Meet the Girls

These are the fantastic girls in my 2014 Drag Queens & Covered Bridges of New Hampshire Calendar!

#dragqueensandcoveredbridges

January, Cherry Lyquor

January, Cherry Lyquor, Prentiss Bridge, Langdon, NH

February, Nicohl D Lafontaine & Britney Lynn

February, Nicohl D Lafontaine & Britney Lynn, Cilleyville Bridge, Andover, NH

March, Ivy League, Squam River Bridge, Ashland, NH

March, Ivy League, Squam River Bridge, Ashland, NH

April, Lady Sabrina, Wright's Bridge, Newport, NH

April, Lady Sabrina, Wright’s Bridge, Newport, NH

May, Miss Toni, Waterloo Bridge, Warner, NH

May, Miss Toni, Waterloo Bridge, Warner, NH

June, Porcia J. Chanel, Riverwalk Bridge, Littleton, NH

June, Porcia J. Chanel, Riverwalk Bridge, Littleton, NH

July, Violencia Exclamation Point, Wentworth Golf Course Bridge, Jackson, NH

July, Violencia Exclamation Point, Wentworth Golf Course Bridge, Jackson, NH

August, Laila McQueen, Swift River Bridge, Conway, NH

August, Laila McQueen, Swift River Bridge, Conway, NH*

*The owners of Bartlett Bridge, Bartlett, NH refused to be a part of this series due to its content

September, Amber Alyrt, Fisher Bridge, Wolcott, VT

September, Amber Alyrt, Fisher Bridge, Wolcott, VT*

*The owners of Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, Lincoln, NH refused to be a part of this series due to its content

October, Lexus Dee, Flume Bridge, Lincoln, NH

October, Lexus Dee, Flume Bridge, Lincoln, NH

November, Katrina George, Stark Bridge, Stark, NH

November, Katrina George, Stark Bridge, Stark, NH

December, Countess Morticia Dracula, Greenfield-Hancock Bridge, Greenfield, NH

December, Countess Morticia Dracula, Greenfield-Hancock Bridge, Greenfield, NH

C A L E N D A R S | P O S T C A R D S | A N D R O I D | E M A I L M E

•   •   •

I had a great time making these photos, and I’m very proud of them. But I had to face homophobia and bigotry that changed the original intent of this project. So much so, it will even be present in the very cover of this calendar. The cover will be Miss September, and, ironically, that photograph was shot not in New Hampshire, but at Fisher Bridge in Wolcott, Vermont. The owners of the only bridge with a railroad in New Hampshire, Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, the one I wanted to use, changed their minds on allowing me to shoot on their property, when I told them the model would be a drag queen. When another owner, owner of the Barlett Bridge, denied me permission because his bridge was a “wholesome place,” I drove away weeping; I didn’t know those two words could strike so hard. I wasn’t expecting these kind of reactions when I first started. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect.

But not all has been like this. Up in Conway, a father and his daughter interrupted my shoot with Laila McQueen. The little girl was absolutely convinced it was a photoshoot with Lady Gaga! I had to disappoint her and let her know Laila McQueen was not in fact Lady Gaga. What a compliment, though!  The family seemed enamored with us. It made my day, especially when the day before, my spirits were so low, almost broken.

This is all okay, though. This isn’t supposed to be politically correct, neatly packaged, with impolite details swept under the rug, all imperfections soft-brushed away. This is a snapshot of where we are at, in this present moment. This is my love letter to New Hampshire. This is about its culture — its beauty marks and its warts.

I always get the window seat

I went on an Earthship

 

It’s The Connections

You know. I apparently make just some weird audio recordings when I’m completely inebriated.

After a night of trivia — drunk, high, home, sitting in the dark — I was getting into one of those “pontificating” moods. But the problem was I couldn’t remember or even keep track of too many thoughts at a time. Not much was staying long enough in my short term memory, really. The train of logic, the steps of “henceforth,” “ergo,” and “thus,” following from the question”what is so special about tumblr?” and my attempted premise of “it’s the connections,” just kept disappearing and reappearing. I couldn’t find the next stone to jump on. And when I did jump, I couldn’t remember where I just was. I guess you could say I couldn’t make the connections …. about the connections …. It was all very frustrating, and ended up, fruitless and stupid. I come off as an idiot. But, whatever, it’s funny.

