free statistics

Archives Posts

‘And I Am Not Lying’ Does Two Shows During SXSW 2013 at The New Movement Theater

March 2nd, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

“And I Am Not Lying” is doing two shows at SXSW Interactive 2013: one on March 10th and another on March 11th, both at The New Movement Theater. The one on March 10th is for SXSW badgeholders (Platinum, Gold, Film, Interactive) and the one on the 11th is open to the general public.

If you’re a badgeholder and want to add this to your schedule, click here.

To buy tickets to the show open to the public on March 11th, click here.

Here’s a cool poster, more info after the jump:

NotLying-SXSW-2013

Read the rest of this entry »

Archives Posts

Found on the NYC Subway: Level-Headed Relationship Advice from A Little Girl

January 9th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I found this adorable piece of pragmatic relationship advice from a child on the floor of my subway stop this morning:

child_advice
Read the rest of this entry »

Archives Posts

Christmas 2012: Four Generations of Family, A Mummified Banana and the Promise of a Dry Diaper

January 2nd, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

My family all loves each other, and gets along pretty well. Which means that my holidays are usually pretty great, but rarely make for much in the way of great material. Four generations of people that love and respect each other kind of puts me at a disadvantage for a career in the arts. I try to work around it, though.

What follows isn’t really a story with conflict and an arc and surprises and stuff. But this chapter in my family’s history is so magnificent that it needs to be recorded somewhere. So I’m annotating a series of photos that sum it all up.

In-law jokes were for hacks back in the ’60s. Everyone knows that. But one of the things that nobody ever tells you about getting married is that if you get lucky and pick it right, you actually get to join a whole new awesome family in addition to your own. And if yours sucks a little, you kind of get another shot.

I started the holidays with Maggie’s family in suburban Maryland – here we are, opening some gifts early. My soon-to-be father-in-law gave me the entire run of Battlestar Galactica, which I’ve actually never seen – pretty solid!

brennans

For those of you that don’t know, my aunt and uncle own and operate a Christmas store in Smithfield, Virginia. It’s open year-round, and it’s not one of those chintzy chain stores you see at your more pathetic shopping malls. Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Elaine have an entire wardrobe of Christmas-themed clothing, and wear this stuff all the time, like it’s completely normal. They also usually have a little glitter or fake snow from a shedding ornament stuck to their sweater, glasses or something the way that other people might wear cat hair.

Here are a few shots of the shop:

At Christmas:

xmas_store

christmas_store

At Halloween:

Christmas Store, Halloween
Read the rest of this entry »

Archives Posts

Found Art Nostalgia: I Miss My Old Brain

November 26th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I found this painting that I made in college on the wall at some old friends’ house in Richmond, VA this weekend. I haven’t seen it in years.

I actually got into writing and storytelling through visual art – when I was majoring in painting, I was obsessed with comics, Southern folk art and outsider art, Congolese power figures and sacred Voodoo and Santeria art. In voodoo and Santeria (as I understood it at the time), practitioners go into a trance and become the spirits they’re communicating with, and create altars in the home that are both doorways to a particular orisha and a living representation of the orisha itself, made from found objects.

I got really into writing stories on my work, making comic book pages out of junk I’d find in the woods and getting into a sort of trance-like state in the studio I had in my barn and letting whatever voice was talking take control of my hands until the thing was done. Eventually the words took up more and more of the the work and I just started writing. Then, telling a story wasn’t necessarily a craft so much as a thing that came out of a state, like a ship sliding out of a rip in the universe.

I think this was done on an old road sign that I found deep in George Washington National Forest. I know I got that image from an old comic, and I definitely recall writing all of this in one go, with a Sharpie. No drafts, no revising, crossing out, no wondering what the audience would think or trying to be likable. Just moving forward.

Here’s the piece:

sarah_painting

The text reads:

“On that dark day when the Sun rises in the West and decides to set in the East, these gargantuan striped giants will appear suddenly from ??Elsewhere?? and set to the business of devouring the earth. Neither animal, vegetable, nor man-made machine, they are insatiable, and know no reason or moral code. They only know that they must perform the impossible: fill their ravenous GUTS.

The Fantastic Four and the entire Marvel Universe subscribe to the belief that GALACTUS is the eater of worlds, but I tell you with the straightest of all straight faces that GALACTUS is a mere DUST MITE compared to these black-and-white beasties.

We could, and probably will, head for the hills or lie screaming in storm cellars with paper sacks over our heads during that fateful time, but it will only make our moment of consumption more frenzied and embarrassing.

We may as well die picnicking as pleading to a recently discovered God. Mankind will finally realize what the insects knew all along: Nature knows no right or wrong.

Our constant struggle with good and evil set us apart from the animals, but on that day, we will finally be free from that boring struggle and I just hope that more people than just me have the sense to enjoy it.

