Thursday, April 23, 2009

World War 3 Illustrated Release Party-wordless issue...

World War 3 Illustrated Release Party
> Thursday, April 30, 2009 7-9PM
> at
> Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art -MoCCA
> 594 Broadway, Suite 401 (Between Houston and Prince st.)
> New York, NY 10012
This issue comprising of wordless comics only

Click on World War 3 Illustrated (in label bar below) and scroll down for my contributions.

If you wish to buy the latest issue send
a check for $4 to "World War 3 illustrated" and mail to:
> Peter Kuper
> 235 west 102nd St. #11J
> NY NY 10025

Thursday, April 16, 2009

BODY PARTS-Chapter 4

A Head For Business

I was always the first to notice if things were amiss. If they were off somehow I’d see it and, before saying anything or causing any kind of panic, I would produce a graph with a list of statistics, to clearly express the new trend be it for better or worse. I saw the fiscal crisis on its way thirty years ago. I was presenting graphs to anyone who would listen and look and discovered that catching severely negative yet commonly unpredictable market trends pleased nobody. My science was too unique. I thought somebody would take me on board but that never happened.
I no longer live anywhere near K-Street or Wall Street but now live on P Street. That’s right—P Street. I live in an alphabet city. It is a strange and unfamiliar alphabet but I feel perfectly at home. My apartment is comfortable and I lack for nothing, nothing that I need. I cannot plead poverty but insist on wearing rags and have not bought a new suit in forever. I’m frugal. I haven’t been back to The Street in twenty years but despite this I still have a unique head for business. I’m a watcher now. I have a special set of eyes dedicated one hundred per cent to doing just that. They roll around the periphery garbage picking, making mental notes, spotting mutant facts. My problem was never my head, or so I'd always assumed. It was my stomach. I just could not stomach accumulating wealth for its own sake. This was no simple moral revulsion. Physically it began to manifest itself for the first time with the DOT.COM.BOOM-AND-BUST. I had a partner then. We made a good team for a while. He was the only one who ever appreciated my cognitive leaps and bounds but when they began running counter to his own somewhat deviant thinking, and he saw me negating, of necessity, his problematic stance, we both saw the writing on the wall. I presented the facts as objectively and as clearly as I could, and he saw me painting him as a demon. Later I saw it was paranoia pure and simple. He had no stomach for the truth just as I had no stomach for the lies. One day we both up-chucked at exactly the same moment ruining each others’ shoes, and the plan I’d proposed for getting us out of the mess we were in.
Back to P Street, my home. P Street is worthy of its name. It always smells of urine. If you didn’t know better you’d assume you were on the bad side of town. You’d know better than to be caught on its dank cobbles late at night. You’d see the torn posters and broken bottles, the signs of freshly removed graphiti and, sure enough, the homeless guys in their sorry cardboard shelters, next to their shopping carts full of rags and bones. Understandably you’d be alarmed but this is a street in remission. It truly is. The scavengers are of the meek and noble variety. They quietly save the planet every day with their recycling. They are not the violent type. Those who are certainly don’t want to waste their time rolling the bums on our block. During the day it is a hive of activity. The smell of fresh solder hangs in the air and the gas guys, the electric guys, the cable guys are all out digging, laying tarmac and wires for some company or other. The rents if you didn’t buy are beginning to climb. We are getting our house in order. I love P Street and probably watch it more carefully than most. From my perch in the Diner I observe the comings and goings, and with scrupulous care make notes in my everything book. I’ve seen this Diner reflect the street, rusting and neglected and then dust itself off and pull itself together full of new resolve. I sit brooding over my coffee, staring at an old padlock hanging on the door. My head is telling me something is up and the hairs on the backs of my hands stand to attention. The tone of the conversation behind the counter has changed. There’s a new chef—I’m sure of it—and the owner is none too pleased. He catches my eye and then quickly looks away. He is normally a stare downer. I get another coffee and decide to stay a while. Something is definitely off kilter and I have to figure out what. I take out my book and open it to the first blank page. I carefully lay three pens next to it confident it is going to be a busy day, and then I close my eyes to listen. Sitting at that table I hear a nation of poodle lovers with their over indulged pets, hapless spouses with their doting other-halves, who insist on straightening their collars and feeding them with a spoon. If he hadn’t met her he’d be outside on P Street with a cardboard box for a mattress. It occurs to me That marriage is one big animal shelter.
I open my eyes and see some suits walking in who definitely are not familiar and it doesn’t look like a regular business lunch. I order eggs.
Only when the eggs arrive do I see what the problem is. It’s me. It’s been me all along. My arms refuse to budge. A slow fizzing sensation has been traveling up my legs all morning and I’ve paid it no mind. Now it has climbed from my hands to my elbows but because I am so cerebral that is where my problem will end—in my head. The waitress looks concerned.
“Are you okay, Mr. Phillips?”
I don’t respond, not in words. My eyeballs flutter. I try to look at her and smile but my lips won’t move. The muscles at the corner of my mouth have turned to mush. I can move my eyes. The yolks on my plate appear to pulse like little emergency lights. The waitress raises her voice and waves her hands in front of me. “He follows them. Mr. Phillips, help is coming. We’ve called....” My head no longer belongs to my body. A lifetime of paying it no mind and my body has rebelled by developing a mind of its own. A crowd gathers round cell phones all a buzz. I'd always blamed my body if anything went wrong. Quietly my body regains its composure. Paralyzed no more it abruptly stands and then runs out cutting a swathe through the crowd. It's now "it" but I’m still me. Strange. I turn my head and through the periphery of my vision make out its departing form as it disappears past the dumpsters and on into the sunshine. I’d never really appraised my body honestly before but did so now. It wasn’t fit. My head tips bumping against my coffee cup. My ear quickly fills with the warm, brown fluid. I’m underwater. The waitress rescues me, saves me from drowning by efficiently mopping up the mess. She cannot save me from myself and nor can I and much against my will my head drops to the floor with a crunch and rolls erratically out of the door in the direction of that withering sun. The unswept street is brutal on my skin. I can only dream of growing wings.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BODY PARTS-Chapter 5

