Before I begin, allow me to explain my absence. It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted on this blog. For starters, I threw out my knee in February, around the time of the Super Bowl. This set off a few health issues, which I’m only beginning to recover from. No, I did not get Covid19 in 2021. I’m in fact, a very negative person. My test results have proven how negative I am, thanks to three antigen and one PCR test results. Was that a very bad joke? Of course it was.
Due to these physical health issues, I decided to lay low for most of 2021. Things started to pick up during the late summer, which I might discuss in another blog post.
It was a last minute decision to attend New York Comic Con 2021. Originally I wasn’t going. Turn of events led to me to change my mind. Before an attendee was allowed in, proof of vaccination was required. Once the attendee showed proof either through a cellphone app, or showing other methods, the process to get in was surprising quick. Considering the circumstances, ReedPop did the best they could.
The die-hard cosplayers came out, and there were some eyecatchers.
The only panel I attended this year was titled Disney’s Winnie The Pooh to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Moderated by puppeteer Johnathan Rockefeller, the panel discussed how nostalgia plays a part in Rockefeller Productions successful puppet shows. So far they’ve adapted the 80s sitcom The Golden Girls into a puppet play, as well as beloved book characters such as The Hungry Caterpillar. The puppet versions of Winnie The Pooh characters were brought out to audience members. Afterwards, panel audience members were invited to take photos with various puppets, with social distancing in place.
Checking out Artist Alley were both established and upcoming artists.
Among some of those who had a table in Artists Alley: Keith Williams, Geraldo Borges (who flew all the way from Chile for NYCC, and speaks three languages), and Sara Richard. In the Small Press section, there was the team behind Turtle vs. Bunny, published by Digital Pimp.
To summarize, NYCC 2021 was definitely low-key, very subdued but still a magickal time for it’s attendees. Here’s to next year.
Yes, I know. I’m reviewing a show dated way back from August 30th, 2019, in a blog dated February 2020. That’s what happens when you have a life. (Sighs)
Around Labor Day weekend 2019, I got tickets to see The Alarm and Modern English over at the St. George Theater. When I first started to seriously explore Post-Punk and imported music from the U.K., The Alarm was one of the first bands I brought an album of. The vinyl was brought at some shop on West. 8th street during the early to mid-’80s. It was a choice between an Canadian Punk band called D.O.A, or The Alarm. The Alarm won out. Imagine if I had brought that D.O.A. release? Fret not. For a while I attended the CBGB’s Hardcore matinee during its prime, where I saw bands like Government Issue and Corrosion of Conformity perform.
Now that I’ve seriously dated myself, back to The Alarm. While I loved the big hair and Welsh cowboy look, eventually I went further into more underground bands. It wasn’t until I heard The Alarm was playing at the landmark St. George Theater that I realized, I’ve never seen this band live. Looking for an excuse to visit the restored St. George Theater again, I invited my friend along, and off we went.
I’ve mentioned the St. George Theater in other posts. It’s a gorgeous piece of architectural history. First had a chance to check it out when I went to see The Psychedelic Furs for the third time back in 2018. (First time in 1986, second time they were opening for The B-52s and The Go-Gos, back in the early 2000s, somewhere in New Jersey.) It’s not far from the Staten Island ferry either. The venue sits on a cute block that had a bar, a decent Italian restaurant, and a comic book store with an old school collector’s vibe around the corner. (A shout out to HypnoTronic Comics – here’s their Instagram: hypnotroniccomics)
As my friend and I walked towards the venue, we accidentally ran into Mike Peters himself. The front man from The Alarm nodded and said hello to us. That’s when I should’ve known it was going to be a good night.
Usually the St. George Theater books acts for the Geritol or family crowd. That, and the fact that I live in Queens means I visit the venue very often. On the scorecard, two out of the three times I’ve had a good time at the St. George. Psychedelic Furs was great. Buster Pointdexter along with Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes, not so much. To be fair, I only went for Buster Pointdexter, aka David Johansen.
The opening act was Gene Loves Jezebel. Wow. Now that’s a band I haven’t heard of in years. I saw the original Gene Loves Jezebel line-up way back in 1986 at The Ritz, where Webster Hall stands now. Gene Loves Jezebel had some good songs back in the day, particularly with ‘Desire.’ The fact that they were good looking brothers didn’t hurt either. Suppose you can say that the Aston brothers could be considered Goth heartthrobs. My second time seeing Gene Loves Jezebel in 2019, it was just Jay Aston with a back-up band. Still just as good.
