Dispatches from Kowtown (12-27-13)

Greetings!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, Yule or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.  Not to be a downer but it’s been a tough one for some people.  A good friend of mine, for example, lost his home and most of his belongings to a fire a couple of weeks back, including all of the Christmas presents he’d already bought.  Luckily he made it out of the house unscathed.  To make matters worse though, his 13-year-old granddaughter was staying with him at the time, though she was out of the house (next door) at the time it happened.  She called me–upset and in tears–to tell me her grandpa’s house was in flames.  I live less than a mile away from him so I rushed right over to comfort her and see if I could be of any assistance.  By the time I arrived the house was already engulfed and the fire trucks were arriving; about all I could do by then was stay out of everyone’s way and offer moral support to the family.  When all was said and done there was almost nothing left but the charred house frame.

Things like this, even when they don’t affect one directly, serve to remind him or her that the universe can be capricious and that life and livelihood are sometimes fragile things, so take that how you will.  Sure, there have been setbacks for me this year too, some pretty big ones in fact, but nothing like losing my home and everything I own and for that I am ever grateful.  Also, I am cherishing my friends and family just a bit more than usual these days because you never know when you might lose them forever.  People do perish even on or near holidays.  Which reminds me, my heart goes out to the family of little Delaney Brown–I can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose a child on Christmas day.  Wow.  But I am glad that her suffering is over at least.

In less depressing news, I’ve been drawing again.  I’m currently working on a piece for a good friend based on Clive Barker’s Nightbreed/Cabal mythos, and I am taking inspiration from Art Nouveau, Jugenstil, Secessionism, or whichever of its dozens of names you choose to call it by, as I have been perusing the issues of Gustav Klimt’s Ver Sacrum magazine at Heidelberg University’s online library.  They have most of the run of Jugendstil magazine as well if you’re interested.  Even though the piece I’m doing isn’t strictly Art Nouveau, it has a definite Art Nouveau flavor and I am quite excited about the way it is turning out.  I’m currently in the pencil stage, which is the most time consuming of the drawing process for these kinds of pieces; the inking stage generally goes a bit quicker because the lines are already laid down and it’s mostly a matter of tracing over them at that point.  When the piece is finished I will scan it and post it here for everyone to see.

Speaking of Nightbreed, I am quite thrilled about the news that the legendary Cabal Cut of Barker’s film is finally being released to the public.  I was moderately obsessed with the Cabal novel as a teenager; its story of the persecution of those who are different really resonated with me.  Actually, Nightbreed was the first prerecorded VHS film I ever bought for myself, way back in the early nineties.  Hard to believe it’s been over twenty years since I purchased that film, or since Kurt Cobain died by self-inflicted gunshot wound, or since the first Addams Family film hit theaters, or . . .

Sheesh, I’m getting old.

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