Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mollie Hatchet vs. Carrie Hatchet

 January 31, 2021

   Still noodling concepts for my Wild Women project. Here's a wild one. She was a bible carrying, ball-busting, one-woman-wrecking crew and she wrecked more bars than George Jones or Motley Crew.

Daily Whip Out:

"Carrie Nation & Her Hatchetations"

  She said she had a vision to go to Kiowa, and bust up a saloon. She did. then she wrecked some more. She was arrested 32 times. Eventually, many bars and saloons in the West had a sign like this near the entrance.

A popular bar sign back in the day.

  Crazy Carrie.

Daily Whip Out:

"Wild Women of The Wild West"

Study #2

Nutty Nation?

She had visions, her mother thought she was Queen Victoria, her daughter also had mental issues. Carrie (also styled as Carry), on one of her history plaques it says, "Carrie A. Nation," which is almost too cute by half. There's more, but that's it for now.

"I am a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn't like."

—Carrie Nation

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Puppy Chewed Firewood & Wild Women Rearing Up

 January 30, 2021

Rained most of yesterday. Made for a nippy morning (39 degrees!). Wonderful weather for a fire in the studio stove.

And, of course, it helps to have a puppy who chews on the firewood to make it stove worthy.

Also, great weather to prance around outside, says the same, certain puppy who answers to both Uno and Pee Pee Head.

That's Mother Goose in the background and a sweet rainbow behind "The Goose" up on Continental Mountain.

The start of a great weekend. Let's quit whining and enjoy it! Towards that goal, I'm on the way to having some artistic fun. Noodling cover ideas for an upcoming book.

Daily Whip Out:

"Wild Women of The Wild West"

cover study #1.

  Needs work, but what else is new?

"History is irony on the move."

—E.M. Cioran

Friday, January 29, 2021

Sneeze And Desist

 January 29, 2021

   The last couple mornings have been beautiful. And with a puppy in my studio yippin' and a yappin' at 5 A.M. I find myself outside in the dark more often than not (by the way, we still call him Mister Pee Pee Head quite a bit). Anyway, caught this sweet photo this morning.

Moon Over My Studio

   I've long been intrigued by the development of the film industry and I found this great photograph on the Hollywood Museum Facebook page.

Hollywood, California, 1906

   Our intrepid editor, Stuart Rosebrook, found a few wonderful 1918, public service ads to aid the so-called Spanish Influenza pandemic.

Sneeze And Desist!

   I have a hunch they weren't any more successful than the current efforts, but they sure are cute!

"Ever notice how many towns are named after their water towers?"

—Old Mid-Western-Smart-Ass

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Why Would I Do Another Piece of Kid Art When The Book Is Already Printed?

 January 28, 2021

    Yesterday at 5:30 P.M. I did my first Facebook Live event. It was a tad bumpy, but, thanks to Ken Amorosano and his tech support, I survived it. Here is a link if you want to take a gander.

BBB Spills His Guts On The Kid

   As I was getting my studio ready for the event, I was cleaning off one of my desks and discovered a half-finished pen and ink drawing that I had intended to use for BtKIII but time ran out and it didn't make it into the book. So, obviously I filed it away for another time and got back to work on finishing the cleaning.

   Oh, of course not! That would be so focussed and responsible. No, I gave it a good wash, then finished it this morning. Here's the setup.

   Four men stood over the lifeless body of Billy the Kid, as he lay bleeding out on the carpet of Pete Maxwell's bedroom floor. Left to right: Pat Garrett, Tip McKinney, John Poe and Pete Maxwell—who wasn't real happy about the rug. Garrett, meanwhile, had some 'splainin' to do. He was once a fast friend of Billy's.

Daily Whip Out: "The Deed Is Done" 

   Thanks to Janice Dunnahoo, who watched the Facebook Live show last night, she sent me a link to an amazing interview with Igenio Salazar she found.

The Amigo of Billy the Kid

  Here is my favorite quote from the article.

"I expected the trail beset with marauding Apaches, but I found the white man more savage and warlike than the Indians."

—Ygenio Salazar, compadre of Billy the Kid, describing his arrival in Lincoln County from Valencia County, April 1933

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

When I Received My First Extra-Large Oscar

 January 26, 2021

   The Old Tucson movie studio and Old West town has been closed since September because of Covid and a friend of the magazine is looking into helping to revive it and run it.

