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Jeb Bush clinches crucial ‘UFO Man’ endorsement
08:54 am


Jeb Bush
UFO Welcome Center

“UFO Man” endorses Bush.  Photo: Times Democrat
Bowman, South Carolina (population 968) is home to the “UFO Welcome Center,” possibly the best/worst roadside attraction in America, which mainly consists of a dilapidated, ramshackle spaceship cobbled together from scrap wood and various repurposed construction materials. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet, and I’m lucky as a South Carolinian to get to visit it quite often. I treasure my meetings with the man behind the saucer, “UFO Man,” the adorably kooky Jody Pendarvis.

The giant UFO Pendarvis built in the front yard of his trailer home is in somewhat less than flight-worthy condition and is usually inhabited by a dozen or so feral cats. But if you ever find yourself in Bowman, Jody will gladly give you a tour of the ship and the philosophy behind the UFO Welcome Center, which is essentially a beacon for extraterrestrial visitors.

Jody Pendarvis. Photo: Bickel
“UFO Man” made the local newspapers this week with his endorsement of Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush. Bush seems like a good candidate for endorsement from the UFO people. Trump has made his stance regarding aliens quite clear (he’s against them), and Ben Carson has attempted to deny the hard work of aliens in building the Egyptian pyramids, claiming that the pyramids were built by Biblical Joseph to store grain—which is clearly insane. Bush is the clear choice for those of us who build giant wooden flying saucers in the front yards of our trailers.

We’re quite sure the Bush campaign will get a huge bump from this crucial endorsement.

For more on the “UFO Man,” check out Vice’s excellent short documentary on the UFO Welcome Center:

Here are a few pre-Bush-endorsement photos I took during my last trip to see Jody and the spaceship, three months ago:






Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Unbelievable! Holy grail footage of The Shaggs from 1972 FOUND!

Of all outsider music, none is further outside than The Shaggs. Three young sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire whose harrowing story is like no other pop music story in history, is known at this point far and wide. Their father took them out of school, harassed and abused them to force them to “make music,” hoping to hit it rich off that new rock and roll fad. Since they didn’t have one iota of knowledge about music, the girls invented their own music. An amazing otherworldly music like nothing anyone’s ears have ever experienced! And being that they were young girls, this music had a great innocence to it, coming through guitar bass and drums. Now I don’t just mean they wrote songs, but that they reinvented music almost in an autistic way. Not knowing their back story early on, it’s amazing that this was created under duress. Everyone that heard it thought it was just the bizarre childish ramblings of the weirdest teens on earth! And they were, but still…
To implement their father’s bizarre plan, these girls (Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin) were also forced to play every weekend at Fremont Town Hall where, it is said, that they were endlessly abused by rotten kids for doing the “Shaggs’ Own Thing,” yet they soldiered on weekend after weekend because they had to. Next was to record an LP and here is where their magic was set in stone. Released in 1969,The Shaggs’ Philosophy Of The World came and went and legend tells of them being thrown in a dumpster by the studio owner/co-producer (with their dad, Austin Wiggin). Either way 900 of the thousand LPs disappeared, so right off the bat it was incredibly rare. Being the most famous weirdo of his time the record made its way into the hands of none other than Frank Zappa who went on a radio interview in 1970 with the Shaggs LP under his arm and famously during the interview proclaimed “this band is better than the Beatles” and then made them play a song—the first public mindblower the band created. They kept playing until the day their father died of a massive heart attack in 1975 and then just stopped.
Ten years after its original release, at the end of the first punk wave, mega record collector Terry Adams, singer for cult rock-n-roll band NRBQ, got his record label (Rounder Records) to re-release the LP. The minds punk opened were endlessly searching for weirdness in records, movies and pop culture. People like myself scarfed up the Shaggs LP and were mesmerized by its unique weirdness. It started being used as the measuring stick for weird music. People like Kurt Cobain put it in his top five favorite records of all time. In 1999 for the 30th anniversary NRBQ celebration concert they put on a show in New York That was one of the greatest and most bizarre nights of my life. I went with Shaggs megafan and one of my best friends, the late Bill Bartell (aka Pat Fear of California punk band White Flag) and it was a true mind bender. The Shaggs, playing their first show ever outside of Fremont, NH had the middle spot between Sun Ra’s Arkestra and NRBQ! Possibly the weirdest bill ever. I secretly recorded it, and it sounds exactly like the record. They read the music off of the original handwritten charts and only did four songs because they could only find those four pieces of sheet music! I had Dot Wiggin recreate the drawing of her cat Foot Foot from the back cover of the LP—made infamous in their “biggest hit” song “My Pal Foot Foot”—on my ankle and had it tattooed on the very next day! (I already had a tattoo on my actual foot foot.)
Here’s Pat’s recounting of the show on Popshifter

