Sunday, November 27, 2011

She-Demonic Films That Demand to be Remade

Hollywood struggles to compete with today's media glut, frantically grasping at 3D anything, features based on Saturday-morning cartoons, comic-book superheroes no one cares about (Thor?)--even going so far as to put Adam Sandler in a dress and calling her Jill. Pathetic!

Hollywood, I got your back. These classic frightmare films are begging for remakes. Just don't take my golden ideas from me without compensation. All are copyright-protected by a personal lawyer friend who is not afraid to spend my money in a court of law!

She Demons (1958) - I think this would be a great remake starring sock puppets. The Muppets are back. Team America with its cast of marionettes is a cult classic. Sock puppets are due! And they can look evil when unraveled just right, especially while wearing a Nazi armband.

The Astounding She Monster (1957) - This one's got it all: a radioactive alien woman in a skin-tight bodysuit, urban bootleggers hiding out in a cabin in the woods, and very frightened forest creatures. I'm thinking: Disney musical 3D animation remake. With penguins. Make sure there's penguins. Miley Cyrus would be great in the role of the She Monster voice. Especially while smoking the legal substance, salvia.

The She-Creature (1956) - Lindsay Lohan, look no further for your come-back role. Lots of screaming and love triangles and some kind of monster with deely-bobbers on its head--this has got it all AND THEN SOME. Actually it looks kind of tame, so I'd add CGI elements such as brain-sucking leeches that morph into robots that blow up stuff. Miley Cyrus can be the voice of the leeches. I've got big plans for Miley Cyrus as you can tell.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) - The 50-foot woman is the role of a lifetime and Courtney Love needs a career boost. Coincidence? No, just forward-thinking on my part. Who is better equipped to be bigger than life, to fill the screen with rage and destruction? There will be no audition. Ms. Love, you have the part. I'll tell you who isn't cut out for this kind of dramatic role, Daryl Hannah.

Village of the Giants (1965) - Some kid-genius's scientific formula has caused the village teen-agers to grow to monstrous proportions. Wearing homemade bikinis, they're compelled to go-go dance in slow motion in front of the horrified townspeople, like some kind of demented episode of American Bandstand! I'm thinking: Shia LaBeouf, Rumer Willis, Peaches Geldorf, some of the cast of "Gossip Girl," and Miley Cyrus would be perfect for this remake. I'd throw some penguins in there as well. Maybe they're lab penguins, who sing and dance after ingesting some of the formula. I don't know--the creative possibilities are mind-boggling. As is most of life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crap for Christmas

Look everyone, let's just skip ahead to Christmas. Thanksgiving is a foregone conclusion at this point. Thanksgiving was last celebrated during its proper season, probably back in the early 90s. Since then, it gets glossed over between end-of-summer sale season, back-to-school fall specials, Halloween party essentials clearance racks, and wait, what was I saying? Oh, Thanksgiving. It involves food, and maybe a chafing dish and a table runner, so from a marketing standpoint--doesn't count for much.

You gotta get some crap for Christmas. Friends and family and the country's entire economic well-being are counting on you! Recession got you down? About to lose your job, your home? I'm sure there's something affordable you can buy for others--Jesus would want you to. I've scoured the capitalist globe looking for the ultimate in gift-giving items. Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit, unwrapping presents on December 25th will be the ultimate in Christian celebratory values. Don't hesitate to run up the credit card. Within six months you'll be close to paying it off, just in time for next year's gift-giving seasonal rush!

Forever Lazy® is not only the greatest head-to-toe fleece zipper-wear available, it's also the best-named product on this list. Not just forever, not just lazy, but FOREVER LAZY. It encompasses everything we desire at this point in our nation's history. Toasty, shapeless, human beanbag-chair fashion. The zipper flap in the back is handy in case you manage to get up off your ass to relieve yourself. Otherwise--just go in the Forever Lazy®. It's completely machine-washable.

Are you ultra-modest and tired of showing your hands to an indifferent world? Perhaps Handerpants is the product for you. This commercial give YOU all the necessary info on underpants for your HANDS.

