BOOS INTERPRETATION 15
For the twinned collage 21, we return to the miniatures. In “Haunted By Ghosts of Collage Series Past” above, we have “Standing Baker B.”, feet framed in a diagonal of light, staring out a window while “Green Lego-Like Dude” removes his head against the adjacent wall. Below and between them is a large green box with the word “Oblong” written on it at a diagonal, clear reference to my 2007 collage series of that name, and which also contains the same image in at least one of its collages, as I’m recalling.
I’ve long regarded the Oblong series as the best one from the “Art 10×10”, and perhaps my best overall, or most consistent. But it’s hard to say that with the giant 61 collage Falmouth series which has come along in the last 2 years, or even 2013’s Gilatona-Lis. Or even 2015’s Boos (!). All are now larger than any from the “Art 10×10”. And that brings us to the point here. Oblong is composed of 20 collages. I’m already at collage 21 in the Boos series by my counting. Once again, I’m aware of extending myself beyond the old series of the “Art 10×10” in a tangible, measurable way, and Oblong in particular. My collages seem to form faster these days, obviously aided by the energy of the blogs. But I’m also understanding the flow I enter better.
On the other hand, Oblong was created at the peak of audiovisual synch making for me, another type of collage. I guess I can summarize it by this: Am I beyond my peak and not fully aware of it? I don’t think the individual collages are as much enclosed works of art as they were in the “Art 10×10”. And I blame (or praise) the hybrid “Baker Bloch in England” from 2010 for part of that. The Boos series, for example, perhaps owes as much to the latter as the former. What’s the difference, then? Why is “Baker Bloch…” considered a hybrid and not a collage series?
These are very meaningful questions, but I’ll leave their full probing until another day. Safe to say here that I was aware, with a bit of a pang of guilt, that I had once again “gone beyond” Oblong, or “lapped it”. But had I *really*? I’m sure future collage series will help to shed more light on the very important subject of the individuality of any given collage vs. its placement into a greater whole, as in a series. I’d probably add here that I still consider the “Art 10×10”, as a *whole*, the best art I’ve accomplished. I think.
“Can You Be More Pacific?” is another cute miniature, this time featuring 12 Oz Mouse’s Peanut character again talking or interacting with his “box double”, as he has done on other occasions in my blog. Like in collage 30 from the Falmouth series, a more complex work and also part of a dyptych…
In the same room with these doubles in the present collage appears a silver-y fish on the floor, apparently dead, and also a hummingbird hovering in the air directly above it. This seems tied into the idea of death (fish) and then resurrection (bird) once more. And I should add that the floor in the next room reminds me of the patterned zig-zag one of David Lynch’s Black Lodge. Could there be a direct relation?
What of the mysterious red stain on the floor below Peanut? Scene of fowl play? And then there’s a kind of hole like thingie to the left. Also: The Black Lodge is filled to the brim with doubles, including one for Agent Cooper himself. Each good entity is paired with a corresponding evil one. Is Box Peanut the evil twin of Regular Peanut? We must move on, but I do like the way the wall framing the two characters is the same sky blue color as them — even the darker green-blue of its right side precisely matches the hue of the drug darts sticking in Peanut’s back and helmet.
BOOS INTERPRETATION 16
Collage 22 directly extends and enlarges some of the pictorial elements found in “Can You Be More Pacific?” coming before it. This mainly involves the transposition of the silver fish and hummingbird hovering directly above it there, but also bear in mind that the dart in the letter to the left is suppose to be the same as the several darts stuck in Peanut’s body in that earlier work. And the darts are the same color as the green-blue hummingbird with dart-like beak in the present collage.
This is all more “12 Oz Mouse” imagery, with the letter opened by Fitz near the beginning of an early episode called “Rooster” and where the whacked out plot line of the show really begins to kick in. As soon as Fitz reads it, he’s hit by a dart, as if his mind manifests the events of the show. And it kind of does (!), since 12 Oz Mouse creator Matt Maiellaro provided the voice of Fitz and begins to “ensoul” the character at this point. Maiellaro, probably best known as the co-creator of cult hit “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (also frequently mentioned on this blog), illuminates more details of his growing involvement with this newer and even stranger follow-up show here:
[“12 Oz Mouse”] actually started out as a disjointed humor-fest, but maybe only to me. I thought the show might stand alone in episodes, like “Aqua Teen.” As I was finishing the pilot and starting the second episode, I snapped into the serial thing. It somehow made sense that if what we saw didn’t make sense, there should be some sense to it. If I introduce this new character at the end of [episode] one that we know nothing about, then we need to explore who this character is and what he wants [in the next episode]. It was by the end of [episode] two that I started mapping out this grid of characters and figuring out who was bad, who was good, and who might have been bad once but is now still in the middle. Then, even from there, I didn’t quite know where the show was going, but I knew how it was supposed to ultimately end – which is not how we ended it with episode 20.
So “Rooster” is the first episode of “12 Oz Mouse” where Maiellaro has this “grid of characters” mapped out to aid him. An elaborate mystery begins to unfurl, but we also known from his quote above that it will not tie up the way he originally envisioned. More on this “unfinished” aspect of the show later, perhaps. Seemingly at the center is Q109, possibly a federal agency that Fitz and also the episode’s namesake character Roostre were a part of at one time.
I don’t want to go into great detail about what happens in “Rooster” except to mention that a stray, sentient *corndog* originally leads Fitz to Roostre. And I’ll just briefly mention that this connection is shown in Carrcass-1 too. In the troughs of developing that particular audiovisual synchronicity back in 2008, I associate Fitz hit by a dart in “Rooster” with president Rutherford B. Hayes’ grandson driving boats named darts into Mouse Island on the Baker Blinker Blog, a Lake Erie island which the Hayes family still owned into the 20th Century.
And besides being a green oval like both the torso and head of Fitz’s body, doesn’t Mouse Island also look like a *corndog*? I thought so at the time…
But the clincher is that Roostre later states to a character called Spider that he knows “Booger Hayes” during one of the funniest moments of the whole series. “B. Hayes”, just like Rutherford B. Hayes. The plot thickens.
(to be continued)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 17
The central figure of “Booses” is the Great Gazoo from the popular 1960s animation show, The Flintstones. But here he’s seen in his live-action version from the 2000 movie “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.” More on the Great Gazoo here:
The Great Gazoo is a tiny, green, floating alien who was exiled to Earth from his home planet Zetox as punishment for having invented a doomsday machine, a weapon of immense destructive power. His invention was a button which if pressed would destroy the universe in an explosive “ZAM,” though he insists he made it on a whim (“I wanted to be the first on my block to have one!”) with no intent of using it. Gazoo was discovered by Fred and Barney when his flying saucer crashed; Gazoo recognizes Fred’s and Barney’s world as prehistoric Earth, implying Zetox banished him through time as well as space.
Gazoo refers to Fred and Barney as “dum-dums” and constantly causes problems for them. He can materialize and dematerialize objects, teleport, freeze time, travel through time, and perform other remarkable feats, but when he attempts to help out Fred and Barney, he usually ends up causing even more trouble. Although his powers are frequently described as “magic,” they are more likely based on incredibly advanced science, in accordance with the third of Clarke’s three laws. The only people who are able to see Gazoo are Fred, Barney, and the children, because they believe in him; animals also can see him. A running gag is that Fred argues with Gazoo while Wilma believes that he is talking to himself. When their daughter, Pebbles, says “Gazoo,” Wilma thinks Pebbles is sneezing.
And a funny addition here:
The Great Gazoo is also referenced in The Simpsons episode “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase”, a metafictional episode looking at alleged future developments in the series that would never come to pass, which include Ozmodiar, a floating green alien that only Homer could see. Ozmodiar eventually appeared (twice) in The Simpsons episode “HOMR”.
Metafiction rocks! Back to “Booses”: The Great Gazoo holds a silver fish in his hands, and seems to be eating it. A small white cartoon ghost hovers to his left, holding a mug of booze or beer. Ironic juxtaposition. The fish also has the word “BOOS” across it, acting as a kind of forward projected buckle for the Gazoo’s belt. This seems to imply that the fish also represents booze, and that the Gazoo is imbibing too, just like the little ghost.
Notice the very similar color of the animated Gazoo and 12 Oz Mouse’s Fitz in these images; I just happened to save them in the same folder on my computer:
Fitz is also an imbiber of alcohol. In fact, he’s always at least a little drunk in the show. So I think it’s safe to say that Gazoo and Fitz the Mouse are supposed to be overlapped in this collage, given that a duplicate of Gazoo’s right arm holds Fitz’s letter to the left. The green-blue hummingbird is a dart. Gazoo’s helmet even has the shape of a inverted hummingbird feeder of sorts. But what of the fish? I guess this is as good a place as any to remark that in collage 3, another green being (Hulk) — seen through the doorway of the Boss, MO rock house also appearing in collages 1 and 2 — has the head of not a fish but a bird between its teeth…
… and I was conscious of the association at the time, since collage 3 was actually finalized after collage 22 here. Bird and fish are suppose to be tied together, leading in from the “Can You Be More Pacific?” miniature, or collage 21b as it were.
