Review of Space Porn Art Show At The Hi-5

Everything’s been going full steam ahead. Much so that I forgot to review the art event I took part of last month.

I had two painting exhibited at this show. The theme was anything to do with space, porn, or hey, why not both? Which is exactly what happened. Combining space, porn, bands and good times. Here’s a few photos I took from the night of Friday August 3rd, 2012.

Evangelical Holy Drums playing his set at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, August 3rd, 2012. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo.
Evangelical Holy Drums playing his set at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, August 3rd, 2012. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo.
Bobo Fett dancer from the Space Porn Art Show, taken at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, August 3rd, 2012. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo.
Vagina sculpture you could climb into. Artist: Rael Lief. Exhibited at the Space Porn show at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, Friday August 3rd, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo
Mixed medium paintings by Michele Witchipoo. Mostly acrylic and glitter. As of September 2012, the android/robot stripper painting was sold and shipped. The erotic rocket ship painting on the right is still available. Exhibited at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery Friday August 3rd, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

There were great paintings by a variety of other artists. Most of the work was listed as ‘not safe for work.’ Well, the theme was space porn.

Above is a photograph of the two paintings I had exhibited at the Space Porn show. Both were mixed mediums, using mostly acrylic and glitter. After the show, the stripper painting on the left was sold. The other painting on the right is still available.

Not sure what the name of this band was. Performance at the Space Porn art show at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, Friday August 3rd, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Local bands on the bill were: Spewing Cum, a  solo drum set by RYO of Gagakirise (, Kool Skull w/ Ryo (special collaborative piece), Cum Blood, and a special burlesque performance by Miss Cherry Delight.

The show was covered by the press, featuring another artist:

So now you have a bit of an idea what I did this past summer.


Pin It On – 1980s Music Buttons

Continuing where I left off yesterday, (Yesterday’s blog post) now I’m going into music pins, buttons and badges of the 1980s.

My button collection started during my preteen years. It was around sometime during the early ’80’s, and I had just discovered rock music. The closest supplier of these badges was a local head shop called Yogi Lala, located in Astoria, Queens. For a small shop it was jammed packed full of juvenile delinquent merchandise. All sorts of hippie accouterments, silver biker jewelry, patches, drug paraphernalia, and hard rock band tee shirts. If you wanted the back of your jean jacket painted with a rendition of a particular Black Sabbath album cover, this was the place. For good measure, Yogi Lala mixed the sex, drugs and rock n roll wares with some 14k gold trinkets.

There was certainly a variety of genres covered within the rock music merch this place sold. Not only did they have your average classic rock groups like The Who, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, etc., but they also had the burn out Hard Rock stuff, Heavy Metal, and the newer New Wave and some Punk rock stuff. Mostly the more famous, or should I stay infamous bands like The Sex Pistols.

If you couldn’t find what you were looking for in Yogi’s, you could always walk further down Steinway Street, which to this day is one of Astoria’s main shopping areas, and check out Jolly Joint. The Jolly Joint’s store was a bit more spread out. It was a head shop as well, with a tiny more emphasis on the music. Jolly Joint was pretty successful in its day, with a second shop on Main Street, located in Flushing, Queens.

Jolly Joint is no more. Yogi Lala is still around, but they mostly sell gold jewelry now.

Anyway, I would start to buy these small music pins from these kind of stores. The pins would be proudly arranged with style and care on my jacket before heading off to my crappy junior high. The other kids would make fun of me listening to rock music, but I paid them no mind. I loved The Go-Go’s, Joan Jett, Soft Cell, Human League and David Bowie.

Metal David Bowie pin from the 1980s. Let’s Dance era. Most likely brought at Yogi Lala during 1983. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

I was very fascinated with the whole New Wave and Punk subculture, even back in junior high, although my tastes at the time were more mainstream. Guess this is when I started observing different types of counter cultures.

Assortment of Culture Club pins from the 1980s. Check out the “Boy George for President” button. Maybe since it’s election year in 2012, should I start wearing this again? Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Then came Culture Club. I loved Boy George so much, I even tried to dress like him. If you look in the photo, you can see a button that says “Boy George For President.” As I type this, it’s election year of 2012. Perhaps I should start wearing this one again?

