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And I Am Not Lying Live Hurricane Makeup Show at Union Hall

September 28th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

I think that Hurricane Irene’s only real casualty in New York City was the And I Am Not Lying show. I was willing to wade to Union Hall and stand on top of the bar if I had to, but with the MTA shut down, not many folks would have made it. And plus, the place was closed.

But we’re roaring back with a rescheduled show next week on wednesday, October 5th. Here’s an updated poster, show info after the jump …

And I Am Not Lying, Union Hall 10.5.2011

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I’ve Got a Story in Both the Book and Performance of “Post-It Note Diaries,” Illustrated by Arthur Jones

September 23rd, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon
Post-It Note Diaries

If you’ve ever wondered what one of my stories would look like if it were written down on a printed page and accompanied with cool illustrations on Post-It notes, you’re in luck. I’m pretty honored to have a story included in the Post-It Note Diaries, to be released on October 5th by Plume books. The book is a collection of short stories illustrated on Post-It notes by Arthur Jones, featuring notable luminaries like:

Andrew Bird
Arthur Bradford
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Daniel Engber
Jonathan Goldstein
John Hodgman
Starlee Kine
Chuck Klosterman
Laura Krafft
Beth Lisick
Marie Lorenz
David Rakoff
David Rees
Mary Roach
Kristen Schaal
Jeff Simmermon
Andrew Solomon
Hannah Tinti
David Wilcox

The only person on this list that I haven’t heard of is me. It’s a pretty big honor to be included, to be honest.

You can learn more about the book here: The Post-It Note Diaries.
And pre-purchase a copy here: Post-it Note Diaries: 20 Stories of Youthful Abandon, Embarrassing Mishaps, and Everyday Adventure on Amazon.com

This link will show you a sample chapter by John Hodgman.

There’s going to be a release party and show next Tuesday, September 27th at Littlefield in Brooklyn, NYC. Me, Starlee Kine, Andrew Solomon, David Rees, Hannah Tinti, Daniel Engber, David Wilcox, and Arthur Jones will be reading/performing. For tickets and info, check this out: Post-it Note Diaries: Book Release & Reading.

I hope you guys can make it, or at least read a copy of the book. Buy a couple if you want — use ‘em to hold up the short leg on your couch.

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There’s More to iPhone Photography Than Hipstamatic: Take a ‘Deetour’

September 13th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

That Hipstamatic app sure is popular. It’s fun to use, and it makes your photos look cool.

But it’s not as fun now that everyone’s using it. I mean, it still looks cool and all, and if you’re having fun with it, go nuts. Or continue going nuts. I’ll have to cop to a certain amount “before it was cool” mentality here, and admit that I have this deep and maybe not incredibly attractive need to have people know exactly how creative and special I am all the time.

This feature got me all excited and inspired to go beyond taking a photo, running it through an app, and calling it a day: Tricking Out Your iPhone Photos.

The iPhone is such a powerhouse of a tool for photographic creativity. It’s our century’s Polaroid, right there in your pocket. Rather than emulate the look of a time past, why not get stoked on creating a look for now?

I saw this girl in the mall by my office that looked like she fell through a wormhole in 1974 and landed up against that wall smiling and playing with a BlackBerry. She was kind enough to let me take her picture, despite probably finding me a little creepy. Fair enough.

I’ve had Karen Young’s 1982 jam “Deetour” on a permanent loop on my iPhone for a couple days, too. It makes the commute into this spacey disco loop, like someone tied my brain to a rollerskate and sent it over a beige rainbow bridge. I probably listened to the song ten times while I ran this young lady’s picture through Decim8, Instagram, TrueHDR, TiltShiftGear and StripeCam — ultimately ending up with this:

Deetour 4

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Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz Are Worth the Trip

August 18th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

I’m incredibly excited about the show that we’re putting on at Union Hall next weekend — for any number of reasons, really. But one of the most exciting things for me about this variety extravaganza is that we’re featuring what promises to be an incredibly strange burlesque act from Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz.

