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Back on November 1st, 2019, I finally had the chance to see Marc Almond live.

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Through the years, Marc Almond has always been one of my favorite performers. Like many others, I was introduced to him through Soft Cell. I was in my adolescence when Soft Cell’s version of Tainted Love hit the charts. In my late teens, someone passed on their copy of Non-Stop Caberet to my vinyl collection. That’s when I discovered the true essence of Soft Cell.

While Tainted Love was Soft Cell’s biggest hit, the band was so much more than a Northern Soul cover. The tune Tainted Love has it’s own history separate from Soft Cell. The original version was written by Ed Cobb, and sung by Gloria Jones back in 1965. Jones later re-recorded the song in 1976.  She became romantically involved with Marc Bolan from the ’70s Glam rock band T. Rex. Her and Bolan had a child together, Rolan Bolan, born in 1975. From 1981 onward, Tainted Love is best known as part of the Soft Cell collection. The single has continued to be covered. The most notable covers since Soft Cell were from Coil in 1985, and in 2001 by Marilyn Manson.

Perhaps when I have time, I’ll do a blog post focusing just on Tainted Love itself.

Back to Soft Cell. Soon after listening to Non-Stop Caberet and the following E.P. Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing, I acquired the band’s other albums: The Art of Falling Apart and This Last Night in Sodom.  Soft Cell broke up in 1984. Marc and his band mate David Ball didn’t get back together until 2002, releasing their final album Cruelty Without Beauty. In 2018, Soft Cell got together one final time. They did a sold out concert at London’s O2 venue. With that, I figured that was that. Marc Almond mostly plays in Europe. I had Marc himself back in 1988. He was doing a signing at a local NYC record shop called *Vinylmania. It was promotion for his solo album Stars We Are, a brilliant album that still holds up to this day.  However, I was under the impression that to see Marc live, I would eventually travel to Europe. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s just not within my current budget. From time to time, I would curse myself for not catching any of his other past U.S. live appearances. Then during the late summer of 2019, a bit of news bleeped on my social media radar. Learned through Instagram that Marc Almond was doing a brief U.S. tour in junction with Lethal Amounts, a fashion, art and club collective from Los Angeles, California. As I was riding a local bus in Queens with cell in hand, I noticed the link for pre-sale tickets.

Click.

Fast forward to November 1st, 2019. I’d been looking forward to this show for a few months. The venue, Brooklyn Bazaar was on it’s last legs, apparent by the broken hand rail by the stairs and the worn carpets. Regardless, excitement could be felt, for the event was completely sold out. It was standing room only. Barely any room to stand, never mind walk. As I was squeezing through the crowd, I spotted artist and musician Anohni, (formerly Antony Hegarty, from Antony and The Johnsons). That shouldn’t been no surprise. Anohni always mentioned how much Marc had been influential with her own work. Over the years, her and Marc have collaborated on songs, together with David Tibet’s Current 93, and with the annual Meltdown festival back in August 2012.

After the brief opening act of Amanda LePore, (Check out the song Champagne) Marc took the stage with guitarist Neal X, formerly of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Throughout the night, Marc did all the songs I’ve always loved throughout his career. He even performed tunes from his Marc and The Mambas era – my absolute favorite. Marc and The Mambas is right at the top spot, with Soft Cell, and then his album Stars We Are following. Oh, and yes, he did that cover of the Jacques Brel ditty Jackie.

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Marc Almond performs at Brooklyn Bazaar, Nov. 1st, 2019.

That’s one of the amazing things about Marc Almond. The versatility throughout his career. How he can easily have one foot in classic pop, and another foot in the avant-garde. Not many can accomplish this feat, but Marc makes it look so easy. A mark of a true artist is how the artist can constantly reinvent. It’s genius, really.