Remote-Control Zombie and Remote-Control Lederhosen. These would make a lovely centerpiece for your holiday dinner table. When conversation lulls or turns to uncomfortable topics like RELIGION, break these out. Sure to get a laugh. As in: Ha haaaaaah!

You have hair, birds have feathers--how to combine the two?! With Snap-On Feathers™, of course, you dope! Simply snap on Snap-On Feathers™ and you will instantly have feathers in your hair! Don't miss out on this hot new trend! At your next party, guys will be pummeling each other, tripping over the furniture, trying to get to you and your feathered hair. Goddammit. You think I'm making this up, but I am deadly serious.

Now that you've made your list, I'm going to provide you with the theme music from Magnum P.I. to get you in the mood for shopping mayhem! Shop Shop Shop! Don't stop! Don't think! And don't forget the Scotch® brand adhesive tape!

But wait, there's still Thanksgiving to get through. What are you going to wear? I need help to get myself together on this occasion--how about you? Perhaps this will help. Stick with it--good stuff.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fifi LaRue - Hamster of Great Renown

We lost our hamster today. She had been sick for a few weeks and a visit to the vet was costly and medicinal but ultimately for naught. Her suffering has ended and now she is running in the giant hamster ball in the sky. In my dreams, her ball opens up and she is free, free to do the thing she wanted to do her entire lifetime with us: run under the couch. Au revoir, Fifi.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Half-ass TV recap: Work of Art Ep 6

Street Dealers episode! Get your street art! The artists are teamed up in twos by spray-painting host China Chow's paper-mâché-like nesting-doll dress with matching colors. It makes sense at the time but I'm not going to go into details--I'm half-ass as you know. Sucklord sprays on some neon-green nipples and even mentor Simon de Pury jumps in with his spray can, and we're off!

A long brick building in Brooklyn is offered up to the four teams who have 30 minutes or something like that to come up with an idea and did they go shopping? I can't recall. Anyway, it sounds, as usual, impossible. They work all day in the studio and get to tackle their walls starting at 6 P.M. and going until 3 A.M. Plus one morning for touch-ups! This is not a show for art slackers, so kudos to casting for finding these hard-working types.

Team Sarah and Sucklord are having a one-sided flirtation going. Guess who's doing the aggressive flirting? The sequestered, sleep- and information-deprived artists have needs. But Sarah is not focusing on that right now. Right now, she's coming up with some city-as-labyrinth concept and Sucklord nods enthusiastically, promising to build some 3D elements that will be glued on the building. This does not sound good.

Team Dusty and Young are having a tough time collaborating. "We're different," says Dusty. Young notes that Dusty's good at building stuff, so they set out to make some staircases that will serve as an interactive component. Young likes to get everyone involved. Meanwhile, they'll have to think of some art to go with the staircases. That's an unusual approach to street art.

Over at team Sara and Kymia, they focus on their family-immigrant backgrounds. Kymia's family is Iranian-American and Sarah's, Filipino-Canadian. They hone in on an uprooted family tree, getting pulled along by an alien-like businessman from a bureaucratic world. This is a traditional muralist approach, political but also personal. They get to sketching and both are talented illustrators, so we'll see what they come up with together.

Meanwhile, team Lola and Michelle are giggling and whispering and drawing a lot of tiger-striped penises. Lola wants to use the cut-outs of the building to make "windows" into some neighborly debauchery that viewers can peek in on. Michelle is on board and lots of erect penises ensue. To Bravo's credit, there are lots of close-ups of said penises, and I suppose everyone in standards and practices have basically thrown up their hands, shrugging off any censorship boundaries at this point. What the hell! It's art! High-fives--with a tiger penis!

Lola is given the "arrested-development brat" edit this time around. She and Michelle make Kymia cry when they ignore her pleas for the use of a scanner. Tiger-penis bitches! Lola opines that Kymia and Sara's piece is so "serious" and art doesn't have to be heavy and morose. It can be light and fun. True. But making someone cry is not everyone's definition of fun. Lola calls Kymia a worry-wart who needs to lighten up. Tee hee, says Lola as she recounts how she used to glitter-bomb subway cars when she was 14 and how her mom taught her to be "brash" by cutting into long lines throughout childhood. Now her mom looks like an asshole too. Nice work if you can get it, editors.

