It Could Just Be Magic

Prowling the
vaunted halls of
the Muscleheaded
Blog Archive for
fresh post fodder
ain’t always the
safest route to go
sometimes –

– yes,
there’s been a lot
of subject matter
covered on this
here Blog over
the years, and it
gets kinda
discouraging,
at times, to find
that all (most) the
juicy subjects that
I’m interested in have
been flogged almost
to death by yours truly,
leaving little skin
available for fresh ….
errrr…..
treatments.

But no worries –
like the great artist
Salvador Dali once said :
“Have No Fear Of
Perfection, You’ll Never
Reach It “.

And creativity
can come in
all sorts of forms,
ya know.

Sequels,
for instance.

Oh sure,
I’m the first
one to laugh mockingly
when I hear that TV
or movie producers
are fixin’ to make
another vapid
Vin Diesel vehicle ,
or a new talking/
revived/friendly
dinosaur movie,
or Superman XXII –
cause I think it reeks,
or groans, of cliche
and outright desperation.

Creativity can’t be found
in a paint-by-number
approach –
as Jack London would
say, ” You Can’t Wait
For Desperation, You
Have To Go After It “.

So, taking Jack on
his word,
(and totally
disregarding
that comment
about paint by
numbers approaches)
I dug around
and found some
neat-o vintage
magic posters
in my media library
that I actually never
posted about.

I have several friends
who are magicians —
and although they
won’t let me in on
their dark secrets….
( …. damn it….. )
I find that I must
have respect for
anyone who
understands
the true nature
of the Latin
proverb  :
omne ignotum
pro magnifico “.

And
OK,
yeah,
I know I did
magic posters before,
and it’s not really the
most original concept
for a post that I’ve ever
come up with – I admit –
but they’re fun and cool,
and I’m posting ’em,
dammit.

Your Mama can’t stop
me, your Daddy can’t
stop me…. etc, etc, etc.

Hey, you gotta admit,
this post is not only
chock-full of groovy
posters, but some
cleverly astute
quotes, too….

I think maybe this
whole “PART-TWO”
thing could be a
pretty good crutch
as long as one doesn’t
develop a limp on the
other side-
— whatever in
the hell that’s
supposed to mean.

(You can sure tell
quotes that I come
up with)

Anyhoo —
now,
back to :
Magic Posters,
The Sequel.

.

.

!!! HOY !!!

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You Got Me Sticky

I don’t drink it
a lot anymore….

but when I was
a kid, boy, did I
have a yen
for soda pop.

I wasn’t allowed to
have it, usually
(it’s ‘bad for your teeth’)
but every once in a while,
we as a family would
get ourselves invited
to my great-uncle Frank’s house –

— and his eleven kids had no
such draconian dental health
decree hanging over them …

so I could practically drown
in the stuff over there –

when my parents weren’t
looking, anyway.

And drink my fill,
I surely did.

So much so, that now,
I barely can tolerate
the stuff.

Maybe the substitution of
HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)
for sugar is part of the problem..

– but truthfully, I just don’t
need all those empty calories,
anyway.

Despite being in the gymImage result for vintage soda poster
five days a week, my weight
has started to challenge me
a bit at my age, and the
trade off between a bottle
of soda pop and an extra
hour of cardio hardly seems
worth it.

(Exception:
if you’re a Southerner,
try to find some
Blenheim Ginger Ale
– the one with the red cap —
— I highly recommend it —
assuming you love
ginger, like I do )

It’s also true that a lot of the
really cool soda brands that
I liked are all gone now…

Hell, as a teenager,
I even liked the
original Fresca.

Remember old Coke in
those 6 ounce bottles ?

Cold as the iceberg that
sank the Titanic .

Ahhh…..
man, that was good.

Yes, you can still get original
Coke in 6 ounce bottles
(with sugar and not HFCS )
— in Mexico.

Interesting.

It tastes like you
remember it, too.

I won’t bother meditating 
on why such a thing
is such a thing.

Just another reason to look
forward to going back to the
Yucatan, s’all.

(Don’t forget the fish tacos
and the pretty señoritas. )

Anybody remember
the old fable about how
you could get a cheap
high off an RC Cola
and aspirin?

Nope.
It doesn’t work.

But the making a rocket out
of a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke
and Mentos really does —
— stand way back, jack !!!

I hope you don’t mind getting
sticky soda all over everything.

Ah well.
Sticky ain’t always bad, right ?

!! HOY !!

.

The Essence of a Pin Up

Gil Elvgren

Gil Elvgren

Hey,
following the Muscleheaded Blog
can be quite a chore,
I understand that.

There’s some really weird stuff
on here, man.

So I try to mitigate the pain,
whenever possible,

…. with beautiful vintage pin up art.

