Art Photography Tattoo

Tattoos and Nature – Putting flora and fauna on arms/legs.

Polish tattoo artist Joanna Świrska stipples fur and inks subtle gradients to create fanciful scenarios of backpack-wearing kangaroos, cycling cats, and whimsical masses of tangled flora and fauna. Working as Dzo Lama, Świrska is known for her delicate illustrations that mix playful elements with the style of vintage botanical renderings, particularly the bold, black fern that recurs in her tattoos. Her ink-based pieces often cover an entire thigh or upper arm with precise lines and pockets of color.

Świrska tells Colossal that while her style is largely derived from nature, she also draws on the works of Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin. “I like to combine non-obvious colors and create new combinations. I approach the form the same way. I like contrasts such as light-heavy, hard-delicate. A tattoo is an extension of our personality, and we, as humans, are multi-dimensional,” she says.

Based in Wrocław, Świrska currently runs Nasza Tattoo Shop and is working on opening another location in a mountainous enclave of Jelenia Góra. She sells prints, mugs, and stickers of her illustrations on Etsy, and you can follow her travels and information on available bookings on Instagram.

Reposted from the blog:

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Art Cinema Clown Photography Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf ~ ‘Limelight – Photographs of James Abbe’ in Time

A pioneering photographer of the early cinema, James Abbe captured the spirit of entertainment in New York, Hollywood and Europe in the 1920s with his magically-lit portraits of the stars of screen and stage. A unique album of show business personalities, this book brings together Abbe’s iconic images of silent movie stars, his exuberant studies of revues at the Folies Bergere, and his fascinating record of early British cinema. Concluding with his reportage of the turbulent politics of the 1930s, Limelight encapsulates an era through one man’s brilliant career.

Billie Burke ~ 1920

Born in Alfred, Maine, James Abbe’s boyhood took place in Portsmouth, Virginia. His family owned the most important bookstore in that maritime city. At its counter James sold his photographs of ship launchings and arrivals taken with an inexpensive camera. Saturated with the print culture of the period, Abbe realized that photography was underutilized as illustration in American periodicals. He began placing photo illustrations with magazines in 1916. In 1917 he moved to New York City.

A sociable, witty man, Abbe had little trouble placing photographs in periodicals, but his break into the world of theatrical photography took place when he made a number of memorable portraits of the Barrymore brothers on stage in costume during dress rehearsals for “The Jest” in 1919. Abbe became fascinated with the nascent movie industry. He did portrait photography for several New York based cinema groups, especially for D.W. Griffith, and became the third New York based camera artist (after Karl Struss & Frank Bangs) to venture to the West Coast and work as a lensman in Hollywood. He worked for Mack Sennett for several months, even directing a now-lost comic two reeler, and as a photographer for Photoplay for another several month stint. He was the first bicoastal entertainment photographer.

Abbe had a remarkable talent for inspiring trust in stars and Lillian Gish convinced him to come to Italy in 1923 to work as a lighting consultant and still photographer for “The White Sister.” He closed his Broadway studio, abandoned his wife and children, and moved to Italy. He spent the next period of his life in Europe, photographing movie and stage productions in Paris and London and working as a photojournalist. Several landmark photographs of Joseph Stalin in a trip into the Soviet Union during the late 1930s would make him a celebrity of news photography during the late 1930s. His book, I Photograph Russia, was one of the important volumes of early photojournalism. He signed his vintage prints with his last name in red crayon on the lower-left corner of his images. He used a credit stamp for publicity images. Despite the relatively short duration of his career on Broadway, he was one of the greatest portraitists of the great age of theatrical portrait photography.

Charlie Chaplin by James Abbe

Abbe’s theatrical work was one of three photographic specialties he cultivated during his career. He also became an expert movie still photographer in 1920 and an important photojournalist in the 1930s. Brought to New York by magazine publishers interested in his experiments for using photographs as illustrations for narratives, Abbe won overnight renown in 1919 for his stage portraits of performers in costume. Enhancing the available stage lighting with a battery of portable lamps, he made intensely vivid images suggestive of interrupted stories.

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Art Exhibit History Magic Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts

Revisiting Jeff Sheridan Conjurer/inventor/magician

A few years ago I went to Frankfurt to visit magician Jeff Sheridan. He was working on some art collages and new magic illusions which were very amazing. Recently I spoke to him on the phone and he mentioned the Youtube video that he made in 2005. I have attached it below. Also, I created this slide show from photographs I have taken of Jeff Sheridan performing in Central Park and images taken from book covers and magazines where he was featured.

It was projected during Jeff’s performance at Monday Night Magic in 2005 which was hosted by Todd Robbins.
During the past several decades, Jeff has made Frankfurt his home and during this time he has performed at the legendary variety club Tiger Palast as well as many private engagements (Mercedes, Deutsch bank, etc). He has created many pieces of art/collages during his time in Frankfurt as well as invent many new magic illusions for Milton Bradley Magic Works, Japanese company Tenyo, and Viking Magic.

He authored the 1977 book, Street Magic, An Illustrated History of Wandering Magicians and Their Conjuring Arts. The book was co-authored by Edward Claflin.

Jeff Sheridan also authored in 1982 ‘Nothings Impossible, Stunts to Entertain and Amaze’ published by Lothrop Lee and Shepard. The book was illustrated with photographs by me.

His film “Jeff Sheridan – Hand to Mind” has been seen by over 24 thousand viewers on You Tube.

Posted here for your convenience!

Other posts about Jeff Sheridan can be found HERE!

~And HERE~

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Art Cinema Clown Comedy Film Silent Film

The Sixth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon

Reprinted from Silent-ology website

I am a big fan of the Silent-ology site and as such, I am doing a down and out PLUG for the upcoming Blogathon!

Please click on the link to her website for the whole entire post!

When: Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Where: Right here on Silent-ology!

How: To join in, please leave me a comment on this post and let me know which Buster film or Buster-related topic you want to cover! (Or feel free to send me a message). Please add one of my banners to your blog (see the original post at to help spread the word about this event. During the blogathon itself, when you publish your post leave me a comment with the post’s link, or send me a message, whichever you prefer. Please mention my blog and the name of the event in your blogathon post (such as “This post is part of Sixth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon hosted by Silent-ology.”) Post whenever you have time during March 9 and 10th, no pressure! If you post before March 9 that’s fine too, just give me a head’s up.

