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J Train is the Soul Train: Thirsty Man Sings “Winner”

January 20th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Have you ever noticed how some people put a pair of headphones in, and it’s like it’s the performance version of Thor’s hammer? Like by putting those buds into their ears, they are suddenly blessed with an incredible singing voice, perfect pitch and total invisibility? Put on some sunglasses and an iPod and all of a sudden nobody is on the train except Simon Cowell and Dr. Dre, and both of them are hiring. It’s kind of like having a low-budget version of Rock Band that only plays R&B.

You never hear anyone singing Coldplay or Dave Matthews, is all I’m saying. I prefer it that way.

And don’t get me wrong here — sure, sometimes the phenomenon is a little annoying. But other times it is completely the most awesome thing that can happen to your whole week, a beautiful, off-kilter accident.

Like this guy that sat across from me on the J Train last weekend singing Chris Brown’s “Winner.” Check this thing out, it’s beautiful. I love how he doesn’t let his performance stop him from pouring himself a little sip of something from his thermos, then gets his soul stole by the music before the cup hits his lips … and caps it all off with a shameless crotch scratch. Also of note is how quickly the guy next to him stops giggling and starts ignoring the whole thing.

Don’t let me spoil it for you, though – check this out for yourself. It’s stuff like this that reminds me that the world is alive and beautiful and full of strange surprises …

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Do Not Karate Chop Fire : Ryan Abegglen

December 10th, 2009 by D.Billy

Behold! — The visual and verbal feast of vintage graphic excellence and weird funny-making that is the work of Ryan Abegglen:


This is an absolute oyster carnival!


Sexy like rooster socks.


Shine your shoes, gov? For a sixpence, mind.


The Leprechaun Flute has been passed down for thousands of years.


Engrish No. 1

According to a recent post in his Twitter feed (that’s @RyanAbegglen, if you’re inclined to follow), the man is experiencing a big fat, well-deserved bump in popularity on the Internets. I poked around and saw that BoingBoing and io9 both posted his stuff a few days ago, so I’m hoping to keep the momentum rolling.
Soak it in, pass it on, and maybe even buy a print from Ryan’s shop at Thumbtack Press. (Seriously, holiday shoppers — if one of these were to show up under my tree, I sure as hell wouldn’t be upset about it. Hint squared.)

Ryan Abegglen: All the flim that’s fit to flam

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The King Is Here

December 7th, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

We were getting off the C train when I heard it – tinny and distant, sure. But unmistakable, still: the theme to “Superman.”

It was coming from some guy’s cell phone. I couldn’t tell whose at first. Then I saw a short, rotund man shoving people and shouting “make way, make way! Here come the KING!”

As soon as he got off the train he spun towards the rest of us and held his hands up in a regal Superman pose, allowing the strains of Donner’s super-score to wash over him. And then he announced it real, real loud, in case any one didn’t catch it:

“I AM the KING, baby. The king is HERE!”

You’ve got to admire that kind of self-esteem…
The King is Here

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Sign Of The Times?

November 14th, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

I saw this peeling, yellowed and filthy sign offering “Easy Credit” in a neglected storefront around the corner from my apartment the other day. I wonder if the store went out if business as a result of offering Easy Credit, or if it went out of business long before credit collapsed in this country.

Somebody came along with a marker and edited the sign to say “Easy Credit For Homicides.” I know there’s some serious gang activity in South Williamsburg – the wave of gentrification hasn’t created nearly as high as it has on the North side – but man, I hope that particular credit market has locked up, too. I just signed a yearlong lease by the Marcy stop on the JMZ …

Easy Credit for Homicides

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Untagged! (Nothing to See Here.)

September 29th, 2009 by D.Billy

I spotted this on my lunch break today:
Nothing to See Here
A contemporary, street-level sequel to Robert Rauschenberg’s “Erased De Kooning Drawing“… or is tape just that much cheaper than paint?
Either way, I love it.

(And yes, I have already submitted this to There, I Fixed It.)

Filed under D.Billy, New York City, Street Art & Graffiti having Comments Off

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Big Black Man in a Big Pink Bunny Suit: Hoppy Hours in Wisconsin?

September 27th, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

My roommate found this flyer on a trip to Milwaukee last week. It’s just so spectacular — I have no idea where it comes from or what it means. It doesn’t even seem to be referring to a specific location. But man, I love just THINKING about what kind of a crowd this things draws. There’s nothing like the idea of a bar full of drunk furries to get the imagination going.

Hoppy Hours

If anyone can shed any light on this, please let me know in the comments section.

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Kool-Aid Man in Second Life? OH YEAH!

