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Photos From the 2008 Mermaid Parade: Drag, Burlesque, and Little Girls’ Parties

June 23rd, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the sweet and freaky collision of drag, burlesque, special effects and little girls’ birthday parties. It’s a cavalcade of glitter, grease-paint and family-friendly toplessness, a celebration of summer and fun and art sweeter and trippier than Spongebob Squarepants singing for a Flaming Lips session at a gay pride parade.

The loudspeaker in the parade staging area said it best:

If you are the parent of a small child, you should know that there may be exposed body parts that could damage your children. If anyone walks by with those body parts exposed, please make sure to cover your children’s eyes.

Words can’t say what the pictures can — here’s a collection of photos David and I took at the 2008 Mermaid Parade this Saturday:

Zombie Faced Lady


Super Starfish, Hula Girl

More after the jump:

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Fight Club in Union Square: Followup, Much Better Photos

June 20th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

A couple weeks ago, we ran a big fat blog post about a bunch of people sparring in Union Square. They were practicing mixed martial arts (MMA), and letting pretty much anyone get in the ring who wanted to fight.

In writing the post, I tried to focus on the vibe in the air, how cool it was to witness the thing happening — as well as describe some of the utterly ridiculous videos David shot. The post got a ton of traffic (for us), and a corresponding ton of utterly retarded comments that totally missed the point.

David’s videos were pretty choice — and we intentionally focused on the ridiculous side of the thing to attract more attention. The blogosphere’s principal exports are bullshit and outrage, and its chief currency is attention. I’m not a journalist, I’m a storyteller, and I don’t mind altering the telling of an event to make it work better as a story. The thing about stories is, when you tell one story, you’re not telling another one.

All that aside, here’s some really spectacular photos of the Union Square Spartans by Anya Roz that really capture the dignified ballet of the thing, all the grace, training and prowess — and of course, tons and tons of rock-hard man-candy:



More photos and some video after the jump …

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Mars Has Ice, Needs Women

June 19th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

There is ice, actual frozen water, on Mars. I am not lying. Where there’s ice, there’s water — and where there’s water, there’s life. Life on Mars means actual Martians. They could just be protozoa at this point, but the mind whirls.

It could mean terraforming, too — like, creating actual offworld colonies with homegrown ice for cocktails to drink in the dusty sunset.
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Chubby-Sized and Charming

June 19th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Folks with extra weight on them have always had it rough. Whether they were called “husky,” “stocky,” or today’s “33 percent of the population,” everyone knew the truth behind the euphemism. A little respect, no matter how flimsy and transparent, is better than this old ad:


I love how they kindly tell concerned parents that “everything is priced the same as regular sizes,” because, you know, they’re using SO much extra cloth to make these darling little mini-tents.

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Scalp to Nostrils in the Armpit Jungle

June 19th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

It was a real armpit jungle on the subway this morning, people jammed up in there scalp-to-nostrils like a bunch of soft and complicated Tetris blocks. Everyone flexed their brains real real hard to create a personal force-field, either by staring at a piece of reading material or cranking the iPod and doing the sort of vague-dance-lip-synch that says “hey fuck you, world, I’m so not a part of this that I am astrally projecting myself into a nightclub and at that nightclub on the astral plane I just don’t care about NOTHIN’.”

Then somebody’s weapons-grade anal vapors wafted through the car like a grey-green angel of death. Most people completely ignored it, though the dancing lip syncher did seem to stop opening her mouth quite so wide. There was nowhere to go and nothing to do, just sit there and suck it up in the most literal sense.

One guy just stood there ignoring the fragrance and just eating his breakfast like everything was cool. He methodically worked his way through a baguette, pressing a flattened palm against the tail end and shoving it into his steadily chewing mouth like a log into a wood chipper.

On a good day, eating on the subway is a narrow cut above eating in the bathroom. And we all know that any food that is taken into the bathroom is automatically garbage. There’s molecules flying around in there, man, and they settle on everything. This was far from a good day to eat on the subway. This was bringing food into a funky molecule hurricane.

The human mind naturally tries to draw patterns, to find relationships and pull a thin skin of order over a chaotic world. I was certain that this baguette-chipper was the train farter, immune to his own poison. Then he got off the train and whoever it was crop-dusted the car again.

The train finally stopped and disgorged a couple people, let some fresh air in. For a moment, the deadly anal death-angel aroma traded places with its musical equivalent: the lilting sounds of an Amazonian pan-flute band. For just a second there it was all farts and flute music and faces too close — then some folks got off, the A/C kicked in, and the train doors clipped off the music before we pulled away.

It could’ve been worse, though.

