Monday, August 24, 2015


More sketches of my novel's characters..


Sunday, August 23, 2015


I'm doing the second draft of my novel, and am sad I will have to say good-bye to its characters eventually. They are parts of my heart. But a sequel would be superficial. It's not like a comic book series; there is no turning back.


The waiter returned with the drinks. Alice downed hers as soon as it came.
Wheezy’s eyes widened. “Christ, kid, you can gulp it down!!”
With a steely eyed smirk, Alice mashed her cigarette in the tray. “That’s not all I can gulp down, Uncle Wheezy. Watch.”
To Wheezy’s astonishment. Alice sank beneath the tablecloth.


Friday, August 14, 2015


Drawn today: Some characters from THAT'S SHOW BIZ, my novel. (Previews below!)



Thursday, August 13, 2015


The following is the final section I will be posting of my novel's first draft. Titled "That's Show Biz", it centers on the crew at The Candl Club, a cafe/strip club on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the mid-late 1950s.

Stripper Sugar Red tells Paul, an ex-lover, of her problems with Wheezy Gibson, an abusive comedian who's bullied his way into living in Red's home. Paul speaks first:

“So what keeps you from telling him to go fuck himself?”
“Laziness, I guess. And fear.”
“He beats me, Paul. We beat each other. I thought that hitting him back would make him back off, but he actually seems to enjoy it! I’ve tried to break with him/kick him out of here, but he’s threatening and I’m scared. I’m bigger than he is, but I just don’t feel the confidence any more/now. Every time I feel like I’m breaking out of that shell, he puts me down and makes me feel ashamed and ridiculous. And I buy it; I don’t know what it is; but I feel hurt. So hurt…”
Paul started to understand.
“He always reminds me that I’m just a goddamn stripper. Even if I snap my fingers to music, he’s said, ‘Save it for the act, slut.’ And laughs at me! He just doesn’t want me to be happy at all. And he’s got all this stuff here, and I feel trapped just by the clutter. When I’m out of the club, it’s hard just to get up from the television set. I mean it’s hard for me to move, Paul. I’m so depressed. He’s doing that on purpose, and it’s killing me anyway. That’s a part that makes me hate myself. He’s doing it to me, I KNOW IT, and I can’t get up the energy/will to break away.”
Paul didn’t know what to say. A thought clouded his mind: Is she begging me to take her away from it all? What have I got? An apartment with my mother in it. And why the hell should Red leave her own home because of Wheezy? How can I help? What am I going to do?? 


Monday, August 10, 2015


The following is another section of my novel's first draft. Titled "That's Show Biz", it centers on the crew at The Candl Club, a cafe/strip club on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the mid-late 1950s. This almost immediately follows the incidents in PREVIEW #2.

In the earlier part of the evening Sugar Red, a stripper at the club, was physically abused, as was the habit of Wheezy Gibson, a club comic who has forced his way into her home as a live-in lover. Afterwards, they left to perform at the club as usual, and arrive back at Red's place at about 2:30 am...

After they got back to Red’s, Wheezy hit the pillow and was snoring immediately. The night was pitch black but for the moonlight shining in through the picture window. Red felt so tense with anger, she imagined hearing blood hissing within her head.
What have I got to lose? Nothing.
Something within her snapped. Suddenly, she felt calm. She walked into the kitchen and, as silently as she could, picked her way through the silverware until she came upon the biggest, sharpest steak knife she owned. She took care pulling it out, not allowing the steak knife to clang against any of the other utensils. She left the drawer open behind her. She couldn’t waste any time on that. Red slithered down the hall, holding the knife in one fist, guiding herself along the wall with the other hand. Only the chirping of the crickets in her little garden could be heard. She walked into the bedroom. She approached the bed, raising the knife slowly as she approached. There was just a split second for her to see the bed was empty before Wheezy’s arms wound around her from behind. He grabbed the wrist with the weapon and squeezed and twisted it. But Red had been pushed over the edge. With her other hand, she raked her nails down Wheezy’s face; down his eyes.
Wheezy squeaked/yelped, jerking his hands to his face. Released, Red lunged into Wheezy with the knife. She raked it against his stomach. This time he squealed like a pig, and doubled back into the wall, knocking the lamp and clock from the night stand. “You BITCH!!” Hunched before him, Red’s teeth were bared. Her nostrils flared. She was actually snorting like a beast. Her eyes were red rimmed and wide. Now, gripping his wound, it was Wheezy who was trembling. He could only whisper, “no…don’t…” before Red sprang at him again. They hit the wall and tumbled over each other, the fight now confined to that tiny corner of the bedroom. Red got confused in the darkness. Her eyes flashed around as she tried to get oriented. And sure enough, Wheezy’s fist connected full in her face.
Once again, Red lay huddled on the floor as Wheezy rose to his feet. He was about to give the stripper a good kick in the stomach when he remembered…and saw his stomach wound. He sprang to the bedroom, soaked the wound with a warm washcloth, and applied every substance in the medicine cabinet, grimacing under the sting of the medicines far more than the wound itself. He tied one of Red’s monogrammed towels around his midsection. Then he staggered into the bedroom and fell on the bed. Again, he snored almost immediately.
Red woke with a start as soon as daylight came. She lifted herself from the floor into a kneeling position, and saw Wheezy lying on his stomach, snoring loudly.
Jeez, I didn’t kill him, she thought.
Red was comforted, if only by the fact that she had less chance to be sent to prison. But how much less chance? She tugged Wheezy onto his back, and carefully untied the towel from around his midsection. Thank God, it appeared to be a surface wound, the blood congealed.
Red plodded into the kitchen and sat at the table. All the mess, the bottles and glasses and poker chips, lay scattered in a puddle of beer on the floor. Now what would happen? Another fight with Wheezy, a knock down drag out for all eternity? Red was merely annoyed by the thought of it. Just more of the same; more of the shit her life had turned into. She pouted and sulked as a dull eyed Wheezy entered the room in his bathrobe. Leaning against the doorjamb and clutching his midsection, he said, “Listen, baby; I think it best that we don’t mention last night to anyone. O.K.?”
“O.K.”, agreed Red.