This used to have two bicycle fenders painted to look like the creatures in question, glued to the top. They broke off pretty quickly, though. When I look at this, I feel a blast of nostalgia for a time when I could disappear into a barn for several hours, sure. But I also miss having that degree of concentration, and that practiced flow. It’s take me about 90 minutes to write this post, and half of it is simple transcription.

Mostly, I miss my old brain: the one that knew when to think and when to get out of the way and let the art fall out.

Archives Posts

Shots in the Dark: Manhattan in the Post-Sandy Blackout

November 13th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I went out biking and took a bunch of photos in Manhattan a few days after Hurricane Sandy hit. New Yorkers are pretty burnt by all the ongoing coverage, in addition to being shocked and devastated at all the wreckage and destruction. But it’s hard to tell if the rest of the country – or world – is seeing the same things we are.

I haven’t been to Staten Island or the Rockaways yet to help, so I can only document what I saw and felt. When I go there to help out, I’m not going to be waving a damn DSLR around, either.

It’s almost impossible to describe how eerie and dystopian Lower Manhattan felt in the days before the power came back on. This is a shot of Canal Street, between Broadway and Lafayette that I took on my phone:

Canal St. between Broadway and Lafayette

Shortly afterwards, a guy slowly coasted right down the yellow lines on his skateboard. The sound echoed off the shutters.

For those of you that don’t know this block, it’s one of the most constantly crowded streets in Chinatown. Any trucks, buses or cars entering or exiting the LIncoln Tunnel trundles down this block. I once sat in traffic for 90 minutes on this street, traveling one block every 10 minutes or so.

There are usually street vendors slinging hot dogs and chestnuts, African guys trying to sell you knockoff handbags, people selling plastic crap off of tables, guys trying to get you to trade in cash for gold, and then it’s just wall-to-wall tourists coming down to buy all the knockoffs and I (heart) NY shirts by the pound. One time I saw a guy waving a bubble gun around, shooting a stream of bubbles into traffic and shouting “IT’S BUBBLE TIME, DAMMIT!”

The only vehicles on the street the day I was riding around were ambulances, cop cars, and National Guard trucks. A few people scurried from one building to another, and others huddled in long lines to get bottled water dispensed by men in camouflage off of an armored truck.

It felt like a sci-fi disaster movie. Like “Escape From New York,” or “I Am Legend.”

I rode north on Fifth Avenue, past the Flatiron, and suddenly, everything changed. There was an invisible line at 30th Street, and once I crossed it, suddenly New Yorkers were walking around in the streets eating ice cream, talking about “it’s just so hard to date in this city” into their working cell phones. Like somebody had switched the channel in my brain from “I Am Legend” to “Sex and the City” with a less attractive cast.

And even though I had power and heat in my apartment in Brooklyn, and everything in my life is fine – just passing through the eerie disaster area for an hour and entering that bubble made me HATE those people up there, so much.

I ended up in Chinatown at dark. The power was coming on in the Village, but Chinatown was still black. I’ve never seen the city so black and dead, just a soup of darkness. Here are a few shots I took in Chinatown that night. The orange sky is reflected light from the rest of the city – and in several of these, I’m standing on a dark, narrow street and aiming towards an area with electricity:

BK_from_Chinatown
Read the rest of this entry »

Archives Posts

Recap: And I Am Not Lying at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA

September 16th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

The Crack-Up

We did a show at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA last week – sponsored by WBUR, Boston’s NPR station. They even recorded me and pulled together a cool little plug on the radio for it – you can hear that here: And I Am Not Lying: Live, Raw Storytelling.

We were joined by the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, a bunch of folks who play the typewriter musically a hell of a lot better than I did it when I was dabbling in the genre.

The show sold out, which was a hell of a kick – there’s nothing like busting your hump for a month and seeing it pay off.

I’m booking all our stuff out of town now and arranging all the press, too. It’s always a hurricane of phone calls, emails and text messages, last-minute changes and just … STUFF. I’ve never once had a show where there wasn’t a surprise, a change, a sudden boulder of bullshit falling at the last minute like a turd-studded iceberg of waste from a crack in a passing jetliner. At this point, I get a little nervous when it doesn’t happen.

And getting people in the door is my primary source of stress. I’m trying to get to where I don’t take empty seats personally, but it’s a long, slow journey.

We’re not at the point where we can count on a sold-out show, or really any kind of turnout at all. People don’t know the name of the show yet, and I ain’t exactly a draw on my name alone. This isn’t like music, where people bring friends to see a band based on the genre.

You can say “hey man, there’s a really sweet reggae band playing tonight, let’s check ‘em out,” and you’ll get some good walk-in. With comedy, you can say to your friends “hey, this venue that regularly books comedians is having some comedians perform tonight. Let’s go have some laughs,” and you might get some decent walk-ins.

We have no established genre. The best thing someone can say to sell us is “hey, this guy that was on This American Life three years ago is going to say a lot of SAT words and also a lot of cuss words, and it may be really funny but it may also be kind of depressing. Also, they might have some people do burlesque performances in addition to other storytellers who also have a lot of feelings they would like to share.”

