In Print

Some PDFs of Reviewer Magazine, as a free published newspaper-magazine (R.I.P.), in print:

#50,

#49,

#48,

#47,

#46,

#45,

#44,

#43,

#42,

#41

#40,

#39,

#38

 

:::

Reviewer Magazine, 1998, card

[Ephemera]

Before “Net Neutrality”

finding my old business card in a collectible book I’m selling

by Reviewer Rob

I’m selling my otherwise in fine condition marked and annotated copy of DANCING NAKED IN THE MIND FIELD (a signed first edition) by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Kary Mullis that Pantheon sent to me for review back in 1998, two years after printing Reviewer Magazine’s first issue, and found one of my old business cards still set into a page. It’s in mint condition. 20 years sure flew by didn’t it, Rip Van Winkle. This was from back when things like “net neutrality” were an unknown concept no one had to worry about. Making phone calls, writing letters and post cards with postage stamps on them, and distributing business cards face-to-face were about the only ways to network and drumming up new business.

The old but pristine "tipped-in" Reviewer Magazine card.

The old but pristine “tipped-in” Reviewer Magazine card.

art by Pleasant: the Trump Five Dollar Bill

[Dissent]

THE TRUMP “FAKE NEWS” BILL

combining politics and currency art once again

by Pleasant

Arrives arrives under the same circumstances as my Bush 5£ pound note art piece, released in 2004 to a frenzy of controversy. You can read an article about that art piece at the following address. http://reviewermag.com/press/2016/12/22/the-bush-note/

The chaos of a possibly mad President elected to bring about “balance”. The Fake News Trump note is a reflection of America’s obsession with Trump. Though it is controversial to state the fact that his placement into office came about as a result of a series of incomplete promises and expectations dropped by previous administrations.

Everything is Trump, Trump Trump, certainly I would assume that it has become public knowledge that Trump gets paid each time a media institution mentions his name on air. Correct?

The story of the Fake News Bill begins 30+ years ago. When I was a child my father, artist, William Pleasant, Jr, use to take me to Atlantic City frequently between the period 1986 -1991. There a I wandered the casinos for hours looking for video game arcades as my parents gambled away through the day until nite and then back to morning again. During my adventures as a minor wandering Atlantic City alone I saw first hand the early beginnings of the Trump empire. A world made of glass and light, sparkling in the most insincere but impactful way. Phoney and oppressive was that world of neon, gleaming of the most distracting vivid colours.

As a young artist I was moved by the sheer emotional impact of so much light and sound. It was overwhelming in a way that I could only compare to my visits to The Magic Kingdom. A kind of adult Disneyland Atlantic city was. I visited the Taj Mahal as well as the Trump palace casinos. Walking through those environments I encountered a world made just for narcissists. “Me” culture was at an extreme everywhere. My young impressionable mind gazed up to see a portrait of Trump pasted up in just about every corner. Easily projecting him as The Lord and master of money. I could not help but assume that this representation presented him as the epitome of capitalist “success”. Was Trump the model from which all people should model themselves on? Was Trump ‘Success’? Was I walking through the “American Dream”?

Little did I know that Trump would one day come to rule over an entire nation that has been bought and sold on the same principles that created Trump the Brand. The utter consumption of life itself and an endless obsession with the self has become the American ideal. In the facebook era, is it a shock really that Trump is President? I read often and have become quit fond of an author named Chris Hedges. A fine writer who has passionately documented his life experiences as a war reporter with the New York Times. His critical essays on American life, politics and government inspires much thought. I attended a comic book convention with my fiancé, comic book artist, writer Dame Darcy. Who is represented by Fantagraphics alternative comic book company. Fantagraphics also represent Joe Sacco, illustrator for Hedge’s book titled, Wages of Rebellion. At the convention I spoke with Joe briefly about his travels to poverty centres like Camden Nj and other locations documented in the book (Wages of Rebellion). Joe illustrated in his signature art style several depictions of the level of environmental and social fallout being reaped onto American society through a system of economic and social inequality.