Like creative writing,

suzannemaunier

Suzanne Meunier

a great piece of art can be said
to exist in three places…

in the heart of the artist,
in the mind of the viewer,
and upon the canvas/medium itself.

But interestingly enough,
none of these images are identical.

The artist always sees
his creation
from the perspective
of his inspiration —

— how well his creative expression
lived up to the original vision.

The viewer sees
and judges the work
from his own very distinctive
and individual set of preferences,vespa
prejudices,
taste, and experience.

Much like a good work of poetry,

it is not all that relevant to its creator,

how the art is understood
by the individual viewer,

—– or to the viewer,
what the piece specifically
meant to the artist.

It is not necessary that there is a
meeting of minds between artist and art lover.a

The image itself –

— on the canvas,
or on the film,
or on the drawing pad,
or even on the skin —

is simply a mass of colors,
contrasts, textures,
and shapes —

—which bridges the perspectives
of the artist with those of the viewer,
and creates a subjective experience in each.

Harry Ekman

Harry Ekman

No wonder there are so many
opinions on what is,
….. and what is not,
good art.

“Pin Ups” are an art form
that I am particularly fond of.

It is, of course,
a genre that isn’t
and cannot be strictly defined —

— although many see it
as a very narrow class related to
scantily clad, large breasted women
in provocative poses.

almoore1

Al Moore

(Not that I have anything against
scantily clad, large breasted women
in provocative poses….. )

Actually,

I’m the last guy to knock
the whole idea of scantily clad women
of any breast size,

—- but that’s not all there is to it.

And I suppose that most pin-up fans
in the U.S. would define pin-ups,
as a purely American art form —

as characterized by the
work of artists like:

Gil Elvgren,
George Petty,

Coles Phillips

Coles Phillips

Rolf Armstrong,
Joyce Ballantyne,

Harry Ekman,
Zoe Mozert,
Earl Moran, etc–

……. and,
originating with pioneering artists

like:

Charles Dana Gibson,
Coles Phillips,
and J.C. Leyendecker.

The pin up form-
-in terms of tattooing-

a1

Sailor Jerry Collins

…. is actually considered part
of a genre called “American Traditional”-

typified by the works of artists like:

Sailor Jerry Collins,
Bob Shaw,
or Bert Grimm.

Pin-ups really get around, ya know.

In actual fact,
the first use of the term ‘pin up’
was in the British press, during the early 1940’s,

fernandebarrey

Fernande Barrey

…… and the practice of
hanging pictures and illustrations
of pretty girls in skimpy costumes
(or no costume at all)
started with English Tommies
during WW I.

This lovely French lady,
Miss Fernande Barrey,
graced the wall of many
a foxhole during the Great War,

…. and she can be rightfully
called the most popular pin up girl of the 20th century.

Yes,
even more popular than Bettie Page.

Her nudes,
in particular,
are today often categorized

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

not under pin-ups, however,
but as “French Postcards”.

Still,
they were first and foremost
‘pin-ups’ in the most basic of ways.

So, personally,

I think the term ‘pin-up’
should be open for interpretation.

And, putting the whole ranges of
photographic, tattoo and
ultra-realist pin up art aside,

— that still leaves a wide variety
of styles in relation to painted
and illustrated forms.

henryclive

Henry Clive

One cannot simply reject works of artists
like Raphael Kirchner and
Jean-Gabriel Domergue out of hand,

… because they didn’t fit a strict set
of parameters mostly related
to exaggerated perspective,

or because they weren’t American artists.

Other important European pioneers include:

British artists Aubrey Beardsley,
and David Wright,

Czech artist Alphonse Mucha,

Italian artist Achille Mauzan,

leofontan

Leo Fontan

and French artists Leo Fontan,
and Xavier Sager.

As the 1930’s progressed,
pin-up styles advanced
and diversified overseas by artists like:

Takabatake Kasho,
Suzanne Meunier,
Victor Tchetchet
and Chéri Hérouard,

…… and in the United States by:

Haddon Sundblom,

Henry Clive,
Zoe Mozert
and Earl Moran.

World War II pushed the

George Petty

George Petty

envelope even further,

but slowly,
the art of George Petty and Gil Elvgren
became the ‘gold standard’
that other artists aspired to.

When the fifties broke,
even more commercial markets
for the “American” type of pin-up opened up–

Calendars,
pulp magazines,
advertising all were booming,

…… and the larger publishing houses
like Brown and Bigelow controlled both content and style.

This tended to restrict, to some extent,

Alberto Vargas

Alberto Vargas

the creativity and innovativeness
of up and coming artists in the 1960’s .

If one looks at a 1960’s era Alberto Vargas,
for instance,

…. it’s not very different from the
pin-ups popular in the early 1930’s.

But, today, there has been a renaissance —

one might even say a revolution–

…….in the world of pin-up art.

