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Archive for the ‘underground/alternative/subculture’ Category

So once again Psycho Bunny is drunk and complaining. You would think he’d like St. Patrick’s Day. Nope. He considers it “amateur drinking day.”

Introducing the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week:

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Psycho Bunny considers St. Patrick’s Day to be Amateur Drinking Day. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo. On WitchesBrewPress. March 2019. 

Personally I’m still not fond of the holiday. Don’t hate it as much as I used to, but still find many things wrong. There was no snakes in Ireland. St. Patrick ‘driving the snakes away’ is just simply a metaphor for converting people into Christian beliefs. Despite my half English ancestry, which can be traced back to Ireland and Scotland, I never connected with the holiday. Maybe it was due to people acting like drunken fools in the street. Don’t let my cynicism stop you. If you want to partake, that’s fine. This year, I learned about some of the ingredients of Irish soda bread. It goes along great with whiskey butter. Definitely not for amateurs.

However. Despite what I just stated above, I actually do have a lucky St. Paddy story.

The year was either 1987 or 1988. During the mid to late 80s, I was a Siouxsie Sioux clone. Everyday I would leave the house with huge teased black hair, after applying enough Aqua Net to penetrate the ozone layer. My makeup was a carbon copy of her style. However, because I was in the U.S. and not the U.K., people didn’t know what to make of me. The Goth subculture did not hit the mainstream as of yet. We’re talking before all the Tim Burton films were released. So most of the time I was called “Elvira” or simply “freak.”

That particular St. Paddy’s Day, I was walking down 2nd Avenue in the East Village. As I was heading towards 14th street, I passed an Irish bar. The bar entrance was wide open. Middle aged working class men were getting their drink on.  Commuters lived in either New Jersey or Long Island, but partied terribly in NYC. The type that would piss in your backyard, then head to their respectable suburban homes as if nothing happened.  As soon as they saw me, all the drunk working class men shouted insults towards me.

Walking by, I ignored the men. Still, by this point I was in a pissy mood. Out of nowhere, some young long haired guy jumps in front of me. He reeked of desperation.Not noticing how annoyed I already was, he opens a shoe box.

“Straight from London. Brand new…”

I took a peek. They were brand new creepers. They were smooth black leather, with a little more extra height on the platform soles. The silver design had zipper eye teeth, long thin spikes coming out in 3-D, and studded crosses in the middle. Not even Trash and Vaudeville sold these. They were gorgeous. They also looked majorly expensive.

Looking back at him, I said I only have either ten or twenty bucks. Showed him the money. He threw the shoes at me, snatched my money and ran. Guy obviously must’ve either stole this pair, needed money for drugs, or both. As he fled down the street I couldn’t believe it. The pair was a size too big but I loved them anyway. It was guaranteed nobody else had these shoes. Never saw another pair like them since. Wore them until they wore out.

That’s my lucky St. Patrick’s Day story.

Feeling lucky yourself? 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.

 

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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…

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Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny celebrates the new year of 2019 with booze and bitterness. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo, on WitchesBrewPress. Jan. 2019.

 

Your new year resolutions is to follow 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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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.

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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.

LiquidSkySept2018PSWEB

 

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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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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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Since I haven’t gotten around to the latest Psycho Bunny sketch of the week, instead let’s have a retrospective. Here’s all the past issues of Psycho Bunny, from issue one to the last release in 2011.

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This was the debut issue, released in 2004. My drawing and humor have improved ten fold since this first came out. Regardless, people had more or less a positive response. It sold out at Jim Hanley’s Universe (when it was located near Herald Square), and Forbidden Planet during 2004 and 2005. MySpace was popular during this time, so thanks to self online promotion, I managed to sell copies online. Unfortunately the printing place lost the files, so I’m unable to print anymore of issue one. Just as well. If you have issue one, hold on to it.

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Issue two was released in 2005, making it’s debut when I had a table at Big Apple Comic Con. The cover was influenced as I was walking through Queensboro Plaza on the way to my job. Literally saw a drunken man slouched on the sidewalk after pissing in his pants. The kitty street walker was added in for maximum effect. She was affectionately known as “Crack Kitty.” Charles Bukowski would’ve been proud.

In between issue two and three, I self-published two mini-issues. Both made their debut at MoCCA Art Fest 2006 and 2007.

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Spring 2008 saw the release of Psycho Bunny issue three, the double issue. Like the previous releases, this one also made it’s debut at MoCCA Art Fest 2008. The year 2008 was also when I became a NYC resident once again. Thankfully.

In 2010, I had a table in Artist Alley at New York Comic Con, otherwise known as NYCC.

The years 2009 through 2012 were very busy. One reason was a decision to go back to college. In addition I was doing the art for a web comic titled Shitty Mickey, which was published on The Brooklyn Rail website. Along the way there was a short Psycho Bunny story published in the comic book anthology IF-X #8. The April Fool’s edition was published in 2012 by Hamtramck Idea Men.

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After having some illustrations published along with various exhibits, it was time for another Psycho Bunny issue. The last one was released in 2011, debuting at MoCCA 2011. This one is still available for purchase. You can always order your copy online if I don’t have a table at a local comic convention.

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My table at MoCCA Art Fest 2011.

Next post I’ll get back on track, moving forward. Stay tuned for a new Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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