September 08, 2011 New York
The off-kilter lines Bass used in The Man With the Golden Arm became the taped details on polos, sweatshirts, and coats. The eerie eye of Vertigo was screened onto jean jackets, tees, and shirts. Psycho, West Side Story, Anatomy of a Murder and Ocean's Eleven all got their nods, whether in literal borrowings or thematic winks. (A section of quiffed, Shark-y greasers recalled West Side Story, for example.)
The hazard of emulating an artist of the miniature—Bass' sequences were usually less than five minutes long—is that your homage can wind up a bit shrunken, too. The presentation, fully and fabulously realized as it was (Obana showed in a theater, in front of his own doctored version of Bass' sequences with a jazzy score), couldn't quite jazz up the essential basic-ness of the collection. The titles on-screen, Obana-fied, came out witty and weird: "Ethel Mermaid! Sad Caesar!" they promised. A little more of that oddity would've been welcome in the clothes. All worship and no play makes Sad a Sid boy.