Angela Bocage


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the art category.

Music crushes…one’s already fulfilled…

For sooo long I haz had a crush on my friend The Musical Instrument Cat Lady’s lovely warmly golden varnished wood lap steel guitar. Even unamplified, its sounds have entranced my ADD brain as I held it lovingly on lap and stroked its strings…and now that my friend has a really gorgeous new shiny black one with better features ‘n’ all, my just-the-perfect-lil-awesome-crush-object-instrument came home with me, late Monday night! I had never taken the Chinatown bus to NY, we were going to see music at Jalopy Sunday night, but by the time I got there we were pretty late. Thank goodness we decided to go anyhow! I wanted to live there. All the performances we saw were cool, first a dobro-harmonica duo whose name I am sorry I could not hear, then deadpan-atavistic vocalist Elizabeth Butters with sis Emily singing harmony and a kickass banjo player, and a group called George [couldn’t hear it] and the Phantoms that blew me away. The lead singer/hollow-body guitar player had contract-with-the-devil pipes that could do it all, the piano player was magic; Hank Williams would’ve smiled at the way his lovesick blues were accompanied and sung. I love love love the venue. Lots of old musical instruments on the wall, including examples of my current unattainable lust, the BANJO. The banjo player from the Butters’ band was even kind enough to start telling me some things I ought to consider once I am able to banjo-shop seriously, but my three comrades were leaving and the other two were kind enough to give TMICL and I a ride back to Manhattan, so I had to apologizerealfast and run…but the musicky goodness just never ended: later we listened to Sonatas for Viola da Gamba by J.S. Bach, an astringently pretty CD of mostly-solo oud, some cumbias, and the Ghanaian koura record Yasimika. When a cool new friend shared some gorgeous images of Palo Duro Canyon, juxtaposed with Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting of crows in the same landscape, the memory of  Yasimika’s ecstatic voices and Bach’s ethereal pipe organ accompanying the violas da gamba poured back into my mind. TMICL is going to burn those for me to share right back with her, which seems fitting.

My music-theory-for-bassists book quoted the saying “Music is humanity’s defense against the arbitrary…” It’s the first time in my experience an aphorism’s mutated into an earworm! My earworm panacaea’s Some Other Time, from X’s Wild Gift, better listen asap!  I’m so thankful to live in a world with music like this. And unlike it, too: Kirtani, klezmer and gamelan! But also a world in which “painting” could be substituted for music in that phrase, where there are Giorgio Morandi, Diebenkorn, O’Keeffe, deserts, rivers, skies that turn blue from grey, and the beautiful brains of my friends.


Practicing for a sailboat?

Moved to my new place in the beautiful Brewerytown/Art Museum neighborhood of Philadelphia in December and love it. I have a bedroom that sticks out from the house and reminds me of the prow of a ship. If I think of the ship as a graceful old sailing vessel, I would be the studly pirate captain’s lover; while leadership, swordfighting, and brilliant strategies would be among her top skill sets, mine would involve careful and innovative means of navigation, accurate documentation of the flora and fauna we encounter in colorful detailed drawings, and short-blade infighting if and when necessary. On the sunny islands where we live between raids, I’d lead yoga classes for the crew as well as critical study groups. We’d be the most flexible and literate of predators…

As will be abundantly clear from the above, I really should start dating, and I am, tentatively…Also want to find a very progressive, lesbian-friendly Jewish chavurah or congregation, and a small-canine-friendly doggie playgroup! My sweet Japanese Chin companion is definitely dealing with some limitations now occasioned by his enlarged and congested ticker, but he takes his medicines and enjoys life a lot, having adjusted to living with our housemate’s big beautiful girl dog with his typical Zen elan.

As far as work, I am sketching comics but not committed to anything at length yet, working on two plays, rewriting one screenplay (the horror-comedy I did with the nicest het boy ever as co-writer: he’s single, Jewish, employed, and works out, all you nice straight girls!) working on a novel more sporadically than I would like, and fairly obsessed with a very strange piece whose final form hasn’t revealed itself yet, but which is already both funny and scary, two of my very favorite things to write.

If you would like to read more, or be a yenta either about potential shuls or potential dates, or have extra Mal Blum/Melissa Ferrick tickets, I’m on Facebook & formspring.me…


A new theme song for 2009! And happy Darwin Day!

