Adult Problems - Everyone Is Flying To Jesus With Wolfgang CarverBy Zachary Lipez
When I was 19, some weird shit happened that is none of your goddamned business. But I arrived in Portland a tear-stained mess—a crybaby on wheels—and I could have gone either way. Being that it was Portland in the ‘90s, you could be now reading the blog ramblings of the fifth trombonist in a Built to Spill interpretive cover band rather that the laser-like concise observations of the dashing figure I cut today. What saved me was a copy of Lisa Crystal Carver’s Rollerderby zine on the coffee table of a communal riot jazzbo house. Rollerderby taught me…well, I don’t know that it taught me anything, but it served as a bracing salve, with its denunciations of being bored, boring, and, worst of all, a sensualist. I wasn’t really sure how one was to live at that point in my life, and this slim zine was a guide, and one I needed. Now, I’m writing about Lisa Carver’s son. Sometimes, nepotism works within a meritocracy. If you want me to write about your band, rescue me from a tree I’ve climbed up.
Wolfgang Carver is the progeny of Lisa (no longer Crystal) Carver and Boyd Rice. My opinion of the young man’s father is mixed. He always struck me as the main (along with Jim Goad) proponent of one of the more questionable mindsets that were bouncing around the “underground” in the 1990s: Strength through being slightly more masculine than your average Pavement fan. It was a game of inches, where the “real” enemy was the ineffectual and the politically correct. As opposed to, you know, rapists. Lisa Crystal Carver occasionally espoused that sort of vague libertarianism too, but she always seemed to be coming from a genuine free place; a place that insisted on a love of a humongous and loud existence, rather than just a need to be contrary. I don’t doubt that she would disagree with my assessment of her ex-husband and certainly would know more about it…Regardless, the union was fruitful, as it resulted in the wonder that is Wolf.
Wolfgang Carver’s art book is called Wolf The Artist - From Apocalypse Back. It is a series of drawings that capture Wolf’s own enormous existence. It is all aliens and Jesus and Big Foot and the Dover High School destroyed by a supervolcano—the essentials of an aesthetic that is about the truly vital and the REAL, rather than the, yawn, "real." When my friend Ben, who suffered from visceral night terrors for much his youth into young adulthood, looked through Wolf The Artist, he cackled with recognition. It’s a pretty true book.
The art in the book is given context by an accompanying essay by Wolf’s mother. She explains that Wolf is missing his 22nd chromosome (a condition called Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome), which means, essentially, that his worldview is not yours or mine. That’s cool by me, as most people who do share my worldview seem to be competing with me on who can put the other to sleep first. I win as often as I lose, and my sleep is the sleep of the ready-to-see-something-else. Wolfgang provides the “something else” nicely. According to Carver’s essay, Wolf perceives nature as the entirety of reality, with “hygiene, fashion, small talk” not even rating a glance. His drawings express this perception beautifully. They are vibrant and violent. I don’t know much about art, and the only art I remember liking from my brief foray into higher education was the Italian Futurists. Wolfgang’s art is like that (considering his lineage, maybe that’s appropriate) and the art is terrifying and bold, like life is supposed to be. If I wasn’t eagerly awaiting the Apocalypse before (I was), I sure as hell am (more so) now.
You can purchase the book (don’t be a chump; you should) and other Lisa (sometimes Crystal, sometimes not) Carver esoterica from Suckdog. If you’re going to like all those bands that sound like all the most boring bands from the ‘90s that we all just considered college rock and made fun of mercilessly at the time, you could at least do us all a favor and get some Rollerderby up in your revival piece. It will make you more interesting, improve your hairstyle and maybe make you a little meaner in a good way. And you can thank me next time we see each other.
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