What to write about: Anything and everything related to the brilliant Buster Keaton’s life and career. (Check out his filmography for some ideas.)  Articles about his crew and the many wonderful actors who appeared in his films are welcome, too.

For ideas and inspiration, here’s the links to the FirstSecond, Third, Fourth and Fifth Buster Blogathons. Whew–we’ve got quite a library of Keaton essays going!

I’m also thrilled to share that this year the venerable International Buster Keaton Society is our blogathon’s official sponsor! Founded by Patricia Tobias in 1994, the Keaton Society (nicknamed the “Damfinos”) has worked tirelessly to help preserve Buster’s legacy and introduce him to new generations. From their website:

  • to foster and perpetuate appreciation and understanding of the life, career, and films of comedian/filmmaker Buster Keaton;
  • to advocate for historical accuracy about Keaton’s life and work;
  • to encourage dissemination of information about Keaton;
  • to endorse preservation and restoration of Keaton’s films and performances;
  • to do all of the above with a sense of humor that includes an ongoing awareness of the surreal and absurd joy with which Keaton made his films.

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American Circus Art Big Apple Circus Circus Clown Exhibit NYGoofs Variety Arts Vaudeville Ventriliquist

Karen E. Gersch – Artist Portfolio


If anyone knows about the circus it is Karen E. Gersch. She has performed, created and directed circus and painted, drawn and illustrated it. Her work is beautiful and captures the whimsical nature of the circus soul. Here are a few choice examples of Karen’s work with her descriptive text.

The ‘Nickel’ in this oil painting, “Nickel Storms the Ring” was my teacher and mentor, Nina Krasavina, a star acrobat, aerialist ad the first woman clown ever to grace the ring of the Moscow Circus. After defecting to NYC in the mid-’70s with her husband, Gregory Fedin, they traveled with 3-ring circuses throughout the US and Canada. Nina and Grefory opened their own school, the Circus Arts Center, in an abandoned department store in Hoboken, which they ran for years, training many acts that had longtime professional careers. 

Gordoon”: acrylic on canvas portrait of Jeff Gordon, whose inventive and acrobatic routines made him a beloved and longtime featured performer with the Big Apple Circus, as well as Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros., Walt Disney World, and various NYC theatre productions.

Kenny Raskin/New York Goofs”. Kenny is a physical comedian whose diverse and charming character work enlightens every stage, be it on Broadway, off-off-Broadway or Cirque du Soleil. He is someone I never tire of sketching; captured here during a New York Goofs engagement.

Little Tich” and his Big Boots Dance was a headlining act of the English music halls in the early 1900s. Tich (Harry Relph) was only 4’6” tall, but left large footprints with his eccentric and energetic dance routines, combining balancing skills with acrobatics. The slender wooden boots he performed in were 28 inches long! Relph is considered the forerunner of all screen comedy.

Darja is a Latvian-born acrobat whose professional partners happen to be small dogs and a potpourri of cats.  The setting for her act is a living room, complete with two dressers, a nightstand, and an oval carpet.  The drawers glide open and cats climb gracefully out, then jump in an arc to her shoulders, where they run and balance along with her extended limbs, as she turns walkovers, handstands, cartwheels, and splits.  A dog poses perfectly on her top hat while she executes back rolls and contortional poses.

    Darja performs primarily in Russia and Europe, in circuses, cabarets, and theaters.  Her animals travel with her – in carriers to the stage, but live uncaged in her hotel room, where they all share her bed.  I know, because I had the room next door to her in Leipzig, Germany, and was serenaded by her Siamese and Egyptian cats, who sang gustily all night!

“Richard Hayes”, also a British Music Hall performer, was a noted juggler and silent, deadpan comedian, often billed as “The Laziest Juggler in the World”. His oversized head, languid manner, and slow-motion moves distinguished his ball juggling routines.

This is a very early pastel sketch of Hilary Chaplain (1990’s) from the CircuSundays Series I used to run.  Hilary is one of the most prolifically funny and hardest working physical comediennes, whose recent work has delved deeply into emotional and historical elements.  In particular, her current production “The Last Rat of Theresienstadt” which takes place in the “Ghetto town”/concentration camp of Theresienstadt during the Holocaust.  Following a successful run in Europe, where she garnered top awards, the show will be presented at The Wild Project on November 13th and 14th.

“Senor and Friend”. Senor Wences began his career as an unsuccessful bullfighter before becoming a gifted ventriloquist. The Spanish performer was one of the highest-paid and most popular Vaudevillian acts in the world and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Wences died at the age of 103 in Manhattan.

“Slava’s Snow Show”. I first saw Slava Polunin in Cirque du Soleil’s production of Alegria, back in the 80’s, and was delighted by his simplistic and organic clowning (finally oversized clown proboscis and makeup used well by the clowns who wore them!) His signature romantic imagery, the surreal environments and emotional physical work he creates were resurrected in his first “Snow Show” that appeared on Broadway. This drawing was one of many rendered from his second run in NYC at Union Square.

Born in Prague, Tomas Kubinek and his parents fled the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia and settled in Ontario, Canada, when he was only 3.  He fell in love with circus and clowns, began performing as a child and has never stopped, regularly traversing the globe with his imaginative and eccentric solo shows.

Waldo & Woodhead” (Paul Burke and Mark Keppel) were a couple of wild and zany guys, whose character-driven physical comedy and strong partner juggling made them a well known performing sensation around the globe. This painting, exhibited at several IJA Conventions, was sold three years ago.

For more information or to see other artwork, visit: on FB: “Art by Karen E. Gersch”

With the exception of “Waldo & Woodhead”, all the drawings and paintings here are unsold and available. Inquiries should be made to:

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Art Film Women

Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance 2019

Wednesday, March 6 | Friday March 8 | Monday March 11

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

The fifth annual Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP). The program includes a roster of more than 25 features, shorts, and documentaries by artists from Argentina, Russia, Haiti, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Japan, Romania, Australia, Chile, Poland, Belgium, France, the United States, and more. The festival takes place on WednesdayMarch 6FridayMarch 8; and MondayMarch 11 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, located at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, NYC, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street.

