The Million Chengwin March - Warring half-breed siblings
Earth Celebrations' Spring Procession - Spring time costuming for a community cause.
Burning Man's NYC Benefit Party... Building a Manhattan embassy for artists and other unique souls.
Lunacon Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention: A medieval, sci-fi event...
The date was Sunday May 20th, the place was downtown NYC's East Village, the Event was the Million Chengwin March and a rematch between warring siblings.
In the red corner was Chengwin - The half-chicken, half-penguin fighter for truth, justice and general silliness. In the blue corner was Chunk, Chengwin's half-brother and chicken-skunk hybrid representing the hatred and anger developed during his unhappy childhood under abusive parents. The reigning champ, Chengwin, was the younger and quicker combatant and evidenced more energy despite the grueling Million Chengwin March that preceded the bout. The taller and heavier of the two, Chunk was the stronger of the fighters and enjoyed a significant reach advantage.
The afternoon kicked off with a Chengwin rally at the Astor Street cube where fans sang, danced and chanted to honor their hero. The Champ arrived to much fanfare with the accompaniment of the "Chengwin-Babes" and a pumping sound system. From Astor Street, the million fans (give or take) where lead on a festive march up to Union Square Park, the site of the bout. The procession disrupted traffic irritating and delighting pedestrians and motorists alike.
The bout was MC'd by yet another crossbreed, Chixon. A distant cousin of the rival siblings, Chixon was begat from the ill-advised union of Richard Nixon and a local hen that he met during a drinking binge sometime after his presidential resignation.
The fight was not without controversy when, before the fight, a hapless Chengwin fan was beaten senseless by several jack-booted thugs from the Chunk camp who took issue with his good natured support and ornate Chengwin costume.
The fight itself was fast and furious. Spurred on by the drubbing of his supporter, Chengwin moved in, almost immediately, for the kill. Despite a glancing peck that sent his head flying, Chengwin ultimately prevailed. The kill-shot was a double flipper strike to Chunk's solar plexus that put the evil skunk-bird down for the count.
The music pumped and the elated Chengwin fans danced while the combatants slipped out the back door to avoid the press and groupies who are known to frequent these events. Chixon, however, was seen later that night at an all-night roller rink with two of the Chengwin Babes.
For more photos check the gallery's Special Events section and www.Chengwin.com.
Gaia is in distress.
This archetypal maiden representing all things good and pure about the earth is under attack by the evil land developers who are abusing the land for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many.
New York City based Earth Celebrations is coming to the rescue by working to permanently save NYC's many community gardens from development. Despite the fact that there are over 11,000 city-owned vacant lots and less than 800 community gardens, many of these beautiful spots are under consideration for auction to developers intent on building upscale housing for New York's well-heeled.
Earth Celebrations' Rites of Spring Procession is a day-long event that involves hundreds of brightly colored costumers who parade around the lower east side "blessing" each garden with ceremonial rituals, speeches, songs and performance art. This 10am-7pm event snakes through almost forty community gardens and allows the participants to see how much sweat and love are put into these diverse spaces. Once experienced, it is obvious what a good and necessary thing these gardens are for Manhattan's concrete jungle.
Throughout the day, there were performances paying homage to the Earth Mother Gaia in her never-ending struggle with the arch villain land developers. Performances included folk and operatic singing, children themed skits and a symbolic battle scene staged towards the day's end. This battle scene was particularly entertaining when developers, as represented by a sexy Sataness and oddly masked minions who were in custody of a bound Gaia, were attacked by a bunch of costumed children hurling talcum bombs. This theatrical production quickly descended into a raucous wrestling match where the good and evil forces merged into one dusty, giggling mass. Gaia was liberated, at least for now.
The grand finale was the symbolic "Freeing of the Butterflies" and the love was felt all around.
For more on this worthwhile cause, please visit www.EarthCelebrations.com. For more photos check the gallery's Special Events section.
The Man was last seen in lower Manhattan. The Man was spreading his love.
Who is this Man, you ask? He was born in San Francisco, moved to the desert to grow, and now he's building a NYC clubhouse for all his friends.
For those yet to know, the Burning Man Festival, held annually in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, is a unique arts festival all about the artist in all of us. This weeklong event involves thousands of spirited souls who truck a week's worth of rations to a barren desert playa along with a wild selection of art installations and fantastic costumery. Neighborhoods are arranged, barter replaces cash and normality is given a vacation.
