This piece was originally published June, 29th, 2009

Columnist, The Mystery Box

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Tell me about your column and your latest projects.

An ever changing grab bag—my hand dipping into The Mystery Box: A varying recollection of personal obsessions, often reaching back to rediscover a lost fave of popular (or more often than not unpopular) culture, or thoughts about this week's interesting new acquisition. Pigeonholing has always seemed detrimental to me, with such a vast world of things to get excited about from week to week.

Who or what are the biggest influences on your work and If you could pick one person to collaborate with dead or alive who would you pick?

I have always admired those artists that somehow manage to balance commerce with passion—still make a living while keeping their original love that got them started in the first place going. David Bowie comes to mind for his ever changing aspects and an ability to get excited about something and transfer it into his latest project.

What album had the most influence on your adolescence?

I was left with a large collection of vinyl by an older brother who went into the military. While there he also worked on the Armed Forces Radio Network and brought home many of these records that would be pressed for the service. They were basically your earliest form of fantastic compilations, or akin to today's Ipod playlist. These would juxtapose the music of the time without much regard to genre, as long as it was "cool" music. So I would listen to James Brown next to Black Sabbath next to a Frank Sinatra track etc. The influence of making seemingly disparate things work as a whole, has always stayed with me.

What were your favorite toys or games from your childhood?
Mousetrap! (always loved Rube Goldberg), The Game of LIFE, anything GI Joe but especially the 12" Adventure Team stuff, Mego figures and my James Bond Secret Agent Suitcase that fired the dagger.

What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?

Some not so good reality shows suck me in: What Not To Wear is a major one as I really dislike the smarmy, oily, unfunny hosts who wear terrible threads, yet am compelled to watch this show whenever I see it on/ any low budget local hack community audition type show / America's Next Top Model / I need to catch up on Flavor of Love.

If you could own one piece of artwork by any artist, who would you choose and why?

An Andy Warhol pre silk-screened work from his time spent as an illustrator, such as one of his hand drawn shoes. He was known as one of the greatest shoe artists in New York. I'm fascinated by Warhol as he is more known work of as an artist who took out the human process of creating art and upped the mechanical process. Gotta love that late fifties advertising fun / an original Steranko from Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. / or any one of the classic MAD Magazine artists from the '60's or '70s.

What are your favorite television shows that you feel ended too soon?

Father Ted, Fawlty Towers, Oliver Beene, Police Squad!, The Tick, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Batman, Jeeves and Wooster

Who is your favorite superhero?

I have a hard time picking only one, but to narrow down a few they would be: The Spectre, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Dr. Fate, Steve Ditko's Mr. A and The Question. Danny The Street gets a special nod as well, even though he is from 1990.

If you were to have dinner with 5 people living or dead, who are they and what would you serve?

David Bowie, Jim Jarmusch, Salvador Dali, Jesus Christ, Jerry Lewis

Dinner would be buffet or spread style consisting of an assorted ethnic appetizers / a cheese fondue / sashimi & miso soup.

What fictional character do you identify most with?

Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster or Minya, son of Godzilla.

What 5 movies could you watch again and again?

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Goldfinger, any Lone Wolf and Cub film, Destroy All Monsters, Animal House

What book or author do you regularly recommend?

Nick Tosches, Edward Gorey

What are your favorite web sites?

Weirdo Records
Official Red Sox SiteMadame Talbot's Victorian Lowbrow and Gothic LowbrowHere Lies Richard SalaBarry's Temple of GodzillaDe Luchadores 

What are you most looking forward to geeking out over in the coming year?

Starting up my own business selling my artwork, more writing  (some great stuff planned!), more Luau Hut columns, circuit bending; back to recording music after a lifetime of playing guitar I am about to start playing the bass and endless Red Sox games 

charles said...
i learned a good deal of what makes robert jaz tick. thanks

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