As a small boy walking through those Atlantic city casinos amongst all of the raging light and colour. It was impressed upon me that all I had to do in America was work hard, to give it my all and “success” would be due to me as a result of my own self determination. And for that brief moment I believed the hype, for one moment I took what I thought was the first step towards believing in the “American Dream”. It was news to me. I trained myself in technology, science and fine art. I saw myself as a sort of renaissance man. Thinking that with superior ambition it would lead to great success. A ‘Trump success’! How could that be Fake news?!?

Not through a sense of entitlement but through hard work I believed in the dream, the Trump dream. Later in life when I reach New York City that dream would be shattered. My childhood glass walls built of memories of the Trump Taj Mahal came crashing down. No other period of my life will ever compare to those moments in nyc when I watched as my creative concepts were appropriated and ended up in Whitney Museums, Moma’s and other galleries, all with white faces attached. When my best was denied with the most outrageous excuses. The American dream at that moment became only a myth, an option only for a select few, who certainly didn’t look like me. I was too black, too male and too ambitious, as it was even once explained to me.

As a black American artist & designer who has contributed to the world of IT and emerging technologies, of which there is very little black male representation. I could relate deeply with many of the subjects presented in Hedge’s literary works. Being consistently kept on the outside fringes of the tech and “art world”. Every now and then I have received a few crumbs. Far more than most men in my position receive. However though as a result I have been able to witness from the inside a system of blatant exclusion in which women (of a specific body type and appearance), ethnic minorities and those of various orientations are denied equal access. Often as a result of the personal biases and even outright discrimination by directors (the gatekeepers) of galleries and various institutions of historical and artistic preservation. Even popular institutions, like those located in cities like Minneapolis, publicly pride themselves on having “female” curators, are often silent when questioned on things like their lack of black male representation, whether it be on their staff or in their halls of exhibition.

From San Francisco to New York City to London. The story is the same, the denial is the same. In the era of Elvis, a white face was given to a series of black dancers and musicians. These were black faces that would never be marketed in a nation that was not equipped to receive them on stage engaging in movements that could stir emotions. A white face danced their dances and performed their songs. The so called art world is the much same way. A thin woman in tight clothes or a white face will always be more marketable than an ethnic majority. How can someone market them? It isn’t Fake News!

For me personally the childhood dream of success built on Trump’s brand was shattered in my adult life, the moment I watched a gallery owner in New York City dump my cv and portfolio into the trash. Just as I walked out of the door following his declaration the he would archive it for future consideration. This followed by many similar experiences. Where the hope of success was overshadowed by the reality of the American nightmare.

Though I had some successes prior to breaking out of the system, the gold coin was always out of reach. Broken and saddened I left New York City for period of time. I left America in search of myself. I spend many years building on myself and trying to stay one step ahead of the monster who chases me.

The ‘monster’ being the black rage and anger over a life of subtle and blatant injustices. I worked hard to focus my thoughts and work on critical analysis and thought versus blame and anger. I have always been very moved by the life and work of Vincent Gogh. It was the wish of my father, who in his moment of twilight, the night before he died, in 1997, urged me to visit the Netherlands. He explained to me that though I harboured great sadness in my heart over the dejection and exclusion I experienced in nyc. He challenged me to, “seek out the Dutch man”. He explained that, “the Dutch man is fair”. And that I would “find some hope in that land”. Those comments were inspired by my dad’s overwhelming positive experiences with the dutch people following his time in Holland after World War 2. Later in life I arrived into the Netherlands and immediately sought out the arts. I delved into the life and art of Vincent Gogh, visiting many of the places that he frequented in his life. I wanted to understand the process of finding compassion and love in one’s art through the sadness and anger of emotional trauma. I searched for balance and found parts of myself by escaping the clutches of the system of exclusion. A journey that I continue to this day.

I carried the memories of ‘fake news’ with me for many years. The fake news that if I worked hard enough that I could overcome institutional systems of oppression and exclusion. It was all Fake News then, just as it is now. The truth is that no matter how many tokens are selected, no matter how many times a single individual is held up as an example of “success”. There are countless others who feel the sting of exclusion and denial. Their stories are drowned out and their hopes and dreams are Unknown to so many people. Who would rather reject the notion that there are forces at play in this world that keep things just as they are. As the United States and western world spiral towards the cataclysm of rampant narcissism, consumption and socio-economic irresponsibility.