My beloved friend blogging at More Madonna, Less Jesus has changed her format and has a lot of fantastic pictures of…of a nice WARM climate…with beaches…and, and clear sky…and people not all #$@! bundled up in down coats! Sigh. Weep. Anyway, she also shares a fine moment from…”her favorite local band.” The link is pretty much like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXo0ls2BfPY&eurl=http://moremadonnalessjesus.wordpress.com/

It’s great not to be afraid. Boy do I know it. Now I do, yes, I know what it’s like NOT to live in fear every day.  I am so thankful for that: to the spirits, and also my beloved partner. ❤ Once nobody can threaten you with pain or death—or, as cited by that wonderful band, Prove It, from More Madonna’s blog, crocodiles—how free is that? Of course I have sooo long a way to go, because even more than death and pain, I fear the graceful arachnid…I’m trying to either think of them as tiny oddly shaped scorpions  or sort of remember the old Superboy comics where Lana Lang became the Insect Queen (thanks, I believe, to a ray gun built by an old-familial-wizard figure, either her uncle or her dad?). She could become a human-size version of whatever insect a given danger required for its neutralization! I feel affectionate kinship with scorpions, bats, rats, snakes, and can’t fathom how people are afraid of them—which I realize is RIDICULOUS! LOLZ!!! But Lana learned that since she could also become crustaceans and spiders, at some point she realized she was The Arthropod Queen or something…it was all pretty goofy! Comics are great for helping overcome fear. As a tiny leetle Southern girl in second and third grades in P.S. 59 in Manhattan, afraid to talk because if I did I had teachers and students alike thinking I was kinda special cause my accent was pure,  I was sooo often absolutely bewildered…until my mom started taking me to Bill and Rose’s newsstand on 2nd Avenue and I started hiding Thor and Batman and Daredevil and Spidey and the Legion of Superheroes in my nasty horrible math books! I can still remember how wildly delightedly I would smile thinking of my comic books when I was that age. 😀  😀  😀


Tasty vegan cookies, yummy book, & who is most suicide-prone?

I was surprised to learn that Oreos, at least in the US, are vegan. But Newman-O’s are even more delicious, with a creamy and succulent chocolate filling, and give much much moolah to charity. Late July vegan cookies have organic ingredients and green tea and also taste quite nice. It has not proven difficult at all to adhere to my vegan choice, since I can look up any ingredient in a trice on Google on my Blackberry. Pom Wonderful, Quaker Oats, and Naked Juice also answered my questions about their ingredients readily, either via email or on the phone. Seems the thing to watch out for is that when they list “natural flavors,” that could mean something animal-derived.

For some reason, well, PMS, I found myself looking at all the women in the list of suicides on Wikipedia. I know, it’s hardly a representative sampling, but if it were, one of the most psychically hazardous professions ever would be South Korean actress. Also the girlfriend or wife of a male artist/writer/musician. Men outnumbered women at least four to one–again, like South Korean Actress Syndrome, this is skewed because it only lists self-slaughterers the Wikipeople consider notable–but I discovered a terrific photographer, Francesca Woodman, whom I am rather annoyed not to have learned of earlier. The work is so haunting, evocative, yet just as much disciplined and rigorous, I could see why so many people are moved by this art despite Woodman’s few productive years.

Spook Country, the latest novel by William Gibson, is just an absolute delight, like a sweet Diebenkorn painting, with all the elements everyone loves, plus generous buckets of imaginative abandon, technological inventiveness, humor, understanding, forgiveness, family at its best and worst, and a graceful postmortem of cult fame. If I were a betting woman, I’d wager you’ll enjoy it and want to pass it along


This Filthy World! and something really disgusting…

Watching the last bits of John Waters’ wonderful monologue entitled John Waters: This Filthy World made me soooo happy…I hope he gets to make the film MangerMania! He seems like a happy person…said he loves the description the Japan Times gave Pecker, his delightful flick about the art world, pubic hair, shoplifting, young love, and a talking Virgin Mary: “a Disney film for perverts.” Seriously…i didn’t think it was like that at all, but loved the film, and its efforts to encourage young people to vote, LOL… was hoping he’d mention the enthralling Harry Dodge / Harriet Dodge, who played a lovely filmic revolutionary in Cecil B. Demented as well as one of my favoritest characters in ALL OF CINEMA: Valentine in By Hook or By Crook–but perhaps he’d done so earlier. Still, was glad I learned he has a TV show on HERE!, John Waters Presents Movies that Will Corrupt You. One thing that he mentioned, however, caused me to look up something reeeeeally disgusting online. When Mr. Waters mentioned “reborn babies” I went right to Google, having seen one of the hideous products of these sick “artists” at my day job. I even gave my colleagues’ little monster, Baby Josh, a tattoo, and used some of my nicest white shimmery eye shadow to make it look like he’d been snorting something white and a little sparklescent. Sure enough, these things are truly scary. Imagine how scary the people who make them must be. And, at least at a site called Destiny Dolls or something equally putrescing, they can’t spell. On a website selling their frightening spawn, they can’t even bother to spell correctly.

