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Saturday, October 31, 2009

WHAT'S HALLOWEEN WITHOUT ELVIRA?

I don't care what anybody says, I love me some Elvira and I always will. The only way this shot could possibly be any better is if the car she's reclining upon were either Christine or Dragula. Or if her ample bosom were "accidentally" spilling out.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Happy Halloween, oh Dear Vaulties! Today is that sacred day of the year when we set aside our boring everyday identities and bestride the night in a myriad of guises that unleash our hidden sides and flush our inhibitions down the toilet. Today is a day for well-intentioned scares, eerie revelry, imbibement of intoxicating elixirs, and fornication with plastic devil horns suction-cupped to our foreheads, so get out there and do your damnedest!

Hail Eallra Hālgena ǣfen!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

THE HALLOWEEN RAMPAGE BEGINS!!!

It's the day before Halloween and this year's rampage has begun in earnest, surprisingly starting as early as Thursday night. I ran into this charming family in Grand Central Station after leaving a bar where I was having a few rounds with some co-workers, and I was glad to see people already in the spirit.

I particularly like the one kid done up as the Swedish Chef from THE MUPPET SHOW, and he even did the "Bork bork" voice. The dad was dressed as an old lady who was out looking for her lost puppy:

From the front...

...and from the rear.

Then this morning rolled around, and since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year I readied myself to vie for costumed superiority among my co-workers at the design 'ho house despite it being a day before the actual main event because my office's costume-minded folks would also be representing, but more on me shortly. When I arrived I found a few of my fellow 'ho-housers had indeed showed up geared-up, and here they are:

Fellow metalhead Matt Yashian as the villainous Johnny from THE KARATE KID.

Matt again, rockin' the Cobrai Kai colors.

Jasmine, our resident High Priestess of Disney, works the casual Maleficent look.

Sales madman Jamie Warner makes with the Indiana Jones.

While I have another outfit for tomorrow's big photo safari to the massive and spectacular Manhattan Halloween parade at my annual perch at Christopher Street and the Avenue of the Americas, today I gussied up and rode the subway into work as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan newspaper.

The pullover head is actually a Jack Lord mask crafted by my old friend, professional Hollywood makeup maestro Andy Clement, for the NBC cop show HAWAII that ran for eight episodes during the fall of 2004. It's hot as a bitch in it, but I'm good to wear it for about twenty minutes at a time before my head completely melts off of my neck.

Clark shows off his press credentials.

Ready to once more save the world!

That's all for now, but I plan to have a comprehensive photo gallery of this year's full-blown rampage up no later than Tuesday morning, so stay tuned!

HALLOWEEN: SOME WORDS TO THE WISE

In case some of you somehow failed to notice, Halloween is just twenty-four hours away, and on that most fun day of the year there are many things to enjoy, even if Halloween is in actuality "Satan's birthday" as postulated in the unintentionally hilarious Jack Chick tract "Boo!" (1991).

From the Jack Chick tract "Boo!" (1991): a chainsaw-wielding and pumpkin-masked Satan bursts in and demands a completely different kind of pussy than what's being offered.