Pat Fear: When I went to New York in 1999 to see the Shaggs when they played with NRBQ at their 30th Anniversary concert, I ended up getting to know them. They didn’t understand that they were going to be mobbed and I ended up being their handler. They had never experienced anything like being mobbed for autographs, so I set them up with a table for merch and stuff and ended up being their manager for a day. So I got to know them pretty well over the course of the two days.

They were really nice. It was only two of them; Helen wasn’t well enough to play [The Shaggs were comprised of three sisters: Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin; Helen died in 2006] so it was just Betty and Dot. That was the first time they had played since they broke up in 1975. I went to the soundcheck because I was not going to miss one second of Shaggs performances!

I met them and they were just standing around, these two, nice, older women—normal people who looked like middle-aged housewives—but they had guitars with them. And I barely recognized them. I said, “Look I don’t want to bother you but I came from California to see you. This is a big thrill and I’ve always liked your music.”

And they were like (adopts Shaggs-like accent), “Oh, that’s so nice!” They talk just like they do on the records. I was like, “Wow, this is actually happening.”

Dorothy [Dot] had a PeeChee folder in her hands and she opened it up right before they were about to do the sound check and she said (in Shaggs voice), “Oh, we’re only gonna do four numbers because we didn’t have time to study them.” And she opened this PeeChee folder and there was handwritten sheet music to “My Pal Foot Foot.”

Popshifter: Oh my goodness.

Pat Fear: Those songs were written out and scored on sheet music, by hand! And when she said “study” she meant, study the sheet music.

Popshifter: How is that even possible? (laughs)

Pat Fear: Jaw on the floor! I was with Howie Pyro [D Generation] and we were both like, “Oh. My. God. You don’t know how much I want that piece of paper.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Florida Senate candidate admits to sacrificing goat, drinking its blood

The Orlando Sentinel reported this morning on a Florida candidate for U.S. Senate, Augustus Sol Invictus, who has admitted to killing a goat and drinking its blood in a pagan ritual of thanks after fasting and praying for a week in the Mojave Desert.

The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, Adrian Wyllie, who was the Libertarian candidate for governor last year, has denounced Invictus, saying that the 32-year-old politician wants to lead a civil war, is trying to recruit neo-Nazis to the party, and is a sadistic goat-slaughterer. Apparently this is just a bit too much for some of the Libertarians in Florida.

According to the Orlando Sentinel’s report, Invictus has admitted to at least the accusation of goat sacrifice: “I did sacrifice a goat. I know that’s probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans. I sacrificed an animal to the god of the wilderness ... Yes, I drank the goat’s blood.”

Prior to this Senate run, Augustus Sol Invictus’ claim-to-fame was an unhinged, rambling departure memo renouncing his licenses to practice law, his diplomas, his affiliation with Rollins, DePaul, and the University of South Florida, his United States citizenship, his membership in the Roman Catholic Church, his law firm, his publishing company & poetry journal, and all of his material possessions:

I am of genius intellect & cultured, well-educated & creative, well-mannered & refined. I am God’s gift to humankind where the English language is concerned, and I also happen to have a basic knowledge of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian. I am musical & artistic; I am athletic & possessed of militant self-discipline; and I am many other things… I am everything you ever wanted to be.

I have prophesied for years that I was born for a Great War; that if I did not witness the coming of the Second American Civil War I would begin it myself. Mark well: That day is fast coming upon you. On the New Moon of May, I shall disappear into the Wilderness. I will return bearing Revolution, or I will not return at all.

War Be unto the Ends of the Earth.

If Florida’s track-record of weird is any indication, we suspect that Augustus Sol Invictus will not be the last crypto-fascist, pseudo-Satanist, blood-drinking Libertarian we see come out of Florida in the upcoming elections.

Video of Augustus Sol Invictus “campaigning”:

Via: Orlando Sentinel

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Man with no surviving family says ‘f*ck it,’ purchases tombstone with pre-selected death date
07:47 am



This is the ultimate “old dude says ‘fuck it’” story.

