8.31.2017

Survivor's Guilt

Hurricane Harvey, as in Harvey Pekar.
As I settled in that Friday night I understood that this weekend would be serious rain event. And while I anticipated serious flooding all over town I never imagined it would get this bad, a storm a million times more curmudgeonly than the main man himself.
It started on Wednesday with word of rainy weekend. "A storm is brewing in the Gulf," everybody spoke of at home and work. We gassed up the cars, made one last trip to the store for some bare essentials and hunkered down for a mind-melting 4 day weekend. The constant pitter-pattering of the incessant rain, the infinitely grey sky with no sun and the claustrophobic confines of the house secretly drove you nuts. Meanwhile as the weekend went on the constant bombardment of bad news coupled with an immense feeling of helplessness was enough to leave you emotionally exhausted in a few hours. And I know what I'm describing really ain't shit compared to those who have lost it all. I'm not trying to downplay their experience like mine is just as bad or anything. But here's how it looked on my side of town.

Saturday, Brays Bayou is on the rise.


Sunday the bayou peaked.


I think my lens was smudgy from all the moisture. keep in mind it was drizzling even in this shot. that's why these shots look washed out.

past those submerged shrubs and trees is Old Spanish Trail or OST, aka Rt. 90.

water almost touching Lidstone Bridge.

Facing north, downtown center right, with UH Central on the left.

 The water got high in the streets but never made it halfway up the drive way. My studio is the lowest lying room of the house and it's up front, so I was a little worried for a night or two that water would rise high enough to seep in. But alas, this neighborhood and the other surrounding areas drain out pretty well so flooding was kept mostly to the streets.
Over the last few days I have since gone back to work, but much of the city is still underwater. Various neighborhoods built on flood plains around the great reservoirs to the west (yes, that's right: built on the flood plain) are still underwater and have evacuated because it's still getting worse. While a lotta people have been displaced and have lost a great deal, if not everything, there has been a steady outpouring of help and aid in the form of citizens helping citizens and that has left me blown away. 
If you are interested in helping in any way there are numerous local organizations handling donations, contributions, and accepting volunteers to help out. I'm not saying don't give to the Red Cross, but there are other local organizations that could use money and will see to its utilization in a swifter, more efficient way so consider that when donating. A friend and local artist David Anderson has gone thru an ordeal so if you want to help a working artist get back on his feet you can help here. Another comic-making pal effected by the storm, James Roberts, could also use a hand here.

Harvey is gonna be a game changer in the real estate market: does this place flood, like Harvey flood?

Houston will never be same, and it'll be some time before it fully pulls itself back together. But if the people here are any indication of our strength there won't be any shortage of actuation and volition.

Now we just need to have some serious discussions about where and how to rebuild.

8.29.2017

Location x 3

Here's an unpublished Window Unit from seven years ago. It speaks of Arizona when shit was heating up about Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his stance on illegal immigrants. So weird, I thought I threw this up. But it seems only fitting to post this now since Arpaio was in the news once more receiving a Presidential pardon. Bigots enabling bigots.
This is something I actual considered, as a kid, when I really saw this graffiti in my neighborhood.
As I write this I just realized that this comic is similar to other "contraversial comics" I've seen floating around the interweb as of late, comics that lampoon racists in other places. Here's what I'm talking about, and these two comics also deal the Harvey flooding that's been happening here in Houston. I'll have a post on that next.

oOoOoOh Edgy! of course this is translated from French, below.
how the letters originally looked, cuz I love how letters look.

a pulled cartoon, gotta love it!

I love comics and cartoons that walk the edge or are just downright distasteful. Seems these cartoons have been drawing all kinds of criticisms, if not for the depictions of stereotypical racists in other parts of the world, then for the insensitivity to people who lost a lot in the recent flood. Agree with them? Well, not exactly. I do understand they are making broad generalizations of the people that live here, stereotypes, if you will. And while Texas is not certified Nazi-free I'd like to think it's a very small percentage of people here, especially in the Houston metropolitan area where the flooding has hit the hardest. A lotta people don't understand that Houston is a very diverse city, even more so than New York, and for the 2016 elections Harris County went Blue in a deep sea of Red. So, yes, broad generalizations all around. Although, this latter 'toon with the silly secessionist redneck, that seems like it can and, who knows, maybe it actually happened. What makes the news about Texas, our conservative leaders and policies, don't necessarily reflect most of the people that live here in Houston, but it's what other cartoonists go by. It's like what I did with my cartoon above. 
But I dig'em even if they are going for shock value. And people's reactions to them, priceless.  That's what it's all for, the reactions. Roust some people out of their bubble a little bit. Perhaps remind them to find the humor in the direst of situations, if possible.
So, let's continue to make art even if it may come out shocking, insensitive or offensive. Who are we protecting if we don't?