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Archive for April, 2014

My illustration titled “Shock Rock” which describes when GWAR was on The Jerry Springer show will be part of an exhibit this Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, 7 pm.

Over a 100 different artists will have their work on display, in various mediums. Already it’s gotten mentions in the Metal music press. I’m really psyched to be a part of this show. Below is my piece, which along with others will also be for sale. Part of the proceeds will go towards the Dave Brockie Foundation. If you were ever a GWAR fan, definitely check out this show.

Online flyer for the Dave Brockie Memorial Show at MF Gallery, May 3rd 2014.

Online flyer for the Dave Brockie Memorial Show at MF Gallery, May 3rd 2014.

Here’s the link to the Gallery event: http://mfgallery.net/DBmemorial/DBmemorial.html

Below is my illustration. It was done April 2014, pen, ink, and glitter watercolor:

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode "Shock Rock." Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode “Shock Rock.” Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

Here’s some of the links in regards to the press this event has been receiving:

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/dave-brockie-memorial-art-show-to-open-in-may/

http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=11390

http://loudwire.com/all-hail-gwar-memorial-art-show-tribute-late-frontman-dave-brockie/

http://www.antimusic.com/news/14/April/ts23Memorial_Art_Show_Planned_For_Late_Gwar_Frontman_Dave_Brockie.shtml#.U2AHYvldWuI

http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=102105

http://freewilliamsburg.com/mf-gallery-is-hosting-a-memorial-show-dedicated-to-gwars-dave-brockie/#more-30879

…and last but not least, a mention from GWAR’s record label, Metal Blade:

http://www.metalblade.com/us/news/dave-brockie-memorial-art-show/

 

 

 

 

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I first became intrigued by Harry Houdini back in elementary school. My fourth grade teacher assigned everyone in the class a book report. As we searched the school library, I came across this biography of Houdini. It was written for grade school children of course, but that’s how I became interested in the magician.

Over the years I would hear about people gathering around every Halloween at Houdini’s resting place. Then around 2009, I moved to the Ridgewood area. As my luck would have it, I would be living within walking distance to Machpelah Cemetery.

As it’s been reported, Machpelah Cemetery is a rather sad place. The cemetery itself has not been properly maintained. In fact, the whole entire area is in disarray. It’s certainly an eyesore next to the other surrounding cemeteriesWhenever I’ve paid a visit over the years, I’ve seen two maintenance men at the location only once. If they were maintenance men – they didn’t seem to be doing their job.

This Jewish cemetery would have been forgotten if Houdini hadn’t been buried there. Over the years it’s gotten the occasional relief. David Copperfield, one of the best known contemporary magicians has donated $15,000 to the Society of American Magicians. Other donations came in to keep towards the upkeep. Despite this, conflicts between Machpelah’s manager, David Jacobson and the New York chapter of SAM (Society of American Magicians) occurred. In recent years, the Houdini Museum from Scanton, PA stepped in. 

Included are some photos taken by me in 2009.

Gated entrance to Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, NY. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Gated entrance to Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, NY. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Mourning statue at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Mourning statue at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

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Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Note left at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Note left at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini and family’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Where Houdini’s father is buried. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Bench near Houdini family plot. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Side of Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Side of Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other side of Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other side of Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Bus stop at at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Don't even bother using this bus line. When I was waiting, the bus completely passed me by. You're better off taking the subway, and hiking all those blocks. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Bus stop at at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Don’t even bother. When I was waiting to catch the bus going home, the bus itself completely passed me by. You’re better off taking the subway, and hiking all those blocks. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

To be continued…

 

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/31/harry-houdini-grave-machpelah-cemetery_n_1921103.html
*http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/houdini-returns-of-course/

 

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On March 23rd, 2014, Dave Brockie , better known as Oderus Urungus from the band GWAR passed away. He was only 50 years old. Brockie was the second GWAR member to pass way (Cory Smooth, aka  in 2011), and since his death, GWAR’s future remains in question. 

Here’s my own tribute to Oderus Urungus. My watercolor illustration from when GWAR was a guest on The Jerry Springer Show back in 1997. The episode was called “Shock Rock” and had concerned mothers confront these bands about their influence upon America’s youth. El Dulce from The Mentors was also on the panel, but Brockie and his crew clearly reigned supreme.

