Poster by graphic designer Maris Price for an exhibition of student posters about
historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department
of Art, University of Northern Iowa.
George Grosz, An
Autobiography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 90-91—
It was in a café [in Berlin]
that I first heard a jazz band. People called it a noise band. It was not a
jazz band in the American sense, but more of a café orchestra gone crazy. Two
or three musicians with saws and cow bells would parody the general melody with
rhythmic interruptions. The conductor called himself Mister Meshugge and acted
like a madman. He would pretend he had lost control, would break his baton to
pieces and smash his violin over the head of a musician. At the end he would
grab the bass and use it as a weapon in the ensuing battle, finally throwing
the splinters into the audience that screamed with delight and threw them back.
Throughout the performance waiters kept on serving the musicians more beer and
drinks, increasing the general gaiety. Meschugee would grab instruments from
the hands of the musicians, and sing and dance. Suddenly he would jump onto the
piano, pretend he was a monkey, scratch himself, grab a large glass of beer to
toast the audience, but then, quick as a flash, pour it down one of the
trumpets. The audience was convulsed with laughter.