Sunday, Public Fiction, 8pm, L.A.: TRINIE DALTON, RON REGÉ, JR. and CATHERINE TAFT

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RAINBOWS, CAPRICORNS, VIRGOS & ALCHEMY…
This Sunday March 13th please join us for a series of events at THE FREE CHURCH:

Beginning promptly at 8pm:
A lecture about rainbows by TRINIE DALTON:
Trinie will give a slide-talk about rainbows what they are, how they’re formed, and their roles in the history of art, spiritualism, mythology, and color theory.

at 8:45pm
A video screening curated by CATHERINE TAFT:
Catherine Taft presents a Capricorn/Virgo-inspired selection of videos by Dale Hoyt, Lauren Lavitt and Andrew Steinmetz

and at 9:30pm
RON REGÉ, JR. will read (and project!) comics from The Cartoon Utopia concerning the basic tenants of Alchemy and Hermetic Philosophy in Fairy Tale.”

This event will be situated in LUX, an installation by Maureen Keaveny

come!

Public Fiction in Highland Park
749 Avenue 50, 90042
http://www.publicfiction.org/

CRAFTED IN BALANCE: Ron Regé, Jr. on an alchemical ale

CRAFTED IN BALANCE: Ron Regé, Jr. on an alchemical ale
by Justin Farrar

Traditionally, only hardcore collector nerds—the type of basement dwellers who belong to beer-of-the-month clubs—would dare call a beer bottle a piece of art. But with the gradual emergence of craft and artisanal beers in America over the last four decades, this has changed somewhat. Indeed, some truly boss work is getting produced these days. A heavyweight in the craft-beer industry, Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery recently released Bitches Brew, commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the release of Miles’ fusion classic. Though I’m more of an Agharta/Pangaea kind of guy in all honesty, the bottle is stunning. The label sports a rendering of Mati Klarwein’s Afro-surrealist cover art that as deliciously intoxicating as the experimental imperial stout it’s wrapped around. At the other end of the commercial spectrum sits the Burnt Hickory Brewery, a thoroughly underground affair based in northern Georgia. Over the last year, brewer Scott Hedeen—whose beers aren’t even for sale—has produced a handful dedicated to iconic American punk and post-hardcore groups, most of them (Die Kreuzen, the Didjits, The Jesus Lizard, Killdozer) associated with Touch and Go imprint. The label art is fantastic and totally captures the vintage punk aesthetic: all scratchy, collage-like and Xeroxed-looking.

But my fave these days has to be Alchemic Ale, which Arthur first covered last June. The Houston venture, founded by Tim Leanse and Sam Rowell (who are also known for their eardrum-crushing noise-rock duo Eloe Omoe), aims to “transform beer drinking into a full-on aesthetic experience” via the merger of its twin loves for underground art and artisanal brews from Belgium. Alchemic Ale isn’t a brewery in the traditional sense of the term; Leanse and Rowell don’t brew. Rather, they curate a line of beers—each one sporting a screen-printed label designed by one of the pair’s favorite artists—that is manufactured by the Belgium-based Brouwerij Sterkens.

Alchemic Ale has released two brews to date: Yeast Hoist 15: Kept in Balance by renowned comics creator Ron Regé, Jr. and Monsters designed by comics artist and musician Mat Brinkman. The former is Sterkens’ St. Sebastiaan Golden Ale, while the latter its Bokrijks Belgian Ale. That said, the beer—which is excellent—is almost beside the point. With their shapely earthenware bottles tattooed by some of the underground’s premiere artists, Alchemic Ale utterly redefines the modern beer bottle as cultural artifact. It’s now a piece of finely crafted art.

Yeast Hoist 15: Kept in Balance in particular is a thing to behold. In addition to the label, an exquisite pattern of classic alchemical imagery aligning the Los Angeles artist’s love of esoterica with the brewing process’ ancient roots in the mystical, Regé also created a comic/zine that hangs from the bottle’s neck. One could argue that the bottle comes with the zine, not the other way around.

As you can tell, I am absolutely smitten with these bottles. Wanting to learn more about how one passes from concept to product, I recently corresponded by email with Ron Regé, Jr. who was kind enough to explain the magickal process, as well as talk about a host of other beer-related issues and topics.

Q: Technically speaking, the bottle is a part of your Yeast Hoist series of comics. Can you talk a little about that evocative title and how the bottle fits into the series’ overall aesthetic? [Check out past installments of Yeast Hoist over at the excellent What Things Do site.]

Ron Regé, Jr: “Yeast Hoist” is a name that I’ve been using for small comics I’ve been making since 1995. Each “issue” looks completely different, so this concept of having it attached to a bottle of beer fits the aesthetic perfectly. I originally got the name from a sign on a tiny door at the Bushmills distillery that I noticed while on a tour there in 1994.

Is an earthenware beer bottle the weirdest form Yeast Hoist has yet to take? What are some of the others?

Yes. The booklet itself—which is available with the bottle only—is very much like the first ten, which were xeroxed mini-comics of various shapes and sizes. A couple appeared in anthologies, with instructions to cut them out to create the booklet. The three most recent ones have been 64 page books.

Were the comics and illustrations that comprise “Yeast Hoist 15” created with the bottle concept specifically in mind?

Yes, they were. I’ve been doing a lot of work recently that makes reference to various aspects of hermetic alchemy and the “Wisdom Traditions.” I wanted to present the basic concepts of alchemy in terms as clear and simple as possible, as I knew this product would be reaching a wide and varied audience that might be unfamiliar with these concepts—and my work.

