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Posts Tagged ‘post punk’

Trying to get my mind off this Covid-19 pandemic. So today I drew Post-Punk legend Gary Numan.

Quick sketch of Gary Numan. Pen, ink, digital color. Michele Witchipoo. April 2020.

Like everyone else, my introduction to Numan came through his classic album The Pleasure Principle. It’s an album I still play to this day. Mixing dystoptian influences with new wave sounds, Numan had an international hit with the song Cars. Numan is far from being a one note act. He’s also an accomplished aviator. Besides electronic new wave, he’s dipped into experimenting with jazz, funk and rock.

Rare Gary Numan 1997 three song EP. CD design by comic book artist Joseph Michael Lisnser.

One footnote was his 1997 single/E.P. release titled Magic. Comic book artist Joseph Michael Lisnser designed the cover. Lisnser is known for the comic book series Cry For Dawn.

Numan first fortay into the public spotlight was with the band Tubeway Army. After he went solo, the rest is history. Numan is still going strong today, releasing albums and touring. I finally had a chance to see him live in December 2017. Numan and his band performed most of the songs from the album The Pleasure Principle.

Gary Numan live in December 2017. Brooklyn, NY.

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This post might be in bad timing. Especially when the COVID-19 pandemic is in full force over here in the U.S. Then again, perhaps people need some distraction. Regardless. This entry is about Morrissey.

One of the first ‘Post Punk’ bands I was exposed to. I was maybe 14, 15, listening to a program on WNEW-FM. The program focused on (at the time) the latest Alternative music from the U.K. (Might have been the first time I heard Killing Joke as well.) The DJ spun The Smiths‘ classic ‘How Soon Is Now.’ It left an impression. In 1986, I saw The Smiths in concert at Pier 84. Now that I’ve admitted this, you can guess my true age.

Anyway, The Smiths concert was one of the better gigs I saw that year. Throughout my high school years during the ’80s, I owned most of The Smiths albums. In 1991, I had floor seat to Morrissey‘s sold out concert at Madison Square Garden. It was his first U.S. solo tour. I distinctly remember him doing a cover of The Jam’s ‘That’s Entertainment.’

As the ’90s went on, my life changed direction. Got more interested in the later Industrial bands, the Madchester bands from U.K., and had a brief affair with Rave culture. Hadn’t kept up with Morrissey too much. Although my Welsh friend did inform me about how Morrissey was slagged in the British press for a few things he said. Now thanks to social media, some of Morrissey’s views got the U.S. spotlight. Of course, in the age of ‘Cancel’ culture, people online were blasting Moz. Cancellations of his own shows weren’t helping either. Figuring I was content to coast on Smith memories, the last thing I expected was a chance to see Morrissey at one of my favorite venues, Forest Hills Stadium.

As fate would have it, tickets to Morrissey’s Queens gig were sent my way. At first I got razzed by associates for even considering going. But after two conversations over the summer, I decided to attend.

I’m glad I went.

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No, I don’t agree with everything Morrissey says. Yet, I’m not going to deny the influence Morrissey had during my teen years. If it wasn’t for Morrissey, I wouldn’t been introduced to vegetarianism. During The Smiths glory days, Morrissey resonated with the introverts, the forlorn, the misunderstood, the chided. Wearing flowers in his jeans’ back pocket, he would dance onstage wearing NHS issued glasses. He represented the misfits who looked up to luminaries such as Oscar Wilde. The clues were in the iconic sleeve designs.

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Prior to forming The Smiths with guitarist Johnny Marr, Morrissey was a fan, just like you and me. He wrote books about James Dean and The New York Dolls. Morrissey shared his obsessions with poetic abandon. With The Smiths he reached the same adulteration he previously gave.

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Attending the Morrissey concert at Forest Hills Stadium. Queens, NY. Sept. 2019. 

Late summer, early fall 2019. I decided to accept the tickets for Morrissey at Forest Hills Stadium. As a NYC resident living in the borough of Queens, I don’t live far from the venue. What a difference times makes. Growing up in Queens, everyone in my immediate neighborhood knew who BonJovi was, but had never heard of The Smiths. Now Morrissey was slated to play which could be considered my backyard. It was a bit of a weird feeling. Similar to when Culture Club performed at Forest Hills Stadium the year prior. My friend and I made it in time for opening act Interpol’s set. That was after security searched everyone’s bag as we were instructed not to bring any meat inside the venue. This was true. Security at the entrance were searching bags for meat, and making announcements that no animal based dishes would be sold at the concession stand. Occasionally a few security members snickered as they informed the crowd.

