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Snake Face vs. Tan Wang

March 19th, 2009 by D.Billy

Spotted in SoHo:

Grudge Match

Consider this an open call for people to illustrate that showdown. I’m talking anything from drawings on napkins to multi-million dollar blockbuster films. Make this happen, internet.

For additional inspiration, allow me to direct you to some awesome character illustrations by friend-of-a-friend Chris Bishop:



(more on Mr. Bishop’s Flickr page.)

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Time Travel Via Shiny Plastic Marketing: The New York ComicCon

February 8th, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

I spent most of the NYC ComicCon lurching in circles with my mouth half-open, hunting for a copy of Detective Comics # 587 and spending way too much money on plastic bullshit that reminds me of my childhood. The experience was spectacular.

I haven’t been to a comic book convention since 1991, in Virginia Beach — the whole enterprise was dusty, pasty and pungent. Not now, baby. Now that comics, computers and sci-fi are billion dollar businesses, nerds are out of the basement and blinking in the klieg lights. Pop culture’s always been a byproduct of marketing campaigns, but we are now in a golden age of hype and shiny bullshit.

girls_hunting

Today’s thirtysomethings were the target audience back in the ’70s and ’80s when Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and other pop mythologies did the first Triple Lindy into the collective consciousness. Now we’re just old enough to have kids who get just as pumped about Star Wars as we did, and fetishizing fictional universes is a family affair.

Whenever alien archaeologists unearth whatever temples we leave behind, they’re gonna think that Spiderman was our God and stormtroopers were some kind of high priests. Frankly, I’m thrilled. Digging through comic boxes and buckets of chipped action figures gets me all stoked and unstuck in time and I get the same sense of wow, cool wonder that I got when my dad took me to see Star Wars for the first time.

But this thing was for everybody. Really, it was just like the Mermaid Parade except indoors and marginally less sexualized. The people-watching and the costumes were spectacular and totally worth the admission price.

This is my favorite photo from this weekend’s NYC ComicCon, but there’s a lot more after the jump:

kid_at_comiccon
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20 Easy Steps to Wellness – Now With Extra Danzig

January 26th, 2009 by D.Billy

So, I have a cold. Or something. And it effing SUCKS.

I’m on day 5 (or so) of this weird illness that appears to be using a random symptom generator each morning. Today, I practically need to take direct snorts of menthol or pepper spray or sulfuric acid just to smell or taste anything, and it feels like I’m sucking in a quarter pound of sand every time I open my mouth to take a breath, only to erupt in a wheezy coughing jag when all I wanted was some sweet, sweet oxygen.
But lucky me, formerly-DC-but-now-LA-based artist — and apparently very funny dude — Zach Storm has my remedy. In 20 easy steps, Zach has the cure for the common whatever, and I love him for it. Here we go:

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D.Billy in Bushwick

November 19th, 2008 by D.Billy

I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions to Jeff’s previous post about my artstuffs — a belated thanks to everyone who reblogged or contacted me for more info — so I thought I’d share a few pics from my most recent outing.

Clang Clang Clang Clang Clang

(More after the jump.)

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Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band: Now the Story is Told on Video

November 3rd, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Today is national fix-the-country day, and it’s gonna be a long one. No matter what side you’re on, you’re probably sick of the campaigning by now. As a little distraction from all the election-related news you’re sure to be drowning in, I thought I’d post a video of me telling the story of Royal Quiet Deluxe, (chicken band) at The Moth.

By way of comparison, you can read a written version of the story here.

The story links to one of our recordings, made with a primitive drum machine, delay/loop pedal, and my tireless prattling.

The following track, though, is a different sort of sound collage. We recorded it on the front porch of Tim’s parent’s place out in Botetourt County, VA, one hot summer evening. You can hear crickets and locusts in the background, something I think is pretty cool. I am playing the typewriter as percussion here, Tim is playing guitar, and the chickens are pecking and vocalizing. Tim mixed in a recording about Exotic Newcastle Disease in Southern California that was recorded over the telephone many years later, and presto — you have:

Exotic Newcastle Disease, by Royal Quiet Deluxe

There’s one more story in this saga. I’ve told it onstage at a Moth event recently, and I’m waiting to get ahold of the video so I can crunch it and post it here — and I’m working on the text version for those of you that want the full-on boxed-set experience. Suffice it to say that while the Internet has helped me find a whole new audience for this band that I never thought existed, I am 100 percent positive that the Reverend Al Sharpton still thinks the whole concept of Royal Quiet Deluxe is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard.

