Tuesday, August 24, 2004

August 24, 2004
Deena bought a car last night from Right Toyota down on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. (I wonder if that’s where they came up with the name, Right Toyota? Hmmm) She got herself a ride called a Solaro, or something. Very nice and clean. Had a thousand miles on it. Leather seats, very space age gadgets. As per our corny tradition, we took a photo of her jumping in the air in front of the car with her boyfriend Mike (who helped her deal with the salesman, who was quite nice by the way, $20,000 out the door, six-year’s of payments, welcome to the real world Deena).

Mike Melrose and I drove down to Rawhide today to talk with Mary Brown about next year’s Festival of the West. We walked the entire park and she showed us where she wants various performers and vendors to be. I really didn’t realize just how extensive the facilities are, and if you haven’t heard, the land Rawhide sits on has been sold and the park is expected to close sometime next year. The rumor is they’ll move to Westworld, a horse facility about three miles east of the current property, but there are still a few loose ends.

Had lunch at Pei Wei ($7.50 cash), then came back to the office and finished a big ambitious scratchboard of La Tules, a famous casino and business owner from Santa Fe in the 1840s who was the most powerful woman of her time and place. She was, of course, beautiful, and much to the chagrin of the local American women, she dared to wear her shoulders bare (she was a former prostitute after all). She also was legendary at her Mexican monte dealing skills, oh, and she smoked. There is an ugly, unflattering contemporary illustration of her, drawn by someone who obviously didn’t like her. So I threw all of this conflicting imagery together and came up with a pretty sexy take on the Mexican maven. If she looks a little like Salma Hyak, well, that’s intentional, because she was my inspiration. It will run in our next issue, out in about a month.

Got this feedback on yesterday’s sniping:

“It's probably a generational/cultural thing, but I flat don't get the aversion to graphic depictions of the violence (or consequences thereof) of the West. In my book, "square" and sanitized equals dishonest. Now, it would be equally dishonest to club people over the head with images of dead guys every month; there was more to life in the West than killin'. But you aren't doing that, so where's the beef?

“Actually, this may go deep into the American psyche. As with sex, we're fascinated yet very uptight about violence. We imbibe a heavy diet of it in fictional and stylized contexts, but flinch away from it when it's real.

“Witness news coverage of the war in Iraq. There is very, very little graphic footage shown in U.S. media. The footage exists; Arab and European outlets broadcast it. Perhaps that is part of the reason they have different attitudes about the war than we do. It ain't so pretty. It ain't clean.

Well, enough of the rant. I just hate cheap shots from the weeds, especially when you all so clearly have a real commitment and passion for what you do. The mag looks great; even when the content doesn't trip my trigger (I'm an 1880 and after guy and actually focus mostly on the 20th Century—Mexican Revolution) it's always a feast for the eyes. So, don't let the bastards get you down.”
—Jim Cornelius

Brought in three big paintings for the next Classic Gunfights book, which I hope to have out by the end of the year (going to be tight, but I've done it before). I like being on the edge, it gives me energy (although it drives everyone around me crazy).

“I'm fundamentally an outsider. I do my best work and feel most braced with my back to the wall. It's an odd feeling though, writing against the current: difficult entirely to disregard the current. Yet of course I shall."
—Virginia Woolf

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