You’re not going to hear Conan O’Brien say “We’ve got a very charming and thought-provoking storyteller on the show tonight” anytime soon. People that aren’t into The Moth or This American Life think that storytelling is either standup comedy or some dude in a bowtie and a seersucker suit at a folk festival talking about growing up on the farm.

So when I see a line stretching out through the door of the club, through the restaurant and out the front door, curving around the block and around the corner I just want to jump up on top of the bar and spike a football. I always try to walk along the whole line and just drink it all in.

All these people made tonight their date night, their going-out night, and they did it because they wanted to be THERE, with us, seeing something a little new and weird. I wanna kiss every last one of them, at least until they start fooling with their phones.

The first half of the show was a dream. I’ve been busting ass on actual joke-writing to build a standup set ever since a tragic crash-and-burn a month or so back. And to deploy those jokes on a roomful of cheering, happy people – it was like riding a gold-plated surfboard down a sunbeam. Everything was cruising like a dream during the first half, every performer killing and the Boston Typewriter Orchestra rocking it …

Read the rest of this entry »

Archives Posts

Discount Rainbow Lady Liberty at Columbus Circle

July 25th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Productivity experts (whatever that even means) will tell you that it’s important to get up from the computer sometimes and take a break, let your brain reset a little. I usually eat my lunch at my desk, hunched over and chewing through Daily Show reruns and then around 3PM feel my brain start to separate from the walls of my skull as I daydream about being a lumberjack or hopping freight trains through an America that doesn’t exist anymore.

I went out and ate my lunch in Central Park today, and brother am I glad I did. Otherwise I wouldn’t have seen discount rainbow Lady Liberty here riding a tiny pink bike around and trying to fist-bump tourists:

lady_liberty

Here he is again, riding toward a bunch of adolescent girls, who screamed and scattered like pigeons when they saw him:

riding_away

This city never gets old.

Archives Posts

Wonder Woman Ties Up the Cheetah at And I Am Not Lying Live

June 13th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Well, I’m tickled to all hell right now. We’re bringing the And I Am Not Lying live show to the Black Cat in DC on Thursday, June 14th, and I’m told that we’ve sold out the 8PM show. We’re adding a late show that night, with doors at 10PM. You can see more info on the Black Cat’s site here and get advance tickets here: And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat, 10 PM show.

This is a photo from a show that we did last year at L’Etage in Philadelphia, just to give you folks at home a taste:

Runaround Sue, Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman 3 (by Ryan Collerd)

This is Wonder Woman apprehending the Cheetah while Steve Trevor looks on with a stupefied, dreamlike amazement. I’ve never seen someone be more hesitant about their rescue in all my life. Cyndi Freeman/Cherry Pitz is Wonder Woman, Runaround Sue is the Cheetah, and Brad Lawrence is Steve Trevor. Photo is by the genuine, warm and spectacular Ryan Collerd.

As it turns out, we’ll be coming back to Philadelphia on August 4th, too. So keep watching the skies, people – we hope to see you really soon.

Archives Posts

Dream Suit

June 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I took this photo at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville over Memorial Day weekend. I want this suit (and shirt) so badly that I can taste it:

Dream Suit

I’m not sure if it would detract from a story, though. I kind of try to be as relatable as possible, and this might push it. On the other hand, if Porter Wagoner, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton and pretty much every other country star can pull off a brain-burning suit like this one in contrast to an “aw, shucks” personality, who’s to say someone else can’t?

Here are a two shots of Gram Parsons’ infamous Nudie suit, just for kicks:
Read the rest of this entry »

Archives Posts

That Old Black Hole: I Get It Everywhere

May 31st, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I bought the best painting on earth in a vintage store in Nashville this weekend:

elvis_CPR_dog

There is a toy ambulance glued to the top and a plastic dog glued to the bottom and it reads:

Elvis did CPR on a dog to save his life.

My Uncle Jimmy used to own the world’s biggest Baby Ruth bar, one of the first Asteroids machines and a whole bunch of antique cans full of antique lard and sprinkled with Fillmore-era psychedelic rock posters. I used to help him haul the contents of dead people’s houses back to his auction house and hoist up WWII antiques, old metal trucks and ’60s board games up and down the aisles in the back of the store he and my aunt owned while the whole town of Smithfield bid on them to his spitfire gravel drawl.

The weird seeds planted in me early and grew real big. I’ve got a zombified Elvis karaoke robot with its rubber face torn off and a giant painting of King Kong made out of roofing tar in my house, and I can’t stop dragging stuff home like an ant with psychedelic antiques hoisted over its head.

The queen of my nest is not always impressed. She says I need to throw stuff out before bringing more in, but look.

Are you going to stop taking communion just because you’re on a low-carb diet?
Read the rest of this entry »

« Previous Entries Next Entries »