An annual event that showcases films drawn from the world of theatre and performance, the Segal Film Festival presents an international array of work from experimental, emerging, and established theatre artists and filmmakers. This festival is curated from a list nominations by theatre-makers, filmmakers, scholars, and arts professionals. Please visit the Segal Center at for more.

Co-curated by Festival Founder Frank Hentschker (Executive Director and Director of Programming at MESTC), Mara Valderrama, and Margit Edwards.

Producer: Mike LoCicero (MESTC).

Chris Tanner‘s film ‘Theater of Life/Death” screens on Wed. at 1pm

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Film Festival. Segal Center
WEDNESDAY, March 6th, 2019
11:30am BRASCH| Germany, 2011 | 92 min
2:00pm JOHN FLECK IS WHO YOU WANT HIM TO BE| US, 2015 | 76 min
3:30pm TACOS DE CEMENTO | Chile, 2017 | 60 min
4:30pm ANGÉLICA [A TRAGEDY] | Spain, 2016 | 83 min
6:00pm RAIN  | Belgium, 2012 | 83 min
7:30pm Short art films
RADIAL: DUNDEE | Australia, 2018 | 8 min
PURO TEATRO | US, 2013 | 3 mins
FRIDAY, March 8th, 2019
11:30am CHANGES| Japan, 2018 | 78 min
1:00pm FINDING SHELTER | US, 2018 | 26 min
1:30pm THE EXTREMISTS’ OPERA| Japan, 2016 | 90 min
3:00pm LOS PRIMEROS DÍAS (FIRST DAY) | Spain, 2013 | 63 min
4:00pm AND THEY WENT AWAY LIKE THE WIND… | Romania, 2010 | 70 min
5:30pm NAACH BHIKHARI NAACH | India, 2018 | 72 min
With director Shilpi Gulati.
MONDAY, March 11th, 2019
11:30am DIE NIBELUNGEN | US, 2016 | 155 min
                          #1 Lagos | 2010 | 24 min
                         #2 Tehran | 2010 | 24 min
                        #5 Beirut | 2014, excerpt | 65 min
3:30pm SONG OF A SEER | Haiti, 2018 | 72 min
4:45pm DANN FON MON KÈR [FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART] | Réunion, 2018 | 48 min
5:45pm LES DISPARATES | France, 1999 | 23 min
6:15pm THE CONGO TRIBUNAL| Switzerland, 2017 | 100 min
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Art History Lord Buckley

Lord Buckley by Heathcote Williams – A Tribute

H.R.H. Lord Buckley:

The Most Immaculately Hip Aristocrat

And Hipster of the Heart

by Heathcote Williams

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“Lord Buckley was more influential than anybody.” – Ken Kesey

“There is a kind of spirituality about Buckley.” – Robin Williams

“Buckley was the first of the flower children.” – Stuart Whitman

“You know man, I think Lord Buckley came from the future.” – Robert Weston Smith, aka ‘Wolfman Jack’

“Lord Buckley reached way deep inside.” – Joan Baez

“I’m supposed to be a high sahib of the Beat Generation. I

suppose I’ve been a beatnik all my life, I guess.”– Lord Buckley

“His stuff just became part of my internal dialogue after

listening to it for such a long time at such an impressionable

age. It was just in there.” – James Taylor

“There’s ain’t NO problem that LOVE can’t solve, bebee.” – Lord Buckley


“Dig Infinity! Dig Infinity! Dig Infinity!”

Chants the self-ennobled Lord Buckley;

The pioneer rapper; the jazz philosopher

Who believed that laughter was beauty.

“When you’ve adopted laughter as your religion,

“Your subconscious breathes a purer air.

“When you find yourself laughing, you’re

vibrating love –

Thinking love and laughter’s your prayer.”

“I came to be a Lord”, he said, “realizing that everyone

“Is a Lord or a Lady for, if the sphere swings free

“In its plumed height, in all its garlanded beauty,

“Then it must have a fantastical basis, you see.”

Known as ‘His Hipness’ he inducted audiences

Into the “Church of the Living Swing”

Where, billed as “the most immaculately hip aristocrat”,

Lord Buckley did his extraordinary thing.

Decades before the sixties’ ‘Summer of Love’

He was performing rapid-fire riffs about Gandhi,

With beatific monologues about the miraculous ‘Nazz’

In which he made Jesus engagingly funny.

In what Buckley christened ‘Einstein’s playground’,

Namely the Milky Way,

Buckley searched for God but instead found “God’s stash!

“A Great Lake of Love holding eternal sway!”

His friends were called the ‘Royal Court’ and dressed from dumpsters,

With each one treated as a prince or princess

By this radical bohemian, and anarchist vaudevillian –H

Everyone was a lord, or a lady or a countess.

Judith Malina of the Living Theatre would speak

Of his “inimitable shtick” and his “unique sound”.

He was “part of a river of concepts and sentiments

‘That turned the whole world around.’

“As to where the source of the new energy was,

“He was a great inspiration:

“He showed that truth was raunchy and nitty gritty,

“And he’d make you say to yourself, “I’m the revolution.”

“Buckley thought the social structure was vicious,

“But showed us how to battle it with the best

“That’s in us, rather than the worst which is in us,

“Which is the violence in all of us that exists.

“He was saying ‘Here’s the best in us which is humor and love:

“‘Use that to defeat the enemy.

“‘Rise above the situation with aplomb and imagination,

“‘And uproarious bursts of divine energy.’”

Buckley started off as an emcee for Chicago

Dance Marathons,

Keeping the shows rolling and audiences happy:

“Bring your beds – stay as long as you like.”

He was chief fun-maker at these human derbies.

Then Buckley would drum up custom for


By his lying in a open coffin on a hearse:

“The body comes alive at the Suzy Q!”

His partner, Red Skelton, would promise.

A free-form jazz comic, he spoke in tongues

With a zany beatnik spontaneity;

Buckley had his own hipsemantic language of ecstasy

To create another, quite other, reality.

“To the people who don’t know,” he’d say,

“To be cool means simply to believe.

