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can you believe it! 10 YEAR CELEBRATION: From now until 1979 Join us for 50beerl Serving sandwiches to seafood, from 11:30 until 11:30 every day of the week; open til midnight in the Metro Center, San Antonio, Texas One tap beer limit per customer with food order only. Stationers Mailers Typesetters High Speed Web Offset Publication Press Counseling Designing Copy Writing Editing Trade Computer Sales and Services Complete Computer Data Processing Services *Npo r n Ua s A *WON ?WI =11111ZU=II FUTIUIR1111 512/442-7836 1714 South Congress P.O. Box 3485 Austin, Texas 78764 really began to flourishdozens in every issue of the Ranger, in cartoons, drawings, spot illustrations, in every conceivable style and costume, singing, dancing, smoking, skulking, protesting. And transient hippies were picking up on the ‘dilla, carrying it to California and the East Coast. It started showing up in underground posters, handbills and comics. Somehow it even caught the fancy of some offbeat ranchers and businessmen who organized the Armadillo Breeders Association in Dallas and amused themselves by exchanging elaborate certificates of pedigree: A Clean Joke, by Junior Moxie out of Mad Miss Wayward, and similar nonsense. It was about this time that artist Franklin hit Austin, picked up on the armadillo just as Whitehead was pulling out, and had the wit and talent to promulgate it widely via the album jacket for Shiva’s Head Band, his own Armadillo Comics, and illustrations for underground papers. By the early 1970s there was an Armadillo Racing Association, an Armadillo Rodeo, and a Neiman-Marcus listing for His and Her armadillos at $100 a pair s Today the annual ‘dilla festival in Victoria is one of the biggest civicsponsored drunkathons in the country outside of Mardi Gras. Whitehead now has mixed feelings about the armadillo’s popularity, as he does about nearly everything. He worries that this somehow compromises the armadillo’s integrity, feels partly responsible for its loss of innocence, and takes comfort only in the knowledge that armadillos are both too stupid and selfsecure to care one way or the other. When I saw him last, four or five years ago, he was still exuberantly .melancholy, mulling over the creative forms of self-destruction most consistent with the collapse of civilization and the teaching of art to college students. At that time he had long since abandoned the armadillo and was painting winking clowns. Only winking clowns, in fact. Nothing else. He showed me a picture of one of his paintingsa classic children’s happy clown in billowy polka-dot costume, bulbous nose and cone-shaped cap, laughing and cavorting. But winking at you. A knowing wink that, the longer you looked at it, became an increasingly cynical, contemptuous, deprecating, patronizing smirk. Bill Helmer is a Texan and former Observer staffer who got away to Chicago, where he is a senior editor for Playboy. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23 4h , r*.10.8.64, ,,14.100.16111%**,-*,