Can explain the impetus behind wanting to expose a larger audience to concepts that are traditionally considered esoteric?

These ideas have been the main inspiration for the work I have been producing over the last few years. The project is called “The Cartoon Utopia”. I have had several gallery exhibits under this name, and have produced a large amount of comic stories related to this theme. I’ve begun to see similarities between so many schools of thought: spiritual, scientific, philosophical. My work involves trying to relate some of these themes, and to help people notice these similarities. In the comic I refer to the idea of a “Unified Theory” that governs all things, and make reference to the fact that all material in the universe erupted from one initial point during The Big Bang. This idea could be referring to science or theology. At a time in history when we are constantly bombarded with polarized opinions regarding such matters, I hope that people who come across the comic might see these connections.

The comics medium seems tailor made for tackling questions of science and mysticism. All three value text and imagery equally.

Letters are basically highly stylized cartoon characters. Written language is comics. Any sequence of marks is essentially comics. Did the invention of markmaking change human culture from a matriarchy to patriarchy? Perhaps—which is why I intend to use its power to unite our opposing aspects. I try to remain conscious of markmaking’s vital role in human evolution, in both the scientific and occult sense. Writing, as opposed to language, does seem to separate us from all other life on earth. It is our curse, as well as our salvation.

Alchemical imagery and themes have long played a strong role in your artwork. Do you harbor any high-falutin’ ideas about how fine brewing can be considered a kind of alchemy?

The traditions of the alchemists helped form the basis of all of the physical sciences, so I’m sure a lot of ancient brewing practices share those same traditions.

Apparently, the brewing process does follow alchemy back to ancient Egypt. Osiris is said to have taught Egyptians how to brew and ferment.

The idea of plant matter altering human consciousness through the process of fermentation is in line with the concepts of putrefaction and rebirth that are vital to the alchemical process.

Switching to the actual consumption of beer: in terms of pairing, what would be the perfect album to listen to while cracking open Yeast Hoist?

For some reason this feels hard to answer, but I’m going with Capt. Beefheart’s Ice Cream for Crow.

Have you ever done any home-brewing?

No, although I love that book Wild Fermentation and have always wanted to. I have quite a few friends who have tried it. Am I just lazy or maybe preoccupied with other things? I started making my own kombucha this month. Does that count?

Kombucha counts. But now you can brew beer in the name of good health as well. Did you see that recent article in Wired Science about how scientists believe ancient Nubians not only produced and consumed antibiotics, but consumed them via beer. Mind blowing.

It makes sense that the history of medicine is intertwined with the traditions of brewing alcohol. They share the same roots.

RON REGE, JR. ON HIS RECENT "NEW AGEY CONSCIOUSNESS MOVEMENT" WORK

“cartoonist ron rege, jr talks to gazeta comics about alchemy, catholicism, and his project ‘the cartoon utopia.’

“more about the cartoon utopia and foreign comics at gazetacomics.com

“music by ron rege’s discombobulated ventriloquist
images by ron rege (or from his blog)
edited by maria sputnik / gazeta comics”

http://ronrege.blogspot.com

Lavender Diamond "Like a Prayer"

Here’s the long-awaited video of Lavender Diamond’s cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” featuring Lavender Diamond singer Becky Stark (interview). Animation by Jacob Ciocci (Paper Rad) and Tom McConnell. More art by Ron Rege, Jr. Directed by Peter Glantz.

Download video in HD: imaginarycompany.org

The song is available on the charity benefit album Through the Wilderness: A Tribute to Madonna released in 2007 by Manimal Vinyl.

WIZARD of ART

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“So, a couple of months ago – my friend Mekenzie asked if she could bring some of my drawings into her work at The Wizard of Art in Loz Feliz for some of her students to color in. The results were amazing! I think they did a better job than I ever could! … They’re going to be projected as part of the festivities this month at The Palihouse Sunday Salon on June 28th in L.A. – Fashion show by Miss KK! – -Cosmic Love!”

-Ron Rege Jr.

http://ronrege.blogspot.com/

MOCCA weekend kicks off at Desert Island today

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This weekend is New York City’s massive underground and alternative comic book convention MOCCA, hosted by, and named after, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Here’s how much beloved Williamsburg comic booklet-proprietor Desert Island will be celebrating:

Please join us Friday June 5 at Desert Island for a fun book signing and party with renowned cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier.

The event also marks the debut of two special projects:

1) An amazing new screenprint produced with Paul, available for the first
time

2) Our brand new FREE all-comics newspaper Smoke Signal, featuring killer
work by 46 artists.

Come grab a free newspaper, have a beer, and snag a signed book by Mr. Hornschemeier. What could be better?

Immediately followed by Future Ink around the corner at BQE Eye Level

I picked up Smoke Signal yesterday and it’s one of the better comic papers I’ve come across– 28 pages featuring at least 50 artists, with original strips from more well-known artists (Johnny Ryan, Ron Rege Jr., Lauren Weinstein) and more underground favorites (Sam Gaskin, Noah Lyron, Zach Hazard) alike. Make the trip to Williamsburg or MOCCA this weekend to pick it up.

Other MOCCA events this weekend include a signing of Austin English’s Windy Corner #3 at Giant Robot, a drink and draw for female cartoonists at Madame X, and hopefully a party at Gary Panter’s house.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9VmAEMiZUY&feature=player_embedded