Young ruefully notes that all the teams seem to be beavering away while he and Dusty can only saw and hammer without a concept to work on. Later, in the penthouse of purgatory and coffee, they realize that Young lost his father around the same time that Dusty became a father. A concept is born. Self-portraits and discussion bubbles will get people talking (and chalking) about this universal life and death experience. During judging, Jerry will proclaim it "The Circle of Life." Bingo--Young is really good at this show.

Everyone out on the street! Sucklord glues little sticks together that will pop out of Sarah's black and white maze. Although it rains, the sticks hold forth and he adds some painted rats and cheese to, I don't know, give the thing some life I suppose. This is one flat, uninteresting plan of action, despite the 3D qualities.

Lola and Michelle have printed giant stickers of their illustrations (they really did need those scanners) and are pasting and painting away. "Whoa, this is a really big wall," notes Michelle. True--mural-making is daunting. Their work looks like a perverse squiggle-sketch party and would probably make for an exciting Exotic Erotic Ball of some sort. Not so sure about how "street" it is. They've also included cut-outs of accessories, alcohol and more penises, so viewers can join in on the sticker fun.

Kymia and Sara get to work on their gigantic uprooted tree and creepy-guy. They paint REALLY BIG, not using color so much as ghostly shading. It's a good use of the very wide, not-so-high brick wall. It's not an easy shape to compose in. Dusty and Young's piece also uses the space well. Their profiles say, "I recently lost my father / I recently became a father / How does it feel to become/lose a parent?" The center bubble concludes, "It changes you." Although mentor Simon de Pury doesn't find the audience-participation aspect necessary. Young knows his stuff and stairs and sticks of chalk are in place.

Show time! Everyone out in the street. People are indeed interacting with the Young/Dusty wall and it gets all good and chalked up. Judges make a note of that. Lola and Michelle decide it's OK to tag not only their own work with their debauched stickers, but Lola encourages others to tag the other artworks as well. "It's a part of street art," she explains. Yes, but this is commissioned, judged work. In San Francisco, a city of zillions of murals, people who tag good artwork are generally considered assholes who cause more work for the artists, who have to pay and put in the hours to clean up their walls. One tag leads to many more and a good mural can be completely defaced within a couple of weeks. So anyway, Lola is shown putting grounded-out cigarettes and penis illustrations on Kymia's and Sara's uprooting guy, causing Kymia to sigh and peel them off while worrying about their paint application before judging time. There you have it: a microcosm of the street process within 30 seconds. Nice work, editors.

My fingers are getting sore from typing, so I'll wrap up. Young/Dusty and Kymia/Sara are in the top. Young and Dusty win and I forgot to mention, the winners get $30,000. Young is so on a roll. Dusty, being an elementary-school art teacher, can't wait to get his hands on some cold, hard cash. Awww. Kymia and Sara are praised for their big figures. Both teams used their personal stories to collaborate well with each other. Team-mural challenge, accomplished.

In the loser corner, Sucklord pretty much knows his goose is cooked. This is fourth time in the bottom and how many chances can he get? Lola and Michelle's piece is deemed shallow and juvenile, although in judge Jerry Saltz' entertaining blog, he says it was his favorite, being lively and perverse. Here, he's not given the positive reviews-edit. And the general consensus is that their piece fails to draw people in, therefore landing flat as a voyeuristic concept. Is it judge Bill Powers who notes that their cigarette-smoking tiger figures look like Lola and Michelle throwing a party that no one came to? Harsh!

Predictably, Sarah and Sucklord are dragged over the coals for their flat, boring piece. Sucklord especially is found wanting, having given in to Sarah's concept without adding anything substantial to the table. I guess the judges expected him to provide urban mythological creatures of the labyrinth or something. But c'mon--the guy is known for designing wee action figures. He's no muralist. Most of us aren't. But he takes the blame, like the Sucklord that he is, and graciously is tossed off the show. Oh, Sucklord! We hardly knew ye! "The force was not with him," says Jerry. Oh, Jerry, if you really wanted to put The Sucklord down, you would have said something along the lines of, "We were hoping for 'Empire Strikes Back' but instead got 'Phantom Menace'" Ouch!

