All posts by Normal Bob

Artist, Atheist, Anthropologist http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/nyregion/26union.html?_r=2&

The time I sold Jesus magnets to Andrew W.K. and didn’t know it.

Andrew W.K. w/Normal BobAs many of you know I used to dress up as the devil and walk around the streets of NYC. I did this off and on from about 2002 to 2010 or so. The last time dressing up being for a booth at the 2010 ComicCon to promote and sell my Jesus magnets. The excuses I’d use for getting into the devil-drag were to hand out GOD IS FAKE flyers and promote the site, clubbing with friends, I even went on a few dates where she would dress as a catholic school girl. But most often I’d get dressed up and go out  just because it was a really fun thing to do. Lots of fun.

On this particular evening in March of 2009 it was because my friend Lenora Claire said she’d be in town that evening for a fancy celebrity party, and I was invited. It was an event put on by Vanity Fair and the USA Network to promote a book and television show titled The Character Project. There’d be celebs, free food and booze, but she couldn’t get me on the guest list. She was sure however that if I arrived in full Satan get up I’d be let right in. It was, after all, an event dedicated to interesting “characters”.

My outfit was your basic devil in a tux look. A somewhat dated tuxedo with a red ruffled shirt and black cumber bun, platform boots that zipped up the side. The tux itself was a couple sizes too small for me. I had no beard and my head completely shaven so I’d paint it all completely red with clown makeup, affix a couple homemade horns to the top, some black eyeliner and lip-stick, and that’s exactly how I did it for about 8 years.

For this particular occasion I had a plan. I was going to bring along plenty of God Is Fake flyers to hand out and leave on every blank surface I saw. I’d also bring along several variations of my magnets to try and push on unsuspecting guests. Push them much in the same way one might sell counterfeit designer purses on Canal street.

It was all taking place at this haughty studio in the West Village. If you’ve ever walked by some artsy celebrity event in the Village you know what I’m talking about. They can be intimidating. Velvet ropes, paparazzi, limos, crowds of well dressed rich looking people. A literal red carpet, and very heavy security. I remember approaching this scene thinking to myself, “There’s no way they’re letting me into this place.”

The most intimidating part of it all were the two fancy women at the door with a clipboard asking questions and checking names. But when I got to them their eyes lit up and the one with the clipboard said “HELLOOO Mr. Devil!”

“Hi, uh, I’m a guest of Lenora Claire, and uh she said to just come down and uh, she’s expecting me?” But before I could keep on explaining she gave her list a cursory glance, unhooked the rope and said “No problem! Come right on in.”

Still in explaining mode I was totally unprepared for the wall of flashing cameras on my left. It was an actual line of paparazzi, like 20 or so photographers shooting hundreds of pictures non stop. I hammed it up as much as I could for them, but I also I remember hurrying through because I saw more important looking people behind me waiting next. Here’s one of those photos, I guess now owned by Getty Images, if you’re interested.

It was an impressive party. Waiters milling around holding trays of cookies and ham & cheese on toothpicks. I saw Lucy Liu and Jeff Goldbloom there who both looked at me like I was a stalker they had a restraining order against. But don’t get me wrong. At events like this people actually come up and talk to you. Pretty people! And they have big smiles on their faces! And they’re friendly to strangers and everything! It’s something I wasn’t at all used to when going out in the city. People were approaching me wanting to know who I was with, and which part of the show I was a part of. I would tell them flat out I wasn’t on the guest list and I just came in off the street. I would ask them if they wanted to see some of the stuff I got, and let them peek in my bag and show them my stash of blasphemy. They generally got a positive response. There were a few who were aghast, but for the most part the guests loved them, and me. If they were receptive to the Jesus magnets I’d say “I’ve got others, but they might be more than you can handle.” Then I’d show the Final Justice & BDSM versions acting like I’d snuck a bag of hand grenades into the building. After awhile word of what I was doing circulated and guests would come asking to see whatever it was I was doing.

At one point this heavy metal looking guy came up to me. He looked like just some stoner dude tagging along with his hot girlfriend. I forget exactly how he put it but he made it clear someone had told him to come see what I had in my bag. I remember giving him the flyer and he loved it. So I followed that with a set of the magnets. He guffawed with laughter and said “You’re selling these??” He did not hesitate to buy one. I still remember him and his girlfriend walking away admiring them, but I have to admit I cannot for the life of me remember which set they purchased!

At the time I knew three things about Andrew W.K.
1. He did that I Love New York City song and it would get stuck in my head if I thought of the title, as has happened just now while writing this.
2. That great album cover of him with blood gushing down from his nose.
3. He played all the instruments and vocals on the album.

Afterwards Lenora told me she saw Andrew W.K. walking around with my magnets and that’s when I realized who he was.

I didn’t see him again that evening, and I did laps around that party until my feet hurt and my legs were aching. Upon my exit I couldn’t believe the expensive gift basket they gave me filled with wine & cheese, the $80 photography book they were promoting. All kinds of other pricey things you wouldn’t buy for yourself, but you would gladly take for free.

That was one of the last times I ever dressed up as the devil. Not long after that I grew out my hair, and beard, and it just doesn’t have the same effect.

So anyway, that’s how I sold a set of my magnets to Andrew WK and didn’t even know that I had.

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Art Therapy

Ruth Bell model
Ruth Bell pen & ink portrait

I left New York for simplicity & solitude, and boy did I get it! If you want to talk about the utter standstill of a social life, that’s exactly what mine has become. To combat the effects it could be having on my well being I’ve gone back to the sketchbook + Adobe Illustrator.

