Archive for February 3rd, 2011

I’m kind of wired from watching the conflict in Egypt on the tube in real time as though it were some sort of twisted sporting event,  the momentum of each side surging back and forth under a rainstorm of rocks and Molotov cocktails.  The term I heard several times yesterday was medieval and it certainly brings to mind the stories of the siege battles of that era.  Fire falling from rooftops on to the crowd below.  Men with whips racing through the throngs on horses and camel, flailing away as they rode.  Sheets of steel used as shields behind which the advancing forces marched forward.  Men carrying machetes and clubs.  I’m still waiting for someone to drag out a catapult or trebuchet.

Crazy stuff.  I need some sort of relief from the tension of merely watching this horror show.

How about this painting of  H.R. Pufnstuf from my friend  and great painter Dave Higgins?  It’s a tiny piece, about 3″ square, of the title character from the old Saturday morning kids show.  From Sid and Marty Krofft, it ran for a couple of years back around 1970 and featured life-sized puppet-like characters in a storyline about a young boy who is lost and trapped on this enchanted island where everything is alive.  For instance, the houses talk.  The island is ruled by its mayor H.R. Pufnstuf who protects the young boy from the evil Witchiepoo and her minions who constantly try to steal the boy’s companion talking flute.

Actually, it was pretty awful and I remember thinking that as a kid even as I kept watching .  But the awfulness has transformed into a certain  kitschiness over the years and it has achieved a sort of iconic quality.  It’s still pretty hard to watch (you can see episodes on hulu.com) but it has a catchy theme song that uses Paul Simon’s 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) as its melody.

This little painting is part of the West End Gallery’s Little Gems show which I’ve written about here before and opens tomorrow night.  I took a walk through the show late last week and when I saw this piece, it stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was such a lovely little piece, mixing the pop quality of Pufnstuf with Dave’s ability to paint beautiful landscapes with the feel of the early Luminist school.  He’s known for this juxtaposition, most notably for his Pimp in the Woods series, shown here.

Long story short, I bought this little gem.  It makes me smile and that’s so much better than what I’ve been seeing on the news.

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