Tuesday was an abnormally frustrating day for drawing franchise comix. Struggle, bubble, toil, and trouble. Impromptu dinner plans got botched w/Hueston. He didn't check his answering machine when he got home from the court. Was me and I saw the red light blink; my curiosity would've killed the cat. Hueston? Oblivion. All 9-lives would've walked free. I want a syringe of what Hueston's spiking. So, I wound up eating spaghetti [finally cracked my jar of Saul's yummy X-mas sauce] and salad over the oven sans dishware. All pots and pans like back in college where spatula = spoon. Evening was saved when Mike & Marie picked me up in Little Man for a '24' rendezvous at SBX's house and the hour of hyper-drama did us some first-aid good. Soaked the brain in the theatre of impossible cliffhangers and washed away the morning bugs that misfired artistic intent w/insecure execution. A bite of SBX's delicious Lemon Meringue couldn't compare with a slice of her hot buttered pie, but two for the price of one was one heck of a deal. Crashed and burned, SBX hit the snooze button while I played with my thumbs. No way was I gonna count sheep this early in the night. Not with a page sitting on my table missing its last panel. I tore my heart out and left it under her pillow, kissing my angel good night and locking the door behind me. F-train gave me 20-minutes of Zen and a midnight call w/Fingerman made fun of everybody worth poking while the last panel on T2/pp29 remained empty and sad.
Wednesday morning enthusiasm let me fill in that last panel on pp29 AND let me draw all of pp30 sans hitch and rewarded me w/a trip to Jim Hanley's Universe where I met up w/Lisa Lippman to buy NEW comix. I was 45-minutes late to meet up with Starsixtynine at the Rockville rendezvous, where w/Blazm, Dablo, and Pango Lafoote, were sipping beer and Ozu. 69 ain't changed a damn bit. He's still my nickel plated nigga w/the sassy wit and adorable charm. Within 5-minutes of hanging I was already missing him. There we were, shucking & jiving, and I was jealous. Jealous that he didn't live in Brooklyn anymore. Jealous that I never took advantage of when he and JinxMalone lived 2-blocks behind Montero’s. Missing the days when we were jobless roommates, watching soap operas and quitting minimum wage paying telemarketing jobs to go see the first ever midnight show of Tim Burton's BATMAN. You can't buy unconditional friendship like that. Good to see Pango, too. He gives the best bear hug this side of planet earth, and that's one hell of a hug coming from a fellah who is six-foot-six by six-foot-six. We split for Thai food in Chinatown where Pivovision met up w/us. Blazm drove us all in the Rock-mobile to Reverend Jen's Anti-Slam, at the Collective Unconscious on Ludlow Street. $3 entry fee got me a magic marker 'x' smeared onto the back of my hand. A club tag I hadn't scored in over a year. Shows how out of the social touch I've been. The open mic performance art was awful. Nauseating. Pivo luvs this crap, and NiggerKojak subscribes to this like a baby to lactate. What fuck WRONG, y'all? Pivo likens the anti-slam to swilling a 6-pack of beer and watching bad TV. She blasted me: "You just don't get it." Pivo was dead right. I don't. Or, maybe what happened was, 3-years at SUNY Purchase capped my threshold for such lame "expression?" Blazm and 69 observed the sloppy slam carnage and looked at me with blank stares. The kind of frozen face one must get when anthrax attacks the olfactory. Urk-Kk-Kk-uchhh. You KNOW a theatre space is bad when you don't even want to fuck any of the hot chicks in the audience for fear of Grand Guignol cooties. Take a bath, people.
I convinced the group to split in the Rock-mobile and catch Cooly's band TORTURED SOUL, playing at Nublu on Avenue C. Blazm ordered a beer while I kept it sophisticated w/a glass of Merlot. After Pango reached for my glass and I spilled crushed grapes upon my crotch, the hot/French bartender accidentally sprayed beer foam on the back of my neck. Why don't I go out anymore? Oh, yeah…right. 69, Pango, and Pivo, took it to the side and parlayed while Blazm and I appreciated Cooly's drum. Eventually, the beats scared everybody off; I gave 69 a fat hug and wished him a safe drive to the Midwest where he was visiting his four kids. I was sitting on the stool by myself, trading knowing eyes w/Cooly until it was time to break down and skedaddle.
After putting in my daily due, drawing T2/pp31 on Thursday, I got a lift in Finster's silver bug to Lucien's joint; MECHANISM [a digital effects house on 24th street and 11th avenue in Manhattan] where a pizza party was being thrown for Kahlil, who's been living in Alaska for like 6-years now and was making his annual appearance. Only, 6-years ago nobody in Fin's group were married and had kids, and now there were THREE SETS of them brats runnin' around the premises. 6-years ago we didn't look like were getting older. Now, we're looking a little tired. A little rounder. Shorter. The eyes were starting to sag. Hair was missing. Where there was once a youthful edge and mass sexual energy, there was now a general malaise of nonchalance. The "fellahs," as their gang was dubbed, consisted of: Finster, Kahlil, Kimo, Mike Greenfield, Lucien, Wyeth, Javier, Ethan [and a few others], w/Gabrielle & Tim, making up the slack. Ian was M.I.A., Gian Carlo & PJ were absent, and Tito had made an exodus to California post 9/11, having been at ground zero when it all went down and never quite recovering from what he witnessed and the hasty escape he had to make.
We watched Mechanism's special effects reel and I was wowed by their ability and clients list [including the animation for Spike Lee's BAMBOOZLED, a plethora of commercials, industrials, disaster demos, LATE SHOW banners, etc.]. Lucien showed me the first draft of a superhero/ghetto cartoon he's doing the background animation for. Made me think I should do a 5-minute BILLY DOGMA cartoon. Try and sell it to a network. Umm… Finster drove us back home to Carroll Gardens and I laid out a naughty Valentine’s card for SBX, read DOOM PATROL, and buried my head under the pillow as snow made the red streets white.
Friday morning, I woke up and read RAWHIDE KID 1, a gay comic that Marvel's been catching national press and controversy for. "Explicit Content" was plastered in big letters across the cover, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. It was a traditional western written w/classic cowboy art. You practically had to draw cocks and balls in the gutters between the panels to get the warning this comic was threatening. Barely an innuendo of homosexuality was hinted at in this story. And why should the subject of homosexuality EVER grant a warning of any kind? Censorship fuckers should choke on choad.
Fiffe rang my bell to tap into my comix studio well so he could finish a BIG NEWS illustration for a Tim Hall story. Ex-Cobite alum/neighbor/filmmaker, Doug Dibbern met at my pad @1PM to discuss my drawing a parody for a short movie he was in the midst of completing. Dibbern wanted an underground version of Walt Disney's icon by way of Bukowski, called MUSTARD MOUSE. A few sketches and broken whiskers later, and I had nailed the surly beast for a final pass at a latter date. I took the rest of the afternoon to finish my Valentine's Day card for SBX and felt proud yet prude by my deft execution. Don't say it. I know V-Day is corny and lame and a manufactured holiday designed to put lousy lovers in check while polarizing the losers who are single and upset. Shit. I've been playing the romance game the day my GI JOE dolls lost their adventure thrill and Julie Newmar's CAT WOMAN planted a wet one on my 6-year old cheek, making me feel all funny down there. Every February, I'm either placing my head in my woman's lap or my neck on a subway track. Maybe next year the ersatz affair won’t sideswipe me. But, I gotta get to next year before I can claim such a shrug. In the meanwhile, I'm a slave to Cupid's sling and arrow.
Got a jingle from SBX who was running late at work and would I pick her daughters up from school by 6PM sharp? With 45-minutes to make or break, I scurried out of Carroll Gardens only to get stuck in an F-train swamp. Three stops between point A and B, the train was busted by technical hi-jinks, making a 7-minute ride into 35-minutes, causing a permanent crease in my brow. Tardy, Ola and The Haze were forgiving yet punchy. The Haze was nursing a headache so I gave her a new AKIKO book to help relieve the stress. Ola brewed tea and I ordered pizza while SBX snagged MOUSE HUNT from the video rental. Aggravated, The Haze shed tears and felt crappy. SBX took her temperature and, sure enough, hosted a slight fever. Didn't take a doctor to diagnose that three days of tension causing 'school placement tests' were the culprit to blame for such cranium blues. SBX wore her uber-mom apron and put the Haze to bed early while Ola and I got pizza/movie ready to roll downstairs. We all laughed at the comedy and after SBX put Ola to sleep, we cuddled by the TV.
We watched BBC News and their reportage of America's impending war w/Saddam Hussein, and viewed a repeat of the Queen's jubilee. A little bit of Britain put SBX at familiar ease and that eventually sent us up to bed. Shoptalk couldn't shake the Alzheimer's tapes SBX had watched for work the night before and it was distressing her to no end. Alzheimer's is a disease her family carries and she's afraid that her mother is exhibiting symptoms. Not only that, but SBX was convinced that she too would suffer from its awful, mind-bending fate. I tried to steer the topic away from such depressing bedtime banter, but she was caught in its fog and fell off to sleep exhausted by a long workweek. Aggravated and alert, I couldn't catch any Zzz's. So, I zipped up my pants, tied on my boots, and kissed my girl ‘goodnight.’