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Archive for August, 2018

Back in April 2018, the East Coast Comic Con took place over at Meadowlands Exposition Center. It only took a quick bus ride from NYC’s Port Authority station to Secaucus, New Jersey.  I never had a table here. The three times I’ve attended (Westchester, NY, then later moved to New Jersey) it was strictly as a spectator.

Again, as with Terrificon, this event focused mostly on comics. There was media guests, but the emphasis was on more established comic creators. The guests include Howard Chaykin, John Holmstrom, David LloydJim StarlinTony Isabella, Paris Cullins, Bob Almond and more.

The attendance from this particular comic con seemed to have increased from previous times. Perhaps because East Coast is one of the better comic cons in the tri-state area, even if the comic creators have worked on more mainstream titles.

Of course, who can ever forget the cosplayers. Observing those who took part in cosplaying, their game was very strong. I’ll leave the cosplayers for last in this blog post, when I get to the contest.

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Amazing cosplay of Ghost. (Ghost as in the band). Not a fan of Ghost’s music, but this is great cosplay.

First, I’ll show some photos of comic book artist Paris Cullins with his love. Nothing is sweeter than two people who genuinely enjoy being with each other.

There was plenty of panels, but only managed to catch one. Missed a panel about Sci-fi writers. As the day was winding down, I was pretty exhausted. That’s why I decided to check out the cosplaying contest. It was really about finding a place to sit down.

 

Observing the cosplaying panel and contest was more fun than originally thought. While I admit, I was semi-roasting from the comfort of my seat, there was a lot of talent in creating those costumes. A lot of work went into all the various cosplaying.

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Ghostrider cosplay. East Coast comic con 2018.

So the contest begins. There was plenty of good contenders. Once two cosplayers walked into the panel room as Warhammer characters, you pretty much knew they were going to win the contest. In which they did. Those Warhammer outfits truly impressed me.

Here’s some other honorable mentions, posted in the photos below.

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Next year’s East Coast Comic Con already looks promising. The guests for next year include Peter Bagge, Drew Friedman, Kaz, Simon Bisley, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, George Perez, and more to added later.

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First off. I know this particular blog post is late. This exhibit happened all the way back in Jan. 6 to February 10th, 2018. Why am I posting about this now? This year is halfway over. Fall is already around the corner. Guess I’m getting 2018 out of the way.

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Industrial Culture Handbook. Published by RE/Search Books.

As a huge fan of the RE/Search book series, I discovered bands, underground personalities, subcultures, tattooing, occultism, tribal culture, strange films, sado-masochism, subversive literature, etc. RE/Search had a huge influence on me during my late teens and early 20s. It was through one of the RE/Search titles, Industrial Culture Handbook‘. It was purchased at the zine shop See/Hear maybe sometime back in 1990 or 1992. That’s when I first read about Mark Pauline. (You can read about See/Hear in this post. Better yet, now you can download the PDF version from this site, although I strongly encourage you to purchase the book.)

Mark Pauline is the founder, director and member of Survival Research Laboratories. SRL for short. He specializes in creating confrontational  industrial mechanics. The robotic movements of these creations could be considered performance art, even if occasionally unpredictable.  In January 2018, the Marlborough Contemporary gallery located in Chelsea, NYC showcased his work. As stated in a press release: “…is pleased (and slightly nervous) to present Inconsiderate Fantasies of Negative Acceleration Characterized by Sacrifices of a Non-Consensual Nature by the legendary Survival Research Laboratories. The exhibition, the first solo presentation by SRL in a commercial gallery, comprises eight kinetic sculptures dating from 1986 to the present, along with video documentation of past performances in which these machines were engaged.”

I’ve always wanted to witness an SLR event. After all these years here was my chance.

 

 

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The opening event took place on a sub-zero freezing Saturday night. The exhibit was part retrospective, part demonstrative. There was a robot moving around directionless in one area. Another machine featuring decaying animal corpses spun the carcasses inside the transparent globes

 

Here’s a YouTube clip I complied from all the smartphone footage filmed from opening night. I was experimenting with some free video maker, so you’ll have to excuse the cheesy soundtrack.

Here’s a more professional video of SRL/Mark Pauline demostrating these machines:

Some more articles about Mark Pauline and SRL: 

New York Times

Hyperallegic

Vice Magazine 

Office Magazine

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All photos by Michele Witchipoo unless otherwise stated. 

 

 

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The day after the great CAKE and Ben Folds Five concert, me and Ben headed over to Connecticut. There was a comic con happening that weekend over at the Mohegan Sun casino. Terrificon was good that it’s focus was more on the comic book creators rather than obtaining celebrities autographs. That particular artist alley featured established comic book writers and artists, as local talent. Of course there was plenty of cosplay to be found. There was a few known media guests such as model/actress Pom Klementieff, who portrayed Mantis from Guardians of The Galaxy 2. She was sitting next to Henry Winkler in the autograph section.

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No, I didn’t have a table. This time I went as a spectator. It was also an excuse to get out of NYC for a few hours. Despite the dismal Greyhound bus ride, I’d say it was worth the trip. Even if the bus was delayed for over thirty minutes. The passengers were mostly disgruntled Anita Baker fans, trying to catch her concert also happening at Mohegan Sun later that evening.

It was a relief to find a comic con featuring more comic book professionals rather than pop culture personalities. Before the comic con winded down on Saturday, there was a panel honoring comic book writer Roy Thomas. Thomas was presented with an award for his contribution in the sequential field.

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Panel featuring comic book writer Roy Thomas. Prior to receiving an award. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, Aug. 18th, 2018.

Apparently a few exits before Mohegan Sun, there’s a Pez museum. The kid inside me loudly acknowledged this, as I spotted the billboard through my bus window. Sure enough, there was a Pez vendor table at the Terrificon. Kinda wished I had never discarded my old Pez containers. Especially the reissued Star Wars and Halloween editions.

Among some of the comic creators in artist alley: met Bob Almond again, who created the Inkwell Awards, Ray Felix who does Bronx Heroes Con, Barbara Friedlander who I unfortunately missed by the time I arrived at the venue, Art Baltazar, Neal Adams, Afua Richardson, Scott Hanna, C.F. Cebulski, and many others. Below are photos are David Thorn Wenzel and Tifa Chii.

The cosplayers and gamers weren’t left out. Here’s a few other cosplayer photos to round out this blog post.

Last but not least, here’s a cosplayer doing a mash-up of Booster Gold and Goldstar.

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Terrificon is highly recommended as a comic con. If given the opportunity I would attend again. It’s geared towards more mainstream comics rather than self-published and indie. Then again, it’s still a good excuse to get out of NYC for the day. Didn’t spend much time in Mohegan Sun itself. Pretty much all casinos reek of desperation and spilled soda on carpets. As for the return ride to NYC; that was purgatory. Some jackass held up the bus for almost two hours. If there’s anything I learned, the bus drivers that work for Greyhound have the patience of saints. Seriously. That day I witnessed two drivers who had more than enough reason to lose their tempers. Had they done so, it would’ve been justified – but yet they didn’t. So kudos to them. Greyhound itself however, truly sucks. Even those cheapo companies like GoBus, BoltBus or MegaBus seem to have smoother rides. My advice for next year is to get a Zipcar or arrange a carpool. Seriously.

Enough kvetching. In late October I’m going to have my own table at a local comic con. Details forthcoming. So with my luck, I’ll probably end up taking Greyhound again.

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Since Fall 2017, I’ve been attending more concerts than usual. This personal trend started when my friend sold me her ticket to the Front 242 gig over at Irving Plaza. This was followed by Gary Numan, then Television. Over the past few months I’ve seen bands going across the board from local, national and even international. 2018 started with a show over at St. Vitus. The bill was Royal Thunder, Backwoods Payback and Heavy Temple. This was followed by Mac Sabbath, Clan of Xymox, Anvil, Melvins, Robert Plant, Culture Club/The B-52s, Slayer/Lamb of God/Anthrax/Testament/Napalm Death which was the next day after Culture Club, and now capping it off with CAKE.

So far in the summer of 2018, I’ve been to Forest Hills Stadium three times. It’s not a bad venue. Even if your seats are all the way back next to Saint Philomena, you can still have a decent view. Since I live in Queens, it’s convenient. The bad part is there’s an enforced curfew of 10 pm for all shows. That’s because the stadium is smack in the middle of a residential area. Boo.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to see CAKE live. They do one of my favorite songs from the ’90s, ‘The Distance’, but the band is so much more than that hit single. The concert itself was a double bill with Ben Folds Five, with Tall Heights opening. Somehow during the Ben Folds Five set, someone from that band didn’t show up. So a member of Tall Heights had to fill in. Ben Folds Five isn’t usually my “cup of tea” as they say, but live they were all right.

So CAKE comes on despite the grueling humidity. Hey. Kudos to any band that can perform under those nasty weather conditions. CAKE performed their latest single “Sinking Ship.” It wasn’t long until the band had everyone singing along to “Sick of You.” John McCrea also raised some good points. Like how everyone is so into their smartphones nowadays, we forget to live in the moment. He requested that people put down the cells just to enjoy the concert, but many ignored his plea.

Somehow in the middle of the concert, they started rushing through their set. Apparently they were told by management they had to cut the perform short. There was barely enough time for the tree giveaway shtick. (Too bad; I wanted that tree!) Yet the crowd adored the band. By the time ‘The Distance’ came on, people were dancing in their seats.

The best part of the concert in my opinion? Catching glimpses of lightening during the gig. There was thunder, but no rain. Once the thunder started to crack, some people left their seats in hast. Not me. I thought seeing thunder during a show was awesome. Slightly dangerous, maybe, but still awesome.

After the last song, the entire crowd demanded an encore. The audience loved CAKE. After two to five minutes, the band finally came back, doing a clever cover of Black Sabbath’s “Warpigs.” Then things got serious when John McCrea made another plea to the audience. This time, for Americans to register to vote. I’m not kissing his ass, but he’s right. Yes, the election voting system is flawed – but don’t give up on the process. Sometimes voting is the only voice someone could have.

Which leads up to…yup, you got it. The Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Influenced by CAKE and their tradition of giving away a tree during each concert.

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CAKE and the free tree giveaway. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. August 2018.

Social media time:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch. Also keep an eye out, I might be posting more commissions this week. If you have an extra cash floating around, buy one of my comics, or get a commission. You won’t regret it.

UPDATE: Added additional photographs taken from the cheap seats at Forest Hills Stadium. Including Ben Folds Five. 

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When I caught the Culture Club and B-52s concert at Forest Hills Stadium, there was another concert around the corner. That same weekend I went from ’80s Pop/New Wave to Thrash Metal. The next day was Slayer, performing at Jones Beach, Long Island, NY.

I know. Go figure.

The line-up for Jones Beach was Napalm Death, Testament, Anthrax, Lamb of God and of course, Slayer. It’s a rare thing when a band goes out while still on top, and that’s exactly what Slayer did. Although there’s a part of me that expects a ‘reunion’ tour in roughly five years.

All the bands were great. Lamb of God, the band right under Slayer on the bill, had their own followers. When the intro music came on, this Lamb of God fan stood up at attention, dead serious. He was ready for battle or something.

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Would’ve brought the Slayer bootie shorts if I was thinner. Merch at the Slayer Farewell Tour. July 2018, Jones Beach theater, Long Island, NY. July 2018. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo.

Then there was the Slayer greeting. It’s just one word: “SLAYER!” Observing the crowd, it’s usually said with male aggression. If one wished to expand the tribal greeting some more, you can go “FUCKIN’ SLAYER!!!” I witnessed men looking at each other, shouting the greeting “SLAYER” to each other. One guy in back of where I was sitting was shouting “SLAYER!!!” until he was beet red. Dude, calm down.

Slayer is also one of the few concerts you can attend wearing the shirt of the band performing. Most people look down upon this. I don’t, but others think it’s some kind of fashion faux pas. With Slayer, not only is this acceptable – it kinda makes you look slightly bad-ass.

