Saturday, August 31, 2013

Last of The Wooden Windmills

August 31, 2013
  Left Cave Creek at 1:30 on Thursday, hit rain at Woods Canyon Lake and the temp dropped to 64. Heavenly. Rained off and on all the way to Pinetop where we stopped for the night at Whispering Pines Resort. Told the clerk, "We stayed here on our honeymoon 34 years ago and this is our first time back. Can we have the same cabin and can we have the same rate?" $110 later, we had us a fine little cabin and walked next door to Darbi's, which was packed. Sat out on the porch and listened to the rain and had a very nice meal. We also had breakfast here in the morning and left around nine.

  Stopped in Eager and bought a bag of roasted green chiles from San Antonio, New Mexico. The roaster recognized me from the Westerns Channel and we posed for a photo.

   From Springerville we took off for New Mexico. This is one of the last wooden windmills on a ranch north of Quemado. Beautiful day, ground very wet from rain. Heading towards Grants and a rendezvous with The Top Secret Writer.

Lone Windmill, North of Quemado, New Mexico

   And here's a closer look (this is one of the rare occasions when I actually turned around and went back to get a photo):

Last of the Wooden Windmills

   Got into Grants, New Mexico about noon and spotted this Route 66 graveyard on the edge of town:

Route 66 Graveyard

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because for a few miles they believed you were the real bus driver."
—@Jason Lastname

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Three Chairs And A Rainbow

August 29, 2013
   Long day in office yesterday. Wrapping up business before a road trip to New Mexico. Got home last night just in time to see this sight:

Three Chairs And A Rainbow

   Now if we'd only get some rain. Working on several more True West Moments:

Daily Whipout, "The Old Vaquero Spits Out Another Gem of Wisdom"

"Just heard back from Disney, Jr. No dice on switching to adult films after 7pm. Thanks to all who signed my petition."
—Dan Ewen

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Winning The West One Cup at A Time

August 28, 2013

   I bailed into gesture drawings this morning. It's funny, we were taught in college to start every session with loose drawings, just to limber up and get the juices flowing, but then you grow up, deadlines loom and you forget the lessons you learned in the beginning. It would be like a pro ball player, driving to the stadium, running straight into the stadium into the huddle, then running a tight post without warming up. Kind of nutty in that context but art is no different than athletic prowess. You've got to limber up the body before you attempt world record high jump.

   So I started at 6:45 and slotted fifteen minutes of loosey goosy lines. Utilized a famous painting by John Singer Sargent and went at it:

Daily Whipouts, "After John Singer Sargent"

   Got into the office and whipped out a couple more True West Moments with Rebecca, including this idea that coffee did more to bring peace on the plains than any army.

Daily Whipout, "Winning The West One Cup at A Time"

I also love this little scratchboard about Navajo raider using a blanket to stampede booty, in this case sheep:

Daily Whipout, "Stampeding The Booty"

   Heading to New Mexico this weekend to work on a new series, "Gunslingers." It's going to air on the Military Channel and we're filming at this Old West town location. Recognize it?

Bonanza Creek, New Mexico

Also finishing up a Classic Gunfight for the December issue. Going to do one on this guy:

Goyathlay, "He Who Yawns"

"Action is the foundational key to all success."
—Pablo Picasso

Drunkards And Drunk History

August 27, 2013
   My mother's birthday. Miss her. Working on five True West Moments. Trying to get ahead. Have a road trip to New Mexico this weekend.

Daily Whipout, "Buckshot Means Burying Every Time"

   Inventoried 15 new paintings for my upcoming art show in Santa Fe, including this piece:

Daily Whipout, "Work Starts Early at The Stage Station"

   Meanwhile, while looking for something else, found these two photos

Historical Twins?

Harry Carey, Jr. dismounts in front of the Mittens.