But along with the freedom of expression allowed on the mighty 'Ween, there are some things we would all do well to remember. I don't want to get all lecturey here, but in order to make sure we all have a safe and fun Halloween, I'm willing to go there. Because I care.
  • Don't allow your single-digit-aged or tweener daughters to dress as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Bratz, or any of the other pop culture icons (or permutations thereof) that promote creepy and inappropriate visual sleazery among girls under the age of eighteen. Unless you want to get arrested for pimping a child prostitute, that is.
Oh, HELL no!!!
  • If you're going to escort your little ones on their trick-or-treating rounds, show some decorum ferfucksake and don't do it while drunk. There's plenty of time for the boozing at grownup parties; don't make bad memories that your kids can look back on as adults and see you, clear as day in a scarecrow costume, walking haphazardly door-to-door on the street where you live, "discreetly" sipping from a thermos full of Harvey Wallbangers. (Do people still make those?)
  • And while we're on the subject of Halloween drunkenness, DO NOT under any circumstances drive drunk. I have zero tolerance for this even on my best day, but on Halloween, a time for fun and creative expression and sharing of such with our loved ones and friends, I am especially hard-assed. This is a time you'll want to look back upon with fondness, so don't fuck things up by killing yourself or others. If you're too smashed to drive, admit it and call a cab. There's no shame in not being a dumbass/potential vehicular murderer; a hangover will eventually fade, but a serious injury or a life taken due to inebriated stupidity is a whole other ballgame. And let us not forget that sometimes there are situations worse than death that the innocent are forced to live with thanks to someone else's carelessness. If you don't have a strong constitution, DO NOT click here to see what I mean.
  • Steer clear of exotic Halloween-themed drinks concocted by creative bartenders and stick to the poisons you're familiar with. Many feature grotesque food-coloring that can dye your mouth and fuck up the makeup or costumed look that you worked so hard to achieve, and these drinks also can contain combinations of different hard liquors that should never be imbibed in mass quantities unless your goal for the evening it to become the anal/oral/vaginal pincushion of scruples-free predators out looking for an easy target. Reference the classic Mentors song "Sleep Bandits" for more on the dangers of this.
"The Brain Hemorrhage" or simply "The Brain," a visually splendid concoction of Peach Schnapps, Irish cream liqueur, and a drop of Grenadine. During my truly stupid days in the mid-1980's, one of these made me projectile vomit like Mr. Creosote.
  • Couples costumes always suck. Either the guy or the gal or both look like ass, so don't do it! Some examples of said suckness:






Not cute, not romantic. Simply appalling, especially that last one.
  • Carefully choose your location and specific context if intending to rock blackface, unless you're looking for an ass-kicking.
Sarah Silverman: one who hilariously got away with it.
  • Don't give out "gimmick" candy to the trick-or-treating kids. Candy manufactured to resemble bugs, eyeballs and assorted other gruesome seasonal items may look interesting, but they often taste like mildly-sweet PVC. The kids want recognizable brand name confections, those little bite-size candy bars and such, so stick with that stuff. And no candy apples, homemade stuff (unless you're giving it out to kids you know and whose parents know you and are cool with you doing it) or those crappy popcorn balls.
Visually appealing, virtually guaranteed to taste like plastic.
  • Don't give out candy corn or Peeps, for they are Satan's own dingleberries, retrieved from the actual Devil's ass-crack hairs. You know I'm right about this.
  • Wanna prove to kids how much you genuinely hate them? Give out wax lips.
Hey, if you want the neighborhood children to look like pint-size Jocelyn Wildensteins, then by all means proceed, but also bear in mind that these insidious, disturbing, and utterly taste-free anti-treats can be put to very questionable use indeed...

  • Don't rock Nazi gear. This one's still quite understandably a touchy outfit and there are even Jews who take umbrage with fellow-Semite Mel Brooks for the brilliant "Springtime for Hitler" number in THE PRODUCERS (1968) so it's best not to go there, even when taking the piss out of the filthy Hun. Seriously, if a member of Britain's royal family couldn't get away with it, do you think you've got a chance?
Way to go, genius!
  • Ladies, fairy tale characters or the Disney-style princess thing is great for pre-pubescent girls but kinda creepy on grownup chicks with tasty curves. Thus, as grownup wimmern folk, please do your level best to corrupt the wholesome angle of the classic princess. Make Sleeping Beauty look like a ready-to-rock, tarted-up porn whore! Turn the fairy princess into a burnt-out, hungover skank!
Little girls everywhere wept: my old buddy POWER GIRL artist Amanda Conner as the "Fairy Fuckin' Princess."

And if it were legal, wouldn't it be great to go out as Topless Tinkerbell? Just puttin' it out there...
  • Last and definitely not least, if at all possible, make sure to have sex with your significant other while still adorned with as much of your costumes as is conducive to such acts. Perhaps not in costumes as straight to point as this,
but instead imagine the twisted scenarios that could be enacted between a spear-brandishing Brunhilde the Valkyrie and the re-animated, smiling corpse of John F. Kennedy! That's just the first thing that popped into my head while writing this, so who knows what you can get up to in real life, dear reader? I'm going stag this year, so please rock the costumed Osh-Osh on my behalf.

So keep all of this in mind and have a bitchin' Aitch-Ween!!!

Just in case you didn't know.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

STILL GOT NOTHIN'

Still got nothin', but there will be something of interest and seasonal pertinence tomorrow. Actually I do have one small piece of info for you. You see this shot of a guy in an Elvis costume?

