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Last month the world found out David Bowie had passed away. To the public, the news was quite a shock. Truth was, Bowie had been privately battling cancer for some time.

I found out the distressful news via Facebook. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to log into social media first thing in the morning.

The news hit me a bit harder because I felt that a part of my childhood had died. You see, my mother had just passed away a few months prior back in September. Just as I was sort of beginning to make sense of my mother’s death, the news about Bowie came along. Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead had just died, but still. This was Bowie we’re talking about here.

Like most children, music can be used as a means of escape. My parents would take forever to obtain all mod cons. Which meant we were the last ones to get a color television, and the last one to get a stereo. Strangely enough, we were also the first ones to get an Atari 2600. Anyway, when my father brought home a turntable, that was a turning point in my life.

One of the first 45s I ever owned was the collaboration between David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure.  Mysteriously it was given to me. Some time later, I remember going to the record section in some department store. On display was Bowie’s recent album at the time, Scary Monsters. However, my first Bowie album turned out to be Let’s Dance, brought during my Boy George phase.

As my teens and early 20’s years progressed, I began to appreciate Bowie more. It was a purchase of Diamond Dogs on vinyl that ultimately got me hooked. Eventually I obtained his other releases on vinyl, cassette and later CD. It didn’t take me long to acknowledge the impact he had on some of my favorite bands at the time. (As documented on my other blog, Dark Entries.)

The older I got, the more I realized he wasn’t just a musician. He broke numerous boundaries, like with androgyny, sexuality, imagery, etc. Bowie taught us all how to think outside the box but yet never losing focus. While he later recanted his bisexuality claims, it still opened doors for many. That’s just it though – a real artist always explores.

Never really having the chance to properly mourn my mother, Bowie’s death in a way gave me a outlet. It was like this: my mother was the root, and Bowie was the dream. Now both were gone.

Of course, as that old saying goes, you never know what you have until you lose it.

Two days after his death, I contacted an old high school friend that I recently reconnected with. We had become friends due to both liking The Runaways and Bowie. During the Glass Spider tour, we went together to see Bowie in concert. Turns out there was a memorial happening in front of Bowie’s NYC residence. Despite the cold, we went.

We didn’t stay too long due to the freezing temperatures. There were people respectfully and quietly paying their respects. To the side, a few were singing Bowie songs. Afterwards, we stopped somewhere to listen to Bowie tunes.

That weekend there were impromptu Bowie tribute parties happening around NYC. Since I decided to check out one of these events, I tried the infamous Aladdin Sane lighting bolt makeup.

Despite this, I’m still feeling the sense of loss. To some he may be just a rock star, which I understand. Not particular fond of celebrity worship myself. However, with Bowie, there will never be another person like him. While Bowie had his faults, he made not just an impact on rock music, but on society. Whether it was through his music, his various incarnations, his films, etc., the man had presence. Due to this, I feel in a way, we are all Bowie’s children. With that, all we can do is just carry on what he started.

The other day I finally the Blackstar CD in the mail. Complete with that stupid PMRC sticker that never did anyone any good.

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After a few listens, I realize that despite Bowie knowing about his prognosis, he bravely carried on. They say that this was his farewell album, but somehow I have the feeling that he wasn’t completely finished saying what he had to say. More like he was coming to terms with his fate. Even what laid ahead of him, he took the time to use death as another project to mold. It was a parting gift to his fans, and he also left us with one more lesson.

So now it’s time to carry on. Like my mother, Bowie was cremated upon request. No funeral, no fuss. It’s time now for the children and other future generations to carry the torch. Because it’s these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds. They are immune to your consultations. That’s the way Bowie would have wanted it.

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Bowie portrait done Jan. 2016 by Michele Witchipoo. Pen and ink, digital color.

Forgotten Blog

Back in 2014, I decided to start up a little side project, or a side blog as you will, on 1980s Goth subculture.

https://darkentriesblog.wordpress.com

Then in 2015, life got in the way, and this little blog was soon forgotten. Oops. So this morning I decided to do a quick entry:

https://darkentriesblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/siouxsie-flyer-for-the-world-1986/

Today looks like a busy day, so until next time.

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Banner for Dark Entries blog. Created by Michele Witchipoo May 2014.

 

Memories of a ridiculous debate.

Back in the ’90’s, I had this part-time job. It was pretty much a slacker gig, doing telephone surveys at night. Yeah, I was that person interrupting dinner with those annoying phone calls. That job was perfect cause it meant no stupid office dress code. Anyway one night it was kinda slow, and someone mentions Hanna Barbera animation.

What started out as nostalgia turned into a heated debate about who was better – Penelope Pitstop or Josie and The Pussycats.

Seriously.

I took the position of Josie and her crew against someone who thought Penelope was better solely based on her looks and sexual appeal. The person defending Penelope the most – wait for it – was a man…yeah, it gets predictable from here. The man was Australian, and to be honest, I found him kind of arrogant. Had he been American, most likely today he would’ve been a Trump supporter.

