funny / theme

Funny's a funny word: it flip-flops in its meaning, sometimes chuckling at a joke and sometimes lifting its eyebrows in its effort to grasp an oddity. It is partial to hilarity, amusement, clowning around and goofing off. Giggles, chuckles, chortles, laughs, guffaws, and snickers are more than welcome. The cutting of capers and the tickling of pink don't begin to describe the uproarious glories of funniness.

Themes represent basic categories of thought, emotion, or value. While our assignment of themes may at times seem arbitrary or whimsical, they serve to link together artists and movements along non- hierarchial pathways. Follow the themes to look for new disciplines that share qualities with those you already like, or to open up new worlds of Art and Culture.


Past Events

Faye Driscoll New York, NY, United States
31 Mar - 3 Apr
Dance Theater Workshop / details
Álvaro Oyarzún "Drawings" Paris, France
29 Jan - 19 Mar
Galerie Catherine Putman / details
Zombie In Love Alhambra, CA, United States
3 Sep - 26 Sep
Gallery Nucleus / details
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The Zombies

In a high wind the leaves fall from the trees. The zombies are standing about talking. "Beautiful day!" "Certainly is!" The zombies have come to buy wives from the people of this village, the only village around that will sell wives to zombies. "Beautiful day!" "Certainly is!" The zombies have brought many cattle. The bride price to a zombie is exactly twice that asked of an ordinary man. The cattle are also zombies and the zombies are in terror lest the people of the village understand this. These are good zombies. Gris Grue said so. They are painted white all over. Bad zombies are unpainted and weep with their noses, their nostrils spewing tears. The village chief calls the attention of the zombies to the fine brick buildings of the village, some of them one thousand bricks high -- daughters peering from the windows, green plants in some windows and, in others, daughters. "You must promise not to tell the Bishop," say the zombies, "promise not to tell the Bishop, beautiful day, certainly is." The white-painted zombies chatter madly, in the village square, in an impersonation of gaiety. "Bought a new coat!" "You did!" "Yes, bought a new coat, this coat I'm wearing, I think it's very fine!" "Oh it is, it is, yes, I think so!" The cattle kick at the chain-link fence of the corral. The kiss of a dying animal, a dying horse or dog, transforms an ordinary man into a zombie. The owner of the ice-cream shop has two daughters. The crayfish farmer has five daughters, and the captain of the soccer team, whose parents are dead, has a sister. Gris Grue is not here. He is away in another country, seeking a specific for deadly nightshade. A zombie with a rectal thermometer is creeping around in the corral, under the bellies of the large, bluish-brown animals. Someone says the Bishop has been seen riding in his car at full speed toward the village. If a bad zombie gets you, he will weep on you, or take away your whiskey, or hurt your daughter's bones. There are too many daughters in the square, in the windows of the buildings, and not enough husbands. If a bad zombie gets you, he will scratch your white paint with awls and scarifiers. The good zombies skitter and dance. "Did you see that lady? Would that lady marry me? I don't know! Oh what a pretty lady! Would that lady marry me? I don't know!" The beer distributor has set up a keg of beer in the square. The local singing teacher is singing. The zombies say: "Wonderful time! Beautiful day! Marvelous singing! Excellent beer! Would that lady marry me? I don't know!" In a high wind the leaves fall from the trees, from the trees. The zombie hero Gris Grue said: "There are good zombies and bad zombies, as there are good and bad ordinary men." Gris Grue said that many of the zombies known to him were clearly zombies of the former kind and thus eminently fit, in his judgment, to engage in trade, lead important enterprises, hold posts in the government, and participate in the mysteries of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Penance, the Eucharist, and Extreme Unction. The Bishop said no. The zombies sent many head of cattle to the Bishop. The Bishop said, everything but Ordination. If a bad zombie gets you, he will create insult in your bladder. The bad zombies banged the Bishop's car with a dead cow, at night. In the morning the Bishop had to pull the dead zombie cow from the windshield of his car, and cut his hand. Gris Grue decides who is a good zombie and who is a bad zombie; when he is away, his wife's mother decides. A zombie advances toward a group of thin blooming daughters and describes, with many motions of his hands and arms, the breakfasts they may expect in a zombie home. "Monday!" he says. "Sliced oranges boiled grits fried croakers potato croquettes radishes watercress broiled spring chicken batter cakes butter syrup and cafe au lait! Tuesday! Grapes hominy broiled tenderloin of tout steak French-fried potatoes celery fresh rolls butter and cafe au lait! Wednesday! Iced figs Wheatena porgies with sauce tartare potato chips broiled ham scrambled eggs French toast and cafe au lait! Thursday! Bananas with cream oatmeal broiled patassas fried liver with bacon poached eggs on toast waffles with syrup and cafe au lait! Friday! Strawberries with cream broiled oysters on toast celery fried perch lyonnaise potatoes cornbread with syrup and cafe au lait! Saturday! Muskmelon on ice grits stewed tripe herb omelette olives snipe on toast flannel cakes with syrup and cafe au lait!" The zombie draws a long breath. "Sunday!" he says. "Peaches and cream cracked wheat with milk broiled Spanish mackerel with sauce maitre d'hotel creamed chicken beaten biscuits broiled woodcock on English muffin rice cakes potatoes a la duchesse eggs Benedict oysters on the half shell broiled lamb chops pound cake with syrup and cafe au lait! And imported champagne!" The zombies look anxiously at the women to see if this prospect is pleasing. A houngan (zombie-maker) grasps a man by the hair and forces his lips close to those of a dying cat. If you do heavy labor for a houngan for ten years, then you are free, but still a zombie. The Bishop's car is working well. No daughter of this village has had in human memory a true husband, or anything like it. The daughters are tired of kissing each other, although some are not. The fathers of the village are tired of paying for their daughters' sewing machines, lowboys, and towels. A bald zombie says, "Oh what a pretty lady! I would be nice to her! Yes I would! I think so!" Bad zombies are leaning against the walls of the buildings, watching. Bad zombies are allowed, by law, to mate only with sheep ticks. The women do not want the zombies, but zombies are their portion. A woman says to another woman: "These guys are zombies!" "Yes," says the second woman, "I saw a handsome man, he had his picture in the paper, but he is not here." The zombie in the corral finds a temperature of one hundred and ten degrees. The villagers are beating upon huge drums with mops. The Bishop arrives in his great car with white episcopal flags flying from the right and left fenders. "Forbidden, forbidden, forbidden!" he cries. Gris Grue appears on a silver sled and places his hands over the Bishop's eyes. At the moment of sunset the couples, two by two, are wed. The corral shudders as the cattle collapse. The new wives turn to their new husbands and say: "No matter. This is what we must do. We will paste photographs of the handsome man in the photograph on your faces, when it is time to go to bed. Now let us cut the cake." The good zombies say, "You're welcome! You're very welcome! I think so! Undoubtedly!" The bad zombies place sheep ticks in the Bishop's ear. If a bad zombie gets you, he will scarify your hide with chisels and rakes. If a bad zombie gets you, he will make you walk past a beautiful breast without even noticing.


