Thursday, July 22, 2010

2 Autographed Rick Trembles Books

Talk about symbiotic - a post I can put in 3 different blogs - my regular one, my collectibles one, and my film criticism blog!

Last night, I went to a show at the Fantasia Film Festival called Lost Myths, a dual slideshow/storytelling performance, with the first half consisting of texts and narration by Claude Lalumière over art by Rupert Bottenberg, and the second half consisting of an oral history of Rick Trembles' autobiographical film criticism comic strip Motion Picture Purgatory, that runs in the Montreal Mirror and often has Trembles himself in them, and at times also mentions his ''weird punk'' band American Devices (whom I have featured in my Video Of The Week segments here); the MPP is kind of a cross between film criticism, the honesty and autobiographical themes of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor series (especially those with the art of Robert Crumb) and the sex scenes of Caligula - with more shit - literally - and a sensibility for humour reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson's.

Since the show was part of Fantasia, I'd classify the 'performance shorts'' as short ''films'', as it was, indeed, an audiovisual feast for both the eyes and ears. I did enjoy the Lalumière/Bottenberg piece, as it was a fun and innovative look at how myths may have been written in the first place, but the (perhaps Bible-like) repetitiveness of them became an issue after the first half-dozen or so, seeing as (too) many of them had a baby-God born from an unworthy mother who would die during childbirth; unless that is a real-life issue Lalumière is trying to deal with through his art, it had run its course and become redundant way before the last story. But the storytelling itself, tongue-in-cheek and with a certain beat, was fun - and the art was beautiful. Most of the images would make awesome gig posters.

But the true headliner of the night, the one who got the loudest applause, was without a doubt Trembles. His work for the Mirror is read by some 300,000 people weekly, and since he incorporates his own life into the strips, we all know he is in his second stint with them (since 1998), as they had also published him in the 80s but fired him when they deemed one of his pieces to be too controversial and obscene. He - again - told us all about it, with a few strips shown to emphasize his points, but he also delved into his past, such as the fact that his father had also been a cartoonist, and who his influences were.

Of course he also talked about his band, and about a few short films he made. Once it was all over, he even took the time to show us the three animated shorts he made: God's Cocksuckers - based on a drawing he made and keeps recycling into his other works; a video for his band's De-censor-tized song; and the Canadian government-funded coup-de-grâce Goopy Spasms, which, despite being an animated short drawn in the style of '60s counterculture icons with an endless array of things stuck up the animated Trembles plug-hole, is as real a piece of cinematic truth as anything I've seen since Gaspar Noé's Irréversible - ironically enough, reviewed in one of the MPP books. It was realer than a political documentary.

But the best part of the night came after the show, as I approached the table where Lalumière, Bottenberg and Trembles were sitting, selling their books and offering to sign them. I made my way to Trembles' side and he just looked at me and said: ''You're Mr. Hell?''

To have someone whose music I've been listening to for over 20 years, whose writings and drawings I've been reading for over a decade - and to whom I had never spoken to before - know who I was... it made my week. It was way more intense than when Jeffrey Ross asked me which bar he should go drinking in.

So I purchased both Motion Picture Purgatory books, and he signed them in blue ink, with a different blurb for each, both a play on my name.

Good times!

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