My stance regarding Penelope was “Well yeah, but why would someone want to be a victim all the time?” Penelope always found herself in helpless peril, dependent on a man to save her. Meanwhile Josie and The Pussycats a) played their own instruments, b) according to the story line, was a successful pop band c) hold their own as they traveled through space, and finally d) still looked good while doing it. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Nope. According to the Penelope fan, Penelope was the prettier one, and due to that, she gets the prize. I disagreed. Long story short, the guy who was so into Penelope somehow got insulted. As this debate continued, he started to get a bit angry. No matter how I counter-acted with Josie’s merits, he stood firm. His only reasoning being this; Penelope was sexier. 

When the guy’s voice raised, the supervisor had to break it up. I remained calm, but remember thinking ‘WTF?’

It’s a good thing this happened during the early ’90’s. Had this been posted online, all the seventh-wave internet feminists would’ve pounded him.

Unless you’re into bondage, I just can’t imagine siding with Penelope Pitstop.

That I believe, was my first encounter with geek sexism. You can laugh, or you can cry. It all depends on interpretation. 

Greeting Cards

Since my Krampus cards did so well, I decided to put out other greetings.

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My line of greeting cards: Steampunk Cthulhu, Krampus, and a Lemmy/Wendy O Valentine. Designs/illustrations by Michele Witchipoo. 2016.

For the time being, my Etsy shop is closed, but you can still order my handmade cards. So far most people who have ordered from me have been pleased. The cards are $2.00 a piece, and shipping is an additional $1.00. If you’re ordering more than two, then S&H is $2.oo and up, depending on how many cards one orders. All cards come with envelopes and cellophane wrapping. Cards are also blank inside for more versatility.

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‘Cosmic Birthday’ greeting card. Design/illustration by Michele Witchipoo. 2016.

If you’re interested, you can always email me: Witchipoo@witchesbrewpress.net or you can email the payment to PsychoBunnyComix@aol.com, specifying what card you’re ordering. You will get your order in a promptly manner.

Right now the hot item seems to be the Lemmy Kilmister and Wendy O Williams valentine card. It’s based on the time they did a duet together with the Tammy Wynette song “Stand By Your Man.” It’s in tribute to Lemmy, otherwise known as the founder and vocalist for Motorhead, who recently passed away. Also in memorandum for Wendy O Williams, best known for The Plasmatics. Below is a very rough draft of that design. There’s two versions. One with the words ‘For My Valentine’ and one without any text at all. If you’re interested in ordering this card, I do suggest ordering this ASAP in time for February 14th. You will not be disappointed.

If these cards do well, quite possibly I will go with other designs such as old school Goth, vintage New Wave/Post-Punk, other classic Punk/Metal icons, witch/pagan/occult designs, cult film characters, and other subculture subject matter.

Back in 2009, I was lucky enough to see Throbbing Gristle live not just once, but twice. The concerts were in Brooklyn, at a Masonic temple. I had tickets for one night, but a friend was extremely generous enough to get me in another show, which took place on April 16th, 2009. Don’t ask, it was sheer luck.

Since my old laptop died, I’ve been going through various flash drives in order to retrieve anything. Old artwork, photographs, essays, etc. Then I found this:

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Autographs from Throbbing Gristle. 2009. Signatures of Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge. 

The first night TG played at the Masonic temple, they offered to meet fans during intermission. The offer my friend had was last minute, and was not at all prepared. Wasn’t even aware about the meet and greet. All I could do was to take out my sketchbook. If memory serves me correctly, Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and Cosey Fanni Tutti were extremely nice. They were all gracious, really, including Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge.

When hearing about Christopherson’s death a year later, the news came as a shock.

In 2011 or 2012, when I was back in college, I did a research paper on Christopherson for my ‘History of Graphic Design’ class. Prior to joining Throbbing Gristle, Sleazy was quite active in commercial art. He designed album covers for the legendary British design group Hipgnosis. Not only did he take photographs of The Sex Pistols during 1976, he later did design for SEX. That was the ‘Punk’ fashion boutique ran by Vivienne Westwood and Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. He continued doing commercial work throughout his life, working with bands like Ministry. By the way, that paper landed me an A.

Of course, beyond TG, Sleazy was in an early form of Psychic TV and later Coil with partner John Balance.

Anyway, back to these signatures. One of these days, I should get this framed. Still can’t believe I was lucky to get such a memento. With that, it’s enough of this Throwback Thursday post. Onward to the present.

During the years of 2004 to 2009, I self-published a pin-up sketchbook titled Babalon Babes. Not to be confused with Babylon, the name Babalon is a goddess which comes from Aleister Crowley’s Thelema system, or the 93 current. Babalon’s attributes have many layers. Among some of those layers are known as The Scarlet Women and The Great Mother. Babalon could be seen as a deity not afraid of her sexuality, completely liberated in which she could be seen as The Great Whore. American scientist Jack Parsons wrote about Babalon, taking part of a working known as The Babalon Working.