This leads to the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny does Slayer! However, Psycho Bunny isn’t normally a Metal head. His best and perhaps one of his only friends, is a die-hard. Loves Metal. Thrash, Groove Metal, classic Metal, you name it. He even likes classic Hardcore and Punk. But when Psycho Bunny suddenly gets into Slayer, Buddy Bear becomes suspicious.

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Psycho Bunny does Slayer. Buddy Bear thinks Psycho Bunny is a poseur. The Psycho Bunny sketch of the week for August 21, 2018. Based on the comic book written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo.

Social media time:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items.

One of my hobbies is documenting what goes riding the NYC subway lines: Wildlife On The MTA. Cause if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. MTA passengers know what I’m talking about. Even better: My WildlifeOnTheMTA Instagram is active once again.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch. Better yet, order my shit. Otherwise there’s going to be some Payback.

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A few weeks back I attended the Culture Club and The B-52s concert over at Forest Hills stadium. It wasn’t my first seeing both of these acts live. It was more that both groups were such a part of my early teen years, and that it was right in my own backyard in Queens, NY.

When I was about 11 or 12, I brought the first B-52s album. I was the first kid on the block to have that record, and most likely the only one. It was early ’80’s in lower working class Queens. I was considered the school weirdo. Having this album only solidified my case. Not that I really cared.

When my friend used to come over, I introduced her to Rock Lobster. I made her wear old wigs dug out from my mother’s closet, which my mom wasn’t too happy about. I wasn’t happy because the wigs weren’t styled like in beehive hairdos. In my bedroom we pretended to be Kate and Cindy, wearing mom’s old forgotten wigs. We danced to most of the songs on side one, because vinyl still ruled in those days. That album cover is still pretty iconic to me.

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Eventually I grew out of The B-52s. By the time “Love Shack” hit the charts, I was more into Post Punk, Goth, Industrial and anything non mainstream.

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Concert attendee at the Culture Club/B-52s show at Forest Hills stadium. Sat. July 28th, 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Fast forward to July 2019 in Forest Hills stadium. (Wasn’t the band’s first time. The B-52s played Forest Hills stadium back in 1983. Most of the crowd was dancing to such classics like ’52 Girls’, ‘Planet Claire’, and what surprised me was ‘Mesopotamia.’ Of course they played ‘Love Shack’ and ‘Roam.’ You can see their set list here.

Thus leads to the first of the two latest sketches of the week. Decided to throw in two instead of one, due to last week’s absence.

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Psycho Bunny’s friends as The B-52s. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Aug. 2018.

After The B-52s came Culture Club. I’ve mentioned dressing like the two women from The B-52s. However, it was the arrival of Boy George that took it from the bedroom to public display. I began to copy the Boy’s look. While going to class, I wore the hat, the baggy clothes, etc. Even had his dance moves down. Once again, I was the first kid on the block to embrace Boy George and crew. Also one of the very few. Boy George wasn’t very popular in the junior high I attended. In fact, that’s when I experienced homophobia.

Dressing like Boy George gave people the impression that they could insult me. Everyday I heard nasty remarks from other schoolmates such as “You know he’s gay, right?” “Why do you like him? He’s a man dressed like a woman!” “Boy George is a fag!” “Fag lover!!!” “You look like a freak!” “Hahahaha….” It was usually followed by “Why don’t you be normal, and listen to Michael Jackson like the rest of us?” Which led to my distaste of anything remotely related to Michael Jackson. To this day, if I hear just a few notes from a Jackson song, it makes me nauseous. I just equate Michael Jackson to general hypocrisy. Jackson is dead, and I still can’t stand the guy. It’s not his fault. It was my junior high classmates. The association. His music and image still reminds me of everything fake in today’s pop culture.

Because of all this rude behavior, it influenced me to look beyond my immediate Queens surroundings. I applied for those magnet high schools just to get away from all those rotten close minded classmates. Eventually I got accepted into the High School of Art and Design. Thanks to Art & Design, it lead me straight into a path of downtown Manhattan subculture, discovering Greenwich Village, stumbling upon small import record shops, cool clothing stores, and of course, Punk and Goth. Thus my high school years fared a helluva lot better than junior high.

