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Archive for the ‘sci-fi’ Category

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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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Sometime this week was my birthday. Not revealing the exact date, but this year’s celebration was lovely. I’m truly grateful to have friends who care for me deeply. This time I was taken out for some delicious Indian food, where we stuffed ourselves so silly, we could barely walk out. Afterwards I received a lot of kind birthday wishes and messages from all over. Let’s just say this all warmed up my little black heart.

It was one of the nicest birthdays I had in recent years. The other memorable birthday was when I arrived back in NYC in late 2007. The year 2008 was pretty significant, both professionally and personally. Especially after spending two years in sheer purgatory. In a way, it was a good thing I was back in the big bad rotten apple during 2008. Looking back I was very lucky to catch much of the old NYC before everything closed down, becoming ultra gentrified.

 One of my best friends, arranged a surprise gathering in honor of my birthday. We all met somewhere in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in which we headed towards Double Down. Once inside Double Down we eventually took over the entire bar. This wasn’t planned. The rather spontaneous invasion was pretty wild. That kicked an entire week of me celebrating my birthday returning to New York. Think of it as the lost weekend extended. Don’t ask me what else happened that week. By the time my actual birthday came around, it was on Saturday and I was so completely hungover. Then  came the realization I was supposed to be at Stony Brook, Long Island. The occasion? Vending at a table then speaking on a panel for I-CON. We boarded the Long Island Railroad, regaining my composure in time for both the table and panel.

Rest assured, I’m professional most of the time. I-CON 27 went rather well, and then a small group of us headed for sushi somewhere in Nassau County.

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Blast from the past. Me on Saturday April 5, 2008 at I-CON 27, Stony Brook University, Long Island, New York.

This year was no need for any sort of alcohol. The company, conversation and Indian food was good enough. Perhaps this is a sign of maturity. Somewhat. A bonus was receiving all these wonderful gifts, like jewelry, and a copy of Howard Chaykin’s The Divided States of Hysteria in collected graphic novel form.

Here’s a quick birthday sketch. Purposely done in garnish colors, because life can be a bizarre circus. Enjoy.

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From Thursday Oct. 6 to Sunday Oct. 9, I felt as if I lived at the Javits Center. That’s because it was the annual New York Comic Con. Earlier this year I received my Pro pass for which itself felt good.

As usual it was packed and the cosplayers were out in full force.

To the left as you walked into the main entrance, there was a entire section dedicated to Wonder Woman. Not just because the Wonder Woman movie will be released in 2017, but Oct. 2016 marked the 75th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. There were also a lot more Wonder Woman cosplay than ever before.

To my relief there wasn’t as many Harley Quinns, but plenty of Pokemon characters. There was some unique ones that stood out above the others. Darth Maul looks happy here.

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NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo Oct. 2016

NYCC 2016 had an increase in Bob’s Burgers cosplayers. Louise and Tina Belcher were the most seen. Occasionally you would run into the entire family.

During the course of the four day event, I checked out a few panels. Panels are very good. For one, they give you a wealth of information in regards to the comic book industry, or discuss pop culture. If all else fails, you can rest your weary feet in the seat closest to an outlet to recharge your cell.

Some of the panels I attended were: BOOM Studios, DC Comics, and IDW (where they discussed an upcoming release to benefit the Orlando Pulse shooting victims).

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Panel for IDW during NYCC 2016.

Two panels however intrigued me the most. One was for Trump magazine (NO! Not Donald Trump!!!) put on by Dark Horse and Kitchen Sink Press. In 1956, Trump Magazine was a short-lived publication financed by Hugh Hefner, and put together by MAD Magazine’s Harvey Kurtzman. Among some of the speakers on that panel were Denis Kitchen and Al Jaffee.

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The Panel for Trump Magazine (No, not Donald!), a short-lived publication from the 1950s.

The other panel that grabbed my attention was the panel titled ‘Bringing Stories To Life: Holding a Comic Con at Your Library.’ Here local librarians from Connecticut explained the ins and outs of operating local comic cons from the library.

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Librarians from CT discuss how to do comic cons at the local library. NYCC Panel. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Back for more cosplay.

One thing you cannot forget. The real reason why we have comic cons in the first place. To promote comics. As in artists, writers, pencilers, inkers, etc. Onward to Artist Alley.

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Walking around the Javits Center was exhausting. It was time to head home and come back another day.

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Everyone needs rest sometime. NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

During the NYCC, I found out there was going to be a panel for the latest Planet of The Apes reboot series. Since I was a huge fan of POTA, I trekked all the way out of the Javits Center to the Theater At Madison Square Garden. That’s where they held the special events, like the one for Doctor Who earlier during NYCC.

Point blank, this Q&A ‘career conversation’ with actor Andy Serkis, who portrays Ceasar in the Apes reboot was the only letdown during NYCC 2106. This might be clarified why in separate blog post.

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Actor Andy Serkis after finishing his Q&A panel during NYCC 2016.

I stuck around however to catch the Stan Lee panel at the same venue. Which went off much smoother. Moderated by film director and famous geek Kevin Smith, the panel also had Walt Simonson and Chris Claremount. The packed house was treated to an oral recollection of Marvel comic history. Insert very crappy photo of the panel itself.

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Very bad, blurry photo of the Stan Lee panel at NYCC 2016 with Kevin Smith, Walt Simonson and Chris Claremount.

Barely getting enough rest, it was time to head back to NYCC.

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Classic Star Trek cosplay on the NYC subway. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Since NYCC has become so popular, expect free swag. During the weekend I got a free Monster energy drink which I usually never touch, some wafer cookies and a complimentary sample of Death Coffee.

