Thursday, July 11, 2024

Payson Rocks & Estevan Rolls

 Payson, July 10-11, 2024

   Drove up to Payson yesterday morning to meet the mayor and drop off books to the Rim Country Museum. Gave a talk in the Sawdust Theater at 4:30 on How to Fail More. Made my point, sold 13 books, had dinner at the casino with the Chamber folks and Elizabeth Fowler's crew, had the ribeye and two glasses of a fine High Country Cabernet. Solved some life, got to bed at nine. Off to Star Valley this morning to get a haircut, then on to Pie Town and Datil, landing at the Ellis Store in Lincoln, New Mexico around sunset.

  Meanwhile, our route today will take us across the path (east of Springerville) of one handsome dude in history who I have always admired. Apparently he was too good looking for his own good.

Daily Reworked Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Estevan, Horndog Extraordinaire"

(aka, Esteban, Estevánico, Estebánico, Mustafa Zemmouri, Esteban de Dorantes, Stephan Durantes, and Black Stephen)

   Estevan was a Moor who the Spanish enslaved and took with them to the New World. He was also known as a handsome dude who seduced pueblo women all across New Mexico in 1539  until he came to Zuni and dallied with the wrong princess. Or, so they say.

   Anyway, that is the Kingman version. Here is the eastcoast, historical record version: In 1539 the viceroy of Mexico ordered the handsome slave and pathfinder, Estevan, to lead the Catholic friar Fray Marcos de Niza on a mission to investigate the rumors of cities of gold. Setting out on March 7, the two men and a party of "retainers" headed north into what became the modern-day states of Arizona and New Mexico. On March 21, Marcos sent Estevan ahead and, depending on who you believe, Estevan seemed to enchant the ladies of all the pueblos he visited and had remarkable success with them. On May 21, 1539, a messenger came riding in to tell Marcos that Estevan had been killed near the Zuni pueblo for one of two reasons: he spooked the Zunis with his death rattle, or, he seduced the wrong native woman and paid for it with his life.

   Four centuries later, Chuck Berry said he could relate.

"Hey Satan, look at me, I'm on my way to the Promised Land."

—AC/DC, Highway to Hell

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Billy Staging Area & Schepp Won't Back Down

 July 9, 2024

   Rounding up everything for the big road trip tomorrow.

Billy Staging Area This Morning 

   Yes, I am gearing up for the launch tomorrow of the Kid assault on Lincoln County. A dozen paintings, check. One sculpture, check. 100 poster prints, check. One art print, check. One framed painting that has nothing to do with Billy the Kid, check. Fifteen baby aspirin, check. Full tank of gas, check. Eighty-seven books, check. Two boxes of assorted True West magazines, check.

   Meanwhile, my number one patron bought the two signature pieces in the show.

"Billy at the Back Door of The Ellis Store I & II"

   And, he paid a pretty penny for the privilege. I tried to talk him into giving someone else a shot at one of them, but you know how he can be when he sets his mind to something. Anyway, both are framed with the floorboards the Kid actually walked on and they will be in the show, but with red dots on them.

“Life is beautiful if you are on the road to somewhere.”

—Orhan Pamuk

Monday, July 08, 2024

Hasta La Vista Scratchings

 July 8, 2024

   Finishing up our Old Vaquero Sayings booklet project down at Cattletrack. The designer, Brent Bond, requested I do a finish on this little capper idea:

Daily Sketchbook Whip Out:

"Adios Muchachos!"

   Did this tighter preliminary version last night, but still not satisfied with it.

Daily Bad Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Adios Muchachos!"

   I say "bad scratchboard" because I bought a whole boatload of Essdee Scratchboard, at one time the pre-eminent scratchboard makers in the world, and someone either bought them out and trashed the product, or they went off a cliff because it is not even "scratch-able." In the slightest! So bad.

   In the meantime, here are a couple more sketches trying to capture that fluid, horseback arc.

Adios Studies, April 28 2024

   Then, this morning, I landed here.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Hasta, Baby!"

   Decent. But I almost threw in the towel and then I thought to myself, "What would Edmundo do?" And, so, I whipped this out.

Daily Edmundo-Style Whip Out:

"Hasta La Vista, Shady!"