 

Nemo. New Hampshire ’13

 

Dream Crushers

A few months ago, back in the summer, my friend Laura gave me a call. We hadn’t spoken in a while, so we caught up. She then pitched me this idea for a title sequence she wanted me to make. A few friends of hers were making a web series. I told her, “I know exactly what to do.” Shortly after our conversation, she sent me an email.

Hello!

I have started reading the book- it’s definitely an angry New Yorkey version of self help which cuts through the usual airy fairy meditate and find your inner child stuff. Inspiring and also borderline sociopathic but I think it’s definitely valuable and proactive!  I mean, I’m reading it cover to cover.

Thank you Andre.

I sent her my digital copy of James Altucher‘s “I Was Blind But Now I See.” It’s a bit of a self-help/self-realization book I thought she might enjoy. Altucher has some great anecdotes and doesn’t mince words. I thought her description about Altucher was pretty amusingly accurate. Laura has an uncanny gift reading people.

Ok, I have attached the musical tag line from our Dream Crushers theme song and a video clip that has the “fly-in” effect I’m going for.  I’m open to weird illustrations and even animation.  The main thing is that the title card says DREAM CRUSHERS.

Think 21 year old nerdy guy, delusions of grandeur, star wars, anime, but low-fi.  It’s like one step up from notebook doodling but not quite as gritty as Michel Gondry.

Can you dig it?

Love, Laura

Oh I can dig it.

 

Gibberish

When you live in LA for 10 years, and all your friends are actors, I can only guess, even for an engineer, like myself, some of that “actor stuff” is just going to rub off on you.

I’ve been stressed out lately, trying to do too many projects at the same time. I had no intentions to do any kind of performance piece. I hadn’t planned anything. But once, all the poets and storytellers had gone,  the emcee asked “Is there anyone else who wants to go next,” and those faces, all across the room, turned their heads and stared at me, well, geez, I guess I had to go up and do something. Talk about pressure and expectations.

This was, more or less, my entire thought process in my head, “Okay. Well, I’m stressed out and I want to get it off my chest, but I really don’t want to tell people anything about it … I know! …” And go! This is my off-the-cuff performance piece.

 

Move Over Jesus

Move over Jesus; there’s a new carpenter in town. After successfully making my own table, it looks like I just couldn’t stop with the carpentry.

My roommate is a writer, and wherever she goes, countless books follow. There have been stacks of boxes sitting in the corner of the room, driving me nuts, messing with my minimalist-feng-shui furniture style, and just cluttering things up. Ack!

We couldn’t just buy a bookshelf because, here in New Hampshire, there’s a problem – baseboard heaters. They line the walls and get in the way of having any kind of bookshelf stand against the wall. Ergo, I’m building one. Whatever. I wanted to.

It was a slow process. I first looked online, but all the designs and how to’s were complicated contraptions, outside my comfort zone, outside my expertise (you know how long it took me to have the gusto and jump into making my own table, having never done anything like that before? A couple of months). Then Eureka! I’ll just build individual cubes! A simple, interesting, doable design. I did a couple of test cubes with different woods — pine, poplar. I ended up using Home Depot’s basic 2 x 12 lumber for its durability and cost, despite initially preferring a thinner width. And tada!

Funny story about the photos here. Firstly, I usually use Hipstamatic on my iPhone, but a cop stole my phone a couple of months ago — another story for another time. So, I had to pull out my handy dandy, trusty Canon AE-1 film camera. Ah the mistakes, let me count the ways. I accidentally double exposed the film. And, when I got them developed, I asked for digital copies, but the developers forgot to do that. So, I took the negatives to my local Rite Aid, only to have them screw up and improperly feed the film through the machine. Alas, some of the digital images are mixed frames — 2/3 one frame, 1/3 the next frame. Oy! 

I swear, somewhere in these photos, behind the mixed frames and double exposures, it is supposed to be a “I’m building a bookshelf” narrative. I swear! Isn’t there some Japanese ink painting philosophy that says all mistakes were meant to be, embrace the mistakes? Okay, I will then. Enjoy!

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:
Download:

Notes: I have an awful history with wall hanging; I just don’t do it anymore. I must thank the great Bill Domenico, laser beam activist extraordinaire, for the great job he did hanging the cubes!

Gay Pride, NH Style

If you’re not in the know, New Hampshire is about to have its first gay pride festival in almost two decades. There is apparently some kind of sordid history involving bitter egos, factions, IP, and the state as the reasons why such a basic thing has not been seen for this long. I’ve heard conflicting stories, but we finally got it up again. For the “Live Free or Die” state, that allows gay marriage, not having a festival is rather unacceptable.

