One cat, one mouse, one cop. And many bricks. These were the main ingredients to George Herriman's comic strip Krazy Kat. Never the most popular newspaper strip, Krazy Kat developed a core audience through its layered approach to storytelling, presenting a whimsical plot while also providing implicit social commentary. Herriman's depiction of obsession, love and self-destruction keeps the comic relevant after its initial creation almost 100 years ago. Cat, mouse and cop struggle with their hearts, ousting judgment for compulsion and rationality for desire. At the end of each page, I acquire a better understanding of how the world can rotate around one brick, one thought or one person a welcome reminder of how wonderful and ridiculous we are.
Sun City Girls is far and away one of the most unique bands to haunt the American musical underground. Confrontational shit-brow pratfalls, puns, magic-surrealist storytelling and improvised caricatures: They built a truly liberating musical language free of bullshit convention. Outside all the basic dialectics (primitive/modern, insider/outsider, virtuosic/naive, raw/developed, shocking/banal), they existed as the real alternatives to the monochrome conformity that passed and still passes for experimental music. Recently deceased percussionist Charles Gocher completed this trio, and I'm as bummed as one can reasonably be about the passing of a stranger. Charles is dead. Long live Sun City Girls.
Kingdom of Loathing
Today's oh-so-isolationist MMOGs (massive multiplayer online games) just can't recapture the often-transcendental social experience of old-fashioned RPGs (role-playing games), the pen-and-paper kind where dragons and dice rattled the brain all night long. But the fine folks at Asymmetric Publications have come close with Kingdom of Loathing (www.kingdomofloathing.com), a sublimely addictive game with adventuring stick people and a grossly irreverent, politely disturbing sense of humor. Stick people are the high-tech way to be low-tech. Fight barbecuing goblins and drunken rats, spend meat like money and, as with all RPGs, amass lots of stuff as you kill things to increase your character's stats.
As I get older, I'm finding it harder to stay healthy. As a kid, it was easy there were so many reasons to run around like a crazy little monkey. Not surprisingly, as an adult, that sort of noncontextual fun is highly frowned upon. But I stumbled upon the perfect solution: dodgeball. There's a game every Wednesday night at Tyler School of Art. With three to four balls always in play, there's plenty to keep my mind and body busy. It's fast-moving fun that doesn't leave time to think about what a great workout you are getting. Perfect!