You might have heard the story about Anvil. Anvil was one of those ’80s Metal bands that should’ve made it big. Despite how popular Metal was during the ’80s, Anvil never broke that barrier. They had their signature song – ‘Metal On Metal.’ Unfortunately due to a number of factors, Anvil became one of those “what if” stories. Right up there with other influential, yet overlooked Metal bands of that decade like the much heavier (Thrash/Speed Metal) Rigor Mortis.
During the ’80s I was more into Post-Punk, Goth, ’77 style Punk, Industrial, and other styles of Underground/Alternative music. However, I remember all the Metal bands. You couldn’t help but root for them after watching the 2008 documentary ‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil.’ If you ever wanted a more realistic film about a band trying to live the dream despite all the missed opportunities, near misses and heartbreak, then see this film. After viewing the movie on Netflix, I wanted to see Anvil live.
Sure enough, there was an opportunity. Anvil was having their 2018 Spring U.S. tour, stopping in NYC to play the small venue Le Poisson Rouge. Personally I thought St. Vitus would’ve been a better place, but Le Poisson Rouge wasn’t bad. Ticket prices weren’t expensive either.
Unfortunately the Anvil concert wasn’t sold out. The venue wasn’t even half full. Didn’t matter. After two decent but basic Metal bands opened up, Anvil came roaring on. The first song had Steve “Lips” Kudlow jumping into the crowd, playing guitar with all his heart and soul. The audience loved every second.
The audience consisted of both loyal, long time fans and a few scattered younger millennial dressed like 80s Metalheads. Whoever or whatever, they were, they loved every second of the show. Some of the older fans were singing along to Anvil’s songs.
I’ve been to shows that were completely sold out, but the performers hardly gave anything. Here’s Anvil, who’s been grinding the dream for how many years, and yet they still give their all. Suppose the moral of the story is, no matter what the odds are, never give up. Here’s Anvil who could’ve hung it up decades ago, but refused to. Perhaps they’re not playing arenas, but they still get to do gigs around the world. Not bad if you ask me. You can’t measure success, really. You have to do what makes you happy.
Of course, Anvil finished their set with their biggest hit, “Metal On Metal.” Afterwards, someone at the merch stand was kind enough to give me an Anvil button. It was a way of thanking me for my support. Next year, Anvil’s going to have another U.S. Spring tour. This time in 2019, they’re going to be playing at St. Vitus, in Brooklyn, NY.
Here’s a Psycho Bunny sketch in honor of those early ’80s Metal days.
While I was this close to catching Ministry live, instead I was given tickets to two concerts happening over at the St. George Theater. Not many people outside of Staten Island know about this outer borough venue.
First of all, when one lives in NYC, Staten Island is kinda-sorta considered the “forgotten borough.” Everyone talks about Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and even Queens. Queens being the borough I live in. Staten Island however, hardly shows up on the radar.
Don’t count out Staten Island however. Within this overlooked borough contains some hidden gems. For starters, you can board the Staten Island ferry for free. Once boardedm one can purchase some cheap beer for the duration of the ride. Cash only, please. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
Once the ferry hits St. George Terminal, the fun doesn’t end there. Only a few blocks away is the landmark venue which went into renovated starting in 2004. If you’re a fan of old architecture, particularly from the vaudeville circuit, then you will appreciate this establishment. The theater itself was designed in Spanish and Italian Baroque revival style interior. It’s original intention was to be a movie palace, popular during from 1900s to 1940s. The Art Deco and Egyptian revival styles was particularly majestic. Like the Drive-Ins, these movie palaces started to decline after the end of World War II, and the arrival of television. During the 1970s, a few of these movie palaces began to show porn to avoid closure.
Luckily the St. George theater was spared from the wrecking ball. It’s currently under non profit status as it was reborn as a concert venue. It also has schedule of classic films to be shown on the big screen.
Having been curious about the St. George theater since Todd Rundgren played there, I finally had a chance to check it out on October 20th, 2018. It was to see a concert by ’80s Alternative legends The Psychedelic Furs. I already saw them during their height of their popularity sometime during the mid-80s. Figured seeing them again decades later in 2018 was a perfect excuse to visit the venue.
Going to see the Psychedelic Furs reminded me of why I fell in love with music in the first place. In 2018 was the opportunity to catch many Metal concerts. 2018 was a Metal kind of year. However. My first love will always been anything Post-Punk, New Wave, ’80s Goth, classic Punk or ’80s Alternative. Seeing the Furs live was the reminder I needed. Accompanying me was my friend Kitty Hawke, a member of the NYC Goth band Night Gallery. She had also seen the Furs live back in the ’80s.
We had time to kill, so we checked out the local (female owned) comic book store Hypno-Tronic. Soon it was time to catch the gig. We were not disappointed. Our seats were floor orchestra – yes! Basically the Furs did all their greatest hits. Songs like “Pretty In Pink”, “Ghost In You”, “Heaven”, and “President’s Gas.” The encore was an awesome rendition of the song “India” from their first album.
Afterward the concert we walked around the venue checking out the interior. There were a few Halloween decorations up for display.
Exactly two months after the Psychedelic Furs was a chance to see another concert at St. George. It was Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes, with David Johansen opening. Okay, straight up. I only went for two reasons. One, to see David Johansen live. Second, to see the St. George theater during the holiday season. Not that I have anything against Southside Johnny. I was just never into that Bruce Springsteen/South Jersey sound. Not my thing.
Arrived at the St. George theater just in time as David Johansen began his set. For those who don’t know, David Johansen was the singer of the proto-Punk/Glam band The New York Dolls. Later on, he reinvented himself as Buster Pointdexter with the pop hit “Hot Hot Hot.” Back in 2006 to 2011, the NY Dolls reunited thanks to Morrissey. Never had a chance to see any of the Dolls’ reunion gigs. Had to settle for the documentary about Arthur Kane as seen on Amazon Prime. So the St. George show was the next best thing.
For the record, he only did one NY Dolls song. Lonely Planet Boy. Which was okay, it was to be expected. David did a great cover of that Erma Franklin song “Piece of My Heart” but we all know Janis Joplin’s version. Other tunes from the set list included Frenchette and Mannish Boy, a Muddy Waters cover.
The majority of the audience was there to see Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes. I wasn’t feeling this crowd at all. It was the most suburban environment I’d been in a long time. Bad news. There was a guy sitting a few seats away from me sporting a vintage plaid suit, but after David Johansen was done, he hightailed it. As for myself, I wore a black sweater, a loose light colored blush velvet top, black pants and Doc Martin boots. Looking respectable. Meanwhile, I had grandma sitting behind me, giving me silent stink-eye thanks to my blue hair. She glared at me, looking at me as if to say “what are YOU doing here!?!” You think after years of post-feminism, ladies would stop at being unnecessarily catty. I’m ignoring her, minding my own business. Then Negative Nancy tapped my shoulder in very nasty manner. She demanded that my cell be turned away from her. Geez. What did I do to her? Even though I wasn’t even using the smartphone. You know, like what everyone else normally does at shows nowadays, which is tape the entire concert instead of actually watching. She was using any excuse to be a hater. Then she gossiped loudly with her friend. Welcome to the Trump era.
The way the last three months of 2018 was going, this was no surprise.
The lady’s behavior did throw me off a bit with her attitude. All year, and this was the only truly bad experience with my 2018 concerts.
It’s okay. In-between bands, I pretended to to rest my head on my cellphone case, as I silently but slowly turned my cell around so the cover could face her. It was a Rip n Dip design. The one with the cat giving you the middle finger. You’re welcome.
I had a much better time at the Psychedelic Furs gig. Knew I should’ve worn my Junji Ito shirt. Because everyone should have at least one offensive shirt in their wardrobe. For occasions like I just described. For the record, I own a few.
Despite grandma having her Geritol moment, the set by Southside Johnny was decent. They’re fine musicians. Just not my cup of tea. The audience loved them though. Their encore was their biggest hit “Having A Party.”
After the show was over, again I walked around taking photos of the venue. One of the two reasons why I showed up.
Heading towards back to Manhattan, I met three ladies dressed like holiday fairies. It was perfect for the winter solstice. They were also much, much nicer than Geritol lady. Next time I shall hang out with them.
Recently I came across one of those D.I.Y. Nutcracker kits. Never owned a nutcracker before. So I brought the kit and started to paint.
The whole process didn’t take long. My friend suggested to do a David Bowie nutcracker complete with the Aladdin Sane lightening bolt. After the trip to the Brooklyn Musuem exhibit during the late Spring, I kinda wore myself with all things Bowie. This time I went with a Death/Black Metal theme.
The backstory of this particular nutcracker goes like this. This nutcracker is a bit of a loner. He’s Satanic, misanthropic, and dreams of burning down churches. Don’t worry. Burning churches will never happen. He’ll find some excuse to back out last minute.
His choice of music is mostly Death and Black Metal. He dreams of visiting Norway, Sweden and Germany. On any given day he stays at home. On the rare occasions where he does leave the house, it’s to attend a local underground metal gig. He might be interested in seeing Bethemoth live though.
I’ve named him Christopher. Christoper The Death Metal nutcracker.
Talk about really catching up. Way back in October 2018 I had a table in the first ever IncrediCon. Taking place all the way in Poughkeepsie, Upstate New York. I was invited to take part back in the summer. Now I’m glad I did. Turns out I needed to get out of NYC, even if it was only for a day.
