Monday, June 30, 2014

Billy The Bedwetter?

June 30, 2014

   Dan Harshberger continues to wow me with his postcard designs for the launch of The 66 Kid. Check it out:

With whitewall tires as big as wash tubs, and enough chrome to outfit a battleship, the Hugemobiles that lumbered down Route 66 in the 1950s were big and wide and were as graceful as an oil tanker going over Niagra Falls. So hop in, stand on the transmission hump (no seat belts for us!) and enjoy the view out of that wraparound windshield.

   And here's another one:

Don't Forget Winona!

   She is the mystery woman no one knows much about. She is, of course, the—Who?—punchline in Bobby Troup's classic tune "Route 66." No one has ever found her, but I came damn close. Details in The 66 Kid, the book I was born to write.

   Had visitors from New York all weekend. We took a hike over to the cave last night when it cooled down (to 98!).

Xavier and Crew in Cave

   Showed them some of my sketchbooks with the 10,000 bad drawings in them. Happened on this one, which I may use in my editorial "Billy The Bedwetter?"

How A Certain Family Therapist Views Billy the Kid

"It is better to be quotable than to be honest."
—Tom Stoppard

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What Deena Had For Dinner on March 28, 2004

june 28, 2014
   Yesterday Ken and I worked on The 66 Kid video, placing coverage in The Great American Road Trip section and we also tweaked the opening. At four, Kathy and I drove down into Scottsdale so I could pick up a conversion of family footage for the opening.

   Believe it or not I have 16 mm color, film footage of my grandfather, Bob Guess, at a branding on the Neal Ranch in 1939! I kid you not. A friend of my mother's, Wally Tintsman, had a 16mm movie camera and he shot a variety of scenes around Kingman (a house burns on Jefferson Street on Hilltop and the volunteer fire department battles the blaze with a wimpy hose and the entire house goes down).

   I had a VCR tape of that footage transferred to DVD so we can scrape it and get footage for the video. Crazy all the hoops we have to jump through to get to the proper platform these days. Wish I had the original 16mm film, but I don't know where Wally and Shirley Tintsman ended up. I believe Wally passed some years ago. He also had original Tom Mix films and one night in the seventies we went over to his house in Glendale and watched about five of them.

   Got up early again and after my walk, watered my wilting plants:

Got some little cacti growing in front yard and wanted to document how small they are at this point. Speaking of documenting, I was searching for something online and stumbled across this entry:

March 28, 2004 
The Alamo finally premiered last night in San Antonio. I wonder how that went? On a related note, I finally saw The Missing last night on DVD. Kathy and I made a meandering car trip into Phoenix late yesterday afternoon. Ended up at Taco Villa on West Camelback and had the barbacoa (bar-b-qued goat head, a la Mexico City style) and a margarita ($32 plus $10 tip).

Stopped by Deena's hotel in Scottsdale and gave her a bean burro enchilada style from Taco Villa, and then stopped at Blockbuster in Carefree and rented The Missing and I picked up Son of the Morning Star to study for the Custer article.

   End of blog entry. The Alamo tanked big time and so did The Missing. Blockbuster is long gone and Deena works and lives in Pasadena today and looks back on her front desk job at the Doubletree with some amusement.

"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, June 27, 2014

Daily Whipout: The Border Crossers

June 27, 2014
    Yesterday, I found a failed board in the garage and thought I might be able to make something out of it:

The Kid Lays On His Back In The Moonlight And Strangles On His Own Blood

    I also found an old full page version of Honkytonk Sue that ran in the New Times:

Honkytonk Sue Doesn't Do Windows, New Times July 26, 1991

    Got up this morning and whipped out a little Duke of Dust painting. I let it go where it wanted to go (started with the dusty head and noodled shapes until it started to reveal who was in that cloud of dust).

Daily Whipout, "The Border Crossers: gouache, 9" X 12"

   Need to finish The 66 Kid video in the next two weeks. Working on narration today. Fretting about the ending, but it will be fine. Why?

"There are no happy endings, or endings at all; everything is in constant movement."
—Pico Iyer

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Billy Takes Shape

June 26, 2014
    I've been trying to get out on the road earlier for my daily walk to avoid the heat. Got up a five today and got out at about 5:45. It was nice and cool out and the sun was just tipping Elephant Butte. Saw this view up the road:

First Light On Morningstar

   Got back to the house and worked in the garage a bit trying to salvage art, but yet getting rid of weak stuff. Put two garbage cans out. I've probably thrown away at least 150 drawings and paintings. Tried to keep anything that I thought had potential.

Garage Update: Still A Ways to Go

    Yesterday, Kathy and I drove up to Prescott Valley to visit a friend of ours, a high school classmate of mine who has been hospitalized with cancer. Stopped to see the progress on the Billy the Kid sculpture at Bronzesmith. Deb Gesner is working on two smaller ones, a 28 inch version and a 14 inch version:

Billy Monument Project Update

A close-up on the 28 inch version

   Looking very good. Had a doctor's appointment in Scottsdale today (a clean bill of health) then drove over to Guidon to talk about books and a book signing for "The 66 Kid." Took a gander at the progress of the Scottsdale Museum of The West:

The Walls Are Rising at Scottsdale Museum of The West

   Had a meeting with the director and curator about using a whole bunch of True West Moments throughout the museum. Very exciting. Also met with the director of the Scottsdale Historical Society and we talked about a show we both want to do.

"The big secret in acting is listening to people."
—Eli Herschel Wallach

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rough Old Birds

June 34, 2014
   One of the descriptions you often read about when old timers talk is the term "birds," as in, "You know, the Kid had no intention of letting those birds make it to Lincoln alive." Another variation you often come across is, "Those were some tough old birds." Thought of that when I whipped out this illustration for an upcoming True West Moment:

Rough Old Bird

   He looks like someone. Who is it? John Kinney? Burt Mossman? Also doing another True West Moment on this cat:

Massai Led The Raid That Stunned the Southwest

   Got up this morning and tweaked an old board that didn't make the book.

Daily Whipout: "Low Pants Vance"

   Also found the old separations for my second comic book on the Queen of Country Swing:

Honkytonk Sue color key (1979) cover art for the second comic book (yes, Kathy Sue was the model)

"We like in our writers the qualities we don't especially want in our friends—keen antennae for hypocrisy, a long memory for mistakes, a touch of cruelty."
—Sam Sacks

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Boy's First Cowboy Hat

June 24, 2014
   Today is Weston Allen Bortscheller's actual one-year-B-day. Last Saturday, at a special birthday party, at our house I gifted him a custom made hat from Eric Watson's Hat Shop in Cave Creek, Arizona.

G-Paw and G-Son yuck it up

   Today, after work, I dropped into Eric Watson's to get the hat stretched a half size. It was a little snug on the kid's noggin'. Measured it at 19 inches and Eric said this one is a smidge over 18 inches so it was not a big deal to expand with steam and the proper tools.

   Spent a good part of my day working on a new Billy the Kid find. Also found time to work on a promotional video Ken A. and I are working on for the Kingman Film Festival and the release of my book "The 66 Kid." Got some great, old footage, need to add some rippin' tunes (hint: Hans Olson) and we'll be set.

   I love doing these book projects and the promotional aspects of it as well. Gee, I wonder what my chances are to sell a few books and make my money back?

"Most books lose money and are quickly forgotten by all but their wounded authors."
—Tony Horwitz, author of "Confederates in the Attic"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Billy Goes Mexicano

June 23, 2014
   Went home for lunch and whipped out a painting of a certain Kid who hid out north of Fort Sumner in May, June and early July of 1881, disguised as a Mexican sheepherder.

Billy the Kid disguised as a Mexican sheepherder, watches the Cap Rock for incoming riders.

   The ruse worked, but he got, well, pardon my French—horny—and went to visit Paulita and he caught a bullet in the heart.

"Since his escape he had allowed his beard to grow and had attempted to disguise himself as a Mexican by darkening his skin by the use of some sort of root."
—A newspaper account, published a week after the Kid was shot dead by Pat Garrett

ZZ Top Encounter

June 23, 2014

   Still cleaning and sorting in the garage and finding all sorts of stuff, like this:

The Razz Band: Jack Alvis, BBB, Hans Olson and another git-picker I don't recognize, but I think he owned the car. Must be early 1980s

   Meanwhile, around this same time I met this bearded guy at the Phoenix Coliseum and treated him to breakfast at the Nogales Cafe in downtown Phoenix:

Billy Gibbons and BBB at the Nogales Cafe and on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor, 1982

   That's Billy with his girlfriend in top photo as the limo idles in the neighborhood known as the  Deuce (Billy's limo driver, Steven Zea, was concerned about going down there but we went anyway). Middle pic is BBB, Billy and Steven Zea, and then Kathy and I with Mr. Gibbons. Kathy was pregnant with Thomas Charles at the time. Here's a closer look:

Billy, Kathy (T. Charles) and BBB in front of the ZZ-Plane (you can see the high rises of downtown Phoenix in background, on right).

   Around this time I did a couple cartoons about ZZ-Top for New Times Weekly:

Billy Gibbons Looking for some tush

   And I also did a feature on what certain rock stars would look like in an NFL ad. . .

ZZ-Top With Legs

"I gotsta get paid."
—ZZ Top, La Futura

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Raven, The Kiss And The Hat

June 22, 2014
   Here's an update, from an astute reader, on the "Big Bad Scottsdale Crow" I encountered at Hans Olson's studio last Friday:

More commonly refered to as   the 'common raven'.

 There is a lot of dispute about types of Ravens,
 but recent research DNA indicates at least 8 distictive

 Crows have narrower beaks, and are smaller than Ravens.
 Ravens rarely congregate. Crows always do. Ravens travel
 in mated pairs, so the 1 you saw  had a partner waiting

 Never saw a crow in the valley, but lots of Ravens. They winter
 over here, before heading North to the Flagstaff area when the temps
 get above 90F.

 If you like, when it starts to cool down (good luck with that!)
 MetroTech (used to be West High) has hosted nesting Ravens
 In their football field lighting structures.  They also eat lizards
 and other creatures they can catch in the 'Green area' on the
 West end of the campus.

 I've also seen them flying down the Osborn corridor, between
 19th ave and 15th ave.

 Probably more than you wanted to hear, but you asked for it.


The birthday party for Weston yesterday was a ton of fun and his new cowboy hat was quite a hit. This morning before his parents left for Cali Deena took a couple photos of the Hat Amigos:

"You talkin' to me?"

   One of the awkward parts of your married children visiting is catching them making out with their significant other in the hallway. This morning I caught a surreptitious kiss between Deena and Mike and cleared my throat loudly before adding in a mock-stern voice: "Hey, no making out in the house!"

   They laughed and Deena explained it was a "THANK YOU" kiss based on "actually agreeing about something." So, then Mike strikes a new pose to better illustrate that point in front of his father-in-law:

"Oh, hi Mr. Bell. Your daughter and I actually agree on something."

Funny boy, he is. And just in the nick of time. After they left I called our lawyer, Jerry Chessler, and cancelled the restraining order.

"No harm, no foul."
—Old Lawyer Saying

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weston's First Cowboy Hat

June 21, 2014
   Quite a few people have asked me when I am going to buy my grandson, Weston Allen Bortscheller a real cowboy hat. His birthday is coming up (June 24) so I started to get serious about giving him something worthy last weekend.

   Weston himself said to me recently, "Hey Grandpa, when do I get a hat like yours?"

Weston wants to know when he gets a real bonified "Cowboy" hat.

   Well, last weekend I went up to Watson's Hat Shop in Cave Creek and I said, "I am willing to pay $1,000 to give my first grandson a series of hats until he turns ten, when he will be on his own to get his own hats." Weston's mother warned me, "If you buy him a hat it will be too small so quick and the first thing he will do is put it in his mouth."

   I didn't care. I walked into the hat shop prepared to pay big dollars to hat Weston's head. I bought a hat to get the ball rolling and brought it home. This morning, at approximately 9 a.m. I picked him up and put a Watson original hat on his head.

Weston gets his first bonified Cowboy Hat.

   Pics tomorrow.

"If everybody's wearing a big hat, ain't nobody wearin' a big hat."

Friday, June 20, 2014

Band Mates & Big Bad Crows

June 20, 2014
   Yesterday I spent the morning at this guy's studio:

Bluesman Hans Olson, circa 1973

   We go way back. Hans played at our wedding in 1979.  The above photo was in my Razz file from when we did "103 Irregular Arizonans" in 1973 and he was one of "irregulars" we featured.
   Yesterday, we sat out in his back yard talking about a song we're working on while a huge crow in a palm tree kawed and kawed, nonstop. He was upset about something, perhaps our tune, perhaps something else. It did seem like an omen. When we went inside the crow came to the front of the house and sat in the bow of a tree, a mere five feet from us.