Oh, and yes, he did all the Soft Cell classics. Marc did each and every Soft Cell song that I’ve had on constant rotation: Numbers, Heat, Sex Dwarf, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, and Torch, (the one with Cindy Ecstasy doing background vocals). To answer your question, yes he did Tainted Love. The same song that introduced me to Marc during my adolescence has now become my least favorite song in his catalog. Only because it’s been played so much over the years. Familiarly breeds contempt. It’s very similar to how everyone loves Karma Chameleon by Culture Club – but as a Boy George fan myself, I usually pass. But if you put on Marc and The Mambas, now you’re talking. That’s just me.

Afterwards, Hercules & Love Affair did a DJ set, but I didn’t stick around too long. Did a rare purchase of a concert tee – Marc Almond with the Sex Cells logo. It’s a shirt I’ll be proud to wear for years to come. Just like I used to have Marc’s autobiography until the book got damaged.

Anyway, thank you Marc for performing an awesome set that night. (Despite the crappy sound mixing from Brooklyn Bazaar.) When I eventually do visit Europe, hopefully I’ll get to see Marc live again. In the meantime, I did this quick sketch in Marc’s honor.

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Portrait of Marc Almond. Pen and ink. Michele Witchipoo. Done in Jan. 2020.

(*Editor’s note: Vinylmania had two stores on Carmine Street, West Village area in NYC. One was dedicated to House music. The other store dealt with Pop and imports. Vinylmania was where I brought one of my first ever ‘Goth’ records – a 12 inch of the Bauhaus single Bela Lugosi Is Dead. NYC record stores of yesteryear would make another good blog post.

(** Editor’s note: For all the Soft Cell fans, you can also check out my other two blog post on Cindy Ecstasy, originally posted May 2012. For those into Marc and The Mambas, you can check out this post dated April 2012.)

 

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One of the good things about 2018 was the amount of concerts attended. I had the good fortune to get free tickets. Not sure how long this luck will go on, but every minute was thoroughly enjoyed. A friend took me to see Melvins, Mac Sabbath, Slayer, and Royal Thunder (with local Philadelphia band Heavy Temple opening). Won tickets to see Judas Priest and Deep Purple over at Jones Beach, then that burlesque tribute to Led Zeppelin a few weeks later. In between I saw Anvil, Clan of Xymox, Robert Plant, CAKE, and a few others.

While I was this close to catching Ministry live, instead I was given tickets to two concerts happening over at the St. George Theater. Not many people outside of Staten Island know about this outer borough venue.

First of all, when one lives in NYC, Staten Island is kinda-sorta considered the “forgotten borough.” Everyone talks about Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and even Queens. Queens being the borough I live in. Staten Island however, hardly shows up on the radar.

Don’t count out Staten Island however. Within this overlooked borough contains some hidden gems. For starters, you can board the Staten Island ferry for free. Once boardedm one can purchase some cheap beer for the duration of the ride. Cash only, please. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

Once the ferry hits St. George Terminal, the fun doesn’t end there. Only a few blocks away is the landmark venue which went into renovated starting in 2004. If you’re a fan of old architecture, particularly from the vaudeville circuit, then you will appreciate this establishment. The theater itself was designed in Spanish and Italian Baroque revival style interior. It’s original intention was to be a movie palace, popular during from 1900s to 1940s. The Art Deco and Egyptian revival styles was particularly majestic. Like the Drive-Ins, these movie palaces started to decline after the end of World War II, and the arrival of television. During the 1970s, a few of these movie palaces began to show porn to avoid closure.

 Luckily the St. George theater was spared from the wrecking ball. It’s currently under non profit status as it was reborn as a concert venue. It also has schedule of classic films to be shown on the big screen.

Having been curious about the St. George theater since Todd Rundgren played there, I finally had a chance to check it out on October 20th, 2018. It was to see a concert by ’80s Alternative legends The Psychedelic Furs. I already saw them during their height of their popularity sometime during the mid-80s. Figured seeing them again decades later in 2018 was a perfect excuse to visit the venue.

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Going to see the Psychedelic Furs reminded me of why I fell in love with music in the first place. In 2018 was the opportunity to catch many Metal concerts. 2018 was a Metal kind of year. However. My first love will always been anything Post-Punk, New Wave, ’80s Goth, classic Punk or ’80s Alternative. Seeing the Furs live was the reminder I needed. Accompanying me was my friend Kitty Hawke, a member of the NYC Goth band Night Gallery. She had also seen the Furs live back in the ’80s.