During 2003 – 2004 I was studying a lot about Thelema. This in turn influenced me to put together a collection of pin-ups containing both erotica and esoteric nature. Most of the Thelema influences went into Babalon Babes issues 1 & 2.

Issues one, two and three were sold for a while at Jim Hanely’s Universe at their previous location.

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Issues of Babalon Babes being sold at Jim Hanely’s Universe between 2004 – 2008.

With issue two, the transition between Thelema and my beginning interest in Chaos Magick started to merge. It was also issue two, and continuing into issue three that I mentioned the Cut-Up method, popularized by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. This same Cut-Up Technique was later used by popular musicians such as David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Radiohead. T.O.P.Y (Thee Temple ov Psychic Youth) also spoke about Cut-Up workings.

Then came issue three, which I had self-published during a tumorous time in my life. The abusive marriage I was involved with came to a head. Should have left after the new husband gave me a nasty black eye, but I foolishly stayed. Due to such, I ended up homeless, crashing on various couches, depending on the kindness of near strangers and having my vulnerability taken advantage of. Despite of all this, I managed to make it to MoCCA Art Fest 2007 in time to sell Babalon Babes issue three, and the first Psycho Bunny Scrapbook. That alone was a feat into itself. Strangely enough, the cover of this issue, drawn between 2006 – 2007 still stands on its own.

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Issue three of Babalon Babes released in the early summer of 2007. Artist Michele Witchipoo.

After moving back to NYC for good in late 2007, I threw all my focus into my comics. In Fall 2009, I released the last issue of Babalon Babes, which finally had a theme. This time the focus was completely on Astrology.

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Why am I posting past work? Well, as someone said recently, sometimes you have to look backwards to go forward. It sounds contradictory but there’s truth to this statement. Sometimes one needs a refresher on why one chooses the path they’re on. Think of it as a wake-up from a deluded nap. Then again, everything is just an illusion, isn’t it?

Looking back at these issues, I can’t believe some of my pin-ups were that sexually explicit. Would I draw these type of images today? Probably not, but I did draw the images back then, so best to own up to it. It was after all, a different time in my life.

I thought about doing another issue of Babalon Babes. Last time this came to mind, I thought about having a Rune/Norse theme. Then I scraped the whole ideal completely. Sometimes it’s best to leave things as they are.

There will always be a slight chance that Babalon Babes will come back, but for the time being, no. I decided to stop printing issue two aeons ago due to certain reasons. Issues One and Three got eventually got the chopping block a few years after. The only issue with copies still available is issue 4, the Astrology issue. Which you can always order off my website. Warning – there’s not many of those left either. Yet who knows? Never say never. At this point it’s either burn the bridge or go with whatever is left.

Shortly after Christmas, the news broke. Lemmy Kilmister, better know as simply Lemmy had passed way. He hadn’t been in the best of health, but still. Death is never easy.

Lemmy has quite a history. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re already familiar with his legend. His tenure as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix was only a glimpse of what to come. As a member of Hawkwind, he was the vocalist on one of their most popular songs, “Silver Machine.” When booted for drug possession charges on the Canadian boarder, he decided to form his own unit titled Bastard. Of course, Bastard gave way to the Heavy Metal legend that was to be known as Motorhead.

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Motorhead helped bridged the gap between the new Punk Rock scene with the new wave of early ’80s British Metal. At the end of the day, Motorhead was pure rock n’ roll. It didn’t matter what sub-genre.

Personally speaking, I forgot how I’ve first heard of Motorhead. Didn’t matter. Who can ever forget the band’s appearance on that UK comedy “The Young Ones.”

I was lucky to have seen Motorhead live, seeing a quick set during the ’90s. At that point their classic album ‘Ace of Spades’ was already a part of my music collection. While I wasn’t their biggest fan, I owned a few albums by them. It was known that Mr. Kilmister was legendary.

Never did get to meet him, but from what others said about him, he was an extremely nice guy. Despite the reputation for partying, boozing and womanizing, he always had time to touch base with his many fans. Which just goes to show you – when you’re doing what you want to do in life, happiness does follow.

So it was still disheartening to hear of Lemmy’s death. In a world where everything is slowly becoming more conservatively contrived, his death was almost symbolic. You see, Lemmy in a way was a symbol of personal freedom.

Then of course, the blow worsen when the world learned about David Bowie’s death two weeks after Lemmy’s. That’s a whole other subject, which I’ll discuss in another blog post.

What struck me after Lemmy’s death was this. I learned that despite the supposed ‘womanizing’, he respected women. I read this blog the other night, by a former member of local NYC late 80’s band Cycle Sluts From Hell. In this entry, she talks about her friendship with Lemmy. So underneath it all, he was more of a gentleman than most men you meet.

I could go on, but there’s a Jack and Coke waiting for me. Here’s a toast for Lemmy. Hopefully he’s raising much needed hell in the afterlife.

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Quick sketch of Lemmy Kilmister and Plasmatics lead singer Wendy O Williams. When they dueted on the cover “Stand By Your Man” back in 1982. Pen and ink sketch by Michele Witchipoo, Jan. 2016.

 

 

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