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Posts Tagged ‘Queens’

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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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By now I would’ve had the latest Psycho Bunny sketch of the week posted. The artwork has been completed. Just haven’t had time to scan it. It’ll be on this blog very soon.

In the meantime, here’s a recent commission I did a few weeks ago. It was the second time working for this awesome client. The style was a change of pace in regards to my usual style. It’s a local rapper from Queens. As requested, I’m not telling who. (Was given permission to post the art) I was going through his Instagram account, but when I watched his promo videos from his YouTube channel, that’s when everything flowed.

Here’s the inked version before color:

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Here’s the colored version.

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The mediums used was pencil, pen, ink, watercolor and glitter watercolor. Again, the scan doesn’t really show the shimmer from the glitter watercolor very well. It looks better in person. The person who commission this was very happy with the final results.

I’m still taking commissions, so if you’re interested, discuss rates, etc., send me an email: Witchipoo@witchesbrewpress.net. Serious inquires only.

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Since Fall 2017, I’ve been attending more concerts than usual. This personal trend started when my friend sold me her ticket to the Front 242 gig over at Irving Plaza. This was followed by Gary Numan, then Television. Over the past few months I’ve seen bands going across the board from local, national and even international. 2018 started with a show over at St. Vitus. The bill was Royal Thunder, Backwoods Payback and Heavy Temple. This was followed by Mac Sabbath, Clan of Xymox, Anvil, Melvins, Robert Plant, Culture Club/The B-52s, Slayer/Lamb of God/Anthrax/Testament/Napalm Death which was the next day after Culture Club, and now capping it off with CAKE.

So far in the summer of 2018, I’ve been to Forest Hills Stadium three times. It’s not a bad venue. Even if your seats are all the way back next to Saint Philomena, you can still have a decent view. Since I live in Queens, it’s convenient. The bad part is there’s an enforced curfew of 10 pm for all shows. That’s because the stadium is smack in the middle of a residential area. Boo.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to see CAKE live. They do one of my favorite songs from the ’90s, ‘The Distance’, but the band is so much more than that hit single. The concert itself was a double bill with Ben Folds Five, with Tall Heights opening. Somehow during the Ben Folds Five set, someone from that band didn’t show up. So a member of Tall Heights had to fill in. Ben Folds Five isn’t usually my “cup of tea” as they say, but live they were all right.

So CAKE comes on despite the grueling humidity. Hey. Kudos to any band that can perform under those nasty weather conditions. CAKE performed their latest single “Sinking Ship.” It wasn’t long until the band had everyone singing along to “Sick of You.” John McCrea also raised some good points. Like how everyone is so into their smartphones nowadays, we forget to live in the moment. He requested that people put down the cells just to enjoy the concert, but many ignored his plea.

Somehow in the middle of the concert, they started rushing through their set. Apparently they were told by management they had to cut the perform short. There was barely enough time for the tree giveaway shtick. (Too bad; I wanted that tree!) Yet the crowd adored the band. By the time ‘The Distance’ came on, people were dancing in their seats.

The best part of the concert in my opinion? Catching glimpses of lightening during the gig. There was thunder, but no rain. Once the thunder started to crack, some people left their seats in hast. Not me. I thought seeing thunder during a show was awesome. Slightly dangerous, maybe, but still awesome.

After the last song, the entire crowd demanded an encore. The audience loved CAKE. After two to five minutes, the band finally came back, doing a clever cover of Black Sabbath’s “Warpigs.” Then things got serious when John McCrea made another plea to the audience. This time, for Americans to register to vote. I’m not kissing his ass, but he’s right. Yes, the election voting system is flawed – but don’t give up on the process. Sometimes voting is the only voice someone could have.

Which leads up to…yup, you got it. The Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Influenced by CAKE and their tradition of giving away a tree during each concert.

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CAKE and the free tree giveaway. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. August 2018.

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.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch. Also keep an eye out, I might be posting more commissions this week. If you have an extra cash floating around, buy one of my comics, or get a commission. You won’t regret it.

UPDATE: Added additional photographs taken from the cheap seats at Forest Hills Stadium. Including Ben Folds Five. 

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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.

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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.

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Concert attendee at the Culture Club/B-52s show at Forest Hills stadium. Sat. July 28th, 2018. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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.

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Psycho Bunny’s friends as The B-52s. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Aug. 2018.