Collage 23, “Goodwater Goodland 03”, contains the same image of the Gazoo, so we can just continue our analysis by examining that work. The collage is unusual in several aspects. One is that it shares the same name with two earlier, proximate collages of the Boos series, or “Goodwater Goodland 01” (collage 09) and “Goodwater Goodland 02” (collage 10). The unusual part here is it comes a full 13 collages after the latter of that set. Why the reappearance of an already dispensed name? It’s because we have much of the same pictorial framework in place for the present one: we have the return of the mural picture from collage 10 in particular, with rectangles removed that depict smaller representations of the same mural seen from different angles found in collage 09. In Boos Interpretation 07, I describe how this flipping of background and foreground stands for a tajitu situation, where yang and yin energies have interchanged.
Instead of the rust colored funerary book appearing “behind” the rectangle areas removed from the Tungaske mural, we now have 3 separate pictures of *green entities*.
Of course there’s Gazoo again at the top (sans fish this time), then part of a DVD cover for the show “My Favorite Martian” to the left, another 60s TV staple like The Flintstones, and then the return of Bixby and his Incredible Hulk character in the last rectangle to the right. Bixby just happened to be the co-star of the earlier “My Favorite Martian”, alongside star Ray Walston (who played the Martian of the title), and I included his full name in the culled image to make the Martian-Hulk association more open. The Great Gazoo, although not technically Martian (although sharing the same general color, shape, and *helmet* as a true Martian from another cartoon classic)*, certainly fits in as another related, green alien. To complete what we see in the rectangles, Gazoo also has “Lisa Simpson eyes”.
(to be continued)
* Interesting (The Great Gazoo vs. Marvin The Martian):
BOOS INTERPRETATION 18
What’s outside the rectangles with the green entities, then? First, let me emphasis or reiterate that the reasons behind The Flintstone’s Great Gazoo being brought into the present collage are not just because he’s green like Ray Walston’s similarly green clad Martian character or actually green like the Incredible Hulk, although that’s obviously the main surface tie-in between the 3 framed images. No, this is more Tungaske magic in action here, explained in a post from about a month ago called “Town Oddities”. I won’t repeat the information except to state that the Tungaske woman in the photo is also green clad, has the implications of worm *helmet* — accidental in the photo, it seems — and that she shares other characteristics with the live action Gazoo character. It was very natural, given this background, for me as a collagist to transpose the large silver fish from “gloved green helmeted short plump smiling fisher-woman” to “gloved green helmeted short plump smiling Gazoo” and go from there.
Looking at stuff outside the inserted rectangles now, we have the return of 12 Oz Mouse’s Fitz in the center of “Goodwater Goodland 03”, drinking his beer once more. He’s always got at least one or two stashed away somewhere on or around his body in the series, it seems, and can whip it out at any time. Witness this:
Fitz obviously is associated with the other green beings in the collage, starting with the Great Gazoo as explained before in “Boos Interpretation 17” and working out from there. Gazoo’s silver fish can also be seen as booze — two imbibers, then. As far as the Martian and Ray Walston go, we must keep in mind that Tungaske inexplicably has a large Martian crater named after it. And for (Bill) Bixby and The Hulk we must remember that Iron County Missouri, which contains both a Bixby and a Banner (about 15 miles apart), also has an even closer Goodwater and Goodland between them. Bill *Bixby* starred as David “Bruce” *Banner* in The Incredible Hulk show to follow up on his co-starring role in the earlier “My Favorite Martian”. The proximity of Goodwater to Goodland here (also framed by the north and south county lines of Iron) led me directly to Tungaske and this landmark, 611 page history book on the community…
We have a complex interweave of collaged associations building upon clues from maps, TV and film sources, books, photos, Second Life, and more — leading up to “Goodwater Goodland 03”. And we have these actual names culled from an Iron County map in the present collage (bordering the “My Favorite Martian” insert), just like in the former two collages of the set.
Back to Fitz and the center of the collage: Behind the green mouse is the composite Tungaske and Tungaske Cemetery signs we’ve seen in “I Must Be Going. Hello!”, which stand for a town in danger of dying out, leaving only the dead to rule. Behind it is what appears to be a sunset or sunrise, but is actually the top of Lisa Simpson’s cartoon sun-like head. If it is sunset, this could be despair. If it is sunrise: hope. We are going to assume this is a hopeful situation for Tungaske, and that the town and its cemetery will not become “as one” here, since Lisa Simpson keeps appearing in Boos collages to come. She is the ordained savior artist.
