"I thought it would be funny, and not that far off the mark to show the band really rocking out, and then pan back to a mostly empty bar, with just one drunken patron, and an extremely bored bartender.The bartender is played by my wife Deirdre White, and the drunk was played by my brother in law Pat Ryan.
Though unaccompanied by product logos, the iconic images evoke the words Lee eliminates.Roughly a third of the collection consists of other wordless images, some free-standing, others in sequence.For the sequence “Close Encounters”, she isolates each word, floating their letters in white space for the reader to piece together while also puzzling through their relationships to juxtaposed images.The fractured letters of “Change” hover beside a ribbon knotted around an impossibly thin neck.The letters of “Nervousness” dot the spaces beside and between a wavy tuning fork.
Even when letters cohere easily, their accompanying images challenge simple interpretations -- as with a sheet dangling from a clothesline beside the phrase “A soul leaving a body.” The graphic quality of the words are stable, but their semantic qualities continue to shift unpredictably. The typically white background of the opening, title, credit, and closing pages feature wallpaper-like renderings of commercial product characters: the Chicken of the Sea mermaid, Chiquita banana’s Carmen Miranda, the smiling figure of Sun-Maid raisins.
The 17-page “Shoes Over Bills” lovingly details a collection of women’s shoes, with juxtaposed phrases “Credit card debt” and “Emergency dental work”.
“Hey Beautiful” is an appropriately fragmented sequence of a female body shattered and collected in a still-life fruit bowl.
In the most extreme cases, like the two-page spread “Millennial” that concludes the book, letters are the only graphic element. The yellow letters of “You don’t owe anyone anything” contain warped smiley faces, much of “Nowhere to hide” is obscured by blades of grass, and clusters of eyes dot and cling to “Beautiful! Sometimes Lee’s letters seem to fight to emerge from webs of similar shapes, adding irony to “Everyone knows your name” and “You are popular”.
Even when Lee renders words in familiar fonts, she finds other visually playful ways to disrupt their meanings.
I had to call in a couple of favors to get them into a bar that early in the morning." Jonathan Frahm is a journalist and author from the San Francisco Bay Area who currently resides in Tucson, AZ.