Next week: Oh no--automobile art.

I couldn't make any street art this time around for the WOA inspiration segment of the recap. Plus it's rainy today. So I'll leave you with some San Francisco street scenes and murals from the Mission District that I took this summer. Ya'll need to visit San Francisco and go on a mural tour, yes you do.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

She Mob is back

Perhaps you never realized She Mob went away. No matter. She Mob, the band, is back. We started rehearsing again with a new member a few months ago and played a short set with some new songs at the Annual Murder Ballads show at the Starry Plough. And so, from the ashes of mid-90s mid-life crisis, we arise to fill the world with our anti-love songs. People used to ask us 15 years ago why we started a punk-pop band in our 30s and we basically had no answer other than we enjoy it. Do what you enjoy--that's the She Mob way.

She Mob was named after the movie. We actually read the synopsis, named the band, and THEN saw the movie. And it's a bona fide classic. Snippet:

This is really early She Mob from the first album, "Cancel the Wedding." Does anybody even take Prozac anymore? It goes by other names/brands now I suppose.

From the third album, "Not In My World"--Wet Kitten!

I had to leave the band for a while when my son was born. It carried on. Live 2008 show at the Starry Plough with many guest stars in attendance.

Through every incarnation of the band, Joy Sue Hutchinson wears a fine wig onstage, anchoring us with her enthusiasm, talent and fun-building skills.

Who's in She Mob lately?
Suki O'Kane
Joy Sue Hutchinson
Karry Walker
Captive Wild Woman
Alan Korn (on hiatus--he'll be back)

She Mob CDs for sale at CDBaby
Listen to She Mob on MySpace while it still lives
Be our Facebook friend!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Half-ass TV recap: Work of Art, Ep 5

That's right! Work of Art, Ep 5: Ripped from the Headlines! Simon de Pury cheerfully awakens the remaining artists at the ungodly hour of 5:30 A.M. to take a trip to the New York Times printing plant in Queens. This show is very cruel. They're artists, not farm animals. But with minimal grumbling, the sleepy, rumpled creatives ooh and ahh at the rapidly moving newspaper whirlwind all around them.

Dusty correctly notes that America sucks for a lot of people right nowThe artists have ten minutes to pick a headline that will inspire their works of art. All artworks must contain The Times to meet the challenge requirements. Using it as a drop-cloth doesn't count. Kymia is worried because she never reads the paper. Lola wants to win because her mother forced her to read the front page of The Times every Saturday instead of watching cartoons. I can barely get my kid to read at all, unless it's the history of the Titanic, which as "a fan of maritime disasters," is all he'll read about lately. Maybe we can ease him in--start with "Sunday Styles" and take it from there.

Everyone scrambles for headlines except for The Sucklord, who decides to park himself in a corner and simply read the paper. He finds a BP oil-spill story and calls it a day. The rest are flailing about with papers flying in frantic abandon. I hope they got pancakes afterwards. The winner of this challenge will get $20,000 and the winning art will be installed in the lobby of the New York Times building. Wowee wow wow!

They have a day plus a few hours to complete the task (not bad for $20,000 worth of work), so they get to scrambling/creating. Sarah is cutting strips of words, signifying madness, based on a story about a depressed writer. Michelle illustrates all the terrible bruises she sustained from an hit-and-run car/bicycle accident the year before. She's been touched by a story about insurance claims made by victims of crimes. Kymia found a story about the Long Island serial killer and she's structuring a life-sized coffin full of plaster, newspapers and body parts. Kymia--the New York Times won't go for that in their lobby! She's an artist all right.

The Sucklord struggles, starting out with a representation of an actual newspaper page, with cut-outs painted blue, that he'll spill "oil" from. It could work, but mentor Simon de Pury has other ideas. He encourages Sucklord to not be so literal, since that's been a problem with all his work so far, along with using too many Star Wars figurines. Sucklord trashes everything and starts building stacks of money, dripping with "oil" and covered with NY Times paper bands, because, he attempts to claim, the Times did not cover the story thoroughly enough, so they're compliant. Sucklord! That's not going in the Times' lobby either!

