Jackie Gendel at Thomas Erben Gallery

Jackie Gendel, Polychromy and the Moving Staircase

The fall art season has officially landed in New York, bringing with it the city’s annual shortage of cheese, wine, and tight-fitting black garments. But of the seemingly endless parade of exhibitions, there is but one that demands your presence: Jackie Gendel at Thomas Erben Gallery. Gendel’s first solo show with the gallery, the exhibition features new paintings large and small, divergent in tone and style. Is there a clunker in this crew? Hell no!

Sharp-eyed readers of The Lowbrow Reader have admired Gendel’s work for years, namely her renderings of Saints Lou and Ali, both created before the subjects passed on. (Both are included in The Lowbrow Reader Reader book.) Now you get a chance to take home a Gendel original, hang it on the wall, watch as her market value soars, and sell the painting to a wealthy arts benefactor, allowing him to store it in a windowless, climate-controlled Swiss vault. Or you can simply head to Thomas Erben Gallery in Chelsea and admire the paintings. The show runs through October 29.

Musicians You Should Know

For a few years, owners of Lowbrow Reader issues #8 and #9 have known about the Musicians You Should Know series, illustrated by longtime Lowbrow contributor Mike Reddy and written by Lowbrow editor Jay Ruttenberg. But for those souls trapped in the realm of the Internet, 2016 has brought with it the Musicians’ unveiling care of http://musiciansyoushouldknow.tumblr.com. Each week, the Tumblr account introduces a new musician via a biography and portrait. Thus far, fortunate Tumblr-rs have learned of such previously unexplored artists as Peruvian panpipe master Paco Huamán, surly children’s entertainer Sweet Uncle Rick, and the Bushwick-Alford Afrobeat All-Stars, (pictured).

Quite frankly, we consider Musicians You Should Know the only relevant music source currently available. But maybe we’re biased! So take it from other, far more respectable publications that have been kind enough to cover Musicians You Should Know, including Death and Taxes and Oxford American. Or just check the stupid thing out for yourself, updated (almost) weekly at http://musiciansyoushouldknow.tumblr.com.

Fifteen INSANE Things You Must Know About Back to the Future

Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly. The actor was cast after the original Marty, Eric Stoltz, was fired.

While Michael J. Fox is Canadian, his character resides in the state of California.

Doc Brown built a time machine from a DeLorean. The DeLorean Motor Company filed for bankruptcy in 1982—three full years before the movie’s release.

One actor to turn down the role of Marty was Ralph Macchio—better known to movie fans as the Karate Kid!

We see that you continue to click your mouse, trapped in our inane grip. Admire these ads while knowing that you are powerless to cease reading.

And still, you remain.

The action in Back to the Future predates the Internet. Yet one can safely assume that none of the characters in the film—even Marty’s imbecile brother who, if you must know, works at Burger King—would squander the gift of life wading through a list such as this.

Understand that no man who has clicked this far has ever experienced a productive day of work or chore. Not just on the day he reads this, but on any day of his life. (Needless to say, no woman has ever clicked this far.) (more…)

The Howling Hex’s Denver

One of the Lowbrow Reader’s earliest contributors was Neil Michael Hagerty, whose blockbuster essay about CARtoons Magazine appeared in our very first issue, back in 2001. For better or for worse, his essay helped set the map for the idiocy that would unfold over the years. Page through our non–award-winning, non–best-selling Lowbrow Reader Reader book anthology, and discover Mr. Hagerty eloquently sounding off on a raft of funny subjects, from clowns to Wings and from Lou Reed to Don Knotts. The man is prolific, his interests catholic!

Of course, Hagerty’s main gig has long been that of mind-bending guitarist; at present, he is ripping up old Europe with his mighty band, the Howling Hex. Those not blessed with May vacations in Oslo or Aarhus, however, can still check out new sounds from the Hex. Denver, the band’s latest LP, came out last month from Drag City; hustle down to Other Music before it’s a nail salon! And check out this teaser, “Mountain,” with a video directed by Fred Armisen: deep-thinking funnyman, Stern superfan, probable workaholic. Dig it!



New Apps for the New Economy

In recent years, companies such as Uber and Airbnb have revolutionized America’s service economy. What new apps have come in their wake?

–Dialing 911 and waiting for the public fire department is for grandpa. The young and web-savvy beckon privately contracted, self-employed firefighters with the stroke of a button. Note that a surcharge applies for those fires that break out during nights, holidays, and periods of inclement weather.

–Much like Airbnb, Rent-a-Bed allows its users to rent the bedrooms of complete strangers—but only for an hour at a time. Couples who find themselves in sudden need of a private room simply search a given neighborhood for available bedrooms; home-owners have six minutes to decide whether to vacate their property. Appropriate prophylactics, creams, and breath mints are provided.

