Failey McFailpants. And life drawing.

First, I have a cold. My nose is polished like an apple from all the tissue-rubbage. Then, you know that big thing I working on for work, all day every day for what seems like forever (about 100 days, in reality)? We didn’t get the project. And last night, I was working on the Rubenstein D’Grumples piece and I think I’m going to have to scrap the complicated frame thing that I worked on for twelvityteen hours. I’ll blog about that later. All in all, a week/weekend filled with FAIL. Which is disappointing. However, during New Year’s weekend, because of work I canceled all my plans to have fun with people – except one. I had found a list of inexpensive things to do in the city, and one was to draw burlesque dancers, life-drawing-style, for ten dollars. So, sure enough, on January 2nd, I headed down to the Slipper Room on the Lower East Side and attended Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art Class. I figured it was only ten bucks and one of two things could happen: it could be a not-very-good drawing class and I could have a cool story to tell later, or it could be great drawing class and I could have some drawings come out of it. It turned out to be a bit of both. A little back history first. I have been taking life drawings on and off for almost twenty years, and I love taking classes. The human body never gets old, and you always come out better than you went in. You improve at drawing hands, or you have a more fluid line, or you can increase your ability to define shadows, etc. Here are some drawings from some of my previous classes.

drawing6 drawing12 drawing21

See? I tried different things with each of those drawings, and in turn I got more gooder at drawin’. Back to the class: I trekked down to The Slipper Room and went in, where I was greeted by a person in a full-body chicken suit (of course! Why the hell not?). The chicken held up a small placard which said, “Welcome! if you are not on the list, it will be $12.” I spoke directly into the chicken’s mouth and informed it that I was on the list. After the chicken found my name, it picked up a second placard that said, “Thank you! Please take a seat anywhere.” (It was an extremely courteous chicken.) I found a seat up near the front where the stage was and proceeded to chat with the girl next to me who was a chemist and had worked for a soy sauce company. The place filled up pretty fast with a plethora of youthful hipsters (I wanted to yell at all of them, “Wash you hair! Pull it out of your eyes! Hey, you ever heard of doing laundry? Look into it!” I am old). Then the people in charge came up on the stage. Apparently there is a theme to every Anti-Art Class, and this one was Disco Bloodbath. For those of you who weren’t keeping up with your New York gossip in the mid ’90s, here’s a short history. There was a club kid named Michael Alig and he threw parties at major clubs in the city. He got into a dispute over money with his drug dealer Angel Melendez, so in a drug haze Alig whacked Angel in the head with a hammer, injected Drano into his veins, and put him in a tub full of ice. A few days later, Alig lopped Angel’s legs off and tossed him in the Hudson. Alig then proceeded to tell this story to EVERYONE HE KNEW, and no one turned him in. It took a while for him to go to prison (where he is now). His club friend James St. James wrote a book about the whole thing called Disco Bloodbath. And Macauley Culkin restarted his career starring as Michael Alig in the movie Party Monster. So that being the theme, the hosts of this event were dressed as characters from this sordid tale, and the model had props such as a hammer, a bottle of Drano, a comically large fake syringe, and a skull. The model was spectacular. Her name is Madame Rosebud, and really, she was the best model I’ve ever drawn. She looks like this.


But she had her hair all spiked up on her head, and she was covered in strips of black and white electrician’s tape (which was very irksome to an old-school life drawer such as m’self; I couldn’t define her edges). She did the standard ten one-minute poses, then five-minute poses, then three twenty-minute poses. And she worked HARD. In one of her five-minute poses she had her tongue out, and she didn’t even drool all over herself. And in one of her twenty-minute poses, she had her arm straight out. For twenty minutes. That hurts so, so much. I tipped her a whole bunch, I was so blown away. I got three good drawings out of the experience. These are two five-minute ones.


And this is the twenty-minute one where she had her arm out. Two things: that is not armpit hair, I had just started to incorporate shadows when the pose ended, and that’s as far as I had gotten. And I learned that when a slim model with spiked hair and no bosoms poses for you, your drawings predominantly look like AstroBoy.


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