(to be continued)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 19
We come to “Comparative Heights” now, number 24 in the Boos series. Just in terms of pure aesthetics, I believe this is one of the more successful Boos works, although I don’t think it’s quite as deep as the previous, “uglier” collage (“Goodwater Goodland 03”). Let’s dive into an interpretation and we’ll see.
At the center of the work is Waving Truman again, having appeared in a Boos miniature already. Here he stands at the end of a row of historic Tungaske baseball players, 12 in number and lined up in terms of relative heights. Truman is at the high end, and the only one that can be said to actually stand the road itself (Tungaske’s Q Street) and not in the grass off the road. He is the 13th, relating him to the Christ figure. On the opposite end from him appears the smallest and darkest of the figures, perhaps in shadow. He could be Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus, in this scenario. In reality, he was probably the baseball team’s manager or coach. Waving Truman is also set apart from the others because he appears in his true colors, the rest being sepia toned. In the road to his right is a miniature version of the likewise sepia colored Fal Mouth Moon Gallery, not in correct proportion at all relative to him, in seeming opposition to the collage’s title. Above him is another sepia character, and also one we’ve seen before in a Boos miniature: “Falling Dorothy” from an early Kansas scene in “The Wizard of Oz”. Here she points to mysterious smoke or cloud writing in the sky that appears to spell out the word “fag” in capital letters, at least according to blog spirit Hucka D.
And speaking of Hucka, we also find him in the present collage beside Truman in his true Second Life form (“Hucka Doobie”), and not as a doll as we’ve seen before in Boos collages 11 and 19. We are moving into something truer — Truman. And in the background, standing in the grounds of the old Tungaske church and school we’ll see more of in coming collages, are two giant green, alien type figures both removing their heads. Hucka Doobie appears to be staring toward them. We know from the Falmouth series that these are 2 “Beemen” who show up in a Whitehead related collage here:
More bee imagery, then. The mirroring “fat” and “thin” figures also hark back to the 2 Roger Pine Ridges of Sam Parr 03 that also reappear in the final Falmouth work. LINK
So to an interpretation: The setting is Tungaske’s Q Street, right beyond where it meets the top end of Atlantic Avenue coming from the south. Maybe the north-south line of baseballs players relates to this avenue, then, and by association Pacific Avenue running parallel to it. I’m remembering that Waving Truman appears in a miniature featuring a Pacific Avenue location. And Hucka Doobie below him is a miniature himself in comparison to other imagery in “Comparative Heights”.
Check this out:
“Comparative” contains the same number of letters as “Collagesity”, or 11. 18 total, then, for both “Comparative Heights” and “Collagesity Heights”. We may return to that.
(to bee continued?)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 20
Let’s temporarily skip further discussion of “Comparative Heights” to move to the 25th Boos collage, called “Bitter Rivals”. To me this seems to be an even simpler work, not far in spirit from the miniature but larger in overall scale. The scene is clear. We have an old Tungaske baseball team returning to the right, although I’m not sure we have the same people represented. To the left we have the same picture of the team blotted out by red-violet flowers that appear to be pansies. These are the “bitter rivals” of the title, fronting a beautiful Tungaske sunset seen from approximately the same location as that of collage 14 (“The Unloading of Bigfoot”), or on the western edge of the town very near the artist’s house depicted in collage 11 as well. I believe those are even some of the same trees represented.
We’ve already associated this artist with Lisa Simpson or “Lisa the Vegetarian” through evidence gleaned in collages 19 through 23. Appropriately, we have the return of Lisa Simpson for the present collage, appearing in outline form between the two “rivals”. But, importantly, the outlined is doubled through inversion. Lisa cannot side with either team but, like the setting sun behind her, has to remain neutral. As Lisa has also been directly associated with a setting (or rising) sun in collage 22, we must assume the same here. What are the rivals? Since the flowers are culled from an advertisement for the Tungaske cemetery, they represent the dead of the town. And since all the players to the right are in all likelihood deceased now, the collage weaves a tale of past (living) colliding with present (dead). Tungaske is a dying town in that the population slowly seems to be trickling away. Again, the dead threaten to rule, vanquishing or “blotting out” a modern rival, perhaps perceived as johnnies-come-lately. The fight is between past and present, with Lisa standing between the two.
The heroine of our story does not appear in “Comparative Heights”, but her image is the last I edited out of a final draft for that collage. I decided to include an excerpt from this penultimate version as collage 25.5 of the Boos series which I call “Q Girl”, bringing Lisa to the forefront at last and not hidden. Her signature lemon tags along.
