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HE WILL "SURVIVE"

Bassist Tony Marsico’s Art May Outwit,
Outplay And Outlast Him
For its dramatic two-hour finale, CBS' gigantic megahit "Survivor" pulled in 51 million viewers. To put that number in context, 49 million voted in this year's presidential primary.

So ubiquitous is that megahit TV show that to explain what it is in this space would certainly be viewed as condescending to virtually everyone (or two) of you who are currently reading this. Offices were abuzz with "Survivor" chatter. E-mails flew fast and furious. Sites popped up on the Internet like dandelions on a Midwestern lawn in June. Parodies of the show's curious dynamic made their way into ads and onto other TV shows. Then they spread to other media—radio and print.

Yet, within this hashing and rehashing, describing and deconstructing, gibbering and jabbering about "Survivor," you might be asking the same question we have asked ourselves: Did anyone think to commit those lovable castaways to canvas?

The answer to that question, thankfully, is yes. And the man's name is Tony Marsico.

As the bass player for Matthew Sweet since 1993—and an occasional bit player in movies such as "She's So Lovely" and "Road House" (unless that's just some other guy with his name, in which case, sorry, Tony)—Marsico is well-steeped in pop culture. To paraphrase Madge from the old Palmolive ads, "He's soaking in it." And, one assumes, to keep himself from overindulging in liquor, whores and PlayStation, Marsico mans a Web site: Tony Marsico's Swingomatic, by its own admission, "the nation's number one provider of outsider art and music since 1947."

The site provides links to bands on Marsico's Swingomatic label—such as The Bonnevilles, The Hoagie Kings and Thunderbox—but it also serves as a showroom for Marsico's off-kilter paintings—what he calls "outsider art."

While Marsico had previously committed peculiar pop-derived images to canvas such as "I Saw Jesus At McDonald's," "Zippy, The Chain-Smoking Chicken" and "Satan and Satan Jr.," he hadn't really tapped his creative genius until reality TV offered him "Survivor."

Marsico devotes an entire series to some of the great moments of "Survivor." For sale on the site are signed full-color laser copies of "Greg Does Colleen," "Stacey Eats A Grub" and "Kelly Wins Immunity"—each for the low, low price of $19.99. According to the Web site, each print is "approximately 8x10 and suitable for hanging in your den or trailer."

The originals are even available on eBay through a handy-dandy link on Marsico's site.

While Marsico also turns his poison paintbrush to "Big Brother," those paintings—like the show that inspired them—are sadly less satisfying.

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