Here’s a little about Mat, from his Wikipedia page:

Fraser was born with phocomelia of both arms, due to his mother being prescribed thalidomide during her pregnancy. As a live artist he was a member of the performance art group The DHSS in the early 1990s. He was included in Manuel Vason’s book “Exposures” and has performed at numerous internationally renowned venues. He received considerable critical acclaim for his one-man show “Seal Boy”. In 1999 he worked with the Hydra Collective on an event known as “Wrong Bodies” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. As an actor he has performed with the “Graeae Theatre Company”, Europe’s leading disabled theatre company. He is the creator and main performer in a new play called Thalidomide!! A Musical. He also co-hosts the BBC’s Ouch! Podcast.

Fraser has appeared on television both as a presenter and as an actor, in a number of productions including Metrosexuality and Every Time You Look at Me. He is also a martial artist having studied hapkido, taekwondo, Karate.

The following video is a trailer for his movie “Kung Fu Flid,” also known as “Unarmed and Dangerous.” Bear in mind that it’s incredibly gory and the language is likely not safe for work:

This video shows more extensive clips from the film, too. And brother, the language would make a porn star blush. It gets really intense at 1:52:
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New Poster by D.Billy for Union Hall Show

August 8th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

David William — also known as D.Billy here — designed this cool poster to promote our show on August 28th. He included an image I made at my desk by cramming two plastic toys into a half-eaten peach:

Live at Union Hall 8.28.2011

Share it far and wide if you like …
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Don’t Call Me ‘Rock Star’

June 7th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

Two visitors leave the office along with me tonight. They’d had a meeting that went pretty well, apparently, well enough to break the silent force field that most people turn on in large New York elevators.

I’m also wearing shorts and carrying a bike helmet, so maybe they think I’m a bike messenger.

“Well that went well,” the man says, his voice lingering on the “well”, with a pause meant to cue his female partner. “Oh I KNOW,” she says, her hands fluttering, “you were just awesome in there! Especially how you stood up and gestured and threw all those comps to the side and everything — you’re such a ROCK STAR!!”

Whenever someone says “Rock Star” in an office setting, Keith Moon’s spirit buys a pair of pleated khakis at TJ Maxx.

My soul groans a deep and lowing tone, the sound of a majestic redwood that’s about to just give up completely. When I worked as a business banking researcher, my manager would refer to (other) members of our little team as “Excel Rock Stars,” or “research Rock Stars.” She would also leave photocopied prayers for strength and forgiveness on the office copier. Later in our relationship, when she was letting me go, she told me while shaking her head that I “just didn’t have a passion for banking research.”

“I think she’s buttering me up a little, don’t you,” he says, “trying to get some free drinks out of me before the train leaves for Connecticut.” She giggles a little more, and looks at me, saying “no, he was a Rock Star in there, he really had it together! It was incredible!”

“What do you think, man, is she putting it on a little here or what,” he says, totally milking her for more elevator-appropriate adoration.

What I think is:

Nothing says “you will spend the rest of your life in a beige and climate controlled purgatory” like being called “Rock Star” for showing up on time with a succinct PowerPoint presentation.

But I don’t say that. What I say is, “well, you have to be careful when you hear that phrase at work. It usually means something’s coming. I always brace for it whenever I hear that term.”

“Oh, stop,” she says, looking at her partner and laughing still. He’s looking at her, but asking me, “what is it, then?”

“In my experience in office settings, ‘Rock Star’ is the steam wafting off of a pile of corporate bullshit,” I say, before I can stop myself.

But look, people. We’ve got to think about our language a little here, go a little deeper into the subtext. Real Rock Stars show up at least an hour late and blow the hearts and minds of thousands of screaming people. They writhe and sweat, they put their hearts on the line night after night and leave the stage in a hail of cheers and underpants and then shower women way better looking than themselves with champagne at dawn. It’s the reward for years and years of having heart and eating beans, of nurturing the flames in their souls long after it’s time to compromise, shave and get a day job.

Every time someone calls me a ‘Rock Star’ it reminds me how far I am from that. And man, it just burns.

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Standard Issues Volume 11. A Preview of the Upcoming Live Show

April 13th, 2011 by Brad Lawrence

This week on the Standard Issues podcast we have an discussion I recorded this past week with Jeff Simmermon and Cyndi Freeman about the upcoming And I Am Not Lying live show. We also cover stalker-esque behavior, the history of the blog, being douchified by the media powers that be.

