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Archive for August, 2015

Haven’t sent in something to Sketch Lottery in a long time. Here’s a my rendition of Woody Woodpecker.

Woody Woodpecker rendition drawn by Michele Witchipoo as mseen on Sketch Lottery, Aug. 2015.

Woody Woodpecker rendition drawn by Michele Witchipoo as seen on Sketch Lottery, Aug. 2015. For Sketch Lottery. 

 

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The first time I ever visited the infamous Mars Bar, it was sometime during the ’90s. It was your typical run-down dive bar. It also had the only bathroom I was hesitant to use – and in the Lower East Side area of NYC, that’s saying a lot.

I went back a few more times, but I wouldn’t say I was a regular. Back then, my hang outs of choice was Max Fish (original location), Coney Island High and Mother’s. Later on, I would visit The Raven Cafe and this small gay bar across the street from Raven called The Cock. In the late ’90s, The Cock would have this outrageous party ever Saturday night titled ‘What Would You Do For $100?’ Trust me, at that particular party, I’ve seen what people would do for $100, but that’s for another blog post.

Before Mars Bar closed down for good, it’s glory days were pretty much over. Last time I was there, must’ve been sometime in 2008 or 2009. There was barely anyone inside. In 2012, its doors shuttered. Now some overpriced bourgeois restaurant stands in its place. Like New York City needs another un-affordable eatery.

So fast forward to 2015. My friend who was a Mars bar regular informed me about an open call for art at the Whitebox Gallery. Quickly I grabbed some of my framed work to hang at the group show.

There was two parties at Whitebox. One was the installation party, in which mayhem was already in full bloom when I arrived. Free beer was flowing and music was blasting as the Mars bar reunion ensued. It wasn’t long when half-filled beer cans was being thrown at some of other attendants.

As for the exhibit itself. The opening party was called ‘Last Night At Mars Bar.’ It was part of a bigger exhibit called ‘The Last Party.’ The Last Party was curated by Anthony Haden-Guest and highlights NYC nightlife from 1975 to the early 90s.  Anthony Haden-Guest is a writer/cartoonist/art critic and has documented NYC underground downtown culture at its zenith. I was personally lucky to have gone to such places like Limelight, Tunnel, The World, and Danceteria. Especially when I was under-aged during the Danceteria days. Dancerteria was one of the first places I ever clubbed at, back when I was in high school. (I also went to Studio 54 when I was in junior high back in the early ’80s, and yes, that’s also another story within itself. I couldn’t, however get into Boy George’s birthday party over at Palladium, because I was under-aged. I did sneak into Palladium a year and half later, for another party. Once again, another story.)

My artwork as part of the group show at the 'Last Night At Mars Bar' July 2015.

My artwork as part of the group show at the ‘Last Night At Mars Bar’ July 2015.

Installation party at Whitebox Gallery for 'Last Night At Mars Bar' which was part of a bigger exhibit, 'The Last Party.' July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Installation party at Whitebox Gallery for ‘Last Night At Mars Bar’ which was part of a bigger exhibit, ‘The Last Party.’ July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Johnny Bizzare and 'ODP' - Old Dirty Puppet. July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Johnny Bizzare and ‘ODP’ – Old Dirty Puppet. July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Anyway, back to Mars Bar. You see, Whitebox is a non-profit gallery which focuses on ‘culturally relevant work.’ Yes, that dive bar has become ‘culturally relevant.’ Before the ‘Last Night At Mars Bar’ event, I visited Whitebox once before. It was a part of some Lower East Side art crawl festival. What was the theme – pizza? I can’t remember. Just a lot of free beer, and the night’s curator getting really upset when elderly old Chinese ladies dropped by to collect the discarded beer cans for recycling money. The female curator tried to shoo the ladies out, but since the ladies probably didn’t know any English, the curator was simply ignored. While the well dressed curator had this sour expression upon her expensively made-up face, someone in the crowd commented ‘Welcome to the real New York, lady.” The curator was not amused.

Whoever put this latest show together didn’t seem that bothered by the old Mars bar crew. In fact, the security guard was actually pretty chill. Meanwhile, the Mars Bars reunion was in full effect. East Village nostalgia.