BBB discusses Harry Carey, Jr. dismounting in front of the Mittens

Did you see it? Punch Drunk Billy History
   Thanks to Paul Hutton and my son calling me moments before it came on, I watched last night's Wild West segment of the new show Drunk History. They smashed (literally and figuratively) the story of Billy the Kid, The Alamo and Davy Crockett with a drunk narrator (really, really drunk) slurring the stories and then they have goofy re-enactors mouthing perfectly the drunk narrator's speech. It's pretty much a one-trick-pony, but Kathy really enjoys it. I, of course, was cringing too much at the mangled history ("So Garrett, like, goes to this farm house where the Kid is inside and he, like shoots a horse and moves it in front of the door. . ."). Curious to know what you all think.

"It's not about the ego. It's not about making it. It's not about making money. It's about connecting with people."
—Terri Nunn, of the band Berlin

Monday, August 26, 2013

Barricade Wolves & 92-Year-Old-Cartoonists

August 26, 2013
   Got into the office and had a surprise visitor: my 92-year-old cartoonist hero, Bill Canfield. He came in and gave me an original drawing (he does this every so often and I must have five or six of his originals). So this time, I zapped him back with a scratchboard I had on my desk, which I quickly signed and handed to him:

Bill Canfield, 92, holding a BBB original

   Over the weekend I brought in my large Andreas Fenninger "Route 66" photograph, which I intend to put on the wall today. This is to inspire me to finish the 66 Kid. Speaking of which I sent down a couple black and whites to master colorist Brett Smith in Tucson and he whipped out some color ideas:

BBB scratchboard, "Barricade Wolf"

Brett Smith color version of "Barricade Wolf"

   Also worked over the weekend on a Tombstone fire scratchboard:

Daily Whipout, "Tombstone Fire"

   This scratchboard appears in "CGII, Blaze Away, The 25 Gunfights Behind The O.K. Corral" but without the people in it. Wanted the guy in white, at right, to be in his night shirt, but I kind of tubed it. As Chief Dan George said in "Little Big Man", "Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't."

   Had my artistic minded neighbor Cal Nelson come over for green chile (with Hatch green chiles provided by Johnny D. Boggs who brought them over last week on his way to the Grand Canyon to try out the new mules). Cal helped me choose the best 15 paintings for my upcoming art show in Santa Fe. This was one of them:

Daily Whipout, "The Midnight Visitor"

"How you know you are doing something right is that as many people hate you as love you."
—Ricky Gervais

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Finding The Kingman Motel Online

August 24, 2013
  My son called me the other night from Baltimore and was jazzed to talk about a movie he watched with his honey. He sort of remembered seeing it with Kathy and I at a movie theatre in the Scottsdale, but now that they live in Baltimore, the movie had even more resonance because the movie starts in Kingman at the Kingman Motel, then goes to Baltimore where he now goes to school and where his wife is from. Tommy commented that both he and Pattarapan cried at the end, because it touched them that much. He asked me if I remembered seeing it and did I remember when we saw it? The info on the movie said the movie was released in 2008, but at that time Tommy was in the Peace Corp in Peru. So, it became kind of a mystery: what was the date we saw the movie? And how could Tommy be with us if he was in Peru? Hmmmmm.

  I have kept a Franklin Daytimer since 1994 and I thought about weighing into those files upstairs in my studio, but then I recalled that I also have 4,111 posts right here. So I merely pulled up my archives and Googled "Jennifer Anniston Steve Zahn Management," and, in one second, up came the date and the post and my review. Crazy, amazing.

May 16, 2009
    Yesterday Mert Glancy came by the True West offices and lent me an old ledger of newspaper articles one of her relatives wrote in the 1930s. We had a grand time talking about all the old Kingmanites and the black bear that recently tried to break into the Kingman post office on Hilltop (he must have figured that would be the safest place to go because nobody would ever wait on him). The one-year-old bear then ran up Jefferson Street, which is where my grandmother lived, right across the street from the Glancys. The bear ran right between Laury's old place and my Aunt Sadie Pearl's and was shot in the driveway of the house across the street.