Figures made in the image of Trump’s shall continue to populate government, industry and society as a whole. In the age of facebook, the culture of ‘me’ dominates. Mystical thinking takes precedence over fact and the culture of anti-knowledge takes hold of young minds who believe that history is irrelevant. Trump is a reflection of the current state of affairs, much like a mirror. We can not blame Trump for being what he is, as much as we as a society should blame ourselves for allowing things to spiral this far down. We allowed ours culture to become insincere, selfish and irresponsible towards the whole of humanity and the life. The arts too have become a cesspool of commercial nonsense dominated by the monopoly man, Recycled slogans, white “urban” Artists from Dusseldorf, who take the place of latino and black artists from America’s inner cities, Token blacks, exclusive white only art fairs. That in many cases exclude white people who find themselves denied access based on their own economic and or physical qualities or lack of. Though this is still very different than the systematic process of exclusion and exploitation that affects ethnic people on a wide-scale basis. Once a staple of progressive thought, the arts have been successfully engineered and watered down into a competition over crumbs and rampant exploitation of other people’s social and economic realities. Cultural appropriation is at an all time high these days! Now is that Fake News!?

I am currently making a feature length film about this subject, it is titled: The UNKNOWN, Battle Against mediocrity.

Many youth today are taught that their ideas, opinions and creative accomplishments are without value unless endorsed by a corporate entity or “gallery” representation. Popularity without substance. Art without meaning all revolving chasing the Trump dream of look at me. Trump’s success is everyone’s success. It’s all Fake News. What better way to epitomise the idea of the Fake News of American success than with a fake $5 TRUMP bill. It’s all Fake News to me. Just like the Presidency and all of the media nonsense surrounding it.

My art journey has been long, though through all of the heartbreak, the joys and the travels. I began to see life through the lens of satire. Pleasant Art is not always Pleasant. However it is sincere in calling out life as I see it. Pleasant art walks a fine line between satire and social commentary. The solutions to injustice are to be found in our sense of self and ability to self realise our own potential without the validation of external forces. We define for ourselves, our own success by creating our own standards. In that context, realities like racism and sexism lose a bit of their power. When we focus less on people like Trump and more on the mechanisms and circumstances that made his presidency possible. We then begin to unravel the strands that bind this society into the very thing that has reaped a sense of hopelessness and suffering on so many who have lacked access to that dream.

It was Fake News anyway.

:::

The Limited edition Pleasant TRUMP ‘FAKE NEWS’ Bill is a satirical art print created from mixed media methods that consists of digital and hand ink illustration, photography and colourisation. The art print features a front and back design and can be easily removed from it’s frame for up-close viewing.

Visit www.pleasantart.com to order today. Obtain the original ‘Fake News’ Bill before the Art ‘Brands’ steal it (As always) and goto the Whitney Biennial. The Original Pleasant Art, Underground, Eastside, NYC.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

The Trump Fiver by Pleasant.

Rare Books: Jimbo In Purgatory

[Rare Books 4 Sale]

Jimbo In Purgatory

Jimbo In Purgatory, by Gary Panter, in FINE condition, for $79.95, shipping included, email Robert@RareAndStrange.com ~ currently on Ebay HERE.