Just so you know, when you get it out of the packaging the wig is about as far from the in-control piece of Kingness seen here. Its fibers are all over the place and looks like nothing so much as what would have happened had Elvis stuck his dick into an active light socket. I bought one a couple of years ago and was disappointed to discover it looked like an exploded marmot, or at least I was until I realized it would make a great werewolf wig some Halloween down the line. In other words, caveat emptor.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'VE GOT NUTHIN'

Sorry, folks, but I've got nuthin' today. Enjoy this shot of a topless and oh-so-dreamy Gil Gerard until I get back.

Somethin' for the ladies, oh yeah...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TIMOTHY (1971) by The Buoys

The Billboard Top 100 can occasionally be home to some of the most unlikely and completely effed-up ess one is likely to come across in any realm of American pop culture, and some of those questionable songs actually manage to crack the Top 40 for reasons that defy all conventional arbiters of sanity. One of the greatest examples of this was the 1971 song "Timothy," performed by a band called the Buoys, a group from which songwriter performer Rupert Holmes sprang and later graced the world with "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," which is rather amazing considering that he first wrote "Timothy," a song infamous for its intimations of cannibalism.

Banned outright in some radio markets, "Timothy" never explicitly stated "Sweet jumpin' Jesus in a basket of chicken! This song's about two guys eating their friend!!!" but the main thrust of the song is simple enough for even a six-year-old to figure out, which is how old I was when I first heard it. During a time of such Top 40 hits as George Harrison's "My Sweet He's So Fine," er, "My Sweet Lord" (*AHEM*), Donny Osmond's "Go Away Little Girl," "Theme from SHAFT," and Melanie's "Brand New Key," you've gotta admit that such a relatively bubbly tune about cannibalism borne from desperation was not something one would have expected to chart at all, much less end up peaking at #17. No, seriously!!! I remember being quite confused by "Timothy" because such madness just did not occur on the radio back in those days, with perhaps its closest antecedent in morbidity being Jimmy Cross' 1965 parody of the period's ultra-depressing wave of teen death ballads, "I Want My Baby Back," which includes a punchline that isn't a far leap from outright necrophilia and peaked at #92. (I didn't hear that song until I was in high school, after which it became one of my favorite records, appealing to the more Charles Addams aspects of my sensibilities.)

Anyway, "Timothy" is surprisingly sprightly for a tune so dark, punctuated as it is by chirpy strings and a melody you'd totally ignore...until you paid attention to the lyrics, which are found below in an effort to have some appropriate material as a lead-in to Halloween. Aah, that's bullshit; I'm simply burnt out after the past few days and was fishing for post material, so there you go. Whatever the case, "Timothy" remains as a unique landmark in the annals of the Top 40. (And how!)

"Timothy" by Rupert HolmesTrapped in a mine that had caved in
And everyone knows the only ones left

Were Joe and me and Tim

When they broke through to pull us free

The only ones left to tell the tale

Were Joe and me


Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go?

Timothy, Timothy, God why don't I know?


Hungry as hell no food to eat

And Joe said that he would sell his soul

For just a piece of meat

Water enough to drink for two

And Joe said to me, "I'll have a swig

And then there's some for you."


Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you

Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?


I must have blacked out just around then

'Cause the very next thing that I could see

Was the light of the day again

My stomach was full as it could be

And nobody ever got around

To finding Timothy

Timothy...

Monday, October 26, 2009

HAGEN ON MY MIND

Reminded of her thanks to an amusing YouTube clip that I watched a few days ago and unable to get her out of my head since then, I just had to post an image of one of my favorite singers, operatically-skilled punk rocker/world class weirdo Nina Hagen, and in no time that simple image inspired the following train of thought.

Nina Hagen, circa 1987.

While watching the clip I thought back to when and where I first heard Prima Nina's music and was shocked to note I've been listening to her for nearly thirty years, discovering her not long after finding my beloved Devo and having my musical perceptions completely blown out of the water and thus opened to checking out new things. Hagen was an especially easy sell to me, thanks to her genuine talent, unbridled and fully embraced weirdness, a real sense of style and charm, plus a glamorous but somehow anti-glam image that stood in direct contrast to the plastic and interchangeable pop singer chicks of the late-1970's/early-1980's.

The 1980 EP that made me a believer.

