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Archive for August, 2013

One of my favorite places in NYC is Coney Island.

Who doesn’t know about Coney Island? It’s been an iconic part of NYC for who knows how long. When I was growing up in NYC, Coney was in a state of decline and disarray. Now it’s having a resurgence somewhat. Even though most of Brooklyn’s character has been wiped out by the current gentrification, there’s still elements of the old NYC coming through. For example – last time I visited Coney, three people wearing tee shirts with the word “fuck” could be seen. Two of the shirts read “fuck you you fucking fuck” and “fuck you I have enough friends.” Stay classy Coney Island.

I took some photos of the ever changing Coney, once inhabited by rabbits. I’ll break these posts into two parts, since plenty were snapped. Without further ado, here’s part one.

Refurbished Parachute Jump. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Refurbished Parachute Jump. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Upclose shot of the refurbished Parachute Jump. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Upclose shot of the refurbished Parachute Jump. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Carousel ride now open in Steeplechase Park. Coney Island, Brooklyn NYC. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Carousel ride now open in Steeplechase Park. Coney Island, Brooklyn NYC. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Entrance to the carousel ride. Coney Island, Brooklyn NY. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Entrance to the carousel ride. Coney Island, Brooklyn NY. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

One of the horses from the carousel ride in Coney Island. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

One of the horses from the carousel ride in Coney Island. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Ruby's Bar and Grill. Serving customers on the Coney Island boardwalk since 1934. First discovered this place after attending the Coney Island Mermaid parade. Survived Hurricane Sandy. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Ruby’s Bar and Grill. Serving customers on the Coney Island boardwalk since 1934. First discovered this place after attending the Coney Island Mermaid parade. Survived Hurricane Sandy. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Inside Ruby's Bar and Grill, located in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Old photographs line the wall behind the bar. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Inside Ruby’s Bar and Grill, located in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Old photographs line the wall behind the bar. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Saturday night inside Ruby's Bar and Grill. Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Saturday night inside Ruby’s Bar and Grill. Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

One of my favorite places in Coney Island. Lola Star is an awesome little gift shop selling stylist souvenirs. I suggest purchasing one of their tee shirts. Still have mine from 2004. Brooklyn, NY. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

One of my favorite places in Coney Island. Lola Star is an awesome little gift shop selling stylish souvenirs. I suggest purchasing one of their tee shirts. Still have mine from 2004. Brooklyn, NY. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

No post about Coney Island can be complete without a photo of the world famous Wonder Wheel. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

No post about Coney Island can be complete without a photo of the world famous Wonder Wheel. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Entrance to the world famous Wonder Wheel. Brooklyn, NY. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Entrance to the world famous Wonder Wheel. Brooklyn, NY. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Inside the entrance to Coney Island's Wonder Wheel. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Inside the entrance to Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Good old fashioned mechanical fortune telling. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Good old fashioned mechanical fortune telling. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

More of that good old fashioned mechanical fortune telling. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

More of that good old fashioned mechanical fortune telling. There’s a few of these Zoltar contraptions around. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Haunted house dragon in front of the Deno Wonder Wheel. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Haunted house dragon in front of the Deno Wonder Wheel. August 2013. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Up-close of the dragon from the haunted house. Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 2013. Photography and Photoshop manipulation by Michele Witchipoo.

Up-close of the dragon from the haunted house. Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 2013. Photography and Photoshop manipulation by Michele Witchipoo.

Stay tuned for some more Coney Island photography part two.

Links:

http://rubysbar.com/

http://www.lolastar.com/

http://www.coneyisland.com/

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Late last night, I did a quick watercolor piece on a Narwhal.

Narwhal? Why? Why not?

Narwhal. Watercolor by Michele Witchipoo Aug. 2013.

Narwhal. Watercolor by Michele Witchipoo Aug. 2013.

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My blog, WitchesBrewPress has been nominated for a Liebster Award by the fabulous comic book blogger and writer, Henry Chamberlain.  Hooray!

liebster-award

So what is an Liebster Award anyway? Glad you asked. A Liebster Award nomination is a way to draw attention to current blogs. As Henry Chamberlain posted in Comics Grinder, ‘These emerging blogs (currently with less than 200 loyal followers) with quality content that, for various reasons, deserves a shout-out.’ 

It’s nice to be nominated, especially when it’s from another fellow blogger. I consider this nomination to be an honor. As a result, now it’s time to take this blog up to the next level. More artwork, observations, and personal musings is on the agenda. Perhaps I’ll finally get around to that Nettie and Squeaky webcomic I had posted about last summer.

THE RULES FOR ACCEPTING THE LIEBSTER AWARD ARE AS FOLLOWS:

List 11 facts about myself
Nominate 11 bloggers for the award
Let them know about the nomination
Answer the 11 questions asked when nominated
Ask 11 questions for the new nominees to answer.

WitchesBrewPress Nominates the following blogs for a Liebster Award:

Ben Herman – comics, Doctor Who and musings.

Alison Louise Hay – pink haired ex-wife of former Culture Club guitarist Roy Hay.

thecarbonbasedmistake – zines, books and trades. Side project includes The Art Exchange Program.

Cats vs Bunnies – weekly webcomic.

Alcohol Cats – cat lovers’ delight. woman working to save animals has two cats named Bacardi and Smirnoff.

Art by Paul Donnison – graphic designer and illustrator.

Josh Neufeld – artist/writer behind the best selling graphic novel A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.

4iB Records – indie Industrial/Experimental/Noise. Record label and music promotion.

Judith Vanistendael – illustrator

Beef Knuckles – zines and comics

Black Cat In The Street – photography blog.

WITCHIPOO:

1. A naive of New York City. Born in The Bronx, raised in Queens. There was a time I moved out of NYC. After two years I thought better – so I moved right back. New York City had, and still does hold a definite influence upon my work. It may not be so apparent. Sometimes it’s subtle, but it’s there.

2. I’m a self-taught artist. Ever since I was a child, I was always drawing and writing. There was a time during the 1990s when I stopped. In 1998 I slowly started to sketch again. Didn’t start taking art seriously until the early 2000s. Never looked back since.

3. My childhood was spent in the 1970s, my teen years in the 80s, my twenties a blur during the ’90s. A lot of the pop, underground culture and music culture that have influenced me came from those three decades.

Psycho Bunny March 2011. Acrylic on illustration board. Artist: Michele Witchipoo

Psycho Bunny March 2011. Acrylic on illustration board. Artist: Michele Witchipoo

4. Studied graphic design, but my passion is more with illustration, cartooning and fine art. It all connects anyway. Since 2004 I’ve self-published a comic on and off titled Psycho Bunny. He’s an alcoholic, unemployed rabbit with anger issues.

5. During the 1990s I discovered tarot cards. Learning how to read them opened up a whole different world for me. Occasionally I would read tarot professionally. These readings would be either personal, or at nightclub parties. It wasn’t very often, but when I did, people told me I was quite good. In turn, this helped sparked off my interest in anything esoteric. Nowadays, I don’t pursue that field anymore, but tarot still remains.

6. Comparative religions is an interest of mine. My interest used to be stronger ten years ago, but just like different fields of art, it all connects. For the past three years I started to adopt a more agnostic stance. Lately though, I’ve been reconsidering. Having said that, I do not believe in following one religion per say. Maybe it’s better not to follow any religion, period. In the end it’s best to forge your path, not subscribe to any particular faith. My observations and opinions about theology are always changing. Therefore the observations and opinions I hold might be completely different next year.

7. I like Dystopian science fiction. Was keen on it during my junior high years, but dropped it during high school. By then, music had taken up most of my time. Particularly Siouxsie and The Banshees. My interest reemerged thanks an English professor. His course reintroduced me to dystopia literature, which I find at times prophetic.

8. I will be the first to admit my music tastes are now considered dated. Don’t really care for the current crop of new music out there. There are a few exceptions, but I mostly stick to post-punk/alternative/new wave/experimental bands from the 80s. Occasionally tunes from the 90s and 70s will creep up. I’m more likely to check out a local band rather than patronize a concert venue, with a few exceptions.

"I Love Muttley" Fan art by Michele Witchipoo, 2009.

“I Love Muttley” Fan art by Michele Witchipoo, 2009.