After his set, my friend went to the ladies room. She came back to her seat saying Jay Aston was walking around meeting fans. We left our seats and like my friend, I ran into Jay as well. Just like him and his brother were back in 1986, Jay was still such a flirt! The old charm was still there. He even called me ‘beautiful’ even though I didn’t believe it for one second. Maybe if global warming wasn’t in full effect, then I wouldn’t be sweating so much. It was still endearing to see Jay work his natural charm.
A month or two after this gig, I ended up seeing Jay Aston live again. He was performing solo, doing new material. It wasn’t bad at all. He was opening for Theater of Hate and Chameleons Vox (Mark Burgess, from The Chameleons U.K.) over at St. Vitus. If you’re interested in what Jay is doing now, go to his SoundCloud page.
Back to the gig at the St. George. Next up was Modern English. They’re mostly known for that one big hit ‘Melt With You.’ That song was played so much during my youth, I got sick of hearing it. I remember another friend showing me photos of when Modern English first hit American shores, and she had taken back in the ’80s, when they were doing a signing, possibly at Tower Records. Now in 2020, I’m looking at the band behind the concession stand, signing again for fans.
So they get on stage. During the Modern English set, the lead singer, Robbie Gray had moments of that British sarcasm. Like when they played a song from a later album, and he acknowledged that maybe only ten people heard it. Grey quipped some more biting humor when he pointed out that the venue was only half full. He wasn’t wrong.
Next up was the headliners, The Alarm. By then the theater was a little more than half full. A mixture of fans, and Staten Island residents looking to do something on a Friday night. Despite not being sold out, there was still a bit of excitement in the air.
It also dawned on me that both The Alarm and Jay Aston were from Wales. Some years back, I had done illustrations for books about Welsh history. Plus my good friend lives in Wales. After the concert, my Welsh friend contacted me about The Alarm gig. He wanted to know how the concert went. He went on to explain that Mike Peters and his wife are cancer survivors. Which Peters did bring up during the course of the show.
During a few songs, Mike Peters jumped into the audience. As you can see with the video footage. Security was trying to get people to sit back down, but after all, it’s still a concert. Even if it’s a rock concert playing music from thirty years ago. One audience member kept on defying security, as he was dancing in the aisles during both Modern English and The Alarm. He would be told to sit back down, which he did. Eventually the music came over him, and the guy would start dancing in the aisles again. By this point, most of the locals left, and it was left up to the fans. The fans loved every moment.
The apex of the night was ‘Rain In The Summertime.’ One other guy sitting in orchestra got lost in the tune, and danced away. After that song, my friend simply said “that was epic.” Which it was. It was really an awesome night.
I’ll leave you with a sketch or illustration I did of The Alarm during their classic ’80s line-up. Now I can cross off The Alarm off my concert bucket list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The title says it all. Usually I’m not that tardy. Now with some free time I can finally post the New York Comic Con 2017 review.
For NYCC 2017 I attended mostly panels. As usual, the most interesting panels were all listed on either the same days, and/or times. The Reed Pop folks also changed the ways the major promotional panels (i.e., television, films, etc.) were accessible. For example, to get into any panel on the main stage. Before you just had to be willing to wait one hour on line before being let inside the auditorium. In 2017, that was no longer possible. First you had to get a wristband. Once the wristbands were gone, that meant the auditorium was filled to capacity. By the time I figured this out, it was too late.
Now that you’re getting the idea, the rest of NYCC was crowded as usual, full of faithful geeks, pop culture consoeurs, and cosplayers.
Artist Alley was moved due to the renovations inside the Jacob Javits center. Which made everything compact. The good news Artist Alley was across from the professional lounge which I spent much time inside, mostly to charge my cellphone.
One of the first panels attended was titled ‘Representation Matters! How To Respectfully Write & Draw POC and LBQT characters in comics.’ That weekend it seemed like NYCC was really focusing on diversity, especially during the age of Trump. On that panel was a representative from Women In Comics, a local collective that puts on it’s own comic con in the Bronx.
In between panels, we mostly checked out various cosplay. Have to admit, a lot of the cosplayers were on point this year.
The phenomenon of those inflatable dinosaur costumes continue.
Another panel attended was titled PW Presents: The European Comics Invasion. Some of the panel speakers were artists Mahmud Asrar (Turkey), Zep (Switzerland), Fabrice Nury and Patricia Lyfoung (France).
Onwards through more cosplayers.
Here’s my favorite cosplay out of all NYCC 2017. A mash-up of Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead, and a Stormtrooper.
For the occasionally energy boost, there was free samples of Death Wish coffee. Very strong coffee I might add.
The next few panels attended focused on Jack Kirby. It was Kirby who created many superhero characters, such as Captain America, and Black Panther, which will be on movie screens very soon. The below bad photo was from the panel Jack Kirby: The King’s NYC.
Time for more cosplay photos.