“FOUNDER OF “PUNK” ART REINVENTS DANTE THROUGH HIS CHARACTER JIMBO IN THIS LANDMARK GRAPHIC NOVEL. Gary Panter has been one of America’s preeminent designers and cartoonists of the last quarter century: In addition to being a prolific and sought-after illustrator, he was one of the graphic minds behind the award-winning Peewee’s Playhouse show, and, as the creator of Jimbo, one of the pillars of the legendary RAW magazine. Panter’s early graphics defined the California punk ethos and the alternative zine scene — and although he hasn’t achieved the notoriety of Keith Haring or Kenny Scharf, the post-Pop painting world is also deeply in his debt. Now, Fantagrphics is proud to present a major, all-new book by Panter: Jimbo in Purgatory. In this spectacular graphic novel, Panter has transformed his protean punk hero Jimbo into the protagonist of a reinterpretation of Dante’s Purgatorio. After years of comparing Dante and Boccaccio to find commonalities between the two, Panter developed a narrative of his own that includes literary and pop references regularly injected throughout the captions of the reinterpreted cantos. In Panter’s adaptation, Jimbo traverses a vast infotainment-testing center built in the shape of Dante’s Mount Purgatory. Within its borders every man or robot stands in for a character in the Divine Comedy. In this version all the participants in the drama must respond to one another within a lunatic logic wherein each quotes a literary fragment that demonstrates their respective knowledge of a particular passage and its import to the specific location in a poem. Presented in a huge, oversize hardcover format (even bigger than the classic RAW!) to do Justice to Panter’s densely packed pages, with a stunning two-color stamping on the cloth covers, Jimbo in Purgatory is an art object, a brilliant literary game, a visual feast, and the most eye-popping, visually and verbally challenging, and memorable new graphic novel of the year.” ~from Goodreads

“Panter’s long-awaited new work is a gigantic (12″ x 17 1/4″) hardcover which re-imagines his cult hero Jimbo as the protagonist in Dante’s most famous work! After years of comparing Dante and Boccaccio to find commonalities between the two, Panter developed a narrative of his own that includes literary and pop references regularly injected throughout the captions of the reinterpreted cantos. Presented in a huge oversized hardcover format (even bigger than the classic RAW!) to do justice to Panter’s densely packed pages, with a stunning two-color stamping on the cloth covers, Jimbo in Purgatory is an art object, a brilliant literary game, a visual feast, and the most eye-popping, visually and verbally challenging, and memorable new graphic novel of the year…” ~from the publisher’s website

“Jimbo in Purgatory is Gary Panter’s magnum opus, the summit of an enormously important artistic career.” – National Post

“Panter’s art is about moral and aesthetic contradictions. His drawing can be at once wretchedly grotesque and unfathomably charming; he delights in the underbelly and revels in the prosaic. His pictures sometimes look as though they were rendered with a fork, but each line has an expressive purpose.” – Steven Heller

“Panter’s most sustained and intense visual effort ever. When I saw it, I broke out into the cold sweat that real art can bring on.” – Art Spiegelman

“Easily the best graphic novel of 2004.” – Publishers Weekly

Jimbo In Purgatory

Jimbo In Purgatory

Jimbo In Purgatory

Jimbo In Purgatory

Jimbo In Purgatory

Jimbo In Purgatory

Rare Books 4 Sale

[Rare Books 4 Sale]

Library Items

Parting With Personal Volumes

A Much Regretful Rare Book Sale

by Reviewer Rob

You’re going to begin seeing posts here from me hawking items from my personal library that I have been holding on to, some for 15 or 20 years, many highly collectible. This means only one thing, that I’m looking to make some money. It doesn’t mean that I love books any less. Don’t hate.

Rare Books 4 Sale

4Sale: Motorbooty #9.

[Book Cabal]

Motorbooty #9

 

 

Rare and strange, Books For Sale: the iconic grafix comix magazine from the tail-end of the Twentieth Century, MOTORBOOTY issue number nine, $20, plus shipping ($3.99), very good condition with very slight edge wear on lower-right corner, email Robert@BookCabal.com.

Motorbooty description from tcj.com/motorbooty-the-better-magazine:

Motorbooty was a magazine from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Nine issues were published between 1987 and 1999. How to describe what kind of magazine it was – is tough. It was a magazine about music that also had a lot of comics. It was also funny. Relentlessly funny. Motorbooty was fully formed straight out of the box when it debuted. This was not some half stepping xeroxed rag thrown together overnight. It was a beautiful and sharp object with striking graphic design. Motorbooty was no joke.

Founded by Mark Dancey and Danny Plotnick – the magazine utilized a vast contributor list that left many of the articles unsigned. It was as though the articles were written by committee. Even the way the contents page of the mag was organized telegraphed a united front of classroom clowns.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Motorbooty #9.

Where've The Flier Racks Gone?

"Free" on the flier rack!