9. My favorite animation character is Muttley from Wacky Races.

10. My all time favorite comic is Love and Rockets by Los Hernandez Bros. Both Xamie and Beto are geniuses. My favorite newspaper comic strip is Peanuts. I remember reading Doonesbury, Haggar The Horrible, Brenda Starr, Curtis, Dondi, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County growing up. Bloom County ruled! Everyone loved Bill The Cat, but I was more partial to Opus.

11. Everyone should have a Hunter S. Thompson style weekend at least once in their lives.

11 QUESTIONS FOR WITCHESBREWPRESS:

1. Do you think we need to do away with capitalism altogether or do you see an alternative or do you prefer to pretty much leave things as they are?

Good question. I don’t know if we need to do away with capitalism altogether, but some serious changes are needed. I feel that many corporations have too much control with lobby groups, working with local government, greed, etc.

2. What excites you?

Having my artwork published, either in print or on the web. That could be either being published by others, or self-publishing my own comics. Completing creative projects. New projects, experiences, adventures. Being in love.

3. When was the last time you told someone that you loved them? Does that inspire a story you want to share?

Told someone I loved them recently. Does it inspire any stories per say? Not at the moment. It inspires more artwork if anything.

4. If you could live on the Moon, or Mars, would you and why?

Mars. Silly as this sounds, my astrology sign is ruled by Mars. I could be a moonchilde, but Mars seems to fit more of my nature.

5. What do you expect to happen when you die and beyond?

Rot, dead and buried into the ground. If there is such thing as reincarnation, I’d like to come back as a nice, well-taken care of house cat. Just as long as my human caretaker is humane.

6. Describe a compelling experience you’ve had with nature.

Back in the spring and summer of 2007, I stayed at this nature retreat center located in the Midwest. It’s rural, private surroundings were open to people of all different spiritual traditions, philosophies, sexual orientations and lifestyles while promoting connecting to the land and the people on it. There were plenty of places to hike, meditate, swim, camp or just simply gather. During 2007 I stayed in a cabin on the premises.

I remember this one time, it was after everyone had gone to sleep. Since I grew up in an urban environment, I’m used to all night street lights, constant noise, maybe some foot traffic. At this nature retreat, it was different. If you wanted to walk around, you definitely needed a flashlight. There was no noise. Just a few scattered sounds from nature. Complete darkness. Stillness. No man-made distractions such as television background buzz. I sat down in front of the simple cabin I was staying in. It was late night, and everyone else had either gone back to town. Imagined that this is what it probably felt like during colonial settler days, or before the Industrial Revolution.

7. What book has inspired you?

I don’t have a favorite book per say. What I can do is tell which writers I’m fond of: Anais Nin, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Hubert Selby Jr.

Read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for an English course last spring. Not too proud to admit reading the occasional celebrity autobiography. I have Take It Like A Man by Boy George, and Tainted Life by Marc Almond. When I was growing up, my father would always buy biographies and autobiographies on all the classic movie stars. Books about Montgomery Cliff, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner. I read them all.

8. What movie has inspired you?

Again, I don’t have a particular movie in mind. It varies, and depends on my mood. I like film directors like Stanley Kubrick, John Waters, and Kenneth Anger. The first few films from Kevin Smith were good. Of course there’s always the Sci-fi and Horror genres. Some of my all time faves are Last Tango In Paris, Andy Warhol’s Bad, Clerks, Phantom of Paradise, and Christiane F. I like a lot of obscure, cult, midnight, art house, 70s porno chic and exploitation flicks. During my teen years, I was really into films like A Clockwork Orange, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and assorted bad horror films.

9. Do you have a tattoo or would you consider getting one? Or is there something badass you’ve done that you’d like to share?

I have a tattoo. A few of them actually. The one I usually get the most compliments on is the replica of the high priestess tarot card from the Rider-Waite deck. It’s located on my right upper arm. With that I highly recommend True Blue tattoos, located in Queens, NY.

Despite this, I don’t think tattoos are so “badass” anymore. If anything, tattoo culture has been incorporated in the mainstream. Still, some amazing artists I’ve meet have been tattoo artists.

