Tuesday, October 04, 2005


The kind of thing that makes you believe in Music of the Spheres - or the benign sort of tinfoil hat.

Part of the service I give my patient is checking ahead for TV listings that might interest her (Yahoo is great for this), but I will also check out the odd thing that might interest me, hoping, futilely, that I'll have the chance to watch it. From time to time, I will even scan the moribund offerings on PBS....

So, SERENDIP (Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations) led me (somehow - they weren't in the game at all, but I like the reference) this evening to a PBS Nova listing for one of their imitation-History Channel war weapons pieces - the enormous battleship Yamato. My resident imp translated that into the Battleship Tomato (see flag, above), and a keen desire to get back my copy of The World of Donald Evans. I'd been trying to do this for years, and amazon kept telling me that no copy was available. SERENDIP, indeed, they have re-appeared in the used market.

Donald Evans was an American with a stamp fetish. Growing up in New Jersey, he not only collected them, he began to make his own, with full cataloging and provenance, and as he grew up, he came back to the form and made it brilliant, beautiful and full of wit. Within the stamp trade (I did a stint there, without entering the brotherhood), these are known as Cinderellas; faux-postage, beautifully dressed.

Evans invented whole countries to issue his postage - there was an Italianate one that had a Zeppelin named after a cucumber, for example - and that's where the Yamato-Tomato came from. But there were mythical territories whose entire raison-d'être was love, friendship, or food, viz.:

EVANS, Donald: Amis et Amants. Timbres Poste du Monde de Donald Evans. 1974.
Artist stamps. Print.

A perforated block of four artist stamps printed in colored offsetlitho in the center of a sheet of white paper: 1: "Premières amours"; 2: "Ami des beaux jours"; 3: "Main dans la Main"; 4: "L'Amour Perdu". With an original black rubber stamp on the center of the four stamps: "Donald Evans Paris, 1974". Sheet of paper: 29.7x21 cm. Block of stamps: 5.3x7.8 cm. Edition of 500 copies numbered and signed in black pencil in the lower margin.
W. Eisenhart: "The world of Donald Evans", Abbeville Press, 1994: p. 50 and 52.

[That block is also reproduced, above] -

Poor guy died in an Amsterdam apartment fire, in the late 1970's, and I would have loved to have known him. His work is exquisite and funny and strong.

I am thrilled to get my hands on a copy again.

[O yeah - that Tomato Flag is my first real and true effort with Photoshop; my palms were sweating every second, I can assure you all....].

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