The seats my friend and I had weren’t the greatest. Soon after the Interpol set, my friend spotted two associates of hers, who invited us to sit with them. Their seats were center, with a much better view. Since it was the end of the season over at Forest Hills Stadium, security and ushers didn’t seem to care one bit. A lot more chill than the employees were last year. Ironically, no meat was allowed, but the smell of pot lingered everywhere.

Despite what the music press reported in the U.S., (lack of ticket sales) by the time Morrissey got on stage, Forest Hills Stadium was packed. On stage the screen flickered British nostalgia, ranging from ’60s fashion to early U.K. Punk. There were even shots of James Baldwin and Bruce Lee. Those images comforted me. You see, my mother was British, and part of her youth was spent in ’60s England. She passed away in 2015. Seeing those images flickering on the screen was personally appreciated.

Halfway through the concert, I was reminded why I became a Smiths, and a Morrissey fan in the first place. There were sparks of the same intensity Morrissey had way back in 1986, when I saw The Smiths live. The best part was when he performed that one song which introduced me to Morrissey’s world. That same song I heard way back on WNEW-FM, ‘How Soon Is Now?’

It’s still one of my favorite Smiths songs to this day.

Now that it’s March 2020, I don’t regret seeing Morrissey live.

Now that I have some downtime (thanks to COVID-19), I can post this Morrissey sketch. Hand drawn in pen and ink, digital color.

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Morrissey. Illustration by Michele Witchipoo. March 2020. 

 

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Yes, I know. I’m reviewing a show dated way back from August 30th, 2019, in a blog dated February 2020. That’s what happens when you have a life. (Sighs)

Around Labor Day weekend 2019, I got tickets to see The Alarm and Modern English over at the St. George Theater. When I first started to seriously explore Post-Punk and imported music from the U.K., The Alarm was one of the first bands I brought an album of. The vinyl was brought at some shop on West. 8th street during the early to mid-’80s. It was a choice between an Canadian Punk band called D.O.A, or The Alarm. The Alarm won out. Imagine if I had brought that D.O.A. release? Fret not. For a while I attended the CBGB’s Hardcore matinee during its prime, where I saw bands like Government Issue and Corrosion of Conformity perform.

Now that I’ve seriously dated myself, back to The Alarm. While I loved the big hair and Welsh cowboy look, eventually I went further into more underground bands. It wasn’t until I heard The Alarm was playing at the landmark St. George Theater that I realized, I’ve never seen this band live. Looking for an excuse to visit the restored St. George Theater again, I invited my friend along, and off we went.

I’ve mentioned the St. George Theater in other posts. It’s a gorgeous piece of architectural history. First had a chance to check it out when I went to see The Psychedelic Furs for the third time back in 2018. (First time in 1986, second time they were opening for The B-52s and The Go-Gos, back in the early 2000s, somewhere in New Jersey.) It’s not far from the Staten Island ferry either. The venue sits on a cute block that had a bar, a decent Italian restaurant, and a comic book store with an old school collector’s vibe around the corner. (A shout out to HypnoTronic Comics – here’s their Instagram: hypnotroniccomics)

As my friend and I walked towards the venue, we accidentally ran into Mike Peters himself. The front man from The Alarm nodded and said hello to us. That’s when I should’ve known it was going to be a good night.

Usually the St. George Theater books acts for the Geritol or family crowd. That, and the fact that I live in Queens means I visit the venue very often. On the scorecard, two out of the three times I’ve had a good time at the St. George. Psychedelic Furs was great. Buster Pointdexter along with Southside Johnny and The Asbury Dukes, not so much. To be fair, I only went for Buster Pointdexter, aka David Johansen.

