New Brow

A couples weeks ago we were visiting a community garden (I was visiting; Marcos and Nico were trailing behind me as somewhat unwilling companions, one saying what I’m sure the other was also thinking:  “This is borrrring!”).  As we rounded a long planting bed I saw a particularly brazen hoard of snails, a brawny pack of brown shells wilding all over a lovely fava bean plant.  Of course I plucked them all off and crushed them under my sneaker, because this is what anyone who has ever grown anything and found snails gobbling up the tender results of their labor does — we deal out instant snail death.  I turned around all pleased with myself, my good deed done for the day, to find Nico and Marcos standing with their jaws hanging open.  They were staring at me like I’d just dumped a nest of baby sparrows onto the dirt and ground them underfoot.  “They’re SNAILS!” I said — because as far as I was concerned that pretty much explained everything.  But I’m not sure either of them has looked at me the same way since.


If you’re looking to see something in a new way yourself, head on over to the Roxie Theater this Saturday, June 13th at 4:30pm for the San Francisco premiere screening of “New Brow: Contemporary Underground Art.”  This fab documentary is being show as part of the San Francisco United film festival, and you can snag some tickets right here.

What’s it all about?  The populist art movement that’s been called Pop Surrealism and/or Low Brow, all the stuff that burbled up out of underground comix, punk music, hotrod street culture, Kustum culture, Street Art, Graffiti, Graphic Design, Tattoo, Surf Culture, Tiki Culture and other California sub-cultures.  The film is filled with first hand accounts from the artists, galleries and collectors who started and continue this “new american art movement.”

The film has all the usual suspects in it, including me (though I may have to go get popcorn when that part comes up because watching myself on film is 10,000 times worse than hearing my voice on the answering machine).


7 responses to “New Brow

  1. Totally OT, but… I included you in a post and ganked a couple images from here (your blog) to illustrate. I’ve linked back, but if there’s anything you don’t like about it, just let me know and I’ll fix/remove.

    On topic – I want to see this! I’ve been a Robt. Williams junky since dinosaurs (and Ed Roth) roamed the earth.

  2. I *loved* your post — just watched the Walton Ford movie and immediately began scouring the web for a book of his (holy nest egg, Batman! $5,110!!!). Looks like a paperback version of Pancha Tantra is coming out for $44. Phew.

    I first saw a Williams painting up close and personal in ’92 at “Helter Skelter: LA Art in the 1990s” at MOCA. What blew my mind was an old piece he had there, “Appetite for Destruction” (used by Guns N Roses for an album cover — they also swiped his title for the album title). It’s an amazing little jewel of a painting, very different from the way he works now. He said he had abandoned the style because it was too time consuming — I occasionally wish I’d paid more attention to that when I’m sitting around on layer three of some tiny leaves.

  3. Very glad you liked the post! I’ve had the ‘normal mortals’ edition of Pancha Tantra pre-ordered for a while – can’t wait for my next paycheck so I can order – well, you can guess – don’t want to come off as a complete suck-up.

  4. Any idea when it’s actually coming out? I pre-ordered too but they seem to avoid committing to a release date!

  5. The date they gave me was Oct. 1 (which smells suspiciously like a placeholder). The Taschen web site says August – yay . Unfortunately, while wandering around Taschen’s pages, I found – in the ‘coming soon’ category – Lear’s The Parrots. I need to hit the dang lottery.

  6. yoo hoo! this is a GREAT post! i love your snail story. having grown up as the son of an avid gardner, i understand completely that snails must die.

    i am hoping that “new brow” will show here in LA soon.

    look for me to arrive in SF on 6/30!

  7. Anticipation, anticipaaaaaaation is makin’ me wait…

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