Burning Man works because it encourages people to express themselves and share their natural impulses in a friendly, loving environment. Not to mention all the fun - fun - fun…
Now the Man is making his way to New York. And because it is New York, the Man comes quietly, careful to gather those who understand and wary of those seeking cheap thrills. The Man is gathering his flock.
On April's eve, the friends of Burning Man made their first step towards establishing a Manhattan presence through a benefit party for the Society for Experimental Art and Learning. This not-for-profit's mission is to champion the type of inspiration found at the BM Festival and to give such artists extra resources to create, exhibit and perform.
And what a party it was!
Hidden away in an obscure two-story bar in lower Manhattan, the party brought out several hundred inspired and flirtatious souls for one of the best NY nights in this reporters' faulty memory. Featuring several functional art pieces, wild films, stand-up comedy, performance art, a DJ and several bands, there was something for everyone and perhaps too much for some.
The costumes ranged from techno to sexy to nothing at all and most inhibitions seemed to tumble as the midnight hour came and went. Special mentions go out to Anney Fresh for her creation of the Inflamo Room and Michael Green for his costume we're calling the Techno Beatle. Anney's Inflamo Room is a flame shaped inflatable Hershey kiss kept up by air pressure. To get in you need to crawl through its igloo-like door that is kept closed to keep the structure from lilting. This little orange sanctuary provided an intimate environment for conversation and other sordid activities. Michael's costume featured a creative use of technology, tea-strainer bug eyes and a mega-phone headpiece. Accolades all around.
We welcome the Man.
Check out more pic's from the NYC event and the desert in the gallery's Burning Man section.
Whether it was Lunarians, LAIREians or Sick Pups, the annual New York Lunacon Convention brought out many brands of fantasy enthusiasts for an inspired weekend of imagination and play.
According to Byron Connell, the President of the International Costumer's Guild, Lunacon is the preeminent New York City area science fiction convention featuring a weekend's worth of art, films, seminars, author chats, and a continual parade of fantastically costumed characters. Unlike the Trek fests, this non-denominational event brought out a varied and oft times bizarre array of costume themes in the medieval, original, sci-fi and sexy categories. In fact, due to the presence of the LAIRE gaming guild and the growing popularity of gothic and renaissance fashions, the conventioneers were more likely to be wearing armor than antennas.
Throughout the weekend, seminars included a full selection of Sci-Fantasy themes including chats on Star Wars & Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dungeons & Dragons, Harry Potter, X-Men and others. Specific sessions included instructions on convention etiquette, homosexuality and fantasy fandom, how to handle weapons on stage, "Chicks and Chained Males", and tips on how to make your costume at Home Depot. There was also a 48 hour Anime marathon that eventually received competition from a Saturday night X-Files marathon.
The highlight of the weekend was, by far, the Saturday Night Masquerade performance. For this event, over twenty individuals and groups had their moment in the spotlight as they promenaded or performed short skits in front of 400+ costume fans. The costumes were judged in the Youth, Novice, Journeyman and Master classes witha distinction between original and re-creation designs. While most entries received some sort of comical mention, the most impressive costumes were "Batman's Adversary Harley Quinn (Best Novice), "Day In, Day Out" (Excellent Colors and Fabric Use), "Little Bo Peep, The Dark Side" (Most Humorous), the snake-like "Naga Rani" (mentioned for Fabric Painting) and Necrotiti (Best Master). The best sci-fi costumes were Babylon 5's Emporer Cartagia (Best Master Re-Creation) and "The Brainiac Family" (mentioned for Headpieces), the sexiest were the Avengers' "Mrs. Peel" and the two lingerie'd beauties in "Fours' a Crowd". The most spirited youngsters were "How Cave Women Get Husbands" and Little Red Riding Hood.
After the show there were parties to hop with the most fun to be had in the suite of the LAIRE gaming organization of Northern New Jersey. LAIRE is one of the many North American "LARPA" groups (live action role playing associations) that play an interactive version of Dungeons and Dragons involving medieval costuming, battle reenactments with padded weapons and intricate plots directed by an impartial judge. In addition to being the only party with booze (and jello shots), this great group of imaginative folks sported the latest in medieval fantasy-wear and exuded a great vibe.
Sunday was a day to catch a few seminars, shop for books, videos or art or to simply return to life's mundane existence. Not to worry, there is apparently a Science Fiction convention every weekend. You just need to know where to look…
For more on LAIRE or the International Costumers Guild (including info on the New York "Sick Pups" chapter), visit the "groups" section of our Links Page. For more photos, including info on who made what, check out the photos in the gallery's special events section.