Happy Birthday Harpo, Boris, and Me
Today is my birthday, and I’m using this opportunity to begin this log of my adventures as an artist living in San Francisco. Living in San Francisco is an adventure for anyone these days (economically at the very least), and the possibilities for art in this town are endless.
My birthday falls on the same day as the birthdays of William Henry Pratt, more popularly known as Boris Karloff, and Adolph Arthur Marx, more popularly known as Harpo. When I found this out a few years ago, I found it to be a really interesting mix of personalities which seems to fit my view of myself. As a child, I worshiped the horror films of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, particularly those of Universal Studios, and Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr. were my heroes.
In my adult life the works of all of the Marx Brothers (particularly Duck Soup, which I think I could watch a million times) has been increadibly influential, and, as they did for Woody Allen, have gotten me through several very low times. Harpo’s face, in particular, with those wild eyes and that amazing shit-eating grin, never ceases to make my heart soar.
Together they encompas my ideal views of comedy and tragedy, laughter and horror, music and fear. The feeling of them in a surreal film-that-could-never-be and imagining them as fabulous heroes of light and darkness is what I strive for in my art… never too serious for a shit-eating grin, but always with a wild eye toward the grim.