Friday, July 30, 2010

Paintings

I've started painting again. I painted nonstop between 2006 and 2007 and then I stopped. In 2008 I started writing again, and thus was born The Shelf. But now I am painting again, and thus, you Shelf readers (numbering in the single digits - but I love you!) have not been hearing much from me in the past few months.

So anyway, I'm putting together a catalog of my paintings to send out to galleries. Here's a sampling:


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Desk

Eli Manning and the New York Giants


If you have kids now or have ever had them in the past, you know how torturous the end of the day can be. My son is going into the 3rd grade and he needs to do some summer reading every night. It's tough...because sometimes, after a long day of work, when I have to sit down for book-time with the kids, I really do believe that monastic living might have been a good option.

Kvetching aside, my son (thank God) is a good reader but it is a struggle to get him to take to the task. Enter Matthew Sandler with Eli Manning and the New York Giants. The book gives a very basic, kid-friendly outline of Eli Manning's arc - the youngest of a dynastic football family, the struggles of playing in New York, the impossibility of the '07 New England Patriots and of course, the miraculous win in SuperBowl 42.

Of course, as much as I appreciate this book and its opportunity to indoctrinate my offspring with my own sports obsessions, it can not possibly deliver the sensation of what it was like to savor that Superbowl win.
For those Shelf readers who might not be sports savvy - I only ask you to watch THIS. This is like if Poland could have kicked Germany's ass in 1939.
(as an aside - for the record...when the Giants defeated the Packers in the NFC Championship Game that sent them to SB42...I was on an Air France flight to Paris. I missed the whole thing. I know. I hate myself enough for this.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Harvey Pekar


Last week I was in Ohio with my family, just north of Sandusky on Lake Erie. While on vacation, I tend not to check in with the news of the world or the bother with the exploits of whichever seasonal sports team I'm obsessed with. I find it cathartic to let all that go and just relax. Now I've just learned that while I was gone, Harvey Pekar died in his home in Cleveland on July 12th. I had no idea.
A lot has been made of the alleged malaise of Cleveland, unfairly fanned by the insignificant news of Le Bron James' circus-like decision to leave the Cavaliers for Miami. But as I drove through Ohio last week, pondering 'malaise' and 'Cleveland', my mind focused mostly on Pekar, unknowing of his passing.

Pekar was the creator and writer of American Splendor, an initially underground comic which took the medium from its original restrictive world of superheroes and fantasy, and moved it into the infinite possibilities of documenting regular life. His portrayal of a man struggling to make ends meet while working as a clerk for a VA Hospital gave voice to the overwhelming anonymity and numbing inauthenticity of working life. His writing was blunt but carried a consistent honesty that drew you in and counted you as an equal.

I loved Pekar because he was an outsider. He was an artist but never vaulted himself into our culture's whorish, self-congratulatory realm of exceptionism. In Slimbo's Shelf, I've often posted up my own attempts at illustrated narratives. Pekar was always in my mind when I made these attempts.
Pekar is often maligned as a depressive misanthrope intent on documenting only the negative of Americana's day to day mechanics. But I would contend that Pekar rose above this. He saw beyond the deadening drone of everyday life; that there will always be small pockets of beauty and magic, often unseen to most. If his work exuded angst it was because he knew that we lived in an infinitely beautiful universe and that most of the souls we encounter on a day to day basis were oblivious to that beauty.
Harvey, I will miss you. And I thank you.