   I have some history with the park. When I lived in Tucson in the seventies and we worked on the Razz Revue (not a magazine, not a comic, but a Magazomic!) we did several fun, photo shoots out there, like this.

The Second Annual Old West Razz Issue

    This was back in 1975, and here I am with Dan The Man Harshberger (far left) and Terry Townsend (middle), and the general manager of Old Tucson, who presented The Razz with an extra large Oscar.

The Razz Gets the Big One

       This was a gag, of course. No, I do not have this keepsake anymore. Somehow, I have misplaced it!

   We'll keep you in the loop on the efforts to revive this Western gem.

"Work. It's the easiest thing I do."

—Larry King

Monday, January 25, 2021

High Moon, Steve McSween And BtKIII Underneath Your Radar Screen

 January 25, 2021

   We had rain and even a little hail yesterday. Made for a stay inside around the fire day. As the first, big storm moved out late yesterday afternoon (we've got another one right behind the first one), the dispersing clouds revealed a high moon, above the fray. It was a beautiful sight at the end of a snugly weekend.

High Moon

  Meanwhile, it snowed today at two, and really came down, but it was almost gone when the sun came out.

Looking North from our house

   Actually, my neighbor, Tom Augherton got a better shot, which he calls "Swiss Chalet."

   It's actually the Barro house at the end of
Old Stage Road and that is Black Mountain
in the background.

   Two-hundred Billy the Kid hardbounds arrived at 4:15 today at the tail end of the above mentioned Arizona snowstorm!

BtKIII Arrival

  With the help of my wife Kathy, Uno and our neighbor Bob Hoss, who brought over a super dolly, we schlepped everything 50 yards and into the garage. And, of course, I opened the top box, took out the first one to gift to Bob Hoss (he wanted #75 because that's his age), and I took a gander at every page and it looks perfect. My hat is way off to the printers, Josten's.

Split Screen McSween

  Last night we watched "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1968) and I had forgotten all of the split screen, multi-panel cinematography the Steve McQueen vehicle employed and it dawned on me that this hipster-driven split-screen-phase didn't last, and I wondered why?

Here's why:

In the beginning (1900s), commercial films were dominated by, what is now called, the "Cinema of Attractions," which is those goofy looking, mundane shorts, with titles like, "The Arrival of A Train," and "Workers Leaving the Factory" and "Demolition of a Wall." The attraction was to pay admission to witness this new technology and see it in motion. This amused paying customers for awhile, but it was rather quickly overtaken by the "seamless narrative" where "visible craft" is seemingly erased to give the viewer the "transparent and immediate pleasure of a story." In other words the narrative feature film became the mainstream cinematic form. Fast forward to the late sixties and TV was draining off movie goers like crazy so in some ways The Thomas Crowne Affair with the split-screen effect is trying to one-up the TV experience with something that would not play well on the small screen. Or, at least that was the thinking at the time. Unfortunately the split-screen pays too much attention to itself and totally breaks the suspension of disbelief and the commitment to narrative. So it never really caught one, but incredibly, it still is used in some modern films. Can you name them?

"Like Steve McQueen, all I need's a fast machine, and I'm gonna make it all right. Like Steve McSween, underneath your radar screen, you'll never catch me tonight."

—Sheryl Crow"

Sunday, January 24, 2021

When Ducatis and Mojave Shamans End Up In Happy Accidents

 January 24, 2021

   It's not easy to capture a dust devil on paper. Or, for that matter, in person.

Daily Whip Out Study: "Dust Devil #305"

   It is a subtle tease in both cases. I once watched, enraptured, as a Mojave shaman coaxed one onto the back of his Ducati. As he rode off laughing, he turned to me and said, "Be careful Batchuk, that is powerful peyote."

Daily Whip Out: "Mohave On A Ducati"

   "Batchuk" is Hualapai for "Boy who makes us laugh."

   But back to capturing a dust devil on paper. It seems like it would be easy: just draw a tube of brown air ascending up into the sky. But, actual dust devils aren't that sharply delineated. They are full of dust particles rising in a swirling, airborne mass of air. They are transparent, thus the many ghostly references of evil spirits coming out of the ground. I've done more than a few, with mixed success.