“To stay cool is to have the divine fragments of serenity –

“The sweet jumping sounds of the flash of life.”

He was influenced by Slim Gaillard who made

up his own languages,

Played guitar and piano, tap-danced and wrote songs.

Slim Gaillard was cited by Jack Kerouac in On the Road as “God,”

And, along with John Bubbles, they could both do no wrong.

Buckley explained, “I fell in love with the dialect

“Of the American Beauty Negro.”

It was to give his delivery an old time gospel beat

And to turn him into a countercultural hero –

Who fizzed across the firmament utterly possessed

Of a uniquely free spirit to undermine

The stultifying roadblock of gray, fifties America

With his life enhancing sparkle and shine.

An old static language that didn’t say anything anymore

Couldn’t compare with his syncopated bebop beat

Which took the spoken word and transformed it

Through the living poetry of the street.

In Buckley’s hipsemantic hands, Shakespeare’s

“Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears”

Became “Hipsters, Flipsters and finger-poppin’ daddies,

“Knock me your lobes.”

And the opening lines of Lincoln’s Gettysberg

Address, “Fourscore and seven years ago,

“Our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,”

Becomes “Four big hits and seven licks ago,

“Our before-daddies swung forth, upon this sweet groovy land

“A swingin’, stompin’, jumpin’, blowin’, wailin’ new nation.”

And Lincoln’s “conceived in liberty and dedicated

“To the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Becomes Buckley’s “hip to the cool groove of liberty

“And solid sent with the ace lick dat all the studs,

“Chicks, cats and kiddies – red, white, or blue – is created level

“In front. In straight talk, the same! dig what I mean?”

Stiff-necked Lincoln’s ponderous ringing

Of the Liberty Bell

Is transformed into a sonic orgasm of bebop,

As Buckley weaves his zigzag spell.

With each word laden with encoded meanings

Buckley masters the language of the jazz underground:

“Cool” and “dig” and “drag” and “solid” and “gone”

All feature in his euphoric sound.

Bebop music would contain the life-force

Which Buckley re-routed into words,

Tumbling out of his motor mouth like a shaman

To whom reality was for the birds.

“The hipsemantic has such rhythms and


“That I became attracted to it”, Buckley said

with glee,

“But I almost starved to death presenting this type of humor

“Because at an audience of eighty, there would be

“About fifteen that understood what I was

saying, “But I could not let go of it.

“The powers are so great that come out of it, you dig?

“Phew! I’m as high as a goose in full flight.”

He’d jam with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

Who were drawn to his magical flights.

Dizzy Gillespie celebrated his infectious musicality

“What I liked about him was the way he could recite.”

And Gillespie was to reprise Buckley’s jazz riffs,

“Such as, ‘They get on magnabuttasiteminyoumakcattabare wa! …’”

And he’d say of “the Wordman from Wordland with multiple minds”

“He was doing rap and scat before anybody.”

In Buckley’s stage act, in his ‘Hiperama of the Classics’,

Buckley rebooted ancient events and archetypes

And with his machine-gun tongue explored the meaning of life

While sharing his most passionate likes…

In Lord Buckley’s retelling of Jonah and the Whale:

“The Great Lord was sitting in his rosy rocking chair

“One hallelulah morning when he spied a little mortal beside the great sea…”

And from then on Buckley’s audience was ensnared.

William Shakespeare is “Willie the Shake”;

Einstein surfaces as the “Hip Einie”;

Edgar Allen Poe’s the Raven is retold as “The Bugbird”

And the “Hip Gahn” celebrates Gandhi

In “The Bad-Rapping of the Marquis de Sade”

He outrages the bourgeois and the humdrum:

De Sade “takes right off through the mother primeval”

Rejoicing in his wickedness, and a steel rectum.

“I’m the baddest cat in this world” says the Marquis,

“There ain’t nothing I ain’t done.

“I’m a cross-loader and a hanger-upper and a slip-slider.”

“But I made every bad move for fun!”

Then Buckley would soar up from the gutter

To embrace Shakespearean heights.

“You know why they called this cat ‘Willie the Shake?’

Buckley asked his audience as he changed into tights.

“…Because he…. SHOOK everyone. They gave that cat

“Five cents worth of paper and a nickel’s worth of ink

“And he sat down and wrote up such a breeze

“That when he got through – vrrppptt – everybody got off!”

Buckley’s Nero was a terminally indulgent greed-head

Who stood for every corrupt robber-baron:

“He get his kick warehouse so full of kicks

“He can’t get no more kicks in.”

Then Buckley would interrupt himself with salty asides:

“Let me hip you to something, brothers and sisters,

“When you make love, MAKE IT!

“Oh, some of you brothers and sisters….


He was nothing if not direct.

He’d preface his performance of ‘The Nazz’

By announcing, “I’m gonna put a cat on you was the coolest,

“Grooviest, sweetest, wailingest, strongest,

“Swinginest cat that ever stomped on this jumpin’ green sphere.

“And they call this hyar cat…the Nazz.”

In his classic routine he retells the three miracles

Most associated with Christ’s fame:

“So the Nazz and his buddies was goofin’ off down the boulevard

“When they run into a little cat with a bent frame.”

“So the Nazz put the golden eyes of love

“On this here little cat with the bent frame

“And he look right down into the windows of the little cat’s soul

“And say to the little cat, he say ‘STRAIGH-TEN!’

“Zoom-Boom! Up went the cat like an arrow

“And everybody jumpin’ up and down

“Say, ‘Look what the Nazz put on that boy.

“You dug him before. Re-dig him now.”

Next the Nazz and his boys get into the middle ofthe water

And “Wham Boom the waves hit their boat

“And the lightnin’ flashin’ and the thunder roarin’

“And these po’ cats thinking every minute

“Gonna be the last when one cat look up

“And Here come the Nazz!

“Cool as anyone you ever seen,

“Right across the water: stompin’!”

Lastly Buckley has the Nazz feeding five thousand people

So they can have “a glorious, swingin’ Mardi Gras time.

“Oh sweet swingin’ flowers of the field” the Nazz says,

“Dig Infinity! And they dug it and when they did, ‘Whamm!!!’

“There was a great flash of thunder-lightnin’ hit the scene.

