If anyone were ever to invite me to a baby shower I can’t see myself sending anything more than a sympathy card.
However, thanks to my fave Donna Barr, I at least have something to wear if I deliver it in person.
Here’s the original image on Donna’s Deviant Art site.
Read Full Post »
Early on this blog, I mentioned Donna Barr‘s intriguing proposition that she, and I, and any number of other women around our age, harbored the transmigrated spirits of soldiers killed waging the wars of the Third Reich, who had returned to earthly life swearing to wage peace, and resist the death-drunk totalitarian impulse that fuels wars of nationalism and conquest.
I suppose you could start with giving someone a good massage.
I thought about it last night when a late-evening client began talking about her mother, who’s also been on my table — a tiny lady who banged up her back on a holiday visit not long ago. “Mom tells me about what it was like when she was in school, when the Germans took over the town,” she said. They were on the border between two occupied territories of Eastern Europe, and at first the Wehrmacht simply staked the place out and billeted themselves on the residents: “Mom’s parents had to put up this gay lieutenant” [shades of Barr's Desert Peach!] “who would play the Marseillaise on the piano, until the other officers warned him he could get in trouble.” At first it was only the Wehrmacht — “only” is relative; later it was the SS, of whom even the Wehrmacht officers were afraid. People who had crowded into an open-air market might find the market randomly blocked off, everyone inside it ordered to board a train to a work camp, and their families wouldn’t see them again.
Because of that war, I was born. There was nothing else that would have brought a hornplayer from Nebraska deep into the American South to meet a local girl who was doing war work. I used to meditate on the oddity of being a legacy of war — an antecedent I share with countless people all over the world — long before the occasion when Frau Barr offered me her Phantom German theory.
And here in this brave new century, writing dates on my checks that figured in the futuristic science-fiction of my schooldays, I loosen the shoulders and relax the neck of a small-boned woman who once watched her parents cope with booted men in gray uniforms, striding through the parlor, appropriating the household treasures.
Did I wear a uniform like that? It would make a good novel. All I know is, Time is not a straight line. It’s a spiral or a helix, doubling back on itself, like our DNA.
Read Full Post »
I have several times mentioned Donna Barr and her creation the Desert Peach, who is my hero for many reasons, not least because he has his priorities straight.
Harlan Ellison once said that the important things in life were sex, violence and labor relations.
The Peach is more idealistic and votes for Love, Honor, Death, and Tea.
I am a Darjeeling and Assam woman, myself, though all tea is divine; I must find out from Donna what the Peach’s favorite brew is, when he can get it.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Reading Matter, tagged Afrika Korps, black-and-white comics, Desert Peach, DOnna Barr, gay comics heroes, gay fiction, historical fiction, independent comics, military fiction, vintage comics, World War II, World War II Satire on March 30, 2009 |
7 Comments »
Lieber Herren und Damen:
It’s the Return of the Peach!
Now I know what the fabulous Donna Barr has been moiling at all these months. The Desert Peach is my hero: suave, courteous, self-controlled, brave, tender-hearted, with a core of steel (if you’re a gay officer in the Afrika Korps, you better have that) and an earring of pearl. “Love, Honor, Death, and Tea”: who could contrive a better motto? (Especially the tea.) The early chapters of his adventures have been catch-as-catch-can for years, like so many independent comics turned out by small presses. Now, starting right at the beginning, we can have the Daily Peach!
And if that isn’t enough, all the old chapters will be back in single-issue format through the POD site Lulu, which rocks.
I have not given up on my ambition of seeing the musical version of the Peach’s story return to the stage. There is a director with a bad back, who knows the director of the local company that likes musicals, and she stands ready to tip me the wink when she senses that he is restless for a new property. We have a collection of sound clips assembled by her partner who works in radio (you can listen — oh go on, hover on the music icon at: Song Clips from the Desert Peach Musical to get the player). Readiness is all.
Read Full Post »
I mentioned in an earlier post Donna Barr’s strip The Desert Peach, which gave birth to an operetta. It’s a zippy, surreal, campy piece with music by the late Michael Seyfrit, a genius of sardonic schmalz who could work miracles with a three-man orchestra.
I am not only a fan of this piece but I have been trying sporadically (time and energy in my life permitting) to get it performed again after fifteen years on the shelf. I live close enough to Washington, D.C. that I was able to get it into the hands of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, who unfortunately advise me that they have scaled back from staging lengthy dramatic performances. But they can do it, as this demonstrates:
I had the good fortune to be at this performance. It was the only time I have ever seen a womens’ restroom in a theater opened, by tacit communal pity, to men who were waiting in a line that snaked around the lobby. The chorus did the whole operetta — you should pardon the expression — straight, except for the opening number in which the chorus of pirates flung the contents of their treasure chest, consisting of feather boas and an occasional rude silicone device, from the stage down to lucky catchers in the orchestra seats.
And Davina Pons — Mabel in this clip. O Gesumaria. This woman — I say woman she is, the glamorous anima of whatever nameless man channels her to walk the earth — is my dream Pfirsich Rommel, the Desert Peach. (Yes: he’s the imaginary …pretty brother of Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox.) If mezzos and altos can play Octavian and Cherubino, if Leonora can appear first as a young man named Fidelio, I can dream that the magnificent, six-foot-plus Davina would consent to perform the luminous counter-tenor music of Pfirsich in a trouser role. It seems almost fated — click these thumbnails, I swear they were separated at birth:
Donna Barr’s Peach Poster
Should I try interesting the diva first, or go after my next idea for a new company and director? An operetta about an army at war in the desert to get control of oil, with a gay love interest (the Peach played off against Rosen Kavalier, a splendidly amoral bisexual Luftwaffe pilot): could it be more timely?
Read Full Post »
The fabulous Donna Barr, creator of the Desert Peach and Stinz drawn-book series, explained it to me very simply. I am a phantom German.
Specifically, I’m a phantom German soldier: one of the Wehrmacht or Luftwaffe who died slogging through France or Russia or North Africa, flying over London, or maybe even in the Home Guard fighting the last defensive actions against the Soviets or Patton’s Third Army. (Donna’s got an inkling about who she was, but I have no clue). According to Frau Barr, German soldiers in their thousands reincarnated as women nagged by a sense of mission: to make people think about the lunacy of nationalism and the absurdity of war, to refuse participation in the intermittent potlatch of human souls that’s the downside of “civilization.”
What the hell! As a hypothesis, it holds water at least as well as the idea that you can improve yourself by gathering weekly with others to sing doggerel, set to indifferent music — which sums up the contents of most hymnals — about a Jew who lived 2000 years ago.
Wilhelm Reich (who got thrown out of Nazi Germany, and then got thrown into prison by the US Government for advancing medical theories not approved by the State) said that tyranny always distrusts the body. Reich was a cantankerous, paranoid old crank but like many such men, he was right about a lot. I use his ideas in my work every day. Oh, it’s subversive, never you doubt it – proving to people that they can trust the convictions of their own flesh and organs. (Hold onto that, and most calls to Death or Glory will make you respond: “You outa you fluckin mind?”)
That much I share with a lot of bodyworkers. But I swear all of them can’t have been addicted to Wagner from an early age, or pored over biographies of obscure members of the Nazi court, or read memoirs of the Nuremberg trials or sketched out historical novels based on the wishful mysticism of Otto Rahn.
Frau Barr may be onto something. I believe in nothing and entertain all inspiriting possibilities.
Read Full Post »