• Music has no fans like punk fans. Richard Hell designed a T-shirt with a bull’s-eye target and the words “Please kill me” on it. Richard Lloyd, lead guitarist of the punk group Television, once wore the T-shirt. Some wild-eyed punk fans saw the T-shirt and told him, “If that’s what you want, we’ll be happy to oblige because we’re such big fans!” Immediately, Mr. Lloyd thought, “I am NOT wearing this shirt again.”
• Dahlia Messick wanted to be a cartoonist, but she noticed that when she took her artwork around to the studios that the male decision-makers would only briefly look at her artwork but would ask her out to lunch. Therefore, she adopted the gender-neutral name Dale Messick and started mailing her artwork to studios. Eventually, she created the very successful comic strip Brenda Starr, Reporter.
• In 1969, Charlie Brown and Snoopy became the mascots of the Apollo 10 Lunar exploration crew. The lunar module received the nickname “Snoopy,” and the command module received the nickname “Charlie Brown.” When the lunar module and the command module had redocked, the astronauts reported to Mission Control, “Snoopy and Charlie Brown are hugging each other.”
• Magazines aren’t always totally honest about who writes for them. For example, early in its history, Ms.magazine published a comic strip titled Mary Selfworth. Supposedly, the comic strip was written and drawn by Vincenza Colletta; however, the real writer and drawer was a Marvel cartoonist named Vincent Colletta.
• Neysa McMein was a painter whose career went nowhere when she painted under her real name, Marjorie Moran McMein. After she changed her name to the one suggested by a numerologist, she became successful.
• Many Impressionist artists painted landscapes outdoors, but Edgar Degas preferred to paint indoor scenes of entertainers such as ballet dancers or singers. A landscape artist once asked him whether such subjects were suitable for art, and Mr. Degas replied, “For you, natural life is necessary; for me, artificial life.” (Actually, Mr. Degas disliked painters who worked outdoors. He once said, “If I were in the government, I would have a brigade of policemen assigned to keeping an eye on people who paint landscapes outdoors. Oh, I wouldn’t want anyone killed. I’d be satisfied with just a few buckshot to begin with.”)
• Cathy Guisewite, the creator of the comic strip Cathy, keeps an 8-Ball — one of those contraptions that answers questions with “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” and so on — in her office. She says that although it doesn’t make decisions for her, “It’s good to get a second opinion.”
• Mexican artist Diego Rivera well remembered the first time he saw a painting by Paul Cézanne. While in Paris, Mr. Rivera passed a gallery that had a painting by Mr. Cézanne displayed in a window. Mr. Rivera looked at the painting for one hour, then for another hour. The owner of the gallery saw Mr. Rivera looking at the painting, so he put a different painting by Mr. Cézanne on display in the window. Mr. Rivera looked at that painting for hours, so the art gallery owner placed a third painting by Mr. Cézanne on display. Mr. Rivera was still looking at the painting when closing time for the gallery came, so the owner then placed several paintings by Mr. Cézanne in the window and went home. Mr. Rivera stayed yet longer to look at the paintings, getting soaked in a rainstorm. When he went home, he was feverish, and visions of paintings by Mr. Cézanne kept running through his head. Some of the paintings were real; some were imaginary.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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