The other day I was watching TV and it occurred to me that I’ve become a prude. The show in question was innocuous enough, nothing shocking—just an episode of “Hottie Leaders,” featuring computer simulations of what various female world leaders would look like naked and in the throes of orgasm—but somehow, between that and the Pizza Hut commercial where Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson engage in some “girl-on-girl” action in a vast field of pizza sauce, something snapped. I know what the problem is: I’m old. I came of age in a simpler sexual time. Back in those ancient, prelapsarian days, “girl-on-girl” hadn’t even been invented yet. At that time, “girl-on-guy” had only recently been discovered. I remember my parents and their neighbors standing in the yard with a pair of crude human figures made of wood, trying to work out the details. Sometimes a couple would get all worked up and forget where things were supposed to go, and the husband would have to call a friend—only phones were new, too, so sometimes you’d go over to visit a pal from school and there’d be his dad, just standing there naked, phone in hand, totally flummoxed. Women could get pregnant from merely watching a kiss in a movie! Girls, or at least the “good girls,” would go to movies blindfolded. I remember once, in fourth grade, I had to get engaged to a girl whose coat I’d brushed up against in the cloakroom. Those were simpler times, but, in some ways, I think, better times. Same deal with violence. I remember how stunned we all were when the Cain-and-Abel thing happened. What, what? we kept saying. He bludgeoned his brother? With a rock? I remember the first time a severed limb was shown on TV. People were running out of their houses screaming. And it was just a fake leg, in a cartoon! Imagine how horrified those screaming people would be now, when, for example, you can log on to the “Evidence of Evil” Web site and they’ll send you a boxful of bloody prosthetics, which you can reassemble into a crack-addicted whore, who will then emit some clues through her computerized voice box—and when you think you know who murdered her you enter the name of the killer on the Web site and, if you’re right, you’ll get to see a short clip of her making love with her killer moments before he hacks her to bits while she has a flashback of her mother beating her with a chair leg. I mean, O.K., there was violence when I was a kid, sure, but nobody really talked about it. If you got strangled and dismembered, you just got up the next day whistling a happy tune and went down and did some riveting for the war effort. As for computer simulations, sorry, all we had was sketchpads and pencils. If we wanted to see what various female world leaders looked like naked in the throes of orgasm, we had to use a little thing called the imagination. Plus, all the world leaders were men back then, and, believe me, once you’ve drawn Richard Nixon naked and in the throes of orgasm you never have quite the same interest in using your imagination again, and every time you even see a pencil you get a little puky and have to sit down. Whenever I talk to young people—like some of the teen-agers in my neighborhood, or this one toddler, Maxie, or even a couple of fetuses I run into occasionally—I say to them: Trust me, guys, enjoy your youth, because the level of sex and violence is going to continue to escalate, and, by the time you’re my age, the world of your youth will seem like a distant, innocent paradise. The teen-agers and the toddler, Maxie, sometimes they seem to get it, but the fetuses—well, you know fetuses, they’re arrogant. To them, it’s always going to be a soft gentle ride in a warm comfortable space. And I’m, like, O.K., smart guy, call me in nine months and we’ll talk. Or I will! You’ll just be lying there pink and newborn, with a terrified look on your face, apologizing to me with those little shocked eyes. Things just keep getting worse. Why, I suspect that, in forty years, when I’m eighty-seven, I’ll look back at the present level of sex and violence and go: Ha! Ho-ho! You called that sex and violence? That was nothing. That was Puritanism and pacifism compared to now! But then I’ll have to go, because it will be Stripper Night at the old folks’ home, and I’ll have to find my costume and my back brace, but on the way there I’ll be killed by a mysterious old-folks’-home invader, who actually works for Fox and is committing and filming my murder for later broadcast on “When Codgers on Their Way to Strip Look Terrified.” Same with music, though, right? I used to love music, back when it had melody and chords and lyrics. But now it has no melody and no chords, just thwack-thwacking, and they even seem to be cutting back on the thwack-thwacking, so now it’s sometimes just thwa, and, as far as lyrics, do you consider these lyrics? Hump my hump, My stumpy lumpy hump! Hump my dump, you lumpy slumpy dump! I’ll dump your hump, and then just hump your dump, You lumpy frumply clump. I’m sorry. To me? Those are not lyrics. In my day, lyrics were used to express real emotion, like the emotion of being totally stoned and trying to talk this totally stoned chick into sleeping with you in the name of love, which lasted forever, if only you held on to your dreams. These kids today, I don’t know what they believe. I mean, I don’t even know what I believe anymore, but what I do not believe is that watching Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson roll around in pizza sauce is helping our youth as they go forth and try to figure out what they believe! Scientific evidence suggests that even the fetuses inside of mothers watching that commercial are getting (1) dumber and (2) little baby boners. I do not go for that. I think that when a fetus is in the womb it should just be floating around with its undersized arrogant head empty and its little nascent penis just, you know, inactive. We grow these kids up too fast, and, next thing you know, out come the Indian and the Chinese fetuses, and they start taking away the jobs of our homeland fetuses, and why? Because these foreign fetuses aren’t jaded. They’re innocent like I was, like my whole generation was, when we were fetuses, back in those long-forgotten idyllic days when American fetuses walked the earth like happy unsoiled giants, doing algebra and reading the classics. And yet I don’t like the fact that I’ve become a prude. Life expectancies being what they are, I may be only halfway through my life, and who wants to live out half one’s life as a prude? Not me. I want to live out about one-tenth of my life as a prude, that last tenth, when I’m inert and confused and immobile anyway. So I’ve decided to start prude-proofing myself via a series of daily micro-immersions in sex and violence. Last week, for example, I sat on my couch looking at a bra for over an hour. Then I forced myself to watch a video of a duck being hit by a car. Then I tried listening to the sound of the duck on the video being hit by the car, while looking at the bra. Next, I turned up the sound, while looking at a slightly sexier bra. Then I watched the duck being hit while I ran my hand over the bra. Then I had my wife put on the bra, which was a very effective technique, because as I tried to run my hand over the bra my wife nailed me with an ashtray just as the duck was hit by the car—one of the best micro-immersions in sex and violence a guy could ask for. And tonight is my biggest depruding test yet: I am going to, while hitting myself with a brick and begging my wife to walk by in her bra, watch an episode of “Dream Yer Final Dream!,” on which a contestant selected from a field of more than five thousand applicants will be granted his Final Dream, which, in this case, is to be beaten nearly to death with a tire iron so that Carmen Electra can come in naked and give him a lap dance in the last moments of his life. I have high hopes. I know I can do this. If I succeed, our whole culture will once again be open to me. And who knows? I may even go see a movie.