpg

I admit, there’s a couple Roy Lichtenstein works I like a great deal. They’re sculptures. I always disliked his comic-book art from the first time I saw it because, undeniably, it argued that his source material was commercial junk and that his treatments transformed trash into Fine Art. Flooosh. All the vitality and wit in the works sprung from the originals, not Lichtenstein’s re-dos. And it constituted a narrow, square view of what comics could do. No weirdos. No underground.

The first time I encountered work by a Hairy Who artist was when I picked up a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins LP late in my Missoula era that featured the above as a cover illustration. In the language of the day, I thought it was way outta sight. But I believed it was just ace art done by the record company. Hah. (By Karl Wirsum, as it turns out.)

So we’ll skip a couple-three hairy Hairy Who encounters over the years and get to my Art Book present to myself this holiday: The catalog of this exhibit I would love to see in Chicago.

Now, these days Art Books have a real problem. Too small and too-cheap reproductions are the norm. This book is an exception. While I would like it to be inches bigger on all sides, the reproductions are beautifully precise and color-lively and include media like ceramic dolls and photos of the artists at those dazzled-’60s art shows that I had no idea about.

This gets down to it: the raging passions of comics and design and funk and rock&roll had a deranging delight that could be represented in the gallery. Sometimes with downright ominous tones.

If you like what you see, like they say: go, go, gogo.

CD-Tech Update

OK, now have two-battery powered portable CD players (both Sonys), so the need to solve the problem of my sadly crippled outside-power player is way less intense. (See, kidz, I need to have a headphone player upstairs for my floor exercises and one downstairs for my treadmill exercises in the winter. And the nicer of the two also has to be able to go on the road with me. Yes, I would look like a turnip if I couldn’t select the music from my collection for workouts.)

What bothers me is that both of the players are fossils, no longer manufactured. Current portable CD spinners seem like toys in comparison. The newie is a CD Walkman D-E350 and while I’m not crazy about the zippy-blue plastic case, the controls are easier to use than the ones on my golden defunct oldie and the sound, aided by an Airhead amp of course, has space and detailed kick almost up to the golden oldie if I turn to volume up to 8 (ouch, so much for battery life).

As you see, programming the music I listen to every day is neurotically important to me. And I feel stronger that you need physical-item resources to ensure that can happen. The demise of Filmstruck was, yeah, striking.

I’m So Stuck in the (Old) Mud

Was at an event with media-design crazies who work all day online, who were explaining their methods and motions to a crowd of about 40 UX fascinateds. The panelists mentioned Medium a number of times (with notes about its shortcomings as a source of information). So I told my whole story about Medium and my “How I Capture Rapture” piece and how they stopped paying people.

Did I say who I was? No.

Did I name this blog? No.

Sure hope this is (Old) Beauty Mud.

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #66: Swamp Dogg

The album features another of his classic frank-and-practical titles: Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune (Joyful Noise). Only gotten through all the way once, but I have this to say already —

Remember that album Hard Again by Muddy Waters? Far as I’m concerned this is Swamp Again by a 75-year-old and if anything a more urgent and inspired re-creation of the wildman you love to love. Outrageous (and moving) kickoff: utter electrofunk reading of “Answer Me, My Love.”

I’d buy it for the sardonic-surreal liner notes.

And the photo of Dogg that shows he’s not flourishing because he’s in killer shape.

Get Off To a Heavy Start

I’ve been playing the collection I’m a Freak Baby … on and off this week and am now certain that all the selections of the bands I knew beforehand are outstanding cuts. But I would push this most as a starter set for the curious youngster. Hear something that blows your brain out the window — explore some more (you’re not in my running pack if you can resist “Do It” by the Pink Fairies). A surprise throwback to the days of meticulous anthology boxes. (And I’m going to check out the debut album by Stray (S/T), which I gather is their consensus masterpiece and certainly kicks off the program with a wowser.)