“Cats looked down: in one hand

“There was a great big stuffed sweet smoked fish

“And in the other a long gone crazy loaf

“Of that southern homemade honey tastin’

ever-lovin’ sweet bread.

“Why these po’ cats flipped!

“Nazz never did nothing simple.

“When he laid it, he laid it.”

The hipsematic theology was very seductive:

“The Nazz, the carpenter kiddy,

“Was turning these other kiddies on through his eyes,

“So they could see everything pretty too.”

Lord Buckley had a portrait of Jesus Christ,

“To Lord Buckley from your buddy cat J.C.”

His explanation for his autographed portrait being

That, “He would have been my buddy, you see.”

The Nazz was such a popular success

Buckley couldn’t allow him to rest

But brought him back for the Second Coming with the punch line,

“Jesus Christ! It’s Jesus Christ!”

Henry Miller knew Buckley and used to tell him

“You take us back to the fountain of ecstasy.

“You must have drunk from the Holy Bottle that Rabelais

“Speaks of – the eau de vie of the gods, the elixir.”

Buckley’s elixir  was described as being made up of Love Nectar

Mixed with salutary doses of Truth Serum,

And then, after the Whammy Of All Word

Whammys, his audiences

Looked as if they’d no idea what had hit them.

To Cory Doctorow, Buckley’s “ indispensible biography

“Of Jesus is all the Christmas cheer anyone needs.

“With this alone, we could rebuild civilization from rubble.”

Through his comedy Buckley could sow radical seeds.

Buckley believed that war was “the very worst jazz ever blown”

He’d call any marine in his audience “a shithead”.

The zen jester berated armed men for their slavish uniformity

Without seeming to care if he ended up dead.

Again, when performing at Slapsie Maxie’s, he took some fur coats

From a group of Capone’s gangster molls.

He poured lighter fuel on them, centre stage,

Igniting them just to show he had balls.

Al Capone had once said that Lord Buckley

Was “the only man who made him laugh”

But Buckley resented the patronage of a violent crook

And said, “I refuse to bow to the golden calf.”

He’d tell audiences “You all have too much money

“And you don’t know what to do with it.”

To Jerry Garcia, of the Grateful Dead, he was “a Holy Man.

“He was a seeker. Lord Buckley was the hipster of the heart.”

To Garcia, he was “that guy that’s not a stand-up comedian

“But instead is like a medicine man,

“With that kind of power, it’s an elemental experience.”

Garcia would call Buckley a shaman.

Utterly fearless Lord Buckley often threatened

To blow his career for the sake of a joke:

The cigarettes he smoked on stage were fatter than normal,

And it’d amuse him to offer policemen a toke.

On one occasion he walked up to a cop

While smoking a joint of marijuana

“Officer” he said, “I want to report a dopeaddict.”

“That gentleman,” Buckley said in a whisper

And he’d indicate an innocent passer-by:

“Be very careful he’s watching us”,

He’d warn the cop, then take a drag on his smoke

And blow it right in the lawman’s face.

Buckley aligned spiritual awareness with the weed

And indeed his Jonah smokes “the strange green vine”

In order to regain his composure inside the whale’s belly

While working out how to escape its confines.

“’Reach into your water-tight pocketbook’,

“The Great Lord would say to Jonah,

“’And take some of the cigarettes you got from the great tree.

“’And courage will return to you!’”

So in Buckley’s retelling, Jonah’s inside the whale

Smoking this strange cigarette:

“And the pistons pound, and POOM, he pushes on the great valve,

“That’s directly linked to his head:

“Oooooowwwhhh ooooooh ‘spanding

“And eeeeeeeeh ouuuooow expanding!”

“Oooooowwwhhh ooooooh ‘spanding

“And eeeeeeeeh ouuuooow expanding!”

Jonah’s now stoned and he spins every wheel

In the great whale’s engine room

And the whale says “What is you is smoking down there?”

And Jonah revs up the whale-mobile, ‘Vrooom!’ Vroom!’

Then Jonah escapes by “seizing the mammal’s full-speed-ahead lever”

Steering the Leviathan into shallow water,

Then he pokes its gigantic “sneezer-meter” and he is blown out

Through its blow-hole onto “the cool groovy sands of serenity.”

At Crackerbox Palace, Buckley’s Temple ofHappiness,

Buckley would greet visitors entirely naked:

“I worship people,” he’d say, “people are likeflowers,

“And to be nude in their garden is sacred.”

Buckley even appeared on stage naked as a jay

Save for a straw hat, tap shoes and a cane.

He’d serenade the audience with scratchy old 78s,

Saying, “Beloveds, welcome to Cloud Nine.”

In Buckley’s world there were no lower classes,

And everyone was entitled to be royal.

In his pantomime parodies of hierarchy

His euphoria was infectiously joyful.

To be stewards of each other’s happiness

Was how Buckley understood nobility

And for one man to lord it over another

Would only make for hostility.

George Harrison used the name of Buckley’s bat-board shack

For a place where you “know love is true”

And in his song ‘Crackerbox Palace’, Harrison too has a court

Who all sing, “know the Lord is well and inside of you”.

In a dream sequence Buckley enters the Beatle’s palace

And at the end of Harrison’s tribute to his genius

He implies that, somewhere, the late Lord is still happy

In a new, and a heavenly Crackerbox Palace.

Lord Buckley ended up with nothing and left little behind

Save what he caught while fishing in rivers of light.

He’d dance stoned on car roofs and denounce capitalism

And Empires, ancient and modern, as being not right.

After a trombone fanfare the ultimate corrupt politician

Approaches the microphone: Governor Slingwell Slugwell

(Aka Lord Buckley), announces “My Friends I would like to say

“Things are going beautifully. I just bought three oil wells

“The Rolls Royces are running to perfection.

“Last week I bought the waterworks.

“I’ve had the gasworks for quite some time

“And as things are going at such a magnificent rate

“I believe it is possible for every employee

“In this great state to receive a substantial raise in salary

“Amounting to (Trombone fanfare) Pam-pam, pam-pam.

Roopety, boopety, boop, ba-boop, a roop, baboop,

a roop, Ba-boop. Roopety, boopety, boop… (Trombone


…Seventy-five cents.”

