Alibi V.19 No.45 • Nov 11-17, 2010 

Culture Shock

The Pink Panther in Repose

Write a score to this, Henry Mancini.
Write a score to this, Henry Mancini.
Malinda Rust

When I first started working as the Arts and Literature editor at the Weekly Alibi, I wanted to send out requests for art.

I figured the art section should more or less belong to the people. My first such call was for images of birds. I have developed a fairly all-consuming fixation on waterfowl and wondered what kind of response I would get. About a dozen people sent in photographs and artwork, both original and stuff they had collected. I just got a photo of Chilean cranes from the father of a friend out in Oklahoma, a state I love to hate on, yet can't seem to get away from.

The Alibi offices are packed full of velvet paintings—a Pink Panther, an Elvis and a poodle. There may be more. I don't know. It's cavernous and scary in here. I wanted to see how many velvet pictures people would send in.


Gina Yates, who sent in a painting of owls during the first call for art, provided me with a Snoopy. She describes it as “Snoopy having a moment of humble acceptance and gratitude in his time of darkness.”

Thanks, Gina.

But then there was nothing. I wanted to follow up on the previous column, but no velvet art came in.

I was complaining to my friend Malinda from Oklahoma, the daughter of the Chilean cranes photographer, about the dearth of velvet art. She then remembered that her “grandmother possibly had a painting of the Pink Panther sitting on the toilet smoking a cigarette.”

My ears pricked up.

“Did you say 'a painting of the Pink Panther sitting on the toilet smoking a cigarette?’ ” I asked, slightly incredulous.

“Why yes, yes I did,” she responded.

It took a few days to locate, but here it is. Quite possibly the greatest painting of all time. It was painted by an unknown Mexican artist in a border town, possibly Reynosa or Matamoros. It’s about 40 years old.

I think it's safe to say I'm closing out the velvet art call. It wasn't the most successful but it yielded a fabulous painting. I want to keep doing this and am open to ideas regarding what kind of art to feature. Send me your ideas at

Until next time.