12/25/06- This is the insane R2-D2 I made for my 4 year old son. He's Star Wars CRAZY (as in KA-FUCKING-RAAAAAAAZZZZZYYY), absolutely lost his MIND for Star Wars.

In my web travels, I stumbled across some even bigger nerd lunatics than myself on the web who build machined aluminum and steel R2 units that take literally years to build and thousands of dollars to make. These guys are actually engineers and mold makers, mostly, so they go about this hobby like an actual engineering job. They go to SW Exhibits and Lucas aproved events, measure the actual movie props up close with calibrated measuring tools, get up close access to these things, take billions of photos, then make actual CAD plans on the computer, then post them in a Yahoo group for other nerds (like me) to use to make their own R2's, whatever their technical ability and financial investment (here's a great place to start .... http://www.astromech.net/). Anyways, I spent many ugly hours in my wet, cold serial killer basement workshop late nights after the kids went to bed in the 6 or so weeks leading up to XMas building this for my son Luke (No, he wasn't named after Skywalker, he was named for Cool Hand Luke, no lie). I went considerably cheaper than most of those dudes, about $100 (I had most of the lumber and alot of hardware). It's mostly wood, with ABS Plastic sheeting for the "skin" and a plastic dome I got on eBay for the head (There is a specific brand of birdfeeder, if you can believe it, that one of these R2 builders found by chance that just so happens to be almost exact in dimensions to the Lucasfilm R2 .... it's actually the squirrel shield!) These pics are from Christmas afternoon ... it's about 90% done (notably missing the main "eye", a few ports and plug details and still without the lights and 3rd leg). But you get the idea:

Here's Luke trying to climb inside to "be Kenny Baker"

Heavy little bastard ... about 75 pounds, I'd say


10/06- Here's a cool 40's style Rocket Pack I made for a photographer out in LA. He used it for a shot with a pin-up model, and yes those are scars on her arm and she is known as Jenny Scars or something. She's supposedly a really sweet chick. Anyway, he wanted Rocketeer meets Buck Rogers, but no identifiable as any one source. I think it came out wicked cool.


Back in mid 2000, my friend, filmmaker and Queen of Poland, Iwona Alwlasewicz, wanted to make a few shorts of the Thinking Ape Blues (then only about 20-30 strips old at the most). She assembled a crew, got a location at an old farm way out in the woods of upstate New York, had an ape suit made (from the same folks that made the Toonces, The Cat Who Could Drive A Car puppet for SNL) and hired an FX guy for the ape prosthetics and cast it, then trekked us all the way up there to make these films. She had complete control because, A) I trusted her as an artist and a friend (and she was the first and perhaps only rabid fan of the strip), and B) she was paying for everything. I said "Fuck it, why not, do what you want". She cast me as Ben (naked AND drunk I must say ... I got sooooooo bombed by mid day), I built the Carl puppet, a cool and very talented actor and writer guy named Rich Devaney signed on as Abe (although we all agreed later he just wasn't the Abe type, but he was our best choice at the time), my future wife even helped out with craft services and embarrasment. We even had a naked model chick play Emily Lust (a very seldom used early secondary character). Well, when all was said and done, the 3 strips we shot as shorts I think both Iwona and I agreed didn't come out the way we hoped. It just didn't gel. I only saw a rough cut and never even saw a finished reel. In fact, this pic is the only thing I have from the experience:

That's naked ass me, Richie and a robot puppet on a rotted out fishing boat in 80 degree heat in a mayfly infested field in upstate New York, with a crew of about 15 people just out of camera range. Richie is wearing his girlfriends flipflops between takes to keep from cutting up his feet in the dry weeds of the field and I'm hammered on Meister Brau and extreme sunshine (I never left the boat between takes, just peed off the boat the other diection of the crew). As God as my witness, 6 or so years later, I have no fucking idea what to make of this weirdness. Let's just move on.


5/4/05 - Here they are, our pics from Chiller Theatre, Spring, 2005. Saturday night is our playground, and the costume party and concert is our time. Just hundreds of freaks in monster costumes, drinking and taking pictures while old-school 50's styled monster rock bands jam at top volume up on stage (like theDead Elvi, a zombie Elvis rock outfit) doing creaky old standards like Monster Mash. Everyone is trying to one up each other each convention with more elaborate, obscure and insane costumes, and this year was my Mona Lisa, my Sistine Chapel, the "Big One" I had always dreamed of but never thought would come to fruition, let alone attempt. I started dreaming of this stupidity like 6 years ago, always saying "Yeah, but it would be impossible." Well, this year I did it, along with my good friends James Graham and King Geo. The Mount Rushmore of Monster Silliness: the General Mills Monsters Cereals. Count Chocula. Frankenberry. Boo Berry. And the forgotten one, the Stu Sutcliff/Brian Jones of the Monster Cereals, Fruit Brute. What follows is the Majesty of Monster Food Mascots, in the flesh.

Gods among men.

We actually won Best Costume. I'm both proud and ashamed.

With the other category winners ... that awesome Transformer guy won most original or something, but the important thing is, he could break-dance in that thing!

That's James as the Brute, Geo as our favorite dandy undead, and me as the Count and the Boo (on floating harness, no less).