Here was my second favorite cosplay. Pennywise from the film It.
Back to Artist Alley, where you could meet artists such as Terry Moore (Strangers In Paradise, Echo) Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family comics) and Joe Staton (E-Man)
Here’s my third favorite cosplay. Prince as portrayed on the Dave Chappelle show.
It’s time for this blog post to come to a close, so I’m just going to round it out with assorted photos.
Now that I’m finally catching up with my blog posts, here’s a look back at a recent comic con. I had a table at the Bronx Heroes Comic Con 7, which the focus was women in comics. It was my second time at BXHCC, the first one going back to 2009.
BXHCC, which is put together by artist Ray Felix, was held this year at the Bronx Library Center. I did really well at this event. I met people who surprisingly asked me for advice on how to put their own comics and artwork together. That I did not expect, nor did I feel I was one to give advice, per say, but I did offer some feedback. The merch on my table was kept to a minimum this time. Due to recent events, I barely had enough time to get work printed.
The comic con was free, plus it was on Free Comic Book Day. Many of the attendees were happy this event happened in their area.
There was workshops and panels. One featured Athena Finger, the granddaughter of the Dark Knight co-creator Bill Finger. She explained how two boys growing up in the Bronx came up with Batman, but only one received recognition. Her mission is to bring awareness about her grandfather, despite DC Comics’ refusal to give him any credit.
Also at the show was Lower East Side artist and activist Fly. I didn’t get a photo of her table, but I brought two of her PEOPS issues, one a gift for a friend. You can read about Fly here.
When the event wrapped up, we met this sweet dog just off of Fordham Road. This canine was helping his human with tips.
Right now with the current real estate climate, the only truly authentic NYC area left seems to The Bronx. Hopefully that borough won’t go through pilferage like other areas. Unfortunately, this seems to be an international occurrence, but that’s a separate blog posting. In short, this was a good show for me, and a nice comic con worth attending.
Before the mess of Hurricane Sandy and the U.S. Presidential elections, there was the seventh annual New York Comic Con. The NYCC took place at its’ usual spot at the Jacob Javits Center. From 2006 onwards, the NYCC has become the second largest comicbook convention in the United States. It’s second only to the infamous motherload of them all, the San Diego Comic Con.
In 2010, I had a small table at the NYCC over in the Artist Alley section. Perhaps one day I’ll have another table again. For now I’m content walking around with a professional badge around my neck, observing everything.
Mainstream comic book conventions are good for highlighting current pop culture trends. As mentioned in my previous post, Doctor Who and The Avengers were huge among costumers this year.
In the Doctor Who catagory, you had both genders doing the Matt Smith look, complete with fez hats. There were a few David Tennants as well. I did spot someone dressed as the fifth doctor, and one lone Tom Baker clone. Even children got in on the act.
There was a small collective of Harry Potter fans. Of course, no comicbook con is complete without people dressing like their favorite characters. For example, I saw a Spiderman with a pot belly, a Venom with a sizable crotch bulge, one Rorschach, a few Jokers from The Dark Knight era, a few Harlequins, plenty of Deadpools, Blackcats, and who can forget Star Wars. My faith in humanity was briefly ignited for one second thanks to a couple dressed like Dr. Frankfurter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Here’s some photos from the weekend of Oct. 11 – 14th, 2012.
Just opened my email. Received one from the Artists Wanted company. Found out through their email that the Art Takes Times Square event which happened this past Monday was covered on NY1, ABC news and New York Times. Check out the link: http://www.see.me/june18th/
So perhaps I should do another blog entry, posting the rest of the photos from the night of June 18th, 2012. I had taken these pics with my cellphone. Unfortunately, my cell frizzled out on me yesterday afternoon. Which meant I couldn’t upload any more pics from that night.
Without further ado, here’s more photos from the Art Takes Times Square event, Monday June 18th, 2012.
Here is the original illustration I had submitted to the Art Takes Times Square contest, below. Done with pen and ink, completed December 2010.
Monday night was the “Art Takes Times Square” event. I had almost forgotten about it. Originally I wasn’t planning on attending, but then I figured, why not. It was only a short subway ride to Times Square. Figured I would snap a few pics and head back home.
It wasn’t hard to find the crowd. My rough guess about the crowd itself, it mostly consisted of artists who had participated in the contest. Then again, it’s not often that your artwork gets displayed on a 9×12 digital billboard in the middle of Times Square. Even if it was only for a minute. Still, it was joyous, as a marching band played during the festivities.
I made it to 42nd just in time to catch my image broadcast on the screen, maybe around 10pm-ish.
Then there was the after party. Okay, I was curious. Since I was one of the many artists who had their work shown, again I figured, why not.
