DUCKWORK No. 4 – October 1981
If I hadn’t done so earlier, this was the issue that convinced me to venture up to the 13th Floor and drop in on the DUCKWORK offices. Gerry’s cartoon of a vomiting duck placed in front of a halftone of the school building at Broad and Pine cracked me up – duck puking! HAR! HAR! Vomit cartoons are funny! – and also made me ask, “How’d he do that?” I didn’t even know what a halftone was at the time and wondered how he mixed his cartoon with a photographic element. Nowadays it’s easily done digitally, but back then with stats, Rubylith and board work, it was a lot more of a hassle!
Again, I don’t remember how things exactly transpired, but some time late in 1981, I was up on the 13th floor meeting Gerry Giovinco, Bill Cucinotta and some of the other ducks. These guys LOVED comics, and we could talk about them for hours on end and did. It was amazing how much time could be whiled away in the tiny, cubbyhole-like office on the 13th floor. We certainly talked more about comics and fantasy movies which were exploding at the time than we did illustration or, God forbid, art. DUCKWORK was a respite from all of that. It was a haven safe from window screen sculptures and pages upon pages of ruled pencil lines.
DUCKWORK No. 4 had 12 pages! It had news, an editorial, a serialized story, poetry and plenty of comic strips including the continuing adventures of Star Duck, Punk Duck and another movie poster spoof.
DUCKWORK No. 4 also had a notorious record review of the band Head Cheese by Kyle Skrinak. I’m hoping that Gerry or Bill chime in on this because I am fuzzy on the details. For some reason this band was well connected to the school. Head Cheese sold copies of their album for $3 at the student services office and the school’s art supply store (think Soviet bread line). Well, Skrinak writes his review, and it ain’t pretty. It did make me laugh out loud when I reread it, but I didn’t think it was as vicious as legend had it. This was the era when Creem magazine was regularly disemboweling music acts in their pages. Besides, we were in art school. Wall “crits” were a lot harsher than what Skrinak was dishing. It didn’t matter. DUCKWORK had to apologize.
I never cease to be amazed by the internet. A search turned up a Head Cheese video! Who knew they made a video? This is for a song called Jungle Jam which Skrinak referred to as “the coup-de-gras (or poop on the grass).” Take a listen and a look and let me know if the Ducks had anything for which to apologize.
Pretty rough, eh? Of course, this is back when people thought Liquid Sky was a great movie and also thought performance artists were making powerful statements. This was par for the course at the time.
Further research shows that Head Cheese changed their name to Book of Love and were a successful synth-pop band in the club and dance scene. Their songs appeared in the movies Silence of the Lambs and Trains, Planes and Automobiles. They toured with Depeche Mode. Who knew?
When we meet again, I promise to get back on subject! To be continued!