Back again with another sketch from my forthcoming webcomic. It’s been completed, but somehow I postpone uploading it. Now that winter’s here, I should post it very soon.
Meanwhile, we’re in a new year. Which means fresh starts.
Hey. The year 2018 wasn’t all bad. The summer seemed to be the best part of last year. Music and concerts was 2018’s saving grace. Overall it was a year of highs and lows. If a person shows his or her hand, it’s time to wave them buh-bye.
Once they say they’ll never to talk to you again, it’s like the trash took itself out.
Here’s Squeaky Squeakums helping the demon take such trash out.
Keep on checking back for news about the webcomic.
Beginning the new year of 2018 with a Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. However. Allow me to be slightly candid.
It just seems as almost everyone couldn’t wait for 2018 to be over. Basically 2018 was a year of disappointments. It wasn’t all bad – there was good times during the year. I think going to all those concerts, especially during the summer was among some of the high points. Did loads of new artwork, and landed some good commissions. On the personal front, that’s when things went sour. Five people from different periods of my life died during the course of 2018. Out of the five, two were formerly close friends, while one was from the present. Attending the latter’s funeral just reminded me of my own mother’s passing in 2015. There was a lot of betrayal. My arm became flexible as I had to take a few knives out of my back. Then there was the discovery that I was being used.
Not pulling the victim card, however. It is what it is. Perhaps that guy who I had met on the Metro North back in October was correct. When he told me that the secret to life “…is not giving a fuck.” If you look at his drunken statement from a Buddhist point of view, it just means not being attached to anything. It makes sense.
2018 stunk to the very end. Right before new year’s eve, some jerk off had the nerve to ask me over the phone if I had “art connections.” Oh. Is that the reason for the conversation? How convenient. My response: “If I had any art connections, I certainly wouldn’t be sharing them with you.”
If you were in NYC, did you go to Times Square to watch the ball drop? I didn’t. No self respecting resident of New York City puts themselves through that. People who live in NYC do not foolishly freeze in the street. We have much better options. We have clubs, we have bars, we have parties, we have friends, or at least friends of friends that will let us crash those parties. Better yet, real New Yorkers will gladly stay at home watching new year eve television coverage while some lame mainstream pop singer lip-syncs some auto tuned song. Because we pay enough money on the rent damnit! So we’re gonna stay under the bed sheets and get our money’s worth! If a native New Yorker does go to Times Square, it’s this. It would be at some party on the 23rd floor with the perfect window view laughing at the tourists below. We’re going to munch on the free buffet while the open bar has top shelf liquor, thank you very much. So the fact is, only silly tourists will stand in Times Square in the cold rain while they pee in their pants. If you were one of these silly tourists, I hope you catch the flu.
Okay. Let’s say you get some cabin fever and decide to go out after all. To bring in 2019, I went to a Goth party in Bushwick. We were having a good time at first. The music was good. Slowly the annoying hipsters crept in. Two such drunks came up from behind us on the dance floor. How could we forget them, for they blew into a Viking ox horn near our ears. You know these millennials would not survive one second in Ragnarok. No, I don’t mean Marvel’s version of Thor.
Anyway, these douchey millennials show up. One guy took off his coat. Once he did that, we could smell the B.O. He stood on the dance floor with his unkempt hair and beard. Looking more like an early ’90s Grunge reject with his flannel shirt as he drank his beer. Is it suddenly edgy not to shower? At this point, the body odor could not be ignored. He wasn’t homeless, nor was he a chaos punk squatter. He was some hipster schmuck that probably lived in some gentrified apartment formerly rented to some working class family. Maybe even in an area that used to be heavily ethnic. Then he had the nerve to show up in a sub-cultural party, particularly a party from one of my favorite sub cultures, smelling like a pig trough. Dude had no reason not to take a bath.
Hey. At least my last meal of 2018 was a nice sushi dinner.
If you come this far, thanks for reading my rants.
Now here’s Psycho Bunny, since he’s recovered from his hangover…
Your new year resolutions is to follow these social media links!
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.
Got free concert tickets yet again. The headlining band was an act who called themselves The National. Not usually my thing. However, this weekend I needed music that was more low-key and mellow. So it worked out.
After checking out a tiny bit of Bushwick Open Studios 2018, I headed out to Forest Hills Stadium once again. It would be the venue’s last concert until next year. Now I had tickets for both Saturday and Sunday nights. Sunday sounded better only because Cat Powers was on the lineup.
In 2018, Forest Hills Stadium has become my favorite venue. There’s many reasons. It’s close to where I reside, the bathrooms are clean, the food is decent, lots of open space so it never gets too crowded, there’s history attached to this place, and the commute is easy.
There’s only one thing to complain about. It’s the beer prices. This year they were really steep. Okay, so you expect to pay more for alcohol at a concert or sporting event. I get it. But $14 for Red Stripe lager? Bwahahaha! The cheapest beer brand there was Heineken. Ain’t no way in hell I’m paying ten bucks for that crap. Especially as a beer snob. Ordering any of the IPAs really hurt your wallet. One of my favorites, and also a local brewery gem known as Finback was on their menu. In the beginning of the season, when I saw Robert Plant live, Finback cost you $15. Then when I went back to see Culture Club and The B-52s, they spiked the price up to $17. Apparently they had a change of heart and reduced the price by a dollar. For CAKE Finback was $16. It’s enough to make someone sober. In the meantime I consoled myself with some grapefruit flavored IPA. Yes, I paid $12 for that bullshit. Knowing they were going to charge my card, I wrote “RIP OFF” in big words on the cashier tablet instead of my real name. What do you know – they charged me anyway. Just like I figured. Next time do yourself a favor and go straight to the Finback brewery itself.
Beer prices at Forest Hills Stadium, Sept. 30th 2018.
I paid $12 for this bullshit.
Someone’s already passed out.
Then there was the crowd itself. Usually the Forest Hills Stadium audience is a mixture of different concert goers. For The National, the audience all looked like gentrifiers who would price me out of my own neighborhood. To be fair though, the two concerts, Saturday and Sunday, were pretty decent. It was a tiny bit of escapism needed at that moment. Oh, and I photobombed some other concert attendees.
Already mentioned Cat Powers. Was also impressed by Future Islands. Best part about both nights of The National was their stage backdrop and lighting. Missed most of the bands on Saturday, but caught the entire lineup on Sunday. I’ll go back listening to the harder music later in the week.
Anyway, here’s the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week, which has nothing to do with the concerts I just described.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.