Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Free Speech

I am being inundated with "suggestions" on Facebook to join another group. This one is "Petition to get 'Fuck the Troops' kicked off face book" (sic). Or maybe it is "GET THE GROUP "FUCK THE TROOPS" OFF FACEBOOK". Or maybe "I am offended by the group "Fuck the Troops."" Or "Fuck "Fuck the Troops"". "Fuck People Who Say Fuck The Troops!". "SUPPORT THE TROOPS OR FUCK YOU". "Fuck the groups that say fuck the troops". Or my personal favorite: "If you say "Fuck The Troops", we say " Come say that shit to our faces!!"" and their profile pic is Chuck Norris from Invasion USA. So there are almost 300 groups that are either for or against the troops or for or against groups that are for or against the troops! Whew! That's a lot of "fucks"!

Here's where I stand: My Grandfather served in WWII and was given the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in battle. My Dad served in Viet Nam. His brother, my uncle, gave his life in the same war and was awarded the Purple Heart and other awards for bravery posthumously. Two Uncle on my Mom's side served in the military. Several cousins and good friends have served bravely. Some still serve. I am proud of these people. And I am proud of this country. I think that even for all the shit that goes on this is still the greatest country in the world. What makes the United States of America so great? One of the many reasons is Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of Speech. We hear that a lot but I think we hear it so much that we forget what the words really mean. Freedom of Speech is "...protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy, such as racism, sexism, and other hate speech are generally permitted." (Wikipedia). How does that work for you? Sounds great, doesn't it? 

That is until someone says something that goes against something you hold dear, like religion. Or America. Or politics. Or someone says something that offends you. Then it has to go! Has to! The terrible and offensive things these people are saying should be eradicated! Wiped from the face of the Earth and never spoken of or even thought about forever! That way of thinking is my friends is Censorship. With a capital "C". And that is un-American. Free speech protects all speech, not just the speech you agree with. Did you catch that one part in the quote above? The part that says "Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy"?

If the group "Fuck the Troops" is removed from Facebook then the injuries my Grandfather sustained, the time my family and friends spent in the military and the life my Uncle Eddie gave will have been a waste. An utter waste. If this group is removed then we should just gather up all the books and burn 'em. Just like the Nazis did. And then round up the artists, writers, journalists, authors and anyone that believes in the true meaning of Freedom of Speech and stick them (us) in a camp somewhere. Just like the Nazis. And the Commies. 

As an artist Freedom of Speech is very important. I know that I do pictures and say things that offend. And that each time someone is offended there are repercussions. But the offended is the ultimate censor. The offended can choose not to look at my art. They can choose not to read my blog or be my "friend". But that can not and should not try to stop me from saying what I'm saying. I have the right to Freedom of Speech but I do not have the right to be heard.  That is how one should deal with speech one finds offensive. Ignore it. Put together a rebuttal. Protest or counter-protest. Start a group called "Fuck you for not agreeing with me and believing in the same things I believe in and seeing the world the way I see the world". But do not venture down the road to censorship. That is a a very dark and dangerous road. One that we may not be able to come back from. 


Mid-South Con re-cap

Being the Artist Guest of Honor at Mid-South Con in Memphis was truly a great experience that will be hard to top. For one thing it will always me memorable for me because it was my first time flying. Yeah, I had been in a puddle jumper and flown over Cincinnati before 9/11 but the trip to Memphis was my first time in a real jet flying over real clouds! I was a little anxious but my fascination was stronger. While we were up there I noticed several folks had drawn their shades. Personally I never get tired of looking at clouds from the ground so I can't imagine ever getting tired of looking at them from above! Some people take the beauty of nature for granted.

Memphis is an hour's flight from Cincinnati. It is also in a different time zone so we had the distinct pleasure of landing in Memphis at almost the exact same time we left Cincinnati. We time traveled! That weekend was also the start of daylight savings time so I'm still a little unsure what year I'm in!

So I'm not going to go day-by-day but suffice it to say we had a great time. The staff was the best! All of them! Sylvia picked us up at the airport and we had lunch/dinner with her. And Jane put up with us on Friday when she hauled Heather, DC comics' Gail Simone, her husband Scott (who are some of the nicest people BTW) and myself around Memphis to sightsee. We got to see Graceland and Sun Studios both of which were awesome. And not awesome in the modern sense but awesome in the original sense of the word, inspiring awe.

We got to meet some old friends like Sam Flegal, Mike & Paul of Aradani Studios, Shorty, Stephen Zimmer and others that I know I'm forgetting, as I usually do! Some of the highlights of the weekend was with our new friends.

We finally got to meet Chesley ward winning AD and editor Lou Anders from Pyr. Minutes before the opening ceremonies I was informed by the Toastmistress Lee Martindale that when I was introduced I was to stand up and say a few words! Not being a public speaker is a bit of an understatement! So when I took my seat I was so caught up in that horrid news that I didn't realize I was sitting next to Lou! My speaking "engagement" wasn't a disaster and spending time with Lou over the weekend was a treat. He has some great stories and it was nice to find a kindred spirit in the world of conspiracy theories and Forteana.

We got to have a couple drinks with Kevin J. Anderson who is a super nice guy, breakfast with Lin Workman, Memphis bar-b-que along with some other good Southern style home cookin' and made a lot of new friends, one of which lives just down the road from us! Let me tell you, those Mid-South Con folks know how to put on a show. We'll be going back! Thanks guys!

Me and Lou Anders

My gift to Carlin's little one!

Me at Elvis' grave site representin'!