Usually I don’t go to mainstream clubs or parties. I don’t even hang out that much anymore, to be honest. Back when I was into being social, my choice would usually be places found on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Either dive bars or small underground clubs playing more ‘Alternative’ music like post-Punk, Goth, retro 80’s New Wave, Industrial, etc. Sometimes Metal or basic Rock n’ Roll. Occasionally I would go to drag queen parties, which would sometimes be mixed with the whole downtown ‘Alternative’ scene, or fetish events. Back in the ’90s, I went to some Raves and Rave-type clubs, but again, it was part of the whole ‘Alternative’ culture. This was back during the ’90s and early 2000s’. But as for more ‘mainstream’ clubbing, I rarely did such thing.
I got to see what I was missing at the Art Takes Times Square after party. Which wasn’t much. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time, but it felt a cross between Studio 54 and Zoolander. Well, Maybe the Tunnel mixed with Zoolander. Certainly reminded me of an early Love and Rockets comic, particularly a few panels in a Palomar story (if you don’t know what I’m talking about with the Love and Rockets comics, don’t worry.) Either way, take your pick. My favorite part was that some of the party people dressed up in costumes. It’s an aspect of clubbing that I miss very much, sort of like the old ‘Club Kid’ scene. Then again, it’s probably not fair to continue comparing today’s parties with the club events from my youth. It’s a different time after all.
You could tell that at this after party, there were people who had never been to a NYC nightclub before, and it showed. So it felt like a high school dance, only with an open bar. At least there was good wine being served. The DJ sporting fashionable bunny ears played a variety of musical genres, mostly tried and true classics. Hip-Hop, 80s Pop, Current top-40, Michael Jackson, AC/DC and Nirvana. You know, typical stuff you play for a catered wedding party. Actually, now when I think of it, it did feel like a catered wedding event, only minus the food. After a while, my cynicism dropped down a bit. Observing the other guests, you could easily tell who wanted to be creative with their outfits, which I appreciated, and who just wanted to strut like a peacock on the dance floor, striving for attention. About 90% of the crowd was truly enjoying themselves with this outdoor party. It was a perfect night for dancing too, as the mid-June weather was just right.
As I’m pretty much free-writing this blog entry, I realize just how cynical I have become. Wow. It is due to age? Well, I’m not that old. Not yet anyway. At the same time, I thought about something I haven’t even recalled in aeons. Like when I went to Danceteria for the first time. I was maybe 15 or 16, and had no business being there. Thanks to my caked-on Siouxsie Sioux wanna-be makeup, I made it past security who assumed I was older than I actually was and never even asked for my ID. I wasn’t a regular Danceteria patron, but I was friends with another under-aged classmate, who went every weekend. It was this same classmate who took me to my first club that had an ‘Alternative’ scene. Once I stepped inside the building, I explored the many floors Danceteria had to offer. It wasn’t long before I got swept up in the whole underground environment. I loved every minute of it.
I even snagged one of my first ever boyfriends inside that club. It was after a Public Image Limited show at the Beacon theater. Some people wanted to head down to Danceteria afterwards to chill out, and I followed. As I sat in the club’s video lounge, some skinny dude with a small mohawk sat next to me. He inquired if “I had ever gone out with a punk rocker before?” And of course, he wasn’t of legal age either.
My days at Danceteria lasted as long as that one week high school boyfriend. Danceteria shuttered its doors, and then the Jennifer Levin case happened. Afterwards, the NYC clubs cracked down, asking to see your ID.
Back to the present and my current jaded self. Isn’t lovely to be an adult? I speak with jest, but in all, the party wasn’t bad. Seriously, I’m not a hater as I’m making myself out to be. After all, clubbing is a bit like going to church every Sunday. Nightlife survives not only on music, dancing, and fashion – people need to connect with one another. Deep down inside, very few people desire to be alone.
The after party was showing the same images that was just displayed in Times Square hours earlier. Alright, I thought to myself, and so I patiently waited to snap another photo. By the time my art and name rolled around, open bar had ended, the crowd dwindled, and a few peeps here and there started getting douche-y. My illustration pops up. Just as I snapped the pic, some big-headed jerk gets in my shot. Then I heard the first few notes of The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” – a band that I am now permanently sick of since 1990 – and I was out of there.
As soon as I went past the ropes, the bouncers politely bid me farewell. Which was actually nice for a change; ’cause I do have to say, the security was surprisingly mellow. I bumped into a friend, who had just come out from work. We chatted for a bit inside another bar, which played the same Rhianna song I’d only heard earlier at the after party. Times have certainly changed, but it’s not every day you get to see your art displayed in Times Square. So yeah, that was the nicest part of them all.