When I first heard the four-song EP that compiled tunes from Hagen's first two German-release LP's — NINA HAGEN BAND and the excellent UNBEHAGEN — during the fall of 1980, I was mesmerized by her voice's stunning operatic capability and just how hard "TV Glotzer" (roughly translated as "Glued to the TV" and also a German language re-write of the Tubes' "White Punks on Dope") rocked, compounding its Third Reich-meets-arena-rock ambiance with the song's finale having Hagen let out a Valkyrie-like shriek as the world ends in what sounds like the mother of all thermo-nuclear strikes. The rest of the EP is a lot of fun, but that song completely kicked my ass six ways to Sunday and remains among my favorite recordings from that confused and awkward period of my youth.

Music is an interest that is much more fun when shared with the like-minded and the only person I knew at the time who also appreciated Nina Hagen's musical stylings like I did was my dear friend Matt, a guy whose musical tastes almost completely jibed with my own. I'd known Matt since junior high but he moved a few towns away as our second year of high school began, yet that didn't stop our exchange of music; in fact, Matt's moving away yielded the unexpected bonus of him having a number of interesting mom & pop music stores in his new territory that allowed him access to stuff I could never have gotten my hands on in Westport, nor even at Fairfield County's sole bastion of extensive punk and new wave selections at the time, New Music. It was Matt who introduced me to several groups and performers that I came to love and during this musical exploration he was the person who managed to get his hands on Nina Hagen's then-new albums, the first of which to cross our path was NUNSEXMONKROCK (1982).

Though quite aggressively weird, this album's songs examine religion, science, matters of social concern and other assorted topics, each propelled by Hagen's amazing vocal range and sense of humor/satire. (When I encountered Mercyful Fate and King Diamond some two years later, I immediately wondered if King's all over the place vocals owed more than a little to the infinitely more talented Hagen's sonic template.) Definitely not an album for listeners raised on the safe, homogenized radio or MTV product-rock of the early eighties, this album is like a stark staring glimpse into the mind of someone who's gone irrevocably mad, but when you have tunes that kick as much ass as "Born in Xixax" or the hypnotic "Iki Maska," utter madness can at times be seen as a refuge.

Next up was 1983's ANGSTLOS (released in the U.S. as FEARLESS), a mostly mediocre offering that remains in my collection solely because of the transcendent majesty of the incredible "Zarah."

When Matt first played it for me he'd managed to snag the German version of the album from one of the arcane record shops in the boonies to where he'd been re-located, and when the needle hit the vinyl and allowed "Zarah" to cascade out of the speakers we were completely and utterly blown away. We both considered Nina Hagen a songstress of considerable merit, but "Zarah" allowed her Teutonic uber-pipes to let loose with a song that was simultaneously beautiful and infused with all the power one would expect from a record cut by a particularly talented Valkyrie when she wasn't out harvesting warriors' souls to populate Valhalla. The English language version of the song is pretty good, but "Zarah" must be experienced in German to feel the raw energy Hagen transmits when giving it voice. No lie, that song sends chills up my spine and when possible I play it as loud as I can.

Continuing the trend of her gifts being lent to albums of very much hit or miss quality, 1985's IN EKSTASY featured another mixed bag, including a cover of "My Way" (done to much greater effect by Sid Vicious some seven years previous) and a listless version of Norman Greenbaum's seventies hit "Spirit in the Sky."

IN EKSTASY is not a total loss though, containing as it does the bleak "Atomic Flash de Luxe," but I can't really recommend it to anyone other than Hagen purists (one of which, despite my love of her, I am not).

A brief return to form came in 1987 with the release of the PUNK WEDDING EP, a gleefully goofy celebration of Hagen's marriage to an eighteen-year-old punker boy named "Iroquois."

Old school punk rock was once noted for its sense of humor and this EP is proof that people from Germany can be fucking hilarious when they want to, as evidenced in the title song (German and English versions are provided) and especially on "Hardcore Rebell-Hochzeitsparty," a ditty that to this day makes my friend Smokey crack up over how "extra stoopid" it is. The whole record is a raucous madhouse but the bit that truly makes it is the moment when, amidst much noise and chaos, a priest interrupts the proceedings and engages in the following exchange with Nina:

Priest: Do you, Nina Hagen, take this punk to be your lawfully wedded husband?
Nina (sweetly): Ja...
Priest: Do you, Iroquois, take this superstar to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Iroquois (sounding exactly like a completely wasted Sid Vicious): Oh, yeah...

