Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday Revue May 7: Thirty Miles Of Crazy

Gather Round, Gather Round! 

Lemme Tell You 'Bout My Home Town!

Okay, it isn't actually my home town, I'm from the frozen north originally. But I've lived in Colorado long enough to know what 'oh Colfax' means in all its gritty glory.
'Oh Colfax' covers people having sex on your car when you come out of the late night coffee shop. It covers finding a pair of high heels and a used condom in a pine tree. It covers walking from one oasis of cool people to another with your keys held as an impromptu knuckle duster as you navigate the dark deserts between hotspots and avoid eye contact with the jackals who lurk there. 'There's always Colfax!' is a joke across the high schools of Colorado. Can't get a job? Wear a short skirt, there's always Colfax!
'Oh Colfax' covers it all. And it's all covered by the sly and deadpan Karl Christian Krumpholz in Thirty Miles Of Crazy, a deliciously sour exploration of Denver's dens and America's bars, red blind districts and low places. In addition to the web presence, books can be bought here.

The Rating

Deadpan, delicious and deranged. Welcome to humanity in the raw kids.

The Raves

I bumped into Karl at a little local Denver event, and was lucky enough to acquire the book '30 Miles Of Crazy: Another Round.' Since then, cat and husband have been much startled by sudden and unprovoked bouts of laughter. Krumpholz manages to do what few of us can; capture in images those weird little moments that unsettle, puzzle or unnerve us at the time for reasons we can never articulate afterwords. Since he started his work in Denver, Krumpholz has expanded to bars and venues in many other cities, and people from around the country will spot amusing local easter eggs.
But though the vicarious living is fun, the real charm of Krumpholz's work is in the ability to show off the wacky side of the human condition. The art style is  an important component to the off-kilter semi-realistic emotional tenor of 'Crazy'; done with enough realism that you can recognize specific landmarks, yet stylistically expressive. I never realized what a wonderful stylistic trick spiral eyes could actually be until I saw 'Crazy' use them. The angular linework, dramatically textured monochromatic color schemes heavy on the black ink and the exaggerated expressions are the perfect vehicle for stories of the kinky, the weird, the off the wall and those moments when a tiny part of your brain starts yelling 'get me out of heeeeere!'

Krumpholz's illustrated avatar is also the perfect access character for all such tales, his outfit charmingly desabelle and his  expression running the gamut from the default 'I seen worse' squint to an expression of boggle eyed shock and horror over the state of humanity. He passes few judgements on the situations he sees; he's here to showcase life in the city, not to make social commentary on it. If you do happen to be local though, his comics act as a walking tour of all the neighborhood bars and music venues. Now I have a whole new list of places to check out....early in the evening. In a group. With my mace on hand.....
Just to add to the fun, he does a blog of bars on the side, labeled '30 Miles Of Cocktails' and filled with all the commentary he saved from the comics. It's a great place to get recommendations for a night out, or a chuckle.

The Razzes

I'll be honest, I've nothing to complain of in this work. Sure, some of the strips are weird, open ended or a little disturbing....but so is Colfax. So is humanity. 

The Revue 

Crack a beer and give it a read! If you don't want a drink beforehand, you soon will...

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