Friday, October 23, 2009

God, Crumb and The New York Yankees

A bunch of my friends are heading out east to see the East River String Band at the Stephen Talkhouse on Saturday night with special guests Robert Crumb and local hero Joe Lauro. I'll be staying home to watch the Yankees hopefully gain passage to the World Series. I mean, I like that old timey crap as much as the next guy, which translates into "not so much" and even I did like it more than that I would be hard pressed not be at the bar watching the game anyway - as I am sure many will be doing.

Much more interesting is Crumb's latest book, "The Book Of Genesis" an illustrated version of the first book of the Bible. I have always enjoyed Crumb's work and certainly gained a new level of fascination with both the man and his work after seeing Terry Zwigoff's biopic. But I have to admit that after flipping through the book in my local bookstore, I was at first amused (not that I was looking for laughs) and then ultimately disappointed mostly in the fact that Crumb's art has remained largely unchanged. I guess I was looking for something a bit more than just what the book's title states - and that's not truly delivered. This isn't an artist interpreting the Bible, it's someone drawing the Bible and not inserting much of himself in the process. I read in a few interviews that he "just illustrated what is there." Maybe so, but what a lost opportunity - and how incredibly boring a process for both the artist and the reader. Don't get me wrong - I was not looking for Mr. Natural to make an appearance or for Eve to look like Devil Girl - although all the women he draws pretty much look all alike. I was hoping that a project of this scope would bring some new energy into his work. In the end, all we get is what we already know - both about Genesis and Robert Crumb.