Frankenberry rocks th' mic.

Somehow, I don't think this is what hotel rooms were intended for.

Pretty in Fucking Pink

Chicks dig F-Berry .... the Boo looks away in embarassment.

Thanks to our dear friend, Abby Ehmann, for taking the pics and keeping King Geo in bartered beer. Anyway, it's amazing what you can do with Home Depot, alot of free time and no sense of shame. And now that we won, I can say now, more than ever .... NEVER AGAIN ..... never again ...... never again ....

.... until next year, maybe.

2/21/05 - Here at the Casa de Monkey, we take our holidays pretty fucking seriously, and no other holiday is closer to my heart than Halloween. Obviously. Not even Arbor Day can touch the absolute ridiculous righteousness of a day that allows grown men to dress up like Spanish peacocks and not get jailed . Even my wife indulges my stupid fixation on this day with a good natured enthusiasm, going so far as to let me dress our son Luke up as a Flying Monkey from the Wizard of Oz one year in a costume I spent 4 days sewing, even though said monkeys give her the heebie-jeebies. Also known as scarring the shit out of her. Both the flying monkeys and my penchant for sewing costumes for young boys. I'm fabulous, like Christopher Lowell and don't you forget it. I'm like Bruce Lee with a sewing machine, I shit you not.

Anyway, here's a collection of some of my more ridiculous costumes, some for me, other's for my friends, like the Horrible King Geo (usually when we go to this insanely ridiculous horror convention called Chiller Theatre with our good friend James Graham. Chiller is held twice a year in New Jersey).

I'm so lame, I dress up TWICE in one day at CHILLER. For afternoon drinking at the bar I was this sort of Coop-esque lounge lizard devil I do for casual stuff. But those bastards James and Geo started calling me "Cirque de Soliel Devil", even though they assisted with the drunken impromtu makeup design. And the other devil is my son, Cool Hand Luke. He loves dress up, but I might have a hard time convincing the Child Welfare Department of this. "And son? Next time you see you mother, remember to tell her . . . . . SATAN!!!!!"

Here's another one of me as Satan and a fucking CREEEEEEPY one of James. We just whipped up his makeup on the spot because I couldn't bear him doing the Crow another year.

This horrible specimen on the left is none other than King Geo. I let him watch my son. The less said about this, the better.

Geo as Leatherface, me that night as Farmer Vincent from Motel Hell. I sculpted the pig head and chainsaws out of insulation foam. God Bless Home Depot.

Here I am with the legendary and huge Gunnar Hanson, affable social gadfly and the giant lunatic who was Leatherface in the seminal Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Next to The Excorcist, Chainsaw is not only the scariest and most important horror film, it is also one of the most important American films of the second half century. I will not debate this. This film isn't a gorefest. It is the most horrific look of the disintegration of the "Go West, young man" American Dream in cinema. And the remake never happened. You hear me? NEVER HAPPENED.

My favorite shot of Geo. My feeling is, if you're gonna do Leatherface, do Leatherface right, right?

Ok, this terrifying stupidity is King Geo as Divine, Me as Zappa from We're Only In It For The Money, and the other guy is, yep, you guessed it, Ron Jeremy. This was Spring Chiller, 2004.

Me as a Baseball Fury from The Warriors, Spring Chiller, 2003. Noteable for 2 things: one, I made the old timey style baseball uniform from scratch (I am so femme-y), and two, I promptly collapse in the hotel room and puked my guts out about 40 minutes after these photos were taken, causing me to miss the whole freakin' costume party . . . a first for me.

I have a thing for The Wizard of Oz, and I think every straight man should go through a Judy Garland phase, as well as an ABBA phase. Just the way I am. Love me for that or get THE HELL OUT OF MY LIFE!!!! This was for our friends Halloween party in Aberdeen, New Jersey. Our friend's neighbors all thought I was retarded.


OK, here are a few particularly embarrassing blasts from the past. This was at my buddy Jeff's bar in Brooklyn for Halloween in probably 1998 or 1999. Just once in a man's life, he's gotta go all out and do KISS. I think it's a right of passage, like the Sun Vow ceremony from A Man Called Horse. I think. Anyway, the guy in the green sweater is Jeff, and he's not a short guy, so you can see how tall I was in those boots (which, alas, don't exist anymore and no pics can be found of them. They were made from leather Beatles Boots and funked up with about 8 pounds of duct tape, sculpted foam and glue gun goop, but were recycled a year later for Frankenstein boots. They were comfy, too.)

Yes, I'm walking on a bar in 8 inch boots. Yes, the are blasting God of Thunder. Yes, I am wearing a cod piece mere inches away from the face of the off-duty firefighters who frequented the bar. But obviously, I ruled.

My favorite to date: Frankenberry, from the Salem, Mass, Halloween parade. That's me with the boy. He's used to his old man looking like a freak. The best were the wispers as I walked through town . . . "What's he suppossed to be?" . . . "I dunno. I think a gay Frankenstein." Worth it's weight in gold, man.


OK for now . . .



All art and text copyright © 2007 Mark Poutenis • THE THINKING APE BLUES copyright © 2007 Mark Poutenis