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Posts Tagged ‘subculture’

On March 23rd, 2014, Dave Brockie , better known as Oderus Urungus from the band GWAR passed away. He was only 50 years old. Brockie was the second GWAR member to pass way (Cory Smooth, aka  in 2011), and since his death, GWAR’s future remains in question. 

Here’s my own tribute to Oderus Urungus. My watercolor illustration from when GWAR was a guest on The Jerry Springer Show back in 1997. The episode was called “Shock Rock” and had concerned mothers confront these bands about their influence upon America’s youth. El Dulce from The Mentors was also on the panel, but Brockie and his crew clearly reigned supreme.

As I started to do this piece, chants of “JERRY! JERRY!” started going through my head. It was apparent that doing a trash program like Springer was really beneath GWAR. In end, something was gained. you can bet that this episode gained them new fans, saving them from a mundane existence. Hell, even Springer became an honorary ‘Scumdog.’

I could post a clip from YouTube, but in the few years I’ve been doing this blog, videos seem to get torn down. So I suggest you Google the video yourself. Meanwhile, please enjoy my Brockie illustration, done in glitter watercolor, ink and pen. It’s been a while since doing artwork I was proud of. For that, I’d like to thank Oderus Urungus as he travels through the gladiatorial arena. 

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode "Shock Rock." Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

Oderus Urungus from GWAR on The Jerry Springer show, 1997. Episode “Shock Rock.” Illustration done by Michele Witchipoo 2014. Gliter watercolor, ink, pen.

 

 

 

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Mercury in retrograde’s about to hit this month, starting from July 14th and ends Aug. 8th,2012. For those who believe in astrology, it works a bit like this;  it’s both a time of reflection, and ‘Murphy’s Law’ in full effect. In other words, communication lines get crossed, so what can go wrong will.

Sometimes, right before merc in retrograde hits, you just might get a preview. Plans interrupted arguments and fights relating to misunderstandings, sometimes outright catastrophe. Yet it’s not all negative. As I’ve said before, during this time it could be used to reflect. Don’t be surprised that out of the blue, you’ll come into contact with someone from the past who you haven’t spoken to in years. Also, some of those unsolved conflicts that have knocked on your door have a chance to be resolved.

Enough of this mini-lesson. What this crash course about mercury in retrograde leads to is a chance to you show some of my relics. Not only does it bring back my personal teenage memories, they’re also pop culture artifacts. These buttons exhibits a part of NYC that is now long gone.

Back when I was growing up during the 80s, many teenagers flocked to the NYC area of Greenwich Village. West side, east side, 8th Street, Broadway, it really didn’t matter. It’s still the case now, but the popular shopping sites are significantly different. Back in the 80s, the trendier retail places gave away free buttons with every purchase.  Hell, sometimes you didn’t even need to buy anything. Just go to the counter, stick your hand in the small hard plastic transparent box, and grab a handful of these badges. Afterwards, you would display your coolness by pinning these items onto your over-sized vintage overcoat, or on your army schoolbag. You would arrange these pins right along with your pop and post new wave band buttons. This was exactly what I did back in my freshman year of high school. This didn’t last long, as I progressed the next year into a full-fledged Siouxsie clone. My badges went from store promotion to the bands like The Cure, Specimen, etc.

Before I bore you with details, here’s a photo.

1980 promotional buttons from NYC retail stores, Greenwich Village area. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

The stores listed before are no longer around. I’ll give you a brief breakdown about some of these places.

Flip was a clothing store located on west. 8th street. They specialized in selling new wave, punk, goth and glam rock threads. In fact, one of my first ever punk tees was purchased right here at this location.

Postermat was more of a novelty place. They sold all types of buttons, posters, tees, gag items. A bit like that Spencer’s chain store you see in the local mall nowadays. The buttons and pins were sold in the front of the store. They were stored behind glass counters as if they were precious goods. Two tiny black round controls when pressed, slowly spunk around the shelves inside. An army and navy store has taken its place.

Canal Jeans Co. survived for years, but eventually they shut their doors as well. This business was so successful at one point, they had two locations. The location on Canal Street is now one of the cheapest art supply stores known as Pearl Paint. The bigger store, located in the Soho area of Broadway sold both new, vintage, upscale and bargain merchandise. They shut down, very briefly re-opened for a hot minute on Broadway and Astor, and then closed for good in the early 2000s.

Canal Jeans Co. buttons had their iconic checkerboard background, in a variety of colors. Check the photo below:

Promotional buttons from Canal Jeans Co. Photo by Michele WItchipoo.

Zoot was a vintage clothing store. Zoot wasn’t around that long, but it’s competition, Andy’s Chee-Pees, hung around for a while. Zoot was located on Broadway, Andy’s on West 8th street.