The opening act was Gene Loves Jezebel. Wow. Now that’s a band I haven’t heard of in years. I saw the original Gene Loves Jezebel line-up way back in 1986 at The Ritz, where Webster Hall stands now. Gene Loves Jezebel had some good songs back in the day, particularly with ‘Desire.’ The fact that they were good looking brothers didn’t hurt either. Suppose you can say that the Aston brothers could be considered Goth heartthrobs. My second time seeing Gene Loves Jezebel in 2019, it was just Jay Aston with a back-up band. Still just as good.

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Bad photo of Jay Aston with the reformed Gene Loves Jezebel at the St. George Theater, Staten Island, NY. Aug. 30th, 2019. 

After his set, my friend went to the ladies room. She came back to her seat saying Jay Aston was walking around meeting fans. We left our seats and like my friend, I ran into Jay as well. Just like him and his brother were back in 1986, Jay was still such a flirt! The old charm was still there. He even called me ‘beautiful’ even though I didn’t believe it for one second. Maybe if global warming wasn’t in full effect, then I wouldn’t be sweating so much. It was still endearing to see Jay work his natural charm.

A month or two after this gig, I ended up seeing Jay Aston live again. He was performing solo, doing new material. It wasn’t bad at all. He was opening for Theater of Hate and Chameleons Vox (Mark Burgess, from The Chameleons U.K.) over at St. Vitus. If you’re interested in what Jay is doing now, go to his SoundCloud page.

Back to the gig at the St. George. Next up was Modern English. They’re mostly known for that one big hit ‘Melt With You.’ That song was played so much during my youth, I got sick of hearing it. I remember another friend showing me photos of when Modern English first hit American shores, and she had taken back in the ’80s, when they were doing a signing, possibly at Tower Records. Now in 2020, I’m looking at the band behind the concession stand, signing again for fans.

So they get on stage. During the Modern English set, the lead singer, Robbie Gray had moments of that British sarcasm. Like when they played a song from a later album, and he acknowledged that maybe only ten people heard it. Grey quipped some more biting humor when he pointed out that the venue was only half full. He wasn’t wrong.

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Modern English live at the St. George Theater, Staten Island, NY. August 30, 2019. 

Next up was the headliners, The Alarm. By then the theater was a little more than half full. A mixture of fans, and Staten Island residents looking to do something on a Friday night. Despite not being sold out, there was still a bit of excitement in the air.

It also dawned on me that both The Alarm and Jay Aston were from Wales. Some years back, I had done illustrations for books about Welsh history. Plus my good friend lives in Wales. After the concert, my Welsh friend contacted me about The Alarm gig. He wanted to know how the concert went. He went on to explain that Mike Peters and his wife are cancer survivors. Which Peters did bring up during the course of the show.

During a few songs, Mike Peters jumped into the audience. As you can see with the video footage. Security was trying to get people to sit back down, but after all, it’s still a concert. Even if it’s a rock concert playing music from thirty years ago. One audience member kept on defying security, as he was dancing in the aisles during both Modern English and The Alarm. He would be told to sit back down, which he did. Eventually the music came over him, and the guy would start dancing in the aisles again. By this point, most of the locals left, and it was left up to the fans. The fans loved every moment.

The apex of the night was ‘Rain In The Summertime.’ One other guy sitting in orchestra got lost in the tune, and danced away. After that song, my friend simply said “that was epic.” Which it was. It was really an awesome night.

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View from the Staten Island ferry, Aug. 30th, 2019. On the way back to Manhattan. 

I’ll leave you with a sketch or illustration I did of The Alarm during their classic ’80s line-up. Now I can cross off The Alarm off my concert bucket list.

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The Alarm during their classic ’80s lineup. Illustration by Michele Witchipoo, Feb. 2020. 

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Today I left my sketchbook at home. Thought I wouldn’t have time to draw anything. Turns out I was wrong, so here’s a belated blog post instead.

Last month I saw the influential band Killing Joke live on their 40th anniversary tour. It was at Le Poisson Rouge, located in the middle of Manhattan’s West Village area. Killing Joke is still as brilliant live as when I saw them way back at CBGB’s, on August 13th, 1989.

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Opening for Killing Joke was The Pink Slips. A Pop-Punk band hailing from California. The female vocalist, Grace McKagan, is also the daughter of Guns n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan. The band itself was decent live. Grace was full of energy, but it just wasn’t my thing. It had too much of that glam California vibe for my liking. The singer did have great hair though.

