Monday, September 01, 2014

"Well Go"

Although the emcee in "Cabaret" is famous for his 3-language entry number "Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome," and he uses German, French, and English throughout the song, one interesting note is why he does not do so at the other end of the play. 

In the always-stunning finale, the last spoken lines are

"auf Wiedersehen…" (until we meet again)

"à bientôt…" (see you soon)

and then, frankly, not much is left open to the imagination, as the finality of "good-bye" is not spoken, but played out in numerous ways depending on the production, from the suicide of the emcee to the execution of the naked, huddled cast by the soft hiss of poisonous gas. 

I have used "Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome" as the greeting, here, for all these years, as an homage to "Cabaret," which is one of my all-time favorite theater productions. Now, as I pull the curtain, I need a way out that does not imply drawing my terminal breath (cue the soundtrack from the "Life of Brian" finale). 

The Aartvark site will be here as an archive for as long as Blogger keeps inactive sites around.

You should see my name popping up every now and then at Gerhard's site, I hope… as there are still commissions to be made (right, Ger?!). 

You will still not see my name popping up on that verklempt petition, however; you know what I am talking about.

To those of you who stopped by regularly, I grant you the gift of a newly released minute or so, each day, that you can spend doing something else. 

Use it wisely. Or not. 

A cleverly ambiguous use of language appears in another series I like, namely, the original 1960s episodes of "The Prisoner." This show is an orgy of allegory. In the finale, the sign over a certain door reads "Well Come." I like to think of it as an invitation to those with a healthy mindset. It was tempting to end this with "Well Go," but I'm the only one who would get it.

Instead, I also like the way in which they said farewell on "The Prisoner," inside their Orwellian surveillance state, which was

"Be Seeing You."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fire Sale at MyComicShop Auctions

How apropos for the penultimate post: a few auction results from some Cerebus art that had some dramatically low prices (even given the damage to the pages, these are a couple of choice pieces).

Thanks to Dan for pointing to them.

Cerebus #75, Page 3 GOES FOR $221.00

Cerebus #180, Page 13 GOES FOR $424.00

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Angst" by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

This piece is about 48x48" and it was painted during a time of depression in Jones' life. It is pretty much a stunner… easy to get lost in… something new every time you look. I've given a few workshops where I show the picture just to get a reaction from the participants. It does what art does when art does well: it evokes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


On Monday, September 1, 2014, I am pulling the curtain on Aartvark.

It was in late 2005 (before Blogger rebooted a bunch of posts to one entry in 2006) that I started up this site (as "Cerebus the Original Aartvark") to track the prices for Cerebus original art sales. That activity reduced to a trickle, and I restarted it as plain old "Aartvark" with a more conventional blog scheme.

Ten years is the way I think about projects, professionally.

From 1982-91, I was building an argument for an education-centered faculty member in a chemistry department. From 1991-2002, with a great deal of help and support, that happened, and I made it up the ranks to Full Professor. From 2002-2012, I picked up administrative duties, and there were a few spectacular attempts to broaden the work I do, with two truly spectacular crash landings as those attempts went down in flames, as well as two really close relocation negotiations.

That's all settled now, and I'm ensconced with exactly the right stuff in my portfolio in my current location, growing three final initiatives that will move everything I do forward for the next 10 years (or less).

And then, somewhere out there, about 10 years (or less) out, is the end of the line: the end of the 4th decade doing this professor thing. One of those three projects I am working on now will develop into my retirement gig. Always thinking ahead: I'm keen on playing the long game.

Hopefully the light I see at the end of the tunnel is not that bright light where all your dead relatives are waiting for you. That would suck.

I have had fun, here, knowing of the small but dedicated audience of cyber-friends who would stop by and tick up my page-views. Please continue to write; you know where to find me.

And if you are feeling any angst about this, you will enjoy (err, "enjoy") the non-coincidental final entry in Friday's "Brag Aart" series.

So fire up a colortini, sit back, relax, and watch the last words and pictures as they fly through the air...

Friday, August 22, 2014

"City of Fire and Gold" by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Where do the weeks go?

I recently picked up two new works (new for me, that is) by Jeffrey Catherine Jones.