Of course, maybe in New Hampshire, things are just somewhat differently hear. I mean, we have libertarian anarchist members in Occupy NH, and there’s just no getting around that. So, as I enjoy using my “only in new hampshire” tag, unlike any other pride, Chick-Fil-A will have a booth at the festival, giving out free chicken. Truly, in my opinion, this is a lovely olive branch, a step forward in the right direction. What most people do not seem to understand is the level of autonomy that a franchise owner has, and that in the end, we are all individuals. Here’s this guy, Anthony Piccola, owner of the only Chick-Fil-A restaurant in New Hampshire, bucking the national trend and corporate beliefs, giving out free food at a pride event, and saying “I’m on your side!” This is entirely consistent with boycotting the restaurant chain. It emphasizes that we are individuals, and you cannot simply collectivize and group people together as one evil conglomerate.

Yes, 50% of franchise profits must go to Chick-Fil-A, Inc. Yes, they fund the public policy group Family Research Council, but the FRC is on the losing side of history. Increasingly, same-sex marriage is supported, and I can’t find any legislative successes that FRC has had. It’s wasted money, because really, whatever vile lobbying attempts made by them, honestly, in this day in age, will go nowhere. And, for the record, FRC does not support the Ugandan death penalty for homosexuals. That story was exaggerated. They wanted to only change the language and remove any mention that homosexuality is an internationally recognized human right. So what we are left with here is an older generation, behind the tide of time, lost in the undertow, writing and spreading hateful, despicable, ugly, ugly words — something in of itself, I will always defend.

But wait, then there’s Anthony Piccola. He told the Nashua Telegraph that he wants people to talk to him about this whole ridiculous thing

Chick-fil-A at Pheasant Lane Mall has gay employees and serves gay customers with honor, dignity and respect. We also don’t discriminate in giving back to the Nashua community, donating to a wide variety of causes. I would challenge people to come have a conversation with me before they make assumptions or boycott my restaurant.

And that’s what it’s about! Accept the olive branch! Engage with the man! Ask him what LGBTQ-friendly causes he supports and which ones his franchise funds. It’s just free chicken, for god’s sakes! At worst, money has been taken away as profits to Chick-Fil-A, and you still don’t have to go to the restaurants. You can still boycott, and rightly so! Boycott the shit out of Chick-Fil-A. The market responds. It’s just that simple. But keep it civil; keep it honest; be the better person; communicate.

Good luck New Hampshire Pride. Good luck.

Notes: Firstly, the above postcard was designed by me.

And secondly, let’s be fair, wealthy gay individuals have also spent ridiculous amounts of money on awful causes, like you know, the Obama reelection campaign, because of a promise he cannot fulfill, and are promoting a man whom killed 15 people in the Phillipines, is killing who knows how many civilians in hundreds of drone strikes, continues to expand the wars, is bombing Somalia, Yemen, PakistanAfghanistanIraq, LibyaSyria; and the war drumming against Iran is making my brain explode. But where is the public outrage? As Glenn Greenwald says

… (it’s amazingly common how Democrats defend Obama’s foreign policy record by tauntingly pointing to the pile of corpses he’s produced and the punishing sanctions he’s imposed, and by fully embracing the long-standing GOP metrics of “toughness” and arguing that Obama exudes them even more than the GOP itself). Thus: maybe a President has to take that old, antiquated, pre-9/11 oath to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ but that doesn’t mean you actually have to believe it.

How can such actions be defendable? Why aren’t these individuals being boycotted? Why isn’t the LGBTQ community standing against Obama, for the deaths of innocent lives, for all the hate he has spread, across this world, with his army of drones? Surely, just on priorities alone, it is more important that we end the wars than dealing with Chick-Fil-A’s unsuccessful, lobbyist spending habits. How about we just get money out of politics altogether, and let people have their personal beliefs, and live and let live? The state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, anyway. The state only divides us. And it does it so well. And we let it happen. Maybe it’s time we withdraw consent?

Correction: Apparently, it’s only been nine years since the last pride fest. Who knows. There’s a lot of “he said, she said” in these here woods.