“Free” on the flier rack!


[Printed Matter]

When Fliers Ruled

by Reviewer Rob

So I was at Gelato Vero on India and Washington last night for a quick cup of scooped espresso and picked up a Soda Bar schedule for November. The “FREE” on its nominal folded cover is what caight my eye. Well of course it’s free, it’s on a flier rack. But it reminded me of a small 90’s zine or chapbook. Gelato Vero is one of those last standing places in town with a reliable flier rack that has room for newsprint magazines. Only a few years ago after handsets took over there were still flier and zine racks in almost every shop and bar. Not now. I was driving up Fifth Avenue yesterday afternoon after some business downtown and was about to turn right on the corner near where Off The Record used to be (they used to have the ALL TIME BEST ZINE AND ALT-PUB RACK EVER) and stopped at that Greek food place across from Buffalo Exchange. No more zine and flier racks in Flashbacks and Buffalo Exchamge anymore either. WTF? Fliers and zines still rule over digital media. When someone takes the time to design, make, print, and distribute a flier… you know there’s substance there that the average keyboard jockey clicking a mouse over a screen doesn’t have, or doesn’t want to put out. I mourn the loss of the flier and zine rack. I also salute those stalwart venues that still maintain them. You guys rule. We need to bring back the zine rack. Russian socio-political engineers would find fixing an election much more difficult, I bet, if local media was still dominated by locals.

  Soda Bar flier. Check out the music genre legend. The symbol for Indie music is a pair of black-rimmed glasses. lol

Soda Bar flier. Check out the music genre legend. The symbol for Indie music is a pair of black-rimmed glasses. lol

Closeup of the Soda Bar schedule's genre legend. Instructions for the music scene novice. Know your tunes!

Closeup of the Soda Bar schedule’s genre legend. Instructions for the music scene novice. Know your tunes!

Me At 25 One Sunny Afternoon

One Sunny Afternoon

by Reviewer Rob

Me at 25.

Me at 25, in a “found photo” I’d forgotten about and recently dug out of my archives again.

Cell phone pic of a 4×5 print of me at 25 years-old, summer of 1989: I was driving through La Jolla one day, probably a weekend, and had my Nikon FM2 with a 50mm f1.4 on it with me. I had recently purchased the lens at the local used camera shop in Carlsbad where I lived and was out trying the new hyperfast glass on scenery when I stooped and parked at ‘Euro Beach’, as Windansea came to be called later. From the top of the stairs north of the shack I saw someone I knew sitting on the sand with a couple of girls who I didn’t know, and I walked down to say hi. Robert Maxwell was a local fashion photographer who I met through Trevor Watson at Revolt In Style’s weekly Thursday night “Berlin” DJ night at Sybil’s Down Under where I was shooting club photos for the magazine. He was a few years older than me, a much better photographer and really well known. I can say things haven’t changed in that regard almost 30 years later. I’d only been doing photos of people and models and portraiture seriously for a short while at this point, maybe less than a year, so I was really green and hadn’t started using model’s releases on shoots. I had no idea what they were or why they were important. Robert Maxwell must have known this because he spontaneously handed me a blank model’s release form — which for some reason he had with him on the sand — and said I “should start using models releases”. I kept it, later xerox copied it and immediately began having models sign them during every shoot.

We spoke for a few moments more before he asked to take a picture of me with my camera. Usually when people asked me this I’d say no because at the time I always wanted to ‘take the photo and not be in the photo’ (weird, I know), but this was different, and this is the shot that resulted. The piece of paper in my hand I’m shielding my eyes from the sun with is the blank model’s release Maxwell handed to me. I rarely like photos of me but I like this for these reasons, plus it’s also a good shot… Perfectly in manual focus, exposed correctly and well framed. He got it right the first time.