 

 

We had time to kill, so we checked out the local (female owned) comic book store Hypno-Tronic. Soon it was time to catch the gig. We were not disappointed. Our seats were floor orchestra – yes! Basically the Furs did all their greatest hits. Songs like “Pretty In Pink”, “Ghost In You”, “Heaven”, and “President’s Gas.” The encore was an awesome rendition of the song “India” from their first album.

Afterward the concert we walked around the venue checking out the interior. There were a few Halloween decorations up for display.

 

 

Exactly two months after the Psychedelic Furs was a chance to see another concert at St. George. It was Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes, with David Johansen opening. Okay, straight up. I only went for two reasons. One, to see David Johansen live. Second, to see the St. George theater during the holiday season. Not that I have anything against Southside Johnny. I was just never into that Bruce Springsteen/South Jersey sound. Not my thing.

Arrived at the St. George theater just in time as David Johansen began his set. For those who don’t know, David Johansen was the singer of the proto-Punk/Glam band The New York Dolls. Later on, he reinvented himself as Buster Pointdexter with the pop hit “Hot Hot Hot.” Back in 2006 to 2011, the NY Dolls reunited thanks to Morrissey. Never had a chance to see any of the Dolls’ reunion gigs. Had to settle for the documentary about Arthur Kane as seen on Amazon Prime. So the St. George show was the next best thing.

 

 

For the record, he only did one NY Dolls song. Lonely Planet Boy. Which was okay, it was to be expected. David did a great cover of that Erma Franklin song “Piece of My Heart” but we all know Janis Joplin’s version. Other tunes from the set list included Frenchette and Mannish Boy, a Muddy Waters cover.

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The majority of the audience was there to see Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes. I wasn’t feeling this crowd at all. It was the most suburban environment I’d been in a long time. Bad news. There was a guy sitting a few seats away from me sporting a vintage plaid suit, but after David Johansen was done, he hightailed it. As for myself, I wore a black sweater, a loose light colored blush velvet top, black pants and Doc Martin boots. Looking respectable. Meanwhile, I had grandma sitting behind me, giving me silent stink-eye thanks to my blue hair. She glared at me, looking at me as if to say “what are YOU doing here!?!” You think after years of post-feminism, ladies would stop at being unnecessarily catty. I’m ignoring her, minding my own business. Then Negative Nancy tapped my shoulder in very nasty manner. She demanded that my cell be turned away from her. Geez. What did I do to her? Even though I wasn’t even using the smartphone. You know, like what everyone else normally does at shows nowadays, which is tape the entire concert instead of actually watching. She was using any excuse to be a hater. Then she gossiped loudly with her friend. Welcome to the Trump era.

The way the last three months of 2018 was going, this was no surprise.

The lady’s behavior did throw me off a bit with her attitude. All year, and this was the only truly bad experience with my 2018 concerts.

It’s okay. In-between bands, I pretended to to rest my head on my cellphone case, as I silently but slowly turned my cell around so the cover could face her. It was a Rip n Dip design. The one with the cat giving you the middle finger. You’re welcome.

I had a much better time at the Psychedelic Furs gig. Knew I should’ve worn my Junji Ito shirt. Because everyone should have at least one offensive shirt in their wardrobe. For occasions like I just described. For the record, I own a few.

Despite grandma having her Geritol moment, the set by Southside Johnny was decent. They’re fine musicians. Just not my cup of tea. The audience loved them though. Their encore was their biggest hit “Having A Party.”

After the show was over, again I walked around taking photos of the venue. One of the two reasons why I showed up.

 

 

Heading towards back to Manhattan, I met three ladies dressed like holiday fairies. It was perfect for the winter solstice. They were also much, much nicer than Geritol lady. Next time I shall hang out with them.

