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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Disgusting Food Museum and You

dead baby mice
for drowned baby mice wine, the babies must be blind for the wine

By Jonathan Bilski
a century egg

Blech! That's what came out of our mouths and luckily not what we had for breakfast. I ate light that morning. A friend who came along did not find anything tasty either, but was smart enough to pack breath mints. Because at the end of your time at the museum or if you wanna rush, you can try out the "buffet" of some "wonderful" samples of food you might find utterly disgusting.

When you go, you'll get to try:

Hákarl, fermented shark
Su callu cheese
Century eggs
Insects (changes based on availability)
Spruce soda
Sauerkraut juice (my face)
Gamle Oles farfar cheese
Swedish caviar
Salty licorice (my least favorite)

It is the pop-up Disgusting Food Museum. Here for the holidays to remind you to be thankful you don't have to eat that other stuff out there in the world...or do you? If you could taste the pages of a Junji Ito's horror manga or really just remember what throw-up is in your mouth then welcome to flavor country. It's a bad country.

From around the world we saw and sadly tasted what is considered some of the most wretched food on earth. And guess what makes the cut from America? "Twinkies, they're filled with preservatives. "Even my eleven-year-old daughter spit them out, " that's Andreas Ahrens, a Swedish  Dad and Museum Director. He took some time to insult Twinkies, A&W Root Beer and to my chagrin Pop Tarts. I know, the gall, Pop-freakin-Tarts.

So, as explained to me by Ahrens, whose breath might have been past due and after sampling so much fermented shark with other press, I can't find him at fault for that, A&W Root Beer taste like tooth paste soda to the rest of the Earth.

*Just remember I endured for you reader. I endured to hear his words coated in smells of things that shouldn't be smelled.

A&W has a taste like toothpaste, but the reason for Twinkies and Tarts of Pop, too sweet and to many chemicals. Ahrens explained Twinkies will not survive a nuclear winter and the amount of real fruit inside of Pop Tarts is a joke. Just eat a real piece of fruit. Pop Tarts are just sugar and chemicals. Also, turns out they were based on dog food. Kellogg's copied the tarts from another company, but made it for people.

I asked Ahrens what was the most disgusting food in the museum, he was ready,  I would like to categorize it in three different things: Visually, I would Casu marzu, the maggot cheese from Sardinia, you eat the maggots and their excrement; they can jump up and bite in your eyes and you can have rental detachment. Taste-wise, I would have to say Su Callu, the goat cheese, made in a baby goat's stomach. And smell-wise, the fermented shark."

Turns out, as Ahrens explains, shark needs to be fermented, because what's in it would poison you. I can tell you from tasting eat, it seems like your being poisoned anyway.

penis of some animal
"He worked at the monkey brain restaurant," Ahrens told me about a woman's father who visited the Swedish Disgusting Food Museum. We were gazing at the table that was supposedly a reconstruction of where you would eat a live monkey's brain. Ahrens believes it was real, but there has been no real proof other than stories from people like the visitor to the Swedish version of the pop-up.

And that pop-up in Sweden has a disgusting photo booth, which we don't. Ahrens said it might make it over. The photo booth sprays some nasty smells at you and takes a picture to capture your face at its most grossed out.

sheep head
We do take some of what the Disgusting Food Museum has with a grain of salt. They have the special Japanese Kit Kats that come in different flavors in the exhibit. Those aren't disgusting, they're fun to try. Last time we talked with Nestle, who owns Kit Kat, they said they're pretty much banned here in LA from Asian super markets that use to carry them other than the matcha ones we keep finding. You can still import them, if you were wondering. So, we disagree and some other countries aren't happy that there treasured treats are inside.

And Ahrens makes the point what we find disgusting over here, like everything from Europe and China, is liked over there because of the culture it comes from where the people over there grew up with it.

Still, how about some dog from China? Because that is true, that eat them, a lot. Or some horse milk from Russia? And we said it at the same time. Why is there alcohol in the horse milk. "It's Russia," we said in unison. And then nothing else, because it's just a thing you know when dealing with Russia.

If you asked me what I hated the most... you didn't, well, that's hurtful, ya jerk. I tell ya anyway, it's salt licorice. In-freakin-joy. That's what children get in Sweden? Why? Do Swedish people hate their children?

Faces, you"ll make there, will not be of joy...just have someone with you to capture yours as you go through.

"Two things,  First of all, that we shouldn't judge foods as so, disgusting and the other thing, alternative protein sources, because we can't keep up the number of meat we're producing," Ahrens told me  was what he wanted to get as the main point of coming. Alternative protein means bugs, but knowing America, we'll just make them flavor blasted bugs.


December 9, 2018 to February 17, 2019
Wednesday – Friday: 2 pm – 8 pm
Saturday -Sunday: 12 pm – 7 pm
CLOSED – Mondays and Tuesdays
A+D Architecture and Design Museum
900 E 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
General Admission (13+): $15 weekdays / $18 weekends
Children 12 and younger: $10


Monday, December 10, 2018

Craig Drake Solo Show V Interview

By Jonathan Bilski

Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice

In the early start of December I’m reaching out to Craig Drake via Skype all the way in Japan, Tokyo. He lives there now, though he called San Fran his home for many years. The reason for the move, it’s where his wife was. Still, the man digs Japanese culture.