I should have listened


[Health & Fitness]

amalgam fillings

and the background noise of migraines

by Bob Yunger

I’ve had mild but persistent migraine headaches since my late teens. They’d usually start upon waking in the morning but end as soon as I’d get out of bed and have coffee. I used to get them throughout the day too. They’d exist as a kind of background noise when I was tired or under stress. One day in my late twenties I discovered taking an analgesic stopped the low-grade throbbing pain, but you can’t live on Motrin or Tylenol, and I learned to self-medicate with alcohol instead. It’s more social. Then over the years I started gradually having my deteriorated silver fillings replaced with crowns. As you know, dear reader, silver amalgam was a popular form of dental treatment for 150 years up until the 90’s or so. Looking back, this is when my daytime headaches began subsiding. It was in exact concurrence with the gradual removal of the amalgam. Recently I had my last silver filling drilled out and porcelain set on the molar. I’m sure there’s a slight chance it’s a coincidence but the next morning I woke up headache free for the first time in a while, and I haven’t had a morning migraine since. Looks like that girl I was seeing when I was 26 and living in Mission Beach was right. Having me open my mouth for a closer look she told me to have those silver fillings taken out and I’d feel better. I thought it was weird at the time, but I should have listened to her.

The Madness of Stephen Paddock

Reportedly a pic of Stephen Paddock, in what looks like banal i.d. style photo.

Reportedly a pic of Stephen Paddock, in what looks like banal i.d. style photo.

Death In Vegas

More American Gun Violence,
and The Glamorization of Madness

by Bob Yunger

Stephen Paddock, the Law Vegas shooter and local resident, retiree, professional real estate investor with an estimated personal net worth of 5 million dollars, gambler, former mail carrier, I.R.S. agent and accountant, killed 59 people from his large thirty-second floor Mandalay Bay corner suite. Another 500 or more ended up wounded or injured. More may eventually die of their wounds, hard to say. Many will likely succumb to an early demise down the road due to the trauma and depression of disability resulting from being shot. But let’s not give Paddock full credit as a gunman for all 500+ injured. Those hurt from being trampled by other concert goers don’t count as much, and some just fell as they ran, twisting an ankle or hitting a knee or spraining a wrist. So let’s say Paddock wounded half with his bullets. Add that to the 59 killed and you have an estimate of 309 struck. He was shooting for about 10 minutes. Some say 9, others say 11. That’s about one victim every two seconds. And we know from the recorded audio on video that he took breaks. Still more reason to marvel. Wow. Modern firearm technology is mightily efficient. That one man could dispatch such damage in so short an interval is nothing short of breathtaking. Good job NRA. Good job!

People should stop describing Stephen Paddock as a “madman” and a “psychopath”. His actions in Vegas were sociopathic and that of a baddy but fully thought-out and rational. He exhibited careful planning throughout his life and then even at the end, at the last, when he saw he was going to get caught, he demonstrated he knew the gravity of his act by killing himself as a way of escaping paying for his crime. These were the actions of a full-on asshole, but not someone who had lost his mind. He knew right from wrong and appreciated full well the consequences of his deeds. He was a 64 year-old, angry, retired, rich asshole who took care of his girlfriend, had lots of success in very competitive businesses, possessed plenty of governmental licences and endorsements, yet got tired of this world and wanted to make a notorious exit while taking out lots of other people with him. The tragic part is that in our society, given his social status and the current laws, he had plenty of means to do it, and do it SPECTACULARLY.

Leaked crime scene photo of the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock.

Leaked crime scene photo of the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock.

the eclipse was a wash

totality 2017

Reviewer Rob

So I went to Aiken, South Carolina, last August to see the total solar eclipse and it was sunny the whole time except for the hour before, during and after the eclipse event. That’s when it clouded up as if on cue. The clouds kind of broke up a little bit during the peak eclipse moments, and when it got darkest out all the night-time insects in the woods began chirping, buzzing and chirping at once in a cacophonous chorus of nocturnal alarm.

That was cool. But still, the sky could have been clear, or at least clearer.

I was originally planning a trip to see the event in Eugene, Oregon, and had even booked a hotel room there as a launching pad to drive out to Salem where the path of totality was expected to be fullest. Then I remembered I had a nephew on the East Coast and change my travel plans. Word is that the Oregon sky was cloudless. So it goes.

Below is one of the photos from Aiken as the sudden drop in temperature caused the afternoon thunderhead to thin out. Heavenly objects in alignment!