…is a free newsletter I’m starting as a birthday gift to
myself. Each installment will be a short-to-medium thought about art, working
with a very broad definition of art: visual arts, comics, movies, music,
literature, god knows what else; and covering both appreciating art, art
history, art theory, making art, all that. Sometimes focusing on individual
works of art or artists; sometimes wandering all over the place. I can’t
promise structure or high-quality copy-editing, but I can promise fun (and a
bare minimum of one post a month). And although I hope this’ll still be fun and
interesting for my pals from the world of academic art history, I want to aim
this more at people who like to appreciate art and culture but haven’t spent a
bunch of time in seminars talking theory.
SO SIGN UP OVER AT SUBSTACK! I’m in the process of working through my mountain of ideas for posts, and I’ll start sending them out once there’s a moderately-sized pool of subscribers.
Here’s a comic strip I worked up, kind of a prototype for a thing I might pursue after I finish Nowhere Band (which should be some time this year, unless I change my mind). I think this thing would mutate a little more if it actually went into production, but if nothing else I’ve got a pretty big google doc full of script ideas…
I’ll probably write a bit more about this later, but I wanted to note that I’ve got a longish essay up over on Slate about my younger infatuation and then partial disillusionment with the work of Tom Robbins. I like the piece a lot, and I’ve wound up having a bunch of interesting conversations about it on Twitter and that other, shittier, social media platform.
…so it took me a mere 4 years to stumble across this i09 post (by Greame McMillan, who I have thought was awesome for a long time) praising my McSweeney’s COBRA stuff. Which just hits me as funny because this is turning into a trend, my finding stuff like this months or years later. Awesome to stumble across now – it’s been a rough day, so it’s a good time to come across something positive – but it’s weird to me how great I am at missing things.
In my defense, a) It Ain’t Easy is easily the worst song on the album (Bowie’s version only works because he’s got Mick Ronson there to save the day), and I basically had to destroy the village to save it; b) Bowie didn’t write the damned thing anyway (which really shows in the lyrics, which are pretty Zeppelin); and c) I actually think my guitar parts are pretty cool.
Let’s start with the executive summary: After being in creative exile, more or less, for the past 4 months, I started work this morning on bringing back my old rock strip Nowhere Band. The new volume will, somewhat recursively, follow the Awesome Boys as they try to get their band back together after a long hiatus and deal with the fact that they’re now edging into being older than their musical peers. First new strip should go up some time next week. It should be funny and human. I’m stoked.
Well, it’s simple… since I work for a university, I recently became eligible for free tuition for grad-level classes, so a couple of months ago I started a master’s program in software. Which I’m sure will pay off in the long run, but in the short term it’s kind of meant tossing a hand grenade into my life as I knew it. Work on EYEBALL continues, but at a drastically-reduced pace; I don’t know that I’ll finish more than 4 or 5 pages this semester (although then it’ll pick up over the summer, at least for a while).
Stuff’s still happening, though. Before the coursework shit really started hitting the fan, I had time to work something up for Andrew Weiss’ Ultimate Powers Jam, and I’m actually happier with it than I am with pretty much any creative thing I’ve done for the past year. So there’s that.
In the meantime, yeah. I’m still around, and still working on comics at a snail’s pace. When I’m not fighting with Python.
So, yeah. After working on it for most of 2012, I’ve finished and put out an EP on behalf of my fictional band, the Awesome Boys. It’s pretty good stuff, I think; if nothing else, it’s a good approximation of what the inside of my head sounds like, processed into something catchy and entertaining.
In an email to a local rock writer, I described the album thusly:
It’s always hard to come up with a description of your own music, but I guess I’d call Sub Cauda “ambitious garage rock.” There’s a lot of guitar and weird noises coaxed out of a Kaossilator. You could maybe say it’s music that draws equally from the Flaming Lips and Guided By Voices. Or probably not. But that’s a start, I guess.
That’s probably as good of a description as I can do. Anyway, go check it out! The whole thing is free to stream or download on my Awesome Boys site; or if you prefer SoundCloud, 5 of the 6 songs (minus a pretty rad Bowie cover) are streaming over there.