UPDATE: Molly's now released the solo show's work under a Creative Commons license. Read the rest
NYC has a law prohibiting "loitering for the purposes of engaging in a prostitution offense" which lets cops arrest whomever they feel like, on the strength of their conviction that the person is probably a sex-worker, on the basis of flimsy circumstantial evidence like carrying a condom, talking to men, or wearing tight clothes. Like stop-and-frisk, it's part of a pattern of laws that assume that the police have infallible intuition about who the "bad guys" are and lets them use their discretion to harass and bust whomever they feel like. And like stop-and-frisk laws, the "condom" law shows that the much-vaunted cop intuition is really just bias, a dowsing rod that leads officers to poor women, genderqueer people, and trans people.
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Like most laughably cruel tricks of the justice system, you probably wouldn't know that you could be arrested for carrying condoms until it happened to you. Monica Gonzalez is a nurse and a grandmother. In 2008, Officer Sean Spencer arrested her for prostitution while she was on the way to the ER with an asthma attack. The condom he found on her turned out to be imaginary. Gonzalez sued the city after the charges were dropped. But if the condom were real, why should she have even been arrested at all?
Arrest is always violent. The NYPD may or may not break your ribs, but the process of arrest in America is still a man tying your hands behind your back at gunpoint and locking you in a cage.
Our friend Molly Crabapple and others are featured in this excellent PBS short documentary about illustrators.
Illustrators articulate what a photograph cannot. Using an array of techniques and styles, illustrators evoke stories and meaning in a variety of mediums, from editorial illustration in magazines and newspapers, to comics books, to activist media. And as their tasks over the years have become less informational and more expressive, their individual voice as artists becomes all the more critical and beautiful, revealing an exciting and awe-inspiring age of illustration.
Molly Crabapple on the dangers of being a disruptive kid around hysterically risk-averse adults:
In December, a New Jersey schoolboy was arrested for drawing in class. In the post-Sandy Hook rage to blame anything (guns, video games, internet-addicted youth) the easiest thing to blame is always the kid who fails at the blankly inoffensive ideals of childhood. This 16-year-old drew a glove shooting flames. The police searched his house. They found the sort of gutted machines that hint at a proclivity for engineering. He was arrested on December 18, and was still in juvenile hall when papers ran the story on the 28th.
Margaret Killjoy sez, "We just got A Steampunk's Guide to Sex back from the printer! With contributions by Alan Moore, Molly Crabapple, and Professor Calamity, the book covers all kinds of crazy Victorian sexuality as well as ideas about steampunk and geek sexuality in the 21st century. It comes complete with sketchy DIY how-tos and is illustrated by original tintypes."
Prostitution, pornography, sex toys, dirty stories, BDSM, gay New York, can-can dancers, strippers, tight-laced corsets, prudery, polyamory, consent, venereal diseases, piercings, birth control, aphrodisiacs, creepers, floggers, steam-powered vibrators, sex slang—mad historian Professor Calamity and his assembled crew of steampunk authors, artists, and performers share everything you want to know, and more, about sex under the reign of Victoria and sex in our modern subculture. Featuring contributions by: Professor Calamity, Luna Celeste, Molly Crabapple, KC Crowell, O.M. Grey, Sarah Hunter (aka Lady Clankington), Margaret Killjoy, Canis Latrans, Talloolah Love, Screaming Mathilda, Alan Moore, Miriam Roček, J.I. Wittstein.
Molly Crabapple's brief, illustrated editorial describing her arrest at the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street is a tale of police entrapment: petty, punitive justice; solidarity, and resolve.
At one corner, I saw a cop grabbing the arm of a woman in front of me and pulling her into the street. It was the same gesture you might use to escort an old lady, and, when the next officer did this to me, that is what I thought it was. But then, halfway across the street, he cuffed my hands behind my back.
There was no warning. No Miranda rights like in the movies. At first, I was incredulous. It was not until I got my desk ticket that night for blocking traffic that I had any idea what the officer was accusing me of doing.
I was a head shorter than the officer. I said to him, "You know I was on the sidewalk." He wouldn't meet my eyes. I was two blocks from my apartment. But because I was part of a protest, I was no longer a local. I was an obstruction to be cleared.
Going into the police van, they snapped my picture on a Fujimax Polaroid knockoff, hipster party style. I gave them my best grin. A man in a suit passed by, looked us over, and said to the police, "nice work."
Molly Crabapple and Warren Ellis collaborated on "Ariadne and the Science," five short-short stories with accompanying illustrations. Each is available in a limited edition of 25 giclee prints, signed by Crabapple, for $100 each through Etsy. Here's number II (and here's a link to number I).