   Of course, Edmundo is the late, great Ed Mell and I naturally tried to channel his bravado and simplicity.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

—Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, July 07, 2024

Meet The New Old Guard Plus One Gallivanting Galoot!

 July 7, 2024

   Big front page feature in today's Albuquerque Journal on the reopening of the Ellis Store next week. Check it out:

Ellis Store Ready for More

   On a related note, Cleis Jordan, sent me the press release for my first art show in Lincoln, New Mexico 31 years ago.

BBB:"Casa de Patron Serenade" 1993


Billy the Kid Finally Hangs In Lincoln

LINCOLN, NM, April 21, 1993—Arizona artist and writer, Bob Boze Bell will be bringing it all home on May 1. Home to the house where Billy the Kid actually stayed during the famous Lincoln County War. Casa de Patron will be the site of Bell's first New Mexico showing of the art from his new book, 'The Illustrated Life & Times of Billy the Kid.'

   The book published last October (1992) features almost 100 works of art by Bell, including pen and ink, watercolors and oils. All chronicle the shor life of New Mexico's most famous citizen. . .Casa de Patron is proud to showcase the first New Mexico showing of the major pieces from the book that relaated to Lincoln. Over one dozen paintings including the large oil of Billy that graces the cover of the book, will be hung on the walls of the house where the boy outlaw stayed."

   End of press release. At the time, Cleis and Jerry Jordan owned Casa de Patron, the famous Bed & Breakfast where the Kid stayed and I would have to say it was one of my favorite spots on the planet.

   I was very proud to see some of the Old Guard historians who showed up for my art show at Casa de Patron. In fact, on the day of the show May 1, 1993, we stepped outside on the patio, where this photo was taken.

The Old Guard 

L to R: Leon Metz, good guy can't remember his name, Fred Nolan, BBB and, maybe Bob Barron? I believe I am the last one standing and some would say I have graduated to the Old Guard myself.

   I think a new Old Guard photo is in order for next week's festivities at the Ellis Store in Lincoln. If you love Billy the Kid, we'll see you there. And, if you need an invite, here you go:

Meanwhile, up Prescott way. . .

Daily Whip Out:

"Doc In Stages: One Gallivanting Galoot!" 

   Look close, that is him in the back of the Plaza Stable Prescott stagecoach. Also, just got this from the man of the hour:

 "So if you have not done the math yet, starting with his trip with Wyatt from Las Vegas, New Mexico, to Prescott in October 1879 and ending with his trip to Tombstone in September 1880, Doc traveled a total of around 2050 miles within that time! That is one gallivanting galoot, impressive for anyone let alone a lunger! And that is just the traveling we know about."

—Brad Courtney

Saturday, July 06, 2024

Peruvian Bustout Meets Sue In Her Prime Plus El Diablo Mas Sabe

 July 6, 2024

   Been on a scratchboard kick.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Peruvian Bustout"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Sue In Her Prime"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Solo Vaquero"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"A Sugarloaf In Sugarloaf Canyon"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Young Cocky Vaquero"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Old Vaquero In Hell"

"Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo."

—Old Vaquero Saying, (The devil knows more from experience than from being the devil.)

Friday, July 05, 2024

Changing Woman, Artistic Women And Indigenous Usage

 July 5, 2024

   One of my favorite Navajo goddesses is Changing Woman who supposedly not only changes the seasons, but she also changes day into night and turns girls into women.

Daily Reworked Scratchboard Whip Out: "Changing Woman"

   Speaking of Indigenous People, here is a newspaper example of frontier usage of that term which James B. Mills sent me:

The Pickens County Herald

And West Alabamian, November 6, 1872

   So, although the term "indigenous" sounds modern to my ears, there it is in usage in the 1870s. On the other hand, Paul Andrew Hutton makes the claim that he has never seen this term in usage among military reports from the frontier period. Interesting debate and development to say the least.

   Shifting gears, still working on a big feature for the next issue of True West.

A Spirit of Spite

   The Jayhawker War of 1855-56 set the bar for unbridled barbarism between Americans on American soil. Undisciplined Union troops who had personal scores to settle and a trail of looting and barbarism marked their progress.

