Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Family

There will never be a time as genuine and innocent as my childhood. I absolutely had it made and, as far as I can recall, the only problem I ever had was how to replace the broken whiffle ball. I never wanted to grow up and in several ways I haven't. My house and studio are covered in childhood memorabilia from my 1989 Batman action figure to my first Patrick Ewing poster to my Ultimate Warrior wrestling buddy. I have no idea how I have a girlfriend! Let's face it, chicks dig the Fernando Valenzuela Starting Lineup toy...apparently. So when I was a child, the WWF peaked and was arguably the coolest thing in the world. It was theater for kids. Well, theater on steroids and painkillers and in Jake "The Snake"  Roberts' case, steroids, painkillers, coke, crack and booze. I absolutely loved it and lived it...sans the drugs and alcohol (then!). To this day I refer to 1984 as the greatest Christmas ever when I received my WWF ring and a bunch of wrestling figures. It was collectively my Red Rider BB gun and I simply could not have been happier. Over time I disposed of most of my toy collection but have never even considered getting rid of my wrestling figures.

Due to the fondness of these memories I still, from time to time, throw in a classic Wrestlemania or Royal Rumble on DVD. I make fun of the aforementioned girlfriend for watching dumb shit like "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC and she responds with "Well, what are YOU watching?" I lower my head in a bit of shame and mutter..."Summer Slam 1988." I know it's a guilty pleasure (now that I'm an adult) and I SHOULD know better. It has everything to do with me clinging to the glory days before car payments and man boobs.

So when Bottleneck Gallery asked if I would like to be a part of their I Love You Man exhibit (a tribute to guy friends in pop culture), I figured this was finally my chance to pay homage to a lifelong love. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and his stable of heels will forever be immortalized in the minds of wrestling fans of this era. Heenan is often considered to be the greatest manager of all time with his chauvinistic attitude and overall ability to rile the audience. He also managed some of the most colorful characters from Mr. Perfect to Ravishing Rick Rude to Andre the Giant (at his villainess peak). You simply loved to hate them. This stable of wrestlers represent a big period of classic WWF and therefore, the fondness of my childhood. There's the Brooklyn Brawler, Mr. Perfect, King Kong Bundy, the Brain Busters, Hercules, Haku, Ravishing Rick Rude, Big John Studd and Andre the Giant. I present to you...The Family.

Available here.

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