You can see a story by The Moth’s Jim O’Grady here:

Jim O’Grady on “Respect”

And a story by The Moth’s Juliet here:

Juliet Tells the Tale of ‘Mannequin Dan’

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Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band Reunion

August 20th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Sometimes the Internet is nothing but a glowing wind tunnel filled with gas blasts from the intellectually obese. Even on the best days, the creatively flabby power this thing, gobbling information and repeating it with no regard for quality, just a quick hit of a familiar flavor in massive, constant quantities. Real insight can be a soap bubble lost in that hot, stinking howl.But not today. Today the Internet is a psychedelic sausage-grinder — feed stuff into it and turn the handle, and presto, flowers!

Let me settle down and explain.

A few weeks ago, both BoingBoing and Metafilter/MeFi Music linked to my story about the long-dead Royal Quiet Deluxe — b.k.a. “the chicken band.” This story was one that I’d prepared for The Moth, and never gotten to tell.

Twenty-four hours after posting, an old friend that I hadn’t heard from in ten years contacted me. He had what everyone thought was the only surviving copy of one of our performances on a dusty cassette — he ripped it to mp3 and sent it to me, and I posted it. A few days after that, I was contacted by one of the minds behind , a really, really fascinating podcast/radio show based in Mexico City, as near as I can tell. I don’t speak much Spanish.

I was finally able to get in touch with Tim after years of drift, and man, it was like no time at all had passed. The good news is, he’s got tons of old recordings, remixes, and other soundscapes we made way back then.

The better news is: we’re going to pursue performing in New York. If not at clubs and bars, in the subways. Chickens are easily available through botanicas here. The only catch so far is a place to keep them while we rehearse. If anyone wants to volunteer ideas or their apartment, send me the bat-signal through the Contact form above … I’ll keep you posted.

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Paul McCarthy : Flush Twice and Light a Giant Match

August 12th, 2008 by D.Billy

Today’s edition of The Guardian brings us one of the best headlines that we have ever seen anywhere:

“Giant Dog Turd Wreaks Havoc at Swiss Museum.”

Just take that in for a second.

Okay, good.

Now, the turd in question is a mammoth-sized inflatable sculpture by Paul McCarthy, entitled “Complex Shit”, pictured here:

As noted in the Guardian article, the sculpture got caught in a storm and broke loose of its moorings outside of the Paul Klee Centre in Berne, Switzerland … (insert “loose stool” joke here) … and sailed through the air almost 660 feet, knocking down a power line and breaking a window before ultimately — and this is beautiful — landing outside of a childrens home.

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The Dark Knight’s Dumbbells and Hulk’s Green Thumb

August 11th, 2008 by D.Billy

More in the ever-entertaining ‘regular-folks-in-superhero-costumes-performing-mundane-tasks’ idiom, this time from photographer Gregg Segal:

There are more on Gregg’s website, and for other posts documenting our love for this milieu, check out our previous encounters with a down-on-his luck Captain America, and various sci-fi characters in domestic settings.



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New Deputy In Town

July 8th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

“Who the hell is D.Billy?,” a number of you have asked over the past month or two. Well, I’ll tell you: D.Billy is the new deputy in this here town. And by “new deputy in town,” I mean that he’s got the keys to the blog and can pretty much do what he wants.

He wouldn’t be here with passwords and access if he wasn’t an awesome new friend, for starters. But beyond that, D.Billy (short for David William) brings energy, excitement and passion to this blog that I’ve really been missing.

I’ve been writing this thing for 4 years, and I’ve gotten pretty burned out.

Or, rather, I thought I had.

I started this thing because I wanted to write stories and essays, which I still do, very much. But it takes a lot of creative energy to do that, and doing it five days a week year in and year out will grind you to whiny little pulp that bitches about traffic and generally mopes and carps. After four years of brain-dumping, I’m ready to strip-mine the pile, seperate the stories from the ore, polish them, get them off the screen and into someone’s hands.

So much of what passes for quality writing online these days is little more than lurid typing, and I’m not into that. I had hoped the blogosphere would be a great literary groundswell, an electronic distillation of art and beauty for the 21st century. Turns out that generation blog just Google-maps the contours of our own navels, and the greatest oversharers get the biggest prize.

Fuck that.
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D.Billy: Street Interventions

July 8th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

You may have noticed D.Billy’s name on a number of posts over the past few months. He’s not only a friend of mine, but a pretty awesome artist.

From the artist’s statement on his website:

Using colorful media such as twisting balloons, party streamers, and artist tape, I have begun to add visual representations of sound effects to public spaces as a sort of dimensional graffiti. After embellishing the found scenes and photographing the results, I leave my additions in place to engage passers-by for as long as the materials hold up. For me, this process encourages a reexamination of surroundings and objects that are usually taken for granted, and injects a hint of the fantastical surreality that I have established in my other work.

Or, at the very least, I hope someone thinks these things are kind of funny.

Here’s some of his work:

Clown Graffiti

Crackle

More after the jump …
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