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Grace McKagan vocalist of The Pink Slips, opening up for Killing Joke. May 15th, 2019. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

It wasn’t long before it was time for Killing Joke to hit the stage.

The set was songs across the board from the band’s forty years of musical chaos. Of course the ‘Gathering’ loved it. My mood was off-set however, by the distressing news of some reproduction rights in some U.S. states. Kind of prophetic, considering what Killing Joke spoke about through their lyrics over the years. Speaking of which, Jaz Coleman briefly compared events from when Killing Joke first played NYC in 1980, to the current state of world affairs in 2019.

Here’s some videos found on YouTube from that night:

Between the Jaz Coleman spoken word and the concert, I’ve rekindled my love of Killing Joke all over again. Following Le Poisson Rouge, the band played yet another gig across the river. Over at Brooklyn’s very own St. Vitus Bar. The Brooklyn venue was much smaller, making it more intimate.

Now I’ve kicking myself. Since I live closer to St. Vitus than to Le Poisson Rouge, perhaps I should’ve tried harder to get tickets.

It should be noted that the guy who was sloshed the night before at Berlin NYC had his own act together the next evening. Maybe Jaz’s chat with him during intermission during the spoken word gig had an effect. Now he was being the responsible one, taking care of the woman I had sat next during the spoken word gig. Will get to that in a minute.

After the Killing Joke show was over, I was recognized by someone from April’s Ministry/Wax Trax event. It was the older woman who befriended the younger lady with the pink hair. Small world, isn’t it? We had a friendly conversation, comparing bands we liked. As we discussed which concert we were most likely to attend in the upcoming summer, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the blond friend I had seated next to during  Jaz’s spoken word. Now the roles were reversed. She was extremely tipsy. As she was trying to talk to me, her male friend, the one who kept on interrupting Jaz Coleman during the spoken word night was duty-bound. He pardoned himself, as he seemed to be concerned about our mutual friend. The guy took her back home for her safely. As for myself, I tried to haul myself over to East 14th Street. Otto’s Shrunken Head was hosting an after concert party for Killing Joke. Killing Joke member Youth was the special guest DJ. I felt my body become more sluggish. (Youth has become a successful record producer, and has worked with Paul McCarthy) Taking a deep breath, I knew it was time to haul myself back to Queens. Yet as soon as I was waiting for the subway to arrive, a humongous rat almost crawled just inches near my feet. With that I knew I should’ve just taken a breather, and went to Otto’s. I’ve been consoling myself by listening to Killing Joke’s back catalog, and checking out Jaz’s classical music works.

(Also check out this link here.)

Set List from Killing Joke’s Le Poisson Rouge concert, May 2019.

 

 

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Where are my manners? Last week was the birthday of Susan Janet Ballon, best known to the world as Siouxsie Sioux. She turned 61 on May 27th.

Siouxsie and The Banshees was my favorite band during my high school years. Still one of my all time choices actually. Over the years I’ve expanded my music tastes. The other day I played something haven’t listened to in aeons. It was Kiss In The Dreamhouse, their 5th studio album, originally released back in 1982.

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Hardcore fans know about her British television special titled Play At Home, featuring Robert Smith from The Cure. The special was broadcast around the same time as the Kiss In The Dreamhouse album was released.

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Original illustration of Siouxsie Sioux. Hand drawn, pen and ink. Drawn by Michele Witchipoo June 2018.

Again, haven’t drawn her in quite some time. Here’s an illustration started last week. Completed the art tonight, ripe for uploading. Haven’t decided whether to color the piece with watercolor. While I’m deciding, some filters will do nicely.

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Same Siouxsie Sioux illustration, only in red. Drawn by Michele Witchipoo. Pen and ink. June 2018.

 

 

 

 

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Last night I went to another concert. In the past few months I’ve been on a roll, going to live shows for Television, Front 242 and Gary Numan. Last minute a friend had an extra ticket to the sold out event at Brooklyn Bazaar to see Clan of Xymox. Here’s the strange part. I had a suspicion I was going to attend that concert. This was despite the fact I didn’t get advance tickets. Lo and behold, it was meant to be, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Two years ago around this time, my mother started to decline in health. By October 2015, she had passed away. The distraction was welcome indeed.