Weird Universe unearthed this newspaper story from 1949 concerning a 92-year-old farmer from Allegan, Michigan. The farmer, Leroy Irwin, had recently lost his wife and had no other surviving family members. He decided to have a tombstone carved for him and his wife, but he feared that having no survivors meant he needed to pay for the stone’s completion while he was still alive. Apparently thinking he wouldn’t live a whole lot longer, he went ahead and had “1950” carved onto the stone as the year of his death.

The Escanaba Daily Press - Apr 25, 1949
He was quoted in 1949 as saying “It don’t matter if I go sooner or live a few years longer, the stone’s finished.”

I love this codger’s attitude: If you want something done, you do it yourself. It might not be perfect, but at least it’s done, dadgummit.

It turns out Irwin was a tad optimistic, dying in November of 1949, seven weeks shy of 1950. But you know what? Fuck it, “the stone’s finished.”

The Escanaba Daily Press - Nov 14, 1949
Leroy Irwin’s grave (with the wrong date) still stands in Hudson Corners Cemetery.

Via: Weird Universe

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Masturbating to Mary Tyler Moore Society’ is a real thing
11:39 am


Mary Tyler Moore

I was trying to describe this thing last night to some friends over dinner, but I think you just have to see it… I posted this here a long time ago, but I think this merits posting again for those who missed it the first time around…

Behold the flyer for “The Mary Tyler Moore Masturbation Society” (Click here and here for larger, easier-to-read versions). Apparently this “society” was founded by a fellow named James J. Kagel of Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Kagel is (or was) attempting to connect to others who share his fetish for, in his words, “jacking off” to photographs of beloved actress and comedienne, Mary Tyler Moore’s “beautifully curved, ever so shapely, silken, creamy smooth, seductive, velvety soft, long, lean, graceful, tantilizing [sic], erotic, sinuously sexy LEGS [...] (not to mention her lickable feet)!” End quote.

Kagel goes on to totally over-share about his fetish for MTM’s legs developed as a boy watching her on The Dick Van Dyke Show and her own eponymously-titled, long-running TV series. He mentions that he is “proud” to admit to masturbating to Moore’s gams—I, for one, believe him—and that his wife bears a “slight resemblance” in the face and legs department to the actress. He even asks members of The Mary Tyler Moore Masturbation Society to send him their own MTM leg fantasies! (I wonder how many people joined?!?! Furthermore, what would be the pleasure of sharing such fantasies with James in particular? He won’t judge you?)

You can pretty much tell that it was made with a type-writer, scissors and glue stick. I won’t describe any more of it, you’ll have to read it for yourself, but this truly had us ON THE FLOOR gasping for breath, laughing. This flyer is all kinds of wrong, but my god is it fucking hilarious. Even the oblivious, kooky sincerity of it is mind-bending in the extreme.

And then you have to wonder what Mary Tyler Moore herself thought about this when she saw it, because you just know that at some point, someone had to have shown this to her.

There is also a Yahoo Group called “MTM Legs” that’s “for your jacking pleasure.” It’s just gotta be the same fuckin’ guy. What the odds of two such insanely ardent masturbating Mary Tyler Moore leg fetishists existing in this space-time continuum? It has 155 members!


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bonkers elderly Donald Trump supporter goes on CNN, becomes instant superstar
03:19 pm


Donald Trump

Oh my…

Paula Johnson is the co-chair of the New Hampshire-based “Women for Trump” organization and a former Republican alderwoman in the state. She was a guest on CNN’s Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield this morning, and a star was born.

An incoherent star of the Sarah Palin confused word salad variety, but a star nonetheless… A star from the constellation of looney toons… Best of all, Paula’s got a really cartoony voice.

By the end of it, the befuddled elderly Trump supporter is shouting and appears to be losing her mind. The clip’s five minutes long but you really might want to consider savoring the entire thing.

I would totally watch the shit out of Paula’s podcast, wouldn’t you?

Via Raw Story

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Tampon-waving former Republican Senate candidate makes a fool of herself at LGBT rights hearing

Kathleen Tonn, a failed, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate who gained infamy briefly for displaying her “gift” of speaking in tongues, decided to wave a tampon around as she addressed city officials in Anchorage, Alaska, last night in a nonsensical anti-gay rights rant. Tonn carried a briefcase full of props into to the meeting of the Anchorage assembly. She pulled a Bible from her case and said “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. You like my trumpet? It’s a sound heard around the world.”

