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September 25, 2005 - Get Rich Not So Quick

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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. His weekly columns appear here and often in a slightly different version the next day on his site from Paris, with photographs.

PARIS, Friday, September 23 - Gilbert Shelton was my second editor, after the first one quit and went to a better life at 'True.'  Shelton is about a year older than me, so he was a green Texas boy in Manhattan while I was wet in the ears in Vancouver.  Just over thirty years later I learned that Shelton is living in Paris, so I called him up and went over to make an acquaintance with the creator of the 'Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.'


Roll the calendar forward another decade and Shelton is still puttering around in his studio across the street from a place that the Nazis used as a holding center during the occupation.  On Wednesday his partner Pic was up a ladder adding some paint touches to the studio's facade while Shelton was making replacement parts out of crappy scrap wood.


Big news, he said.  The production company has sent him a DVD with trial scenes from the Freak Bros. animated movie - about five minutes' worth.  He and Pic continued to add wood scraps, and lots of putty to hide the screw heads.  The studio is being renovated, in the process of becoming a gallery, to be called 'Art Kerblooie.'  It will feature the work of Shelton, possibly Robert Crumb, and many of the other underground heroes of the Avalon Ballroom nights.


After Dava had found the studio, after taking an utterly wrong direction trip to Pere Lachaise, after giving us copies of her new CD, 'This Poem' - "It's too new to play yet," she said - we went across Voltaire to Shelton's apartment to have a look at the movie DVD.


It's great.  It's the 'Freak Bros.' all right.  Fat Freddy's pants do a ripple flop, and you realize it's the fart of the week, even without the sound.  Fat Freddy's mean cat is true to life, er, true to the comic.  On this trial, only a few minutes' worth, the 'Freak Bros.' live.  It will be terrific!  Even this demo is already a cult film.


Like the figurines that have been done over the years, the 'Freak Bros.' characters are clay models, photographed frame-by-frame, and then included into computer-art background scenes.  The funky, fuzzy, sleazy detail is all there, covered with grime and dried beer spills.


It's an English production company, which means it can make the movie without looking over its shoulder at the minority moralists of the Christian right.  The movie will not be politically correct any more than the comic strips are, so it should appeal to all those latent lefties and ex-drop-outs and everybody who lives the Freak life six days a week.  As for teenagers, Freak on film will set a new, low level of bad taste, destined to become the movie that 21st century parents hate.


Right now the production company is seeking the next slice of financing, probably the biggest part of the pizza.  If you've got a million bucks sitting idle and you like risks, you could do a lot worse by investing it in a here-today gone-tomorrow gold mine.  The 'Freak Bros.' have been around non-stop since the 60s - and yet this is the first major treatment of the 'Freak Bros.'  If you are used to trash, the 'Freak Bros.' is your cookie.


Contact - write to me - parisric@wanadoo.fr - and I will forward to Gilbert Shelton who will be able to put interested parties who want to get rich not so quick in contact with the production company.  It's safe enough; they are British - like Monty Python.


Disclaimer - I am not now and never have been an employee or business associate of Gilbert Shelton or of his enterprises, nor do I have any financial stake in the 'Freak Bros.' film - even if I wish I did.




'Freak Brothers' and 'Not Quite Dead' comic book covers copyright Gilbert Shelton.  Also copyright by Rip Off Press and Knockabout Comics.


'Not Quite Dead' comic series by Pic and Shelton is about a 'Dead' type of band that is alive but not very well on the scene in Paris or some other place grotty.


Listen to Dava's 'This Poem' just released on a CD with cover art by Stanley Mouse of Mouse Studios.  Produced, written and performed by Dava, with music by Arian Schierbaum.  Recorded at Buffalo Studios, Van Nuys, California, like, last week.   




About Shelton and copyright - Gilbert gives me this stuff, like the comic books, and he knows what I do.  Also, Gilbert's wife Laura is a professional literary agent. Between them they have a lot of experience with copyright.  So you can assume that I have Gilbert's permission to promote him, the 'Freak Borthers,' and anything he does.  And yes, he knows Crumb, they both knew Janis Joplin, and Dava is an ex-Dead Head.  Stanley Mouse, of the famous posters, is another in the band.  Pic, of course, is not nobody either.  He's done several comics and his dad was a famous French sculptor, who left Pic a legacy weighing multiple tons.



Gilbert Shelton - Paris 2005


Gilbert Shelton - Paris 2005


Gilbert Shelton - Paris 2005


Gilbert Shelton - Paris 2005

Gilbert Shelton - Paris 2005

Photos and Text Copyright 2005 – Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis (except as noted)


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
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