–Stuck in the bathroom without toilet paper? No longer must you scream out to a family member or scurry around the home with your pants at your ankles! Simply summon a representative to deliver a fresh roll through your partially opened bathroom door—no questions asked.


Adam Green’s Aladdin

When The Lowbrow Reader Reader was published a few years back, there was but one musician with the appropriate flare to spearhead our book release show: Adam Green, New York singer-songwriter extraordinaire. Green is an artist of many hats, with tentacles reaching well beyond music into the worlds of visual art and film. His directorial debut, 2011’s The Wrong Ferarri, was shot entirely on an iPhone; watching it felt like tumbling into a corrupt playground. Now, the budding auteur unveils his second film, Aladdin. Filmed entirely using sets made of handmade papier-mâché, it includes a soundtrack from Green himself, thus combining all of the director’s artistic impulses in one tidy package. The movie stars Green in the title role alongside Macaulay Culkin, Natasha Lyonne, Jack Dishel, Alia Shawkat and other smart young folk. Those in New York can catch Green perform tonight—election eve!­—at Baby’s All Right. After that, he shoves off to Europe for a tour of movies and music. Check it out at adamgreensaladdin.com!

The American Bystander

It’s a lonely world out there for print humor publications—just trust us on this one, okay? Hence, The Lowbrow Reader is thrilled to say hello to The American Bystander, a lovely newcomer spearheaded by some very sharp comedy lifers. The debut issue, still fresh and available for purchase at americanbystander.org, weighs in at 146 pages, replete with snazzy color illustrations and contributions from such genre colossi as Roz Chast, Jack Handey, George Meyer, and Michael O’Donoghue. Elsewhere in the issue, Mike Sacks (of the new podcast Doin’ It with Mike Sacks) interviews Josh Alan Friedman about his years working for Al Goldstein, while John Wilcock shares memories of Lenny Bruce in an illustrated biography excerpt by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall. The whole package can rest fashionably atop your favorite credenza for a mere $20—check it out today!

The Presidential Candidates, in Yiddish

Jeb Bush: schlemiel
Ben Carson: meshuggener
Chris Christie: khazer
Ted Cruz: ganef
Carly Fiorina: farbissiner
Mike Huckabee: goy
John Kasich: nudnik
Rand Paul: schmendrik
Marco Rubio: pisher
Rick Santorum: schnook
Donald Trump: schmuck

Hillary Clinton: yenta
Martin O’Malley: kibitzer
Bernie Sanders: Bernie Sanders



Musicians You Should Know

The most recent two Lowbrow Reader issues included a recurring feature, “Musicians You Should Know.” Through illustrations (by Mike Reddy) and biographies (by Jay Ruttenberg), “Musicians” introduced such artists as portly opera tenor Serafino Paina and the Reapers Grim, a bloodcurdling doom-metal band. This year, the Musicians will be unveiled with more regularity. Every week of 2016, a new portrait and biography will be posted to musiciansyoushouldknow.tumblr.com. The series begins with distinguished panpipe master Paco Huamán, above. But where will it end? Check out the Tumblr blog today—and look for new entries every Thursday through 2016, the year of the monkey.

Chilling Economic Facts

As Bernie Sanders has indelicately pointed out, the richest 0.1 percent of Americans have nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of the country. According to an Oxfam study, the wealthiest 85 people in the world have approximately as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion. And by next year, more than half of all global wealth will belong to the richest one percent of the world’s population.

But did you know that 24 percent of wealth within that one percent—a sum so gargantuan that it is best not to disclose, lest the sensitive break out in hives—lies in the hands of just two men? Mr. W– made his fortune trading residual bond derivative sub-funds, an exotic banking practice that involves moving masses of money around until it all ends up in his checking account. Mr. S–, until recently, worked as Mr. W–’s personal money manager. At present, he resides in a subterranean lair protected by a shiver of sharks.

But what of those individuals even richer than Mr. W– and Mr. S–, the ones so wealthy that their net worths cannot be measured in anything as pedestrian as numbers and percentages? A rumored 72 percent of these men are exempt from paying any taxes whatsoever, their funding of political attack ads—which, in turn, subsidize the television programs so enjoyed by “the lower 99.999999”—being deemed more than sufficient.

When learning of this statistic, 84 percent of Americans wince, stammer, wheeze, sigh, and raise their eyebrows in a manner indicating the hopelessness of it all. The remaining 16 percent intend to join the elite’s ranks as soon as their Instagram feeds and/or D.J. careers catch steam and, thus, approve of any perceived equality gap.

But have you heard this humdinger? In 1965, the average chief executive of a major U.S. company earned roughly 24 times the salary of a typical worker at his company. By 2005, a CEO made more in a single day of work—even a really unproductive one involving whatever rich people did on the Internet back then—than an average worker earned in a calendar year. Currently, a chief executive earns the same amount in the time it takes to brusquely demand coffee from an assistant as the average American worker earns in three days, provided that the average American worker happens to host a network talk show. (more…)