Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Only 363 shopping days until...

...Cheeta's 75th birthday. That's right, the old monkey is turning 75 next April 9th. Cheeta, as in the ape that played Tarzan's sidekick in the 30s and 40s, is the oldest chimp in the world. Cheeta spends his golden years out in Palm Springs living with six other chimpanzees on a private primate sanctuary. Though (vaguely) remembered for his on screen performances, Cheeta has won no film awards until just two days ago. Fox News reports that "Representatives from a Spanish film festival showed up for Sunday's party to present Cheeta with an International Comedy Film Festival of Peniscola prize." (That sounds wrong, unless there's a "Peniscola" in Spain? Oh those wacky Fox guys).

But what is really of interest here is that Cheeta spends his days painting "ape-stract" paintings (and apparently watching some television too). Samples of artwork here and here and here. Sort of Cy Twombly meets pachyderm painting with a few Pollock splatter references thrown in for the critics. Of course the paintings are whisked away from under the artist's brush and sold at auction to keep the sanctuary operating. So maybe Cheeta doesn't really choose to paint as much as his owner insists upon it? Why not? Seems he's got him doing the household chores already.

I love an ape. And actually, I met Cheeta once in his 60's. But does all this cutesy animal exploitation - or should I say... "Ape-sploitation" - kind of make you a little nauseated? I've just spent fifteen minutes clipping this all together and I feel like I need a shower and a Dramamine.


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