The Invertebrate

She’s outside, nice night, early spring but warm enough to cavort, or sit and watch, which is what I’m doing. I’m observing and writing. I feel that first inkling of spring, the spring that gives one lift, and it is heartening. The tax returns are in the mail, and the very first, if slightly stunted daffodils, are rearing their baffled heads.
I’m not as fit as my kids. He’s ollieing on his skateboard and she’s screaming with joy, screeching with delight as she puts everything into hurling a rubber ball at her older brother and then running away. If you know my writing you know I will not allow it to stay in such a warm place. The story must turn cold or sour before I’ll let you eat it. I’m not rejecting the sentimental though I may appear to do so in no uncertain terms. More I am compelled to turn this simple delight into a surreal jaunt through the unknown lands. I have to complicate things, take them that one step further, peel back the skin to reveal that hidden thing—perhaps a deeper delight that rarely gets a look in. Maybe there will be nothing there but more blue sky or that which I’d already imagined. Usually though something surprising happens.
My mason’s arm continues to hurt all these months later, and the chronic pain in my back has returned. My plan to run today was demolished by relentless, frustrating calls with credit card companies, and computer specialists, and ISP providers living in New Delhi, most of them polite to a default, and most of them unable to solve my problems, and really, in the end, that is all I want them to do. I was pushy and took no pushing back. I took the high road and stood my ground. In the end I got results. The therapy came through but at a cost. Exhausted I tinkle the ice in my glass and wince as my daughter lets out another ear piercing scream. My spine aches but not as bad. The whisky helps and I’m reminded that I do at least have a spine. Standing up, at the end of the day, requires some major sitting down. I eat a pretzel and gulp my drink. This is all so real. The story resists taking a magical turn. I’m meant to be in the here and now. It occurs to me that the here and now is a very scary place but I'm not permitted to leave, not yet. What if he accidentally rolls over her tiny little digits? What if he slips and smashes his helmet-less head? I hear myself saying for the umpteenth time: “Oh, do be careful!” What if she gets him really mad? Unlikely. He has remarkable patience. What if she falls from her pogo stick?
She cracks her cranium. We head to ER. They stitch her up. We are destroyed as parents all over again.
She swings her head and gives me a magical smile. He looks at me intently: “It’s physics,” he says as he jumps up in the air with his board. He’s so smart. Pride arrives which gives my spine cause to smart again.
He dissected frogs today—they smelt their insides and the classroom went “Oooooh! Groooossss!” He is working on vertebrates all this week and loving it. He should take me in tomorrow. I’m free. I could be the next classroom specimen. I’m big enough they could all gather round and still see what they were doing. Give me the right drugs and I could tell them what parts they are finding, I could give them the anatomy lesson. Naturally my son would be embarrassed. “Yes, it is my dad.”
They lay me next to the bunsen burners and remove my shoes. They take out their scalpels and ponder: What does a dad look like under all that skin and cloth? Does he really have a spine?”