My sister was in a pretty horrible auto accident this week. She was driving on 64 in Norfolk during rush hour and some guy plowed into her from behind. Twice. We still have no idea how that happened. The car is pretty much totalled. The rear of it crumpled all up and busted her back windshield in, and her body’s pretty rattled.

The guy who did it got out of his truck and said “Wow. Hell of a way to start a Monday, huh?”

It was Tuesday.

It’s going to be a long and painful process for Jess, getting money from the insurance company, renting a car, either fixing or replacing her car. But it’s just money and time. She can still talk and walk, and she can still express her love with cuss words and laughter, and for that I’m really, really grateful.

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Big Gay Face Tattoo, Courtesy of the Constant Siege

June 18th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I’m still doing a little tidying up here, as you may notice. Like most white people, I’ve been through renovations before, and they’re a bitch. Everything’s dusty and there’s no time to cook. All you can do is order takeout and eat it next to the paintbrushes and plaster buckets and then fall into bed.

Until I can get it back together, here’s some truly excellent blog pizza.

I found this photo and video on Clayton Cubitt’s routinely mind-blowing blog The Constant Siege. Cubitt’s a photographer, a great one, and just got back from a trip to New Zealand. This video is shot in Cubitt’s hotel (I think), of a Maori tribesman talking about his moko (face tattoo) and the way that homosexuality is viewed in his tribe.

Here’s a portrait …

Vic Taurewa Biddle

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Coal: Cheap, Abundant, Clean

June 13th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I’ve posted here before about the Free Love Forum — they’re friends of mine, and the folks who made the widely popular MS Paint video. I saw them last night as a part of Sketchfest at the UCB Theatre, and they just killed.

They screened this video in between live sketches. It’s a pitch-perfect takeoff of alternative-energy commercials and American ignorance … a TV ad for coal energy.

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Central Park from Space – I Just Want to Celebrate

June 12th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I am writing to you from a command position approximately 1 mile above the Manhattan skyline. I am hovering upside down in the cool open sky, wearing only a tremendous pair of headphones pumping Rare Earth’s “I just Want to Celebrate” at a volume that will not only crack hardened Al-Qaeda operatives but convince them to climb aboard the P-Funk Mothership.

Occasionally, featherlike wisps of cloud will slip over me, caressing my body like cold, wet ferrets. When this happens, a perfectly tailored white linen suit with waterproof properties magically appears on me, protecting me from any dampness or discomfort.

This is what it’s like to have a minor manic episode — hovering high and naked and feeling music down to the DNA. Sort of. Music is mission critical to a proper manic mood. It’s got to be loud as it can get, preferably with a solid, somewhat corny groove. Lately I’ve been rocking the aforementioned Rare Earth song, but Lee Michaels’ “Do You Know What I Mean,” Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz,” or any number of other cracker-funk jams will do. Soulwax’s entire “Nite Versions” album is choice mania music.

Imagine being a floppy hand puppet left in the corner of an abandoned office and feeling Rare Earth enter your body like a hand in a surgical glove, invisibly lifting you into the sky — then realizing that the guys in Rare Earth are the six-fingered hand of God who’s letting you dangle upside down in space and cruising you around the skyline for a while. The view is spectacular and the soul is invincible … temporarily.

Then comes the crash. I’m working on that part. I’ve enlisted a trained professional to teach some dismount techniques, and for right now, she’s doing a bang-up job. She seems to think that the high highs aren’t healthy either, but how can anything that feels that good be all bad?

Coming off the hand of God today wasn’t quite the triple-axel, point-and-stick landing I’d hoped for, but I’m back down to normal and I don’t feel like a dusty puppet in the corner again.

It’s all about the little victories, people.

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June 6th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend David snapped this awesome photo of a zombie-fied Incredible Hulk guarding some bikes in Greenpoint.

Burned Zombie Hulk

Zombifying any pop icon makes it it exponentially cooler. It’s true. Have a look at this zombiefied Elvis karaoke robot and see if I’m not right.

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Bacon Hypnosis

June 5th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I saw this sign in Union Square last night:


I love bacon, don’t get me wrong — but I wonder sometimes if it’s like zombies and robots and monkeys online — awesome, sure, but also just this stuff the Internet fetishizes just to be fetishizing something. I mean, as cool as I think robots are in the abstract, I’m not actually that thrilled about having a world crawling with them. I just like looking at them and writing about them. Is bacon the internet’s meat robots?

According to Eliza, hell no:

Bacon is the number one meat that vegetarians miss, and the one that eventually breaks most of them.

She’s right. I never could be a vegetarian in the first place — couldn’t give up bacon.

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