She then continued (via Raw Story):

“Since one of my brethren introduced the King James Bible, since I represent the Lord Jesus Christ the great I am, I’m going to add to your public document and your public record from the public document of the great I am,” Tonn told baffled officials.

“Starting with, oh my — a tampon,” she said, pulling a feminine hygiene product from between the pages of her Bible. “Reminds me that little girls in pubescence get periods — female girls.”

Tonn, who is probably best known for a video she posted online showing herself fully clothed and speaking in tongues in a sauna, then angrily read a lengthy passage from the Second Epistle of Peter describing God’s wrathful judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Now, since you want to create some ordinance to avoid discrimination for members of our community who engage in, I perceive, unhealthy, ungodly behavior, you might want to consider creating an ordinance for one who speaks in tongues.”

Or perhaps summoning a van where people wearing all white uniforms bring you a nice comfy straightjacket and forcibly medicate you?

Dick Traini, the assembly chairman finally said “Ma’am, your time is up. Thank you for your testimony.”

The video after the jump. It’s a doozy!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Glitter-covered televangelist Joshua Mills explains how he got covered in glitter. By God.
02:51 pm

Stupid or Evil?

Joshua Mills

How long will it take—how many decades, how many more centuries if we’re really unlucky—before the Christianity virus just completely and utterly burns itself out? At what point will there just simply be no more use for it and we’ll all just give up the (holy) ghost once and for all, call it a day AND MOVE ON?

I don’t have a prediction to make about that—Voltaire, who died in 1778, once wrote that he thought religion would die out in twenty years time—but I can say with some assurance (and even gratitude!) that idiot Palm Springs-based televangelist Joshua Mills is doing his very best to make people shake their heads in DISBELIEF and walk out of the church, hopefully never to return. Mills has claimed in the past that God can whiten teeth better than dentists and remove wrinkles better than Botox.

Here on the Internet talk show, It’s Supernatural with Sid Roth, Mills relates the story of how God covered him in glitter in an elevator in Toronto. Three onlookers in the elevator were saved before the doors even opened again. But best of all, they reenact this “anointing”! Hilarity ensues! Sid makes George Noory seem skeptical and it’s too bad that they didn’t have Mills play himself, that was really a missed opportunity if you ask me.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hidden-camera footage of would-be horse f*cker choosing his victim
10:28 pm


Sheriff Joe Arpaio

It’s seldom that you’ll hear me saying a good word about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the rightwing lawman from Arizona’s Maricopa County who’s known for taking racial profiling to outrageous heights and for being one of the foremost diehard “birther” idiots. BUT in this case, I have to hand it to the Sheriff: When I heard about the sad, sordid and sick tale of the hapless would-be horse-fucker Michael Crawford, arrested by Arpaio’s men in an undercover sting operation last Friday, my first thought was “I’m glad they got this sick fuck.”

And then my second thought was realizing that there was VIDEO FOOTAGE of Crawford’s sting. As the kids say: OMG. I mean… It’s the REALEST thing you’ve ever seen (Today at least).Totally revolting. To Catch a Predator on steroids.

Via USA Today:

Michael Crawford, 68, landed in Phoenix believing he would meet with a horse owner he’d been corresponding with online, according to a statement released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Crawford hoped the fictitious owner would allow Crawford to engage in “perverted” sex acts with an animal, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a press conference Sunday.

Crawford posted an ad on a popular website soliciting a willing horse owner, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators in the Animal Crimes Investigations Unit opened the case in October and corresponded with Crawford via e-mail and phone-call conversations.

“If you can really help with what I am seeking, I am definitely interested in traveling out to meet you,” Crawford told the detectives. He admitted that he had traveled the country since the 1970s to find horse owners willing to let him have sex with their steeds.

On Friday, Crawford was met by undercover deputies at the Phoenix airport and taken to a “meeting” with the horses in Tolleson, Arizona. It was all videotaped.

You will never get you innocence back after you watch this 68-year-old perv gleefully licking his lips over which horse he thinks he’s going to fuck.