Sunday, August 9, 2015


The following is another section of my novel's first draft. Titled "That's Show Biz", it centers on the crew at The Candl Club, a cafe/strip club on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the mid-late 1950s.

Wheezy Gibson, an unpleasant and married comedian, intimidates his way into becoming the live-in lover of Sugar Red, a stripper at the club.

The time Wheezy didn’t owe to Wifey was spent at Red’s home. Sometimes he’d take her out on the town to shrill night clubs and casinos to show off “what he had”. He installed a new set of weights in the house, and would work out a few times a week. Outside of performing, this was all the pair did aside from fucking or just laying around the house. Paul would lie on the bed, sloppy and shirtless, watching Red’s television, eating snacks. And he’d spend the rest of the time making sure Red was as miserable as he was.
If Red was caught in a spontaneous dance around the room, Wheezy would crack something like, “What are you, DANCING? Hang it up, baby. You’re not in dance school any more. You’re a STRIPPER and nothing else.” He’d invariably switch the radio to some sports broadcast, and let Red suck on it. Red’s playing her own jazz records was out. Keeping her house ice cold? Forget it. Wheezy would turn the heat up too high and let her squirm. Even if Red went out to water the plants, there would be interrogations and putdowns.
“You’ll do as I tell you! Do you understand?? YOU’LL DO AS I TELL YOU!!”
He started inviting his unwholesome friends over to loaf. Men managing to make their expensive/tailored suits look sleazy; men who had the looks of being connected to “the mob”. They’d show each other their guns and discuss their virtues. Or they’d play poker, Wheezy looking proud as Red emptied ashtrays. Sometimes he’d slap her on the butt, and didn’t protest when his friends began doing it too. What’s a stripper’s ass between friends? Once in a while, Wheezy would turn to her and say, “And listen, babe. Keep your mouth shut.” And the guys around the table would nudge one another, harshly cackling over their inside joke.
One night of this, Red revolted; she hurled a tray of beers at the group. Oh, they just couldn’t believe it. Why on earth did she do that?  Open mouthed and crosseyed with confusion they looked to Wheezy for protection and justice. Why did she do that, Wheezy? We just don’t understand it. Wheezy knew what he had to do. He pulled Red into the bedroom and beat the living daylights out of her, making sure the blows were loud enough to be heard by “the guys”.
Red remained on the floor, gasping and weeping. Wheezy returned to the kitchen to finish his hand. Red zoned out. What else was there to do? She just closed her eyes and checked out of Planet Earth.


Friday, August 7, 2015


A crisis hotline person told me they receive calls from artists involved with Disney all the time.


I was sketching in a waiting room, and the man next to me asked me if I worked for Disney (as everyone asked artists in the mid 1990s). I told him I had done proposal artwork for them, but that was it. He said he worked as a lawyer there.
I said, "They have more lawyers there than artists now."
He replied: "Yeah; to keep the rest of them out of jail."

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Titled "That's Show Biz", it centers on the crew at The Candl Club, a cafe/strip club on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the mid-late 1950s.

After a show, stripper Sugar Red goes backstage. She encounters Wheezy Gibson, a comic (and casual lover):

Red cleaned her pancake makeup off properly in the ladies’ room. Then, realizing she might or might not be returning for a while, she walked into her dressing room to gather a few items to bring home. To her dismay, lying on the couch was Wheezy. He smoked a cigar, had a beatific expression, and a huge exposed erection.
Red sighed and put her hands on her hips. “Alright, Wheezy, what is this??”
“Come on, Red, it’s not as if you’ve never seen it before.”
“I’ve seen it, I’ve sucked it, I’ve fucked it. But why is it out at this moment?”
Wheezy got up from the couch and ambled towards Sugar Red, his cock out and bobbing in front of him. “Oh, come on, Red. For the moment, I’m bereft of feminine company. Then I thought of you and this came up.” Wheezy grinned smugly and shrugged. “I figured we might pick up where we left off.”
Sugar Red was insulted. “So you think you can just come back and get it? Pig.”
“Out." Red jerked her thumb at the door.
Wheezy looked as self satisfied as ever. “Come on, baby. I’ll make it worth your while…”

Red eyed him resentfully. She opened her mouth to say something, then changed her mind, tilted her head and said something else. “This time you’ll pay through your fat nose, runt.”
“Of course, m’lady. Only the best for my whores.”
Red shut her eyes. “Well, I’ll see you tonight.”
Wheezy stepped forward, vaguely menacing. “Oh, no, babe. Papa wants a little action now to seal the bargain.”
Red looked in his eyes sternly. “Then Papa pay now; that’s the way I bargain.”
Wheezy took on that smug little smile, reached in his wallet, withdrew some cash and waved it in Red’s face. He snatched it away when Red reached for it. “I oughta make you bark”, he said. Red was ready to object, but Wheezy slipped the money into her hand.


Sunday, August 2, 2015


On another blog, someone posted an image of a news headline asking the question: WHY ARE MILLENNIALS STILL LIVING WITH THEIR PARENTS?

Someone answered:
Because the baby boomers destroyed the economy through deregulation & replaced all labor laws with a pic of Reagan.

Me: Better young people know it now than learn it later. Studying 100 year old animation has nothing to do with real life, PERIOD.