You can receive our wisdom via the magic of iTunes.

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The Ghostbusters Firehouse Is Right in Tribeca

April 11th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

The always-excellent ScoutingNY blog has an excellent post tracking down all of the exterior locations in Ghostbusters. I was pretty amazed to see that the firehouse that was the Ghostbusters’ home base is still functional, and just a few blocks from my gym — right there on the corner of North Moore and Varick Street.

Naturally, I went over there and took a few pics:

Ghostbusters Firehouse 1

Ghostbusters Firehouse 2

It’s still fully functional. I wonder how long it takes for the magic to wear off for the firefighters that get assigned there.

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And I Am Not Lying, Live at the Kraine Theater on April 17th

April 6th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

I’d apologize for being all self-promotional, except I’m not really all that sorry. See, back in December me and my friends David William and Brad Lawrence and Cyndi Freeman put on a live show loosely based on this very blog that we work on (or slack on, more typically) together. And you know what? It went REAL well!

It went so well that we’re now being asked to do another one in a theater that’s double the size. I’m trying to put asses into seats here.

But look: we’re going to be telling stories, seeing some comedy, watching a puppet get all its teeth yanked out at the dentist and then look at some belly-dancing and burlesque.

There’s going to be a whole lot of shaking going on in between all the sensitive people telling witty stories about their precious feelings. Balances it out nicely, I think.

Here’s a flyer, followed by a trailer. Detailed info after the jump:

And I Am Not Lying Live, 4.17.2011

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Keep Your Heads Out Of the Plastic River – Sorry I Haven’t Posted

March 30th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon
Candy Fangs

(I took this picture of gummi fangs. But otherwise, it doesn’t have anything to do with anything in this post.)

At the risk of appearing in Cory Arcangel’s project, I’m kind of sorry that I haven’t posted in a while on here. I’ve been busy, sure, there’s that. So have Brad, Cyndi, and David.

As you may have seen, Brad’s launched The Standard Issues podcast. This is a project that, like anything else in life, sounds easy when you’re necking on about it over a few beers, then gets really, really hard. That’s how the whole life thing works, I think: everything that’s hard now gets easier, and you can relax for a minute. Then you get some new problems. I’m really stoked for Brad, though – this is a great idea, and once he gets the formula down it’s really going to take off.

Cyndi’s just wrapped the first run of her one-woman show Wonder Woman – A How-To Guide For LIttle Jewish Girls and is gearing it up and refining it to hopefully take out into theaters again. I saw it during its first week and loved it my damn self.

David’s been working on a longer form video piece with our friend and fellow artist Nathan Manuel.

And me, I’ve been doing all kinds of stuff. For one, I’ve been doing my actual job a lot. And when I’m not doing that, I’ve been trying to write a book. Ssshh. I don’t want to curse it. But it’s time. I kinda got myself to this Jonah and the Whale moment in the last few months where I’m either going to have to write a book or turn into whatever the creative equivalent of Frustrated Sports Dad is and yell at a future child from the sidelines at spelling bees or something. I don’t have a deal yet or a contract or anything like that. I’ve got a friend at a publishing house here who’s helping me out, though.

For all I know, all these words will eventually go into a greasy paper sack somewhere and then move with me from apartment to apartment along with a few coats I can’t get rid of for the rest of my life. But it’s still important. It’s got to happen. And it feels right.

So this blog, this project I’ve had for coming up on six years now, it’s changed a bit. I’m not doing this because I feel this *urge* anymore. When this started, I had all this *stuff* inside me that just came flying out. Now I’ve learned how to shape that stuff a little, and I’m not trying to blog my way to a book deal anymore.

Nor do I really want to be a professional stay-home blogger that depends on ad revenue for income. It would be nice to build this thing into a powerhouse with a huge following, sure. My ego would like that. But on the other hand, I really don’t like what I turn into when start living and dying by my blog stats. I spent a few months checking and rechecking my stats about 80-100 times a day, my heart soaring when traffic was up and grumbling and frustrated when it kind of flatlined.

That’s not a good way to be on the earth.

Once you start focusing too much on what’s popular, you lose sight of what’s important. First it slips away online, then it slips away in your real life and you’re just this walking collage of other people’s ideas.
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