Magic Mapped From The Grave

Well this is odd. A few weeks ago, some NYC map website connected with Flickr, emails me. Apparently it was in regards to a photograph I had taken of Harry Houdini’s grave. This pic was snapped in early November 2009, honoring Houdini on the anniversary of his death. Since 1927, the Society of American Magicians has held a broken wand ceremony at the grave site. Annually the bust, shown here with the S.A.M seal, is displayed on the grounds of Machpelah Cemetery.

Harry Houdini's Grave. Each year S.A.M members get together for the Broken Wand Ceremony. Photo by Michele Witchipoo, Nov. 2009

Tonight I received another email from the same website company. Apparently my photo had been picked to represent the NYC borough of Queens. Click here for the link.

In case you’re curious, here’s two more photos from the 2009 Broken Wand Ceremony at Machpelah Cemetery.

Society For American Magicians, Broken Wand Ceremony 2009
Houdini Bust. Displayed Only Once A Year In Machpelah Cemetery. Novemeber 2009.

‘Till Death Do Us Part, Supposely.

So I’m in front of my apartment building, about to put the key into the front door lock. Some guy passes by walking his cute dog. A very elderly old lady is delighted by the sight of this canine. She giggles slightly while sporting a toothless grin and then turns to me.

“I love animals. They’re much better than people.” This in turn makes me smile. I’ve always shared this same sentiment for years.

Softly she strikes up a conversation with me. I was about to tell her about my pets, when she changes the subject to marriage.

“You know, I was married. Been married since 1957. My husband died last year.”

Quickly responding, I give my condolences: “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Her: “I’m not. He was a complete pain in the ass. I’m glad he’s gone. Ever since we got married all he wanted was sex. He was completely sex mad.” She continued her disgruntles about her dearly departed spouse. This was my cue to turn the key in the lock.

As I walked in, her conversation topic quickly changed again to traveling. Informing me about how she was going to take the bus five blocks. I wished her a good day as I closed the front door.

Here’s to ’till death do us part.

Astoria Music & Arts Show April 3rd 2010 Flyer

Here’s a flyer I had designed last night. The artwork is mine, having done the illo this past summer.

The flyer is for an Astoria Music and Arts night, to take place on April 3, 2010.

Flyer for the Astoria Music & Arts Show, April 3rd, 2010.

Andy Warhol’s Bad (Movie Trailer of The Week, Feb. 8th, 2010)

It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.  – Andy Warhol

The year 1977 was a pivotal year in modern history. England was having its royal Jubilee, celebrating twenty-five years of Elizabeth II’s reign. Meanwhile Punk Rock came into prominence as The Sex Pistols sang “God Save The Queen.” Punk and HipHop was holding its own as well in the big bad rotten apple. Places such as CBGB’s and The Bronx became meccas of rising new musical movements.  The World trade Center opened officially in New York City. Elvis Presley went on to that peanut butter and banana sandwich in the sky. Marc Bolan from T-Rex joined Elvis after a nasty car crash. Apple Computers incorporated while Son of Sam followed some dog’s orders. Let’s not forget that legendary blackout in NYC, followed by looting and mass chaos.

Meanwhile, as the year of pandemonium unfolded, Andy Warhol decided to do something other than hanging with the ‘beautiful people’ over at Studio 54. Not being satisfied with being the premiere pop artist, Interview magazine and being invited all the best parties, Warhol added film producer to his list.

Out of all the Warhol films, this one is a personal favorite of mine. This cast consisted of Caroll Baker, Susan Tyrell, TV movie expert Perry King, 70s rock sceneser Cyrinda Foxe, and a few Factory regulars, like Brigit Polk. The plot goes a little something like this…Hazel (Carroll Baker) runs a electrolysis service out of her kitchen in Queens, New York. However, her real source of money is managing a small time murder racket, and assigning various ruthless women to these jobs. Kinda brings a new meaning to the saying ‘it’s a nasty job, but someone’s gotta do it.’ Hazel prefers to deal with women, but K.T. (Perry King) come into the scene begging for work. Reluctantly, Hazel lets him board inside her private residence along with the other female associates. K.T. chats with the other residents, including Hazel’s daughter-in-law, mopey welfare recipient Mary. Meanwhile a corrupt local cop keeps on harassing Hazel for arrest leads, but she’s not in the mood for snitching. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you. If you manage to find a decent DVD copy of this flick, its worth checking out.I discovered this cinematic nasty in the guise of a local VHS video rental. I was in my late teens living in Astoria, Queens. It seemed to blend so well together; a woman from Queens with a vicious disposition, produced by Andy Warhol with an underlining dark sense of humor. So if you like John Water’s early stuff, you’ll probably dig this.

Plus if you ever grew up in Queens, or anywhere in NYC for that matter, I will guarantee you that you probably knew someone just like Hazel. Perhaps someone similar to Hazel’s structure was living right next door to you, and you didn’t even know it.

Below is the trailer for the film itself. This is one of those rare cases where the trailer actually delivers on its promise. Oh, and one of the movie’s most infamous scenes is when some unfeeling bitch throws her baby out of an apartment window. In real life that particular actress, Susan Blond later went on to become a music executive and well respect publicist.

Ah, what the hell. In case you can’t find a copy of Bad on either DVD or VHS, here’s the baby throwing scene: