Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Billboard...

Back in college, wanting to live a little dangerously, a friend of mine and I "embellished" billboards with spray paint.  Our first target was the enormous visage of a local political candidate.  Nothing smacking of anarchy -- we crossed his eyes, put a bow tie on him and a word balloon reading, "howdy".   The next one, pictured above, was our masterpiece.  Another street level board, we stared at it until the picture hidden within slowly appeared -- and was then rendered in paint.  This one turned out so well, it's kinda hard to tell what was there before.  Originally, the lady in the surf was screaming with delight, standing beside her equally glee-filled male counterpart.  We covered him up and replaced the guy with the classic JAWS shark's head.  Suddenly the woman was screaming for a different reason.

In half-Banksey fashion, I won't divulge the name of my partner in proto-tagging (in the event she runs for public office some day) but this is what's weird -- after we did the embellishment I returned a few days later to snap a picture -- and it was gone.  Bummer.  Jump ahead five or six years, I was recounting the whole tale to a former frat brother and he said, "I worked at the drugstore right around the corner of that!  It was so funny, I took a picture of it!"  Hence, the photo above. 

Note:  For drama's sake, I re-embellished the picture to restore the teeth and the shark's pink maw.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I didn't make this up -- these guys are in the opening sequence of the X FILES feature film that came out in the late nineties.  All I did was name them -- and offered the tagline: "Join these intrepid prehistoric alien hunters as they track down amazing new life forms... and kill 'em."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


When I was a kid, I managed to see THE GODFATHER, THE FRENCH CONNECTION,  THE EXORCIST and ROSEMARY'S BABY -- all rated R, snd all thanks to MAD Magazine and the brilliant talents of Mort Drucker, Dick DeBartolo and others.  There, by way of eight meticulously drawn pages, I "saw" films restricted to audience members under the age of seventeen (without a legal guardian.) 

Whoa, you say -- I just read a MAD movie spoof and it was a lame-o pale comparison to the movie it was mocking, but that's because things have changed.  Hugely.  Back in the seventies and eighties, MAD movie satires not only presented plot-point by plot-point recountings of the film's story but the panels so perfectly reflected the screen images -- from the actors to the locations to the angles -- that it was like seeing the world's best story board panels.  Satires were eight pages not four, and there was one in every issue -- not every third issue.  What's more, back in those days, the magazine satirized films that appealed to an adult audience (see above list.) -- then again, that was the film-going crowd... there was no teen market to speak of.

Oh, and the above panel is classic Mort Drucker, taken from the 2001: A Space Odyssey satire, or as the magazine affectionately called it: 201: (Minutes) of Space Idiocy.  My good friend Craig McNamara forwarded an article from FILM COMMENT on this very subject: