Ghosts Of Elections Past

During the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Dan O’Neill gathered a group of cartoonists and other disreputable types to accompany Warren Hinckle’s ongoing coverage of the goings on behind the scenes. The following is a sample of Hinckle’s column and cartoons by Gary Hallgren, Dan O’Neill, Bill Plympton, and now-deceased ink slingers Phil Frank and Spain…

In convention headquarters above the Mitchell Brothers theater the early morning calm is broken by the sound of zippers.

Across the hall are the girls’ undressing rooms. Downstairs the strippers strut in splendor. O’Neill is bent over his drawing board, utterly unaware of his surroundings, scratching away like a dog with permanent fleas. He scratches his head under the hat he never removes; it is a hat that has its own showercap for the shower.

The club room above the Mitchell Brothers sex palace has been turned into a cartoonist’s cityroom. To these unlikely surroundings, O’Neill has called the greatest scribblers out of the hills to cover the Democratic convention.

The room is stocked with booze and food and other conveniences to elevate the mind. The old members of the Air Pirates, the comic book gonzo artists who made ribald a generation, arrive like the Magnificent Seven showing up for a last roll in the hay -the great Victor Moscoso, Ted (One Hundred Year Old Hippie) Richards, R. (Keep On Truckin’) Crumb, S. Clay Wilson…

I asked O’Neill why he brought such a collection of talent to work atop a porno palace. “It’s the only place in town with enough silly putty,” O’Neill said.

Chron Wild Dogs II749

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Trouble In Terazzo Town

Looks like the gloves have come off in our little burg’s battle over Terazzo lighting. Former mayor Reinette Senum publicly called out former mayor/planning commissioner Laurie Oberholtzer on Facebook last night, accusing her of pulling strings to bring the lights down.

It brought tears to the eyes of this old cartoonist. I spent many an evening at Nevada City Planning Commission meetings chronicling the abuses of that body on the fair citizens of Nevada City. While my cartoons shed some light on the torture chamber, it did little to actually change the policies that governed the hysterical district.

How to be a Plan Com754Twelve years later, it appears that Ms. Oberholzter still has her fingers in the pie, despite being officially “retired” from municipal politics. The lights, and especially the boardwalk, have been burrs under the saddle of the Good Old Persons for the last few years. They see it as an erosion of the standards set by the original ordinance back in the nineteen sixties, which they claim can result in the town losing its favored status.

Planning Com755

Yeah, well, life goes on, and change happens. Nevada City was never meant to be a museum. The challenges of the young new century demand new ideas if we want to keep the tourists coming. No one wants to see the town turned into a glorified mall, and everyone appreciates the efforts of Laurie, Conley Weaver and others to keep the gaslights burning, but we could really use an infusion of creativity. There are too many empty storefronts on Broad Street these days.

I wouldn’t put all of the blame on city policies, though. I still maintain that Sacramento is the biggest culprit holding us back. But one battle at a time…

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Animal Farm: The Musical

Political animals068Are Americans fed up with the BS from the usual suspects? In Kansas, an independent is giving an incumbent Republican Senator a real run for his money. Neo-libertarian/Republican Rand Paul is making inroads with minority and younger voters. In California, the Republican brand is in danger of becoming the third party behind Democrats and independents. The far left is threatening to challenge the Clinton juggernaut in 2016.

Whichever party wins the midterm madness will be on the hotseat to perform. Given that neither will be able to override or give in to the other, forward movement seems unlikely. Considering the price of a ticket to this gig, the public deserves to see a ballet, not a slam-dance.

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Another Opportunity Up in Smoke

According to comments on Facebook, the proposed pot grower sitcom, Grass Valley, will not be called Grass Valley and will not be set in Nevada County, to the relief of some and the dismay of others. We have tuned in, turned on and dropped out.

Mister Wilson

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Debatable (Updated 11:30am)

Weed013I attended the Measure “S” debate held by the League of Women Voters last night. Turn out was sparse. The disappointing numbers may be traced to several factors…

a)  The Giants/Cardinals game

b) Growers busy with harvest/trimming

c) Growers/users paranoia of being profiled by Sheriffs at Rood Center.

d) Guarding campaign signs from opposition thieves

e) Just forgot

Take your pick. And don’t forget to vote!!

Marijuana PosterUPDATE: In my previous post, “The ‘S’ Mess”, I mentioned a poster I saw in Atlanta, Georgia back in 1972. This is it, although my failing memory remembered it with a Mary J leaf instead of the big “A”.

And wonder of wonders…Jeff P. is reporting that there is a movie being made about our local drug culture called (of all things) GRASS VALLEY!!! (see comments for link.)

It will be interesting to see how the tourist industry/ERC  plays this one!


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Our Aging Population

Aging Population736

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Sugar Magnolia

Back in the nineties, Kitchen Sink Press made a deal with the Grateful Dead to produce a color comic book chronicling their music and adventures. It seemed like a natural fit, given that Dead art was a big part of the “experience.” So I was thrilled when editor Dave Schreiner tracked me down in a garage in suburban Washington and asked me if I wanted to contribute. I was even more excited when he sent me the list of songs that had yet to be spoken for and I saw that Sugar Magnolia was available. Here are a few pages of my effort. (Color by Marcus David.)

Sugar Magnolia722 Sugar Mag II723Unfortunately, there was a snag in the new arrangement. Kitchen Sink had planned on making most of their sales at Dead concerts, but for some reason it was not allowed. The series ended after six issues. I’m still glad I got to be a part of the Grateful Dead legacy.

Posted in Culture, History | 4 Comments

Brit Journalism 101

Muslim Spiders

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Trees Again

Duplex Planet is a magazine consisting of stories from the residents of nursing homes in New York state transcribed by David Greenberger. Some of the stories are whimsical, some are sad, all are a glimpse into a world that is fast disappearing. In the early 90’s, Fantagraphics Books did a series of comics illustrating some of those stories and I was privileged to be included…

Trees Again725

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Night Of The Blood Moon


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