In front of Graceland

Inside Sun Studios

Outside Sun Studios

Friday, March 26, 2010

Horrorhound Indy

OK, so I screwed around and didn't get to do this really well thought out post about my guest appearance at Horrorhound Weekend Indianapolis this weekend. Deal with it. I'm busy. I got stuff to do. So go to Horrorhound Weekend's website, look at all the awesome celebs, authors, artists and kooky personalities and kick yourself in the ass if you're not going!

But next week I promise I'll do better. Lot's of info comin' your way. I need to give the scoop on Mid-South Con in Memphis, Horrorhound Weekend and my stint as an artist's model! You won't want to miss an action packed moment!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Darkwoods Con

Wow. I'm still not entirely sure the events in Pikeville actually took place or if I dreamed it! Maybe it will help if I start from the beginning...Nah! I'm just going to throw a bunch of crap out there at ya!

*Had breakfast 3 times with Michael Berryman, once was with Michael AND Dick Warlock and his wife Cat!!
*And speaking of Dick and Cat...I believe they are androids because nobody can possibly be that nice.
*I misspelled Daniel Emery Taylor's name when I created the program for the event...only to find out that the event misspelled my name on the banner for my table! Karma!
*Dinner with wrestling legend Al Snow and his wife Bobcat along with Cherokee and his minions.
*Free bourbon always tastes better...going down than coming back up!
*Our friends are quite possibly some of the funniest people we know...;-)
*TJ won the Dance Dance rematch against Daniel Emery Taylor...but he blurred the line between fun & games and pornography when he did it topless.
*Big thanks to Alex Del Monacco, Stacey Dixon and Kayla Perkins for making the scenery across from us easy on the eyes.
*It was good to hang out with artist cohorts like Sam Flegal, ScottRa, Joel Robinson & TB Gallery and friends like Pickled Brothers Sideshow, Nic Brown, Jim O'Rear, the Tatlors...er, I mean Taylors, Billy Blackwell, The Scream, George and the gang from ZP Movies, Stephen Zimmerer, Schaff, Lyz, William J. Wright, TJ and on and on and on....
*The gang at Darkwoods Con sure know how to put on a show!
And now for the evidence!

Me & Billy Blackwell

Me & Heather

Me & Jeff Mitchell

I molest pandas...

...and wear their hides as hats!

Blank spaces bother me.

Blank no more!

Heather & Jim O'Rear, two ravers lookin' for a party.

Heather "The Scream" Price, me & Heather

The Taylors & Tacketts

Cat & Dick Warlock (Michael Meyers) and us

Us and Michael Berryman

Ari Lehman rocks...Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mid-South Con

Just a little reminder that we're headed to Mid-South Con in Memphis where I'll be Artist Guest of Honor. Other guests include authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, Gail Simone, editor Lou Anders, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dan Gamber, Stephen Zimmer, Lin Workman, Mike and Paul Bielaczyc, Sam Flegal and I heard a dirty rumor that Jim O'Rear will be there. Still waiting on confirmation for that one.
This is our first trip to Memphis and my first trip in a plane. I'll let you know how that works out for me. I'll be posting my updates for Darkwoods Con and Mid-South Con next week.

Don't forget: If you're in the Cincinnati area I have original art and prints for sale at Art On The Levee at Newport On The Levee. Prints are matted and hand splattered by my own grubby little hands. They're going faster than a leper with diverticulitis so get yours today!

Con Nooga

Better late than never, eh? Here it is: This was our third year at Con Nooga and won't be our last! It's hard to find better convention folks. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones. One highlight was having a beer and talking shop with Larry Elmore...Actually it was more like having a beer and making copious amounts of mental notes while listening to Larry Elmore talk shop! Another highlight, or possible source of future emotional scars, was dinner with Abyss Walker author Shane Moore and his wonderful wife-to-be Tracy, Gene Simmons' Dominatrix author Sean Taylor and artist Mark Helwig where the conversation kept going back to which animal genitalia is most like a human female's among other things. I won't post a spoilers here, do your own research!
I had the honor to sit on a few panel discussions with Larry Elmore, Mike and Paul of Aradani Studios, Rob Brown, Christina Barber, Mark, and others I know I'm leaving out but I can't think of at the moment.
Tom and his minions from Imagicon were there and they hosted a great party! There was some stiff competition though including a white thrash themed party and an 80's metal themed one.
George Bonilla and his crew were on hand with some sneak peeks of their upcoming movie Santa Claus vs. The Zombies. I designed the military patch used in it and he gave me some of them. I'll post pix soon. We also discussed me being involved with in the movie a little more but I'll save that news for later.
There were a lot of folks there I haven't mentioned but I'll be getting to them in my next post about Darkwoods Con...because I think they're following me!
Unfortunately this was one of those events where we completely forget to take photos...so here's a couple we did took on Sunday:

One of the coolest things I have seen for a very long time, a steampunk Professor X chair.

Con Nooga Todd and me with the art I did for the event last year that he loves so much he had blown up and stuck on the side of his trailer.

Monday, March 01, 2010

More Than Ink tattoo themed art show in Newport KY

I'm taking part in a tattoo themed art show in Newport KY during the month of March. Opening is this Saturday and Sunday at Art On The Levee located at Newport on the Levee. http://www.newportonthelevee.com/directory/detail.aspx?id=53

Unfortunately I won't be there (I'm guest at Darkwoods Con in Pikeville KY this weekend www.darkwoodscon.com) but you can meet local artists like Rob Meyer fromwww.ICFTB.com, Mike Maydak, Jaimie Filer and others and see most of my Dead White & Blue paintings in person. 

Ass kickin' band De Los Muertos http://www.myspace.com/delosmuertos will be playing on Saturday. The more successful we make this show the more likely they are to have more like this! So let's support local tattoo, underground, low brow and outsider art!

Newport KY