   I left the office early at 4:30 and drove down to Desert Ridge to get some more art supplies for Mickey Free ($73, Sue account), then met Kathy for a new movie opening at Harkins:

To all of my Kingman Homies
   Forget Edge of Eternity and Badlands and How The West Was Won and Roadhouse 66, you need to see Management the new film starring Steve Zahn and Jennifer Anniston. It's about a young guy (Zahn) who helps his parents run the Kingman Motel. I'm not kidding. My father's gas station, Al Bell's Flying A, was right next to the real Kingman Motel. Anyway, it is so Kingman! Steve Zahn is every Kingman kid you have ever known. Naive, goofy, misdirected and hilariously out of step with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, they didn't film it in Kingman, but still, I think you'll get a hoot out of it.

"Do you want to touch my butt?"
—Jennifer Anniston as Sue Claussen, to Mike (Zahn)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wild Bill, Sgt. Floyd Cisney & Shotguns at Midnite

August 23, 2013
  With the November issue in the can I can finally return to doing my daily Whipouts. Started today with a vengeance, whipping out a little study on the legendary Arizona Highway Patrolman Sgt. Floyd Cisney, who worked out of Kingman. Approached this one with more a ghost visage:

Daily Whipout: "Sgt. Floyd Cisney Stands Tall"

Reworked a painting this morning I created for our TV show "Outrageous Arizona." This is the Apache grandmother Diltche crossing the Colorado River successfully on her 1,000 mile journey to return home from captivity. She did it without a map, a weapon or supplies. Oh, and she couldn't swim either. Amazing.

Daily Whipout, "Diltche Crosses The Mighty Colorado"

   Also reworded a couple other pieces, including this one, which appeared originally in my Classic Gunfights, Vol. II "Blaze Away, The 25 Gunfights Behind The OK Corral".

Daily Whipout, "Shotguns at Midnite"

   And also, reworked a scratchboard of The Prince of the Pistoleers:

Daily Whipout, "Wild Bill Whips 'Em Out"

"If a thing is absolutely true, how can it not also be a lie? An absolute must contain its opposite."
—Charlotte Painter

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Michael Biehn And The Tale of The Singy Brim

August 22, 2013

   Went for a walk this morning and saw another damn sunrise:

   They're almost always like this: crazy colors, stunning and spectacular. Gets so old.

   November issue goes out the door today. Scrambling to finish a treasure feature on Forrest Fenn's hidden $1 million dollar treasure chest. We've got some pretty interesting clues which we will share.

   Just got off the phone with artist Buckeye Blake. He's been gallivanting around the country looking for a line camp to hide out in and do artwork. He's got a line on a place in New Mexico so that is pretty exciting. The concept is so cool, but I know myself well enough to know I'd last about two days in a real isolated line camp cabin.

   This is a page from one of my sketchbooks when I was about halfway through my quest to do 10,000 bad drawings. This is my Mexican Mohcajete page. Not too shabby.

   Here's a photo from last weekend's True West Railfest of the dance hall girls on the train:

Michael Biehn And The Stingy Brim

 Starting to get feedback on the interview with actor Michael Biehn last weekend. This is a typical comment someone in the office shared with me: "I thought for the most part the interview on Bob’s part went very well. I was surprised at times with Michael’s tough language and some of his comments. I kind of wished that he would lose that hat!"

  Michael did cuss a bit and made a few comments about talking his wife into taking off her clothes for a movie which came across a little risque. The reference to the hat is interesting because Michael's wife Jennifer supposedly bought it for him before the show (somewhere on the Main Street of Durango). It was one of those pork pie hats that the youngsters are all wearing and during the meet and greet, Michael got into it with one of our Wyatt Earp re-enactors. As they were posing for a photo together, Wyatt Earp told Michael his hat was not the right hat for Johnny Ringo to be wearing at an event like this, or words to that effect. He was kidding, of course, but Michael took offense. They got into a shoving match, the police were called. And this was before the show.

   Later, when I asked a local merchant named Marsha about the hat, she said, "Oh, you mean that stingy brim?"

"I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained."
 —Walt Disney

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Michael Biehn Comes Clean

August 21, 2013
   At the Second Annual True West Railfest last weekend I got to sit down with the actor Michael Biehn who portrayed Johnny Ringo in Tombstone. It has been 20 years since Val Kilmer, Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Billy Bob Thorton, Billy Zane, Thomas Hayden Church, Dana Delaney, Buck Taylor, Bill Paxon and Michael Biehn filmed this, now classic Western in the hot Arizona desert sun. All of these amazing actors and actresses were hand picked by Kevin Jarre.

   Thanks to Jeff Morey, the historical consultant on the film I got to visit the set on June 9, 1993. What I saw impressed me: great hats and costuming (the best I have ever seen) all chosen by Kevin Jarre.

   Kevin Jarre's script is the best Wyatt Earp script in terms of historical references (virtually every scene has a historical reference). The script is also the most erudite Western ever, channeling the bible, Shakespeare, latin and Stephen-Stinking-Foster. The script also shows how gray the lines were between the cowboys and the Earps. For example, in one scene, Wyatt rides into the cowboy's camp looking for his stolen horse. This is taken right from the historical record. Earp did, in fact, have a horse stolen by Billy Clanton and Wyatt rode to Charleston looking for it, ran into the young Clanton who basically told the gambler he hoped he had more horses to steal. In Jarre's script, he has Earp saying to Billy Clanton (Thomas Hayden Church) "Look kid, I know what it's like, I was a kid, too. Even stole a horse once."

   This is also straight from the historical record where a young Wyatt was arrested for stealing a horse and he jumped bail. In Kevin Costner's three-hour-long opus Wyatt Earp Costner takes 20 minutes to tell this story and Jarre nailed the entire back story in one line of dialogue!

   At the end of this sequence, Curly Bill (Powers Booth) arrives and commands Billy to give back Earp's horse. The outlaw leader and Wyatt then ride off together and have a conversation where Earp asks Curly to go easy on Tombstone because his brother Virgil is now the City Marshal. After some bantering, Curly Bill says, "We're gonna get along fine." None of this made it into the final film.

   What I wanted to find out from Michael is: how much of the original script did Kevin Jarre film before he was fired? How much of that footage made it's way into the final film? How tense was it on the set when the new director arrived? And, does he believe, if the studio had stuck with Jarre's brilliant screenplay and filmed it as is, would the resulting film have been successful?

Saturday night, August 17, in the Henry Strater Theatre in Durango, Colorado: actor Michael Biehn reading from his notes which he scribbled on a newspaper.

And here are a few choice answers Michael gave to my questions:

"Kevin filmed for four weeks. Some of the scenes from the Hooker Ranch sequence are Kevin's, but not much else."

"Disney wanted a film with clear good guys and bad guys. As good as Kevin's script is, it was too gray. People don't want to see gray."

"If I was fired I would have gone straight out the door and they would never see me again, but after I heard the news [of Jarre's firing] I came down to the lobby of our hotel [The Holiday Inn in east Tucson] and saw Kevin at the front desk settling up his bill. He was such a nice guy."

"After the new director [George Cosmotos] came on the set we all buckled down to finish the film. There wasn't that much tension. I have been on sets where you had real tension. I've worked for Billy Friedkin (Jade) and Michael Bay [The Rock] where you had real tension and Tombstone wasn't one of those."

"Today it is seen as a classic, but you have to remember, when Tombstone was released it had mixed reviews and it wasn't viewed as a success in Hollywood."

"I don't believe Kevin Jarre's wonderful script would have made a successful movie. As brilliant as it is, it was too gray and the studio was right to turn it into a good guy-bad guy movie. But, you'll notice they kept all the good lines Kevin wrote."