Priest: To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, to honor and obey, 'til death do you part?
Nina (confused): What?!!?

Back cover to the PUNK WEDDING EP.

I've done the research and can find no concrete info on Hagen's subsequent relationship with that Iroquois guy, so I'm inclined to think the whole thing was some kind of elaborate joke that few of us have been let in on. If anyone reading this knows different, please don't hesitate to write in with an answer.

Following PUNK WEDDING's all-too-brief blast of kickass silliness, I graduated from college and spent the next few years concentrating less on music and trying instead to get acclimated to the realities of earning a living, thus not encountering Fraulein Hagen again until 1993's REVOLUTION BALLROOM.

Her voice was still there but some undefinable element was missing from the recipe, so as a result I have given Hagen's releases a miss from REVOLUTION BALLROOM on, a policy that saddens me. I am however curious to give a listen to her 1999 album OM NAMAH SHIVAY!, a completely serious rendition of the Hare Krishna mantra.

Even during the days when I listened to her stuff as it was coming out, Hagen came off as a spiritually restless eccentric, first embracing what appeared at the time to be Born Again Christianity (as noted in the lyrics to "Born in Xixax": "Well I believe in Jesus/I preach it loud and stark") and then traveling a path of enlightenment that seems to have at one point culminated in Krishna Consciousness. Whatever the case may be, Nina Hagen continues to fascinate me, both as an artist and as a human being, and I hope she stays around for a long while, being here to intrigue, inspire, and incite mass confusion wherever she goes. A true beauty, possessed of a vast and compelling intellect, brazen enough to demonstrate female masturbation techniques on a live Austrian talk show in 1979 (while clothed, but nonetheless something I would have loved to witness from the audience) and by far the most intentionally funny German I have yet to encounter, she's just plain awesome.

The photo that hung on my bedroom wall from sometime in 1981 through when I left for college in 1983. My mom was simultaneously quite displeased and rather confused whenever she glimpsed it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

THE PORN PARODY AVALANCHE KEEPS ON CUMMING

More uninspired pickings from the pornucopia, namely another batch of "who wants to see this?" parodies.

The long-running and later interminably re-run SAVED BY THE BELL provided tons of wank-fodder for high school fetishists and admittedly featured eye candy for both genders, so I suppose an actually "welcome to my face" version of it was inevitable. Too bad the talent involved bears no resemblance whatsoever to Elizabeth Berkley, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen or Lark Voorhies, other than being quite clearly female.

Another porno inevitabilty was a TWILIGHT knockoff, which is automatically of more entertainment value than its source material — the novel or the movie — because it includes fucking rather than a load of chaste crap that's best suited to tweener girls and trailer park shut-ins.

But while the previous items make perfect sense to me on several levels, the following parody piece is a huge "Who the hell could rub one out to this?"

At no point during the many episodes of THE JEFFERSONS that I've seen did I imagine any kind of scenario where the characters got it on, not even Lionel (the first one) and that super-cute Jenny. What can this disc possibly give audiences? Weezie and Florence supping on each others' velvet oysters? George engaging the Willises in an unholy threesome Oreo sandwich with Tom as the filling? Mister Bentley being revealed as having a secret life as an S/M top, thus giving the actor an excuse to resurrect Paul Bendict's character from MANDINGO? Or even, worst of all, George and Florence engaging in the hate-fuck to end all hate-fucks? I shudder at the mere thought.

But don't lose hope, dear reader! Good old, straight-up old school porn is still hanging on, and as long as there are filmmakers out there producing such intriguing works as WANNA FUCK MY DAUGHTER, GOTTA FUCK ME FIRST VOL. 5, the flame of true, non-parodic filth will never be extinguished.

WANNA FUCK MY DAUGHTER, GOTTA FUCK ME FIRST VOL. 5: a concept I'm sure Shakespeare would have gotten around to had he lived a bit longer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

THE BIG APPLE CON 10/16-10/18/2009, or CONVIVAL CELEBS, FRANTIC FANS, AND GREGARIOUS GEEKERY ON PIER 94

The Golden Age Green Lantern represents.