10. Your gut reaction: Which title do you prefer, “A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories” or “Alice in New York and Other Stories”? And why?

“Alice in New York and Other Stories” is the one preferred. Although both titles work fine. It was more or less the name Alice itself.

11. What do you hope to see in your lifetime?

Well….at the risk of sounding like a hippy…I’m sorta misanthropic, but I’m an optimistic misanthrope.

Get rid of kill shelters for homeless pets. Have more help available for these homeless and abused pets. More support for the no kill shelters. Do away with kitten/puppy mills. Get horse driven carriages off the streets of NYC. Better awareness of animal rights. Such as get rid of poaching, unnecessary hunting for sport, etc. Harsher punishment for humans who abuse and neglect animals.

Find a cure for AIDS. An invention of a HIV vaccine.

Maybe see a woman U.S. president – just as long as she’s not Republican.

11 QUESTIONS WITCHESBREWPRESS PUTS TO NOMINEES

1. You’ve been given approximately 48 hours to live. As compensation, you have received 500,000 dollars. The entire amount must be spent a half hour before you pass away. Leave no money behind. What would you do?

2. List an all time favorite book.

3. Name your favorite film.

4. When making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which do you put on first: the peanut butter, or the jelly? Inquiring minds want to know.

5. Just who the hell are you? Explain.

6. Finish This! Q: Are We Not Men? We are…

7. Who would you rather be: Oscar or Felix?

8. Name your all time favorite comic book.

9. Name a favorite band or singer, and why. If no favorite musician, then list a favorite album.

10. Imagine you could go on a picnic with a dead historical icon. You’ll get to spend the whole day with this deceased person. Who would it be and why? It could be an artist, musician, writer, poet, thespian, religious, spiritual, scientist, explorer, academic, political figure, hero, villain, or whomever. What kind of picnic would you have? Yogi Bear may or may not be invited.

11. Post a favorite quote. The quote could be from anywhere: a philosopher, a book, a film, book, comic, song, etc. Don’t forget to name it’s source and who said it.

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It was about time I updated this blog. To tell you the truth, not much happened this summer. In fact, it was pretty uneventful. There were a few highlights. I caught a performance art piece by Ron Athey. It wasn’t type of performance he’s usually known for. Instead it focused on automatic writing. Thanks to my dear Facebook friend, she got me into this band called The Lost Patrol. Then every other Sunday I’ve been going to Hare Krisha services with one of my oldest friends. Not that I’m going to convert to Krisha consciousness anytime soon. I prefer the more traditional Hindu and Buddhist mindset. Still, I like the chanting, and I get to hang with my pal. So now I’m torn between my current agnostic stance, and wondering if I should tip my toes into the esoteric pool again. Then I had a fun night at one of Time Square’s last standing local bars. Nearby me on the desk are these drawn-on bar napkins from Jimmy’s Place. The art on these napkins was a collaboration between a me and a friend. My souvenir of the night. Maybe I’ll post the photo from Jimmy’s. Those napkins kinda sorta helped me fight against this artist block I’ve seem to be experiencing as of late. Instead this summer has been spent mostly reflecting. Reflection with a small black cloud stewing above my head.

Perhaps the artist block is starting to crack. I’ve been sketching on and off, but nothing stood out. Tonight I did this quick sketch below. It’s influence these two factors. One was a conversation from the past 48 hours. The other was articles I had been reading about Linda Lovelace, since a film about her life is currently in the theaters.

The style of this sketch is similar to what I used to do before I went back to college. Like with the first issue of Babalon Babes, warts and all. For those who don’t know, Babalon Babes was a self-published sketchbook I used to sell at comic cons and local shops. It’s focus was occult and sexuality. I stopped doing Babalon Babes around late 2009 after the astrology issue. Anyway, this sketch is kinda rough, but it works. It might do well as a painting, either in acrylic or watercolor and ink wash. For now it’s just basic pen work.

It’s soundtrack was Marc and The Mambas, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, classic Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, and early Death In June.

Gas Mask August 2013. Pen sketch by Michele Witchipoo, done August 19, 2013.

Gas Mask August 2013. Pen sketch by Michele Witchipoo, done August 19, 2013.

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