Weekly Obsessions

Things we were obsessing about on Nov. 24, 2004

Interest in cartoonist Lev Yilmaz's Tales of Mere Existence has snowballed since Comedy Central picked up an animated version of the zine for its variety show, Jump Cuts. The cartoonist himself doesn't have cable (perfect!), so fans and friends join him at the 540 Club on Sundays for makeshift viewings of the program, which airs Sundays at midnight and Wednesdays at 2 a.m. Take advantage of the group-view soon; according to Yilmaz, Comedy Central might be moving the show's visions of slacker ennui to a more viewer-friendly time in December, and by then, he might be able to afford Comcast. Visiting Yilmaz's site, www.ingredientx.com, will start your Mere Existenceaddiction. To take the tales home, hit a local bookstore; each zine comes with a DVD of animations. N.C.

If you've lately noticed folks at gourmet specialty stores acting just like junkies waiting for a big score, there's only one reason -- truffle mania. Each year at this time fanciers of the mysterious fungus pay anywhere from $15 (the low-end cost of Oregon's subpar domestic crop) to $300 (the price commanded by Italian white truffles) for a mere ounce. Why all the fuss? Once tasted, a perfect truffle lingers forever in the mind like a really good fuck. Truffles taste of garlic, of earth, of sex; they are a food worth fighting and dying for. Far West Fungi at the Ferry Building carries them but sells out each week. There's no better way to spend a paycheck on one night's decadent delight. J.S.

A dearth of large-scale artwork at Burning Man 2004 left many wondering if the creative fires were sputtering. Last week, a Burning Man art war was instigated on Burner e-mail lists in an effort to revamp the festival's curatorial process. The heart of the controversy: Anybody can make art at the event on his own dime, but art grants from the Burning Man organization are doled out by a team of two, founder Larry Harvey and arts curator Christine Kristen (aka Lady Bee). A petition (http://tinyurl.com/615lh) authored by artist Jim Mason and Odeon Bar owner Chicken John (who both refused comment) demands guest curators, approval of art proposals by the entire Burning Man community, and an increase in grant money to purge the festival of its "crushing bureaucracy." Burning Man will increase its arts funding, says Harvey, but he refuses to start "choosing art by committee." L.A.

We'll admit it: When we opened the package from Sarah Lefton and saw its contents, we blushed. We'd never been sent women's undergarments (a thong no less!) via mail before. The skivvies, emblazoned with the mock-politico banner of "Chanukah Bush," are the creation of Lefton's inspired Jewish Fashion Conspiracy (www.jewishfashionconspiracy.com), a local microlabel that aims to "put the racy back in conspiracy." The assortment of gear for hip young Heebs offers lots of just-in-time-for-Hanukkah ideas, including a "Jews for Jeter" tee (to honor the Yankee slugger), the signature "Yo Semite" shirt, and -- our favorite -- cherry red panties that promise "A Great Miracle Happened Here" across the derriere. Be advised: According to Lefton, the miraculous panties run quite small. N.C.

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