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Two weeks ago, I landed two free tickets to see Robert Plant in concert. The venue was nearby where I live in Queens, NY., at Forest Hills Stadium. My musical tastes usually runs towards more other genres, such as Post Punk, Punk, New Wave, Goth, Industrial, Experimental, etc. However, my very first exposure to music was when classic rock ruled the airwaves. Way back when, it was WPLJ and WNEW, both on FM radio that had exposed me to Rock music. So it was only natural that I progressed from ’70s Disco to listening to bands like, Queen or Led Zeppelin. The very first ‘Rock’ song I was exposed to was Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” So in a sense, these bands were a part of my transition from childhood to adolescence. That wasn’t to last long since the U.S. was just entering the 1980s. It’s very obvious I am a product of the ’80s. Soon I became a fan of groups like The B-52s, Devo, Duran Duran, Culture Club, then later The Smiths, The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees, etc. As the ’80s evolved, radio formats changed as well. Just as well.

So that day I’m walking through the land of Peter Parker. Saw this Ramones mural underneath the Long Island Railroad.

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Street mural of The Ramones in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Met up with my friend, entering the venue. Fell in love immediately with Forest Hills stadium. For free tickets, our seats weren’t that bad. We sat through opening act Sheryl Crow. My friend was more into Sheryl Crow than me. Never cared for her music, but she was good live.

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Sheryl Crow opening for Robert Plant at Forest Hills Stadium, June 13th, 2018. Crappy photo by Michele Witchipoo.

As the sun began to transition into night, Robert Plant took the stage.  What threw me for a surprise was he actually did not just one, but four Led Zeppelin songs. I was only expecting maybe one, perhaps something acoustic. This review on Brooklyn Vegan was pretty spot on.

Since that show I’ve been a minor Led Zeppelin kick. Which got me Googling links regarding Led Zeppelin and their association with the occult. It’s known that Jimmy Page brought Boleskine House, a former residence of Aleister CrowleyPage was so immersed with Crowley and Thelema, the first printing of Led Zeppelin ‘Led Zeppelin III’ has ‘do what thou wilt’ stamped on the vinyl. Robert Plant himself always had a fascination with Celtic folklore. The most famous Led Zeppelin song ‘Stairway To Heaven’ was slightly by occult researcher Lewis Spence.

Then there’s the urban legend that three out of the four Led Zeppelin members made a pact with the devil. Which started to bring bad luck upon the band. That’s just a rumor.

Yet curiously Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones did a collaboration with Avant-garde opera singer Diamanda Galas. It was released in 1994.

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Which finally leads us to the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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Psycho Bunny does Robert Plant and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. June 2018.

Now for the social media quips.

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.

 

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Sunday March 11th, 2018. After attending the Art On Paper fair during the last day of NY Art Week, my friend had an extra ticket for a concert. It was The Little Mermen, Galactic Empire and the headliners, Mac Sabbath, happening over at Brooklyn Bazaar.

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The concert was amazing. Here’s some photos of the two opening bands.

Then of course, here’s two badly taken photos of Mac Sabbath before my cellphone ran out of battery juice.

So now I’m a Mac Sabbath fan for life. Quite frankly, I thought Mac Sabbath was better live than Black Sabbath themselves. When I saw Black Sabbath in concert in 2001 on the Ozzfest line-up, I wasn’t impressed. Mac Sabbath on the other hand was brilliant. If Metal parodies about fast food is your thing.

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Now I have classic Sabbath songs stuck in my head. Only like the very early stuff right up until Ozzy left and Dio replaced him. In turn, this influenced the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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The Psycho Bunny sketch of the week for Monday March 19 2018. Psycho Bunny does Black Sabbath. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. 

Now that I still have your attention, there’s a few social media links you can follow. On Facebook there’s Psycho Bunny Comix and Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress. On Twitter there’s own my account  and one for Mr. Psycho Bunny. On Instagram there’s WitchipooArt. Till next time folks.