Daily Whip Out Study: "Dust Devil #306"

Apaches And Dust Devils

   The oldtime Apaches believed these dust devils were evil spirits that emerged from the underground. To this day members of the Sinagua tribe take off their hats and place them on the ground between themselves and the approaching funnel. The Mexicans of Sonora call them "remolinos," the twisting clouds of dust are to be respected and those of the faith make the sign of the cross toward the approaching swirling mass. More specifically, some Sonorans believe the devil himself is busy underground making a commotion and his movements have seeped up through the soil into the air.

Daily Whip Out:
"The Last Place An Apache Wants to Be"

   Whenever I have captured a dust devil (on paper), it has mostly been because of a Happy Accident. This is an artist term used to describe what happens when we are trying to achieve something and a completely different effect emerges, in spite of our best efforts.

"Most of the good stuff I did were gifts. It wasn't me. They pass through me. So if your soul is open to it, and you're ready, then it'll come through. Even if your technique sucks, somthing will come through."

—John Lurie, "Painting With John" HBO

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Land-Locked Pirates In The Sierra Madre

 November 25, 2021

   Just watched "News of The World." Disappointing. One of the main problems with current Westerns is they look too drab. Everyone looks like they are fresh out of a homeless shelter and all the interiors are underlit and shabby. Some of this is authentic, of course, but it has been taken too far, in my estimation. The one exception to the rule is "Tombstone" (1993) which—thanks to Kevin Jarre listening to the advice of Jeff Morey—portrayed the Cowboys as "land-locked pirates." Thus, Curly Bill (Powers Boothe at his very best) shined. Big. Time. 

   And, by contrast, one of the reasons "Wyatt Earp" is inferior is because the same said Cowboys are dressed in the traditional browns and grays, supposedly because Kevin Costner had been upstaged by The Sherrif of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991) and he didn't want a repeat. 

   Anyway, here's another angle into the pirate analogy:

Daily Whip Out:

"Land-Locked Pirates In The Sierra Madre"

(With apologies to Ed Mell for the canyon poach)


   There's something here to be inspired about: flashy serapes, big old spurs, flapping sombreros, bigger-than-life characterizations. Call it pirate flair. Something creative at least. The last thing Westerns need right now, is to look tired and old. Lean on the flair, add a pinch of Steam Punk, anything to give it new life. You can still have the settlements out in the sticks looking bedraggled, but have some contrast, on the train, in the depot, at the opera. As it is now, everything is too one-note.

   Someone asked me what I think of "Yellowstone" and here is my take on it. Bonanza meets Dallas meets The Godfather.

  Speaking of Tombstone, 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.

   Thus endeth my notes.

"The more things change, the more they remain the same."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, January 22, 2021

Daily Whip Outs In Honor of The Super Anomolic Alignment

 January 22, 2021

   Last night at 9:21 it was the twenty-first minute of the twenty-first hour of the twenty-first day of the twenty-first year of the twenty-first century. Did I stay up for it? Naw. Too late for me.

   So, in honor of this momentous, number-centric anomolic alignment (yes, I just made that up) let's celebrate, post-haste with some Super Anomolic Whip Outs.

Daily Whip Out:

"The Super Anomolic Alignment"

   Of course, some alignments are more celebratory than others.

Daily Whip Out: "A Hoot & A Hollar #4"

   A frontier female celebrates leaving the constraints of the Old World behind.

   Sometimes when I let my mind go, it goes to places that are unconventional, some might even say, sacreligious.

Daily Whip Out:

"The Virgin of Hang On Lupe"

   When I first visited Nogales, Sonora in the mid-sixties, a bar band in La Roca did a rendition of "Hang On Sloopy" in perfect English but they changed the chorus to "Hang On Lupe." After the song ended I went up to congratulate the lead singer and he said to me, "Yo no hablo Ingles."

   How many cowskulls can you do without being contrasted and compared to Georgia O'Keefe? Well, for one thing, you can come at it from a completely different direction.

Daily Whip Out: "Bugeyed Cowskull"

   Sometimes I am inspired by song lyrics.

"He treated her good 'til the sun and the whiskey went down."

—Steel Woods, "Straw In The Wind"

Daily Whip Out: "One Drunk Ugly"

   I have been around my share of ugly and mean drunks. I played honkytonks for over three decades and I have often wondered if there isn't a Drunkard Union somewhere that makes sure there is at least one drunk ugly per bar in the entire United States. If there is, in fact, such a union, they are doing a damn fine job.