September 25th, 2009 by D.Billy

If you’re in the middle of an existential crisis, this video by artist Jon Rafman of the Kool-Aid Man meandering through various user-created realms of Second Life might be just the thing to shake you out of it. Or conversely, if your life is boring as hell and you need a little existential crisis up in your bizness, this might get that process kick-started. Really, I’m pretty sure it can work either way.

While the video queues up — and it’s kind of a long one — you should know that after some zen-like gliding through various naturescapes and running through empty cities (and engaging in a robot battle) Kool-Aid Man gets raw (NSFW) at about 7:50, right after he does some tai chi with a couple of refugees from a Renaissance Faire. So, fair warning.

If you’d rather get a more Cliff’s Notes version of the Kool-Aid Man’s shenanigans in Second Life, you can click on the image below (or here) to go to a slide show (also periodically NSFW) wherein Kool-Aid Man:
- Visits faux-NYC, climbing the Empire State Building and dangling from the Statue of Liberty’s face
- Poses as one of the melting clocks inside Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory
- Makes his way through ancient city ruins, haunted underground caverns, and a desert harem
- Charters a steampunk submarine at some vaguely Mediterranian port, and is smilingly abducted by a UFO
- Spies on a tattooed couple having sex in a shower stall that has been inexplicably built in the middle of a jungle, and then dances with a white fox-man in bondage gear at a gay furry club
..and much more.

(click for slideshow)

(click for slideshow)

Now, in case you haven’t gone through Jon Rafman’s site and discovered this for yourself, the video and slideshow are actually promotional materials for Jon’s project where he gives tours of Second Life with a Kool-Aid Man avatar.  And last we heard — meaning as of this posting, it still says so on Jon’s site — you can schedule your very own Kool-Aid Man tour of Second Life by emailing koolaidmaninsecondlife [at] gmail [dot] com.

(That is, if you have any kind of inclination to use, or working knowledge of how to use, Second Life. Which I do not. I created an avatar two years ago, and I’m pretty sure he’s still hovering uselessly in the air above a desert island where I left him.)

Tip o’ the hat: Art Fag City posted about this project a while back, and it’s been stuck in my brainpan ever since.

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Daro’s Wisdom: Not for the Weak-Minded

September 23rd, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

My grandmother’s real name is Helen, but everyone in my family calls her Daro. It’s one of the first words I ever said, apparently — I just pointed at her and yelled it out and it stuck, simple as that.

Daro is 95 years old. She lied about her age her whole life until she turned 90, and then she started telling EVERYBODY. She’s a relentless self-promoter, a tireless artist, creator, and outsider poet. And man, she’s full of wisdom that she does not mind sharing at all.

Here’s some classic wisdom she shared with me when I visited her over Labor Day weekend:

We were sitting at the dinner table eating a home-cooked meal. Sort of. She proudly announced to me “I never use the oven anymore, Jeffrey. I just do everything up here in the microwave now, and it’s great!” We had some microwaved vegetable soup with a salad of romaine leaves covered with canned pears, and canned peaches. “Try some of the dressing I invented just tonight, Jeffrey,” she told me, all excited. “I came up with it myself. It’s mayonnaise with pineapple juice mixed in!”
Read the rest of this entry »

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Fixing the Recession, One Sign at a Time

April 14th, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

I’m back in Norfolk visiting my family for Easter weekend. And man, is it ever different than New York. I snapped this photo of a banner hanging from a restaurant that pretty much sums the difference up perfectly:

Recession repair sign

For those of you that are reading this in text-only form, it reads: “Listen Less to the News, Spend Money and Support America, And We Will All Be OK!”

Wouldn’t it be great if that’s really all it took, just that one sign! Apparently the owner of San Antonio Sam’s (the restaurant where the sign is hanging) had this banner made up special, just to let Norfolk know how to get out of this mess.

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Who Watches Obama: Watchmen/Obama Subway Poster Mash

March 9th, 2009 by Jeff Simmermon

Whether or not you cared for the Watchmen film, you’ve got to respect this: for the most part, people aren’t defacing Watchmen posters on the subway. It’s amazing. Every other poster, there’s teeth blacked out, toilet-stool poetry scrawled in Sharpie, or, most notably, 3-D genitalia sculpted out of chewing gum. But for some reason, the Watchmen posters get left alone.

Except for this one — which has been dramatically improved by replacing Billy-Crudup-as-Dr.-Manhattan’s CG head with Barack Obama’s wise and otherworldy dome-piece. Complete with hydrogen atom symbol on the forehead, too! You can see this for yourself at the A/C/E/B/D/F/V stop at West 4th street, NYC.

Here’s the total poster:

Who Watches Obama?

Here’s a closeup:

Dr. Obama

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