Arnott Archive Update

My preview of the ArtWalk in Westville this weekend (May 11 & 12) is here.

My contributions to the New Haven Advocate’s Best of New Haven 2012 edition Volume II are here. I wrote the items on Cutler’s, Yale University, WPLR’s Keith Dakin, Rubber Match (I got the scoop that the “Best Place to Buy a Futon” category is being retired after this year), The Woodwinds, Hospital of Saint Raphael, Dava Boutique and WAVE Gallery.

My preview of the Greenwich Village premiere of the rock musical Save the Robots, for the website, is here.

My review of the Borkowski CD Songs You Won’t Like on an Album You Don’t Want is here.

New Haven Theater Jerk is here.

Arnott’s Uke Set

I’ve been learning Michael Nesmith’s Tapioca Tundra on uke this week, and thought I’d post my current repertoire so I can keep track of it myself.

96 Tears

After Hours

All the Young Dudes

Bad to Me

Barney Google

Beginning to See the Light


The Codfish Ball


Comes Once in a Lifetime

Crazy Words Crazy Tune

Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?

Heroin/ Sugar Sugar/Lydia the Tattoed Lady

How’m I Doin’?

I’ll See You in My Dreams

It Ain’t Necessarily So

Jollity Farm

Know Your Rights

Miss America

Mood Indigo

Pachelbel’s Canon/Better Things/I Wanna Be Well/The Kids Are All Right

Rock & Roll High School

Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear

Stepping Stone

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

That’s My Weakness Now

There’s Gonna Be Some Changes Made

Tonight You Belong to Me

The Twist

Varsity Drag

Wandering Minstrel

When You Wish Upon a Star

Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go (With Friday on a Saturday Night)?

Willoughby Walloughby Woo

More Noteworthy Titles of Archie Comics Stories and Gags

This time from Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest #94 (Aug. 2005). This issue is unusual for the variety of supporting characters in the Riverdale universe who get to star in stories.


Dilton in Science Friction

Gag Bag

Fire When Ready

Rock ‘n’ Rigmarole

Coach Clayton in My Way

Reggie in Club Flub

Archie & the Gang in Don’t Mention Detention

Li’l Jinx—Choices

Betty & Veronica in The Secret Language of Boys

Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda in Birthday Blues

Dilton in Genius of Love (Parts 1 & 2)

What’s Brewin’ (with Sabrina’s witch aunts Hilda & Zelda)

Mr. Weatherbee in Dotty Duty

Mr Lodge in A Sound Idea

Betty in Pet Peeve

Moose in Shake Flake

Reggie in Bowl Control

Li’l Jinx’s Chum Charley in That’s a Hot One

Miss Beazly in On the Menu (a puzzle page)

Prof. Flutesnoot in Egyptian Inscription

Archie in Speechless

Archie and the Gang in Dolly Delight

Li’l Jinx—Four Equals Two

Little Archie in Boys Will Be Beautiful

That Cute Little Witch Little Sabrina in No Class at All

Little Archie in Headline Hunter

Little Archie in Letter Puzzle

Little Reggie in The Candy Man

Dilton in Talk Squawk

Mr. Weatherbee in Action Reaction

Archie & the Gang in Earth Day (Parts 1 & 2)

Betty in Tears Cross Off List (“Cross Off List” is a type of puzzle, illustrated by Betty Cooper wiping her eyes and saying bitterly “Find out what Archie did to make me CRY!” The answer to the puzzle is “He made me peel onions.”)

Reggie in Dust Gust

Chuck Clayton in Risky Profession

Mister Weatherbee in The Old College Try!!

Mr. Weatherbee in Helmet Hijinx

Archie Says: You Know It’s Not Your Day When…

Moose in “Your Number’s Up”

Coach Kleats in “Data Base Ball”

Mr. Weatherbee, Doodling Around

Reggie in Bad Image

Dilton in A Bone to Pick

Archie & the Gang in Float Note

Miss Beazly in The Bake Off

Dilton in Blast Back to the Past

Mr. Weatherbee in A Matter of Principal

Rock Gods #272: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

We are writing this in the dark at D’ollaires. We have been waiting, crammed up against the stage, for an hour. In the dark. We know it will be an even longer wiat becaue a techie friend prowling the stage told us the headliner has it in his contract that he needs 90 minutes to put on his make-up before a show, and he arrived under an hour ago. Techie Friend insists this is not the club’s fault—the limo they sent was on time and was kept waiting. Then stops were made en route to the club.

We are writing this in the dark at D’ollaire’s, We have been waiting, cramped up against the stage for an hour and ten minutes.

At the Bullfinch: Portable Electronic Devices. That is either a band or a cheap DJ nite… Hamilton’s has Check Beneath Your Seats and Prepare for Landing—that’s two separate bands, not flight instructions… D’ollaires’ is dark tomorrow—unless we’re still waiting for tonight’s headliner to show up…

Arnott Archive Update

My review for the New Haven Advocate of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses at the Yale Repertory Theatre is here.

(This is separate from my review of the same show at my New Haven Theater Jerk website, here.)

My contributions to Volume One of the New Haven Advocate’s Best of New Haven 2012 are here. l wrote the items on the Elm Shakespeare Company, Tommy’s Tanning, The Catwalk, Bruegger’s Bagels, Archie Moore’s, Baja’s, Rudy’s, Elm City Market, Willoughby’s, Katz’s Deli, Miya’s Sushi and The Wine Thief.

My profile of John Cavaliere and his Lyric Hall stage, for Daily Nutmeg, is here.

My latest “This Week in New Haven” highlights column for Daily Nutmeg is here.

The Archie Essays: Digital Riverdale

The Archie Digital Store, the app through which you can download Archie comics to your phone, pad or home screen, is “Now on Android,” the homepage of blares.

I have an iPhone and have been an online Archie reader for years, and can’t imagine what it’s like to have waited this long for the opportunity. First Archie Comics came in separate apps, which meant a different little box on the phone screen for each issue. Then a store developed, which was much more manageable, with new offerings easier to find and buy. Archie has been an acknowledged pioneer in portable-device publishing, experimenting early with new wrinkles in the industry, from digital-only offerings like the revamped L’il Jinx to foreign-language versions.

I’m also a fan of Archie Digital Comics, an online subscription service which offers older Archie titles which haven’t been making it into the Archie Store—obscure titles such as Pat the Brat, Young Doctor Masters or Cosmo the Merry Martian, some of whom have been getting referenced recently in nostalgia-friendly new Archie comics such as “A Night at the Comics Shop.”

and early issues of Pep Comics which feature some of the earliest appearances of the Archie characters but are headlined by superheroes The Shield, The Hangman and earnest warriors Jolly Rogers and Sergeant Boyle. Pep #23 is so full of old cultural stereotypes—not just the archvillains but the Archie adventures (Archie ruins a suit belonging to Betty Cooper’s dad, so he takes it to a comical Jewish tailor, who mixes it up with a magician’s outfit)—that the Archie Digital site carries this “DISCLAIMER: The stories, characters, and incidents in this publication are entirely fictional. This publication contains material that was originally created in a less racially and socially sensitive time in our society and reflects attitudes that may be represented as offensive today. The stories are represented here without alteration for historical reference.”

I still happily buy the paper comics, but the digital editions have a clarity and colorfulness and vivacity and out-of-timeliness all their own. It’s like having an extra closet in the house with a fresh stack of Archie in it. One that glows in bright yellow “Meanwhile..” panels and bright red “Archie” round-letter logos and, of course, bright orange hair.

Culled and Sacked

I brought a Cul de Sac comics anthology home from the library yesterday. My daughters, who knew the strip from but until now hadn’t truly bathed in it, spent the rest of the day and night fighting over the book. One of them skipped watching a TV show so she could read it. The other, petulant because she’d been told her computer time was up, calmed down instantly when it was suggested she could read Cul de Sac for a while instead. At bedtime, a schedule had to be devised, of so many minutes with the volume apiece, or nobody would’ve gotten to sleep.

I love Cul de Sac myself, and can only read it myself when the girls are out of the house. The strip’s often compared to Peanuts—including by Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson himself, who in the anthologies annotates and analyzes some of his gags. In this book, commenting on a strip about the father character’s baldness, he muses on Charlie Brown’s hair blending in with the color of his scalp: “Mr Otterloop does have hair but, like Charlie Brown, it blends in with his head. Unless Charlie Brown is bald, in which case I have to rethink everything.”

Cul de Sac, if you don’t know it, is a child-based strip, vaguely in the tradition of such strips dating back a century, but with some new ideas. It doesn’t modernize its all-American suburban environment, which seems in the same zone as ‘60s Peanuts or ‘40s Winnie Winkle or ‘20s Skippy. It’s not like Norm Feuti’s interesting new strip Gil, whose protagonist is a socially awkward, overweight 8-year-old with divorced parents.

Cul de Sac’s central kids, Alice and Petey Otterloop, are basically innocent and untraumatized. Thompson’s gift is in showing how how excited and confused and indignant and overwhelmed and dreamlike kids can get, while still maintaining an outsider’s perspective. We’re not along for the ride the way we might be with Calvin and Hobbes. We see more of the whole picture—the difference in the children’s ages, how they connect and disconnect with their peers, which things give them inexplicable degrees of enjoyment (a parade of shopping carts) and which they are oblivious to. A trip to a diner can last for an exhausting, exhilarating week of strips.

Often, the punchline in Cul de Sac is simply a blissful reaction to an invitation. Alice is presented with something that excites her beyond words, and she screams “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Or Petey, given to out-of-body experiences and paranoia about inanimate objects attacking him, goes “Gah!”

It’s no wonder my girls are responding to it so virulently. Eeeeeeeeee! Gah! Cul de Sac speaks to them. But—“Omigosh!” and “Um. Okay. Sure,” as the Otterloop parents say—it speaks to me too.

Rock Gods #271: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Nobody remembers for sure who first noted, and described, the “groove in the wall” at Langley’s Restaurant. The joint has the most revered Monday jam session in the state.

The series was officially renamed “Groove in the Wall” a few months ago. A banner was made and hung behind the stage. What management didn’t realize was that they were obscuring the original groove in the wall by a celebratory canvas poster there.

The groove is a long, inches-deep depression in the plaster wall, not so deep that you’d notice it from even a few feet away, but a crucial element of the jam.”

“We rest our cigarettes there,” says one of the many Willies in the Langley’s houseband (which some folks actually ID as The Band of Willies). We won’t tell you which Willie (there are at least eight in the extended jam family) because we wish to mention that this one winked comically at the word “cigarette,” and we don’t wish to get him in trouble.

“I’ve seen lottery tickets in the groove, gum drops in the groove, drumsticks in the groove… Hell, I’ve even seen drummers play the groove like a ratchet,” Willie continues.

The “Groove in the Wall” banner was relocated to a prominent position outside the restaurant last week, uncovering the groove in the wall. It behooves the groove.


The Bottom Cushions and FSBWS at Hamilton’s… Take It, We’ll Replace It at D’ollaire’s… Bullfinch is redecorating. (Hey! Create a groove!)…