Unique hawked its wares all throughout the ‘80s, going out of business in the early ‘90s. Also known as Unique Boutique, the large space had a variety of different departments. You had graffiti artists spray painting on clothing, vintage duds, and when it was extremely fashionable, a huge selection of bright neon attire.

As for some other shops that’s been around for a while. Enz have opened and closed, and opened again. They’ve moved around to different locations so Enz doesn’t count. Ditto for Andy’s Chee-Pees. Even Patricia Fields moved from its prototype home on 8th street to the now trendy Bowery area. Probably the only store left from that era is Trash and Vaudeville. Still at the same location since the 1970s, and still going strong today.

Keep in mind, I didn’t even touch upon all the numerous record stores open around this time. I’ll touch upon that in another post.

Other types of businesses got into the badge marketing act. Check out this photo here. There’s MTV when they were known as a video music channel.  WLIR was a Long Island based radio station that specialized (at the time) in New Wave, a tiny bit of Post-Punk, and imported UK Pop music. Then there’s the original Hard Rock Cafe. The first location in NYC was on West 57th, before they moved to the current location at Times Square. All three are still around today.

MTV, WLIR FM, and Hard Rock Cafe. 1980s promotional buttons. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

It’s a different time now. There’s the revitalized Brooklyn to contend with now. Trends have changed. Yet the ‘80s memories still stand.

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Usually I do not sell my originals. Prior to this show in L.A., I held on to all my originals. The only exception was with Tales of Woe, because three of the six illustrations I had done for the book were large in size. I’ll do commissions, but as for for illustration originals, those I keep.

For the Necessary Discomforts show in Los Angeles, there will be a one of a kind piece I’ve created just for this exhibit. Starting tomorrow you can see my illustration on display, along with other great artists over at the Hyena Gallery. Oh, and it’s also for sale. So if you’re looking for “rare” Witchipoo art, this would be the perfect opportunity. Since I can’t be there in person (school), this would be the next best thing. Actually, even better.

"Rozz." Done October 2010. Mediums: pen, ink, ink wash and watercolor. Edges were hand-burned to give it a little bit of that old school Death Rock/Goth touch. Framed. For sale at the Necessary Discomforts (An Artistic Tribute To Rozz Williams), taking place at the Hyena Gallery in Los Angeles, California. Artist: Michele Witchipoo.

The Necessary Discomforts exhibit will be on display from November 12 – November 14 2010. Opening reception: Saturday, November 13th, 2010. Time: 8pm-midnight. Address: 1928 W. Olive Blvd., Burbank, California. There will be an official after-show party at Bar Sinister.

Revised/Updated Flyer For Unnecessary Discomforts (Artistic Tribute To Rozz Williams) Event

http://www.rozznet.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rozz_Williams
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Death

http://www.hyaenagallery.com/
http://www.lorinrichards.com/aravenabovepress.html
http://pinealeye.com/2010/11/01/rozz-williams-tribute-exhibition-at-hyaena-gallery/

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The first wave of the Batcave movement, later to be evolved to what is now known as Gothic began in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It’s (hair)roots can be traced to the United Kingdom. Submerging elements of Glam Rock, Psychedelic, Punk/Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, New Wave, and a bit of synthesizer created a genre still popular today. Unfortunately, although the term “Goth” has become overused and mainstreamed, this particular subculture broke off into a variety of other underground sub-genres. Some of the sub-genres listed include Darkwave, Industrial and some Electronica.

Some of the most known bands to emerge from the Goth movement range from Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. There was lesser known groups as well: Specimen, Christian Death, Xmal Deutschland, The Virgin Prunes, Skeletal Family…etc., etc. You could go in the direction of Alien Sex Fiend, or you entrance yourself in the ethereal/4AD sounds of such bands like Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil. Newer bands from the 1990s and 2000s include Bella Morte, and London After Midnight. Some of the older bands later shed the Goth label, finding commercial success. Others remained underground with small cult followings, most fading into obscurity.

The Danse Society was such a band with the misfortune of later obscurity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Danse_Society

I remember Danse Society fondly. Suppose it was due to the fact that it brings nice memories of being a teen. I was just starting to learn about Alternative music. Plus the lead vocalist (Steve Rawlings) was easy on the eyes. There was a single this band had released titled “Say It Again.” Despite a more peppier sound than their earlier tunes, it was still a good song.

Considering that iTunes has some early Deathrock ditties like “Sex Beat” available, you would think “Say It Again” would be as well. No such luck. In fact, iTunes has two albums for purchase: the 1986 album “Looking Through” and the 2001 compilation “Seduction.” However missing was the later single “Say It Again.” Sigh….somehow this is typical of iTunes.

So once again we turn to that modern phenomenon called YouTube. This was the best copy of the promotional video I could find:

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