Interview w/ Ray Caesar • Artist

SM: Do you have anything you carry around for good luck?

RC: I am not really all that superstitious Oh! yes there is a huge stuffed albatross I wear round my neck…I never take that off…then there’s the rabbits foot on my keychain….the monkey paw on my wallet…..a packet of Imodium…container of salt to throw over my shoulder….a single condom purchased in the last century… lotto numbers …My lucky Roman coin ( Heads I win, Tails you lose …)…the autograph of Ringo on my stomach I swore never to wash off for luck….”Blacky” my black Cat I walk on a lucky leash…….and my lucky Metamucil hat with the side mirrors to make sure I don’t step on cracks, walk under ladders or pianos on a rope…………….and a piece of paper with the proper pronunciation of Mr. Mxyzptlk’s name backwards.

SM: If you were stripped of your perceptions for a day (no sight, hearing, taste, etc.), how do you suppose your mind would react after the shock wore off?

RC: I would probably yawn..stretch go for a pee and make some breakfast because I would use the “No perception” time to take a long nap.

SM: If you were posed in a photograph to be displayed in a museum, what sort of photograph would you like to have taken of you?

RC: Absolutely in one of those huge 18th Century French silk dresses…powder Blue… like Madame Du Pompador wore…..and a fan …and a big huge dusted wig with a model of a ship of the fleet in the midst of the battle of Trafalgar….Oh! Oh! and on the deck of the ship would be teeny tiny porcelain figurines reenacting the Loony Toon classic “Should I shoot him now or wait until I get home”, in which Bugs Bunny convinces Daffy Duck to demand to be shot by Elmer Fudd.
Who can forget Daffy’s blood curdling “Shoot me now!!! Shoot me now!!!” followed by the blast of Elmers shotgun, causing the full 360 degree rotation of Daffy’s bill. It’s Shakespearean.

SM: When was the last time you noticed everything getting really quiet around you?

RC: This is a true story …In 1998 I had a colonoscopy, a rather lengthy procedure in which a very large volume of air is sent up your rectum to enable the easy insertion of a long flexible camera …..funny thing is its the air that causes discomfort and not the “Alien like flexible tube probing device”…. sort of like blowing up one of those long balloons that clowns make “balloon puppydogs” from …anyhoo! after the procedure they advised me to go home and rest but I was downtown near a big indoor mall and I felt bloated but otherwise fine… off I went to this mall called “Eaton Center” that had this huge rotunda with a fountain that would spurt a 50 foot spray almost to the ceiling………..well after the fountain did this it stopped which sort of makes the rotunda go quiet as everyone gasps at the shear beauty of Man’s invention. This is when I let out the loudest longest uncontrollable fart of my entire life as my bowel released all that compressed air like a CO2 tank with a open valve………the fart was quadrupled in noise due to the echo like acoustics of the Eaton Center rotunda…….its duration was almost inhuman……The general noise and chit chat from the entire North wing of this massive mall stopped as everyone’s attention was centered on me …………you could have heard a pin drop…..then I bolted!!!!… squeezing out a series of smaller sqeeky farts as I ran from the mall.

SM: When was the last time you had a case of insomnia, and what did you do to remedy it?

RC: I don’t get it much but if I do I generally take a nap. I find napping helps all kinds of things ….I wish more world leaders would nap before making big tricky decisions.

SM: When was the last time you had something unfortunate happen to you in a strange city?

RC: Got mugged in Toronto ( which is a strange city ) last year …. had a drunken guy and a few of his close chums hold a broken beer bottle to my neck and a knife to my ribs………got out of it by mentioning “I had a cake baking in the oven back home and that I would have to get a move on as baking cakes is a tricky thing” …I muttered on about the nature of the way dough rises ( I felt I was sort of using that old Obi wan Kenobi Jedi voice trick ).
The police caught the guy pretty quick ( I am a very observant person they told me ) …I had to go to court and sit for hours. He pleaded guilty and wasn’t really such a bad chap when sober ….just a bit of a temper problem…quite common really. The only fib in this story is that I haven’t a clue how to bake a cake or why yeast causes dough to rise! …..almost died in that one ya know..sure would have put the price of my art up, there’s a silver lining in everything I suppose.

SM: Please describe one of your most frequent daily habits.

RC: I generally watch a Voyager Star Trek re-run while I eat lunch. I am somewhat enamored by Captain Katharine Janeway and often fantasize about a brief encounter in her “ready room” or possibly a chance meeting when she is on an “away mission”. In my fantasy I am always some kind of alien with a very strange forehead….perhaps a witty Klingon or a handsome Ferngi……..I have often done a google search on Kate Mulgrew to see what she is up to lately…………I often send her poems and such like this:
Beyond the rim of the starlight,
My love is wandering in star flight.
I know he’ll find in star clustered reaches
Love, strange love a starwoman teaches.
I know his journey ends never.
His Star Trek will go on forever.
But tell him while he wanders his starry sea,
Remember, Remember me.

SM: If you were to illustrate a field full of crows, what would you make sure to include?

RC: Oooooh! that’s easy….. Tippi Hedren and a swingset.

SM: Please tell us what you would do if you spent a day no taller than a matchstick.

RC: I would spend that day hiding from my dog/coyote Bonnie as I am sure he would have great fun with a matchstick sized Me. I wonder if he would still sit if I told him too? I would probably make a pass at the wife too as there is a kinky aspect to all this that should be thoroughly explored…………..the only thing is I would need a matchstick sized smoking jacket, a cravat and a teeny bottle of champagne to get her interested…..and a little record player playing the soothing voice of Renzo Ceasana.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

RC: I am just gonna use one of Renzo’s poems as I used to be him before this particular identity I am now……..being immortal is not all its cracked up to be and its getting tricky to forge new social security info.

In dreams I kiss your hand, Madame, your dainty fingertips,
And while in slumberland, Madame, I’m begging for your lips.
I haven’t any right, Madame, to do the things I do.
Just when I hold you tight, Madame, you vanish with the night, Madame.
In dreams I kiss your hand, Madame, and pray my dreams come true. ”

Renzo Ceasana
The Continental circa 1952

I think I sent that to Kate just before I got the court order to stop harassing her.

Ray Caesar

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Interview w/ Ryan Greis • Artist