 

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It’s been almost a month since the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show. Only getting around to reviewing the event on June 8th because I’ve been so busy. Despite the MTA doing it’s usual service work, shutting down subway lines for the weekend, having shuttles, etc., it was still a pretty good show. I sold some old issues of my Psycho Bunny comic. Everyone exhibited awesome art and photography while bands played on the stage. Downtown writer legend Jennifer Blowdryer came down to show her support for everyone. So in all, a jolly time was had by all.

Here’s some photos from that night. Thanks to local photographer Geraud P. Kraezik.  (You can check out his photos at gekaart.com)

The Will at Don Perdo, Brooklyn NY, June 8th 2013. Photo by Géraud P. Krawezik.

The Will at Don Perdo, Brooklyn NY, June 8th 2013. Photo by Géraud P. Krawezik.

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Skum City at Don Perdo, Brooklyn NY, June 8th 2013. Photo by Géraud P. Krawezik.

Jones Crusher at Don Perdo, Brooklyn NY, June 8th 2013. Photo by Géraud P. Krawezik.

Jones Crusher at Don Perdo, Brooklyn NY, June 8th 2013. Photo by Géraud P. Krawezik.

Of course I took plenty of photos of my own. Forgot my digital camera, so my outdated cell had to do. Oh, and naturally I forgot to take photos of the artwork I had for display. Genius. They were the large scale ink and pen Prometheus pieces I had shown twice last summer. They were seen at the Bushwick Open Studio 2012, and in Ridgewood, Queens at the Hi-5 horror art show. Below is photo taken last year.

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Two pieces from the Prometheus series by Michele Witchipoo. Summer 2012. Pen, and ink.

Here’s what my table looked like during the Nightmare night, complete with Psycho Bunny’s mini alcohol bottles. You can always order my comics and art through my website: http://witchesbrewpress.com/

Display for Michele Witchipoo at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Display for Michele Witchipoo at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY. Paintings of Psycho Bunny, Shitty Mickey and Black Rabbit.

Display for Michele Witchipoo at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Display for Michele Witchipoo at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY. Paintings of Psycho Bunny and Shitty Mickey.

I met this really neat lady who goes by the name of Jackie Hates You. Not only does she create these awesome paintings, but she has this Esty shop as well. I love her jewelry, and you should as well.

Paintings by Jackie Hates You. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Paintings by Jackie Hates You. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Paintings by Jackie Hates You. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Paintings by Jackie Hates You. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Here’s a pic of work by Our Perpetual Lady of PMS.

Art by Our Perpetual Lady of PMS. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Art by Our Perpetual Lady of PMS. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Finally, here’s a photo of a photo I took. Gerauld P. Kraezik displayed his previous pics while shooting new ones throughout the night. Here’s one of the Greek Punk band Barb Wire Dolls.

Photo of Greek band Barb Wire Dolls by Géraud P. Krawezik. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

Photo of Greek band Barb Wire Dolls by Géraud P. Krawezik. Exhibited at the Welcome To My Nightmare VIII show June 8th, 2013. Don Pedro, Brooklyn NY.

There were other bands and artists not mentioned, but in all everyone enjoyed themselves. This show along with MoCCA Fest 2013 reminded me that I should go back to creating new work. It’s been so busy with school and whatnot. Now that school’s over, I can get back to doing what I truly love.

Welcome To My Nghtmare Flyer. Spring 2013.

Welcome To My Nghtmare Flyer. Spring 2013.

Thanks to Xtene for putting this show together.

Links:

http://witchesbrewpress.com/

http://jackiehatesyou.com/

http://www.gekaart.com/

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Morning folks. Here’s the updated flyer for the Welcome To My Nightmare V show:

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Updated flyer for the Welcome To My Nightmare 5 event.

The show will be held on Saturday, March 26th, 2011. Locations: The Lake, 258 Johnson Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11206. Admission $7.00, all ages.

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Next month I’m going to be showing my artwork at the fifth semi-annual “Welcome To My Nightmare” event. My art/illustration will be on exhibit along with other artists and bands:

Flyer for Welcome To My Nightmare V show, March 2011

See you there!

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