At the installation party for 'Last Night At Mars Bar.' Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo, July 2015 at Whitebox Gallery.

At the installation party for ‘Last Night At Mars Bar.’ Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo, July 2015 at Whitebox Gallery.

Replica of Mars Bar window, at Whitebox Gallery. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, July 2015.

Replica of Mars Bar window, at Whitebox Gallery. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, July 2015.

The next night was the opening party. It pretty much picked up where the installation party left off. The show was the opening party was ‘Last Night At Mars Bar Variety Shit Show’ hosted by Johnny Bizzare. A band called The Sunnyside Social Club performed as well.

At the end of the opening party, a tad bit of sadness came over me. New York City has changed. Although there is less crime than back in the ’70s and ’80s, it’s organic creative chaos is gone. There’s still bits and pieces here and there but it’s more hipster contrived now. Nice, and safe, and guaranteed not to offend in the age of political correctness. Completely bland.

Hopefully this current state of NYC with its overpriced rents is a temporary thing.

Crowd outside Whitebox Gallery after the 'Last Night At Mars Bar' show. Whitebox Gallery. July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Crowd outside Whitebox Gallery after the ‘Last Night At Mars Bar’ show. Whitebox Gallery. July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

I watched the rest of the crowd sing merrily in the street, then head over to some watering hole nearby, in true Mars bar fashion. Since there were responsibilities to take care of the next day, this was my cue to head home. If you want to see the exhibit yourself, and you just happen to be in the NYC area, you have up until Aug. 23rd. At least I could now say I had my work shown in the infamous L.E.S.

Whitebox Gallery, created for 'Last Night At Mars Bar' show, July 2015. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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Came across this article today. It was published last year, granted. You can read it here.

Seth McFarlane was apparently being sued on the premises that he stole the idea for his 2012 film ‘Ted’ from two animators who had a similar character on a web series.

Back in late 2008, a so-called “friend” told me she met Seth MacFarlane’s manager online, and that his manager was very interested in my Psycho Bunny comic. Now there was something strange about this whole set-up from the get go…but she kept on insisting that this “manager” was interested in my comic, and was going to turn it into a television show. Okay. She wouldn’t let me speak to him, and was very vague about his name. She kept on insisting on giving her a PDF copy of my comic so she could pass on to him. Finally I persisted.She gave me some generic name…my gut instincts started to kick in.


Long story short. I slowly began to cut off my contact with her.

Then “The Cleveland Show” premiered. The funny thing about that show was it had a bear character who wears no pants. I have a bear character in my comic who wears no pants. I thought about how my ex-friend, who kept on insisting she knew someone who worked with Seth MacFarlane and how she wanted to pass my comic onto him, etc., and how this person was sold on the idea. In reality, there was nothing I could do and hoped it was really just a coincidence.

“The Cleveland Show” has since been canceled. Prior to the cancellation, I stopped speaking to my ex-friend with all these industry “connections.” Once she realized I wasn’t going along with her plans, she quickly blocked me, and befriended my bitter foes. This was someone who she swore was my good pal. Wasn’t surprised to say the least. She may be a hard worker, but within the year of our friendship, she kept on dropping these little white lies here and there…along with other things.. basically it was time to end it. I’m not going to mention names. Not here. But I’m so quite sure that if she was confronted with this, she would completely bullshit her way out. It left me feeling like this: although she never did get a PDF file of my comic, and once I informed her that my comic was indeed copyrighted, she backed off. No, she didn’t get what she wanted from me. Still, I felt the knife in my back. Anyone who’s worked on a creative project and even suspects having their ideals ripped off and/or sabotaged in anyway by someone that you personally knew…basically you feel betrayed.

ANYWAY…so today I came across this article. Couldn’t help but notice the slight similarities. Coincidence?

Don’t get me wrong. At the end of the day, I’m still a fan of Seth MacFarlane, and Family Guy. But my experience with someone who claimed to have spoken to MacFarlane’s manager via internet and claims his manager was very interested in my idea…(shakes head)…it’s made me weary.

It’s only now that I feel I’m able to speak about this.

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