As I started to do this piece, chants of “JERRY! JERRY!” started going through my head. It was apparent that doing a trash program like Springer was really beneath GWAR. In end, something was gained. you can bet that this episode gained them new fans, saving them from a mundane existence. Hell, even Springer became an honorary ‘Scumdog.’

I could post a clip from YouTube, but in the few years I’ve been doing this blog, videos seem to get torn down. So I suggest you Google the video yourself. Meanwhile, please enjoy my Brockie illustration, done in glitter watercolor, ink and pen. It’s been a while since doing artwork I was proud of. For that, I’d like to thank Oderus Urungus as he travels through the gladiatorial arena. 

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode "Shock Rock." Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode “Shock Rock.” Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

 

 

 

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*Originally posted this material on my Facebook account. Photos and commentary are dated from 2009 when I first moved into the Ridgewood area. 

**Previous blog post dated 2010: https://witchesbrewpress.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/mapped-magic-from-the-grave/

Ever since doing book report on him during elementary school, I’ve been slightly fascinated by magician Harry Houdini. Houdini and the rest of his immediate family are buried in Machpelah Cemetery, located in Ridgewood, Queens (although it’s really closer to Glendale).

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Office. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Office. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

I found the address recently on the Find A Grave website:

Machpelah Cemetery
8230 Cypress Hills Street
Ridgewood Queens
NY 11385

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

There is a supposedly a telephone listed with the address, but don’t bother calling it. As you can tell by the photos, the office hasn’t been in use for quite some time.

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Photo taken Nov. 2009. Abandoned office of Machpelah Cemetery, the final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Office. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Office. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

As I was leaving Machpelah Cemetery, I noticed a sign screwed into one of the nailed up doors. The sign states that the Houdini site is solely cared for The New York chapter of the Society of American Magicians. The sign’s statement ends with a quote “We never pay the bill.”

Sign of misquote. Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Sign of misquote. Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

When I got home I did some research to discover the entire exact quote.

“Turns out, someone does come and shape up the grave once in a while. The New York chapter of the Society of American Magicians has a Houdini Gravesite Committee, and a Brooklyn man named George Schindler is the committee chairman. He said that the bust of Houdini that once adorned the grave site was often vandalized and is now kept in storage by the committee, whose members bring landscaping tools to the cemetery and tidy up the grave site several times a year.

“Houdini paid for perpetual care, but there’s nobody at the cemetery to provide it,” he said, adding that the operator of the cemetery, David Jacobson, “sends us a bill for upkeep every year but we never pay it because he never provides any care.”

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. The seal of  The New York Chapter of The Society of American Magicians. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Link to the entire quote and article: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/houdinis-final-trick-a-tidy-grave/

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Machpelah Cemetery is right next door to other Queens cemeteries, all which are way better maintained that the one Houdini is buried in. However, despise Machpelah’s negligence, the final resting place for Harry Houdini still hold much more mystery.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo and design by Michele Witchipoo.

Photo taken Nov. 2009. Machpelah Cemetery, final resting place for Harry Houdini. Photo and design by Michele Witchipoo.

 

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Here’s another flier for the Welcome To My Nightmare event happening tomorrow night. Be there!

Welcome To My Nightmare 9 flier.

Welcome To My Nightmare 9 flier. April 2014. 

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I contributed an illustration to this book, which is now available for sale.

Cover for "The Age of Saints: An Illustrated Guide To The Saints of Wales" available on A Raven Above Press, 2014.

Cover for “The Age of Saints: An Illustrated Guide To The Saints of Wales” available on A Raven Above Press, 2014. Front cover art by Kelly Haigh. 

You can purchase your own copy here:

http://celtic-family-shoppe.myshopify.com/products/the-age-of-saints

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This past Saturday was the first time in many years I didn’t have an exhibitor table at MoCCA Art Fest 2014. It didn’t really bother me. Although I had done illustrations for others’ books, perhaps it was time for a break.

Other than the sight of some indie comic distributor I confronted last year, this year’s MoCCA was pretty good. The exhibitors were mostly all new. Ever since MoCCA merged with Society of Illustrators, some improvements were made.

