Empire Press

Rhode Island has given us so much, from Roger Williams and religious freedom, to Outside Providence, in which Alec Baldwin, formerly enslaved by his own suaveness, was given the freedom to intone that most holy term, "ass-bag". Transplanting their poster skills from Little Rhody to the ATX, Empire Press.Empire's run by a pair of opposite-gendered artists who both cut their teeth at an art collective in "The Ocean State" (who knew?) before hitting Texas with their contrasting styles, one influenced by underground comic-book illustration, the other by "pensive women in lonely places" -- god, how does Dan Humphrey lure so much ass back to Brooklyn? The latest from the male half includes a hand-printed "Year of the Rabbit" calendar featuring two ear-floppers springing at each other on either side of the Chinese symbol for...something, a farm boy touching the moon for Band of Horses, and a Descendants FFF Fest print that re-appropriates a stick figure from 1985's I Don't Want to Grow Up, released so long ago, the band's own descendants have given up on their forebears' dream. Posters from the fairer half range from a red-dressed pool-hall vixen looking back at you as she straddles a man's leg (for the Black Keys), to a femme fatale raising a toy airplane as a real one bears down on her while she wades into swan-filled waters (for Japan's Mono), to a contemplative, sexily stockinged coffee-shop lass, an ACL-taping commemorative made for Spoon, who even after 18 years, refuse to let you stick a fork in them.Forthcoming releases will rep this weekend's performance of Shearwater's Island Arc trilogy and February's show from NYC experimental stalwarts Swans -- though as Alec Baldwin's proven, sometimes it's better to be an ugly, fat duckling.

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