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New Video: Fighting the Big Black Bird With Some Help

April 3rd, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to share this video of this story. I told it at The Moth’s “Love Hurts” show on February 13th of this year.

I’ve been working it over and over for a few years – it’s a significant revision of a piece about the depression that comes after cancer surgery, and also all of the stupid shit that people say to you when they hear you’ve had cancer. Just a hint: Yoga can’t actually cure cancer, but getting high and watching ‘Pootie Tang’ will help you to feel better.

I put a lot of jokes into it that I’ve written over the last year, and it feels right. This is also the first time I’ve been able to adequately communicate in public just how much my fiance means to me without using any cliches, and why I can’t imagine living life without her.

Think what you want of Lance Armstrong – the doping scandals, the lying, the bullying, whatever. I didn’t follow cycling or that story that closely, so I’m shielded by a thick cushion of ignorance on that one. But the thing that helped me the most through this whole process of having testicular cancer was being able to talk about it openly, on stage and in the street.

People get a little weird about it now, but they used to get a LOT more weird about it, and it was something that wasn’t discussed at all. We used to say that people were testicular cancer victims, and now they’re cancer survivors. It’s a major cultural shift, and it’s come through the hard work of the LiveStrong foundation.

It’s OK to feel however you want to feel about the man, but let’s please recognize that the foundation has done – and continues to do – really, really important work. I benefited from it directly and indirectly, and a lot of other people have, too.

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‘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

“Hooray For You,” Wise Words From “Paris is Burning”

December 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend Barry Bless sent me this video from the end of “Paris is Burning,” and I just can’t stop watching it. It hits me really deeply as an artist and performer — I hope I have the wisdom to accept what Dorian Corey is saying here one day, but I don’t think I’m there yet:

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

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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Archives Posts

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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And I Am Not Lying LIVE at Union Hall on March 6th

February 24th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

March is gonna be nuts for us. We have all this stuff going on at South by Southwest, and our regular monthly show at Union Hall in the same fricking week.

The Union Hall show is on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, 8PM. Tickets are ten dollars. We strongly recommend buying advance tickets, which you can get here:

Advance Tickets to And I Am Not Lying at Union Hall.

This month’s is going to be a doozy, friends – we’ve got:

  • Comedy from Wil Sylvince
  • Burlesque by Little Brooklyn and Cherry Pitz
  • Storytelling by Jeff Simmermon (me), Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman
  • and MAGIC by Albert Cadabra

I made this flyer for it, too – I thought it was cool, anyway. I’m really into that grindhouse-cinema look.

And I Am Not Lying Live at Union Hall 3.6.2012

As always, here is a fun trailer we made to promote the show:

And if you’re coming over from The Hairpin, you may want to check out this video of Cyndi at her tassel-twirling finest:

Hope we see you there!

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Meaning Maybe Romance or a Cigarette Meet Date

February 14th, 2012 by D.Billy

This classy-as-all-get-out ad was spotted by @Juliaem, in the 59th Street subway station in Brooklyn, taped to a trash can:

DATING – ONE NIGHT STANDS ONLY
MEANING SODA DATE
COFFEE DATE
CAKE & ICE CREAM DATE
MEANING A WALK DATE
MEANING MAYBE ROMANCE
DUTCH DATING
THE LIBRARY
BOOK STORE
WINDOW SHOPPING
FEMALES ONLY
THE AQUARIUM
THE ZOO
A CIGARETTE MEET DATE

HAPPY VALENTIMES!!!

Archives Posts

Geologic Paint Formations On the Subway at 4th & 9th

January 13th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

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:

Geologic paint layers on the subway

Subway paint geology

Archives Posts

It’s Okay.

November 14th, 2011 by D.Billy

Marjory Garrison's practice window at home

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.

Filed under Art & Design, D.Billy, Uncategorized, Zen having Comments Off

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