Young wants to pay tribute to then-incarcerated artist Ai Weiwei, which on one hand, is a good-will effort, since Ai Weiwei was a political prisoner in China at the time of production and no one knew what the outcome of his imprisonment would be. On the other hand: brilliant headline, Young! The judges, who were all probably wondering where Ai Weiwei was at that moment, will be pleased. He attempts bleaching the paper to instill the notion of censorship but the words are still visible so his alternate plan is tied-up stacks of black-painted newspapers with "Where is Ai Weiwei?" headlines. Now THIS will go in the NY Times lobby, indeed.

Dusty's dark silhouettes of depressed Americans across a crumpled-paper covered U.S. map and Lola's drawing based on photos of Libyan freedom fighters with inadequate weaponry are in the top three with Young's Ai Weiwei stacks. Young wins. Dusty is visibly crushed not to get the $20,000. He was hoping to have another child with Mrs. Dusty back home. But Young will be using the money to help his mom travel to Korea. And she has cancer. So, you know--it's good. Lola's back story isn't as compelling, but I think her drawing and slightly sardonic, distancing hand-written captions should have won. Perhaps if she hadn't included the unexceptional Times-wrapped tools leaning against the wall beneath her illustration, she might have won. Except the contest called for newspaper to be included, so Catch-22. Dusty's work was good, but I've noticed that map-art tends to get passed over in prize-winning situations. Too literal, perhaps, but I thought he made good on his "Darkening Mood in America" headline.

Down in the bottom dregs are Bayeté with some mis-matched golden doors and shiny lettering representing a Dreamgirls review (I think). The door knobs don't match up becuase he painted the wrong side of one of the doors. His lack of carpentry skills at first seems purposeful to the judges but then guest judge Adam McEwen points out that Bayeté's explanation for his work makes it even worse. Originally it was supposed to be some doorway leading to heaven or something. Sad. Sarah's weird leaning cut-out words are deemed meaningless of content. The Sucklord is called to task for his transparent lack of anything going on with his piece. It's like a would-be politically Goth window display from a nonprofit arts foundation in a former appliance-repair shop. Not that I would have seen anything like that while living in pre-dot-com boom San Francisco for 25 years...

Bayeté is out--not bad for a guy who should have lost in the first round with his awful identity art (also featuring money--don't use money or maps, artists!). He seems like a nice guy. Good luck to you, Bayeté! The Sucklord lives for another day!

Next week: Lola gets the "cat-fight edit" by making Kymia cry and then meowing and holding her hand up like a claw. I'd be careful, Lola. Kymia makes serial-killer art, you know.

Today's inspirational work from Work of Art is a tribute to James Van Doren, co-inventor of Vans footwear. His obituary ran in last Sunday's Times. Along with his brother, he engineered a specialized rubber that, along with a diamond-shaped sole pattern, would help sailors stick to the decks of their boats. Subsequently skateboarders in Southern California discovered that Vans helped keep them from falling off their boards. When Sean Penn, playing Spicoli, wore the checkerboard slip-ons in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," a cultural shift in footwear took place. Condolences to James Van Doren's family and friends. I love how he helped accidentally create a fashion/sports trend.

I own a fine pair of Vans that I bought specifically to play drums in (drummers feet gotta stick to the pedals). But I find that they really are rad for scootering too, when I brought Jackson's scooter to school the other day. The big, flat Vans soul acts like a paddle along the sidewalk. Oil-pastel rubbings of my big Vans.

Close-up featuring a mini-portrait of James Van Doren.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Future Fashion of Yesterday--Today!

One of the pleasures of sci-fi films is noting the speculation of the look of future societies, always a reflection of the time at production. If you were watching sci-fi in the 1960s, you learned that people of our time were to be decked out in bubble hats, mini-dresses and jumpsuits while walking down pristine white corridors toward brightly lit chambers full of blinking room-sized computers. No one thought that technology might be getting smaller and smaller. Or that we'd all be emulating sloppy 70s wear. Well, except for Woody Allen in "Sleeper," who envisioned an autodidactic U.S. full of junk-food-eating consciousness-raising lay-abouts.

