Walls Of Genius Catalogue #5
The bane Of The Buffoon
The title page features my drawing of the “buffoon”, a wizard-like face with a tall conical hat that has a picture of a naked woman and martini glasses on it. The background is essentially a postcard with a picture of the beach, palm trees and a flying kite on it. A woman in a bikini is sunbathing in the lower left. Both women are pictured only partly, with either upper or lower torsos “off” the page, a technique borrowed from landscape painters (attempting to make mountaintops appear taller). For this catalog, I switched from 8 ½ x 11 pages to half-size. This made them easier to mail with less folding. Just so we’re clear, these things were assembled completely by the cut-and-paste method. There were no computers or scanners in those days, no Adobe Illustrator.
Page 2 has a faked Denver Post article titled “Pandemonium Reigns At Recent Concert”. The original of this article was about The Beatles’ concert at Red Rocks Auditorium in Denver, Colorado, sometime in the sixties when they toured America. [August 26, 1964] Ed had the original article in his collection of stuff at the “Unnatural Museum Of History” (his house, on Dahlia Street, Denver). I inserted the words “Walls Of Genius” wherever “the Beatles” appeared and, voila!, there it was. “Walls of Genius is not merely awful… they are God Awful.” We were highly amused that a description of The Beatles would fit so perfectly for Walls of Genius.
Page 2 is the Head Moron spiel. It says this is “our third catalog yet to date”, but it’s actually number 5. We must have considered the first couple of mailings as not bonafide ‘catalogs’. In addition to the usual self-effacing humor and exhortations about what to do with your catalog, I explain our experimental modus operandi, discuss the possibility of a distribution deal with somebody in Switzerland, and the negative-profitability of the project. The images of the two drivers with their hats flying off, one in a smiling car and the other in a frowning car respectively, came from an old book called “Sportsmanlike Driving” (third edition, published by American Automobile Association, Wash DC, 1955). I probably found it in a free bin somewhere and recognized it immediately for the treasure-house of classic images that it was and remains, to this day.
Pages 3 and 4 is the “centerfold”, featuring the cover images of Ludovico Treatment and Crazed To The Core. Funny little gnomes from the driving book are pushing on the Ludovico image. A cartoon that I drew stretches across the page. From left to right, Ed, David and Evan are sitting on the couch before a television listening to a loud stereo blaring Walls of Genius music. Red Ed appears with spirals for eyes, Little Fyodor appears with x’s across his eyeglasses, wearing a Lepers t-shirt with smoke emerging from his hair, and Joe Colorado (me) appears with a befuddled expression and a WoG t-shirt. The Lepers were a Denver punk band featuring sometimes WoG participant, drummer Brad Cartin. Walls of Genius music blares from the speakers on either side, with the sound represented by visual imagery. Below the cartoon is a description of the two cassette releases.
Pages 5 and 6 are the catalog section with items listed for sale. There are a number of images from the driving book with captions that I wrote, such as “It’s easy to think that the world revolves around you when listening to Walls of Genius.” I thought these fifties cartoons were hilarious and still do. At this point, we have “discontinued” several items: the Rumours of Marriage cassettes; Sunday, Monday Or Always!; and The Guilt Vs Time Money Complex. In the case of RoM, they weren’t really relevant to our audience and the quality wasn’t up to speed anyway. For Guilt Vs. Time, I felt that the release wasn’t consistently strong enough to continue listing, although in retrospect it seems perfectly fine. I don’t recall why we discontinued Sunday, Monday Or Always!. Yeesh, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a classic! In the lower right, I have typed the message “Please vote – get Reagan out of office.”
Page 7 is the “cover” for mailing, with return address and the cartoon of the guy in a smoking jacket pictured, for image continuity.