The first of these is "City of Fire and Gold"

Like "Red Palm" (aka "Red Sky"), this is from 2005-06, and I think it evokes a terrific ambiguity that combines serenity with foreboding (if not outright doom). It is about 18x24 and it just glows. Here's "Red Palm," still the winner in my eyes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Brag Aart: "Meadow" by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Although Jones was known as a terrific comics illustrator and comics/sci-fi painter, I like having the more Jones-as-artiste works in my collection. For example, this meadow scene:

With all the celebrity death coming down this past week, I turn to the stats people for the answer to the question: what is likely to kill you?

From: M. Heron "Deaths: Leading causes for 2008." National vital statistics reports. 2012, 60(6).

Mmmmm, Mmmm. That bacon and bleu cheese burger done to a black-char goodness on the grill appears to be a problem. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Brag Aart: The Regency Elf

Yeah yeah yeah… Elf, schmelf….

go check out the artwork that Gerhard did for promo kit of the new Cinemax series "The Knick"… the Elf will still be here when you get back…

check it out:

Pretty cool.

Cerebus 29, pp 4-6: the first appearance of The Regency Elf

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Orphan Black

Thanks to ALK for the pointer on this one.

"Orphan Black" is a BBC America production that has two 10-episode seasons under its belt. To say anything about what it is about would be telling you too much, but it explores themes that intersect modern genetic science, with intellectual property issues about who owns information (even genetic information), with extremely compelling questions about nature/nurture identity. It is a densely intelligent show and features an extremely strong lead whom you can see here, in the first before-title scene from the series premiere. I am not often hooked before the title even shows, but it is a credit to the writers who follow the most fundament rule: one purpose of any sentence is to get the reader to want to read the next one.


Friday, August 01, 2014

Brag Aart: Old Shanghai by Liu Shu

Liu Shu is a faculty member at the Chongqing Institute of Art. I have a reasonable number of his works, all of which have this same characteristic: from about 3-4 feet away, you can easily believe you are looking at some sort of photographic image. When you get closer, you are struck by just how impressionistic the paintings are. So he has a knack for understanding how the eye sees the world and leaves enough for you to fill in with more detail than is truly there. This piece is about 3x3' oil on canvas.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A pinch of this, a dash of Tang

The fiber optics out of Beijing are always better than elsewhere in the country, so I caught up on 4 weeks of "Falling Skies." I enjoy this show quite a bit. They are short (10 episode) summer seasons, and the fifth and final one will be in 2015.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is getting some really great early reviews. Any kid growing up on Marvel comics during the 1960s who stuck with all of these characters for 50 years could never, ever imagine how the studio would end up being so, so smart about these properties. The marketing of this film, introducing the characters, was genius.

Not to mention the next freaking Avengers movie.

The house ad for the "Hotel Massage" in Jinhua was … different. The bathroom stocked two full boxes of condoms, and also stocked his and hers light cotton underwear for sale on the same display. Yikers. I probably should have scanned those sheets with a UV light. Or not. Hotline, indeed.

Visiting four cities at different stages of their development, as opposed to the traditional tour destinations, has given me a new metric for assessing the degree of development, namely, the level of sophistication of the breakfast buffet.

Is there a real kitchen grill behind a glass shield, where you can order any sort of eggs you want, or are there two kids in greasy chef coats standing at a small fry pan on a tabletop burner (on a small table) dishing out the fried eggs?

Is there conventional Western silverware available or not?

Is the organic juice the actual juice of oranges or is it Tang?

And, I have travelled a lot, and never ever before have I encountered orange juice (the Tang kind) that was served out of a coffee urn, at a piping hot temperature.

Is the mattress stone hard or not?

For that matter, are the beds short enough that your big America feet, sitting there at the end of your long American legs, dangle over the edge?

Down at the bar, in the refrigerated display cooler with the beers and the cans of Cokes, is the thing actually turned on?

When the air conditioning goes out in the entire hotel, and they come into the room to deliver an electric fan with the two-hour promise for the repair, how many hours past the two hours before they move you to the hotel next door?

Don't get me wrong: I am not complaining. I consider it all a great adventure, actually. The hot orange-colored juice drink really got my attention, though.

I asked my host in Jinhua if there was nearby convenience store, or inside grocery, where I could go grab a (cold) fizzy beverage. He said sure, just a minute's walk to the east outside from the hotel, a two-story inside market with all the amenities, he was there yesterday on the way home. Less than 16 hours later, the place was completely gutted for remodeling, and looked like it had been that way for a month. By the time I left, less than two days later, it was substantially rebuilt. No one ever gets this about China : it is not just that the slope of the line is positive, it's that the magnitude is so damn high.