I was already a fan of Fela Soul, Amerigo Gazaway’s full album mashup of Fela Kuti and De La Soul tunes, so when he asked me to do the cover for Yasiin Gaye, the second volume of his project mashing up the music of Mos Def and Marvin Gaye, it took me a hot second to mull it over before saying yes.
The record has something of a backstory. Gazaway’s previous release, Bizarre Tribe, which set the vocals from The Pharcyde over the music of A Tribe Called Quest, met a quick internet death. It was effectively shut down by Sony, who cited copyright infringement despite the fact that Gazaway wasn’t actually sampling ATCQ – he was sampling the same jazz and funk recordings that the Tribe had sampled for their recordings. Big fat irony, right? (For a fantastic documentary on the evolution of the fair use exception in regard to art in general and remix/mashup music in particular, watch RIP: A Remix Manifesto, which features Girl Talk.)
So, this new release felt like it had a mission, like it was part of a thrill ride, or more to the point, a chase. And that was reflected in the imagery that we chose. This was an initial contender:
but in the end we chose to make it an airplane or a spaceship, because that seemed to fit better. And it wasn’t going to be so much of an action scene, but more of a conceptual journey, with Gazaway piloting Yasiin Bey and Marvin Gaye to new heights as they confabbed about their new venture.
and after a few drafts it came together nicely.
For the reverse side click here to finish reading this post
Cash For Your Warhol and I thought this sign needed a little rearranging. Just a little. A car load? Detergent? Get it?
Where did the last two weeks go?
Oh yeah – now I remember. I was in Austria, along with Matthew Diffee and Paul Noth. We were asked to come host a symposium in Wels with a bunch of other very talented cartoonists from Austria and Germany, and so we did, after one of us was – ahem – detained by the Swiss police over passport issues.
On the way there, we did our Fisticuffs! show in Linz, Austria, as part of the Next Comic Festival at the university.
And although the battle was fierce, we all lived. (Which is true, but we also suffered head wounds from getting kicked by a large cartoon boot).
So we moved on to our symposium in Wels. It was an honor, but also somewhat intimidating, to be “teaching” to people who were pretty accomplished in their own right.
Luckily, there was no awkwardness whatsoever. I think we all appreciated everybody else’s talents and it became a big, goofy hangout session, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, we had the theatre at the Medien Kultur Haus booked click here to finish reading this post
In lieu of separate lists, here is a meta-list of the things I enjoyed the most this year (besides Art Basel, which I just wrote about a few days ago), in no particular order.
1. The skittish, slackerish, stream-of-consciousness Ninetiesish punk of Parquet Courts.
2. The graphic stories of Allie Brosh. She portrays herself as some kind of monster who is a crudely amateurish artist. She is neither.
3. This deliciously eye-popping piece of street art from Tristan Eaton in Little Italy, NYC.
click here to see full list
I’ve never been to Burning Man, but my cartoon in this week’s New Yorker asks whether the festival has turned from a small countercultural freakfest into a corporate theme park of an event, as cited by this New York Times article from last year. Then again, all of these events are starting to feel the same, as the below pictures from this year’s Goldman Sachs annual board meeting show.
Tuesday I went to “Krautwerk 1-8: Kraftwerk Covered” at Littlefield in Brooklyn. The show was a “screw you” to the failed MOMA ticketing system that left most fans (this one included) suffering under the spinning pinwheels of internet death, but, because it was put together by the Onion’s Joe Garden and Marianne Ways, it was also a Kraftwerk cover show that didn’t take itself too seriously. Naturally, it was MCed by somebody’s computer speech function, and featured a diverse lineup of talent. I’m really glad I went. Rolling Stone gave it a good writeup, but here is my little teaser video. Can you do a teaser for something that already happened? I think I just did.
Oh, yes I did.
My favorite time of year to listen to Christmas music is around Christmas time. I’m crazy that way. So every year I make a new mix of stuff that I’ve enjoyed listening to. This year’s mix has got 1960s psychedelic rock from Korea, some good ol’ bluegrass, an admittedly annoying dance craze from the 90s, and a Bob Dylan mashup that you won’t hear anywhere else because I MADE IT MY DAMN SELF. I’m crazy that way, too. Most of all, it’s fun and harmless – your aunt would even like it (full disclosure: I already played it for her). So feel free to download and enjoy it here. You can get mixes from years past here as well. Enjoy.
(by the way, the exploding bulb in the background of the tracklisting is from Alan Sailer’s fantastic “War Against Christmas” Flickr page.)
Newt Gingrich and Susan Boyle. You know what I’m talking about, right? The certain uncanny resemblance, despite the fact that one rose to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, and the other across the pond on America’s Got Too Many Republican Presidential Candidates? You can judge for yourself, below, from these completely unretouched screengrabs. That is, if you can tell which one is which.
Celebrities have it all backwards. They want their faces to be instantly recognizable icons, plastered all over every billboard and TV screen. It works for a while, of course. But then your fame peaks, you start taking yourself really seriously, you go all crazy and join a cult and start dancing on Oprah’s couch, and before you know it you’re the punch line to an entire South Park episode. There is a better way: you feature the back of your head instead, only for a split second. This is the way I have chosen.
Okay, I didn’t really choose it. The editors at The Good Wife decided to insert me into their Season Three premiere this way. The scene that I was fake-graphic recording in was mostly eliminated from the final cut, but my second-best asset (I’m counting right shoulder blade first, back of head second) was allowed to remain in the scene. The drawing I did for Eli’s brainstorming meeting also made a brief appearance (below). I was disappointed at first, but you know what? I have a hunch that that’s why people are raving about the show: subliminal advertising works, and so does subliminal acting. Yes, Julianna Margulies is pretty, and Chris Noth is hunky, and Alan Cumming’s Eli is enjoyably pompous, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the subconscious everyman appeal of my nondescript neck that is what’s entering into our TV-watching nation’s subconscious and making the show irresistible. The folks at The Good Wife know what they’re doing, and now you know their secret (you’re welcome).
And what’s good for the show is good for me. Because of the brevity of my appearance, I’ve still got a healthy 14 minutes and 59 seconds of fame left. And that’s not including Vanity Fair‘s reportedly featuring the back of my head on the cover of their October issue.
I wasn’t taking Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy very seriously, until I considered the electoral picture. I did some analysis and realized he has a distinct advantage over most other candidates: