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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.

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Steve “Lips” Kudlow of Anvil, playing guitar in the audience at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo. May 3rd, 2018

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.

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Psycho Bunny as an early ’80s Metal musician. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo. Dec. 2018. 

 

 

Rock hard with 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.

 

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The first time I heard about the film Liquid Sky, it was through the American television show Siskel and Ebert. If you don’t know, Siskel and Ebert were two film critics who reviewed movies. Originally titled Sneak Previews, it was broadcast on PBS stations until it switched to commercial syndication, and the title change. Siskel and Ebert  created a new genre of television through their discussions and occasional polite arguments. It’s no big deal now, thanks to podcasts, blogs, social media, etc. It’s the internet, after all. A place where everyone and their mothers has an opinion about everything.

Anyway, back in the early ’80s, when everyone was watching The A-Team, I was more interested in watching Sneak Previews. Sneak Previews helped introduce me to art house, cult, and foreign films. So one day they reviewed this little ditty titled Liquid Sky. A few years later after entering high school, I saw the movie on VHS. Within the group of misfit friends I hung out with, Liquid Sky became our coming of age film.

When a local video store decided to go out of business during the early ’90s, it was celluloid paydirt for me. Every week I would go in, purchasing cult classics such as Andy Warhol’s Bad, Eraserhead, and yes, Liquid Sky. In fact, there was one time during my brief “Rave” phase. My parents weren’t home. After one of those Rave parties, a few of us, still tripping on some psychedelic, went back to my place to watch Liquid Sky.

In recent years, Liquid Sky has been making the promotional rounds again. Every time Liquid Sky had a theatrical showing, I had schedule conflicts. A few months ago, I opened an email saying Liquid Sky was going to have a screening right in Queens, New York. I thought to myself “Hey – that’s where I live!” Within the email it mentioned a showing at a public library in the Jamaica, Queens area. Huh. That was slightly off putting. Didn’t think the Jamaica area wasn’t the best place to show Liquid Sky. Still, I went with it.

Arriving late to the showing, my instincts were right. Most of the audience were broke locals who were happy to see a free movie. Unfortunately, the film’s plot of aliens feeding off sexual orgasms from downtown New Wave junkie club goers went right over their heads. There was a few others, similar to me. Fans of Liquid Sky who had seen the film numerous times, who decided to commute to the screening. We were either in the same age bracket or older. A group of us started reminiscing about how the East Village and Williamsburg used to be before all the super hyper-gentrification. Who would’ve thought we would’ve been so nostalgic for all those dive places years later.

During the screening, the film kept on freezing. On top of that, the film they showed was fricken’ edited! C’mon now. While this was going on, some audience members started heckling. For a brief moment I felt as if I was transported to a Times Square movie theater before the Giuliani clean up. Stranger still, there was a part of me that had missed public heckling. Like the time I saw Judge Dredd in 1995 in some East Village movie theater. Judge Dredd was so bad, the entire audience started loudly mocking the film. I digress.

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Anne Carlisle and Slava Tsukerman during a Q&A over at the Queens Library in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Summer 2018.

After the screening, the film’s star, actress and writer Anne Carlisle along with director Slava Tsukerman showed up to do Q&A. They graciously answered questions from the audience. Even when some burn-out kept on rambling. As much as I tried to retain my cool, I eventually geeked out. After all, this was a film that was a part of my formative years. It was through the Q&A that the audience learned what had become of Paula E. Sheppard. Better known as the brutal lesbian drug dealer Adrian in Liquid Sky. Sheppard dropped out of acting soon after Liquid Sky was completed. She’s now a yoga teacher on the west coast, wanting nothing to do with the film.

Another local, an older sweet woman made the observation that the characters in Liquid Sky weren’t exactly “nice” people. That comment took me back slightly. She was right though. Many people in the underground subcultures weren’t exactly “nice.” Yet I grew up within some of those counter-cultures. Sort of made me reflect.

I’m also reminded of a time back in high school. My friend was struggling with her sexuality. She eventually came out as a lesbian. Last time I spoke to her, she volunteered describing herself as pansexual. She had really identified with the film during her teen years. So Liquid Sky also reminds me of when someone is first exploring gender, androgyny and sexuality. Particularly when Anne Carlisle plays both male and female characters. Even if her portrayal of a guy comes across like an early ’80s version of David Bowie.