Today we will explore fashion predictors of the distant past and their vision for our present look of today. Brought to you by Exit to Tomorrow by Andrew Garn, Paola Antonelli, Udo Kultermann and Stephen Van Dyke--a collaborative effort on Universe Press that covers the architecture, design and fashion of World's Fairs from 1933 to 2005. (I found this book at Half Price Books--a full-color futuristic steal!).

The first thing you need to know, is that in 1939, designer Walter Dorwin Teague saw ladies of 2000 wearing see-through clothes, due to "universal air conditioning and better bodies." Makes sense to me! Must have been an anomaly though--not everyone lives in a warm climate, Walter Dorwin Teague. And what about formal wear?

Look no further! Designer Henry Dreyfuss not only envisioned a see-through evening-gown future, but predicted that women would want to dress as dolls, complete with personal fan/compact at their disposal. I'm beginning to think the World's Fair was kind of an excuse for soft-porn wishful thinking. Prove me wrong!

Oh, OK. So menswear is not see-through. Not at all, despite central air and "better bodies." This guy has an antennae-snatching radio hat and his socks are disposable. I'm getting turned on all right.

Through the magic of YouTube and today's high-speed Internet connections, we can watch these future visions in action in the short film "Clothing of the Future, the Year 2000."

I hope you found that inspiring. Let's take a look at future outerwear of 1939's World's Fair. What's in store for us? Heat-generating coat-linings? Emergency shelter supplies in a secret pocket?

No, it's see-through! I imagine Harvey Gibson, chairman of the board of the New York World's Fair, was saying something along the lines of, "Your futuristic underpants are simply divine, Miss!" And so they are!

Montreal's '67 World's Fair would have us matching our clothing to nearby architecture. Ooh, I'd hate to be standing next to the former AAA building in San Francisco when this trend comes into play.

Jump ahead to the 1970 Osaka World's Fair. What's the fashion story? Looks like head-to-toe metallics are in! And buildings are laughing. Still waiting for these trends to fully kick in.

We've bypassed the year 2000. What are we going to wear? According to Japan's 2005 World's Fair, nobody cares because the future belongs to sexy mini-skirted, go-go boots-wearing robots in support pantyhose. Maybe there's still time to revive the see-through gown phenomenon before the robots completely take over.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Kid Art, get yer kid art here

Yup, I'm posting my kid's art. Why? Because it's so exuberant. If you don't agree, then you may be in a coma. If you're feeling comatose, perhaps some kid art will help. Jackson's going through a phase where he hates everything he draws upon completion. It's tough because he truly is a great artist (as most kids are), and his personality always comes through no matter what he's drawing, And because I love his personality so much, I love his art so much as well. But I'd love it anyway. Maybe you will too.

If you have a kid who refuses to make art, get some Mr. Sketch scented watercolor markers. They smell like blueberries and cinnamon and such and they make kids want to draw. The colors are rich too, although Jackson reports that the felt-tips themselves are "a little scratchy."

Freaked-out adults who don't want their children sniffing pens--I understand. I'm always catching Jackson trying to smell chemically packed drawing supplies, such as Sharpies and dry-erase markers. That's bad. But I guess we'll use it as a teaching moment and hope the brain damage is minimal.

I once made a Disney Pirates of the Caribbean model kit (Dead Man's Raft) with my friend Pam, and once she broke out her brother's airplane glue, it was all over for us. Much stomach-cramping laughter and rolling around on the carpet of their empty living room ensued before we realized that we were totally high on fumes. Actually we didn't realize that until years later. Sometimes kids are just high on life and it's hard to tell the difference.

Anyway, why was their living room empty? Because back in my day, many of our neighbors couldn't afford to furnish all the rooms in their newly built suburban tract homes. And rather than go into credit-card debt, they simply waited a few years to buy the necessary couches, chairs, window treatments and coffee tables. These empty spaces were excellent areas for kids to have slumber parties, play hours of Monopoly, or accidentally inhale glue. Quite a difference from today's home-owner attitude of, "We'll have to gut and update the entire house upon moving in." How did I get on this tangent? Art: it brings out the social critic in me.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Half-ass TV recap: Work of Art Season Two-fer, Ep 3 and 4

I couldn't bring myself to review Work of Art two weeks ago, hot on the heels of too many Work of Art recaps already. This is the problem of being the sole writer around here. Sometimes there's too much recapping to do and not enough time to do it in. And...nobody cares.