"Of course, that's total bullshit!"
—Michael Biehn, after watching a clip of the climatic showdown between Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) and Johnny Ringo (Biehn)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Video of The Gang Car Ride

August 15, 2013
   Last Saturday we rode the Presidential Train from Durango up to Cascade, a siding where we had a catered picnic. While there, one of our True West Maniacs, Dan Nixon, proposed to his girlfriend, by hiding a ring in a box of chocolates:

   The Founder of the Feast, Al Harper, furnished a Gang Car for me and Kathy, Ken and Lucinda and Sourdough Slim, to get back down the hill for a dress rehearsal at the Strater Hotel. We had to meet Michael Biehn for a run through on the big interview we had for the 20th Anniversary of Tombstone.

   Here is Lucinda Amorosano videoing the ride while leaning out of the car:

   And here is her video of our hair-raising ride in the Gang Car, down and around the Highline with 800 foot drops:

Gang Car Roller Coaster Ride

The guy with us at the end is Sourdough Slim, the opening act in our Michael Biehn (he played Johnny Ringo in "Tombstone") interveiw at the Strater Hotel. As we careeen through the Highline (the steepest part of the ride) Ken, Lucinda's husband, is waving frantically, from the front Gang Car, for me to pull Lucinda in the car and you can hear me relaying this message.

"It's not the drop that kills you, it's the landing."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Gang Car Roller Coaster Ride

August 19, 2013
   Back from Durango and the Second Annual True West Railfest. Had a blast and uncovered some inside information regarding the filming of "Tombstone." More on that later.

   Here's a view of True West Railfest fans in one of the cars on the Presidential Train that left Durango, CO last Saturday, bound for Cascade and a spectacular lunch.

   Several of us had to make a quick getaway back to Durango to meet Michael Biehn (Johnny Ringo in "Tombstone") and do a run through for the stage show that evening. Al Harper commissioned a Gang Car to take us back down to Rockwood Station where they left a car for us.

I have to say this ride was wilder and more amazing than any roller coaster I have ever been on. Although it only went around 25 miles an hour, the sensation, and noise, made it seem much faster. Also notice there is no railing or straps to hang onto and when the two cars would run over railroad trestles there was nothing but straight-down to the river views, which was breath taking to say the least. The engineer stopped twice on the Highline where the drops are more like 800 feet and that was a thrill.

Here's the guy who is the Founder of The Feast, Mr. Al Harper:

   A great guy and a great host. We are already planning on next year's event and it's going to be even bigger and better. Mark your calendars for the second week of August, 2014.

"Teens, here's a classic prank you can do that'll have everyone laughing: Yell from a moving car."
—Bridger Winegar

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Last Camel Charge In America, in Black and White

August 14, 2013
   Went home at three for a glass of milk (with a splash of coffee) and whipped out a black and white version of The Last Camel Charge In America.

Daily Whipout, "The Last Camel Charge In America in Black and White"

   If you are a subscriber, you know this is a color scene in the Classic Gunfight featuring the charge, but I needed a black and white version for the Arizona Republic where I do a True West Moment every Sunday on the Op Ed pages.

   Going over now to Cartwright's for my second History Talk of the season. Going to do 45 minutes on Harry Nipple, give or take thirty minutes.

"The first 30 years of childhood are always the hardest."

Starlet Or Harlot? The Sadie Marcus Story

August 14, 2013
   Big day today, with a history talk tonight over at Cartwright's (sorry, sold out), then we're off tomorrow for the Second Annual True West Railfest in Durango, Colorado.

   Last night, after work, I went down to Watson Hat Shop and picked up my new, custom-ordered, summer straw:

  While I was waiting for Eric to tweak the brim and stamp my initials in the hatband I trotted over to Bryan's Bar-b-que and tried an outrageous dish:

Bryan told me that during this part of the summer he is going to be offering outrageous stuff every week just to keep it interesting. It was hard to get past the "I'm actually eating a pig's ear?" but I must say I enjoyed it. Not sure I'll order another one, but it was "interesting."