Usually I’m not into having comic cons in malls. IncrediCon took place in the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The Galleria looks like every other mall in America, with the same stores and the same type of food courts. Regardless, the comic con worked. Most of the participating artists were local. My friends Ray Felix and Robert j Sodaro had tables. Also got to meet the voice over actor who worked on the Cartoon Network program “Courage The Cowardly Dog.” (Amanda Stephen, the actress from “Orange Is The New Black” had to cancel.) There was a few cosplayers sprinkled about. Most of the mall shoppers thought the cosplayers were there due to Halloween being around the corner.
The highlight was doing a commission. The request was for a goddess sketch, similar to what I used to draw for Babalon Babes. I decided to do Mama Quilla, a Peruvian moon goddess. Thought the commission came out okay, despite having limited time to do the sketch.
So traveling to Upstate NY was much needed. I could even imagine myself moving there. It would be a nice change of pace. The older I get, the more I like to be surrounded by nature. However, reality called. It was time to head back to NYC.
The Metro-North train going towards the Poughkeepsie area was smooth and peaceful. Taking the Metro-North back to Grand Central was a different story. The minute I boarded the train back to NYC, chaos ensued. There was a trashy woman who looked like she was probably 19 or 20. She argued with her boyfriend on her cellphone loudly throughout the entire ride. As much as I tried to block this out by listening to music on my iPhone, the cellphone battery was dying.
A few stops later, two men boarded the train. They were the African-American equivalent of Jay and Silent Bob. These two men were totally lost. The gentlemen looked completely lit, and had no clue where they were heading. Of course, they had to sit next to me. The black Jay was roasting on his friend black Silent Bob. He was roasting black Silent Bob for anything. For not knowing where they were going. For wearing a fisherman’s hat. For not responding to his roasting. Black Silent Bob just shook his head, probably used to his friend’s antics.
The black version of Jay stopped for a second. We listened to the woman who was STILL arguing with her boyfriend in public. So black Jay started yelling at the woman to shut the hell up. The woman completely ignored him. The guy went from busting on his friend to loudly insulting the angry woman. The woman was too wrapped up into her bickering, so this turned into an impromptu comedy routine. To fair, the woman was getting on my nerves as well. Since my cell battery died by this point, I chatted with the two gentlemen. The two gentlemen took a shine to me. They kept on calling me “sis” and trying to get me to party with them. I politely declined. At least it was entertaining. Black Jay told me that his adult daughter just graduated from UCLA. He was also a designer, but his designs were ripped off. When I asked about what it felt like having his work stolen, he offered this advice. He basically told me to never give a fuck. The way 2018 has been, he probably has a point. It’s sort of like when the Buddhists say not to have attachments. The two men bid me a gracious farewell as they got off at the Yankee Stadium stop. Welcome back to NYC and reality. Here’s to not giving a fuck.
As someone who has been attending New York Comic Con since the very beginning, one of the best things about this event are the panels. Each year the attendance at NYCC grows, attending panels is often a nice relief away from the crowds. It’s also beneficial because one gets to see how various comic book professionals share their experiences about creating, putting together a story, industry advice, etc.
Later I got sketches by Mateusz Skutnik and Ana Miralles. They were both respectively promoting their titles “Revolutions:Eclipse” and “In Search of The Unicorn: The Land of The Moors Vol. 1” French-Canadian artist Mikael was also doing sketches, promoting his title “Giant – V1.”
Mateusz Skutnik is also known the the video game industry for creating games. Getting a sketch from him was one of the highlights of my NYCC 2018 experience.
Ana Miralles also did a beautiful pencil sketch. In the U.S., artists have to nickel and dime you so they charge for sketches. Who can blame them, especially in this economy? However, both Miralles and Skutnik offered free sketches. Ana Miralles explained that in Europe, doing sketches for fans is considered a gift. Apparently in Europe an artist might still be able to make a comfortable living compared to American artists. Therefore they are able to honor the fans with free sketches. It gave me the impression that artists are still more respected in Europe than in the United States.
If you would like to check out the work of the following artists seen at NYCC 2018, please check out the following links below.
Coming back from a few weeks absence. November 2018 kinda kicked my ass, to put it lightly. Regardless, I did have a very unusual but good Thanksgiving. There is a lot I have to be grateful for.
Getting back on track, I’ll post some long overdue artwork. In November there was the annual Hindu holiday of Diwali. The illustrations were completed. It’s only now I’m getting around to posting them.
Diwali is one of the most important holidays in the Hindu religion. In this festival of lights, the goddess Lakshmi is honored. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, as her puja is celebrated on the third day. The new year festivities continue for five days.
In the honor of this grand festival of lights, I went ahead of did two illustrations. First done in pen and ink, then completed in watercolor.