China Chow as a cute hamsterSo without further ado, here's a very brief rundown of Episode 3: Make it Pop. As you might surmise, the young artists are instructed to create a piece based on pop art. They are led into a warehouse by a trail of shiny tin cans where they find host China Chow dressed in blue-munchkin finery with ascending buttons down her front. There's also a Campbell's Soup Can portrait by Andy Warhol, looking fiiiine, next to mentor Simon de Pury. Unfortunately the cans, portrait, and China's dress will be the most compelling works of art in the entire episode, so c'mon along with me as we relive the moment. (China Chow as a giant hamster in her cute munchkin dress next to a Warhol is my pop-art contribution.)

Cutting to the chase: Young Sun wins with his billboard-inspired "Prop 8" interactive piece. He leaves the back available with Sharpies so gallery patrons can write their opinions on Prop 8. This is a brilliant move because the winner of this challenge will get their work published in Entertainment Weekly and because he purposely doesn't put his opinion on the piece (although, as a gay man, we can surmise), he makes sure that the Prop 8 application is big and bold and reprintable.

Kymia is in second place with a close-up photo of her boobs as backdrop for a bottle of dirty water. It's sex and advertising and pollution, all in one. She laments she wishes she had known that the winning work of art would be in a national magazine, before she started photographing herself naked. And not surprisingly, she is not the winner. But if you want to see lots of shots of Kymia's boobs, this is the episode for you. Although Bravo could not bring itself to air Michelle's wooden-dowel sculpture of an erect penis the week before, boobs are no problem. Censorship: it's complex.

Double-elimination losers are Jazz-Minh with her failed attempt at Britney Spears celebrity self-portraiture, and Leon, whose glassy American Flag covered in corporate logos, fails to personalize his pop-art experience. The judges would rather Jazz-Minh had simply used a photo of her "bite me" lip tattoo. At the San Francisco Art Institute, I saw art like that practically every day. Leon's idea is tired but the judges manage not to yawn. Judge Bill Powers wants to know why Leon, as a deaf person, didn't address the added communication component of Facebook, since he threw the logo in there. What the what?

Dusty and Michelle are also in the bottom with a fast-food garbage can of shame and too-derivative Coke-can Warhol homage, respectively. China asks why Dusty didn't use bright, poppy colors on his "How Could You" bin and he and all of us in the audience must then spend a wasted moment, trying to imagine a colorful trash container for a moment. Nope--that didn't work either. I wonder if he'd had a couple of trays, mustard stains and more caustic message on the door flap, such as "Garbage In Garbage Out," would that have made it "pop"? Probably people would have thrown their trash in it and that would have at least kept the gallery clean.

So, pop art is pretty much a snore-fest. Asking a disparate group of young artists to create a work of pop is a lousy proposition if none of them work in the medium already. It's one of those movements that worked for a handful of people and puzzled most everyone else, who eventually jumped on the bandwagon, then jumped off again. Only Sucklord, who deals in mass-produced toy art, has much of a background in pop, and his consumer products based on Charlie Sheen rants, were probably dated even as the show taped. Are you all hipster attitude without the hipster cred, Sucklord? We shall see.

No point in complaining though. People get really mad at this show and its so-far sub par art masterpieces. They swear on Internet recap blogs never to watch again, but to them I say this: go pound sand. I doubt most people could have aced this challenge to a successful degree. Pop does best as a festering obsession, not as a day-and-a-half challenge. It was too open-ended to truly inspire. Although, as you can see, my kid was making Coke-inspired designs before he was two years old. We used to find these curved soda-can line-ups going all the way down our hall, with Cokes leading to Sprites leading to Mountain Dews as you walked throughout the house. We had him assessed and doctors assured us he's fine, just focused, I guess.

