Tag Archives: history

David Mejia’s Before and After Thanksgiving

Finally, finally made it to the fourth floor of my beloved King Library, after a bitter monthlong absence, to be shit last in seeing San José old hand David Mejia’s exhibition Before and After Thanksgiving. It’s a painting (watercolor, right?) exercise and a modest history lesson. Mejia has been pushing his stuff for years. One of my favorites is the profane and puerile Ballman. It’s excellent that he’s getting some love at the library. Go see the paintings before November 30! I’ll let the paintings speak for themselves:

 

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Low-res, off-center photos posted for collegiality and appreciation only. I really dig the playful but purposeful use of color and the comic book-style planning in general. It gives an emotional directness needed by the subject, just as an improvised shamanic performance would in a more advanced culture than our own.

I also like how he mentioned using fish as fertilizer in poor soils, because it reminded me of the many years of my life I spent wondering why the fuck, as it said in some school textbook of mine, they “planted fish.”

miami25n-1-webDavid Mejia

 

 

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Elephant Hanged Twice in 2016 For Resisting

Originally posted on Alafair: A hundred years ago, an elephant named Mary was strung up by a crane and publicly hanged to death in a Tennessee town after she struck back at a circus employee who hit her with a sharp tool called a bullhook. It took two attempts to kill Mary. The first chain…

via A hundred years ago, an elephant named Mary was strung up by a crane and publicly hanged to death — Exposing the Big Game

Días de la selva por Mario Payeras

Acabo de leer este relato en peligro de olvido sobre los esfuerzos de Payeras y su diminuta guerrilla para enseñar letras, organizar y retribuir tierras en las aisladas regiones indígenas del noroeste de Guatemala comenzando en 1972. Me llamó la atención desde una pila de libros en la venta bibliotecaria, y supe de inmediato que el libro me iba a fascinar.

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Se trata de la guerrilla que tras años terminaría con nombre de Ejército general de los pobres (EGP) que espantó tanto al puñado de ricos de origen española y estadunidense que controlaban vastas tierras, enriqueciéndose con el labor de indígenas analfabetos, como usted el lector capitalista se engorda con las fresas pizcadas a espaldas rotas aquí en Santa María, Salinas y Guatsón.

Para mí la cumbre del relato fue cuando matan al dueño explotador de una finca sin tocar un centavo de la paga que interrumpieron. El libro incluye cuando posible a vocablos indígenas para cosas comunes de la selva. Me gustó mucho su medida distancia con la que dibuja los personajes y acontecimientos, que deja sitio para ironía, cariño, espanto y la todoimportante autocrítica marxista. Me asombraron también las descripciones de esos personajes ocultos en las aldeas de la selva, a cuyos tiques y característicos personales Payeras describió con tanta atención y humor.

Realmente nada más se necesita decir del libro en 2017 aparte de ésto: imagínense que ahora casi nada se ha mejorado en Guatemala pese a los esfuerzos relatados en el libro, y que hoy en día gringos pendejos de Berkeley de California hacen su eco- y café-turismito en esa misma región guatemalteca en busca del café perfecto para sus fair-trade non-profits de mierda…

Recomiendo el libro a todo quien tiene ganas de aprender más de la historia de resistencia indígena, o sea de revolución, y a quien luchara con la Mockingjay, con el ejército de Dumbledore, etc etc etc.

Sense Magazine 1971

So old man Tommy upstairs finally died a few months ago and, as he had no family left except an equally ancient and doubtlessly equally arthritic brother in Japan, my dick landlord hired a company to clean out his apartment. His whole life went into a dumpster. I could write a whole essay cycle on just that, but I won’t now. Anyhow I got to go in his thoroughly pre-internet, archival apartment and tried to get whatever I could that caught my eye.

He had a voluminous shelf of Chinese and Japanese cookbooks, tons of 1980s-1990s TIME-type jingoistic/uncritical photographic folios that we all pored over as kids looking for answers that weren’t there, ring binders full of local history and newspaper clippings (a post on that coming soon), city and county pamphlets on health and aging and disaster preparedness and shit, and sundry stuff such as what you see below.

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Above is the cover of Sense Magazine. This wasn’t the metrosexual men’s Cosmopolitan of the current decade, but “the portable marriage counselor,” a “sociological” publication by Academy Press of San Diego, volume 1 issue 2, from January 1971. I’m not sure how much WordPress cares about nudity and stuff so I might not scan in pages. In any case, it’s basically a hardcore full-penetration etc. skinmag BUT with clinical explanations for everything –you can practically hear the voice of Art Gilmore reading it –adjacent to the photos, and you had to really want it, because in 1971 it cost $5 when for that you could see Zeppelin and remain to learn firsthand about fellatio, cunnilingus, fetishes, orgasm, lesbianism and male homosexuality.

Without scanning photos, we can say that the fun part is not the repetition of sex photos but the weird Marin County tone of self-whatever and openness (the woman’s biting her nipple with a fucking fake skull and what’s more that NEVER gets explained) that pervades the magazine. It swings between matter-of-fact, which is good, and a certain uncomfortable distance; you know, that avuncular voice from the mid-20th century of a middle-aged guy hired to sound smart about this shit who privately wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

There is ample mention of totally hipster-level trends of the time such as “What is the ampallang?” and “Are these really adequate substitutes for the male penis?” It quotes experts as much as possible, such as obviously Kinsey as well as Sexual Actions and Reactions by Burch Robbins.

What’s more, a certain photo of two women using a vibrator shows a huge battery pack on the back of the thing obscuring the one woman’s privates, like you’d see today on an orbital sander, and the metal label is hard to read but I thought it said Sylvania or Swingline. What logo is that??? At least I found out in the research for this little blog post that there is a vintage vibrator museum on Polk in SF that I’ve shamefully never visited. I’ll get my life in order in 2017 yet!

The only really heavy part is the series of fuck photos dedicated to incest, which are of course staged, accompanying the straight-faced explanation of that phenomenon. However there are awesome payoffs, such as the headings “Isn’t the Bible full of incest?” and “And what about incest among the Borgias?” If this is a question that anyone on the street would’ve asked on the topic of incest in 1971, that is proof that our current education system is catastrophically off-track.

Oddly enough, we can’t find a dang thing about this magazine on the internet. It appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth, not that this is surprising. All we can hope is that couples looked at the pictures to get in the mood to do it, and that the shameless swingers who must’ve started this silly magazine helped prevent some people from getting divorced or whatever, though it’s more likely that they used it to attract people who were into throwing power-orgies of epic proportion.

If anyone wants this magazine, please comment and I’ll gladly mail it as I’ve already read it for its historical import and am over it. If you want it and you are Thomas Pynchon, you can count on my discretion.