How is that even enticing? HOW? If you’re a horse-fucker, does it matter if it’s a boy or a girl? So many questions.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Chews your idols: Celebrities upstaged by a wad of gum
11:16 pm

Pop Culture

David Letterman

“Celebrigum” brainchild, Steve Young—pictured here with The Gum
In August of 2010, a strange website called CelebriGum appeared on the Internet, without fanfare, conducting some sort of Dadaist examination of America’s unwavering worship of fame and celebrity. For three years straight, CelebriGum presented a barrage of images of famous celebrities who, without their knowledge, were photographed from a second story office window with a piece of old hardened gum on the window ledge that was always in the frame. CelebriGum featured a revolving door of celebrities of all kinds, but The Gum remained constant and unchanging. Celebrities were made to share photographic space with a piece of inanimate matter that eventually came to be as beloved, to some fans, as the celebrities themselves.

CelebriGum was the brainchild of Steve Young, who (up until May 20th of this year) was a 25 year veteran writer for David Letterman. But Young, a Harvard graduate who cut his comedy teeth writing for the Harvard Lampoon, has been involved in much more than just writing jokes for late night television. He has written for The Simpsons, most notably the season eight masterpiece entitled Hurricane Neddy.

In 2000, he won an Annie Award for his screenplay adaptation of the animated holiday special Olive the Other Reindeer. And he’s recently written what many consider to be the definitive history of the industrial musical in the remarkably strange and informative book Everything’s Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals.

Given his background in creating and disseminating the odd and hilarious, a peculiar sociological project like CelebriGum was certainly not outside the realm of possible weirdness for Young. And as a writer for The Late Show, he could choose from an endless supply of celebrities as they were arriving at or leaving the Ed Sullivan Theater. He would linger at the second floor window and wait for the opportunity to snap perfect photos of some of the most famous people in the world—alongside an old piece of gum.

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before Young’s photos, which would always be presented on the website with some sort of witty caption or deep observation, began to acquire a fan-base. More precisely, The Gum began to acquire a fan base. True fans of The Gum understood what Young was up to with his surreal goofiness, and they looked forward to each new installment to see who was the latest celebrity being made to look ridiculous from above. CelebriGum was, as David Letterman described it, “a perfectly silly, genius idea.”

David Letterman and The Gum
CelebriGum ran for three years before Young voluntarily pulled the plug on the project—but during that time, he actually got to hold a New York Times reviewed gallery exhibition of his CelebriGum photos.

We were fortunate enough to pin Steve Young down for a few questions about the CelebriGum experience:

How long had you been taking photos of celebrities from your office window before you realized that those A-listers were being upstaged by a piece of old gum that was clearly visible in each photograph? What kind of an epiphany did you have at that moment?

Steve Young: It was actually the other way around. I noticed the gum first, somewhere around the beginning of 2010. I looked at it every day as I hung out by a window in the hall near Dave Letterman’s dressing room, and thought “maybe I can do a photo project of the gum enduring all sorts of weather until someday presumably it falls off.” I took a few photos, but it wasn’t really very interesting.  Then one day, the Eureka moment: I realized that celebrities were getting out of limos and SUV’s on the street below. I could get both at the same time.  CelebriGum was born: “Different day, different celebrity, same gum.” I launched the site in August of 2010.

“The Gum” itself, in a rare close-up.
Your photographs possess a keen sense of the absurd. Can you elaborate on any techniques you may have used to enhance the CelebriGum experience? Or did you find that the element of total randomness, as opposed to any staging or manipulation, produced the most striking images?

SY: There was a certain element of “the broken clock that’s right twice a day.” I found that after the initial conceptual notion of celebrity plus old gum had settled in, I was searching for ways to get pictures that were visually interesting within the very limiting framework I’d chosen. Sometimes it was just snapping a lot of pictures and later noticing the telling detail that made one particular shot a winner. Sometimes it was new conditions, like snow or a blinding onslaught of paparazzi flashes at night. Sometimes it was the lucky composition of a guest coming in on a gray day with an orange traffic cone providing the one vivid flash of color in the picture. And sometimes it was a magical moment of a star interacting with a crowd, or a star trudging along the sidewalk seemingly alone. But plenty of the photos aren’t very interesting. I only presented a very small percentage of what I shot.

I didn’t do much manipulation. Once in a while I did some overtly clumsy photo doctoring in the service of a joke, but mostly it was cropping and adjusting levels to get the picture I wanted.

Were cell phone cameras used for the majority of these photos? At some point there’s an upgrade in the quality of the photos. Can you tell us about your gear?