It’s not always easy being a dyed-in-the-wool pop culture geek and convention attendee for a number of reasons, chief among which are the sometimes prohibitive costs and the pain in the ass of hauling oneself to a con’s appointed venue, even if the show’s technically not that far away from home. Yet endure those logistical hurdles we must, for are Geeks and were are mighty, proud to represent in the name of the perceived-as-uncool stuff that we adore and keep that torch lit to share and pass on to those who are like-minded. In the name of my lifelong nerdy obsessions I have paid outrageous prices for con admission, put up with crowds that put a street scene from Soylent Green to shame, had my olfactory senses tested to their limits by the wafting B.O. of hygienically challenged fanboys (and occasionally fangirls, if truth be told), and suffered the tortures of the damned in my thirty-plus years of indulging in this fannish madness, so when I find myself at a show that features an optimal amount of everything going right I feel a renewed sense of love and tolerance for every member of the family of humanity. That said, this past weekend’s Big Apple Con was a stone cold blast and I can’t wait to go to the next one (hopefully equipped with more disposable cash for tchotchkes).

Running from Friday, October 16th through Sunday the 18th, the long-running Big Apple Con shifted location from its usual Midtown hotel digs to the considerably more remote confines of Pier 94 at Twelfth Avenue on Manhattan’s West Side (at 55th Street), and if you ask me it was a good move. Sure it’s a pain in the ass to schlep as far left on the map as one can go in Manhattan, especially on a day as unseasonably cold and inclement as Friday was, but the effort was rewarded upon gaining entry to the show. From the moment I walked in I was surrounded by exactly what I want from any show I attend, namely lots of t-shirts, fantasy weaponry, toys, and a myriad of assorted gewgaws for sale that catch the eye of the eager geek, enthusiastic attendees throwing aside all propriety (and in many cases dignity) to show up in costume and give full reign to fully-rocked appreciation of their favorite characters, beloved celebrities from movies, teevee and elsewhere, present to meet and greet and sign autographs for their fans, and of course, shitloads of comic books and the artists who create the stuff. That, to me, is bliss, Elysium brought to the mundane world, allowing all a welcome break from an existence punctuated by overdue bills, incompetent government, family dysfunction, (FILL IN THE BLANK) being declared a possible carcinogen, threats of foreclosure, and for real kills-folks-dead warfare.


As I made my way into this wonderland of the imagination I was pleased to note that the huge space allowed every attraction at the show easy, one-level access for all (something those in wheelchairs were no doubt glad of) and also gave much-needed room to the celebrity signers. Previous Big Apple shows held a certain charm thanks to them being among the very last of NYC cons to have the old school DIY feel common to shows in the days before they got huge, al la the San Diego Comicon or New York’s own Javits Center conventions, but Pier 94 allowed Big Apple’s charms to shine through while considerably increasing the scale. Unlike many shows I’ve been to, the one-level layout of Pier 94 made it very simple to do a once-around scouting of the whole affair and get the lay of the land in almost no time; by the end of my first hour there, I had the layout committed to memory and could make my way here, there and everywhere like I’d been there my whole life. A major plus when compared to shows where I felt I’d done amounts of walking equal the travels of Kwai Chang Caine.


Look, kids! Comics!!!

While making my way to “Artists Alley” — the place where the creators of comics lurk — I wandered among the dealers of toys and comics, breathing in the distinctive and comforting smell of musty old four color mind-rot and discovering a multitude of tables offering hundreds of pre-1970 collector’s items for literally next to nothing. Vintage books from Marvel, DC, and far more obscure publishers littered the place, leading me to wonder if this windfall of comic book blow-outs was due to dealers in this iffy economy seeking to rid themselves of extraneous stock that might not move in their already overcrowded stores. Those old 80-page giants and 100-pagers were had for a pittance and I even managed to score a copy of All Star Comics #58, featuring the very first appearance of Power Girl — who was far less bosomy there than what she evolved into under the solo hand of Wally Wood — in great condition for three bucks. I don’t know what’s causing this trend, but I hope it keeps up for at least the next year’s-worth of cons.

Fuck that "tumbler" bullshit; this is what the Batmobile looks like!!!

