He makes beautiful, funny typographic additions to found oil paintings, he designed sets and puppets for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, he art-directed the Smashing Pumpkins’ gorgeous, Georges Méliès-inspired “Tonight, Tonight” video, and he generally embodies the kind of artist that I want to be.
And now Wayne White is the subject of a documentary entitled “Beauty is Embarrassing”, which is premiering at SXSW 2012. Here’s the trailer:
I want to watch this film with all of my heart and soul. (And also my eyeballs.)
I saw these doorways on the subway at the 4th and 9th streets in Brooklyn – with layers and layers of paint chipped away so that workmen could get to the padlocks holding them shut. I thought they were just breathtaking, like a micro-geologic event in slow-motion action. The paint looks like steppes or a canyon slowly eroded by wind and time, doesn’t it? Kinda like another planet where people have to hike down those paint layer steppes into this treacherous valley with a gigantic ceremonial padlock in the center, like some sort of ancient alien ship.
And like, every million years a giant hand yanks the ship away and rips the planet apart, shaking everyone off to drift into their deaths in the cold wilds of the outer atmosphere.
In case you were wondering, I was, in fact, late to my destination. And yes, I do find psychedelic drugs to be redundant. Enjoy the pics:
Spotted on the blog for the in-production Sign Painter Movie (which I am really looking forward to seeing), this was done by self-taught sign painter Marjory Garrison, who uses her large windows at home to practice her technique.
I’ve been falling more and more in love with the art and craft of sign painting, and I latched onto this piece in particular because it’s a great reminder that… it is okay. And if it’s not right now, it will be.
I’ve been taking a letterpress class at Cooper Union, and Jeff recently tweeted something that I thought deserved memorializing in type and ink.
So last night, I grabbed a few fonts of wood type and locked up the form on one of the Vandercook SP-15 presses:
I hand-inked the type with brayers rather than inking the press rollers, so I could print two colors simultaneously and easily change colors later. After some trial and error with ink amounts and pressure, I pulled the first decent test print:
And a while later, I had a small edition of posters in four different color schemes:
It was a really fun exercise. For those of you unfamiliar with the process of letterpress printing, check out the sweet little video below. And if you’re near Brooklyn, be sure to check out The Arm for letterpress classes, or to book press time if you already have letterpress experience and just want to make some things.
So it’s the night before our And I Am Not Lying – Live show in Philadelphia, and I’m antsy. We’re bringing this storytelling, comedy and burlesque gig to L’etage tomorrow night and I’m really hoping that folks turn out.
Brad, Cyndi, ****** and I all met as regulars at story slams with The Moth in New York. Brad and ****** have won their share of Grand Slams, and Brad, ****** and I have all appeared on the Moth’s podcast. I was on This American Life a while back, and was featured on The Moth’s Radio Hour recently, too. Cyndi’s an accomplished storyteller fresh off her show “Wonder Woman: A How-To Guide for Little Jewish Girls.”
And just last week, we added Philadelphia comedian Doogie Horner to the bill, too.
I’m pretty stoked to meet him – the guy is really funny! In addition to performing on America’s Got Talent (I know), he’s a graphic designer by day — and actually designed the cover to “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
I may be bugging out a little bit. I may be bugging out a lot, I don’t know. I’ve got absolutely no sort of benchmark for this tingle arcing from my brain to my gut along my skeleton. Maybe if your skull could have a couple fillings in it and then chew on a ball of tinfoil the size of your brain you’d feel this way all the time — it might feel like that.
All I know is that we’re bringing the And I Am Not Lying experience out to Philadelphia and Washington, DC next week and I’m both thrilled and terrified. What I’m terrified of, exactly, I have no idea. Maybe that nobody will come, or that EVERYBODY will come and my brain will restart onstage. It’s happened before.
But honestly, I don’t think it’s going to happen again. I’m so excited to be doing a mini-tour (or at least two out-of-town gigs) that it’s going to go fine as long as I only have two drinks ahead of time. Three drinks and my accent comes out so hard that grits fly out of my mouth while I immolate in a blinding white flame of AWESOME.
The show in Philadelphia is at L’etage on Sunday, November the 6th. Doors are at 7:30, show’s at 8. It’s $12 at the door.
Here’s a pretty cool trailer for the Philadelphia show:
If you’re new here, the show is this: storytelling by Brad Lawrence, Jeff Simmermon, Cyndi Freeman and in Philadelphia, the tiny legend that is ******. We’ll also have a few burlesque acts by Cyndi Freeman and Runaround Sue — and a comedy set by Philadelphia’s own Doogie Horner. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s a lot of talk about stopping childhood bullying online and on TV these days. Good, I say. I got bullied pretty badly when I was a kid, and I’m glad to hear that people want to put a stop to that kind of a thing. But on the other hand, you can’t stop rampant assholery. It’s a big brown glacier that just creeps across humanity, and it’s going to come out and express itself in some other weird way.