One Big Bad Scottsdale Crow

   Hans' wife Gina thought he might have been hurt and she called animal rescue, but he hung close to our session and let us know when he thought something was a bad idea. Hans and I worked on lyrics for the tune. Afterwards I told Hans I found a cartoon I did of a typical band fight:

Typical Fantasy Band Fight (most musicians are too pussy to actually get physical)

  Yes, that is Hans in bottom, left corner, getting strangled. Not to say, bandmates can't get pissy and display covert hostility from the stage, no less:

Jaybob Gets Sideways With His Bass Player

  Since I grew up on both Country and Rock I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to my loyalties. That's why this Doper Roper vs. The Stones' Mick Jagger kind of nails my schizoid state of mind.

The Doper Roper Attacks A Crumbling Stone, 1972

   This overworked piece of psychedelia ended up on the back cover of The Razz Revue, Volume I, Number. When I worked at New Times I did a couple illustrations about other forms of music, this one about jazz—King Kong and the Westward Ho, where the NT offices were at the time

King Kong Gets Into The Swing of Things, 1978

  Around this same time I was in a band with Kenny Brazeal, The Southern Tornado and I did this poster for our gigs at Doolie's in Tempe:

The Southern Tornado, Kenny was an Elvis nut and played the piano. We met on the night Elvis died when we played at the Red Rooster on the South Nogales Highway outside Tucson.

  Later, we actually played the Fremont Hotel in Vegas (the only time I ever played a big venue)

  And then there was the Razz Band, which morphed into the Weeklies, and finally, The Zonies. We played for several decades before we ran out of gas.

The Razz Band's Jackalope Git-Picker Straddles The Inner Gorge of the Grand Canyon,
art for Thrills page in New Times touting the Recession Artist's River Trip Show at Scottsdale Center for The Arts, April 26, 1983

"We are all telling the same stories, but in our own language and means of expression."
—Annie Sundberg

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hubby and Logas Go at It

June 19, 2014
   It happened on the strip where the road is wide. Actually, on north Hall Street (later styled as Stockton Hill Road) north of Hilltop. Hubby Grounds had a brand new 1963 fastback Corvette and local hotrod legend Billy Logas had his Superstock Dodge. They ran through the quarter mile and Hubby won handily.

   According to Hubby, Billy got in his face and said, "Wait right here!" And with that, Logas roared off in the direction of Logasville. A half hour later, he came back and they went at it again, only this time Billy won by several car lengths. The secret: Billy went home and lifted an engine block into his trunk and the traction made the difference.

   That wild story, and a dozen other stories were rehashed and retold as Hubby and I caught up on old times yesterday:

BBB and Hubby at El Encanto: spreading it thick

   I also found a series of photos my aunt took in 1957, walking around my dad's gas station—Al Bell's Flying A—and taking a photograph at each stop.

Classic panorama of Al Bell's Flying A in 1957

   I've forwarded the above photos to a video wizard to see if a composite can be made to simulate movement. We'll see.

   Still noodling images for our big feature on a lost Billy the Kid newspaper article. Found these this morning:

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (plus bonus image of Gomer Pyle!)

"Golly, Sheriff, I'll take that little booger down."
—Gomer Pyle to Pat Garrett on July 13, 1881

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Doper Roper Meets The Carkid

June 18, 2014
   In the seventies I was smitten by the work of S. Clay Wilson, an underground cartoonist famous for his Zap installments of "Hog Riding Fools," which allegedly stunned and humbled R. Crumb into being bolder in his subject manner. What I dug about the "Hog Riding Fools" was the funky road trip aspects and tried to emulate it in my Razz cartoons. Here is an example:

The Carkid Meets The Doper Roper, in The Razz Revue, circa 1974.

   This was a period when I drew the cartoons in half tone but only penciled in the type so it could be layed in later as a lineshot. It was cumbersome but I was full of enthusiasm for the form. Here's another page:

Cornhead Drops A Clue In The Doper Roper, circa 1975

"Heiffer Dust!"
—Granthum P. Hooker

Staff Meetings From Hell

June 18, 2014

   Found some sketches I made of a New Times staff meeting back in the day:

New Times Staff Meeting Sketches, April 8, 1985

I asked Doug MacEachern (upper right, with the scowl) and he thinks "that’s Rand Carlson on the far left. Maybe Ruben Hernandez right below him. And Dewey Webb immediately opposite “Ruben.”
I think below “Ruben” that might be Christine Tchubb." Yes, Doug is correct. That's exactly who that is. The others are not clear. But what is clear and has not faded is how much I hated these meetings. Editor Mike Lacey would drag us over the coals trying to find story ideas. They just went on and on and it was excruciating. Hated 'em.