Robert Williams Q&A panel at MoCCA Art Fest, April 5th, 2014. Photo by William Mercado.

Robert Williams Q&A panel at MoCCA Art Fest, April 5th, 2014. Photo by William Mercado.

I arrived on time for the best part of the whole MoCCA event. The Robert Williams Q&A panel. In the audience was none other than J. G. Thirlwell. For those not familiar with Thirlwell, he’s man otherwise known as Foetus, aka Clint Ruin. His band had constant name changes such as Scraping Foetus Off A Wheel throughout the ’80s and ’90s until he settled on just Foetus. He had other side projects as well, like the underground ‘supergroup’ The Immaculate Consumptive featuring himself, Lydia Lunch, Marc Almond and Nick Cave. Only a few shows took place before that project dissolved. Other than bootlegs of the gigs themselves, no recordings exist. (I’ve briefly blogged about The Immaculate Consumptive on a previous post.) 

Why I’m discussing Foetus other than his attendance at the panel is due to this. When I was 16 years old, someone gave me a promo poster of Wiseblood, another of Thirlwell’s side projects. (Saw Wiseblood live at The Ritz in NYC, 1987) Besides being a fan of Wiseblood, the artwork was done by none other than the artist himself, Robert Williams. So at age 16, I had no idea than 20 years later I would be witnessing a Q&A panel of an artist who had done cover work for a musician who would also be in the same room. Kinda cool when you think about it.

Wiseblood poster. Circa '80s. Artist Robert Williams.

Wiseblood poster. Circa 1987. Artist Robert Williams. Had this on my wall during my late teen years. Wish I still have this poster.

Of course, looking back on it, listening to bands like Wiseblood in my youth probably contributed to my misanthropy later on in my adult years.

Robert Williams Q&A panel at MoCCA Art Fest 2014. Photo by William Mercado, April 2014.

Robert Williams Q&A panel at MoCCA Art Fest 2014. Photo by William Mercado, April 2014.

After the curator Carlo McCormick was finished interviewing Williams, questions from the crowd was encouraged. I had wanted to ask about the artwork he had done for The Flesh Volcano:Slut, again featuring Marc Almond and Foetus. Yes, I had that on vinyl during my late teens. In the end I decided against asking questions regarding album artwork. Instead I was kicking myself for not being better prepared, otherwise I would’ve brought my CD reissue for Williams to sign.

Flesh Volcano/Slut by Marc Almond and Clint Ruin, aka Foetus aka J.G. Thirwell. Artwork by Robert Williams.

Flesh Volcano/Slut by Marc Almond and Clint Ruin, aka Foetus aka J.G. Thirwell. Original vinyl album cover. Artwork by Robert Williams.

As for Robert Williams himself, he was sharing various stories about himself. Some of his reflections discussed his art school years, working with underground comics such as Zap Comix, and creating Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine. 

After the panel, I mostly walked around checking out various tables. Cats seemed to be a popular theme this year. Ben brought me comic as part of my birthday present.

Frankie Comics issue # 1 by Rachel Dukes. Brought at the MoCCA Art Fest 2014.

Frankie Comics issue # 1 by Rachel Dukes. Brought at the MoCCA Art Fest 2014.

The biggest surprise was walking by, and seeing an anthology for sale that I had contributed to maybe like two years ago.

Cover for Filthy Cake, published by Scary-Art Publishing.  http://www.scary-art.com/scaryartpublishing.htm

Cover for Filthy Cake, published by Scary-Art Publishing.
http://www.scary-art.com/scaryartpublishing.htm

The artist and writer, Joey Volume was one of the anthology contributors, and this was the first time I had met anyone in person related to this book. We traded copies of each other’s comics. Below is his own title, “Meat And Sleaze.”

Meat And Sleaze issue one. Written and drawn by Joey Volume. From MoCCA Art Fest 2014.

Meat And Sleaze issue one. Written and drawn by Joey Volume. From MoCCA Art Fest 2014.

I only attended MoCCA 2014 for one day. Hopefully I’ll have an exhibitor table next year with all new material.

 

 

 

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