Note: If there are pauses when you try to play these shows, simply select the pause button (two vertical lines) and allow the file to load/buffer completely before selecting the play (triangle) button. (The show is ready if the horizontal grey bar next to the arrow has completely advanced to the right.)


In 1894 wealthy eccentric Alphonse Zukor shocked European society by mounting an illegal underground alphabetic cabaret. Zukor's troupe performed a series of nightly acts, each based upon a consecutive letter of the alphabet. The erotic content of the cabaret coupled with the conservatism of the times made it necessary to keep the operation underground and change venues every evening.

Audience members were carefully selected by Zukor from among strangers on the street. After hearing a rhyming pitch, potential audience members were presented with a postcard advertising, "Eat Ate Eaten", a private show based upon the letter "A". Following the performance they were given a second postcard announcing the location of the "B" show along with the password for admission.

Zukor was an unerring judge of character and seldom invited more than ten or fifteen carefully selected individuals to the "A" performance. Unfortunately those guests invited friends who were not always sympathetic to the unorthodox performances. As a result, police raids were common and Zukor was repeatedly forced to leave town and mount the "A" act again in a new location. It took six long years before, on December 3rd, 1900, in Paris, Zukor finally succeeded in completing the entire alphabet.

It is now known that Zukor sailed the next day to the U.S. where he turned his attention to film-making. Expert at the world of underground entertainments, he sought to document those created by others.

Unfortunately, Zukor's film career was short-lived. Sometime in the first two decades of the twentieth century he stole into a secret compound known then (and now) as "The Carnival of Curiosities". But Zukor shot just four minutes of film before being ejected from the grounds. He edited his footage but never released it, deciding instead to join the carnival he once sought to expose.

His European reputation earned him entry and he never revealed his previous trespass to carnival residents. His forbidden footage has only recently come to light. Out of ongoing respect for Carnival policies barring cameras, the original footage has been permanently placed in storage. However, it has been recreated here with the help of painter David Delamare and filmmaker Wendy Ice. The music "titled Ghost Waltz" was composed by Michele Wylen. (The original film would have been accompanied by a live pipe organ or orchestra.)


As his publisher, I'm often asked how David Delamare goes about creating a painting or where he gets his ideas. The real answer, of course, is immensely complicated and more than a little mysterious. It helps to have the right paints, brushes, and canvas, but this constitutes a tiny portion of the equation. Far more important is maintaining a certain state of mind, one which results from many years of rising late in the day; dipping into the New Yorker, Nabokov, or Wind in the Willows; following with a long bath (jazz, opera, or Teaching Company tapes in the background); listening to Monty Python, "Duck Soup" or "The Third Man" while painting; finding time for Stoppard and Pinter plays; walking instead of driving; eavesdropping greedily in restaurants; choosing witty and eccentric friends; and taking time out for a Bombay Sapphire and tonic in the afternoon. Alter or remove any one of these elements and a painting may shift or fall flat.

This is why it seemed entirely appropriate when a patron, upon viewing his paintings, asserted that David obviously listened to Mozart while working, and entirely absurd when someone else offered to publish a book in which David would teach "how to paint fairies." Long time collectors know that what's best about a Delamare painting isn't the technique or even the narrative content. What makes a Delamare painting worthwhile is the specific sensibility and personality that so clearly infuses it.

The correct answer to the question "how does David create a painting," is "I have absolutely no idea." Neither, by the way, does David. Not really. So rather than attempt to explain the inexplicable, I've put this slideshow together. It won't unravel any deep mysteries. But it will allow you to see what I'm privileged to see on a daily basis--the unfolding of a mysterious and somewhat magical process.

David himself snapped the pictures and I created the slideshow. Other than sizing, I didn't alter the images. I wanted viewers to see the pencil lines and all the other artifacts of the creative process.

David has now photographed three paintings in this sequential manner, but I chose "Beware the Jabberwock" for our first slideshow because it is truly unique in its number of changes. Typically the paintings proceed pretty much as planned. Not this time. Not only did David change Alice models, mid-painting, he changed his entire conception for the book. Just after the 48"x24" oil painting was sold, he decided to cast all of the traditionally human characters (except Alice) as animals. Unwilling to repaint the entire complex composition, he painted an image of the Mad Hatter as a baboon. This was dropped in by our friend Dave McShane using Photoshop¨ for the purpose of books and prints. This was the only time in which a digital process was employed creatively. David has little familiarity with computers and doesn't use them to create art. (As of this date, he still doesn't know how to send an email, but he'll read any comments you post concerning this slideshow.)

For those who don't know David's history, "Alice in Wonderland" will be his ninth fully illustrated children's book. (His last was a collaboration with Carly Simon, who wrote the story.) Though he is most popularly known for his mermaids, fairies, and children's books, he is also very well respected for his figurative paintings, two of which appeared in the last volume of "Spectrum Fantastic Art." My favorite book thus far is titled "Animerotics: A Forbidden Cabaret." I modeled for many of the paintings and also co-wrote the story, so I'm probably somewhat biased on this point. But it's also David's favorite. We hope to be releasing giclée prints of the illustrations soon.

Here at Bad Monkey Productions, we produce greeting cards and prints (both limited and open edition) which may be seen at www.daviddelamare.com. We also license his work, which is available in the form of lithophane lights and (soon) puzzles and playing cards. If you have questions please direct them to me, Wendy Ice, at delamare@teleport.com.

If you like this slideshow, please visit YouTube and leave a comment. (If you want to keep this site open, just place your cursor over the lower right corner of the video screen and click on the resulting YouTube logo. It will open a new page. If you'd like to post this slideshow on your own personal (non-commercial) website, click on the arrow at the lower right corner of the screen, then on the bottom icon that appears. You will be provided with code for embedding the video. If you just want to share the video (or post it on Facebook or Myspace) go toYouTube and choose the share features.

Please note that this slideshow was approved by David Delamare. His copyright policies do not allow slideshows or products to be produced except through Bad Monkey Productions.

We hope you've enjoyed the show!
Wendy Ice
President, Bad Monkey Productions
Images © David Delamare, 2009.
Slideshow design© Wendy Ice, 2009.




Bad Monkey Productions at http://www.daviddelamare.com
E-mail: delamare@teleport.com