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Argument

Photos courtesy Rick Parker. I'm increasingly interested in inserting myself in my artworks, and even illustrations. This is on exhibit right now at 1978 Arts Center, Maplewood, as part of the Depression Show-works by Rick Parker and Russell Christian
The Depression Show

Monday, April 6, 2009

BODY PARTS-Chapter 4

A Short Story

He wasn’t fit. He wasn’t fat. He was short. Somehow short and unfit amounted to not well, not where he lived, these days. Where he lived people veered away from any hint of unwell and they veered away from him in droves. He was a despised form.
“You should run more…. Grief I have to run now! See you later, maybe.”
In his social interactions, mostly consisting of superficial friendships with other busy parents, he was always the one left, not so much standing as blind-sided, winded, and bemused.
“Raining again.”
“Still the flowers must apprec…”

When the parents of his eleven-year-old’s friend, Davis, saw him pull in to the school forecourt one morning as he dropped off his kid, the parent burnt rubber, pulled away from the curb, turned her back. He wasn’t being paranoid. She saw him and she looked away.
In the Diner, jobless, he nursed a coffee for too long (the waitress scowled at him and kept wiping his table with a dirty cloth) and wondered about why the parent would do such a thing. He always came back to the same answer. He needed to exercise. That was all. His failure to do so reflected badly on his diminutive person. Only he slept until seven. He was never up and running with the dawn, or planting the first seeds of spring like all the others. Even his wife was beginning to have second thoughts, not that she’d ever admit it. She maintained she was perfectly able to be objective. She’d return from Jazzercise and say: “You need to shape up. You’ll feel better. You’ll have more energy. Maybe you’ll no longer forget to pack the kids’ lunches. Maybe you’ll pay the bills on time though with what…but that’s a whole other matter. I don’t mean to be mean.”
She’d said: “I don’t mean to be mean,” at least three times in the past week alone and he’d pointed it out saying: “You have a tic.” Her repost: “You are a tic.” She tended to be over defensive and he tended to wish he hadn’t spoken up. A week later she’d actually commented on his size, the first time she’d ever done so in a less than flattering way. There’d been no warmth or affection and it had left him very low.

In the Diner he nursed an empty mug.
“Another cup or get out,” said the waitress.
He ordered another cup thereby choosing to ignore how rude she had been. He’d shame her by leaving her a big tip. Coffee soothed the soul.

“You’re short, too short.” His doctor had said that after a hurried examination—possibly the most harrowing pronouncement ever aimed at his person—a sharp arrow slung with the best of intentions.
“I could pussy foot around the issue but I believe you deserve more than that. I’m giving it to you straight." Did his doctor smirk? He couldn't be sure but he wasn’t simply being paranoid.
“Really! You need to stretch-stretch-stretch, and exercise. You need to get to a point where it becomes second nature.”
The doctor took off his rubber gloves and dropped them gingerly in the waste disposal.
“Get out. Go for a run. Here’s a prescription. Check in with billing before you leave."

“Sorry Mr. George. Shortness is definitely a pre-existing condition. Your wife’s insurance won’t cover. You are lucky you need no pills. The deodorant and gloves are a quarter as it is.” She meant $250. He knew that from past experience.
She’d been very, very rude. She’d said: “$250 you moron midget.” Clearly she didn't remember him.
It wasn’t as if he’d grown shorter with the waning years. He nursed a third cup of coffee. It was mid afternoon.
“Why does everyone hate me?”
He said it to nobody in particular but it came out loud. The waitress answered for everyone:
“You are too short—too short.” Turning her back she banged her head as she ducked to go into the kitchen. A dirty plate fell from her tray and crashed to the floor, breaking. Irritated she turned and scowled at him. He thought she was pretty, and her prettiness was only enhanced by the line of deep bruises on her forehead. He sprinkled a big tip on the table and decided to go for a walk. He needed a good stretch.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tangled Alphabets at MOMA

“Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel” continues through June 15 at the Museum of Modern Art; (212) 708-9400,
Two artists I am unfamiliar with who certainly appear to be related to work some of the Lettrists were doing and the vague but enticing area of assemic writing and also to Fluxus and Eva Hesse.
See link to New York Times for more...

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Doing Lines

Asemic writing