In a routine called ‘Black Cross’ Buckley explored

The blind hatred of a lynch mob’s nature:

Hezekiah Jones who was as “black as the soil he was hoeing”

Didn’t believe in anything from “the white man’s preacher.”

“You don’t believe in nothing!” roared the white man’s preacher

“Oh yes Ah does” said old Hezekiah

“Ah believe that a man should be beholding to his neighbor

“Without the hope of heaven or the fear of hell’s fiah”

“But you don’t understand” sneered the white man’s preacher

“And they hung Hezekiah as high as a pigeon

“And the nice folks around said, “well he had it comin’

“Cause the son of a bitch didn’t have no religion.”

In the Hip Gahn Buckley adopts Gandhi’s persona

And relishes taking on the British Lion:

The Lion is eating India out of house and home

And only Gandhi can keep the Lion in line.

“Ya see India was bugged wid da Lion.

“Every time India gets a little scoff in the cupboard,

“WHAM! Here comes the Lion. Chomp! Swoop the scene

“And there stand the poor Indians, scoffless…bugged them to death.”

Unfortunately for the Lion, the Hip Gahn comes to the rescue:

It’s on a day that the Lion is ““Scoffin’ up an insane breeze.

“He was into the scoff patch up to his shoulders; so the Hip Gahn back away

“About thirty or forty feet, and he holds out his arms cool-wise…

“And he do a running broad jump — MAAP!

“Whapped on the Lion’s tail so hard

“That the Lion swooped the scene

“And that gassed India – it gassed them.”

With the British Crown out of the way Buckley has India –

In order to unite its brand new nation –

Staging a mega concert for Gandhi, a counterfactual alternative

To the horrors of partition and famine.

Buckley’s whimsical scenario brings together every musician

Coming to celebrate the end of oppression:

“Even the snakes in the jungle picked up on the lick

And come stompin’ in for the session.”

It’s a feast of thanksgiving for Gandhi the guruhero,

“He of the love-beaming spectacles and clean white dhoti”;

A gentle, loving and a humble soul who responds only

With soft answers overflowing with spiritual plenty.

Buckley concludes, “And the Hip Gahn say, baby

“When I hear them rabadee players, the dingdong players,

“And them blute-blute players, and the flipheads

“And the luteheads and the reedheads,

“And all these boys wailin’ up such an insane love breeze

“It brought to me the beauty, and the mysticism

“And the wonder, and the gorgeous theme, and the gorgeous wising,

“And all the great non-stop etherea that is Mother India.”

In the Hip Einie Buckley describes an experiment

Showing how gravity can deflect light:

A solar eclipse in Africa has been photographed

Thus proving that Einstein was right.

Buckley calls this the “unveiling of the Big Heater”

By which he signifies the sun,

And he goes on to extol Einstein and to take a peek

Into the workings of Einstein’s brain:

“Einie delegated his subconscious mind and proceeded

“To lay back into the longest goof in the history of the far out wig stretch.

“He goofed throughout the Zonesphere and the Vautesphere

“And the Rotesphere and the Hippisphere

“And the Flippisphere and the Zippisphere

“And the Gonesphere and the Way-Gonesphere.

“He was way out there.

“As a matter of fact he was so far gone, he was

so far out,

“That when he returned and cooled and dug

“What he brought back with him, he flipped!

“When his book hit the streets,

“It hit the Spaceheads pretty hard.”

After Buckley had explained Einstein in Hipsemantic

And made relativity easy to understand,

Einie was pronounced, “King of all Spaceheads”

By the prototypically Beatific Bard.

Lord Buckley was a revolutionary comic,

Born way ahead of his time,

Pro civil rights, anti-imperialist, and a giant

To whom being without vision was a crime.

“Here’s a torch for the world,” he’d declare,

“We have the blocks to make up the mosaic of life –

“The dream – a beautiful, warm, unendingly delightful

“Schematic of living. This, beloveds, is the truth.”

In Buckley’s retelling of the story of Scrooge,

A series of ghosts in Dickens’ Christmas yarn,

Show the miser how the world likes to stop once a year

To celebrate the Brotherhood of Man.

“The spook shows that the cats who ain’t got nothin’

“Got something anyway and they’re all jumpin’ for joy,

“Singing ‘Merry Christmas’ and the bells is ringin’…

“’Now you’, the Ghost turns on the wretched Scrooge,

“‘You get your self straight and see how things will jump. Now come with me.’

“So they fly over to Cratchet’s place”,

To Scrooge’s hapless clerk who’s allowed just one day off

By his “skinflint boss cat with his big money mind”,

“And here is little Tiny Tim” (poor Cratchit’s sickly kid),

“And it’s Christmas and they looking down at this goose

“About the size of a beat-up re-tarded sparrow

“And everybody is Oohing and Aahing over this little goose

“And they say when are we going to spread it?

“And then Tiny Tim says ‘God Bless everyone,

‘Even up and including old Scroogey Scrooge!

‘God bless everyone.’

“And old Scrooge got red eyes.

“Boom! In comes another spook, a long angular spook.

“He looks like seventeen long angular stove pipes

“Come together with jingle jangle bells all over.

“Boom! – they are in a graveyard – wooooo – a

wild – wooooo – crazy spooky graveyard!

“And old Scrooge is walking around and

“Suddenly something stepped out at him

“Like it was stuck in front of his eyes

“Like with some sort of electronic pitchfork.

“And he reads one of them billboards in thegraveyard.

“It says: ‘This is Scrooge, the baddest cat that ever lived.

“’He ain’t had nothin’, he won’t have nothin’

“’And he ain’t got nothin’ now. Period.”

But then Scrooge gets to see the light:

He has his eyes opened by the three Ghosts.

He’s redeemed by their revelations and is given

A new life of which he makes the most.

“For Buckley’s alchemicalization of the old meanie,

“His Lordship drew the life-enhancing moral:

“You can get with it if you want to: there’s only one way –

“Straight to the road of love.”

Buckley was unique in his early opposition to the H-Bomb

And a Cold War that threatened to leave the world dead:

“Those dirty, lousy, miserable, rotten politicians.

“Those thieving monsters. Those greedheads.

“Look what they’ve done to this beautiful city!

