Friday, December 05, 2014

Pop culture update: Who, gum, sci-fi, t-shirts, zap, OTR Christmas

Pete Townshend has created a symphonic version of the Who's Quadrophenia rock opera.
The guitarist hopes his orchestral performance - and a recording to be released next summer featuring tenor Alfie Boe - will help to encourage a new generation of classical music fans.

Pete's girlfriend Rachel Fuller has scored the production which will be given its live premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in July.

... Pete himself performed on the album along with Alfie Boe, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Oriana Choir and it is due for release by Deutsche Grammophon.

 
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Collectors Weekly spotlights the work Dorothy and Otis Shepard, whose airbrush art was used to promote everything from Pabst Beer and Doublemint Gum. The duo is the subject of a new book.


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The Golden Age displays some nice sci-fi book club art of the 1950s and 60s by Frank Frazetta, Richard Corben, Virgil Finlay and more.


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Via Dangerous Minds, one-sentence movie summary t-shirts.


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Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth discusses a new, complete collection of R. Crumb's Zap Comix.
I see Zap as part of the lineage of historically important and aesthetically ground breaking comics anthologies, the first in this lineage, of course, being Mad, which influenced all the Zap artists; next, Humbug, then witzend, then Zap. (Mid-way through Zap’s run, there was Weirdo and Raw, of course.) Each one of these comics anthologies were created by the artists themselves in opposition to the prevailing economic and creative standards of the comics industry; each one of them was created in order to give artists greater freedom to create the work they wanted to create, without the editorial restrictions placed on them by commercial dictates;  and the publishing rights and original art featured in each of them (with the exception of Mad, which was at least published by the most enlightened publisher in the history of comics to that time), was owned by the artists —collectively, they represent the long fight for cartoonists to take control of their own destinies. They are the Humbug co-op (composed of Harvey Kurtzman, Arnold Roth, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, and Will Elder) wanted the freedom to edit, write, and draw a humor magazine suitable for grown-ups; Wally Wood hated mainstream publishers, may have hated editors even more, and created witzend as a place where mainstream cartoonists (and a few young underground artists like Art Spiegelman) could do whatever they wanted, free of the suffocating editorial demands imposed on them by mainstream comics editors; and Zap, of course, created by Crumb, became a collective where the artists could do whatever they wanted. As a model of artists taking their “careers” into their own hands, it can’t be beat.
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Old time radio fans can find some cool compilations of Christmas music by the likes of Bing Crosby, Phil Harris, Gene Autry, Frank Sinatra and more here. (You'll need to scroll down a bit). Fun stuff!


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