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.

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Psycho Bunny as Boy George from Culture Club. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. August 2018.

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.

…and now. Memorize these social media links:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items. 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.

 

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Earlier last month (July 2018), I had the pleasure of doing a commission from a lovely lady I had met at Second Star salon, which my friend owns. Two weeks later she contacted me, requesting a commission for her birthday. In her request, she wanted something slightly retro with a rock n’ roll edge, cakes and bees. The bunny, would be the ‘Honey Bunny.’

Including the bees and honeycombs was especially important. That’s because she has her own honey making business called Well-Beeing Concepts.

Below is the black and white pen version, before the color.

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“Honey Bunny” birthday commission, July 2018. Art by Michele Witchipoo. Black & white, pen before the coloring. 

Here’s a scan of the same commission, this time done in glitter watercolor. Although the glitter part of the paint doesn’t really come through in the scan, in person you can see the shimmer.

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“Honey Bunny” A birthday commission done in July 2018. Art by Michele Witchipoo. The scan fails to pick up on the shimmer of the glitter watercolors, but still an awesome piece. Pen, ink, glitter watercolor. 

Really pleased about the way this commission came out. Stay tuned folks. I’m going to be posting another commission soon, which will be done in a darker style. Of course, if you want your own commission, email me: Witchipoo@witchesbrewpress.net.

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Immediately after the 2016 presidential election, there was a huge outcry. Which prompted someone on Facebook to do an art show titled “Nasty Women.” It shortly turned into an open call for artwork, proceeds going towards Planned Parenthood. The submissions came in fast furious to the point where the curators had to end the deadline earlier than expected.

The space where the show took place was at Knockdown Center, located in Maspeth, Queens, NYC.

I was one of the many artists who contributed work for this show. My piece was a print titled #trumpsucksballs. It was originally designed for my greeting card line. (Still available for order for $3.00, plus $1.00 S&H = $4.00 if ordering online. Comes with orange envelope. Send payment to psychobunnycomix@aol.com and specify you want the #trumpsucksball greeting card.)

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Not all the art was anti-Trump related. Overall it had a feminist voice with or without Trump. The show itself was titled Nasty Women.

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A few days before the opening reception, me and a friend went together to drop off our work. That Saturday it was the first snow of NYC in 2017.

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Artist Beata Slazak Zalewski of Ridgewood, Queens. On our way to Knockdown Center to drop off art for the Nasty Women exhibition. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Jan. 2017.

Finally we arrived at Knockdown Center from out of the freezing snow. It gave us a chance to witness the display being put together. Various people were building large scale letters that spelled out NASTY WOMEN. The idea was that the art was to be hung on these letters. As the art gradually sold, the letters would be revealed.

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Knockdown Center. Maspeth, Queens, NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Jan. 2017. 

While we were standing there, we felt a slight buzz. The type of buzz when you know something is going to be magical.

A few days before opening night, the Nasty Women event was getting tons of press.

Opening night arrived. The turnout was larger than expected. People came from all over NYC for the reception, despite the remote location of Knockdown Center in Maspeth, Queens. My print sold within the first hour of the show. By the time I arrived, it was gone. Luckily someone snapped this photo for me. To whoever brought my print, thank you.

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As seen at Knockdown Center for the Nasty Women art exhibition. Sold. Illustration by Michele Witchipoo. Photo by Beata Zalewski. Jan. 2017. 

The artwork was flying off the letters as the crowd grew. At one point I saw a determined woman purchasing five separate pieces of art. The event itself raised 35K for Planned Parenthood. When the exhibition ended, all of the work donated had completely sold.

The entire weekend at Knockdown Center was dedicated to raising funds for organizations that would be unfortunately affected by the upcoming Trump administration. What seems to be the beginning of the Resistance art movement, there’s other upcoming Nasty Women events happening all over the world. Check here if you would like to be involved.

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Attendee at the Nasty Women art exhibition at Knockdown Center. Queens, NY. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Jan. 2017.

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There was a mention about the upcoming Krampus Holiday Fair this Saturday, happening over at The Cobra Club in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Free admission. You can read about the write-up over at qns.com. You can also check out the Facebook invite here.

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There will be talented vendors selling various crafts and artisan goods. Check out the Facebook invite for details. I’ll be there selling my handmade tree ornaments, greeting cards and comics. See you there this Saturday.

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