"Things I never want to say after Covid-19? I can't hear you. You're frozen. It's lagging."

—Vicki Jenkins, a dance teacher in New Jersey on the trials and tribulations of teaching on Zoom

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Uno The Leg Warmer

 January 21, 2021

   Had a fun day today with these two.

Kathy and Uno

   I call him the "leg warmer."

   Here's a feature I have wanted to do in True West for a long time.

The Day Tom Mix Died

   What was he thinking when he hit eighty on that dirt road from Oracle to Florence? Perhaps he was thinking of one of his six wives (he was married seven times). The King of The Cowboys knew his yellow, super-charged 1937 Cord Phaeton could fly, but, up ahead, a bridge was out and when he came over the rise, he probably realized one thing: his hotrod wouldn't make it across that chasm, even at eighty. The highway department crew working on the bridge and eating their lunch in the shade of a palo verde tree could not believe their eyes. There's more, but we'll cover it in depth in an upcoming edition of True West.

   Finished up another firescape.

Daily Whip Out: "Fire Rider"

   Cloud and a little rainy. Wish we had more, and so does this guy.

Drawing The Light

   One of the surviving saguaros down by the Hoss house. Appears to be beckoning the light, or the rain. I know how she feels.

"It's crucial to know where the work stops and your life begins."

—Ann Reinking (1949-2020)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Facebook Live With BBB And Billy the Kid

 January 20, 2021

   Did an interview with Ken Amorosano via Zoom. Keep in mind that Ken is a pro-shooter, Hollywood experienced guy who has thousands of dollars worth of video equipment, including cameras, lighting, sound equipment and editing bays to whip up world class effects and product. So, imagine my surprise when we did the interview, below, on our computers. Him taping me sitting in front of his computer, me talking into the red light at the top center of my computer screen. The scary thing is, it looks pretty good.

   Check it out.

Lookout and Listen Up!

"Call me crazy, but the stories of the Kid made me a better person and, by his dark example, a braver person."


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Snow Flurries Amidst The Puppy Trails

 January 19, 2021

   Started snowing at 6:44 this morning. How do I know this? Because it is my job to get up at five, go out to the studio and let this guy out to do his business.

One Spoiled Pee Pee Head Puppy

  The snow flurries quickly turned to rain and we got a nice soaking until daybreak.

"Funny is money."

—Old Hollywood Saying


Monday, January 18, 2021

Bass Reeves & The Choctaw Lighthorse

 January 18, 2021

   My morning sight. Newspapers in the driveway, pink clouds on the horizon and two sentinels at the entrance to Cactusland. 

   Life is good.

   Working on a couple of concepts and ideas. Here is a sneak peek at our Bass Reeves coverage in the next issue of True West magazine.

Choctaw Lighthorse Policemen, 1885

   If there's a cooler name than Choctaw Lighthorse, I don't know what it is. That is the name of the Native policemen who dispenced justice in the Choctaw Nation. Has anyone ever done them as the subject of a movie? I don't recall seeing them, front and center, anyway. Well, mark my words, that is going to change.

Daily Whip Out:

"Bass Reeves & The Choctaw Lighthorse"

U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves leads six Choctaw Lighthorse Indian Police into the Chickasaw Nation. They are on the trail of Sonny Sixkiller, who murdered T. S. Morgan at Blue Tank in the Choctaw Nation.

"There is a dark side to our history. But those who see it only in terms of the warts are as one-sided as those who only see the glory."

—Elmer Kelton

“There is a dark side
to our history. But those who see it only in
terms of the warts are as one-sided as those
who see only the glory.”
“There is a dark side
to our history. But those who see it only in
terms of the warts are as one-sided as those
who see only the glory.”
“There is a dark side
to our history. But those who see it only in
terms of the warts are as one-sided as those
who see only the glory.”

"Why is Miss Universe always from earth?"

—Steven Wright

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Tall Tales On The Cowboy Up Podcast

 January 17, 2021

   I had fun with these two cowboys, Russell True and Alan Day:

Cowboy Up

"Let 'er buck!"

—Rodeo Command

Saturday, January 16, 2021

You Can Expect More Cowbell From Mr. Bell in 2021

 January 16, 2021

   The very idea of "more cowbell" is now classic zane, thanks to a Saturday Night Live skit with Christopher Walken playing a record producer who comes out of the studio control room over and over, pleading with the band to add more cowbell to a fictional studio session for the song "(Don't fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. The skit is a send up of VH1's documentary series Behind the Music and was written by Will Ferrell, Donnell Campbell and Erika Perez. It aired on April 8, 2000 and is still worth a giggle, or two.

   Or three.

"More Cowbell"

   This is Will Ferrell at his very best, and I especially love the too short, hipster shirt that exposes his ample love handles. Just a hilarious and perfect detail to a hilarious send up of a zany band with a zany name and a zany tune. This bit about the weakest link in a drummer's kit has entered the culture as a catch phrase with instant recognition. How does something so small and so insignificant—a cowbell!—become larger than the genre it is, in fact, sending up? I'm not sure but frankly, I have some history with the instrument.

BBB in the time of real cowbells, 1974

Carl Bell farm, north of Thompson, Iowa

      I've had a cowbell on virtually every drum set I have owned since 1964, but with the possible exception of "Honkytonk Women" by the Stones, which starts with a classic cowbell riff, I'm hardpressed to think of another tune we played that utilized one.

BBB's cowbell on Ludwig kit, 
New Year's Eve, 1964, Girl's Gym,
Kingman Arizona

   If you hadn't noticed, I get quite a bit of inspiration from Rockers. I believe this quote brilliantly sums up our current predicament better than any politician:

"I feel empathy for the people who have been so manipulated and had their beliefs used as political weapons. I may be among them. I wish internet news was two-sided. Both sides represented on the same programs. Social media, at the hands of powerful people – influencers, amplifying lies and untruths, is crippling our belief system, turning us against one another. We are not enemies. We must find a way home."

—Neil Young

   And this brings us to Leslie West and Mountain.

Leslie West, the Distinctive 'Mississippi Queen' Rocker, Is Dead at 75

   I am inspired by two things in his obit. One is, his real name was Leslie Weinstein. When his parents divorced, he changed his name to West. Hmm, that was certainly a creative tweak. The second inspiration is the comment about the description of his playing style as "snarling lead lines" and guitar effects that are "uncommonly thick, with a vibrato that could shake with earthquake force."

Mr. Jack Alves, at left, the lead guitarist
in the Razz Band, circa 1984,
had some major, snarly Leslie West
style crunch.

   Here's Leslie to sum it up: "If you take a hundred players and put them in a room, 98 or 99 of 'em are gonna sound the same. The one who plays different, that's the one you're going to remember."

   To me, this not only applies to music, but to magazines and books and Daily Whip Outs for that matter. 

Daily Whip Out:

"Honkytonk Sue Gets Down at The Heatwave"

   Notice the drummer in this early BBB strip is on his cowbell. Oh, the details! The moral of the story is, you can expect a whole lot more cowbell from Mr. Bell in 2021.

"All I know is that rock 'n' roll guitar, like blues guitar, should be melody, speed and taste, but more important, it should have emotion. I just want my guitar playing to make people feel something; happy, sad, even horny."

—Eddie Van Halen (1955-2020)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Vente Or Veinte, Uno Is Going to Come Either Way

 January 15, 2021

   So it was a shower miracle that gave the pandemic puppy his final nombre de hombre. Kathy came out of the shower two nights ago, dried herself off and said, "He's a 2021 dog, so we should call him 'Vente, Vente Uno' or just Uno.'" That was enough for me. There was only one problem:

"Vente" = Come! (You come!). Clever.
"Veinte" = 20

   Okay, but it still works, either way. "You come! Uno!" or, "Hey, Twenty-Twenty-One. You come!" 

   Anyway, he is starting to answer to "Uno!" but I also like to confuse him with, "Vente, Uno! Vente!" Somehow, I think he's smart enough to figure it out, because there's a treat involved either way.

Veinte-Veinte-Uno On The Road Again

   Kathy bought a new lemon tree for the back yard and a certain pandemic puppy got real excited about watering that certain tree.

BBB and Uno Looking at
Watering Obligations

   Should be fun. Meanwhile, finished up a final scene I wanted to do for the next CG.

Daily Whip Out:
"Bass And Crew On The Hunt"

   I've got a story I want to tell about this Black lawman and his faithful sidekick Larry, and I think it could be a cool way into a new kind of Western. On the other hand. . .

"Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing."
—Sylvia Plath