I Feel A Coup Coming On

So Mark Provost and his merry band of socialists threw out the free staters from Occupy New Hampshire, or at least a split occurred. Who is the real Occupy is a wonderful question, now that two groups claim the title. Only in New Hampshire could this have happened, where the contradiction between a socialist agenda and claims representing the 99% head butt each other. You are going to run into libertarian activists here; sorry, it’s just true. The free staters and those sympathetic to libertarian principles have been part of Occupy NH since the beginning. And since then, there have been tensions, but the whole Occupy rules of order was supposed to handle this kind of thing — consensus without hierarchy/direct democracy. How else do you get 99% to agree and do anything? And really, there are values that are shared: end corporate bailouts, end corporate subsidies, end the fed, end the war on drugs, civil liberties, transparency in government. I mean come on, work can be done!

Concord Monitor has a good rundown on how it all went down. You would think, with this kind of coup and level of irony, there would’ve been some fiery struggle to come to such a conclusion. Nope. None. All the drama was all so passive-aggressive, all behind the scenes, something people are very good at doing.

It’s no longer up, but the event page for the ONH General Assembly, for July 15th, was in full-on-flame-war mode over open-carrying at the GA. I tell you, the ridiculous things being said. Oy!

“My rights!” “I will not participate with armed people!” “Inappropriate!” “Appropriate!” “Free Stater is a cult!” “Freedom!” “Socialism!” “How dare you!” “Delusional!” I’m paraphrasing all of it, but the gun debate became a vehicle for a level of hatred and insults that reached a dramatic apex. It all seemed so epic. I imagined people on their computers yelling with fury as their heart rates reached maximum peaks, as threats of separation and ultimatums were being made.

So I decided to go. I’ve never been to an Occupy GA; I wanted to see how this would all play out, you know, IRL. I brought my camera. I had this specific, wonderful image running through my head of “blocks” being thrown around like molotov cocktails, metaphorically speaking that is.

I got there only to find two separate circles of occupiers, sitting on the far ends of the state house grass, and one woman sitting, alone on a bench, in the middle, protesting the split. Three people had carried guns — all NH natives, no free staters. Mark’s group had simply walked off. No discussion. That’s it? Is this what a separatist movement looks like? Meh. I took a picture of a dog and a tree.

But while one group spoke about hurt feelings and possible resolution, the other was planning to officially sever ties with free staters and any whom have free stater sympathies, or even associations. With a complete rejection of the consensus process, the thing that defines Occupy’s direct democracy principles, because of an ideological split, and with a major dose of hilarious irony, Mark Provost filed Occupy NH as a, … wait for it …, a non-profit corporation. He dropped sympathizers from admin status on various Facebook groups and pages. Censored thread comments. Threatened legal action against the owner of OccupyNH.org. Alienated many people. Used blackmail and other, dare I say, union-inspired(?) tactics. Plans on trademarking the Occupy NH name. Now requires all members to sign a statement of solidarity reading “The Free State Project has no place in Occupy NH” and “The presence of guns has no place at Occupy NH events.” O frabjous day! CalloohCallay!

What’s amazing is the two-face act. I’ve been in Mark’s company and noticed no ill-will because I am an anarcho-capitalist and free stater. I assumed a level of tolerance of me, as I had of him. I thought there even were some amicable relationships, at least towards the free staters that had been involved in the Occupy movement since the beginning. Whatever. Then the weird attacks online, calling free staters racist, cultish, a dirt-pile. So weird. Have I mentioned the passive-aggressiveness of people?

I feel like this reminds of something. For all the talks about Occupy’s socialist principles, in the end, hasn’t history just repeated itself, in a micro-less-murder-involed-kind-of-way? Has Mark, in his own way, followed the pattern of Stalin’s Great Purge? Or the Lenin-Stalin split? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Maybe he thinks he has Stalin’s same cult of personality? He is, from my outsider’s point of view, been the face of Occupy NH, no doubt. And ironically, while espousing the ideal of non-violence, has apparently made his own threats.

For a lot of people, I know this has been a hurtful, life lesson learnt, and I sympathize with that. Maybe if I’d been more involved, I’d feel how disappointing the separation and lines-drawn-on-the-sand felt. But for me, it was with little fanfare, that a group decided to disassociate with another group, buck whatever made up, agreed upon rules, and now are fighting for the brand name. And I hate IP. Who is the real Occupy? To be honest, the coup was so poorly orchestrated, I think Mark will lose more in the end than gain. And for what? A mediocre 5-minute level of fame, ridicule, and satire? Meh. I wish there was more upheaval, IRL, like in the movies and stuff.

Also this.