A gorgeous re-build of the 1960’s Batmobile was majestically parked on the floor, right next to the main area for celebrity signings, and it was there that I was allowed to live out a childhood fantasy. For a mere ten bucks admission I was allowed to plant my beige ass in the driver’s seat of the Batmobile — THE GODDAMNED BATMOBILE!!! — and have a photographer take (theoretically) unlimited pics of me totally geeking out. I took advantage of that rare opportunity and made sure to take reference shots of the legendary vehicle’s dashboard and accouterments with my own camera, but the icing on the unbelievably geeky cake was when I donned the Adam West-style Batman cowl and posed for pics while “talking to the Commissioner” on the Bat Phone. By committing that act to photographic record I strongly believe I may have given up all right to ever get laid again, but damn me if it wasn’t worth it.

Goodbye, sex life...

After the Chernobyl of geekery that took place in the Batmobile, another of my personal goals while attending the show was to obtain a number of autographs from some of the celebrities on hand, some of whom had a huge impact on my in various ways since my childhood. Topping that list was Julie Newmar, the brain-warpingly hot bombshell who so indelibly brought Catwoman to life on Batman in the 1960’s, followed immediately by the equally stunning Nichelle Nichols, the original Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura, perhaps the first prominent black woman on TV to not portray a buffoon or a maid. Lemme tell ya in no uncertain terms that the pair of them are responsible for turning me into the curve-lovin’ horn dog that I am, so no matter how many decades had passed since they were in their prime there was no way in Hell that I was not going to shake hands with those goddesses of my childhood. Monty Python’s Carol Cleveland also frequently had starring roles in my young lad’s less-than-wholesome reveries and she was also present, so I had my sights set on her as well.

Meeting the celebrity guests is always fun for me and gives me an opportunity to hone my skills at conversing with some of my favorite entertainers without geeking out like a complete idiot, especially if the celeb in question is someone I worshipped during childhood. The first guest that I tested my keeping-it-together skills against was Nichelle Nichols, and I was not surprised to find she was a kind and elegant presence. Carol Cleveland really surprised me by engaging me in a lengthy conversation in which she regaled me with stories of her recent meeting with the rest of the still-extant Pythons, all of whom were in town to receive a BAFTA award at Manhattan’s Zeigfeld theater. Having been familiar with her TV work since I was a kid and hearing her rock a lilting British accent, I was stunned to hear her speak like a native American, and only while doing some fact checking for this piece did I discover that while born in London, Cleveland moved to the States at a very early age and was raised in Philadelphia, San Antonio and Pasadena before returning to the U.K. when she was eighteen.


Carol Cleveland, as seen during her Monty Python days (specifically as seen in "The Attila the Hun Show" segment)...

...and solo. Jesus H. Christ...

Then came the real moment of truth, the moment when my fannish zeal and long-ago feelings of schoolboy lust would have to be pushed into a corner and replaced with my dignified and erudite grownup convention-meet-and-greet self. I was going to stand face-to-face with Julie Newmar, Catwoman herself, and finally convey my lifelong admiration to her, and frankly I was rendered jelly-kneed at the prospect.

The most sobering thing about meeting Miss Newmar was being reminded that she is only a few months younger than my own mom and that Newmar was once a professional dancer, an occupation famous for wreaking havoc upon the feet, knees, and hips of those who practice that art. Miss Newmar must have paid the price for her years in the limelight, because now she required a man under each arm to assist her to the seat for her signing, but despite her obvious frailty she entered the place with an air of regal dignity like she owned the place. And judging from the reaction of her legion of fans that had showed up, she pretty much did. Frail though she may have been, her Amazonian stature was quite imposing, and even in the flats she was wearing she had to be around 6’2”, easily towering over Yours Truly.


Despite having waited a good while for her to arrive, I found myself jockeying for position among the fans that showed up just before Miss Newmar got there and didn’t feel like waiting patiently like I and a few others had. It was at that point that the bad behavior of poorly socialized fans reared its ugly head and I found myself mortified by some of the sleazy things those louts were saying to Newmar in a disastrously failed attempt to be witty, but my outrage quickly turned to amusement as Newmar fielded the remarks like the seasoned con warrior she undoubtedly was. The most amusing example of this came when a greasy-haired guy in his late-thirties approached her and stated, “Catwoman sure was ahead of her time, y’know, being a dominatrix!” as he all but drooled all over himself. Newmar responded, in that sweet dotty old lady voice of hers, “Catwoman was not a dominatrix,” but fanboy wasn’t having it and countered with, “Oh, yeah she was!” Newmar merely looked down at the 8x10 she was signing and politely retorted, “Maybe in your mind…” a comment that sailed right over his head. It took a lot for me not to turn to the grotty fanboy, point rigidly at him and shout, “OWNED!!!
" But what the hell did I care about that douchebag? I was able to meet La Newmar, pass on my respect and well-wishes to her, and I got a couple of great autographed pics fro her, of which the one seen below will soon be framed and afforded a place of honor upon my tiny apartment's wall, right next to my shot of Sonny Chiba as The Street Fighter.