At least you’re allowed to punch a bully right in the face.
When my family lived in the DC suburbs in the early ’80s, it was pretty bad. I got beat up a lot and I was pretty scared to leave my house. My family was tremendously loving, and I had a dog that was my best friend in the world. But once I left the yard it was like a movie about Vietnam directed by Todd Solondz.
Nobody ever talks about this, though: a lot of times, the kids that are getting bullied get pretty mean, too. Being and underdog and a good guy are not the same thing.
I told this story at the And I Am Not Lying live show at Union Hall back on October 5th. It goes long, but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. I tried to compress it to a tight 5 minutes for a Moth Grand Slam last week and it was a stunning failure. I got more nervous than I’ve ever been in my life, skipped parts and just blacked out completely on my feet. It wasn’t booze-related, just flop-terror. I came to a few seconds later, literally standing in front of several hundred people who were looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to say something intelligible into a microphone.
A lot of people have that experience as a nightmare.
I hope you guys enjoy my telling of this story more than I did teliing it the other night, anyway.
I’d be lying if I said I knew Runaround Sue very well. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t a huge fan. She’s a burlesque performer here in New York and all over the place, including Richmond, VA and a lot of other states and countries. She’s a mystery lady, a sweet enigma that sometimes lives with Cyndi and Brad and sometimes coalesces in the back of used bookstores in Manhattan.
That’s where I keep running into her.
When she performed at our show at Union Hall in Brooklyn, she brought a terrifying heat. She grunted and yelped and when she beat the floor with her breakaway dress and the kind of bra that can NEVER come off fast enough, she did it with an intensity that you just kinda recognize after a while. It’s one part Cramps and one part playground and one hundred percent the spirit of ROCK.
She’s going to be performing with us in Philadelphia and Washington, DC in the very beginning of November. Which is, sweet JESUS, next week!
And to get a taste of what kind of an act Runaround Sue has, watch the video below. Tassels and their contents do fly freely here, so it may not be safe for work:
Wasn’t that just wonderful? My family’s minister reads this blog. He’s pretty great that way, to be honest, and I’m glad to consider him a friend. I’m also glad that maybe Sue and I made him sweat a little much.
On Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011, I am going to be performing along with my troupe of storytellers and burlesque performers at the Black Cat in Washington, DC.
It’s going to be me (Jeff Simmermon) as a storyteller, along with And I Am Not Lying members Cyndi Freeman and Brad Lawrence, along with additional burlesque by Runaround Sue and Cyndi Freeman as Cherry Pitz. Tickets are $12, show starts at 8PM.
This is a cool trailer that our generous, warm and talented friend Tracy Rowland cut together for us. If you happen to write a blog or want to shout it out loud on any sort of social platform that you fancy, do please go right ahead:
And I honestly cannot believe that I just standing here in my office, typing this like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
We used to sneak off to the Black Cat in high school and college all the time, to pretty much see everybody. It was the beacon on the hill, the magnet in the big city that produced Bad Brains, Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses and God knows how many other bands — many of which contained my friends that I secretly admired but never told because I was so jealous — and sucked me right up there. I hung out there all the time in the years that I lived in DC, and now I’m thrilled and terrified to be a tiny part of the continuum that made me.
Imagine if you ate at incredible potlucks for your entire life, full of incredible, nourishing delicious everything you could possibly imagine and then found all these new things you didn’t ever know existed but blew your mind apart all the same.
When it comes your turn to put a dish on the table, you just really hope it doesn’t make people barf on the walls, is all I’m saying.
I am nervous enough to barf on the walls right now. I started this blog in Washington, DC as well, and it’s going to be a pretty weird homecoming.
I made this fun little flyer to promote the show, too. Just go right ahead and post that on your social platforms as well:
My grammar isn’t always perfect, but I do okay. When something’s misspelled or written incorrectly, it feels like a string out of tune. Or like hearing bagpipes – in tune or not.
It seems like copy-editors are getting laid off left, right, and center – as though nobody cares anymore. Sure, typos happen when you’re writing and posting fast. And everyone knows what you meant to say. But it’s like giving a big presentation with your fly all the way down. Sure, people know that you meant to put pants on. And your wang is probably still covered. But it still makes a distinct impression.
It looks like a rogue copyeditor took the red Sharpie to this Uniqlo ad on the C train. They just couldn’t take it anymore.