A late 1960s Airstream Overlander, Spring Open Studio, Hunters Point, San Francisco. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. The Hunters Point Shipyard has hosted artists in its converted naval barracks and toxic waste in its soil for more than 30 years, although with redevelopment of the troubled neighborhood in the offing the future of the artist enclave is in doubt. (The toxic waste isn't going anywhere, fast.) One jewelry maker hauls her Airstream in from rural Solano County, and proudly cites the restored trailer as inspiration and workspace. As for me, well: it's hard to ignore anything that shiny.
Blimp and a familiar mask at the Beach Impeach, Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. The main reason my Financial and Menu Adviser and I attended the "Beach Impeach" had to do with location. The new digs, our live/work space in the Outer Richmond district of S.F., was only a few blocks from the Pacific and the pacifists congregating there on Saturday. Why not join them? Besides agreeing with the sentiment that the Chimp-in-Chief and his Organ Grinder need to go, it seemed like a very good First for the FMA: her first San Francisco protest. Anybody, anywhere, can go protest in the streets. Often, they do. Many of them even have just cause, although there are few things more amusing to my impish nature than an enormous, road-closing protest over nothing. As long as it doesn't interfere with my hectic schedule, of course. Anyway, the protest on the beach: around a thousand people gathered to spell out the words "Impeach Now!" and "Peace Now!" With an approval rating lower than Nixon's at his worst, all but the most die-hard of Bushies and neo-cons finally have begun to change their minds amid the torrent of evidence against the Chimp and his monkeys. Still, I was surprised by something I saw at the otherwise happy hippy beach bum confabulation. Off at the top of the letter "E", where the FMA and I positioned ourselves, were a triumvirate of V for Vendetta masks. Now here's where the fine distinctions between film and comic books become salient, so if you don't give a fig, I strongly advise grabbing a strong drink to accompany the rest of this post. The V for Vendetta graphic novel, the original medium of the story, presents V as an anarchist. He does not care about replacing the system, he's only interested in destroying it because any system of governance will, eventually, curtail the rights of its citizens. One of the points of the book that the movie ignored was that people are always harming each other, regardless of the nature of society's order. Another key point is that the point-of-view character, Evey, becomes V at the end and begins to train the next V: the continuity of belief that there will always need to be a V means that despite the destruction of Parliament and the riots, that people must stand up to the outrages of the corrupt, be they politicians, cops or whomever, regardless of personal conflicts. The dual themes of purification and death, purification and life are essential to the story and to anarchy (as opposed to the pop cultural misappropriation of the term.) The movie made a different point. Published in the late 1980s, and despite cult popularity with those who had read it, the movie version of V gave the story exposure the book had lacked. It also changed the meaning of the story, by removing virtually all references to anarchy. By focusing the movie on the retributive aspects of V's story and abrogating the passing of the Guy Fawkes mask mantle, movie-V becomes an agent of rebellion against his specific government and not the embodiment of the ideal that book-V represents. Of course, this all made perfect sense. Nobody on the beach was interested in anarchy. I seriously doubt that anybody who participated there wants to see an end to the American government as an institution, with the Constitution abandoned and the White House blown up. What we want is an end to the blatant abuse of power, enabled by six years of a Congress that refused to carry out its duties and a Fourth Estate that cares more about enriching executives than investigating truth.
Shannon Wheeler, creator of Too Much Coffee Man, the first comic book adapted into an opera, at the Alternative Press Expo, San Francisco. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. It's hard to imagine an opera about a guy with a coffee cup for a head, which is why today photo is another shot that didn't make it onto APE gallery I did for CNET. Be kind, and be caffeinated. UPDATE: There's something screwy going on with the site, so hopefully things will be fixed in the next few hours. It doesn't look like the past few days' worth of posts have gone up.
Francoise Mouly has been one of the most influential art editors since the 1970s, speaking at the Alternative Press Expo, San Francisco. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. This photo was cut from the gallery that I shot for work at the Alternative Press Expo, a comic convention for your inner hipster. In her presentation, Mouly covered an enormous range of 20th century art, focusing on comics, graphics and how narrative storytelling and design are distinctly modern and incredibly important to artistic evolution. Perhaps she had too much fun at a pre-con party the night before, but I overheard someone say at the end that Mouly's "um"'s every second syllable rendered what was otherwise a compelling lecture nearly intolerable. Still, it was great fun to listen to somebody who has been living at the sketchy, seedy and confused intersection of pop culture and high art for more than 30 years. All that chaos has resulted in a myriad of potential, with artists no longer beholden to one style or school, and to be on display as covers for the New Yorker has given pop art a forum unlike any other. Besides APEing, the past three weeks have been a mess of moving, scheduling and temperamental Internet connections. Regular updates are (hopefully) going to resume. UPDATED for clarity. Shaken, not stirred.
Looking north and down from San Francisco, CA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006. This is not a bridge, which is not a public space, which is not visible to anybody who can rent a helicopter and a telephoto lens. Besides, the terrorists are carrying fake toothpaste and solid non-white deodorants.