“Monsieur Flatulenzi was a pigeon from Aix and the most respected, and feared, food critic of his time. He lived a privileged and excessive lifestyle that his little pigeon heart found difficult to sustain. One night, after consuming a table of oil-soaked hazelnuts, sun-flower encrusted white sturgeon, earthworm farfalla with black truffle sauce, bourbon-glazed leg of field mouse over polenta, nightcrawler cassoulet, pepper-dusted bacon-wrapped grasshoppers, four kinds of cheese, two glasses of Pernod, three bottles of Burgundy, and a magnum of Dom Perignon, a fois gras-stuffed profiterole lodged in his left ventricle and his little pigeon heart exploded.”
Monsieur Flatulenzi is one of the eccentric characters from the book “Birds of the Belle Epoque,” and shares the spotlight with a questionable cast of deranged hookbills, lustful parakeets, and a bearded barbet with an Oedipus complex. What started as a habit of drawing birds in top hats has eventually led to a collection of characters from the Belle Epoque, when Paris was the epicenter for art, entertainment, and debauchery. Toulouse-Lautrec, the most celebrated drunken and lecherous dwarf in all of art history, is the most likely inspiration for these drawings. As an art student forced to write a few research papers, no other artist’s subject matter compared with the boozers, prostitutes, brothels, and nightlife that he chronicled during the late 19th Century in Paris. It was certainly more interesting than analyzing the painted squares of a Dutch modernist or deconstructing the pixels in a Roy Lichtenstein painting. This has become a long-winded explanation for what is really a collection of silly drawings about ridiculous birds. I just hope you laugh once or twice, and it is probably wise to guzzle a bottle of absinthe before you begin reading. Probably after as well.
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