Due to the ready availability
and open nature of the internet—

Artists are now free from the
traditional constraints of the

Maly Siri

Maly Siri

old-order art marketplace.

Gone are the large publishing companies

enforcing their idea of art upon those
who wish to make a living creating
beautiful, sensual art.

Thus, gorgeous fresh and innovative works
of the pin up genre are being created
in all kinds of different styles
and mediums all around the world,

… by artists as diverse as:

Maly Siri,
Brett Parson,
Olivia de Berardinis,
Hajime Sorayama,
Tommy Tijeda,

rolfarmstrong

Rolf Armstrong

Shane Glines,

et al.

Because the essential aspect of pin up
isn’t so much a matter of technique or perspective,

….. as it is the ultimate projection
of feminine beauty and sensuality onto a medium —

Any medium.

Long live Pin-Up Art–
and the artists that create it !

.

Who’s your favorite Pin Up Artist ?

Let me know with a comment,
or a submission !

.

HOY !

.
vargas Alberto Vargas

It’s Magic, Man

adeliadeI’m not a magician.

I don’t even play one on TV.

But I do enjoy magic,

–especially the vintage posters
from the golden age of stage magicians —

There’s something very compelling
about them that I find irresistible.

In the history of stage magic,
there is this legend —

Well, ok,
it’s more like a curse —
a cursed magic trick .

catchthisThe trick is called ‘the bullet catch’ —
and it’s ‘curse’,
if you believe in such things, has killed

— you know, like DEAD —

at least 12 very talented
and skilled magicians
who have attempted to perform it.

Basically, the illusionists
keep getting killed by the illusion.

karmiYoweee…

… some trick, huh ?

Harry Houdini was said to be considering
adding the trick to his repertoire,

when his friend and fellow magician
Harry Kellar gave him this advice:

” Don’t try the bullet-catching trick.
There is always the biggest kind of risk
that some dog will ‘job’ you.
And we can’t afford to lose Houdini.
Harry, listen to your friend Kellar,
who loves you as his own son, and don’t do it! “

torriniAnd he never did.

But plenty of others did try it.

Another one bites the dust.

What’s supposed to happen
is that the magician stands
on one end of the stage holding
some kind of fragile object in front of him,

while at the other end,

a marksman takes steady aim
with a loaded gun
and a specially marked real bullet—

—- and then fires,
from about 30 feet away.

herrman(That doesn’t sound at all dangerous, does it?)

Now, theoretically,
the bullet crashes
through the fragile object
( a plate, a glass, etc )
the magician is holding
in front of him,

but he magically catches the
offending bullet between his teeth.

(I’m not sure you need
all that lead in your diet… )

1920Of course,

if the Muscleheaded Blog was one
of your typical media outlets,

— you’d now get a 10 minute lecture
on how you should never
try any of this at home.

But my philosophy is that :
if someone’s dumb enough
to wanna try this at home,

— let’s let ’em go right ahead and do it.

The gene pool always could
use some chlorine, ya know.

I’m pretty sure that
none of that would apply
to the obviously intelligent,1920a
and very discerning readers
of this here blog, anyway.

Ok–
well,
enough kissing ass….

— back to the Bullet Catch Trick.

The fact that this trick
keeps going wrong,
and killing the magicians that try it
has obviously caused
some consternation among performers,

and as I indicated,
has caused the gag
to acquire a mystique,
— a mythology — if you will,
all it’s own.soo

The most famous example
of this trick going completely
horribly horrible was in London, in 1918.

A very popular magician of the time,

— an American by the stage name
of Chung Ling Soo
(no, he wasn’t of Asian descent)
decided to use the trick in his act —

Somehow,

guns being guns,chung

…. and bullets being bullets, well…

It weren’t pretty.

In front of a crowd of over
2000 paying customers, too.

All that blood ain’t good for business, ya know.

herrmannSo, the trick went pretty
much silent for about 70 years….

A couple people trying it here and there,
….. some hits, some misses ….

It was revived for a TV special in 2012,
by magician Steve Cohen.

Now, this guy IS really skilled,
very proficient–
a student and teacher of magic —

— so this ‘curse’ was finally
gonna be put to bed for good, right?

Well, sure,
think that if you want.

On a New York City shooting range,
with a small audience in attendance
and cameras taping every second of the event,

Cohen took his place
in front of a glass plate,
and a guy with a Glock 9 mm
about 30 feet away —

and when he dropped his handkerchief,
the shooter took his shot.carter

Blammo.

Screaming in pain,
(actually, the word
‘squealing’ comes to mind)

Steve Cohen hit the floor,
and was quickly taken to the hospital —

He had been hit by glass shards from the panel,
— as the bullet shattered it.

He ended up bruised,
spooked,
and swearing off the trick.

The curse continues ? ?

Ppprrrrressssttttoooooooooooooh.

Me?

Give me the lady
with the disappearing dress
trick every time.

