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1983/6/22, nondream feltpen drawing, 11x14", by Chris Wayan

I like bad taste. Taste always tasted like another Anglo conspiracy to keep me from having fun. Comic books, bright colors, science fiction, short skirts... whatever I liked was always wrong.

cartoon of the Mission District in San Francisco, with graffiti poem by Burma Chavez
The graffiti-poem on the steps,
Que tacky
is fea
es el Anglo's
--Burma Chavez

refers to ads common before World War II: the Burma Shave company mounted sets of five small signs a quarter mile apart on lonely highways. The first four signs each had one line of a comic poem (not all about shaving); the last was signed Burma Shave, as if the can of goo itself was some graffiti-poet. A few of these ad-poems survived on desert roads when I was a kid. I liked the wait between signs. As in haiku or comics, the real action was in the gaps!

Burma Chavez is a slightly more political pun that it looks. In San Francisco, the southern border of the Mission district was called Army Street. When resident Latinos tried to rename it for labor leader Cesar Chavez, a lot of local ignoramuses felt this insulted fallen soldiers (actually it once led to Army barracks; long gone). Big fuss. Streetsigns waffled back and forth for years, baffling tourists, annoying locals.

Good old schizoid Mission!

LISTS AND LINKS: Only in San Francisco - Cesar Chavez - tagging, mural, and graffiti art - freedom of expression - happy souls - portraits - stupid poems - posters: words and pictures - essays and rants - felt pen - Burma Shave (yes, there's another Burma Shave poem) - tales of the waking world - dreamed that night: Watership Downtrodden

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