I confess I rarely give Christmas presents, but not out of humbuggery or otherwise grouchiness; it’s just not an adhered-to tradition amongst my friends (none of us have much dough anyway, and food and booze shared for Xmas and/or any other reason always reigns supreme). Of course, the exception is my friends B and D who have for years always provided a Christmas experience that leaves Andy Williams in the dust. B makes the rounds Christmas morning and drops off bottles of delicious Port to all of his friends while D works her unparalleled magic in the kitchen. The lucky ones wind up at their house in the evening imbibing in said magic and gifts are exchanged. (Their parties, regardless of the holiday, are legendary).
The night before one such Christmas (In, I think, 2004), I panicked, empty handed, knowing I wanted to do something really excellent for them. Instead, I did what I was capable of, and made them a book about their beloved cat, Van Veen (nick-named Vanny). As you can see, I’m neither a poet nor a painter, but I love butchering both professions,especially if it produces a laugh. Luckily, B and D loved the book so much that they kept it and I got to photograph last week. This was a terrific compliment to me, I must say, because they have so much creativity and talent, that there’s a visible forcefield surrounding their house…Seriously, the fact that they liked the book so much had me over the moon…….
As long as we’re sharing our paintings here on the AWMOK, I’d thought I’d share this….The book pages are cut up cardboard (a duraflame box) wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. The paintings are poster paint (only 99 cents for almost a liter!) on 8.5 x 11 inch construction paper and everything is held together with 2 ribbons. High class, I know…….
Here’s what it looks like open….I’ll not include all the narration pages for the sake of space; I’ll just narrate above the photo.
Twas the night before Christmas at King Vanny’s Place. He was lounging quite comfortably washing his face. (He’s on a Mies Van Rohe Daybed)
His Mommy was preparing a great Christmas Feast. His Daddy was watching a cool Ape-Like Space Beast.
Then his Mommy and Daddy went off to their bed, while Vanny stayed up to watch informercials and shed. And just as Sally Struthers was selling a torch, Vanny heard stomping and cursing on the porch….
“Santa!”, cried Vanny, “Holy crap! Jumpin’ Jimmney!” “Hey, Vanny, ” said Santa, “Where the Hell’s the damn chimney!?” “Sorry!!!”, said Vanny, “But as long as you’re here, come on inside and I’ll pour you a beer!” “Might as well”, said Santa, “since you’ve already seen me”. “By the way”, said Vanny, “what did you bring me!?”
“Well”, said Santa, “what would you fancy? A tall dancing girl or a Queen named Sweet Nancy?”
“Or perhaps, King Vanny, you’d be terribly keen to be the brave captain of your own submarine?”
“Well, actually, ” said Vanny with a slight sheepish smile, “what I’d really like is some catnip that would last me awhile”. “NO PROBLEM!!!” said Santa, “I have some right here! I keep it quite handy cause it chills out my deer!”
So Santa and Vanny spread some good cheer…And rolled in some catnip and guzzled some beer….
And forgot altogether about Santa’s poor deer…
Then early next morning, Vanny’s Mommy did shout, “Bob! Your damn drunken friends are still here passed out!” “For once”, Bob said, “this friend isn’t mine! Why it looks like Santa has had too much wine!”
So Bob woke up his deer and loaded his sleigh, and called out as they all flew away….”Take it easy boys, he’s hung over today!”
(Bart was their unforgivably neglected neighbor’s cat. He chose B and D and they made his life better than anything he, or any kitty could have hoped for)
Oh yeah, I would like to state publicly, since there has been debate as to the portrayal of the beautiful D’s legs: D has beautifully sculpted, thin, lovely legs that were misrepresented here due to the fact that cheap white poster paint is so thin that all colors show through it.I had to add cornstarch (the hairdresser’s friend!) to it for the white to even be slightly opaque, hence the oversized go-go boots. The paint flagrantly sabotaged my artistic interpretation of a pair of exquisite gams, and for this I am truly sorry. B’s legs, on the other hand, really look like that.
