Studies in Crap's Chocolate Fantasies Involve Creepy Seders, Swingers, and Baby Jesuses

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

ichocolatefantasiescover.jpg

Author:
Verne Ricketts
Publisher: Lieba Inc., Baltimore
Date: 1985
Discovered at: Used book store

Take a look at that cover.

Consider this candy castle's drooping gables, leaking roofs, and red-nippled towers.

Notice the resemblance between the wavy white shingles and cursive-writing homework second graders might have scribbled in the back of a bus jouncing across train tracks.

Study the severed doll's head festooned to the window, or the mop-haired poop warrior cemented onto a pedestal out in front.

Accept that the title is no promise of slow jams, and ask yourself: is droopy, runny chocolate truly a medium for representational -- even architectural -- art?

Sure, chocolate can capture a molded bunny or an Easter Egg.
 
But a fairyland castle? Or this scene from Driving Miss Daisy?

ichocolatefantasiescar.jpg
I'm intrigued by the white (or, I guess, high-yellow) passenger in the rear, who screams in terror at this ride down the Hershey highway.

Author/chocolatier Ricketts includes instructions to help you create your own candy diorama celebrating pre-Civil Rights race relations He demands that you have waxed paper, graham-crackers, and little aesthetic sense. I'm less interested in his instructions than I am his results, which include this ambitious denunciation of our overcrowded schools.

ichocolatefantasieschocolateschool.jpg

The kids are popping out! And Lord knows what Chocolate Medea is up to!
Ricketts also attempts a Parliament stage set:
ichocolatefantasiesuschoc.jpg

I may question his technique, but I respect his willingness to apply his artistry to challenging themes. On the subject of middle-aged swinging, he's just a touch more sugary than John Updike.

ichocolatefantasiesottub.jpg
His ambivalent conclusion: cavort in the hot tub long enough, and your lower halves will congeal.

Shocking Detail:
If Thomas Kinkade is the painter of light, Ricketts was the sculptor of blown septic tanks. I believe this one is called "All God's Children Best Wipe Their Feet."

ichocolatefantasieschocolateriver.jpg

It's also a warning: do not store unpopped corn in your fireplace.

Highlight:
Ricketts' most daring work chocolatizes the world's religions.
 
ichocolatefantasieschocolateseder.jpg

Who could ever pass over a chocolate seder? The trained eye can discern that the fruit, decanter and fondue set are not made of chocolate. The clue is how they actually look like fruit, a decanter and a fondue set.
 
Of course, the true artist is unafraid to stare down controversy. Ricketts does so, here, with this excremental precursor to Andres Serrano's 1987 "Piss Christ."

ichocolatefantasieschocolatejesus.jpg

It's almost enough to make me pity poor Ricketts. He may have been the first with this idea, but in terms of notoriety for creating bathroom Jesuses, he's stuck at number two.

Thanks, Ricketts! This song's for you!



[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice's sister paper, The Pitch.]




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