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Scene from The Armory Show, March 2020. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

The last fair I hit up during NY Art Week was the motherload of them all – The Armory Show. For those who don’t know, The Armory Show is kinda-sorta a big deal in the fine art scene.

This was also the very last large scale event I attended before NYC was gripped with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Like everyone else, I’m on edge. Here’s some observations about the art fairs attended in regards to Covid19. Tiny precautions were taken at VOLTA NY, no precautions were seen at all during Art On Paper, and there were a few attendees who wore protective gear at The Armory Show. Some were seen wearing the disposable surgical masks. One stylist lady had on both googles and the blue disposable mask, complete with high heels.

The tone at The Armory Show was slightly quieter, maybe a little sober. It was on a Saturday night, but absolutely more serious and upscale than the other two fairs combined.

Meet my Betsey Johnson backpack. I’ve named it Bobby Matsumoto. Photo taken at The Armory Show, March 2020.

At one part I did participate in a photographer’s project. Stepped into a booth, where the photographer was taking Polaroids of fair attendees. He kept the one he took of me. Never had a chance to see it, because the Polaroid was still being developed. The guy did take one pic of my backpack, at my request. That photo he wasn’t too keen to keep, so it’s my memento of The Armory Show.

Becoming tired, I decided this would be my last art fair that weekend. Without further ado, here’s the rest of the photos from The Armory Show 2020.

Scenes from The Armory Show, March 2020. Photo by Michele Witchipoo
Scenes from The Armory Show, March 2020. Photo by Michele Witchipoo

Hope you enjoyed this post. This wraps up the three part series.

Fingers crossed for next year.

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Next Thursday will be the closing party at SAGE Restaurant for the group art exhibit. The opening party last month was very successful. I have two pieces on display as part of the show. Come check it out, Feb. 27th, 2020.

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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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Tomorrow night will be the opening of another art exhibit. This one is a group art show, and I’ll have two pieces in the show. The opening party hours are from 8-10 pm at SAGE restaurant, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The restaurant has an art gallery in the back.

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From the Facebook invite: Ringing in the new year with some Killer artwork from some of the best artist New York has to offer.

“The Walls of SAGE”
is a group show featuring artwork and Photography
from these talented artists.

SELF INDULGENCE
CRYSTAL LANTIGUA
SUBTEXTURE
MICHAEL DIETRICH
ANTHONY WHITE
MICHELE WITCHIPOO
J LAWRENCE BRANDT
KELLY BARBIERI
ZERO
JOHNNY V
BRETT WINGATE
STEFANIE GIERS
ROBERT BARRY
SOL
DARRYL LAVARE
VINNIE LI

Come down and have a drink and some great THAI food while you check out some amazing artwork & photography.

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Back in July 2019, I was invited by co-curator Tim Gowan. It was an honor to give a talk discussing my work among other talented artists.

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The Trans-Cen-Der Art Group (TAG) is a networking and creative development community which through a monthly lecture series, provides artists a supportive place to share work, receive feedback and form creative opinions. The goal of Trans-Cen-Der is to support, strengthen, and enjoy the fellowship of artists. You can find out more about Trans-Cen-Der by checking out the Facebook page.

Trans-Cen-Der is held monthly Brooklyn Fire Proof, located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. The lecture series is curated by artists Tim Gowan and Sharilyn Neidhardt. Tim Gowan also recently help put together the first annual Ridgewood Open Studios.

For July, the artists presenting were: Ethan Boisvert, Drew Droege, Klay-James Enos, Kerry Law, Evan Peltzman, and myself, Michele Witchipoo.

Below is a few photos artist Danielle Draik was kind enough to take and share.

Anyone interested in attending any of the lectures, you can check out Trans-Cen-Der on Facebook or Instagram.

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Another busy week. Just taking a quick break to tell everyone about my radio show. It’s on every Friday on WHCSradio.org from 1-2pm EST (NYC time). It’s where I interview pros from the comic book industry. You can also listen to the radio show on WHCSradio’s channel on Spotify.

Last week I had on Marc Torres, radio station and podcast host of It Came From The Radio. Good times. This week, Friday Nov. 22, 2019, will be a repeat of some interviews previously broadcast. Reason for the repeat is that there was some snafus during the original episode. Hopefully the repeat should fix everything.

Bear it mind, the interviews with Diane Noomin and Jamie Hernandez weren’t the greatest. These were on the spot interviews, and I didn’t have time to properly prepare any researched questions. So that’s on me. However, Diane and Jamie were extremely kind enough to consent to these interviews. Especially since they are both legends in the underground/alternative comic book scene.

The last interview with E.J. Barnes, Cambridge based historical cartoonist, fared better. All three of these interviews were conducted during the weekend of MICE 2019. The timing was perfect, since it was MICE’s 10th anniversary. Next door to MICE was the first annual Podtales convention. Both of these cons took place at Lesley University.

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So due to tomorrow, streaming live. Other cartoonists and other pros to be be announced! There will be no episodes during Thanksgiving weekend, but on Dec. 6th, Boston cartoonist Maria Photinakis will be be in the studio live.

A big thanks to everyone involved.

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Two weekends ago was the annual Bushwick Open Studios. Since it’s inception, it’s become a big deal in the NYC art scene. Not as huge as getting a VIP pass to The Armory Show during NYC Art Week, but you get the idea.

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Although it was late September, the temperatures still felt like summer beach weather. Which made it perfect of House of Yes‘ block party. House of Yes had parties both outdoors and indoors, waving its admission fee as a thank you to the community.

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I didn’t have much time this year to check out a majority of the studios or events, but I managed to cram a little bit in. It should be noted that this upcoming weekend, it’s not only New York Comic Con 2019 (NYCC) but also the first year for Ridgewood Open Studios, the next door neighbor of Bushwick, Brooklyn. I have a Pro pass for both NYCC and a painting at Lorimoto Gallery, located in where else – Ridgewood, Queens. Lorimoto Gallery is having a group art show with local Ridgewood artists.

Here’s a few photos from the House of Yes party. Since it still felt like summer, I was thankful that the club had the AC on inside.

Back outdoors, there was drag/performance art. (IG: @only_atnight)

Walking around the immediate Jefferson Street area, I went up the stairs to a former factory space, now used as artists studios. Many of them welcomed the public.

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Walking around back outside, this sighting reminded me of footage from the 1960s. When Hippies traveled around in discarded, then refurbished school buses:

Last stop on the one day BOS tour:

Here’s some street art, dated September 2019:

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Till next year.

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https://hyperallergic.com/518718/9-highlights-from-bushwick-open-studios-2019/

https://patch.com/new-york/bushwick/bushwick-open-studios-what-you-need-know

https://hyperallergic.com/518278/bushwick-open-studios-2019/

https://fineartshippers.com/getting-ready-for-bushwick-open-studios-2019/

*Any artist who wants their work credited, please email me: Witchipoo@witchesbrewpress.net. My apologizes if I missed your name.

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So Brooklyn Open Studios just passed – and I was very lucky to be part of a group show, if you read the post prior to this. Now there’s going to be the first annual Ridgewood Open Studios. While Ridgewood, Queens is close to the Bushwick, Brooklyn border, it was about time for Ridgewood to stand out on its own. You can check out the website here.

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Flyer for Ridgewood Open Studios, Oct. 4 – 9th, 2019.

Yours truly will have a painting up in a group art exhibit created just for Ridgewood Open Studios, at Lorimoto Gallery. You can also follow them on Instagram.

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You can read an article about the upcoming event here.

See you there. My report on Bushwick Open Studio forthcoming.

Ridgewood Open Studio website

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If you’re in the NYC, and want to start your Labor Day weekend right, then check out this event out. It’s the closing party for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Showcasing work by various artists. I have a painting of Dr. Frank-n-Futer in this exhibit.

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Dr. Frank-N-Futer painting by Michele Witchipoo. On display and sale at MF Gallery. Aug. 2019.

The closing party is tonight, from 2pm – 10pm. Brooklyn, NY. Film showing, costumes, tattoos and beer. Most important, buy the art! See you there.

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Artist Michele Witchipoo in front of her painting of Dr. Frank-n-Futer. MF Gallery. August 2019. Rocky Horror Picture Show art tribute.

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Pardon the short notice. If you’re in the NYC area, particularly Bushwick, Brooklyn, then check out the monthly Trans-Cen-Der events at Brooklyn Fire Proof. Artists of all mediums and media show slides of their work. Then give a quick talk. I’m among one of the five artists this round. Admission is free, but seating is limited. The event runs from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Trans-Cen-Der is hosted and co-curated by artist Tim Gowan.

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