Kicking and Screaming

Legend has it, a trip to the toilet with Zap Comix inspired Ron Turner to borrow $2,500 to start his publishing company, Last Gasp. It was 1970, a year fraught by both optimism and opposition. Turner, like a holy fool with a whoopee cushion, released Slow Death Funnies just in time for Earth Day. He sold it out of the back of his car. 40 years later, the original home of R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman has grown into the largest purveyor of high-minded lowbrow books in the world. (Beyond your own bookshelf, this might be the only place you’ll find The Cunt Coloring Book and the 17th-century Insects of Surinam side-by-side.) Forever guided by Turner’s twisting sense of humor and nose for offbeat beauty, Last Gasp embraces items ranging from graphic guides to Hinduism and Shakespeare and detailed instructions in lock-picking to anthologies of Cometbus and monographs by Mark Ryden. It is an underground roadmap for elegiac derelicts. “The Last Gasp 40th Anniversary Art Show” celebrates four decades of divine delinquency with a gallery show featuring no fewer than 50 of Last Gasp’s most beloved artists, including Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, Robert Williams, Attaboy, and many more.
Thu., April 1, 6 p.m., 2010

 
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