The cosplaying continued.

The last day of NYCC was spent getting merch I didn’t need like this Muttley POP. Then off to cruise Artist Alley once more.

This year there was some new interesting talent in Artist Alley, as well as those established such as Terry Moore (Strangers In Paradise), Joe Staton, and Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon).

One person that stood out was graffiti artist Andre Charles, otherwise known as ACharlesNYC. I brought a pin from him. He was so kind to give me a second one for free. Which was a score because I was having trouble which color to choose from. Besides, it’s always good to share old school NYC memories with someone.

Another new comic I discovered during NYCC was titled Pugly.

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Also snagged a free issue of Faith, a popular comic book title now published by Valiant.

Of course some more cosplay.

Some T-Rex creatures were spotted as well.

Another trend I noticed. This year people were cosplaying with their pet dogs. I asked someone cosplaying a character from Adventure Time how he got his dog in. He replied listing your pup as a service dog. While it’s cute, I was left wondering if it was safe at all for the dogs themselves.

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Adventure Time cosplay. NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Another curious observation during the NYCC weekend. I kept on seeing something scribbled on the bathroom doors inside the ladies room. Later I discovered it was a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale in Latin: ‘don’t let the bastard grind you down.’  Quite fitting for these times, especially during the current U.S. Presidential election, in which NYCC was the perfect escape from. Ironically, this was the same weekend that news broke out about Trump ‘grabbing pussy.’

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Quote from Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale in Latin: ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down.’ NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

In all it was fun as always. Maybe one day I’ll have another table at NYCC Artist Alley again. Till next year.

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Superheroes resting at the shoe shine stand. NYCC 2016. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

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On September 8th, 1966, fifty years ago Star Trek debuted on U.S. television. Star Trek’s cultural impact has surpassed generations.

To commemorate this occasion, Psycho Bunny traveled to where no man has gone before…most likely his apartment…

Introducing the most illogical Vulcan ever. Psycho Bunny as Mr. Spock. Also the Psycho Bunny pic of the week.

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Psycho Bunny as Mr. Spock. The most illogical Vulcan ever. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Sept. 2016. 

Some exciting news. As stated in the previous post, I will be participating in a group art exhibit for Bushwick Open Studios 2016. In October I will be at MICE selling my comics. You can always get your own copy of Psycho Bunny through the website. Also check out the two Facebook pages, Psycho Bunny Comix and WitchesBrewPress. Till next time.

Also check out this blog post about Star Trek here.

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This just in. I will be participating in the 2016 Bushwick Open Studios (BOS) event with the Ridgewood Artist Coalition (RAC) over at OUTPOST Artist Resources from October 1 – 15 2016, from 12:00 pm to  6:00 pm. This will be a group art exhibit featuring many artists from the Ridgewood, Queens area of NYC, displaying work in various mediums.

Opening night details can be found on this OUTPOST page, from noon to 7 pm.

I’m especially pleased because I’ll be showing something fresh. This is part of a new series I’m working on. The series is still in process but I managed to get the first part in on time.

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Reverend Mother. Pen, ink, illustration board. 2016. Loosely based on Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Illustration by Michele Witchipoo.

The new series is loosely based on Frank Herbert’s Dune. For a little over a year and half stone, I’ve been getting back into the science fiction genre. (In fact, the 50th anniversary of Star Trek happened this past Wednesday as of this posting.) Particularly those of a Dystopian nature. Dystopia is very fitting into these times, especially with current world and political events. Also, I think Dystopia forces us to confront some very uncomfortable truths about humanity through fiction. Many times Dystopian fiction is very disturbingly prophetic.

Despite some slight reservations I have about how the women are depicted in the Dune series, it’s still one of the best sci-fi stories of all time. My introduction to Dune came during my early ’80s adolescence. The film adaption finally came to the big screen, which I was lucky enough to catch during it’s original theatrical release. The film was produced by flashy producer Dino De Laurentiis and directed by art house fave David Lynch. It wasn’t the greatest film adaption, but at least it supplied some sort of visualization. It had enough impact upon me to buy the paperback at a local Queens drugstore, with the movie poster as the book cover. Years later gave this copy away, which I came to regret. Since then I’ve re-brought the novel at Topos Bookstore.

Enough details. What drew me back to Dune once again was through personal conversations, and it’s correspondence to magick. There’s a brilliant quote that’s pretty well known. It goes like this:

‘I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.’

You can apply this passage not only as an occultist, but also as any sort of creative. Whether you’re an artist, a writer, a musician, actor, etc. This can apply to life in general. In order to accomplish anything, one must get over, or break away from whatever holds the person back. You will never discover your true Will if you allow fear to overtake you.

Revisiting Dune the second time around, the characters that appealed to me the most were the Reverend Mothers.  Otherwise known as the Bene Gesserit. The Bene Gesserit is a very powerful sisterhood that can be liken to witches. So I’ve gone back using symbolism such as alchemy and combined it with the likeness of the Reverend Mothers.

The above piece is for sale. If anyone wants to acquire, you can send me an email.

See you during Bushwick Open Studios.

 

 

 

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Lately I’ve been fascinated with sci-fi visuals. Along the lines of Dystopian, and particularly with vintage book covers or magazine illustrations. Vintage meaning late ’60s, to 70’s up until the early ’80s.

Drew the outline over a month ago, but finally had a chance to color this. Used glitter watercolor and digitally enhanced.

There’s also the alchemy aspect. I picked Gold for this piece.

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Space Alchemy Gold. Pen, ink and watercolor illustration, with some digital touches. Created by Michele Witchipoo. Late August 2016. 

Would say more but at the moment I’m exhausted. Till next time.

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