And you might get a sense of that with his work based on Cowboy Bebop, soon to be a live action series on Netflix. But, it’s not just Bebop, his style, which references the look of Patrick Nagel 80’s influence, covers all media, be it Batman, Boba Fett or Beetlejuice. The man can make some sexy looking ladies or some sexy looking cars. For his new Solo show, which may or may not have a piece for Han Solo…probably not... after that movie, we’re getting many new pieces for some of our favorite media.

Back to our conversation, Craig was telling me how great Japan was. “As an artist, everywhere you turn, you will be inspired by signage, by architecture, just everything. And some day, it’s like you’re living in the movie Blade Runner. Original Blade Runner.”  A minute later, Craig stopped himself from talking about Japan as he knew he could go on for a long time about it. But, he kept going a little bit more.

Flower girl
“I’m a synth nut,” Craig tells me. Our previous interviews revealed Craig liked movie soundtracks heavy on synth. I’m sorry he missed John Carpenter’s live music on Halloween here in LA. “There’s days I’ll have synthesizers droning on a patch I’ve created,” Craig tells me about when he’s creating his art. “I did this by mistake once, y’know, I was just busy and I just let it go and I let it go in the background and I forgot it was playing and I was like, this is really great and I just started drawing. And it’s just the drone sound and it changes after time. And you let it go for two hours and it just changes into something different.” Craig was referring to a Japanese synthesizer he just let play on its own, a sort of white noise that he enjoys to get his work done too.

He was listening to synth while creating new pieces for his new solo show at Hero Complex Gallery, happening this December. “This round, these are just pieces, we chose, that are just classics. We chose some good sci-fi in there. I don’t want to give too much away, but the past two shows I stayed away from Star Wars content.” He said he would be bringing back Star Wars work for this show. 

“ In terms of anime, I don’t think we have any anime subjects.” Sadness was felt in the otaku community upon hearing the news. When I suggested Smash Bros, as the game will have just been released whenever this interview comes out, Craig told me he wished I asked him that months ago. So, sorry, no sexy looking Samus or Bulbasaur for you. There may be a video game piece in the show, but Craig is working on it last minute.

*The “we” Craig was referring to was him working with Adam Smasher, Hero Complex Gallery owner.

I then, out of nowhere, compliment Craig on his latest piece for Mondo, his take on the Batwing. It’s a follow-up as he also did the Batmobile. Given the chance, he said he do the Batpod from the Christopher Nolan Dark Night series. Then Craig said it would be great to just make one up.

“It’s this vehicle for us. And when I say us, I mean me and Adam ( If you read earlier, you already knew that) get to collaborate on subject matter and dream up ideas and how to print these things and what would be really good,” Craig  telling me how it is working on his latest show compared to working with Mondo on select work.

Not to leave Batman, Craig brought up a Catwoman piece he did for Mondo, “Michelle Pfeiffer got to see it and say, ‘Hey, I like it. I approve it.’ As an artist that was really cool to me.” Then I asked how Michelle Pfeiffer still had control over her image as Catwoman, and Craig just said her contract. So, remember future actor or anyone in the biz, put clauses in your contract to protect your image. And then maybe one day you can tell an artist yeah or nay to art they create of you.

Later on, I got into a discussion over the ownership of the art Craig Drake creates. If official art, Craig and whomever he teams up with be it Mondo or Hero Complex can only can create so many prints. After that, the studios/companies that they get approved by like Marvel or Universal own the art for good. So, they can basically do whatever they want with Craig’s work (per contract) and he doesn’t collect royalties on it. So pony up and pay for his prints if you like his art.

We also went over people stealing his art and putting it on shirts and what not online. Turns out he finds stuff almost every week. Be careful if you see anything online that’s his work unless released officially with an announcement though his social media channels. Some things you will find are officially released by Star Wars or the companies that own the rights to the property. But, if you see something on an online tee company, more than likely someone just ripped that art and Craig doesn’t get paid for it.

I asked Craig if there was any project that got dropped, even after he had finished it or was half-way-through creating it. He told me it happens all the time, but “Probably the most infamous one was for Prometheus.” Craig explained it was pretty much done, but just someone in the totem pole didn’t care for it, so, it was just over. And it happens all the time. I tell him he dodged a bullet, because that movie sucks, it’s beautiful, but it sucks.

We shift to talking about theaters in LA, he talks about going to the New Bev, he’s been out of the loop and didn’t even know it was closed for a year. He makes me laugh, he asks is the Alamo Draft House chain finally opened in LA. I tell him, not until next year. It was his favorite theater in San Fran.

Craig tells me what he’s really excited for in his new solo show, “The volume two art book, which will also, (exclusive)…it’ll have three volumes, it’ll be a three volume set, which you also by separately, they’ll be a re-publish of volume one and then the new volume two book and there’s a special portfolio addition, which is a lot of personal work and official work I’ve done over the years. It’s got everything from Star Wars to some Disney stuff, Marvel stuff."

Be sure to check out this artist amazing work for holiday gifts for friends and just yourself.

Opening Reception with Artist
Dec 14, 7pm-10pm
Additional Signing Session
Dec 15. 11am-1pm
Hero Complex Gallery
2020 S Robertson Blvd D, Los Angeles, CA 90034