That brings us to Episode 4: Back to School. Now this is a successful challenge. A bunch of kids are in the studio, hanging around their precocious kid art when the contestants are led in. Shock and awe follow as each artists confronts an underage kid artist. The challenge: make a work of art based on the kid art, but make it gallery ready. The winning piece will be auctioned by mentor Simon de Pury with proceeds going to a city art program. Whoo! Kid art!

Confronted by earnest, imaginative little people, the artists are galvanized into action. Sarah makes a clever shadowbox whose figures dance around with the aid of a hidden light and fan. As in all the previous weeks, she's deemed safe so we barely get to see her work or story or anything. Her biggest narrative thread is laughing hysterically at Young, who's jumping around in front of a camera in his underwear (based on his portfolio, he does this quite a bit), to prep for his birdman piece, based on a colorful bird mobile. He's safe.

Sucklord is touchingly hopeful that his tree-sculpture of secret worlds piece will live up to his artist's tree drawing. It doesn't. It starts out well, but ends up a last-minute mess. He tried. Judge Jerry Saltz promises to go "medievel" on Sucklord if he finds him working with Star Wars figurines again. What a strange battle that would be. Sucklord mentally crosses off George Lucas figures from his roster of toy muses.

Lola is spooked by mentor Simon de Pury's criticism of her doodly flower/mountain drawing, and she ends up making an even bigger mess than Sucklord. Flowery, scribbles over flower photos. Somehow she's safe. Also spooked by a de Pury brow furrow during mentor-time, Michelle alters her swan with bloody poked-out eyeballs paper sculpture (based on a simple drawing of eyes) to a very weird, fairy-tale-like sculpture of an ogre-like creature, peeking out from some kind of greenery shapes. She's so odd. I like her ability to fold paper many times over.

Dusty is on top with an interactive door-hinged wall hanging that acts as a visual biography of his young artist. Dusty can really build stuff. I admire that. And he's a fifth-grade art teacher, so he taps into child art immediately. But he doesn't win. Kymia clinches with a detailed pen-and-ink portrait of a dead girl on a beach, covered in birds (I think that's what it is--hard to see and impossible to read on the Bravo site, probably due to copyright issues), with a little carrot sticking out of her mouth. What? You had to be there. Her young artist gave her a still life of a carrot on a beach and Kymia kept probing until her artist gave up a crazy imaginative story about the girl who ate everything in sight and died. That was clever of Kymia, who had so little to work with initially. She can obviously draw extremely well. Kudos.

Bottom three: Sara has a major emotional breakdown as she recounts her parents' divorce when she was ten years old. She nearly forgets her young artist's exuberant, large-scale word-stamped color piece (with its emphasis on her favorite word, "Chocolate"), and goes for a tiny triptych, outlining the affair, "divorse," and subsequent love child that followed. The judges are visibly disturbed by her crying jag during critique. Judge Bill Powers suggests they bypass the content of her art and go for the style instead. That was a good idea. Guest judge and executive producer of the show, Sarah Jessica Parker, wonders why Sara didn't just make a piece of art based on the ten-year-old she wishes she could have been. That is such an actressy way of looking at things, isn't it?

Tewz is called on the floor for his crumbly concrete "GROW" letters with green plant-like shoots sticking through the cracks. He wants to show how living things manage to thrive, even in city concrete, but the judges are like, "eh." Sucklord gives an impassioned speech, saying Tewz's work has balls. But the judges are all, "Naaah." Maybe if he had made a concrete sculpture, rather than those literal "GROW" letters, the judges would have thought his work had balls. He only had a drawing of a radish on a sidewalk to work from. That must have been tough. Jerry Saltz calls him on his lack of imagination and that's that. No more Tewz.

And now for this week's Work-of-Art-inspiration artwork. I made this last year with an unfinished drawing my kid had discarded. I painted it and added his handwriting, using primitive transfer techniques, and here 'tis. I find it inspiring, though why, I can't say. I think because I helped him like something he had tossed, by simply adding to it until it became something new. When he saw the finished work he said, "I didn't know I could draw that well."

Next week: What could be more inspirational? That's right, newspapers!