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6. New Stuff

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So every year for Christmas I go visit the folks. They live in Niagara on the Lake.

This year I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario with my mom. It was a shiny nice new gallery and there was some interesting modern and ancient art. I got to see lots of artist renditions of Quebec 100′s of years ago. I felt vilified because Ken Thompson had all his model boats in glass cases. There’s hope for my action figure collection.

ken thompson action figure collectionayn rand's theories

There was of course the obligatory Group of Seven rooms, but to be fair, I found the Lauren Harris room quite soothing. I was also surprised to realize that I missed Emily Carr’s work. It made me homesick for Vancouver.

One of the gifts I got this year was the new season of Wonder Showzen’ It’s a kids show, for adults, with kids in it. So messed up. I adore the first season. As someone who works with children, I find it particularly hilarious. I was really looking forward to the second season. So far it’s actually sicker than the first, if you can believe it. And it comes with this awesome kids story in the DVD.

mine mine mineshowzen1

Being the big comic nerd I am, I usually manage to either squeeze in a visit to The Beguiling or a place in St. Catherines called The Book Depository while I’m visiting the rents. No Beguiling for me this year, but at TBD I managed to pick up some really awesome stuff, all for a total of $40. That’s like 2 graphic novels in comic speak. I think I walked away with a total of 12 books. Awesome! I love The Book Depository. LOVE it. Below are mini reviews of the books I bought.

‘A Frog Thing’, written by Eric Drachman and illustrated by James Muscarello

a frog thingafrogthing21

Frankie wants to fly, but frogs can’t fly. An excellent kids book about the things we can and can’t do. It comes with an audio CD, and the illustrations really make the whole thing worth it. Just beautiful. I especially love the images of Frankie with his flippers on his head.

“Hollywood Bad Boys” and “Hollywood Divas”, written by James Robert Parish

whatcha gonna do?

"I'm not childless, I'm child free!"

“I’m not childless, I’m child free!”

I’m sorry, I get tempted by cheap, trashy, Hollywood tell alls. These were right up my ally too cause they were like a Coles Notes of scandal. Broken down alphabetically these books started at the beginning of film history.The Bad Boys one was the first one written and it was actually kind of boring. Although I had forgotten about how Johnny Depp used to be considered a Bad Boy. It was obvious upon reading the Divas one that Parish was more interested in the female subject matter. It was a better researched book and more through. As well there was a picture for each entry. Something Bad Boys lacked. Because both books start at the beginning of American Film history, I enjoyed learning about the early film divas like Theda Bara, Paulette Goddard and especially Tallulah Bankhead. The only downside to the Divas book is that it ends at 2002, so entries like Britney Spears, Madonna, and Sharon Stone had way more scandal in store for them.

“Tarot Cafe” Vol.3-4, written and illustrated by Sang-Sun Park

The Tarot Cafe CoverThe Tarot Cafe Interior

This was the only comic I got this time around. I have the first volume and I like the illustrations. It’s nicely ornate for a manga. I also find the theme of tarot cards interesting. It’s a fantasy manga, from Korea.

“Found” Vol.2, assembled by Davy Rothbart

found#1
tallulah-0021found#2

I have the first book and I totally love it. I didn’t even know there was a second. “Found” in any format is worth having.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Davy started a ‘zine about found notes, lists, and messages. People eventually started sending Davy stuff that they had found.

This book is the second collection of some of the best. And just like the first it is at times hilarious and tragic. It’s a wonderful sociological treasure trove. I’ll let the pages speak for themselves.

“Justin Bua: The Beat of Urban Art”, written and illustrated by Justin Bua

Justin Bua: The Beat of Urban Art

bua21before and after, yo.

You know this guy. You’ve seen his “Piano Man” and his canary yellow “Sax Player”, but this book is something else. It’s all about his art, his youth, his neighbourhood and his influences. It’s a great mishmash, as well as a how to.

POSTSCRIPT

When I did the show, there were quite a few of the books I had yet to read. I’ve since read them, I have this nasty habit of devouring reading material, so it didn’t take long. (grin)

“Anansi Boys”, written by Neil Gaimen

he's a spider

Gaimen is the master of voices. Each character in this book is so well defined. The story is about Charlie Nancy. How after his fathers death he comes to realize his father was The Anansi, the trickster god in legends. This book is a ride as Charlie reconciles himself with his family and its history. There are also folklore tales of Anansi from various cultures. I love how Gaimen peppers his books with little bits of flotsam and jetsam that make the book just that much more enjoyable.

“What on Earth Have I Done?”, written by Robert Fulghum

What on Earth have I Done?

What on Earth have I Done?

Okay, so I’m not really one to read inspiring texts. No chicken soup for my soul or any of that stuff. But years and years ago I read “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” Far from saccharine, it was succinct and humorous. This book is his latest and it’s all about the Great Mother Questions, which actually are profound Life Questions. What on earth have you done? What in the name of God are you doing? What will you think of next? And the very simple, What the hell….? Yes Fulghum is a man of God, and I am not. But he is not preachy. I find him to be grounded and aware, giving and tolerant. Did I also mention funny? If you haven’t guessed the above questions are called the Great Mother Questions cause they are what you hear the minute you do something wrong when you were a kid. As Fulghum got older he realized that they were valid questions to ask oneself. Reading his books make me feel like I’m on the right track. They also make me pause and think about the world out there that is bigger than me. It’s easy to loose track of that sometimes. Basically Fulghum has become my Grampa. To sum up, I’ll leave you with what I thought was the wisest thing he wrote this time round. “I am old enough to know that in this life you see what you look for, and you get what you are open to receive. And you belong to those whose company you cherish, for they will cherish you.”

“Julie Andrews” written by Richard Stirling

mod girl julie

juliecarol-0011Lately I’ve come to realize that I’m a big Julie Andrews fan. Not just for ‘The Sound of Music’, or ‘Mary Poppins’, which are definite favourites. But for ‘Victor/Victoria.’ She also has a wicked sense of humour which I saw on the occasional “Carol Burnett Show” reruns.

I was curious to learn more about her life and career. Richard Stirling has spent his whole life reporting on Ms. Andrews so he knew what he was talking about. It was a tasteful biography and it was interesting to read about her childhood before and after the war as well as the trajectory her career has taken.

“The Lives of the Muses”, written by Francine Prose

lee miller

alice in wonderlandThis book was cool. Actually, it was pretty tragic but it was so fascinating. It talks of 9 women that inspired or influenced famous men and their art. It spans 1700′s to now. Not all the relationships were sexual. Not all the women inspired while they were with their men. Some women became famous in their own right, while others bore the mantel “Art Wife” with pride.

It’s a really absorbing look at how women evolve in the roles men place them in. Some of the more interesting women were Lou Andreas-Salome who influenced both Nietzsche and Freud, Gala Dali who had her way with Max Ernst, Paul Eluard and Salvador Dali, Lee Miller, a model turned war photographer and Yoko Ono.

PLAYLIST

  • No Luck Club
  • Janelle Monae – March of the Wolfmasters
  • Janelle Monae – Violet Stars
  • Air – Cherry Blossom Girl
  • Hayden – Woody
  • Santolgold – My Superman
  • Erics Trip – Happens All the Time
  • Julie Doiron – Don’t Wanna be Liked by You
  • Raveonettes – My Boyfriends Back

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The Onomatopoeia Show

Every Sunday afternoon between the hours of 3-4pm on CJLO 1690am or online at CJLO.com, Robin delves into all things comic-book related...

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