   Meanwhile, got back in the water with a concept from The 66 Kid, and whipped out a couple more sketches:

Beehives In The Wind study no. 9

   This was inspired by a certain ex-girlfriend that anyone from Kingman would recognize blind-folded. Took this visage, flopped it and transferred it to a patina board:

Daily Whipout, "Beehives In The Wind" study no. 10

   Still not quite there but at least we have flying dust and I like the necklace catching the wind. Need to get it more in this zone:

Beehive In The Wind Sketches #32

   I'll get it eventually. And yes, that's Michele Gilpin in there, among other classmates from our annual. Meanwhile, had a big meeting yesterday to go over next issue and our coverage on the new Billy the Kid photo. Got some great stuff. I love these meetings. Why?

"The only meetings I like are the ones I'm leading."
—Old Vaquero Leader Saying

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Keep An Eye Out for Wonderful Russ

June 17, 2014
   Still cleaning in the garage and finding a whole bunch of crap, which I've gladly thrown away. But, every once in a while I find something that makes me smile.

Caption: "My hometown was so small, if you were at the movie and you got a message from home they would flash it on the screen."

   This was my very first cartoon idea that I ever sold. I sold a two-page spread to Bud DeWald, editor of Arizona Magazine that ran in the Sunday Arizona Republic, date on back says May 28, 1972.

  Of course, this was based on my Saturday's at the State Theater in Kingman, growing up. The notes would appear on the screen, flickering and jumping around. But it was effective. You'd see some crew cut head running up the aisle. We all laughed until the note for us appeared.

   I got paid $75 for the piece. I seem to remember I did five drawings. Here's one of the other pieces:

Caption: "My hometown was so small, when all the kids cruised town they could do it in one car."

   Here's a loosey goosey piece I whipped out for New Times, sometime in the eighties:

Lee Harvey Oswald Gets The Company Pink Slip

  Many people don't realize I was the campaign manager for Wonderful Russ when he ran for governor of Arizona back in 1974. Russ was a great candidate. He would fake like he only had one eye if it meant getting a vote or two.

Official slogan: Wonderful Russ for Governor: He Knows What Arizona Needs

  It was Arizona's loss when the voters of Arizona actually elected a guy who had only one eye.

"I'll be blasting California off into the ocean so Arizona can have a seacoast."
—One of the more practical promises Russ made during the campaign

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jaybob & The Ramrods

June 16, 2014
   When I played in honkytonks in Tucson in the 1970s this was the clientele at the Oxbow Saloon on north Stone.

The Boys Corral A Woman at The Oxbow Saloon, Tucaon, Arizona, circa 1975

   I believe the guy on the right was named Floyd and what I remember about him is he always paid his bands on time. Quite amazing. Here is another group of customers and bouncers from the legendary Stumble In:

The Ne'er Do Wells of The Stumble In

   Full disclosure: these were photos I took for our Old West issue in the Razz. Here is a cover session shot by Terry Townsend out on the back way to Old Tucson.

"Quarters! I need more quarters!" BBB hauls tail

   The arrow was held in the air by Terry's brother, Steve, strung with fishing line.

   Anyway, these honkytonks were Country Rock havens, but the places I played were a tad more down market: The Hayloft, The Tall T and The Longhorn. Ironically, Larry McMurtry met Diana Osana at a later incarnation of the Hayloft, when it was a catfish place.

BBB, Diana Osana and Larry McMurtry at the Westin La Paloma when they won our True Westerner Award.

   Over the weekend I found several boards of a proposed comic book based on my years of Honkytonkin':

Jaybob And The Ramrods, circa 1977

Jaybob And The Ramrods Backstage, circa 1977

Jaybob & The Ramrods panel, circa 1977 (I saw this scene almost every night)

   Jaybob first appeared in The Doper Roper in black and white:

Jaybob And The Ramrods Sunday Jam Session, circa 1974

   I was obsessed with monsoon rains at the time and was trying in the top panel to capture the effect and feeling of summer rain.

"We're gonna take a wee wee break so the band can get ahold of ourselves. Ha. Ha."
—Typical Jaybob stage banter