Daily Reworked Whip Out:

"Redlegs On The Move"

"This was a war of stealth and raid, without a front, without formal organization, with almost no division between the civilian and the warrior."

—Michael Fellman, "Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict In Missouri During the American Civil War"

Fine Art Women

   I had an art teacher at the University of Arizona back in 1967 who was a bearded, full blown hippie. He was fond of coming in the drawing room and booming out almost facetiously:

"Work! Work!"

—Bruce McGrew

    Two art students from my fine arts college married well. One of them was Linda Eastman and the other was Aline Kominsky. Linda left the program the semester before I got there, but I actually had a drawing class with Aline.

   Linda is the inspiration for this classic line, "JoJo left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass. . ." because she married Paul McCartney. Aline moved to San Francisco and married R. Crumb. Two fine arts U of A women who married well, fine.

Aline portrait by R. Crumb

    Myself, I failed to graduate. Three units shy of a degree. Scattered and easily distracted. Hey, I was in a band! On the other hand I ran into a fellow student twenty years later and he claimed only two of us from the Fine Arts program from that era (1965-1970) were still active in the arts.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Solo Vaquero"

"Get back to where you once belonged."

—Paul McCartney, riffing on his new love and her old alma mater

Thursday, July 04, 2024

Hubris and Homage Saddles Costner's Epic Horizon

 July 4, 2024

   Feel the moment, go with it, embrace it, let it flow. . . at least that's what I told myself as Kathy and I went into the Desert Ridge AMC Theater (#16) that holds 38 people. We had a reservation ($21, includes one popcorn for $9), and "Horizon" allegedly started at 11 a.m. but there must have been at least ten minutes of insufferable local ads before the start of a three-hour-movie? Oh, and before the movie started we had twenty minutes of trailers and there is Wolverine vs some Spiderman type character and Hugh Jackman says, "F#*k you!" maybe three times in the trailer? Really? In the flippin' trailer? Is that word now that acceptable in mainstream America

The Story of A Nation Unsettled, Indeed!

Apparently at Marvel the answer to that question is "F#*kin' A!" So, that certainly put me in a good mood.

   Like I said, the theater holds 38 people and I counted seven of us as the movie started. It was basically three sets of guys and their wives (and maybe a sister?) and the guys were all my age (leading Boomers). Another bad sign for Kevin.

   Meanwhile, the feature started at about the 11:23 mark and I have to say, I was looking at the time quite a bit. Not a good sign.

   I wish I could say the overall story arc made up for the convoluted and semi-decent storytelling but it did not. Then with all of the homages to John Ford (Moab standing in for the San Pedro Valley, the cavalry look, etc) got in the way of everything for me. In the end, I thought it was a deadly combination of hubris and homage. A reported 171 speaking parts. This is one ambitious puppy. Here's two nitpicks:

   I'm sorry, but to use the modern term "indigenous" not once, but twice—in dialogue!—is just beyond the pale for an authentic western. Okay, this just in: James B. Mills just sent me three newspapers from the 1870s and 80s all of them using the term "indigenous" so I stand corrected. And perhaps the term "hubris" applies to me as well? Ha.
   The post commander gives this speech about our futile efforts to accomplish anything in the Wild West and the words were good, but the delivery was so flat and beyond wooden. It wanted to be Ward Bond, full of gusto and bombast, but No!

    However, the biggest surprise to me was when we got out of the theater, I asked Kathy how much she hated it and she said, "I loved it. It was very much a novel on screen and I would give it an eight." Wow. I was stunned to say the least and I fully expected her to dislike it because it was I who drug her to see it. So, that says, to me, I need to give it another chance and rewatch it—on streaming, thank you very much—and we need to argue about it because we love what Kevin was TRYING to do! Plus, I have friends who totally loved it and that includes Stuart Rosebrook and Rob Mathiash, who both thought it epic and fun. We are considering a six page feature on the arguments about it, so that will be fun as well.

   And, there's more, but Happy Fourth to you and yours and we'll catch up on the other side.

"Westerns are not in fashion, and there hasn't been a successful theatrical western series in the last 50 years."
—David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes a newsletter on box office numbers explaining the slow box office for Horizon. And, by the way, what was a "theatrical western series" from 50 years ago? Perhaps Young Guns I and II?