A New Edition From Strange Particle Press . . .

Thursday, December 28, 2017

FLASHBACKS TO APOCALYPSES OF MY YOUTH


2017 is coming to an end, and things are looking apocalyptic. Politics is like a surrealistic dystopian fantasy. News reports seem like deranged hallucinations. Some people are actually saying that the world is coming to an end.

Sigh. Kind of reminds me of the days of my youth.

By coincidence (yeah, I know, some folks say that there is no such thing as coincidence) I happened to read two books more or less at the same time (I usually read several books at once, don’t you?) that bring back those thrilling days of yesteryear . . .


The first is Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost its Mind and Found its Soul by Clara Bingham, a fascinating multi-viewpoint, multi-dimensional oral history, with occasional quotes and excerpts from the dead. It concentrates on the year between the summers of 1969 and 1970,but there’s some spillover, because history tends to be messy. And this was a messy time. A time I remember well.

The first moon landing had happened, and I had entered high school. The future had arrived. I was looking around, wondering what kind of world I was going to be living in, and expecting change. And, boy oh boy, did it ever happen.

It wasn’t what I was expecting, but the future never goes according to plan, which is probably a good thing.

Witness to the Revolution isn’t a hippie-dippie Fabulous Sixties nostalgia trip. Voices of the Establishment, cops, Feds, even Nixon himself, are heard from. The Weathermen admit they were crazy. The witnesses, who are often major participants, are delightfully frank the way victims of politically correct educations never are.

And checked against my own memories, they ring true.


They also provided the perfect state of mind for reading David Memmott’s new novel, Canned Tuna, in which we swing from the lives of two young American men, one in Vietnam and Boise, Idaho in 1969, the other in Oregon in 1963. Do you find that twisting of time sequence disturbing? Well, it’s typical of this novel.

Don’t worry, it also has a sense of humor.

Apocalyptic happenings mesh with fantastic, gritty realities, in the war, working class America, and the counterculture without any sci-fi explanation. One of the best novels about the period I’ve ever read. It does for the Vietnam era what Slaughterhouse Five did for World War Two.

Maybe now and then we all come unstuck in time. Or time gets sticky. Spacetime. Timespace. Whatever.

Again, it rings true.

They are unprocessed history, before it’s stereotyped, made into classroom propaganda, and ultimately forgotten.

Both books take me back to when I was coming of age in a world that seemed to coming to an end. Seemed. I got mad when people--smart people--kept saying that it was all over. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, being young, and now that I’m old I see that they were wrong. Life, time, goes on. It gets strange, but it doesn’t stop.

These books give perspective on our current troubled times. I recommend them, not just to us old farts, but to the younger generation, too. Things getting weird and crazy aren’t anything new. It’s the future; get used to it, kids.

Like Criswell said at the beginning of Plan 9 From Outer Space: “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”

Friday, December 22, 2017

CHICANONAUTICA PRESENTS HIGH AZTECH NEWS



There's High Aztech News from Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

The world is going stark, raving High Aztech! So, speak the words:


Drink the drinks:


Eat the food:


And hear the music:


Monday, December 11, 2017

NOTES ON MY ART IN “MARIPOSAS” AT THE BEMIS CENTER



In case you haven't heard, some of my artwork (and my novels, and a magazine article I wrote and illustrated about the PreColumbian ball game) are on display in Omaha, Nebraska. They're in an exhibition called Mariposas: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. This is because Josh Rios and Anthony Romero included them in a project they call Is Our Future a Thing of the Past?

Thanks guys. I appreciate the support.

I'd also like to thank Josh for recently introducing me to the term Xicanxfuturisma. I like the alien look of it. It will be useful.

Meanwhile, here's some background on the pieces displayed:


Evening Spirits is a drawing in Crayola crayon (they suit my drawing style, and I like the idea of using non-fine art materials with a childish reputation). There's a calaca, or calavera if you want to be more formal, in Native-style, shamanistic clothing, sitting before a bowl of something possibly edible. He raises a bottle of an alcoholic or otherwise mind-altering beverage to a goddess who is manifesting in the smoke spewing from a volcano. The calaca looks like my fabled Calacanaut, and maybe a relative, or more earthly/spiritual incarnation.


Señor América (the accent is in the wrong place in the drawing--I do that, dyslexic mestizo that I am) rendered in red Crayola with a yellow grease pencil for the blazing sky. This sombrero-wearing calaca looks like the one from Evening Spirits, but was drawn years later. We are all skeletons under the skin. He stands at the border, kind of like one of Frida Kahlo's famous paintings. One side is cosmic with a meteor/comet thing, and a flame-crowned pyramid, the other is a factory that is mostly smoke-stack. He has fangs and sticks out his tongue.

 
High Aztech Scene was drawn when I was writing High Aztech. It was first sketched in yellow grease pencil, then finished in black grease pencil. Xolotl Zapata clutches his zumbador and is watched over by skull-faced disease-spirit who is armed with a flaming test-tube, while rioters attack a tank. Coatlicue oversees like a an intellectual kaiju. The mood and some of the ideas from the novel are suggested, like a postmodern cartoon/hieroglyph.


Galactic Aboriginie Journal is one of my battle-scared sketchbook covers from back in the days when I was struggling, and not sure if my efforts would ever amount to anything. I was trying to merge the primitive with the modern. We are the aboriginies of the galaxy. The lettering and drawing were done with the stopper top of an India ink bottle. I collaged an idol by drawing crude designs on a fashion model's hair and giving her an animal mouth, mounting her on machinery, with a car loaded with a typical American family for a body. Instead of breasts there is a fortune cookie prediction: “Unexpected gain. A new friend in the near future.”


High-Tech Voodootoons is another decaying sketchbook cover. The title is a good description of what I do, whether I'm writing or drawing. The snake head was made from the logo of a package of typewriter paper. (Uh-oh, do I have to explain what a typewriter was?) Once again I was drawing with the stopper from an India ink bottle. The sailing ship was part of the original sketchbook cover. The barcode was from typewriter paper. I like the way these things have gotten so bashed-up, looking like artifacts from some strange, ancient, lost civilization, and how any explanation can never convey to whole truth.

Everybody's future becomes a thing of past, eventually. All our cultures are tomorrow's archaeology.

¡Viva Xicanxfuturisma!


Friday, December 8, 2017

CHICANONAUTICA FLIES WITH THE PAPALOMEH AT THE BEMIS



We're flying at Chicanonautica, over at La Bloga.

Intruding into the hallowed world of Art:


Celebrating my career:



Transforming like the papalomeh:



Creating Latinoid visions of the future: