WILLFULLY DISTURBING: Artist Arik Roper on the art and inspiration of filmmaker RALPH BAKSHI (Arthur, 2008)

Originally published in Arthur No. 29 (May 2008)

WILLFULLY DISTURBING

Artist Arik Roper on the art and inspiration of filmmaker Ralph Bakshi

Art direction by Mark Frohman and Molly Frances


I found Ralph Bakshi’s work at a crucial time in my life, maybe the perfect age. I was maybe 13, exploring underground comix, Heavy Metal magazine, classic rock—all the common things adolescent males used to check out, before the internet was unleashed. Around this time, my father told me about a film called Wizards. I don’t know how it came up, maybe he saw one of my Vaughn Bode books and was reminded of it, but his description of the movie was intriguing: a dark, animated fantasy epic with violence, sex and an army from hell modeled after the Nazis. I had to see it. The year was 1986. The population was at the mercy of cable TV and whatever had been released on VHS to satisfy our movie desires. Fortunately Wizards existed on video and I managed to find a copy. It was moody, psychedelic and dark; it spoke to my interest in nature and mysticism, with some humor and voluptuous fairies thrown in. It blew me away. My drawings became more and more about this occult fantasy world, influenced by Bakshi and the others who designed the film.

Wizards was significant, but the real mindwarping was yet to come , and started the day I came across the video box for Fritz the Cat. An X-rated cartoon! I had intuited something like this must have been made by someone somewhere, and here it was. I put it back on the shelf scheming about how I could see this thing. I knew if I told my best friend Greg about Fritz the Cat that he’d rent it, since he didn’t care what his mother thought. Then we would sit back and lose our minds as we watched anthropomorphic cartoon pornography. I told Greg, he said he’d look for it. I was vaguely aware of the R. Crumb comic it was based on, so I looked for that in the meantime. The thing invaded my consciousness; I became so obsessed with the movie that I started to have dreams featuring the as-yet-unseen Fritz the Cat film. Finally Greg came through with the videotape and we watched the infamous flick. I was baffled and a little disturbed. Sure there was a lot of sex and drugs in there but what was with all the violence, the revolution, the racism issues? There was something nightmarish about seeing these talking animals screwing and killing each other. It was heavier, more bleak than I expected. And though it left me feeling slightly haunted, it didn’t diminish my interest in all things Fritz. I drew the character on my notebooks at school; I made a clay figure of him holding a cigarette and machine gun in my 8th grade art class; I even painted him—and my art teacher put it on display, eventually submitted it for a school an art show. The gun and cigarette got it disqualified.

Naturally the next step was to find out what else this guy Ralph Bakshi had made. I checked out library books on animation, read old newspaper articles on the Microfiche to learn more about the man. I managed to discover some other movie titles: Heavy Traffic, Coonskin, American Pop, and a version of Lord of the Rings. But where was I going to find this stuff? I didn’t even know if it existed on video. Every month I scoured the cable TV listings for any sign of Bakshi’s films, but nothing. Then one day Greg got his hands on Coonskin, or “Streetfight” as it had been renamed at the time. I borrowed it , brought it home after school one day and checked it out. I had read that it was considered offensive, so I was expecting shock value, but Coonskin was more than shock, it was from some dark place that I hadn’t visited before. It was relentlessly raw and visceral, the violence was staggering, and presented in the goriest of detail. I had some understanding of the laborious task of creating an animated film, and was amazed that anyone had put this much time and effort into making something so willfully disturbing. Where did this movie come from, who was it for? I didn’t quite get it at the time. I wasn’t really sure if the racism was being parodied or promoted, although the fact that no race, religion or sexual orientation was left unscathed was a clue that this was some form of harsh social satire. But there was much more to the movie than shock value. Later as I reflected and eventually read more about the film, I started to put the pieces together. Coonskin was basically a blaxploitation flick, and loosely modeled after Disney’s super-controversial, removed-from-circulation Song of the South. It was a look at racism in America from the black perspective, an urban fable full of crooked cops, hookers, mobsters, and the prison system all conspiring against the soul of America. It was very much a product of the times, saturated with that 1970s grit and melancholy that defined many films of that era. 

After seeing Coonskin, I knew Bakshi was something of a maniac—an unpredictable and possibly psychotic artist who was liable to go into any territory with his films. Nothing was sacred or off-limits. This was why I liked him. And why I was surprised to learn in 1988 that he was directing a new series of Mighty Mouse cartoons for the Saturday morning slot on ABC TV. (What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was full-circle for Ralph. He had started out at Terrytoons in the 1960s working on such TV cartoons as Spiderman and Deputy Dawg.) I was ready. I recorded every episode as it aired. I even got the episode where Mighty Mouse unexpectedly pulls out a crushed flower from his pocket and snorts it up, which was edited out for subsequent airings for some reason. The show lasted one season then was gone, but launched the career of its designer John Kricfalusi who redefined modern animation in the 1990s with his new project Ren & Stimpy.

During the next year or so I caught up on some of Bakshi’s films. Lord of the Rings had an entirely different look and feel. It was rotoscoped—an animation technique of tracing live actors on film— which was a stark contrast to the loose cartoon design of Bakshi’s previous films. Comical characters doing awful things resulted in maximum impact, but rotoscoping led to a more realistic style that was ultimately less personal and expressive. I felt something was lost in the process—the technique spoke louder than the content at times. I had the same impression of Bakshi’s American Pop (1981) and Fire and Ice (1983). Though the art was elaborate, they seemed to lack the fundamental soul of the earlier films. Still, they were boldly sincere and imaginative efforts which expanded on new concepts in animation. I realized that even as Bakshi struggled with the changing industry through the late ’70s and early ’80s to realize his visions, seemingly always on the verge of quitting, he’d never run out of ideas. Here was an artist with a vision who wasn’t content to compromise. Somehow he took “cartoons” and made them into “films” for adults (which includes adolescent males). He was inspiring.

Which is why it’s such a pleasure to behold Unfiltered: The: Complete Ralph Bakshi, by John M. Gibson and Chris McDonnell (Universal/Rizzoli). At long last, over 35 years after his first movie came out, somebody decided it was time for a Bakshi retrospective. It’s a striking hardback volume, loaded with previously unpublished photos, illustrations and tons of precious info. We get the insane stories behind the groundbreaking films (Wizards was Bakshi’s attempt to make a “family film,” to get back to his early interest in sci-fi fantasy and prove that he could deliver impact to a PG picture), and how most of them almost didn’t happen due to production nightmares, studio underfunding and protests from offended citizens. In short, Unfiltered is the book I’ve been waiting to read since I was 13, but one I can appreciate as an adult.

Ralph Bakshi hasn’t made a feature film or TV special since 1992, which is a cultural shame. But the times have changed again, and in some ways, his vintage work feels current. Art and culture have caught up to some of his ideas, and the climate is now more welcoming to adult animation. But, at the same time, nobody in the US is using as a serious medium for storytelling. Meanwhile, computer animation has reworked the field, eliminating most traces of individuality and style. It is unlikely that Bakshi’s films could be made today: they are time capsules in both content and execution. He was a pioneer, merging the cutesy world of animation with with raw realism, cutting social satire, sex, violence, drugs, music and all the other “adult” themes which had previously been kept outside the court of acceptable themes for a medium that was thought to be for children. Bakshi knew one of the great powers of animation: that the hyperbolic drawn image has the potential to express more than live action ever can. By injecting the zeitgeist’s innocent image of cartoons with unflattering and dark sides of the modern era, he exploited a schism in the pop culture’s mind. Underground comics started this; Bakshi took it to the screen.

AVENGE BROOKLYN by Dave Reeves (Arthur, 2013)

“Let Me Finish” column by Dave Reeves

Illustration by Arik Roper

Originally published in Arthur No. 33 (Jan. 2013)


The eye of Texas is upon you, Dave.

AVENGE BROOKLYN

It was me that killed Arthur. I kill all the little joys that make life worth living.  Brooklyn. Those three Motorcycles. The Master Cleanse. Burroughs quotes an account of the black plague: “Never yet has the plague come but one has first seen a ragged, stinking boy who drank like a dog from the village well and then passed on.” I am that ragged boy, passing villages, expensive coffee brewing in my tracks. And I am still thirsty.

If you’re reading this, you are one too. Takes one to know one. Twitter dat. Now there’s three. Then it’s like rabbits. Within the day they’ll be a hundred thirty of us at the coffee shop competing to write this very article about how our presence erases “ethnic enclaves” with precision worthy of Robert Moses. Detailing the fact that within the passing of three summers of sighting Us in Echo Park the Santeria temple turned to cafe, attracting the record shop, the stench of which summoned the Thrift Stores, The Shops of Obscure Purpose and The Second Coffee Place. Cue Upscale Grocery. Wham! Yoga mats. Suddenly, Doug Aitken is Art and Chloe took your parking space in front of a restaurant so cool it doesn’t have a sign. Rents blow up faster than a Gaza Strip Club. And we can’t go home. Again. 

Which is fine. Big rents means it’s time to take the show on the road. But, this time, ragged boy is thinking, “what if we visits a well in a town that sucks, instead of killing the thing that we love?” And in the course of thinking things he hates, thought of Texas. Specifically, a little “Atlas Slouched” sort of a town where artist types claim the light is great, forgetting to mention that all there is to see in the great light are a bunch of Texans drinking beer and taking ten-pound shits. 

Ragged boy figured he could take a little sip from the well and the place would be strip malls full of people making coffee and tattooes in no time. But first the ragged boy had to work into the fabric of the place, which essentially meant that he had to, you know, buy some weed. 

First problem is people don’t have any. Turns out that the laws are so strict in Texas that people turn to other sources for their buzz like huffing gas, shotgunning beers and abusing analogue drugs with names like Giggles or Mr Greenvibes.

The analogue drugs are packaged for specious purposes like bath salts or plant food, designed to fool the FDA of the manufacturers’ intention to jump the blood-brain barrier. In the course of juking the FDA, they also sidestep any sort of lab research, leaving the testing to be done by teenagers in garages all over this land. 

I watched a guy, my age, two kids, purchase some fake drug called K2 from a case in a headshop in which also were kept those horrible things that stretch earlobes out. The man behind the counter said that this particular potion had the Border patrol guys waiting at the door in the morning shifting from foot to foot like they had to pee real bad. My friend figures if it was good enough to null the pain of government work, it was good enough for him.

I knew by the click click of the razor on the mirror and the insistent scrape that this was no cheerleader drug like salvia or that thing where you hold your breath until you pass out. No, this “plant food” was dangerous stuff, resulting in the total loss of sanity.  As a bartender,  I’ve seen what real drugs can do: blind-eyed alcoholics, weedheads dizzy and coke fiends whose jaws keep clacking long after you cut their heads off. But this plant food stuff was bananacakes. 

My “friend” was stupid, paranoid and sensitive to light. The bath salts made all of these afflictions even worse. Whatever evil force was in this powder drove him to rant about how when Texas secedes something called the “Posse from El Pusso” would attack California. He did this while trying to nail “shadow people” to the doorframe. It was horrible. We can only hope that no real plants were given this “food.”

My friend’s actions and subsequent loss of job and embarrassing himself in front of his family forced me to deduce that the ingredients removed from these drugs to make them legal are the same things that God put in the drugs to keep us sane. Stopping people from smoking Mexi-press weed with analogue drugs is like giving someone rabies so they won’t take Advil. 

Furthermore, if we damn our border patrol jocks to abuse fake drugs in order to pass a piss test, is it any wonder that there are immigrants everywhere? 

Shudder to think how many Christmas gifts have been tainted by the unwitting addition of psychedelic bath salts. How many half-eaten pets must be buried late at night by confused bloody grandmothers before someone lets these poor Texans have the weed that God (okay, it was most likely Jesus) put on earth for us to use? While I’m on the Jesus — Why would Texas bust a state mascot like Willie Nelson for smoking weed? It’s not like he’s driving the tour bus. Marijuana, like Mexicans, was native to Texas before this bunch of asshats showed up and started putting everybody in jail. This fact exonerates All, as neither The God nor The Willie Nelson I believe in are capable of mistakes, mister.

I’ll say it here in Arthur magazine, fresh from the dead, that until Texas allows the Border Patrol to use the real drugs, this ragged boy is going to hang his hat somewhere that is not Texas. Also, fuck Arizona. Good luck trying to gentrify your ethnic neighborhoods without me.


Dave Reeves has an article in this month’s Man of the World Magazine and an article about him in the Russian Travel magazine Mir. He spends his days working on movie drivel, gets fired or quits, it’s hard to say, and then works on other movies. The cycle repeats itself until the magazine industry comes back from the dead. Also, Dave is working on the perfect lamb vindaloo, jogging and listening to WFMU.

Arik Roper is an illustrator and designer who lives in New York. He creates record covers, screenprinted posters, animation, comics, and other vehicles of visual flight. arikroper.com

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COMPOSTING ARTHUR’S REMAINS

“I’m here to capture the rapture and the resurrection at the same time,” says Tim Dundon, pushing a wheelbarrow brimming with fresh mulch, leading me up the inclined path into his shady tropical reserve. “Isn’t life triumphing over death the resurrection? The body turns back to basics and then the basics are picked up by the next generation and the next generation makes use of it and is happy to live inside this new entity because it didn’t go to the landfill. It went to the hill with the will.”

— from “The Sodfather” by Daniel Chamberlin, originally published in Arthur (Dec. 2007)

In the spirit of Tim Dundon, we’re doing some compost work here on the site, making sure nothing goes to the landfill, and all that we did back then is available to the next generation. We’re restoring lost blog images and credits, and posting text, photos and art from old print issues of Arthur Magazine online for the first time.

There’s a lot in the archives for us to choose from, and we’re not doing it in any systematic order. If there’s something you’d like to see online sooner than later, let us know in the “Comments” section below. Requested items will then be brought online, archived and highlighted in the blog.

Jay Babcock (jay@arthurmag.com)

p.s. 2022: I’m now writing a weekly email newsletter called Landline. Free to read, sustained by cheap subscriptions. Have a gander: https://jaybabcock.substack.com/

“Good Fuzz”: MATT ‘MV’ VALENTINE profiled by BYRON COLEY (Arthur, 2013)

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This piece was originally published in Arthur No. 34 (2013, sold out), with cover artwork by Arik Roper. I haven’t found a way to present the article online in a way that makes the article’s main text and its many (utterly essential) footnotes easy to read, side-by-side. So: following is the article’s main text, without footnotes. To read the article in full, with footnotes, download this free 31-page PDF. Hope this does it for ya. P.S. ESSENTIAL SIDEBAR: “More Smoke Than Folk: A few important MATT ‘MV’ VALENTINE listening experiences, assembled by Dan Ireton & Byron Coley and presented in chronological order”   — Jay

GOOD FUZZ

For over two decades, musician/head MATT VALENTINE has navigated strange, inspiring trips across myriad underground psychedelic terrains, joined by a revolving cast of fellow free travelers. Byron Coley crosses the bridge to get MV’s side of the story.

Matt Valentine aka Matthew Dell aka LunarMV, etc., is one of the more righteous freaks of our age. As a writer, guitarist, vocalist, label head, whiskey fan, and whatever else he might happen to be, Matt is one of those rare guys who is always ready to go “all in.” He is neither shy about his many accomplishments, nor unwilling to speak about them, but he is so flat-out committed to his own sci-fi-damaged version of personal history the way he’d like it to be known that he can be a tough person to interview. He loves the elliptical, the mysterious, the vaguely legendary secrets that underpin all true history, and he seems more than happy to offer wild and theoretical answers to most dull and specific questions that come his way. For this reason, among others, there are few places you can turn for objective facts about the musical/historical trajectory of Matt Valentine.

And the man clearly deserves a thorough overview.

This isn’t exactly it, but it’s a first step. Matt and I have been friends for a couple of decades. We’ve done various projects together over the years—tapes, shows, albums, tours, books, etc.—and he well knows in what high esteem I hold all of his work. To my mind, much of the popularity of the acid-folk revival was instigated by Matt and his cohort—hardcore record collectors and fans who were capable of hearing things no one else had noticed, and were eager to translate their discoveries into post-punk tongues. Few people have been as tireless in their work expanding and documenting the boundaries of underground culture over the past years, and Matt has created a vast web of friends, recordings and memories documenting his aesthetic peregrinations as well as those of his fellow travelers.

Matt, among other things, has been a tireless documentarian of his passage through space and time. The number of recordings he has released is not easily discerned, but let’s just say they are legion. What continues to mystify listeners is the fact that Matt’s sonic trajectory is constantly evolving. Unlike the many artists who bogusly claim “my latest release is by far my favorite,” Matt’s new records generally incorporate a new form-innovation/renovation/reconsideration. The guy is acutely aware of where he has been and seems dedicated to Heraclitus’s dictum about not stepping in the same river twice. Because of this, Matt’s albums (the major ones, anyway) often represent a true progression in terms of technique, interpretation and vision. That said, the new LP, Fuzzweed (Three Lobed) is a monster of sweetly-stoned tongue-form. It boils many elements of the essential, ineffable MVEE whatsis into a kind of floating vocal/way-post-Dead instrumental-puddle that will absolutely sear your brain. The first batch of copies also come with a CD that culls the best moments of the new 7-CD Zebulon residency set COM just issued. It’s weird. There are only a handful of people whose recordings I choose to follow with something like fervor. Matt is one of them. Hopefully this talk will help you to understand why.

I had hoped that Erika Elder, Matt’s partner in all things, would attend the interview as well. But she played possum at work, leaving us to blab untended from the light of afternoon into the dark of night. Hopefully, this interview will give you some idea of the depth and width of Matt Valentine’s work. It’s a vast weird place. Hello.

B: Let’s start with some basics. Where did you grow up?

M: The Hudson Valley region. I was born in Mount Kisco, NY. Lived in several towns around there, including Yonkers for a bit when I was super young.

B: Did you play music when you were a kid?

M: Yeah, but I wasn’t really in a lot of bands or anything. I started a bit when I was in high school. I was kicked out of the school band. I played alto sax. But I got booted out pretty early because I think, without really knowing anything about it yet, that I wanted to play like Ayler. I would take the melody of “When the Saints Come Marching In” and transmogrify it.

B: Was it a marching band?

M: At first, yeah. Then it became more of a concert recital band, and you had to choose whether you wanted to be in the jazz band or one of the other standard school things. The school I went to was pretty interesting because it was fairly liberal. Like, there weren’t any walls in the school. So when you didn’t have a class there was a big open space called The Commons. It was grades 9-12, and the cafeteria and the smoking section and all that stuff was in the middle. When you didn’t have a class it was a regular thing to hang out in The Common with an acoustic guitar and just play and meet people. So that’s where I first started to get hip to the idea of social communication through music. I did weird recordings at home, then the first serious band I was in was a relatively professional band.

B: Who was that?

M: That was a band I played with right out of high school called the Werefrogs. I played with two guys who were older than me, from the same school. They had graduated the year before me and had played in bands for a while. One was a drummer, the other a guitarist. They were both from the same scene at the school and they wanted a bass player. So I said, “Oh, I’ll play bass.” I think they wanted me in the band because I could hang out and I was into kinda cool music.

B: What era was this?

M: Around late ’88. We did a couple of singles.

B: What kinda stuff was it?

M: Psychedelic rock.

B: What were your models?

M: We were probably most like dudes who wanted to play like Joni Mitchell or something. It was kinda weird chords like that, but these two guys were more advanced musically and into jazz voicings and things like that. It was a trio, so of course there were obvious things like Hendrix. I was listening to WNYU a lot then. They had a program called The New Afternoon Show. I would get off this mail room job I had, and the show was on from 4:00 to 7:30 in the afternoons in the tri-state area. I would listen to that driving home, and they’d play stuff like the Road Pizza 12” and all these crazy bands who made one single and then disappeared. It was the most crazoid music I’d ever heard. It made some of the college radio stuff of that era seem incredibly straight. I really dug the stuff I heard, so I’m sure some of that stuff was in the mix as well. This was around the time when Nirvana played on that tour with the Cows at the Pyramid. I’d be going into NY to see gigs like that. And Galaxie 500 was playing at CB’s Canteen a lot, so that was in there. Of course Sonic Youth, and to some degree things like Bern Nix. I’d go see him a lot when he’d play at Roulette and the old Knitting Factory. I was starting to get into that stuff when I was in high school. Then there were some weird record stores popping up, so I’d spend time in those and pick up stuff. So the influences were classic rock, along with a few underground things.

We did a few singles and then we got signed, really quickly by this English label. I think they thought we were gonna be a grunge group or something. But they were cool. They were an independent label and had some good bands like Levitation.  It was called Ultimate Records, a weird label in Camden Town. We did three EPs with them and one LP. We did a couple of Peel Sessions. So I was kinda cutting my teeth early. We did big tours early on. We did gigs with Yo La Tengo and with Radiohead in the States. It seemed like it was a big noise pretty quickly, and I never turned back from that really. I met a lot of people through that,  and then I started playing a lot more seriously after that band dissolved.

Continue reading

FADE TO BROWN

Because so many people have been asking for some clarification as to Arthur’s future:

There are no further issues of Arthur planned at this time. We’re happy we got to do the three issues we did in 2013, while being able to pay our contributors for the first time ever and fulfill all those old outstanding subscriptions.

The online mail-order Arthur Store will be open until March 2, 2014. At that point, all unsold backstock will be chucked on the compost heap or into the recycle bin. Everything has been discounted. A number of items are now sold out and have been removed from the Store. Go here to grab stuff for cheep: arthur.bigcartel.com

This website, as well as the Arthur Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages/feeds, will stop being updated on March 3, 2014.

For many reasons, it’s now time for Arthur to go dormant. Perhaps the mag will sprout again in the future, perhaps not. In any event, we hope we’ve been of some use, and thank everyone who’s been so kind to us.

Thank you so kindly,

The Arthur Gang
Joshua Tree, CA * Portland, Ore. * Austin, TX * Northampton, MA * wherever you can hear your footsteps

undead

(Artwork by Arik Roper)

Housekeeping: Arthur No. 33 (Jan 2013) is nearing sellout

ArthurCvr33Pre

Somehow we’re down to our final fifty copies of Arthur No. 33 (Jan 2013), less than three months after publication. We’ve ceased supplying wholesalers and retailers and will reduce the last of our stock through direct sales to individuals only. Copies are available for $5 plus shipping and handling from The Arthur Store (click here).

Arthur No. 33’s contents include…

Dream a Deeper Dream: A how-to conversation with cartoonist ROARIN’ RICK VEITCH by Jay Babcock. Plus “Cartographer of the American Dreamtime,” an appreciation of Rick Veitch and his work by Mr. Alan Moore. Mr. Veitch’s “Self-Portrait in Six Dimensions” graces our cover.

JACK ROSE: the definitive, career-spanning interview with this late great America guitarist, conducted by Brian Rademaekers just months before his death three years ago. Plus: Jack Rose discography compiled by Byron Coley, and an illustration of a classic Jack Rose pose by Plastic Crimewave.

An illuminating/endarkening conversation with sparkling Luciferian artist FRANK HAINES by Eliza Swann

Stewart Voegtlin on WAYLON JENNINGS’ dark dream, with an illustration by Beaver

Columnist DAVE REEVES on Burroughs, bath salts and border guards, with an illustration by Arik Roper

Columnist NANCE KLEHM on new modes of exchange—and homemade smokes, with an illustration by Kira Mardikes

Cartoonist GABBY SCHULZ explores our interstate nightmare

The Center for Tactical Magic on “The Magic(k) of Money” — and how YOU can win $1000 for planning a BANK ROBBERY!

“Bull Tongue” columnists BYRON COLEY & THURSTON MOORE survey happenings in underground culture, paying special attention to new and archival releases from Claude Pelieu; Spectre Folk; United Waters; Devin, Gary & Ross; Jess Franco; Mick Farren; Chris D.; Donna Lethal; Crystal Siphon; Mad River; Horace; Erewhon Calling by Bruce Russell; Toy Love; The Clean; David Kilgour; The Heavy Eights; Chris Corsano; Joe McPhee; Rangda; Ben Chasny; Sir Richard Bishop; David Oliphant; Brothers Unconnected; 200 Years; Six Organs of Admittance; Gary Panter; Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski; Cheater Slicks; Ron House; Above Ground; Vacuum; Max Block; Dead C; Axemen; Hamish Kilgour; Circle Pit; Kitchen’s Floor; Bits of Shit; and Boomgates. Plus a special report on The Ex 33 festival at Cafe Oto in East London, featuring The Ex, John Butcher, Zea + Charles, Jackadaw With Crowbar, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Trash Kit, Steve Beresford, Wolter Weirbos, Valentina Campora, Gabriella Maiorino, Andy Moor, Yannis Kyriakides, Anne-James Chaton, Ad Baars, Jorge Vega, Ian Saboya, Enrique Vega, Tony Buck and Roy Paci.

and the proverbial much much more

NOW: ARTHUR NO. 34

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ARTHUR NO. 34 / APRIL 2013

Oversized broadsheet newspaper
24 15″ x 22.75″ pages (16 color, 8 b/w)
$5

CLICK HERE TO ORDER DIRECT FROM US

Now with 50% more pages, Arthur continues its comeback in the bold new broadsheet newspaper format that’s turning heads and drawing critical acclaim.