Anyway, my attempts of emulating the Boy just resulted in more verbal abuse from my classmates. The comments got more ignorant too. My favorite one? “Are you a fag lover?”

Since I hated my junior high so much, I swore I would never continue getting my education alongside these ignorant f-heads. So I applied for a whole bunch of the NYC ‘magnet’ schools. To both my surprise and relief, I got immediately accepted into the High School of Art and Design. From there I met more like-minded peers. One of these kids would take me to my first ‘underground’ club, despite the underage factor. It was the original Danceteria, and I loved every second of it. Another girl took me to my first excursion into Greenwich Village. It was up and down 8th street to be exact. Eighth street at the time was the main shopping strip of the village area, full of record stores, imported shoe shops, clothing stores, etc. Located towards more going 6th avenue was The Postermat. That was my new found base for my button fix.

During my freshman year, my tastes in music was leaning towards mainstream rock, top-40, new wave and imported UK pop bands. I was still big into Culture Club then. For a brief time though, I was listening to the newer metal bands like Motley Crue and Twisted Sister.

Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister. 1980s pin. Possibly gotten from a button trade. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Sometimes us A&D students would trade with one another. I traded something for the U2 band shot, as seen in the middle of the pic below. I think a friend gave me the Cyndi Lauper and Prince pins. A loner guy mysteriously gave me the Billy Idol one. I forgot where the Frankie Goes To Hollywood button came from. Check out the photo below. I’m surprised I still even have these.

Various 1980s music buttons. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Needless to say this phase didn’t last long. I discovered Siouxsie and The Banshees. Right there everything changed. Went to Astor Place for a major haircut, dying my hair much to my father’s chagrin. My wardrobe completely changed. I discovered Bleecker Bob’s, purchasing a second hand pair of combat boots. Boy, did those boots piss my mom off.

Most importantly, my music tastes had changed. I embraced the classic 80s Goth and Post-Punk bands. I liked much of the seminal ’77 Punk stuff, like The Ramones, for example. Although I never got into the Hardcore or crossover genres that much. As you can guess, my button collection reflected this. Instead of Culture Club and U2, I had bands such as The Damned, Bauhaus, and Sisters of Mercy. Most of the classic 80s Goth bands found a spot on my schoolbag. Only I wasn’t going to school as much. I had also discovered playing hooky. That particular discovery is something I still regret to this very day. I’m making up for lost time now, but there’s still a ping of regret somewhere.

Unfortunately, most of my button collection from that particular time is gone. Don’t know where they went. Perhaps they’re in a draw somewhere at my parents’ house, but at this point I’m not going to bother looking. It’s the past after all.

I did find this, however. An X-Ray Specs pin, which I think I might’ve gotten from the original Manic Panic shop in St. Mark’s Place. Was it that, or was it the pin that said “Oh bondage up yours!” I think it was the latter. That particular pin was stolen by none other than this kid Mike Waste. He stole from almost everyone. Not only did he steal that pin, he also stole my Cure shirt and something else. A total creep who told tall tales. He had ratty hair extensions that clung for dear life from the brim of his cap. Yet I heard about the early Industrial bands through him. I always knew he lifted from me. I suppose twenty years later I’m kinda sorta getting my revenge by calling him out on a public blog.

Here’s the X-Ray Specs pin that escaped Mike Waste’s grimey paws:

X-Ray Specs badge. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Now that I’ve blogged about these pins, perhaps its time to finally get rid of them. After all, they served their purpose. Maybe sell them on eBay or something. Besides, I’ve got my memories. You can never take that away.

However, if all else fails, you can tell people this:

Where’s the beef? Button from mid-1980s television commercial ad. The slogan was part of the Wendy’s burger campaign during 1983-84. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Review: This Is What We Do 2012

February here already? Time flies whether or not you’re having fun.

Last night was fun though, and here’s a brief review of last night’s event. Titled “This Is What We Do,” it took place over at the HillTap Tavern located in Elmhurst, Queens, NYC. The second annual event was created and hosted by fellow creator Sergio Zuniga. (Website:

This Is What We Do Flyer 2012

There were art, comics and prints for sales. Besides me and Sergio on the bill there was work from Amy Chace, Justin Melkmann (from the band WW9), Steve Pavlovsky, Thomas Doerrer, and Paul Benincasa.