Liquid Sky has plenty of illicit drug references as well. During the Q&A, both Carlisle and Tsukerman reminded the audience that Liquid Sky was originally slang for heroin. Here’s a bit of a spoiler, so if you’ve never seen the film, you might want to skip this part. The premises of the film is based on aliens who come down to earth. The aliens feed off endorphins given off the brain during sexual climax. Once a human reaches orgasm, the aliens attack. The only sign of their attack is a crystal bolt left in the victim’s head. Margaret, the bisexual promiscuous cocaine addict realizes that she can kill people by having sex with other people. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a German scientist attempts to track down these aliens. While the German scientist tries to track down Margaret, Margaret uses sex as a way to seek revenge upon others, such as her rapist. Why Margaret has survived is because Margaret never reaches orgasm. The film ends with the scientist being killed, and Margaret doing heroin so she can go up with the aliens. Heroin has similar endorphins as a sexual orgasm.

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Anne Carlisle and Slava Tsukerman during a Q&A over at the Queens Library in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Summer 2018.

Both Carlisle and Tsukerman dropped hints that they’re attempting to create a sequel to Liquid Sky. Liquid Sky just had a blu-ray release. So if you’ve never seen the film, you can purchase a copy here.

Capping off this blog post is a sketch I did loosely based on Liquid Sky. When the aliens come take Margaret from the roof top. While doing some online research, I discovered that Anne Carlisle also practiced psychotherapy in Miami during the 2007, thanks to her IMDb bio. Given that she co-wrote the Liquid Sky screenplay, this doesn’t surprise me.

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Last month we went to check out the Stanley Kubrick photography exhibit over at the Museum of The City of New York. Stanley Kubrick has always been one of my favorite film directors. Back in high school, I made it a mission to check out every film Kubrick directed. This was way before the days of Netflix. If it wasn’t available on VHS, then I would hit up all the revival movie theaters. You millennials have it so easy nowadays!

Luckily films are now more easily obtainable. If it can’t be found on Blu Ray, DVD or through a streaming service, there always places in NYC. For example, Videology Bar and Cinema over in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Anyway, I sought out most of Kubrick’s films. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lolita, the prophetic Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and of course, A Clockwork Orange. Even sat through that yawn fest Barry Lyndon. Although I never managed to catch the earlier films like The Killing or Paths of Glory. Did watch Eyes Wide Shut much later on – despite my disdain for Tom Cruise.

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Entrance for the Stanley Kubrick photography exhibit over at the Museum of the City of New York. July 2019. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Before Kubrick became an influential film director, he got his start as a photographer for Look Magazine. At the exhibit, open until Oct. 28th, 2018, you can see the gritty yet candid detail that would later show up in Kubrick’s films. Kubrick was just 17 years old when he sold his first photo to Look back in 1945. These photos also show how NYC was from 1946 to 1951.

 

New York City wasn’t just Kubrick’s subject. At the exhibit, a Kubrick photograph of a tattooed and pierced carny was not accepted by the editors of Look. Apparently the photo was thought as ‘too extreme.’ It was decades before the ‘Modern Primitive‘ movement, which led to the current acceptance of body modification.

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The photo below particularly stood out. It’s of professional boxer Rocky Graziano. Graziano was trying to repair his reputation when Look did a feature on him. Boxing later helped Kubrick make the transition from photography to filmmaking.

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After walking through the Kubrick exhibit we checked out the rest of the museum. Right next to the Kubrick showing was the last day of Rebel Women, which inspired this sketch done back in August.

 

At the other end of the floor was a retrospective of the feminist era. It showed the beginning of the women’s rights movement, ending with one of Hilary Clinton’s infamous pantsuits.

 

Which leads to the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. This sketch isn’t just a sketch. This weeks shows the cover of the latest Psycho Bunny issue. If all goes well, hopefully Psycho Bunny issue 3.5 will be released at the end of October.

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This may or may not be the final version of the cover. It really depends on finding the original typeface of the lettering used for the A Clockwork Orange film poster. For now you have an ideal about what the front cover looks like. Other details forthcoming. If the latest issue is completed in time, it’ll mostly likely debut at Incredicon, taking place in Upstate NY, Oct. 28th. Incredicon is a very small con, but it’s been a while since I’ve tabled at a comic book convention.

My life has been busy as of life. You however, still have time to check out 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.

Still haven’t gotten around to posting those commissions on this blog. Maybe this week I’ll get around to doing so. Until then, stay tuned.

 

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So last night the Oscars was broadcast last night on American TV.

When I was a child, the Oscars was everything. Loved the pomp and circumstance, the red carpet gowns, the suspense, the thrill of winning an award, etc. Got so wrapped up in the Hollywood fantasy. It was a world me and you could never touch, but despite this, it symbolized that dreams do come true.

Now?

I couldn’t care less.