“Look at these streets! Those rotten foul-headfreaks.

“Death to them…” This was what he imagined himself saying

After an Armageddon caused by the State’s geeks. from salon.

“I, in humility, say ‘It is the duty of the humor

“Of any given nation in times of high crisis to attack

“The ca-tastrophe that faces it in such a manner

“That they do not die before they get killed.”

“So I figure I’m going down to the banktomorrow

“With a couple of trucks and take out a few bales

of fifties – “Maybe a billion dollars – and I’m going to start

“A gigantic program over the television, over the radio

“In the newspapers, in the funny papers, call the people

“Who have anything to do with humour and I’m going

“To start a big, elongated eight month campaign

“Against the mother gasser of all time: THE BOMB.

“A great spear of humor against the bomb –

“Rippity-tib-zib-tib and a ring ding ding against the Bomb.

“All kinds, all ways, all slides, all sides against the Bomb.

“A great big, elongated program through the air,

  “By the billboards, by little ones, by big ones

“Till eventually you mention H-Bomb to someone

“You say H-Bomb and they say Ha! and Ha! And Ha!

“And you’ll see that you’re laughed out of court.

In Buckley’s routine ‘The Flight of the Saucer’ he becomes

The Flying Saucer Commander Abba Dabba Foo,

Pleading with planet Earth to consider the consequences

Of opening a Pandora’s Box of nuclear goo.

Lord Buckley’s stage costume of a tan pith helmet,

Curly ended slippers hung with silver bells,

Black swallowtail coat and waxed moustache like Dali

Turned him into a Pied Piper leading America out of hell.

He railed against the spread of supermarkets saying,

“I wish I had the nerve to be a great thief.”

“We have gotta knock out the greed heads!”

To him consumer slavery beggared belief.

The needle-sharp points of his white moustache

Were like antennae seeking out the outrageous.

“There ain’t NO problem that LOVE can’t solve.” was his motto

And his emanations of wellbeing were contagious.

He believed that life was subject to divine intervention,

Proved by the flare of the senses in a kiss,

And his advice to every citizen of the world,

From two to toothless, was “Follow your bliss.”

“Once you catch the theme of the beam of the invisible edge

“Then, beloveds, you hit total simplicity,

“And all of the feral truths that carry on way beyond

“The parallel of your practiced credulity!”

After a night under the stars exploring inner space,

Aboard what he called ‘The Good Ship Lovely Soul Detonator’,

Buckley concluded that, “the sky showed a shifting, revealing infinity”

And that “one message came to me with great positivity:

“That there’s only one way to live. That is, live in a house of love.

“That’s right, the universe is a house of love

“You can’t walk out of a love house with a sword or a gun

“There’s none in there to come out with.

“You have to come with a flower.

“If attacked, defend yourself with a rose.

“There’s no other way to live –

“The stars beamed it into me – except by love.

“The star-flashed message stayed with me

And buoyed up my soul

“As I came down from the sky.”

He’d re-enter the world after a toke on God’s stash

Eager for the world to share in his high.

But Buckley’s great love wasn’t limited to human beings

As is evidenced by his party piece, God’s Own Drunk:

In which the man described as “a Fred Astaire of the tongue dance”

Speaks instead in mind-blowing grunts.

“I’d like to do a little creative wig bubble for you

“Called ‘God’s Own Drunk.”

“When asked to guard my brother-in-law’s illegal still

“My claim to be a non-drinker got sunk:

“That big old yellow moon was a hanging out there

“And God’s lanterns were hanging in the sky.

“My curiosity got the better of me and that yellow whiskey –

“That moonshine – went down like honeydew, and made me fly!

“I felt a revolution going through my body

“Like there was great neon signs a-goin’ up

“An’ sayin’ There’s a Great Life a Comin’ –

“Suddenly I’d fallen in love with everything

“In God’s sweet world that moved, lived, didn’tlive,

Animate, inanimate, black, blue, green, pink, and slam dunk!

Mountains, fountains, and golden double-good sunshine,

“I was in love with life, ‘cause I was DRUNK!!

“I wasn’t fallin’ down, slippin’ slidin’ drunk.

“I was GOD’S OWN DRUNK! A fearless man.”

And as a result Lord Buckley bonds with a bear

In an ecstatic, trans-species communication.

“I walked right on up to that bear, because

“I was God’s Own Drunk and I loved everything

“In this world. And he’s a sniffin’. He’s tryin’ to

“Smell some fear. But he can’t do because I’m

“God’s Own Drunk and I’m a fearless man.

“He expects me to do two things: flip or flee.

“I don’t do either. Hangs him up. I told him,

“I said, ‘I’m God’s Own Drunk and I love every hair

“’On your twenty-seven acre body.

“’I’m a fearless man!’ I reached up

“And took the bear by the hand.

“I said Mr. Bear, we’re both beasts when it

comes right down to it.”

“Took him right by his big, old, shaggy man island sized paw

“And said “You’re going to be my buddy, Buddy Bear.

“And pretty soon he started to sniff and snort.

“Tapped his foot. And he got up and started to do the Bear Dance.

“Two sniffs, three snorts, a half-turn and one grunt.

“We was dancin’ and a yellin’ and finally, my love –

“It upped and got so strong that I laid back on that sweet green hill

“With that big, old buddy Bear’s paw right in

mine and I went to sleep.”

In Buckley’s pantheistic world, “Everything isalive.

“Everything has an embodied soul. Everything is of worth.

“Everything is beautiful. Everything is God.

“Everything is you – and you’re the king of the earth.”

“The problem of humanity, of progress, is to be beautiful;

“To be more gracious, more sweet, more divine.

“And when you balance yourself, the truth is that the world’s a family –

“Then love will hit you. Love is swinging. Love is fine.”

Before Buckley finally stepped off the stage

He uttered a last benediction:

“It has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily

“Strolled in the garden of your affection.”

For his re-routing American culture (and not paying police bribes)

Buckley had his cabaret licence withdrawn

Which meant that, thanks to the NYPD, he couldn’t work

And thus his end was undeservedly forlorn.

His sad fate led to a public campaign against the police

For their depriving him of his cabaret card:

They were seen as having destroyed a clown prince

And were roundly condemned as fucktards.