Merch table and artwork
Artwork for sale
Sergio Zuniga's artwork
My Shuï Rhys painting. Originally exhibited in the The 2011 West Coast Eisteddfod: Welsh Festival of Arts in Los Angeles. Also published in the 2011 book "A Welsh Alphabet."

The three bands listed were The Barrens, Hidden Trax. Vol 1, and Losing Constitution.

The Barrens performing at HilltapFor the second year in a row, Liquid Light Lab put together awesome visuals for the show.
The Barrens live at This Is What We Do/Hilltap Tavern. Feb. 2012.

For the second year in a row, Liquid Light Lab put together awesome visuals for the show.

Liquid Light Lab aka, Steve Pavlovsky doing his thing, as Thomas Doerrer observes.

All in all a good night.

Hilltap Tavern 83-03 Grand Ave, Queens, NY 11373

This Is What We Do Show, Hilltap Tavern

So as I’ve said yesterday on this blog, got invited last minute via Facebook through cartoonist Sergio Zuniga. The event took place in Elmhurst, Queens, at the Hilltap Tavern. Every once in a while, Hilltap will have local Punk/Post-Punk/Hardcore bands play there. Even if that wasn’t the case, this local Irish bar scores points for having whiskey on tap, in barrels. Here’s photos from last night:

My section on the pool table, which was converted into a vending spot.
Sergio Zungia's section.
Photography by J. Rivera.
Tommy Wing's section
Hilltap Tavern has Irish Whiskey on tap.
Liquid light show visuals by Steve Pavlovsky
Liquid light show in action.
Sergio Zungia
Paul Jones doing spoken word
A band with no name. First gig.

Tonight – Last Minute Event

Just got invited by cartoonist Sergio Zuniga via Facebook. Gonna bring a few of my comics/artwork for sale.

Hilltap Tavern Flyer For Saturday, April 1st, 2011.

I’m not on the flier, because it was a last minute invite. If you’re in Queens, come check it out. Free admission.
Address: 83-03 Grand Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens. NY.
Take the R subway to Grand Avenue/Newton/Queens Boulevard and walk.

And I’ll see you at the MoCCA Art Fest 2011 next week!

The NY Art Book Fair At PS 1, Nov. 2010

After attending King Con  in Brooklyn, the next day was spent in Queens. What Queens had to offer was the fifth annual NY Art Book Fair, held at MoMA/PS 1.

Before arriving at PS1, there was the NYC Marathon taking place. Here’s a cell pics:

PS1 wasn’t too far off from the NYC Marathon path. Once there, I caught some examples of arty pretentiousness, but overall it was still interesting to see an alternative press fair. The event took over the entire space over at PS 1, located in Long Island City. The NY Art Book Fair was presented by Printed Matter, who is world”s largest non-profit organization dedicated to publications made by artists. Basically it showcasing underground press, both old and new.

Strangely enough, when I saw a lot of zines from days of old, that old retro feeling started to creep in. That old retro feeling was something I was not expecting.

There was three floors full of variety of the NY Art Book Fair, so I took crappy cell pics of the sights that caught my eye.


Display at NY Art Book Fair 2010


Act-Up T-shirts from the '80s/early 90s. Having gone to high school in Manhattan, and hanging out downtown after school, seeing these shirts brought back memories.



Another artifact from the underground past. The Riot Grrl movement produced a lot of fanzines from early to mid 1990s.


Here's an art scandal from the 1980s. For those who don't know, artist Jeff Koons was married to porn star Cicciolina. Cicciolina, also known as Ilona Staller, served as a member of the Italian parliament. After having a child together, they soon divored.


More items on display.


World War Three Illustrated table at the NY Art Book Fair 2010.
Guerrilla Girls also had a table at the NY Art Book Fair show.

Last Ice Cream Parlor Standing

I would’ve posted this blog right after Labor Day, but life got in the way. Back in August, I did the last of the pilgrimages to summer treats. The last pilgrimage would take us to Jackson Heights, Queens. Home of the last ice cream parlor standing.

