Soul of A Playhouse

We learned that history is bigger than what we’ve been taught and the world, more magical.

A Saturday AM Punk Rock Gospel by Dia VanGunten
Art by Sean Kirkpatrick

Soul of A Playhouse

This heatwave summer was hard on the heart: anthropocene dawning, fire in Maui, earthquake in Morocco and a hurricane in Cali (just one of many unprecedented weather events.) There was an arrested prez, a sinking submarine, aliens and Barbieheimer.

We got through it, best we could, with A/C and memes. We did what dada do – sought joie de vivre, laughed at the absurdity and mined for meaning. We made art and held onto hope, but it’s hard when our heroes are disappearing.

We lost two punks and patron saints. 

Sinead made it easier to grow up girl. 
Peewee is made it easier to grow up queer. 
Thanks to the two of them, it was easier to grow up weird. 

We didn’t care when Sinead tore up that photo of the pope. We were behind her 100%. We were Kris Kristofferson – a backstage embrace after a booing crowd.

We shrugged when Peewee got arrested in a porn theater (Who among us hasn’t misbehaved on a visit to the parents?) He was in Florida! When in Rome, go full on Florida Man. 

Look, we loved him more for being a pervert. 

After all, he’d warned us about himself. He’d said there were things we didn’t know about him, things we couldn’t understand – and shouldn’t. Back then, we were too young, so he rejected Dottie and protected us, but we knew who he was and we loved him for it. 

He gave us so much in return – a big adventure, a talking chair and a black cowboy.

We learned that history is bigger than what we’ve been taught and the world, more magical.

In the best of ways, Peewee was a trickster – a subversive and creative energy.

Pee-wee’s Playhouse had a murderers’ row of creatives on-board including artist Wayne White, underground cartoonist Gary Panter, visualists Prudence Fenton and Phil Trumbo, Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, and even Rob Zombie as a production assistant, with Reubens chuckling at the steering wheel.

Art of The Title

Saturdays were an extravaganza of art and color, fun and music. I was front and center, watching that spectacle, and now this mag is a playhouse for weirdos, an unpredictable space “where anything can happen.”

Without Peewee, there’d be no Cream Scene Carnival.

If Peewee mixed bicycles and pterodactyls, cowboys, genies and mailmen, then I figured I could make a crazy mash up magazine and invite all my friends to come play.

Maybe there’d be no me…as I’ve come to stand. His influence was enormous, personally, politically, and allowed me to be an artist who crosses genres with abandon.

We love you, Paul Reubens.

You made the world a better place. You truly did. We’re all twisted flowers in the garden outside your playhouse. We have colorful pipe cleaner stems and we’re facing the sun.

About the Artist

Sean Kirkpatrick is an Australian artist and creator of comics such as “Baddies,” as well as the short graphic novel “The Days.” This piece was a collaboration between the artist and a spilled cup of joe.

About the Author

Dia VanGunten explores overlaps between genres, between poetry and prose, between the real and the magical. She is the creator of the rhizomatic series Pink Zombie Rose.

Major Arcana, a PZR collection of stories & comics, is illustrated by Beppi. To be released by Q, a graphic imprint of Querencia Press.

Dia is the founder of Cream Scene Carnival and the OG carnie.

Leave a Reply

Blog at