I LOVE the cover photo of Vanny. If Bubbles the artist were in the room now she would be most jealous of your technique. The paws painted directly on the body are too much!
Vanny is so lucky to get to sleep on a stylish Mies van der Rohe daybed.
Daddy lying on the ground watching TV really makes me feel like Bubbles snuck up north to paint him. I swear to God, that’s exactly how she would draw the bottom part of the body. Mom’s Ugggs-like legs are also exceptional.
Once again, the rendering of Vanny’s body is kitsch perfection. The back paws never break character.
I like anything with Sally Struthers in it.
Excellent that the beer pouring Vanny is larger than Santa. And I really like the bib the reindeer is wearing. I guess that’s in case he drools his beer.
When I first started to sing and write songs, my hair was shaped in a pyramid exactly like Sweet Nancy’s. I was chosen along with Bette Midler to have my hair done free for a year at Bergdorf Goodman. We both had orange hair and looked like we had just come back from Egypt.
I like the pickle submarine.
Santa looks completely stoned. I don’t think he rolled in some catnip although he may have rolled catnip into something else. Actually, your Santa looks very similar to the Cheese Ball Santa in my post yesterday: https://www.alleewillis.com/awmok/kitschenette/2011/01/02/allee-willis-kitsch-o-the-day-‚Äì-happy-fake-jan-day-celebrate-with-a-wonderful-cheese-ball/
I really like Vanny in repose in the 6th to last photo. Now all four paws look like they’re painted on his body and I’m afraid to say what his tail looks like.
I’d like to think that Santa, mom and dad are dancing to ‚ÄúNeutron Dance”.
I’m hung over just having read the book!
EXCELLENT WORK! You definitely need to start painting. I’m serious.
Wow! The Classique!!! Thanks, Queen of Kitsch!!!!!!! I”m so glad you like this.I used to love painting,collage, dioramas, drawing stick figure comics etc but wound up working so much that I never had time for it! These days I do have time when I have the energy, so I’m very slowly trying set up some way to access my craft crap etc….Been making sock monkeys lately when I don’t feel well just to feel like I’m doing SOMETHING…Maybe I’ll post another collage or two…..I don’t really show them to anyone, but hey some are hanging on my walls, AND I’t s the AWMOK…So I don’t know why I’m shy about it!
PUH-LEASE post pics of you and Bette Midler with your fancy Bergdorf do’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man, the Fake Jan day and the appearance of Susan Olsen on the AWMOK has blown my mind……The magic of the AWMOK continues to spread across the planet like pillowy layers of Fluff……
Absolutely post more of your work here at AWMOK!
I don’t think I have any photos of Bette and I in the same photo from back in the day though I have a lot of photos of us individually. I know where they are but don’t have any of them posted. I did post a couple of us recently in my blog though: https://www.alleewillis.com/blog/2010/09/29/allee-willis-kitsch-o-the-day-soap-tunes-musical-hand-soap/
This is classic and too much to boot! Great! And please post more. I like Vanny rollin in the catnip. Have known many felines like him that just can’t get enough, to the point where the whole head will go in the jar after it.
WONDERFUL post…Sweet, funny, and creative..
I’m knocked out…just love this…so creative!!
The cover is to die for…Vanny’s sweet smile let’s you know you’re in for something special..
Love the fab Christmas gift wrap pages…
I LOVE the Mies van der Rhoe daybead…a “White” one non the less…perfect Vanny contrast!!..
In Photo #12…does Santa have X’s for eyes???…LOL..
Poor Santa…doesn’t have what it takes to party with Vanny!!!…
What a resourceful folk artist you are, with a great eye for design!
What a wonderful and thoughtful gift! It is so sweet and I love the story and illustrations.
Hahaha! Thanks guys! You are all too kind!!!!