Jahn’s was a pretty successful ice cream chain back in its heyday. It’s sugary magnum opus was and still is the infamous Kitchen Sink Sundae. It had locations scattered about the tri-state area, even reaching two towns within the Florida state so it could cater to NYC transplants. However, as with everything else, tastes change and so began the decline of Jahn’s. As I type this, there is only one Jahn’s location surviving, which is the Jackson Heights location. The Richmond Hill location recently closed in 2007.

Jann's Last Location, Jackson Heights, Queens NYC. Aug. 2010.

Apparently the Richmond Hill parlor was an ice cream time warp, where as the Jackson Heights one looks more 1970s/early ’80s. The slightly 70s look is due to a fire some time ago. A Geritol vibe lingered as we walked inside. Its main clientele seemed to be retired senior citizens, quietly chomping on their orders. The only exception was a young couple taking their bratty toddler out for an afternoon treat.

Menu From Jahn's.

We placed our order, adding a side of french fries for a taste of some ‘real’ food. This is what we got:

Our order at Jahn's. We couldn't take the 'Kitchen Sink.'

To our pleasant surprise, it was actually delicious. Comfort food at its finest. So while Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Forest Hills had the retro decor, Jahn’s delivered where it counts, the taste buds. So if your waist line knows no bounds, perhaps you can dare to try the Kitchen Sink sundae. I say you try it because I’m not going up another dress size.

In tribute, here’s the last of my summer treat sketch series:

Sundae Girl, illustration by Michele Witchipoo. Aug/Sept. 2010. Inspired by Jahn's and named after the Blondie song.

*Photos by Ben Herman

You’re As Cold As Ice…

After the blistering heatwave of 2010, I’m very grateful that fall is right around the corner. However, before the hot weather comes to a close, why not post one or two more about summer treats.

A few weeks, decided to finally try out Benfaremo, otherwise known as ‘Lemon Ice King of Corona.’ I’ve passed it numerous times while riding the bus. Figured it was worth a shot, so why not try the place. Of course, of all the days to visit this place, it starts to rain.

Benfaremo, Lemon Ice King Of Queens. NYC, August 2010.
List of flavors from Benfaremo's.
Our order. Mine was the apple flavor.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Not that I can afford a doctor, but whatever. Ordered an apple flavored ice, which contained real fruit chunks. The taste was okay, but after a few seconds, my order began to taste like apple flavored soda. Bleh. Truth be told, my personal preference still goes to Ralph’s.

Upon arriving home, I started doing this quick sketch in honor of Italian ices:

Italian Ice Girl (August 2010) by Michele Witchipoo

If I get around to it, the next and final posting about summer treats will be about Jann’s.

Eddie’s Sweet Shop

If walking into a time warp is your idea of a good time, maybe you might want to check out this place out.

Eddie’s Sweet Shop, located in Forest Hills, Queens. Looked pretty retro alright. Had that old soda fountain shop kinda appeal.

Inside Eddie's Sweet Shop, Friday August 6th, 2010
I want candy

Since it was a hot summer evening, the place was packed. Taking a counter seat, I noticed all the different types of sundaes being made. The orders was served in these retro metal dishes, complete with all sorts of rich, thick toppings. Tons of whipped cream, syrups, malts, sprinkles, nuts, cherries, you name it. Pure ice cream porn.

This was not my order.
The aftermath

Safe to say this place is not for the vegan, nor the lactose intolerant. Eddie does have low-fat ice cream. I know this because that was my order. It paled in comparison to all the decadent treats parading up and down the counter.

Didn’t stay too long at this place. So I snapped a few more pics with my cell:

The seating at Eddie's Sweet Shop

The Counter

Googled Eddie’s Sweet Shop online to see if they have a website. So far the only listings I’ve seen is a fan page on Facebook and a few city guide type reviews. The reviews either raved about Eddie’s, or expressed disappointment. It was one of these reviews that I found out about another old fashioned ice cream place, Jahn’s. Apparently that used to be an East Coast institution. There’s one single, solitary Jahn’s location left, and its in Jackson Heights, Queens. That’ll be my next stop. In the meantime, here’s two more outside Eddie shots.