Per the title, she stands in the “Q” of the delineated “Q Street” from Google Maps’ Streetview. Given that Dorothy’s upraised arm in the overall collage points directly at mystery writing in the sky that seems to spell out a more derogatory word for “queer”, we can also assume that “Q” stands for the same. This may be a kind of coming out moment for the girl, or a realization at least of her gay or, more likely, bisexual nature. This has antecedents in “The Simpsons” show, where several times it is hinted that Lisa is a lesbian.
In the episode “Holidays of Future Passed”, a montage of photos were featured to show a glimpse of whats to come for the Simpsons family. Lisa is shown intimately holding hands with two women in one photo, then with a different woman in another photo.
I’m also reminded that the flowers in “Bitter Rivals” are pansies, which is another slang word for “gays”.
Drawing further back, Lisa Simpson represents the androgyny or two headed rebis:
In alchemy, androgyny is a symbol of immortality, transcendence and totality. It is the triumph over the deceptive duality resulting from the creation of the universe. It also stands for the merging of the selves, the triumph over mind and ego, and the accord between sameness and diversity, particularly duality.
“Q Girl” provides a summary point for the floor 3 collages of the virtual Boos gallery in Collagesity now, a period to their sentence. But we still have one more, smaller floor to examine. Lisa leads us upwards.
(to be continued)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 21
Up we go to the top floor of the Boos Gallery via a teleporter again. In the room’s more confined space, viewers are confronted by what amounts to two diptychs on opposite, long walls, both rather unusual in design in comparison to others of this kind I’ve created. These are the only 2 multi-panel works of the Boos series. On the 2 perpendicular, shorter walls are hung smaller, simpler works both based on more antique Tungaske photos. And the 2nd and last diptych is also based on same.
Let’s start, then, with collages 26 and 27. Here’s how they appear in the gallery…
The unusual aspect of this “diptych”, collectively called “2 Fer 1”, is that it shows the same 2 older Tungaske buildings, even most of the same collaged-in characters placed around these buildings, but from opposite directions. We’ve seen these similar white clapboard/ green roofed structures before. They appear in the background of “Comparative Heights” two collages back.
In “2 Fer 1 01”, we’re simply changing angles a bit and zooming into the matching buildings. We have a former school of the town on the right, and a former church to the left. Both stand on the same property, which at present time is up for sale. Like with all the miniatures of the Boos series coming before it, I used photos found on realtor’s sites as a base to build up from. I didn’t alter the dimensions of either of the two selected photos for the collages.
The 2 tall green alien thingies of “Comparative Heights” have now disappeared or either moved off camera to the right. In their stead appear new images. We have, front and center, the head of Marge Simpson — who is, of course, Lisa’s mother in “The Simpsons” show — atop a female human body of taller dimensions, it seems. I believe this represents both Marge the mother and Lisa the daughter in one, perhaps when Lisa is all grown up and a mother herself. To her left (our right) comes a blue-green 6 legged horse that we’ll also see in the second diptych of this floor. Here it trots on the boundary between shadow and sunlight, but its body remains shaded. Contrast this to sun bathed toy avatar Taum Sauk sitting on a rust colored car to Lisa’s right. Bright vs. shade, then; light against dark. Also in the foreground (far left) is another 12 Oz Mouse character we first saw in Collage 03 (“The Rock”), who again appears in female form here but is actually half man, half woman, harking back to Lisa’s androgynous state. She appears to be in lit the sun as well. And then two more collaged-in images appear in the background of “2 Fer 1 01”, which we’ll see better in the second part of the dipytch. These are Baker Bloch himself, alongside a reclining Chef Dick Halloran culled from the epicenter of The Shining movie.
In “2 Fer 1 02”, we’ve merely swiveled our viewing angle basically 180 degrees and moved it to the edge of the woods just behind Baker Bloch. From this adjusted angle toward the old school and church we see most of the same objects from “2 Fer 1 01” but also a couple of new ones. There’s of course Baker Bloch and Dick Halloran again in the foreground, then we can spy the blue-green horse in the background, which appears to be in the same position as in “2 Fer 1 01”. Then Marge headed woman stands beside it still, but with her blue hair queerly merged with the long snout of the blue-green horse. Both she and Halloran still face the camera, as if they’ve swiveled around in position with us. Then absent from “2 Fer 1 02” is Taum Sauk and 12 Oz Mouse’s Man/Woman character with the red ball, apparently hidden from sight now by the rust colored car and white clapboard schoolhouse respectively.
The new characters of the second part of “2 Fer 1” are Mr. Bean, positioned near the center of the collage, and then former PGA golfer Tom Kite in the right foreground, wielding yet another golf iron of the Boos series. In fact, Mr. Kite is famous for his iron game, which I only learned about after creating the collage.