In this issue…

After 20-plus years navigating strange, inspiring trips across myriad underground psychedelic terrains with a host of fellow free folk, righteous musician/head MATT VALENTINE (MV & EE, Tower Recordings, etc) finally spills all possible beans in an unprecedented, career-summarizing, ridiculously footnoted epic interview by BYRON COLEY. Plus: Deep archival photo finds from the MV vaults, a sidebar wander through some important MV listening experiences with your guide Dan Ireton, and a gorgeous cover painting by ARIK ROPER of MV & EE at peace in the cosmic wild. Delicious!

Orange County, California psych rockers FEEDING PEOPLE left the church, entered the void, lost band members and returned to our reality to sing their tale in glorious reverb. Chris Ziegler investigates, with photography by Ward Robinson…

Everyone needs someone to love, and AROMATIC APHRODISIACS are here to help that lovin’ along (sans wack pharma side effects). From truffles to borrachero, author-scholars CHRISTIAN RATSCH and CLAUDIA MULLER-EBELING get in on the action. Illustrations by Kira Mardikes…

Gabe Soria chats with novelist AUSTIN GROSSMAN (Soon I Will Be Invincible) about the basic weirdness of playing (and making) VIDEO GAMES, with art by Ron Rege, Jr….

All-new full-color comics by Lale Westvind, Will Sweeney, Vanessa Davis and Jonny Negron…

Is there a way to examine the nature of existence at its very foundation? Esoteric mapmaker DAVID CHAIM SMITH says yes—but there’s a price. Interview by Jay Babcock…

Stewart Voegtlin on what (or: who) made MELVINS’ 1992 beercrusher Lysol the most unlikely religious record ever built, with art by Stewart’s Chips N Beer mag compatriot Beaver…

“Weedeater” Nance Klehm on BETTER HOME BREWING…

The Center for Tactical Magic on ANARCHO-OCCULTISM…

PLUS! Byron Coley and Thurston Moore’s essential underground review column, Bull Tongue, now expanded to two giant pages. Covered in this issue: New York Art Quartet, Don Cauble, Douglas Blazek, Rick Myers, Desmadrados, Century Plants, Richard Aldrich, Robbie Basho, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Michael Zacchilli, Pat Murano, Tom Carter, Les Conversions, Hobo Sunn, Decimus, Saifyya, Jeff Keen, Inspector 22, Yves/Son/Ace, Pink Priest, Smegma, Nouvelle Impressions D’Afrique, K. Johnson Bair, Major Stars, Endless Boogie, David Novick, Joe Carducci, Scam, Erick Lyle, Phantom Horse, Failing Lights, Tomuntonttu, The Lost Domain, George Laughead jr., Xochi, Sublime Frequencies, Barbara Rubin, Red Rippers, Linda King, Cuntz, My Cat Is An Alien, Bird Build Nests Underground, Pestrepeller, Painting Petals on Planet Ghost, Peter Stampfel, Joshua Burkett, Michael Chapman, L’Oie de Cravan Press, Genvieve Desrosiers, The Residents, Dawn McCarthy, Bonnie Prince Billy, Ensemble Pearl, Azita, Woo, Galactic Zoo Dossier, Mad Music INc., White Limo, Excusamwa, Little Black Egg, Dump, Jarrett Kobek, Felix Kubin, The Army, Bruce Russell, and Gate…

And more stuff too hot to divulge online!

Please keep in mind… Arthur is no longer distributed for free anywhere. Those days are (sadly) long gone. Now you gotta buy Arthur or you won’t see it. Our price: Five bucks—not so bad!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER DIRECT FROM US

ARTHUR’S FIRST ISSUE IN FOUR YEARS OUT NOW

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Arthur No. 33 (Jan 2013)
Sixteen 15″ x 22.75″ pages (8 color, 8 b/w)
$5
Published Dec. 22, 2012

“The new oversized print-only issue of Arthur Magazine is even more gorgeous and satisfying than expected. Like a Sunday supplement for heads.” — Jesse Jarnow, author of Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock

“Beautiful” — Chris Richards, The Washington Post

“A coffee-table newspaper, printed on 16 immense pages of newsprint with minimal ads, and almost every inch covered with words or pictures… The cover, a gigantic piece by surreal comics artist Rick Veitch, is gorgeous, and the crispness and clarity of the print is perhaps the best I’ve seen in a newspaper. Everything in the new [issue] is worth absorbing… Opening the mammoth pages of the new Arthur feels much like unfolding a road map, one that points to strange, unfamiliar worlds.” — Ned Lannamann, The Portland Mercury

“The Haydukes of music/art/culture journalism return…welcome back!” — Team Love Records

After a four-year sabbatical, occasionally beloved revolutionary sweetheart Arthur returns to print, renewed, refreshed, reinvigorated and in a bold new format: pages as tall and wide as a daily newspaper on compostable newsprint, with ads only on the back cover(s). Amazing!

In partnership with Portland, Oregon’s Floating World Comics, Arthur’s gang of idiots, know-it-alls and village explainers are back, edited by ol’ fool Jay Babcock and art directed by Yasmin Khan.

This issue’s contents include…

Dream a Deeper Dream: A how-to conversation with cartoonist ROARIN’ RICK VEITCH by Jay Babcock. Plus “Cartographer of the American Dreamtime,” an appreciation of Rick Veitch and his work by Mr. Alan Moore. Mr. Veitch’s “Self-Portrait in Six Dimensions” graces our cover.

JACK ROSE: the definitive, career-spanning interview with this late great America guitarist, conducted by Brian Rademaekers just months before his death three years ago. Plus: Jack Rose discography compiled by Byron Coley, and an illustration of a classic Jack pose by Plastic Crimewave.

An illuminating/endarkening conversation with sparkling Luciferian artist FRANK HAINES by Eliza Swann

Stewart Voegtlin on WAYLON JENNINGS’ dark dream, with an illustration by Beaver

Columnist DAVE REEVES on Burroughs, bath salts and border guards, with an illustration by Arik Roper

Columnist NANCE KLEHM on new modes of exchange—and homemade smokes, with an illustration by Kira Mardikes

Cartoonist GABBY SCHULZ explores our interstate nightmare

The Center for Tactical Magic on “The Magic(k) of Money” — and how YOU can win $1000 for planning a BANK ROBBERY!

“Bull Tongue” columnists BYRON COLEY & THURSTON MOORE survey happenings in underground culture, paying special attention to new and archival releases from Claude Pelieu; Spectre Folk; United Waters; Devin, Gary & Ross; Jess Franco; Mick Farren; Chris D.; Donna Lethal; Crystal Siphon; Mad River; Horace; Erewhon Calling by Bruce Russell; Toy Love; The Clean; David Kilgour; The Heavy Eights; Chris Corsano; Joe McPhee; Rangda; Ben Chasny; Sir Richard Bishop; David Oliphant; Brothers Unconnected; 200 Years; Six Organs of Admittance; Gary Panter; Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski; Cheater Slicks; Ron House; Above Ground; Vacuum; Max Block; Dead C; Axemen; Hamish Kilgour; Circle Pit; Kitchen’s Floor; Bits of Shit; and Boomgates. Plus a special report on The Ex 33 festival at Cafe Oto in East London, featuring The Ex, John Butcher, Zea + Charles, Jackadaw With Crowbar, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Trash Kit, Steve Beresford, Wolter Weirbos, Valentina Campora, Gabriella Maiorino, Andy Moor, Yannis Kyriakides, Anne-James Chaton, Ad Baars, Jorge Vega, Ian Saboya, Enrique Vega, Tony Buck and Roy Paci.

Please keep in mind… Arthur is no longer distributed for free anywhere. Those days are (sadly) long gone, ladies! Now you gotta buy Arthur or you won’t see it. Our price: Five bucks pretty cheap!

ORDER NOW: CLICK HERE

CISNEROS, DUDES

Al Cisneros of Om (and Sleep, and Shrinebuilder) put so much work into this compilation — curating and carefully sequencing a wide-ranging selection of tracks, going over the mix and master four times to make sure it was perfect — for so few people to know about it. Chalk it up to unfortunate timing (2009 was a very rough year). We have a couple hundred copies left of the first (and only) printing. Cover artwork by longtime Cisneros collaborator and Arthur contributor/ally Arik Roper. $8 US. Track listing and order info:
http://bit.ly/GZukmf