Outside of Eddie's Sweet Shop
Entrance To Eddie's

I’ll end this blog post with this sketch/illo:

Blond On Blond Ice Cream, Aug. 2010. Artwork by Michele Witchipoo

Going Out With Style

Through a friend’s posting on Facebook, I discovered this:

Malcolm McLaren's Coffin
Malcolm McLaren's Coffin, April 2010. Photo from New York Times online article.

It reads on McLaren’s coffin, “Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.” Now I have to laugh. Don’t know about you, but age 64 wasn’t that young. Actually, it qualifies for AARP membership. McLaren didn’t have that long of a lifespan, but it wasn’t that short either. Plus, McLaren led a life full accomplishments. Regardless what one may think about this twisted impresario, he was a man of many achievements.

In the New York Times online article, it mentions fashion designer and former McLaren girlfriend Vivienne Westwood. At McLaren’s funeral, Westwood was wearing a headband with the word “Chaos.”

Fashion designer Vivenne Westwood wearing Chaos headband at Malcolm McLaren's funeral. April 2010.
Fashion designer Vivianne Westwood wearing Chaos headband at Malcolm McLaren's funeral. April 2010.

Part of me is snickering at that so-called styling, and a part of me thinks its absolute brilliant. Would have to admit though, when its time for your “Greater Feast” one should leave this earth with style. It’s sheer genius to have a coffin embrazed with a slogan from your personal philosophy. Like you only life once right? So on that same accord, since you only die once, you should go out with with style.

A fine example is the king of Gonzo himself, Hunter S. Thompson. Back in August 2005, his ashes were fired from a cannon during a private ceremony. The cannon was shot from a tower from Thompson’s own design along with red, white and blue fireworks. The tower design itself was in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button. If that’s not pure Americana, then I don’t know what is.

Perhaps its time for some candid honesty. When its my time to go, I want to have a funeral to die for. Get it? “To die for”…? Okay, bad joke, but anyway. Certainly wouldn’t mind having an awesome looking coffin to be buried in. One idea is to maybe have a shiny black lacquered coffin encrusted with a rhinestones. Easy on the rhinestones though, don’t want it to look like a Liberace reject. The rhinestones could be set in an Art Deco style pattern. The inside could be padded with silky white or red satin, with rose pedals scattered on top of my body. Oh, and of course I better be dressed in my finest. Like hell I’m going to meet my maker as if I just walked out of Old Navy. I want to be a ‘Dandy In The Underworld

That’s just one idea for my burial. I just gave you my Hollywood Babylon theme. Other themes could be Egyptian, Norse, or just have a coffin with Santa Muerte’s likeness painted on top of the lid. Ah, the endless possibilities. Get it? Okay, another bad joke. When it comes to death, I’ve got a ton of them. Whether or not they’re actually funny is besides the point.

Another thing…don’t know if I would want people to cry at my funeral. I don’t even know if people are actually gonna attend my funeral, but whatever. Wouldn’t be nice to turn mourning into a party instead? Have a celebration about the life one lead instead of wiping away tears with a snot filled Kleenex. Doesn’t have to be all wild and decadent, but a few cocktails in my honor would be nice.

Remembering back to when I was a small child, I would sit in my bed terrified of death. (I was a strange child to begin with.) As I grew up in Queens, NY, slowly I became fascinated with various graveyards nearby my neighborhood. After all, Queens is the land of the dead. No wonder I had spent my high school years as a ‘Death Rocker.’ (That’s a ’80s term for Goth, again those who don’t know.) Going back six years, I used to watch television shows like Six Feet Under and Dead Like Me. Guess I’ve accepted the dark cloud that hoovers over me.

However its not like I think about death 24-7. I’m just not as freaked out about the concept of death like I was during my childhood. Death is one of the eternal mysteries, just like love and sex. Besides, I believe that hell is right here on earth. Especially since the majority of us humans seems to be bound by our attachments. Doesn’t matter whether the attachments are material, cardinal desires, illusions. Attachments that bring forth pain if not dealt with properly. I still have a few attachments of my own, but at least I’m working on them.

Kudos does go to Malcolm McLaren. Why? It’s due to the fact that he (or whoever handled his funeral) made it unique, and a final lasting statement.

Oh, and btw, relatives of McLaren are asking for a “minute of mayhem” today as he is buried in London’s Highgate Cemetery.