Vida? Is that you?

Wanna hear a cool song? Check out “Vida Blue” by Jimmy Bee

I know I have a predilection for visual art to be easy on the eye, but if it isn’t easy on the eye then at least it should be meaningful and thought-provoking. I tend to look at modern art the same way I look at a pop star: with tantalizing wonder, mild bemusement, and with a sense of ironic detachment. Despite my supposed bone of contention and love/hate relationship, the visual arts are a nice refresher for my mental highways and quite inspirational in my life on a daily basis. I adhere to that annoying cliche that makes art critics want to gouge their eyes out: I see art in everything.

The Orange Menace Plague has demonstrated the value of the visual arts, while also threatening it–education, entertainment, and escapism are just some of the benefits the arts have provided during these bleak and confusing times and we should do everything we can to give value to something infinitely more important than simple monetary worth. (all this was typed as “Do the Hustle” wafted serenely in the background. Can you ever mistake the first 3 seconds of that song for anything else? What a lovely, crappy song.)

One morning I was mindlessly scanning the internet (Help! I need a salve from doom surfing!) on a typical day of rampant cognitive dissonance when I stumbled upon this 1975 Topps Vida Blue oil painting manufactured by the artist John Kilduff. Kilduff is (well?) known for painting while doing acrobatics, like running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike, during a public access show in Los Angeles. He is sort of seen as the punk rock version of Bob Ross and some critics have deemed the show “ironic performance art.” In my opinion, the best part about the show is that it lacks caller screening and a lot of bored stoners take advantage of this by making surly comments, cursing, accosting members of the show, and making derogatory comments about rival gangs.

Of course, this type of off-kilter, aberrant content was a calling card for the late-night drunken denizens of a city that took pride in its ability to mesh psychedelia and reality. It is the type of show that perfectly defines the human condition and would be one of the first things I’d choose if there was a mutual exchange of cultural artifacts with an alien species: you know…the ones that constructed the space laser/death star that created the forest fires in California.

You can buy the painting above for 340 dollars if that sort of thing floats your boat.


5 thoughts on “Vida? Is that you?

  1. SeaGuy

    Vida… my ALL-TIME favorite A !

    A seventeen-game winner… (BY THE ALL STAR BREAK !)

    (* and that even though, in his final start before the break, he went 11 innings, gave up zero runs, but the A’s didn’t win it until the bottom of the 20th inning) (the all-time record being 18 by the all star break – achieved once, by Wilbur Wood of Chicago)

    Vida Blue, who in high school, during one calendar year (1966)

    A ) Quarterbacked his football team, throwing for 37 touchdowns and 3484 yards in a 12-game season, WHILE ALSO rushing (himSELF) for 1600 yards on 155 carries (you can do that math)

    B ) Struck out 90 (of a possible 168 in his 8 games), threw FOUR no-hitters including THREE “perfect games” (* games were 7 innings). (Once, as a senior, he even struck-out 22 in a 7-inning game… when somebody got on base with a dropped 3rd strike. Another time he struck out 19 in 7-innings)

    Not to mention that Vida was the only winning pitcher for the American League All Stars between 1963 and 1982.

    And, of course, he was the winning pitcher for the NL in 1981 as well.

    Just imagine…


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