And What a Party We Had!

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Pam’s Pictorama Post-Valentine Special: I am going to let you in on a secret. One of the really great things about being married to Kim Deitch is that whenever I want, I toss the dull, day-to-day world aside and enter the vastly more entertaining Deitchian world of anthropomorphic animals, demons in cat bodies and slightly sinister cartoon landscapes. This circus is going on right here – all the time! Yep, the front door of Deitch Studio is the portal to an amazing world of delight and fright – the rabbit hole you climb down every time you pick up one of Kim’s stories and that I come home to after a day out in the world. And once a year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Kim pulls back the curtain and reveals a behind-the-scenes glimpse for everyone who has wondered and as a testimonial to the love and joy of our corner of the universe. To that end, I share this year’s Valentine.

While recent prior years focused on King Kitty and his dominion over the toys – especially the mice – starting in 2015, Kim picked up the theme of a glorious cat toy museum run by me, the Queen of Catland, as the nexus. I think it is fair to say that in this third year, the Valentine intersects squarely and gloriously with the final chapter of Reincarnation Stories, his latest book – as some of you who have been following that progress on Facebook know. The phenomenal cat toy museum revealed at last!

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And what will future years bring? You will have to stay tuned each February. Meanwhile, sure stop by Deitch Studio sometime, but remember you could get sucked down the rabbit hole too.

Valentine’s Day Kitties

Pam’s Pictorama Post: This was a rare case of purchasing something I thought was old which turned out not to be – and it didn’t matter because I love them! I haven’t exactly figured out what to do with them – they are sort of Christmas ornaments for Valentine’s Day, but I like ’em either way. My only complaint was that in order to get the diversity I wanted it was necessary to order two lots and I have ended up with a lot of ornaments! I guess there will be some Valentine’s Day gifts to friends this year.

As some of you who either know me (in the corporeal sense), or have followed the Facebook postings of Deitch Studio and Pictorama faithfully, are already aware of – my birthday is in February, perilously close to Valentine’s Day. A one-two punch burden to boyfriends and eventually my husband. However, as a child it meant a long and cheerful line of Valentine’s Day themed birthday parties. (For the record, my sister Loren – born on the Ides of March – had St. Pat’s Day and Edward is a Christmas Eve baby so we all had a holiday theme.) For the record, I remain an utter sucker for inexpensive boxes of Russell Stover chocolates covered in red cellophane and the large chocolate hearts filled with strawberry marshmallow! Yum! The delicacies of childhood. Of course we all loved those boxes of sugar hearts with writing on them – more for the novelty – I can barely remember the taste.

Meanwhile, as an adult I have expanded my birthday into a month long celebration – dinner or lunch with a series of Aquarian friends to keep things cheerful during one of winter’s dullest months. It isn’t news to anyone living in the northeast that February is perhaps the very snowiest month and I was born in a blizzard. I at least had the good grace to send my mother to the hospital at about 3:00 in the afternoon, rather than the middle of the night. Over the years I have made numerous birthday plans for travel or even far flung restaurant reservations that have been canceled or postponed due to many feet of snow piling up. These days I assume snow is likely and plan accordingly.

As a postscript I offer Cookie and her fascination with these ornaments this morning as a slide show! Fish glue? Did the seller have a cat? She won’t leave them alone! I don’t know where, but these will have to go on a high shelf if I am not willing to turn them into cat toys.

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Cranky Valentine

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Pam’s Pictorama: For all of you who still have the sickly smarminess of Valentine’s Day stuck in your craw and eating your teeth, today’s post is a logical antidote to show you that you are not alone. There is evidently a long history of the vinegar Valentine.

I am not sure why, but decided I had to have this card. I generally don’t like to go negative on cards, I really hate pawing through contemporary cards that often just seem mean. This card charmed me nonetheless. The poem does entertain:

Your crabbed actions are enough to vex
The most ardent admirer of your sex,
And you care for nothing that we can see
Except your cat and your cup of tea.

How much more does a girl really need in life? The black Halloween style cat is fun and she is mannishly well drawn. It is a common card, and I have seen others on eBay subsequently. This one wasn’t sent and I do wonder who exactly one would send it to – and also that they were kept all these years by the recipients!