SY: At first I was just using the very modest camera in a circa 2007 Motorola flip phone. That was okay for the first few months, but I realized that I’d need something more sophisticated if I was going to continue when the days got shorter and it got dark in late afternoon. I bought a used Canon point and shoot camera on eBay to use as my CelebriGum camera. That did pretty well for a while, though night-time photos were still a challenge. I eventually bought a Sony RX100, which is an outstanding camera that can still fit in a pocket, not just for CelebriGum but for my other photography as well. And during the last winter of CelebriGum I bought a little light that I used to illuminate the gum on the ledge. It may be a cool photo of Mick Jagger down on the street, but if you can’t see the gum, it ain’t a CelebriGum photo.

Mick Jagger and The Gum
Your photos seem symbolic of something much deeper than the simple juxtaposition of famous people with a piece of old gum as a goof. CelebriGum seemed to be providing a winking commentary on the inherent ridiculousness associated with fame, and the possible dangers posed to those who seek it—a hammering home of the notion that fame and celebrity will eventually chew you up and spit you out. The poignant undercurrent running through the entire CelebriGum narrative is that fame is ephemeral and fleeting. Some of your images actually evoke a feeling of profound sadness. Was any of that intentional?

SY: That was always there, though I didn’t want to be heavy-handed about it. Ideally, the better pictures worked because they were weird and visually striking, and for each post I always tried to have a humorous riff inspired by the photos. But from the beginning, I thought that the juxtaposition of celebrity and old discarded gum had that potential built-in commentary. Just as you say; fame chews you up and spits you out when your flavor has been extracted. Looking back at the run of photos now, there are many instances in which a temporarily well-known person has fallen off the radar. In at least a couple cases, celebrities in the pictures have died.  Everything is temporary, even the excitement and glamour of an A-list star. Someday all that will remain of each of us is a wad of inert matter. But in the meantime, ooh, look, Tom Hanks!  Tom!  Tom!  Over here!

Tom Hanks and The Gum
How much of CelebriGum’s popularity do you think was based on the American fascination with celebrity schadenfreude? Do you think that the idea that famous celebrity millionaires were being taken down a notch and unknowingly made to look kind of silly by The Gum’s stoic presence in every shot was an element of CelebriGum’s success?

SY: From the aerial view, I got an interesting perspective on celebrity culture. It certainly doesn’t seem like much fun to be a celebrity. Sure, you get to ride in a luxury SUV, and an assistant carries your bottle of water, but parts of your life are dehumanizing, and not just because you’re being photographed with old gum. In many pictures, there’s a crush of paparazzi photographers waiting for the star to step out of their vehicle, and they’re not there because they care about Celebrity X, most likely, but because they need to make a buck. Nothing wrong with making a buck, but it just illustrates the cynicism of the machinery of fame. And if it’s someone who’s not a very big name, and the weather’s nasty, then there may be nobody jostling to get their photo, and that’s depressing in a different way. Then there are the fans. There were often many real fans excited to see a star and get a picture and maybe an autograph. But there was sometimes a creepy feral mob mentality to it. Dozens or hundreds of people screaming, supplicating, and if you didn’t feed the crowd and give them what they want and just dashed inside because you were late, “Boo!  You suck!” Meanwhile, twenty feet up, the gum serenely surveys the madness, unchanging. Yes, there are many wonderful entertainers and athletes and even politicians whose efforts enrich the world, but some days they would probably prefer to be the gum, literally and figuratively above it all. 

The element of the gum also was the great equalizer. Celebrity, assistant, security guard, photographer, fan, bike messenger, pedestrian: all equal in the presence of The Gum. Okay, the celebrity is special in one regard: they have to be there to provide the celebri- half of the equation. But I ended up regarding stars mainly as props for my photography.

After CelebriGum became more well-known, were you ever aware of any celebrities who arrived at the show hoping or expecting to be photographed from above with “The Gum?”

SY: There were a few celebrities who were aware of it, but it was generally after the fact. I’d give them a shout-out on Twitter, “Hey, look, you’re on CelebriGum!” and a few responded and were charmed. Alec Baldwin requested a copy of one of the photos. The only celebrity who ever looked up and acknowledged the camera was Jamie Oliver. He passed me as he came down the stairs from his dressing room after his appearance, and I said “Hi!  I’d like to take your picture from this window with this old gum once you’ve gotten down to the street! Could you look up and say hello?” He did look up but didn’t go so far as to wave. I’m sure it all seemed very odd.

Jamie Oliver and The Gum
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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