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More NYC Dong Drawing

October 26th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I’ve referenced NYC’s classic folk-art subgenre before – the subway dong drawing. I found this marvelous specimen on the LIRR from Atlantic Terminal to Jamaica yesterday morning:

2013-10-25 09.59.31

She looks so pleasantly surprised, as if to say “I was expecting a breakfast treat, but this is really something special!”

Filed under Art & Design, Beauty, Comedy, Found, New York City having Comments Off

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This Excerpt From A Dave Eggers Interview Makes the Heart Sing

July 24th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

Humpback Whale Underwater

My friend and occasional blog-partner D.Billy sent me this excerpt from a Dave Eggers interview the other day and my God, it made my heart sing a massive oceans-wide whale song of recognition. I’ve been feeling ground down by a heavily “no”-intensive environment, the sort of thing where a cautious, smart “no” is always better than a “hey-let’s-give-it-a-shot yes.”

The cautious, smart “no” is usually pretty satisfying. You feel safe, secure. Then a few years go by and the view out the window never changes, and you start to think “wait, I feel kinda stagnant.” If you’re lucky you might notice that all that caution kept you in the driveway instead of out on the open road.

The whole interview is worth a read, but it all boils down to this at the end. Read it, and let your heart’s whale-song harmonize with the entire universe:

The thing is, I really like saying yes. I like new things, projects, plans, getting people together and doing something, trying something, even when it’s corny or stupid. I am not good at saying no. And I do not get along with people who say no. When you die, and it really could be this afternoon, under the same bus wheels I’ll stick my head if need be, you will not be happy about having said no. You will be kicking your ass about all the no’s you’ve said. No to that opportunity, or no to that trip to Nova Scotia or no to that night out, or no to that project or no to that person who wants to be naked with you but you worry about what your friends will say.

No is for wimps. No is for pussies. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.

There is a point in one’s life when one cares about selling out and not selling out. One worries whether or not wearing a certain shirt means that they are behind the curve or ahead of it, or that having certain music in one’s collection means that they are impressive, or unimpressive.

Thankfully, for some, this all passes. I am here to tell you that I have, a few years ago, found my way out of that thicket of comparison and relentless suspicion and judgment. And it is a nice feeling.

Because, in the end, no one will ever give a shit who has kept shit ‘real’ except the two or three people, sitting in their apartments, bitter and self-devouring, who take it upon themselves to wonder about such things. The keeping real of shit matters to some people, but it does not matter to me.

It’s fashion, and I don’t like fashion, because fashion does not matter.

What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand.

What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who’s up and who’s down, but what someone has done and if they meant it. What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say.

Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.

I say yes, and Wayne Coyne says yes, and if that makes us the enemy, then good, good, good. We are evil people because we want to live and do things. We are on the wrong side because we should be home, calculating which move would be the least damaging to our downtown reputations.

But I say yes because I am curious. I want to see things. I say yes when my high school friend tells me to come out because he’s hanging with Puffy. A real story, that. I say yes when Hollywood says they’ll give me enough money to publish a hundred different books, or send twenty kids through college. Saying no is so fucking boring.

And if anyone wants to hurt me for that, or dismiss me for that, for saying yes, I say Oh do it, do it you motherfuckers, finally, finally, finally.

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Your One-Stop Resource For Info on Bitches and Flamethrowers

April 5th, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I just happened to take a look at the blog stats this morning, and found a pretty magnificent run of Google search queries that led the reader directly to this blog:

searchterms

What if these were all the same guy, Googling each question in sequential order?

Filed under Beauty, Comedy, Found, Jeff Simmermon, New York City, Weirdness & WTF having Comments Off

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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 »

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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.

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Be Careful for Brussels : the SPAM Comment Motherlode

November 8th, 2012 by D.Billy
"Greetings, fellow normal Internet users!"

"Greetings, fellow normal Internet users!"

 

Every blog gets the occasional spam comment, wherein a ‘bot poses as a reader. No big deal. You report it (or just ignore it), and you move on. But we just got ALL OF THE SPAM in one particular offender’s arsenal, submitted as one single comment, and I think it broke my brain. There are some really choice turns of phrase in there, though, and I thought y’all might enjoy having a look. I’ve bolded some of the bits that I really like. (And because it amuses me further, I imagine this all being spoken in a terrible, but very cheerful, Russian accent.)
 

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Buy the Bagfull of Dicks

August 29th, 2012 by D.Billy

For that person you know who needs to eat one.

(Dick’s Hamburgers in Spokane, WA. Via dollbabytina on Mlkshk.)

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Social Media Is Depressing as Hell

August 2nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I saw this at the Lafayette stop on the C train heading into Brooklyn last night — just chalk on a black painted rectangle. It’s true, too:

social_media_done

For Google, e-readers: the text reads “Social media is depressing as hell.”

Filed under Art & Design, Brooklyn, Found, New York City, Street Art & Graffiti, Zen having Comments Off

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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 »

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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 »

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