Pouring my emotional void into this creative outlet is the way out. It’s been a strange discovery to have avoided really sinking my teeth into art for this long then reminding myself what I can actually do in this medium. As a result I’m vowing to make this another one of those redundant habits I’m unable to pull back from to the point where I over do it. That is my immediate, important purpose.

Amazing Strangers Wendell iconThe next creative endeavor I’m finally getting around to now that the summer’s through is editing more of that footage from my month in NYC. I’ve posted about a half dozen new vids from that trip, and I’ve got somewhere around a half dozen, possibly ten more to come before I run out. But don’t expect those all to be posted over the next few weeks. I’m giving myself the whole winter to mull everything over and intend take my time on. It’s important each new post is up to snuff.

As for my next return to New York, I have no idea at all. My thought right upon leaving was to never go back again, or at least a 5 to 10 year hiatus. I will never move back, most likely. Christ, I miss my friends there though.

You’ll notice in videos to come over the next several months, I’m abandoning the park more than usual and pointing my camera into different surroundings and new strangers, acquaintances and friends. My dream is to start pursuing with my camera other subjects which fascinate me to no end, and I’m hoping 2019 allows for that.

As for the Trump and Jesus magnets, they are still available & moving well. I’m always looking for new stores, so if you know of them in your hood keep me informed.

The New Original

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logoThe big news this week is the arrival of the brand NEW & awesome Original Jesus Dressup 2018! It was 15 years ago when the first Jesus Dressup came out, and the comparison of that one and this one is striking.

The 2003 Original & the 2018 Original comparison
The 2003 Original & the 2018 Original comparison

By eliminating the text at the bottom, utilizing all of the spare room on the page, and a die cut that’s right to the outline of the of art I was able to get nearly double the number of clothes items on a set!  I’m just so thrilled with how perfect it came out. It’s everything I ever wanted Jesus Dressup to be.

JDU die cut comparrison

If you know of a store in your area you think might carry these on their shelves, or if you yourself are interested in selling these, please contact me for wholesale information.  Or if you just want to get one to play with by yourself in your lonesome, here ya go!

The Original Jesus Dressup fridge magnets ($15) include a hula skirt w/coconut bra, Marilyn Monroe dress, mermaid's tail, selfie stick and a wide variety of hats, shoes, pants and everything inbetween
The Original Jesus Dressup fridge magnets ($15) include a hula skirt w/coconut bra, Marilyn Monroe dress, mermaid’s tail, selfie stick and a wide variety of hats, shoes, pants and everything inbetween



Amazing Strangers Wendell icon

As for my Union Square visit, I was there the entire month of May, and I’ve still got a lot of footage left to share with all of you. I spent time with Inna, Shaggy, Alexa, Tabatha, Erica Mancini, Ricky Dale and a whole bunch of of others that I’m looking forward to getting up online. I do however plan to take my time with each of these vids so you’ll just have to be patient. I don’t want to rush things.

Twenty Years Ago

I know, it’s been months. In fact the last update was last year, goddammit! No need to worry about me, or the continuation of all these projects I started but can’t seem to ever finish. Everything’s still a go-project in some form or another, as it has always been, and looks as if it’ll always be for as long as I’m alive. What the hell have I gotten myself into in this life?

mrx_icon

It was 20 years ago this month I made my first ever website. And no, it wasn’t Jesus related. Hell, I think I would have even considered myself a believer still at this point.
In 1997 my oldest brother Chris introduced me to the internet, as well as Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator. Shortly after I bought my first Mac. Then in 1998, fascinated with this new connection to everyone else in the worldwide web I got a copy of the now defunct Adobe Pagemill and started experimenting with building websites. My very first one was centered around the board game my brothers and I had invented called Crisis.

Crisis logo

We actually created Crisis in 1991. By 1992 we bought a booth at Gen Con and made that happen a couple years in a row. After selling 1,000 copies over the course of several more years we each had other plans for the future and put it behind us. I mention this because, well not only the 20th anniversary of the site aspects, but also because we’re actually looking into producing it again. These people seem to think there’s a thirsty market out there for board games such as this again. For right now that’s all I have to say about that. But stay tuned.

Amazing Strangers Wendell icon

I’m headed back to NYC next month to shoot more Union Square footage for all of you. And for me too. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve missed it. And I’ve pretty much concluded that given the right circumstances I’d probably even move back. Eventually. For now though the plan is to visit regularly. I miss having new content, editing those stories together, saving these important memories. Most of all though I miss being around people. Where I’m at now I have no people. No friends. No social life. Nowhere to go around here for someone to talk to. Absolutely no potential people to flirt with. And this is all driving me insane! So I am returning for a short time to momentarily solve some of these issues.

I have been able to make one Amazing Strangers related project happen here though. An Amazing Strangers book of photos & stories. Nothing fancy, and my presumption is nothing that’ll make a profit of any sort. But a book nonetheless. There’s a coffee shop/book store here called Book Nook, and they’ve made their publishing services available to me. So once there’s a book there’s a plan to have monthly video presentations at the cafe to promote it. I’m really hoping this is something that’ll happen. I’ll be sure to send out invitations to anyone who’d like to come to Michigan to see such a thing hosted by me.

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logo

Lastly, there will indeed be a new Jesus Dressup set this year. In June the long overdue, new Original Jesus Dressup will hit stores! You can thank the success of last year’s Trump Dressup magnets to make this possible, i.e: affordable. We sold about half our stock of the Trumps before the end of 2017, and we’re expecting to sell the rest by Christmas 2018!

First sample of the new Original Jesus Dressup magnet set. The tightest die cut & most dress items on a set ever!
First sample of the new Original Jesus Dressup magnet set. The tightest die cut & most dress items on a set ever!

So yeah. I think that’s everything. I’ll hit you up if anything else happens.