The “Fool me once” Edition :: Rusty’s Electric Dreams, Issue #129


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Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine from the curious mind of Rusty Blazenhoff
Issue #129 :: The “Fool me once” Edition :: 03:29:2017

Fool me once…

Ah, April 1st nears.

As evidenced by my “Real things you can actually buy” section, the line between the absurd and the fake is razor thin. While I haven’t spotted any company’s April Fools’ Day jokes for this year, I know from experience they are coming. Don’t you worry.

Done right, especially for companies, April Fools’ jokes can be amusing. They can give your brand a distinct personality. They can show you have a sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously. Done wrong (for example, at the expense of someone), they are a nightmare. A poorly thought out “joke” can backfire.

Bacon salt empire J&D’s always comes up with something outrageous. What I love is sometimes they actually MAKE and SELL their “jokes.” For example, their BaconLube (bacon-flavored “personal lubricant”) started off as a joke and then they made it real. They later upped their game with Bacon Coffins, also made real and also made available for sale. (Their Bacon baby formula, however, is just a joke.)

ThinkGeek always has a bunch of phony, but funny, products come April 1. Google also has a long pranking history. But, even the mighty tech behemoth can be shortsighted, as they were with last year’s ill-conceived “Minion Mic Drop” joke. They aren’t the only ones, there’s a long history of poorly-executed mischief in the world.

Not in San Francisco Bay Area though. Around here, we’re just plain stupid.


For her final week, our March Artist-in-Residence, Suzanne Forbes, answers questions you asked. I pulled all the questions from the survey and let Suzanne decide which ones to answer. It turned out great. You asked, she answered. A great social experiment, all in all.

Have a great week, everyone!

–Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. Are you following me on Instagram yet?

This space intentionally left foolish

As seen on the Internets


Delft Blue Eyes

For their annual Rijksstudio Award, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam invites the public to create new art inspired by pieces in the museum’s collection. Francine LeClercq and Ali Soltani’s “Delft Blue Eyes” made it to the finals, and for good reason… these cosmetic contact lenses are truly inspired!  See the other finalists and vote for your favorite!
Great find, Polly!
:: The simple logic of Japanese sentence structure
:: My new hero: Amber Galloway Gallego, ASL interpreter to rockstars

:: Greeting cards that don’t stop playing for a LONG time Thanks, Julia!

:: Abe Lincoln: jokester? Thanks, Jessica!

:: A sight to be seen: Kayaking on the Black Rock Desert

:: A rare look inside a pioneer’s covered wagon

:: “How America’s Obsession With Hula Girls Almost Wrecked Hawai’i”

:: Index of Forgotten Emails is a GEM: “emails you wrote but never sent”

:: Inspired: Bus stop decorated like a living room

March Artist-in-Residence: Suzanne Forbes

Suzanne Forbes

Jello Biafra or Jello you eat?


Definitely Jello Biafra. Roaming the Village shouting “Mellow out or you will pay!” in 1982.

What would you do if you couldn’t create art?

I get sick when I don’t make art. A whole host of illnesses from severe depression to thyroid problems to vertigo. It’s amazing the tricks my body comes up with to get me fired or on disability every time I think I’m gonna last more than a year at a straight job. I had thirteen jobs in my eighteen years in the Bay alone and was fired from most of them.

How long ago did you start your art and is where you are now what you envisioned for your development back then?

I started making noticeably advanced drawings at three and was taking private drawing lessons by seven. I first attended the Art Students League when I was ten, and returned when I dropped out of Stuyvesant at sixteen. Then I went to college at Parsons, had a hiatus for drug and alcohol treatment, and finished my BFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I’m about as good now as I expected to be at this age, and I certainly expected to be very good, but portraitists do their best work late in life. I just hope to live long enough to be much, much better than I am now. I hope to have a career like Alice Neel or make a collection of exceptional late-life portraits like Hockney or Millais.

What did you want to be when you were young…

As a child I wanted to be a jockey, but I figured I would be a children’s book illustrator.  I considered being a fashion illustrator for a while in my early teens, and then at seventeen my girlfriend asked me to bring her a comic book at boarding school. It was New Mutants #18, and everything changed. From that moment til I broke in as a penciller for DC nine years later, all I thought about was drawing comics. I was the full-time monthly penciller on DC’s Star Trek for two years; I achieved my dream when I was just 26. I’m still one of less than a dozen women who’ve ever been a monthly penciller for one of the Big Two. Everything since then has been mysteries and disasters and wrong turns and serendipity.

How do you survive financially on your art?!

I survive entirely by the grace of my Patrons on Patreon. Patreon has allowed me to have a predictable, controllable monthly income as an artist for the first time since I worked for DC in the early ’90s. It’s amazing, and I’m incredibly grateful. You can help for as little as a dollar a month!

People like their portraits to be made and to exist, but few people in our community commission them. And it’s even harder to get paid for making the kind of documentary drawings I do constantly. I’m motivated to work on projects like the series of immigrant street musicians I’m doing now because I get money for food.  Art is work to me, I was trained and raised to do it as work, and even a little money is my best motivator.

Dogs or Cats?

Cats. Eternally.

–Suzanne Forbes, Traditional Portraiture for Alternative Lifestyles

photo by Sheila Wolf

About the Artist-in-Residence program: Every month a working artist is selected to showcase their work in this inbox zine and talk about their creation process. What they do with this space is left up to them. If you would like to be considered for this spot, or know someone who fits the bill, please email Rusty with your interest.

Real things you can actually buy: way!

Own a piece of amazing Americana: America’s oldest theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm in SoCal, is auctioning off a bunch of cool items from their collection, including a Scary Farm hearse, some ye olde tyme coin-op machines, and a bunch of original poster art (!). Some of it is seriously droolworthy.

The auction ends on March 31, browse the entire list of items while you can.

Real things you can actually buy: no f’ing way!



Send an unmistakable message: According to blogger Laura Sweet, these life-size saluting beauties (called FCK) are made by a Polish candle company and haven’t been available overseas UNTIL. NOW. <empties bank account>


Real things you can actually buy: no way!


Beard Papa's

By the way: I’m still not convinced that this can of “drinkable cream puffs” from Japan’s Beard Papa’s isn’t an April Fools Day joke. (I mean, I don’t get it, are they just shoving cream puffs in a can, or what?)

Featured events & places of note


Los Angeles, California
[4/7] The Memories, live puppet show at Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 8:30 PM, $15

Ok, wuht. Indie “shoegazy, melodic, garage-pop” band The Memories AND Bob Baker’s puppets? What a combo! Surely this will be one for the books.

Also in LA: Cinespia has just announced the dates and films for their Hollywood Forever Cemetery screenings series through May. Boogie Nights would be a lot of fun. 

Current mood

“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.”
— Al Capone
“Sometimes I feel like a figment of my own imagination.”
— Lily Tomlin

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine from the curious mind of Rusty Blazenhoff.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.”

People like it.

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