Got up this morning with an ambitious idea for the Sadie Marcus article. Spent about an hour and a half on this and it just died:

Daily Whipout: "The Suitors"

   That's Johnny Behan on left, and I was going to have a naked Wyatt on the other side of her as well, but it is just lame, overworked, under-rendered. Caught somewhere between Bob Peak and Reg Manning. I had such big plans for this, but this is what happens when the left-brain takes over and snuffs the life out of everything.

   In frustration, I grabbed another board and literally whipped this out, which says more in half the time of what I wanted to say:

Daily Whipout, "Starlet Or Harlot?"

   And, by the way, is totally right-brain. You'd think after 66 years, I might get a clue, but I don't know.

"It turns out a nymphomaniac is really just a divorcee with a normal sex drive."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Soiled Dove Sadie: Was She? Or, Wasn't She?

August 13, 2013
   On the last day at the beach last weekend, the new mama posed with her new son outside our cozy, beach bungalow at PLaya del Rey:

We had a great time. Left at about 10:30 for the long drive back to Arizona. Traffic is always bad in LA but we made it out with minimum stoppage on I-10. We did spot a couple dust devils east of Quartzite:

One Tall Tonapah Dust Devil

Here's a closer look at it:

Tonopah Dust Devil #2

   It has become a family tradition to stop in Blythe at La Paloma Mexican food restaurant, which is downtown where it looks pretty sad. Hardly anything open (it was also 104 degrees out and that made it sadder):

Notice how sticky we look. Ha. Once inside, though, it was heaven and the food is great. Had the menudo (lower, right):

A big dish of Menudo at La Paloma, in Blythe, California

   Great to go, great to be back home. Got up this morning and bailed into a painting of Sadie Marcus. Wanted to capture the idea of "Well, was she? Or, wasn't she? She made such an effort to erase her face and I wanted to get that in. A new look at the evidence points to a compelling conclusion which we will feature in the next issue in an article by Mark Boardman.

Daily Whipout, "Soiled Dove Sadie: Was She? Or, Wasn't She?"

"I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts."
—Mark Twain

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back From The Beach and Back to The Drawing Board

August 11, 2013

   Back from the beach and hard at it again. Got up this morning and noodled some ideas on the growing up on Route 66 book:

Daily Whipout, "Extra Lubrication, Kingman Style"

   Kingman book-mate Dan-The-Man sent me this little street scene this morning. Recognize the location?

Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona, probably in the 1930s.

Went home for lunch and whipped out a study to illustrate Mark Boardman's fine feature in the next issue on Sadie vs. Josie.

Daily Whipout, "Sadie, The Entertainer?"

   Trying to come up with an editorial statement that matches the article, which is the Josie Earp who saw herself as a stage entertainer, vs. Sadie Earp who many see as a different kind of entertainer. May go with a colorized version of this sketch, below, give it a red background and call it a day. Or, night. Ha.

Daily Whipout, "Sexy Sadie vs. Forty-dollar Sadie"

   What can I do? Keep on noodlin'! More takes on the world's oldest profession tomorrow.

   Oh, it was a ton of fun to go (on vacation), but it's great to be back!

"There is no sadder fate than being hated by someone who should love you."
—Eleanor Henderson

Friday, August 09, 2013

On The Beach With Legendary Playmates

August 9, 2013
  It defies logic to a Desert Rat that the same August air that Arizona will get in a day or two is actually cold. My first reaction at walking on the beach at Marina del Rey this morning was, I wonder what the hot months are like here? Wait a minute: this is August! And it feels like the mid-sixties with the wind chill. Now THAT alone makes it a vacation.

Here we are set up on the edge of the water and the boys are cavorting with a frisbee in the water.

The only slightly irritating aspect of the place is being at the end of the LAX runways and the takeoff sounds of big jets is a constant:

Found a little Mexican diner just off the beach, called Mr. G's. Ordered burritos and huevos rancheros to go for the crew back at the pad.

It's Cal, so the neighbors are memorable:

"I love how Beyonce got her hair cut and people act like the world hasn't been changed forever!!!"
—Jim Gaffigan