I’ve been in and out of the Goth subculture since I was 15 years old. My discovery of Gothic was by accident. It was my original intention to explore the ’80s Punk scene, as I was checking out for example, the Hardcore matinee at CBGB’s every Sunday afternoon. There I saw bands like Corrosion Of Conformity and Government Issue. Yes, those were the days. That phase didn’t last long with me. Something about Goth lured me in. As Siouxsie and The Banshees replaced Culture Club as a favorite band, I began to get more curious about anything Deathrock related. Soon I was meeting like minded people as I was attending concerts by The Cure back in 1985. Felt more aligned with other Goth peers than the Punks. Another factor was back in those days, you had to be careful around the hardcore scene. The violence was turning me off. The original Gothic (now known as “traditional” or “old school”) aesthetic was definitely more pleasing to the eye. Propaganda Magazine was another influence. Eventually I focused all my energy towards anything Batcave.

When I was 18 or 19, eventually I got into other genres of music. Which is only natural. Yet it’s like that horribly corny line from the film The Godfather Part III. You know that line when the Michael Corleone character says : ” Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” Which was my case with Goth. I’ve been dipping in and out of the local Goth scene since the late ’90s, but nothing really serious. In 2011 I was inadvertently dragged to a local Goth club party. An American expat from Germany had just came back to the U.S. He was DJing at a local event and wanted some company, which was me. That was my real introduction back towards anything Post-Punk.

So where I am going with this? Good question. Today I’m just typing with a flow of consciousness state of mind. Probably because the Clan of Xymox concert was better than I expected, so it’s still fresh. Then I realized after all these years, I never did a Psycho Bunny sketch where he was Goth. So there you have it.

Here’s the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week for Monday, March 25, 2018.

 

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The Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny goes Goth. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo, printed on WitchesBrewPress. March 25, 2018. 

Now for the usual promotional plugs. I’ve been drilling these links in for sometime. So check them out. On Facebook there’s pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress. On Twitter there’s my own account, and one for Psycho Bunny. World Ov Witchipoo is my Tumblr one. On Instagram there’s WitchipooArt. Oh, and I did start up some traditional Goth blog, but haven’t really kept up with it. It’s last entry was in 2016 when Alan Vega from Suicide passed away. It’s Dark Entries blog on where else, WordPress.

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Next month, Saturday March 28th, 2015 will be the annual Welcome To My Nightmare event. Since 2009, the yearly Welcome To My Nightmare affair has featured underground bands and artists. I’ll be showing and selling my work at this one night event, so be there or be…b-square!

Welcome To My Nightmare X flyer. I will be showing and selling my work, along with other artist and bands.

Welcome To My Nightmare X flyer. I will be showing and selling my work, along with other artist and bands.

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Since early this year, I’ve been working on my photography. Taking one step beyond the beloved Instagram, I like to take the photo imperfections, and blend them into the process.

It all started when my good friend found a working manual film camera for under twenty bucks. He passed the goods onto me. Six months later as a belated birthday present, he also found an old digital camera. Added a bit of Photoshop skills to the mix for that unique look.

Here’s a brief collection of what I’ve taken so far:

Solo drum set from Evangelical Holy Drums, performing at the Space Porn Art Show. Hi-5 Bar & Gallery, located in Ridgewood, Queens NY. August 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Local NYC punk/post-punk band Dust Angel. Performing at the Hi-5 Bar & Gallery, located in Ridgewood, Queens NY. August 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo

Recent photo, taken this past weekend. Local band SuperFunFacePunch performing at Trash Bar, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. September 28th, 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Also taken the same weekend. Gottscheer Hall, located in Ridgewood Queens NY.
Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Necklaces for sale inside the magickal suppy store Enchantments.
September 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

One of the resident cats inside Enchantments, East Village NYC. September 2012. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

More photos to be posted soon.

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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.

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Evangelical Holy Drums playing his set at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, August 3rd, 2012. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo.

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Evangelical Holy Drums playing his set at the Hi-5 Bar and Gallery, August 3rd, 2012. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyNt1L13S_c&feature=youtu.be), 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: http://heyheychante.blogspot.com/2012/08/art-feature-space-porn.html

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

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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.

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