A recent article in the New York Times discussed the history of the so-called vinegar Valentine and its popularity in the late 19th century. On February 14, 1871 the Times wrote the following:

Of all the valentines published those designated ‘comic’ are the most popular. They are the hideous caricatures which are to be seen at this season in almost every stationer’s window, and are made to burlesque every trade and profession. They consist of a few black lines and a daub of color, to which are attached a few doggerel rhymes. They pervert the idea of the valentine; for, instead of being love missives, or tending to afford gratification, they are too often sent out of spite, to carry anger or annoyance to the receiver. Of these there have been sold nearly 12,000,000, and strange to say, they are mostly purchased by women. Why women find more use for them than men would be a difficult question to answer, but such is the case, and the circulars issued by the publishers will bear out the assertion.

I believe our card in question is of a higher quality than implied here, but it is also clearly a later model. The poison pen Valentine clearly continued to thrive into the early part of the 20th century. Oddly, it is the one area I don’t find so many negative cards today – birthdays for example, almost hard to find an acceptable one. But the needling Valentine seems to have seen its day, although I know some folks who would be glad to bring it back.

Be Mine! Or The Luckiest Girl in the World…

 

Pam’s Pictorama Valentine Special!

Last year’s Valentine post was a midweek special – Valentine Bonus Post – but this year Kim’s extraordinary entry is getting the marquee treatment it deserves! As many of you FB readers know, at my request years ago, Kim has made me a Valentine’s Day drawing every year we have been together. Since I was a fan before I was a girlfriend (and then wife) I can’t think of anything better – me featured in a Kim Deitch exclusive. And here is this year’s hot off the press.

For those of you who have been following the sketches for his new book you will realize that this drawing falls within the new story, fleshing it out a bit. Here’s a sketch from this part of the story:

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Kim has expanded our real estate holdings substantially, and in the Valentine I am in one of the many rooms in our building dedicated to dioramas scenes designed to feature my toy collection. (Oh joy! Oh bliss!) Here I am with a variety of life size Felix dolls, lined up for people to pose with – we all know it is one of my life’s ambitions to get my hands on one of those, let alone several as shown here. Cookie and Blackie are checking things out, and you can make out Waldo considering a room dedicated to his origin story as well.

By way of reminder, below is last year’s Valentine, which as you can see, ties in here as well. I am sporting my Queen of Catland outfit and Bonzo, my Donald Duck and Oskar are there – even then Waldo was working the Plot Robot and of course Cookie and Blackie are going wild – and we are looking back in time to when this photo was taken. Hmm, looks like Katherine Whaley, Rousseau and Mr. Varney in that Felix photo!

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Deitch Valentine Bonus Post

Pam’s Pictorama Valentine Post: Last Tuesday a neighbor accidentally flooded our apartment and despite Kim’s best efforts at mopping up, at 8:00 at night I found myself cross-legged on the floor in front of our linen closet throwing out sodden tax documents and, sadly, old snap shots and letters. However, among those things and utterly untouched was this Valentine Kim made me many years ago when we first got together. It is from a small box of chocolate which he covered with paper and drew on with colored pencil! Delightful!

Those of you who have followed on Facebook over the years know of our family tradition where Kim makes me a wonderful Valentine drawing every year. Since I started out as a big Kim Deitch fan before being a girlfriend or a wife these are really extra special for me. Over time they have become more elaborate and now they are almost mini-stories. Lucky girl – I get to star in my own Kim Deitch drawings! Yay Kim! I am the happiest fan ever – as well as the luckiest wife.

Below are some Valentines from recent past years. Enjoy!

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Moon Photo

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post:  Allie, This is you and Lonnie, isn’t it?  I love photos of people posing on the moon! While this is a pro card (special for Valentine’s Day evidently) I have a few choice examples I will follow-up with some of the photo studio ones – I have one in my office I am especially pleased with.  I continue to search for an opportunity to have my photo taken on one. I love just sorting through them on eBay and looking at all the different ones.  They could be their own book.

The French took the moon postcard into a whole different realm – naked women, even cats – all sorts of variations. I am less fond of these, preferring the unexpected and unique ones taken at fairs and seaside resorts, but some are quite wonderful. I look forward to organizing these into their own section and sharing more of them.