To Buckley the dives he worked in were, “atomic age cathedrals”

Built on the “seashores of Bohemia”

Where all malice was transcended with moral miracles in jive slang

And his advice to fans, “You have courage, great warrior!”

Joseph Jablonski, who took a trip with Buckley,

Described “the spirit of the sixties as preexisting

“In Lord Buckley’s aggressive, optimistic humour,

“Optimism being a colourless way of describing

“The brilliant dialectical gold rays the one and only

“Lord of Swing could direct to the blind apostles

“Of nineteen fifties-style miserabilism.”

Beside Lord Buckley, America was a fossil.

Was he mysteriously be-twinkled by timetraveling goblins

From the utopian sixties?

The tutelary spirit of idealistic and free-loving

Hippy, peacenik pixies?

Both Allen Ginsberg and Quincy Jones loved Buckley

For the purity of his attitude,

And for establishing the idiom for both rap and the Beats –

At their best, both quests for beatitude.

His daughter spoke of his saintliness,

And of his “insights into lives and souls.

“He had kindness and compassion and never put people down.

“I might look at someone and say ‘what an asshole’

“But my father would always soften my prejudice by saying,

“ ‘Well, he’s just not himself today’!

“Sure, he could identify the negative in people,

“Though to use it against them? – no way.”

“Did I say all?” asks Buckley in ‘Desolation Angels’

Just before dying, according to Kerouac

Who’s bewailing, “This modern America of crew-cuts

“And sullen faces in Pontiacs.”2

“No matter what people tell you,” said Robin Williams,

“Words and ideas can change the world. It’s true.

“There was an old crazy dude who used to live a long time ago.

“His name was Buckley. My Lord, my love goes with you.”

The deck may have been stacked against Buckley

In his card game with the cops

Yet his legacy’s avoided capture, and without his hip

There’d never have been any hip-hop.

He showed the mind could be expanded by

words –

Words that give you a buzz and a blast

And prompt what he describes as “wig bubbles”,

Buckley’s hip phrase for thoughts.

Lord Buckley’s obituarist wrote that “The Lord of Flip Manor,

“Prophet of the Hip and Royal Holiness of the Far Out, has gone

“To his reward. It probably won’t be as swinging as his life,

“But Valhalla will have a hard time keeping him down.”

“It is difficult”, the writer adds, “for anyone who knew Buckley

“To think of him as dead and gone.

“It is more like he has been on an extended engagement in Reno

“And he can’t get back to town.”

When interviewed by Studs Terkel in Chicago

Shortly before Lord Buckley died,

Terkel was concerned that the audience

Who’d tuned in were fully prepared:

“Just remember,” Terkel said, “what he has to say makes sense

“In it’s own strange and unique way.”

“Take it easy but take it! That’s my sign off.”

Were Buckley’s last words after having his say. Lord Buckley

Lord Buckley is still audible through the aether

Where this mercurial comic’s vitalizing words

Are forever impregnated with his fairy-tale humor –

Mightier than both the pen, and the sword.


~ ~ ~

With grateful acknowledgments to Oliver Trager; David Amram; Jim Burns, ‘Beat Scene’; Albert Goldman; Wavy Gravy; Timothy White; Paul Krassner; Joseph Jablonski; City Lights Books; Jack Foley; Malcolm Ritchie; Ian A. Anderson; Chris Radant; Douglas Cruickshank, and to P. St. G. who first introduced me to this non pareil.


Art Circus Posters Sideshow

A Collection of Posters


I usually post a recommended book on Monday but I couldn’t find anything new! So here are some lovely historical posters from the Circus, Magic, and Sideshow world.

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Art Photography Tattoo

Lyle Tuttle – 70 Years in Tattoo Art – Exhibit in San Francisco

I first met Lyle in 1972 when I was in San Francisco doing an article for Crawdaddy Magazine. I was invited to his tattoo museum and shop and did some photographs. Then he invited me back to have dinner with him and some of his friends. It was great fun (I did get a tattoo) and he is a very funny dude. I went back in 2015 and visited him. (having not seen him since 1972!) and we met at his new shop at 841 Columbus Avenue.  Went for a few drinks and had a blast.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in ‘Tattoo’ or sociology attend this special event.

Tickets can be purchased here.

For more information on this special event go here!

Lyle Tuttle getting another part of his body tattooed.

Lyle has been a resident of San Francisco for over 70 years. 

Lyle Tuttle featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1970.

Lyle pictured in front of his first Tatto shop in San Francisco.

Me, Lyle and my wife Deborah at Lyle’s shop in San Francisco in 2015.

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American Circus Art History Sideshow

Sideshow Banner Paintings

SNAP WYATT – Banner Painter

Snap Wyatt was a prolific painter of huge circus banners primarily in the 1940’s and 50’s.  He was known for his bold, cartoon-like style. His banners were painted with quick caricatures, and only the essential details of the performer were outlined in black to make them stand out. He said he could finish one in a day for about $85. bucks. The bright and colorful banners drew in the crowd with the mystery of what was inside the tent. Wyatt is considered to be among the top in his field. His banners today sell for thousands.

Sideshow banner painter Snap Wyatt and a handful of others including Fred Johnson, Tattoo Jack Cripe and Jack Sigler (now all deceased), brought art to the carnival midways of the 30’s through 60’s with their 10′ x10′ banners that waved outside the circus and carnival sideshows drawing the crowd to come inside.

Originally intended as silent talkers, the huge canvases played to a carnival attendees curiosity and directed them to walk right into the sideshow tent.

The banners portrayed the acts inside the tent and were an interesting combination of the bizarre and human oddities – from Major Debert Tiniest Man to the 643 pound Sweet Marie, Huey The Pretzel Boy to the Alligator Girl, Hydrocephalus Baby to The Penguin Boy.

Few considered the canvasses of sideshow banner painter Snap Wyatt and the other banner painters an art form at the time they were painted, yet today the mega-paintings are being bought almost as fast as they’re hung on an art gallery’s wall.

Snap Wyatt’s banners sell today for thousands. Snap Wyatt (1905-1984)

Some of the original posters are now part of the Kohler Foundation.

For more information and other posters by Snap Wyatt go here.

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