The bottom line on all of this is that the new and improved Big Apple Con was a hell of a lot of fun and a great value for the admission price, so I will definitely be returning. The next one of these shows is scheduled in direct competition with the next Javits Center hoo-hah and I’m very curious to see how that one will play out. In fact, proving once and for all that I’m a masochist, I’m gonna try and attend both shows in order to compare, contrast, and note how the respective cons work for or against one another. Rest assured, I’ll be back with a full report when it all goes down. Hell, I'm not at all political on this con stuff, just so long as it's fun. Oh, and here are some shots of more con stuff to hold you over until the next show:

A zaftig Minutemen-era Silk Spectre.

Rorschach avails himself to some Wii Fit Yoga.

Robin poses with the Batmobile. She gets extra points for the sound effect on her fist and also for that ludicrous green bow.

Former colleagues from my days in the Marvel Bullpen: Peter Sanderson and Danny "the Fing" Fingeroth.


After years of people rocking the Next Generation look, it's good to to see the return of the Old School style. I'm guessing we have the movie to thank for that.

A fetching trio of geek gals, rockin' it Old School.

Two of my brothers from the Marvel Bullpen: Tim Smith and Chris Giarusso.


My favorite of the several Robins at the show. Her Chuck Taylors make the outfit.

My old pal Nelson, representing with an assortment of his covers. This shot does not do justice to the gorgeous detail found in his work.

Jim Lee signs for his legion of fans. The line for his signing was by far the longest that I saw.

David Hedison, aka the 1958 Fly, walks the floor.

The unlikely pairing of Jareth the goblin king and Nightwing. Note Jareth's package; the guy was cracking himself (and me) up with what had to have been a length of kielbasa stuffed down his trousers, and for that I salute him.

Next to the shot of me actually inside it while rocking the Adam West cowl, is there an image more possibly geeky than Han Solo and Chewbacca posing in front of the Batmobile?

Robin and Madman, scourges of crime!

An assortment of Ghostbusters and Robin. Extra points for the homemade Slimer puppet, and the downright hypnotic rack on Robin (you can't see it that well here, but take my word for it).

An impressive pair of gamma-irradiated Marvel Zombies.


A holy convergence of sixties kitsch: Mickey Dolenz and Adam West have a tete a tete.

I just love it when women rock costumes normally associated with male superheroes, in this case the Flash.

Cap.

Greg Schiegel, another Bullpen brother, and Jacob Chabot (THE MIGHTY SKULLBOY ARMY).

The horrific C-3P0's breakfast cereal. I don't know about you, but I don't want anything that has to do with C-3P0 in my mouth.

It's Booster Gold!

A blurry shot of infamous NYC cable TV legend Ugly George (look him up), complete with his famous foil-covered video camera setup. I very much doubt he was able to coax any of the costumed attendees into showing him their tits.

The DeLorean from the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy. Eff this crate; I got to sit behind the wheel of the friggin' Batmobile, beeyotches!

Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, co-authors of the exceptional BOILERPLATE: HISTORY'S MECHANICAL MARVEL, which I strongly urge you to run out and buy right now. The book looked interesting in the first place and I was shocked to find that once I started reading it on the subway I couldn't put it down until nearly two in the morning (barring the time I spent at Steph's art show on Staten Island later that evening). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Batmobile from the rear.

While cruising the mean streets of Gotham City in search of villainous scum, the Caped Crusader cranks his favorite GG Allin tunes on his Pioneer stereo.

No comment.

An excellent Batman Beyond, furled...

...and unfurled.

Man, am I glad to see the 1960's Batgirl turning up as a regular costume at cons these days!


It could only happen at a con: Monty Python's Carol Cleveland peruses merch as Loretta "Hotlips Houlihan" Swit breaks for lunch.

In the immortal words of Stinky Wizzleteats, "Happy happy, joy joy."

It's moments like this that give me hope for humanity.