In his prime Kite had few peers with the short irons. In 1993, Johnny Miller referred to Kite as “the greatest short-iron player the game has seen.
(to be continued)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 22
While I’m not sure when the idea entered the picture, er pictures, I decided that the opposite perspectives for the 2 collages of “2 Fer 1” had to be kind of in synch with each other. This means that objects appearing in one had to either appear in the other, or else be explained away as hidden by something. We’ve discussed how in “2 Fer 1 02”, the absence of 12 Oz Mouse’s Man/Woman and toy avatar Taum Sauk seen in “2 Fer 1 01” could be explained this way. But at the same time, 2 *new* characters shown in “2 Fer 1 02” that don’t appear in “2 Fer 1 01” must be explained in similar ways, or Mr. Bean and golfer Tom Kite. If we compare the two collages…
… it’s *possible* that Marge’s hair in 01 hides both Mr. Bean and Mr. Kite in 02. Or it’s also possible that Mr. Bean is hidden by Marge’s hair and Tom Kite is hidden by the blue-green horse. Anyway, that’s the general idea: that the perspective between two must work in a somewhat plausible way.
What is the bigger meaning, then? Sometimes two people can view the same general scenario from opposite perspectives (perhaps one is calm and the other agitated, for instance) and come away with different memories and meanings. For one, a certain relationship with a person or object will be magnified in comparison to the other. It’s all relative. The concept draws ideas from cubism, where the artist attempts to capture all angles of an object like a vase full of flowers or a woman playing a mandolin. Another comparison can be made to the elephant in a room full of blind people, where one holds the tail and thinks it’s a rope, the other holds the trunk and believes it to be a tree branch, and so on.
In a bigger picture, the dual perspectives of “2 Fer 1” is a microcosm of sorts for the whole of the Boos series, or at least the Tungaske laden aspects that kick in at collage 10 and continue until its end. I’m looking at this artsy Canadian hamlet from all sides, trying to figure out its inner meaning; peer into its heart of hearts. Any one collage provides only a slice of the total — it’s only when you attempt to add them up (read: these *interpretation posts*!) that a true representation begins to take focus. And I think in this topmost, rather cramped room of the Boos gallery is where it all comes down. We are *standing* in the room with the elephant itself now, if I may be allowed.
With that in mind, let’s move to collage 28 of the Boos series exhibited on the next wall, a shorter dimension of the rectangular room holding correspondingly simpler works. I call this one “All Together Now”, and up until about mid-way through my interpretation of the series as a whole, it represented the terminal Boos artwork.
We have the reappearance of the Tungaske baseball team from “Bitter Rivals”, coupled not with flowers this time but a team of guitar players instead we’ve also previously seen in the Boos series (collage 3: “The Rock”). And they’re “all together now” instead of on opposite sides of the picture — a co-mingling. Two groups of players, then, one from sports and one from music or “the arts”, with Texan writer Edward Swift, feet resting on baseball bats, sprawled out between them. We’ve seen Edward a number of times before in my collages, and I’ll give an example here of the final collage of the Embarras series coming earlier this year.
As I describe in an analysis of the collage at the time, perhaps cryptically in retrospect, Edward Swift is combined with an image representing Kate Swift, a character in Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio”. As Sherwood shows up in the next collage, along with E. Swift once more, let’s just move on to that one. The diptych “This Town Ain’t Big Enough” is where it all hangs out for the Boos series. If we don’t succeed in peering into the heart of hearts through that perspective, then our mission is incomplete. And of course we can’t succeed completely, since seeing from all angles at once is impossible in practice. It sometimes pays considerable dividends to try, though. Moving on…
(to be continued)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 23
Okay, so here we go. Final stretch (!). When turning around in our steps from the diptych “2 Fer 1” on the 4th and top floor of the Boos gallery, this is what we are confronted with on the opposite wall…
Another diptych as I’ve stated, and one called “This Town Ain’t Big Enough”. As with the preceeding collage and also several other in the series, the base is formed from antique photos of Tungaske, this time of the town’s main street taken sometime in the early 20th Century. Here’s a website that shows the used photos.
This is the base for the left side of the diptych, then…
… and here’s the one for the right hand side.
So in looking closer at each photo, you’ll notice that the same side of the main street of town is shown in each case, but looking from opposite directions. You can tell this for sure by the presence of a prominent sign for a hardware store in each. So this is a little different from a lot of my other collage diptychs in that the left side does not directly continue a single base photo into the right side (or visa versa). Instead we have mirrored images, which brings to mind this:
The two photos are roughly cued to each other by matching up the horizon lines, and then, more precisely, by a similar single white line running across the road in the foreground of each, probably marking a walkway — but two different ones, if so. Then the left photo is copied, reduced by 50 percent, and inserted between the two to help bridge them together. That’s our foundation.