A friend of sorts at work told me today of someone who, he felt, “wouldn’t like [my] comics at all.” Now, I have a lot of problems with much of the work I put out there in the past and would someday like to put out more and better and truer and realer comics. But just hatin’ on ’em?! That would be the type of person, I suggested, who would like to drown kittens. My friend irritated me by disagreeing bluntly that someone “with a different worldview from my own” would hate my work. Let’s see, even if my art were brutally reduced in the most insulting and trivializing manner possible to simply propaganda for some “worldview,” that worldview would propose that women are people…that a generation of gay men decimated by AIDS was a bad thing…that knowledge and investigation and education and joy go better with sex than shame and rejection and closed minds…that children are to be loved, encouraged, taught, and listened to with respect… My friend wouldn’t tell me what a different worldview from that could look like, other than a misogynistic, homophobic, sexually puritanical, pro-child-abuse kitten-drowner. This hurt my feelings surprisingly and so I went to look at some dinosaur statues nearby at the Academy of Natural History at lunch. They looked so birdlike, I found it heartening: a reminder that theories come and theories go.

But a sense of humor, including the ability to at least peek over the walls of one’s ego, can help in any era a time traveler might visit.


Very, very late on posting this….

Because I think it happened in January. But it was this magical night in Philadelphia, warm and ever so slightly misty, and very dark, and I worked a bit latish in center city to then walk over to the Borders bookstore to Charles Burns’ book signing. Whee, there I was, [trying to pretend not to be terrified at being out in public where I could be observed and despised by my fellow humans who would recoil in disgust and possibly crush me like a worm were they to notice me, for how could they not then instinctively intuit my loathsomeness and the need to rid this plane of existence of an evil of my ilk?!] getting to meet this great artist at last whose work just inspires me to my core. And besides being this amazing artist whose crisp black and white inkinesses and negative space somehow by sheer vibration create color, being this prolific imaginer whose dark baroque eruptions dance elegantly with language clean as a Morandi painting in words, he’s a real sweetheart, super nice and gracious. I’ve never been able to really understand the whole color-out-of-black-&-white thang, I just stare at his pages at length. If you’ve never read his stuff, please don’t deny yourself this experience of beauty. You might go to his entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Burns_(cartoonist) as a start, because for some reason I’m not finding his actual website tonight–I’m lucky if I can walk and think at the same time actually, we’re dealing with humongous sinus infections in an epic microbial badminton match around here–or look at the hardcover collection of Black Hole which is what he was signing and discussing that evening. When I spoke to him I of course told him how fantabulous he was, but mostly we talked about our BREEEEEELLLIONNTT seventeen year old daughters and how they’re juuuuust starting not to be too embarrassed by us 😀 and how one of our former publishers who’ll remain unmentioned is a total asshole. And bless his heart, Burns is a Philly boy now, too, after doing the childhood-as-trek-around-the-U.S.-cauza-Dad’s-job that I and many other artists did as well. Go buy his books, y’all….


The rain on a late summer Sunday

In all the greenness, the rain softened both greens and blues with silvery grey. The silvery grey sound was the best part, and the sleeping in the afternoon, windows open, seeing and hearing and smelling the freshness and beauty. Another best part was that a cat was sleeping on me, a dog in front of me, my beloved behind me, and any one of us would occasionally sigh, or touch another one reassuringly and lovingly. When pup goes outside in the rain, everytime he comes in Jezebel the white/calico  junior female cat kisses him, rubs her head on him, and sometimes cleans his nose or an ear; so I meant the critters too.

I was supposed to do so many things I didn’t do. Part of the day, though, it was because our network was down. Strangely happy in the rain–strangely happy in general. Love the creatures, and the girl, with whom I live, the plants and trees among which our li’l house sits, the smells of the garden, putting fresh garden grown foods into the dinners I make.  That reminds me, I have to dump a bunch of things into the compost directly, cause the kitchen bucket’s full…and of course, dump out the kitchen bucket. Berekiah the pup will no doubt go with me to guard me from spiders.

My brilliant daughter, I love her so much, has arranged to go to a school that will not force mindless prompt daily attendance at a prison block: City As School. Well, she already reads and writes much better than most attorneys. And has grown and changed over her weeks in San Francisco studying b/w photography and experimental film. Can’t wait to hear more about her directions and ideas.

My splendid cousin Jennifer was kind enough to send me a poem about tomatoes, which echoes my mother’s sentiments about their goodness! I will post it later. She studied Yeats this summer in Ireland. She reports that Ireland was chilly, so perhaps in summer the Irish snicker at their tourists like we used to do in San Francisco…Trina Robbins and I used to fuss and fuss about not being able to wear skimpy sundresses in SF. But Trina loves Ireland, goes whenever she can. Weather is relative…

Does anyone know if Yeats had anything– relationship, influence, feud, whatevs–with the poet I was supposed to do my religion thesis on, Charles Williams of the Oxford Inklings group? An amazing paralysis/anxiety took hold of me everytime I even thought about that thesis, even though I was fascinated with religious studies (still am!). This eventually led to my changing my major to art. Rather pleased I did. But wish wish wish I could draw and paint more now; learning canine anatomy and kinesiology and drawing canine skeletons and skulls and musculature and zygomatic arches and canarsials.

Their toes-bones are pretty fascinating too. Their ears. As I wrote in one of my favorite comics I ever did, the one about artificiality and armor, I was always taught by my mom to wash my ears because it would teach me how to draw ears. Berry’s I can just look at, but I think some of the worst things about the way I draw canids at present is failure to correctly place eyes and ears on the skull.  I’m getting a couple relatively cheap books about this, because the vet textbooks are way expensive. And shall let you know if they are useful.


I have a good idea: buy some art. Also, see a shrink. And remember your keys.

When my beloved says, or I say, the words “I have a good idea,” the other replies without pause: “Uh-oh.” I suppose it’s a way of acknowledging that many things that “seemed like a good idea at the time,” e.g. putting your fist through a door’s glass panel to impress a cute girl at a party (hers) or skipping any interviews with big “corporate” law firms despite being top-10-and-Law-Review cause you just wanted to help the downtrodden (mine) turned out not to be so good.

But this here is a darn good one: Wanna buy some art?! I’ve decided to take commissions again, after having done one just because our friend Peggy is so wonderful I couldn’t say no to her, even though kinda terrified. But it turned out amazingly well!

I just did a huge four-panel cartoon on commission for my Peggy, my wife’s old bandmate, for her main squeeze’s birthday, all about his early history flying at what she has referred to as “a cartoon airport” (so this present was a natcheral, see) whose planes had names like Gimpy, Polky and Turkey and whose flight teacher was so beloved by students that his WASP (a women’s division of the Air Force) students from the fifties and sixties still kept in touch with him for decades. It was a revelation–I don’t think of myself as drawing landscapes and heavy machinery too well, but it ended up absolutely beautiful. Though given excellent photo reference for the planes and the gentlemen in question–thank you ever so much, Peggy–I basically had to plan and write the sequential narrative pulling all the elements together. Using multiple colors of ink, I couldn’t believe how much fun I had. I hadn’t used colored inks in I don’t know how long. I’ll put up some pictures of this and other cool stuff soon. But there you are, I’m ready to take on such challenges.

God, I love my shrink. If you live/work in Center City Philadelphia, are an artist, or have ADD, or love dogs, Dr. Jeffrey Bedrick, who is a real doctor and thus can prescribe the pharmacopeia so necessary to modern urban life, could be great for your mental health and functioning. I’m increasingly skeptical of the knee-jerk dissing of Ritalin, dismissing ADD as a mere scam by big business–haven’t enough large scale studies shown the structural and functional differences in our tricky brains? Hello, hippocampal hypertrophy?! I worked on AIDS News Service back in the day, so nothing’s news to me about the tangled relations between profits, politics, science and the FDA’s pharmaceutical approval process; for many like me, benefits may outweigh risks, and I’m deeply thankful I can get helpful medications. And really really super thankful for the smarts and wisdom of Dr. Bedrick, who’s active in canine rescue!

Finally, let’s all remember our keys. Okay? I’ve kinda run outta time here but far far sooner than my last regrettable posting-lapse, I shall tell you the story of the Great Lockout of 2007 and why my spouse caused Legionnaire’s Disease, the near-extinction of the rare Florida blue-tongued vole, the Indonesian tsunami, and possibly even the hanging chads precipitating W into the residency!


Joan Hilty’s art is online and gives goosebumps

Joan Hilty’s such an intelligent cartoonist; I was so glad to Google her today and find her page, http://www.joanhilty.org, and to find that some of my favorite comics of hers are there…even that one strip that totally gives me goosebumps, The Last Days of May. Of course she’s a talented artist and writer, very funny and original, but it’s the sheer structure and the acute observation in her work that cause the tiny downy hairs on my arms to stand up. 



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