Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Weird Boots"

—From "The Vermont Notebook," October 18, 2005

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Dreaming of Babylon"

This solid, midcareer offering features no less than seven whole or partial Saturnheads in its regulation four squares, with a nice balance of text and picture, dream cloud and frame narrative. The work of abstract, jumbled art featured on the wall in the first panel anticipates the disorientation to follow. The format is playful, but the tone turns menacing by the end—altogether different from some of the other "religious" strips ("The Adventures of God"), and anticipating the controversial "Formative Experience" the following spring. The title is from a Richard Brautigan novel.

—From The Yale Herald, November 22, 1991 (Vol. XII, issue 61)

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Inflate! A Retrospective"

In 1987, the artist and his friend Paul Yu formed the musical combo known as the Inflatable Fun Guys, which would go on to be regularly misheard as the Inflatable Fungi. The duo gradually expanded to include drummer David Miller, bassist Nelson Chang, and keyboardist Don Leslie, each of these subsequent members bringing their own style of musicianship, which could be summarized as Van Halen, Rush/Journey, and more Rush. This clashed with the original duo's creations, inspired equally by New Romantic poet-maundery and native non-sequiturism (Camper Van Beethoven, et al.). Tensions ran high; the center could not hold. Assorted cassette recordings were made and lost over the years, and it would seem that by the mid ’90s all tangible traces of the IFG had disappeared completely.

But in a startling discovery two weeks ago, a friend of the artist came across the only copy of Inflate!, the IFG's career summation, while preparing to move to a new home. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the absence of cassette players in most North American households means that these shambling half-songs, cryptic parodies, ill-advised world music forays, and Echo and the Bunnymen covers will remain unheard by yet another generation of aspiring musicians.

The liner notes explain that "the group disbanded after one legendary gig . . . [the core members] went on to record music as Loaves & Fishes, the Style Mongers, and Eggs & Larvae," but some dispute this proliferation of names, insisting that they were only ever the IFG. The cassette's extremely simple cover art is most intriguing for the fact that those who have seen the gentlemen in question will be at a loss to decide which illustration depicts whom.

—Date unknown, but probably spring of 1990