What’s then overlaid on top of the foundation? The larger building in the center has been altered by the introduction of a Tungaske grave image here…
… namely the part of the upright monument seen in the photo. This becomes the bottom of the building, making it pentagonal shaped and perhaps hovering in the air a bit. Looking closer, you’ll notice that a smaller version of the same building appears to its immediate right, but otherwise unaltered. When composing the collage, I envisioned these as like two gunslingers of the old west in a standoff, with one perhaps exclaiming the cliche movie line: “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
So there’s the source of the title. As the collage evolved, this idea sort of fell into the background (literally), as new images appeared.
And we’ve visited the grave site before in the Boos series. It’s the same one with the rust colored book cemented to the top of the monument, unseen in the above photo. We first find it in “Goodwater Goodland 01” and then in “Goodwater Goodland 02” as well, but two different halves of the book. In the present work, we also find two halves of the same book, but this time split down the middle and not segmented. And just to complete this particular addition, we also have the flat part of the monument appearing on opposite sides of the diptych, or both the lower right and lower left hand corners.
Let’s deal with each side of the diptych separately for a bit. The left hand part is individually called “This Town Ain’t Big”, primarily referring to the diminutive size of Tungaske now.
The base photo presents a gathering of horse drawn wagons. Is some kind of race in progress down the streets of the village? Anyway, more a couple more horses have been added in now, seeming to emerge from the bulging suit coat of Rutherford B. Hayes, our 19th president and who served from 1877 to 1881. They, and the horses behind them in the collage, seem to be heading toward the Tungaske tombstone, but with a smaller, more irregular monument taking the place of the original upright one. This becomes the grave of “Winesburg, Ohio” author Sherwood Anderson.
Blue-green horsey legs appear to its right, and from the same horse we find in both sides of “2 Fer 1” just examined. We find more blue-green tinted legs in outline form in the lower left corner. These are of Bart Simpson, rambunctious brother of Lisa in “The Simpsons”. And you can see the outline of the top of his yellow head just below the pentagonal building above him. The middle part of the body is missing.
In the air directly above Hayes is found the right side of the Tungaske cemetery book, which is also the archetypal “Big Book of Rust”.
(to be continued)
BOOS INTERPRETATION 24
Almost all of these elements find a match in the second half of the diptych, separately called “Enough”.
So, collectively, you combine “This Town Ain’t Big” with “Enough” to get the diptych “This Town Ain’t Big Enough.” Simple enough.
Instead of Sherwood Anderson’s tombstone, we find the author himself walking the streets of the village, hat in hand [12/18/15: as an aside here and in reference to the cabin directly behind him, an original name of Hayes’ Mouse Island was Hat Island]. He is also a match for Rutherford B. Hayes, since both famously lived in the same Ohio county of Sandusky. We find the remainder of the blue-green horsie in the sky to his left. One, perhaps two same sized dark horses from the original photo are in the street below it. The rest of Bart Simpson in outline appears on the flat part of the Tungaske tombstone, along with the middle part of sister Lisa. And the rest of Lisa can be found to the left. The siblings are hugging, just like they did in some of the works (example) from the similarly lengthed Gilatona-Lis collage series. And then we have the other half of “The Big Book of Rust” attached to Sherwood Anderson, with another small town author, Edward Swift, perched on top. Toy avatar Taum Sauk looks on once more.
So let’s take it all together again…
It’s clear now that Bart and Lisa also hug in the center of the diptych, one on each side. This is the uniting of the two parts, fusing “This Town Ain’t Big” with “Enough.” What is missing from one side is usually found in the other. Many images find balancing images on the opposite part. And with this in mind, I believe the cabin with the large chimney in “Enough” I forgot to mention before is meant to be a double to the pentagonal structure in “This Town Ain’t Big”, with the chimney represented by the projecting top of the latter.
So let’s go deeper into the picture. What is “The Big Book of Rust”? Is it the same as Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio”? Rutherford B. Hayes, besides appearing in a number of my collages prior to the Boos series, also has seen spot action as a fictional character in the Sunklands blog. There he’s, “the first US president to never be US president”, borrowing a line from Firesign Theatre’s “Everything You Know Is Wrong” album pertaining to Benjamin Franklin. But I go a little further to state that the presidency actually ended with him, and he took the country into an alternate reality about
1880 1874 where a triumvirate of people ruled instead (called the Sandusky Pact), or at least that’s how it started out. He is very diminutive in size (in contrast to reality), or about the same height as Hucka Doobie in “Comparative Heights”. He loves corndogs — here we think back to 12 Oz Mouse’s Fitz being guided by a homing corndog to Roostre that really jumps the show up into another level. And then there’s the crucial line in that show where Roostre later reveals to another character called Spider that he knows Booger Hayes. Booger is the same as Rutherford “Booger” Hayes in my derivative fiction [another aside: the maiden name of president Hayes’ wife “Lemonade Lucy” was *Webb*]. There are actually many other links we can bring in to support the verisimilitude of this Booger Hayes, like the fact that Hays County, Texas contains conjoined 1450′ Lone Man/Lone Woman peaks near its center (Roostrer is stated in the show to know the reasons behind the creation of dual sexed character Man/Woman, collaged into my “2 Fer 1 01”), and, moreover, a historic place named Rooster Springs *and* (formerly) a production company called Rooster Teeth most famous for creating the “Red vs. Blue” machinima series (in Buda).
These two Hays County “Roosters” apparently have nothing to do with each other. I would propose their strange entanglement points to 12 Oz Mouse’s Roostre instead.
I use to interact with a guy who dominated a former Yahoo board with his vast knowledge and stories about strange entanglements more commonly called synchronicities. He often drew “The Simpsons” into his woven tales; he was a big fan of the show. He lived in this Hays County at the time. We briefly discussed such map related synchroncities as his small hometown of Dripping Springs being first settled by a man named Fawcett, like a dripping or leaking faucet, then. We had some friction, and I regretted that later on. I distinctly remember him describing my first lengthy attempt at collage interpretation (Lime section of “Floydada”) as indecipherable. I’ve felt his spirit at times while working on various synchronicity related art and attached analyses since then. He died from an apparent heart attack in his Marble Falls home several years back.
And of course president Rutherford B. Hayes owned Lake Erie’s corndog shaped Mouse Island, which his 20 Century descendants drove darts (boats) into. Hayes’ Vice President was William Wheeler, seen in Boos collages 12 (and 14) trapped inside the black half of a yin-yang sphere. Hayes was essentially his boss, harking back to the images of Boss Moss (etc.) from early in the series.
Then there’s the cabin to deal with…
BOOS INTERPRETATION 25
The finish line is in sight and I don’t won’t to wander too far off the track at this point. The heart of the Tungaske town in “This Town Ain’t Big Enough” supplies a doorway into deeper dimensions. This goes beyond the Canadian hamlet itself by this point. In terms of Lisa Simpson or Lisa The Vegetarian, in order for the town to survive and thrive, she must make peace with those who are less advanced spiritually. The heavy meat-eaters of the town, the at least slightly homophobic ones, those that are more prone to violent aggression and just more backwards in general. All of these qualities could be embodied in her brother Bart, in kin with father Homer. As she did in the episode “Lisa The Simpson”, she must recall that the male part of the family has a defective gene which suppresses their progress. The female side is not affected. But as a true androgyny, able to transcend polarity to find true essence, true vision, she must apply it to a larger situation and embrace the male energy within herself and love it still. Only then can she ascend. Only then can the town be saved. The open doorway represents the possibilities of art itself. At the heart of it, Lisa is an artist and always will be. She is, moreover, a *heartist*.
So the question, “What is the ‘Big Book of Rust’?” must remain unanswered. It is several, maybe even a good number of books in one. It is “Winesburg, Ohio”, it is the history book for Tungaske, it is this collection of interpretation posts, even. That’s where we must leave it for now. The cabin with the Big Chimney must remain a heartfelt mystery.
Collage 30, a simpler work as stated, brings everything to a close. We return to historic Tungaske characters for this one, perhaps school chums or, otherwise, mates of some kind. To their left is a Bootle of Boos, which obviously doubles for alcohol. The Boos of the town, the hungry ghost spirits, have been bottled up/captured/rendered harmless. For now. Peter Gabriel appears to the right, head down. His body is that of Ray Davies, whose dismembered hand is placed in the inverted world making up the top of the collage. Is this the hand that unconsciously reaches for alcohol too early in the day? The rust colored sculpture seen on top of lake cliffs in “The Boos Brothers” returns to remind us of the feminine energy needed for completion. Perhaps the Boos Brothers did eat her there, render *her* harmless. Now the tide has turned. The Tungaske men of the past have a chance to live again in timelessness. But they must accept the female or all is lost.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of, by my count, the 30 collage works making up the Boos series and will come back for more down the road.