I’ll never forget when word came out that I was not heading towards that local war zone, Byrant High School. Some guy quipped “oh, so you’re not going to the same high school as everyone else? What’s the matter? You’re too good for us now?”

Uh actually, when I think about it…yeah.

Not going to Byrant was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. From what I heard years later, my suspicions were all confirmed. Thanks, but no thanks. This should explain my misanthropy.

‘ “Why does everybody gets so excited when we go back into the past? It just amazes me. It’s just metaphorical.” ‘ – Boy George during the Culture Club concert at Forest Hills stadium, New York. Saturday July 28th, 2018. 

But high school is high school, and life is a lot more than that. It’s still nice to reflect, take in some nostalgia, acknowledge your influences. To be ruled by the past though, is a prison you don’t want to be trapped in. Boy George definitely didn’t want to relive his past. In fact, most of the songs on the Culture Club set list was more like a rock and soul revue than Culture Club’s greatest hits. The opening song was a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” Fret not, they still did some of their greatest hits.

‘ “We’re a living, breathing soap opera. The amount of collective drama on this stage would kill a beginner.” ‘ Boy George during the Culture Club set at Forest Hills Stadium, Saturday July 28th, 2018. 

I appreciated that Culture Club didn’t want to rest of their retro laurels. Boy George himself waxed philosophically that night on the Forest Hills stage. He came across as intelligent and witty. There were times you sensed that he’s acknowledged lessons learned from his past experiences. This was evident with their recent single “Let Somebody Love You.” You never would’ve guessed he assaulted a male escort back in 2009. Then there was the time when he rebuked my friend’s request for an autograph that was meant to be for his mother. His mother was in her final stages of MS.

 Oh that Boy George. He’s such a Gemini.

Despite his shitty transgressions, I will always be thankful for his influence upon my life. It was a positive influence. His public image taught me that it was okay to think outside the box, to be yourself. If it wasn’t for him, Siouxsie Sioux, Joan Jett, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and David Bowie, my outlook might’ve been very different. Probably a lot more bleak.

While I did accomplish a lot, I’m still residing in Queens. For now anyway. As someone who once wanted to ‘escape’ Queens, it’s now become the complete opposite. No thanks to the overall gentrification of NYC. I’ve learned to appreciate all the different cultures within my borough. Manhattan just isn’t the same anymore. Let’s not even talk about what happened with Brooklyn. The Bronx and Staten Island is too far away from everything. So Queens is where I stay. For now.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Here’s part two of the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny as classic Boy George.

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Psycho Bunny as Boy George from Culture Club. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. August 2018.

The very next day after the B52s and Culture Club gig, I went to see Slayer over at Jones Beach, Long Island, NY. Talk about one extreme to the other. That will be discussed in next week’s blog post.

…and now. Memorize these social media links:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items. Just in time for Pride.

One of my hobbies is documenting what goes riding the NYC subway lines: Wildlife On The MTA. Cause if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. MTA passengers know what I’m talking about. Even better: My WildlifeOnTheMTA Instagram is active once again.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch. Remember to bring in good karma.

 

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August 8th, 2018 was International Cat Day. Of course, every cat lover knows that everyday is really cat day. Thanks to the internet, Saturdays have been re-dubbed at ‘Caturday‘, and rightly so. What better way to spend the weekends with your feline wonder.

Lately I’ve been into the Victorian era. Love the clothes from that time period. The aesthetics were amazing. Keep in mind, the Victorian era itself wasn’t all that great. It was an extremely repressive time in history. Among other things. There was some insubordination. When I went to see the Stanley Kubrick photography exhibit at the Museum of The City of New York last Sunday, next door was Rebel Women.

Back to Caturday. I did this quick sketch of my own two cats as Victorian ladies.

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Victorian Caturday sketch by Michele Witchipoo. August 2018. 

Enjoy your Caturday.

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