Perhaps it’s due to the declining quality of American mainstream releases. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the cinema. The ritual of going to the actual theater still is more appealing than catching a film a year later on Netflix. Unfortunately the cons are outweighing the pros. Ticket prices in NYC are so expensive. My latest preference is the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn. If you get up at the crack of dawn, you can catch an early matinee in Times Square. With cheap matinee tickets comes the risk bringing home bed bugs. No thank you.

There’s a reason why people “Netflix and chill.”

As I’ve become much more selective in where I purchase my film tickets, something else happened to me recently. On Facebook I had posted an article relating to #metoo. Somehow a certain film director’s mother who just happened to be on my Facebook friend list became furious that I had re-posted the article. She blasted me online. A case of shooting the messenger rather than the source. When she asked me who was I, my response was something like ‘I don’t know – you were the one who had sent me the friends request a few months ago…you should know.’ Thus I was promptly blocked.

Shrugs.

So after a few laughs, we looked up her name on IMDb. Turns out she was the mother of a famous film director. More incredibly, I was a fan of that particular director. Now every time I come across one of his films, I’m going to think about that exchange with his mom. ‘Tis a small world after all. That was some straight up TMZ shit right there.

*sigh*

Anyway. Here’s the Psycho Bunny sketch of The Week.

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Psycho Bunny at the Oscars. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. March 2018.

So if you want to curse me out, which I kind of like, don’t recommend, you can go to either one of my two Facebook pages – Psycho Bunny and Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress. There’s Twitter, my own account and Psycho Bunny. There’s also Tumblr and Instagram. Eventually I will have to fix my website so you can all order my comics and pretend I’m not such an unknown cartoonist. At least give me the illusion. Cheers.

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Thursday night me and a friend saw Wonder Woman.

Let’s just say as long as it was better than Batman Vs Superman, I would’ve been satisfied. Whenever I mentioned this to others, the most common response was this: “Geez, that’s not setting the bar very high…”

Regardless. After settling into those reclining seats in a Manhattan theater with overpriced concessions, the film took me by surprise. It was better than expected. Normally I don’t feed many trends, but this summer is all about Wonder Woman. Better than those silly spinners. The last time I entered into trendy fandom, it was Harry Potter.  Well, kinda-sorta. Never finished the book or the film series. It was more of the idea of Harry Potter being an occultist. So right now, Wonder Woman is all that and a bag of chips.

The next day I tell people I saw Wonder Woman. The response was “did she twirl?”

That was the ’70s television show with Lynda Carter. Not the 2017 film with Gal Gadot.

Growing up, I started with Archie, Harvey Comics and Marvel. From what I recall, I didn’t get DC too much. Then I had one nightmare about Silver Surfer, and my over-protecting mother took away all my Marvel comics. She meant well, but I was stuck with Archie and Harvey Comics. Thanks to the television show, Wonder Woman was allowed. One childhood memory was walking in the street with my mother wearing my Wonder Woman raincoat. Even tried twirling, just like on the show. A few years later, Wonder Woman was left in the dust due to discovering rock music. It wasn’t until a few years after that, in which I discovered Love and Rockets by Los Hernandez Brothers. That forged a path of underground and alternative comics.

In my opinion, Wonder Woman is a MUCH better character than last summer’s girl, Harley Quinn. My disdain for Harley might be explained in another post.

There’s also the backstory of Wonder Woman’s creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston. He was a psychologist, an inventor, and was involved in an extended relationship with both his wife and his domestic partner. All three lived together as both women has children by Marston. Today this would’ve been considered polyamory. This info is common knowledge now, but during his time, the arrangement was kept secret. Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge Wonder Woman’s co-creator Harry G Peter.

Enough digressing here. You probably guessed that this week’s Psycho Bunny sketch of the week is Wonder Woman related. Of course, the lasso of truth revealed only this; that Psycho Bunny is a misanthropic drunk.

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Psycho Bunny meets Wonder Woman. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. June 2017. 

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Poor Psycho Bunny. He’s doesn’t know his ‘Dark Side’ from his ‘Jedi’ side…

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Psycho Bunny as Darth Vader. Comic by Michele Witchipoo, Dec. 2015.

 

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With the latest Star Wars installment coming up, I had to do a sketch of IG-88 for Sketch Lottery.

For those who don’t know who IG-88 is, he’s a minor character in the Star Wars universe. Originally a bounty hunter you see for about five seconds in Empire Strikes Back, he’s featured more in the Star Wars comics.

Check out my rendition of IG-88, and don’t forget to check out the other artists as well.

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Clip of IG-88, a robot bounty hunter from Star Wars. Originally seen in Empire Strikes Back. Sketch by Michele Witchipoo, Nov. 2015. Pen, ink, inkwash. Full version on the site Sketch Lottery. IG-88 # 17.

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