(Keep the boots, please)

It’s magic, man.

HOY !!!!!

elvgren

Work Now, Sleep Later

I dunno if you
missed it or not…..

I guess it depends on
whether you’re one of
us poor-slobs who have
to drag your ass outta bed
every day to go to work
or whether you’re living
the high-life on some
fancy ass yacht somewhere
and couldn’t be bothered
to worry about stupid shitz1
like this, but…..

Last Sunday was
Daylight-Savings-Turn-
Forward-The-Clock-Day.

Otherwise known as
Work Now, Sleep Later.

Now, for those of you
in the aforementioned
poncey-rich group as well
as those lucky enough to
live in a place that doesn’t
make it’s citizens jump
through such stupid hoops
like this anymore,
you may not know exactly
what this day entails,
but basically,
it’s me waking up
in a semi
panic attack
because my Big Ben
manual wind up
alarm clock (‘Ole Reliable’)
and my stupid cable box’s
digital clock’s showing
different times.

ACK —
I gotta go to work —
what the hell time IS it,
anyway?????????

Ok– so, maybe I figured
it out pretty quickly –

( my mind ain’t exactly
a steel trap anymore,
but it still works after
several very hazy moments )

— but the real bottom line
is I lost an hour of sleep,
and oh, boy
am I pissed about it.

Now, I don’t give one
flying damn whether
I’ll theoetically get that
fucking hour back
again in the fall —

Hell, that slow train comin’
mighta have ran over my
ugly carcass way before
that day ever comes —

and besides —
I need that hour
of sleep NOW —
— RIGHT DAMN NOW —
— not next autumn.

Telling me they’ll mail me
a check for it just don’t cut it.

It really doesn’t serve much
of a purpose these days,
I’m told —
(by several people who probably
don’t know anything more about
it than I do, which ain’t much –
but they agree with me )
and it screws my circadian
rhythm up for a couple of
weeks every damn time.

Plus, I don’t know
how much
more “Ole Reliable”
can take —

And they just don’t
make alarm clocks
that can take a punch
anymore.

!!!!! HOY !!!!!!

.

You’re In The Navy (Army) Now

dishesIf you’ve never had
the priviledge to serve
your country in one
of the Armed Forces,

you might just have
missed out on some
unique art posters,

originally never meant
to even be seen by civilians.

The defense department
has always utilized
high quality and effective
graphics art posters —

— never more so,
but during wartime,
and especially in the 1940’s
(World War II) .

Many of the same
uniquely talented artists
that worked on WWII posters,

— had originally honed
their skills doing postersblabbed
for the arts division
of the W.P.A.
(The Work Projects Administration)
during and after the years
of the Great Depression
in the 1930’s.

Often, the posters
had to do with
service-related issues
like:
secrecy,
safety,
security,chow
health,
(especially V.D.
and Malaria prevention)
and waste.

But they could also
deal with very diverse topics,
sometimes in a surprisingly
candid way.

And they were geared
to and for a serviceman’s
sensibilities  —

so, they frequently featureddummy
pin-up style illustrations.

My favorites , of course,
are the WW II era posters
oriented toward the Navy
and Naval Personnel,

mainly because these
posters can be
very service specific —

a Sailor at sea has very
different problems and
challenges than a Soldiersextant
in the field…..

sometimes a cartoon
will illustrate Navy life
better than a thousand words,

— and because they are
living proof
( to me, anyway ),
that the Navy
hasn’t really
changed
all that much,
despite the passingnavychowhound
of some 6 decades.

For instance,
the whole dynamic
of the Navy Chowhound —

— it’s certainly true that
the Navy has the best food —

— and also very true
that we have some
of the biggest chowhounds
ever.

Stuffing your tray
with good Navy chow
is as old as a tradition,sailor
as the Navy itself —

— and as you can imagine,
wasting food can become
quite a problem,

especially in war-time.

I also like the
V.D. posters
from the period

( no, not a bad pun,
not even a little bit )phosgene

— partly
because of the art,
and partly because
I got a dirty mind.

You can see a whole bunch
of interesting ones
on my post
about the subject here.

(why in the world
would you even
be surprised that
I posted about it?)garlic

One of the things
that catches folks off guard
sometimes are the posters
about chemical
and biological
threats to personnel —

(like the above poster
about phosgene gas
or this one about
mustard gas)

— what we used to call ABC.

Increased dopey feeling?pr

— hey —
I’m dopey enough already.

I didn’t mention atomic
because hardly anyone knew
about nuclear weapons
in the early 1940’s,
unless they weretalked
stationed at a site
like Oak Ridge.

But, if you’re interested,
I did a post about
atomic safety posters, too —

Damn, this thing
is starting to sound
more like a commercial,
ain’t it ?

Well —
just remember —

Watch Out For Booby Traps.

souv