There was lots of names for the thing Ariadne made: computational flora, iGrass, memory trees, That Damned Stuff. There were lots of names for Ariadne, too, because when she got tired of nobody being able or willing to answer her questions, she just released Ariadne’s Meadow into the world. Fields began thinking, and forests began processing, and the world discovered that Ariadne’s Meadow was actually quite a nice place that just wanted to help. So much so that seven years later, when everyone discovered that Meadow probes had begun to break up Mercury, Venus and Mars for power, living space and computing strata, nobody really minded very much.
Arrested. Twittering from police van— mollycrabapple (@mollycrabapple) September 17, 2012
Earlier today, artist Molly Crabapple was one of a number of people arrested at events marking the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. By various estimates, more than a hundred people have been arrested there today. Crabapple tweeted from the police van. Over the past year, she has produced a wide array of work related to #OWS, including portraits, street-art templates, and illustrations for coverage in The Nation and other publications.
Amanda Fucking Palmer's next album is a big, super-duper extravanganza, with lots of bells and whistles funded by Kickstarter. She wants $100K. She's at 258K as of this morning. And I just kicked in:
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hi folks, it's AFP. this is my first BIG, LEGIT studio album undertaking since breaking from a major label. i've spent four years writing the songs for this record, and more recently, putting together the perfect band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, comprised of genius musicians/arrangers/programmers MICHAEL MCQUILKEN, CHAD RAINES, and JHEREK BISCHOFF. in march, we locked ourselves up in a studio in Australia and, with the help of producer/engineer John Congleton (who's worked with a zillion amazing people including St. Vincent, Modest Mouse, and Xiu Xiu), we made what I believe is my best fucking album to date. it sounds...BEYOND EPIC. we laid down "The Bed Song", "Massachusetts Avenue", "The Killing Type", "Trout Heart Replica" and a slew of other tracks...some solo piano, but many featuring HORNS (locally sourced in Melbourne, Australia!), SYNTHESIZERS, GUITAAAARRRRR, and BIG BAD-ASS ORCHESTRAL ARRANGEMENTS that will blow your domepiece. we're working on finalizing the arrangements and mastering as i write this text. i expect great, big, giant things to happen when this record comes out in september. the band & i will be touring it across the globe ALL YEAR. here is me with the band, plus performance artists anthony cleave & jess daly, in melbourne right before taking stage:
NOW, about the ARTWORK. over the last six months i've been working in secret with OVER THIRTY visual artist friends of mine (full list below) to create a massive explosion of song-inspired album art, in all different kinds of media.
Molly Crabapple sez, "While cultural institutions, from record labels to newspapers, are crumbling around us, the fine art world has remained relatively unchanged. Medici is The Crowd is an article about how I decided to create large, elaborate, political art without waiting for permission, and to fund it with the speed and populism of the internet. Shell Game, my art show about the financial crisis, whose Kickstarter inspired this article, is here."
Molly is a brilliant and principled artist, and a Kickstarter genius. She's got something to say.
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What I wanted to figure out was a way to create work that was funded neither by rich collectors, nor by grant committees, nor by someone's supportive sugar daddy. I wanted to make giant, fancy, glittering art, paid for by small donors, all of whom, even if they couldn't afford the pieces I was making, got something of value in exchange. I wanted to make and fund art with the democracy and speed of the internet.
I decided to turn to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, where I had done three other successful projects.
Kickstarter is run on small backers, with most people donating between $20 and $100 dollars.
Here was my plan to give them something awesome:
I broke my rewards into four categories: "Access," "Artifact," "Art Objects," and "Art." "Access" was livestreams and parties and interactions with my backers. I wanted to hear their thoughts, and give them mine. "Artifact" meant the brushes, drawing scraps and paint battered palates that went into making giant paintings.
From Molly Crabapple, this wonderful portrait of Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times war reporter who was recently killed in Syria.
Colvin died trying to retrieve her shoes so she could escape a rocket shelling attack (the custom in Syria is to leave one's shoes at the door before entering a home; the rocket landed a few yards away from her as she was preparing to escape).
Molly says, and I agree:
Looking at Marie Colvin's face, it occurs to me she has the perfect beauty of an older woman- the beauty of good bones and battle scars. The beauty that comes from bravery, from power, from competence, from taking no shit. Earned beauty.
This tribute at the New Yorker is a beautiful read. Reuters today released amateur video believed to have been shot by Syrian rebels just before, and after, the attack. In the video, one of the survivors says he believes—contradicting other reports— that they were not personally targeted by the Syrian government. "They've been bombing civilians for days... we were just unlucky." Read the rest
Cries of "Let them eat cake!" rang out Sunday evening at the @OccupyGracie event outside of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's Gracie Mansion.
While we rallied outside, New York City's exceedingly out of touch Mayor for the 1% was hosting an intimate dinner party for Senators and corporate executives to urge the SuperCommittee to "go big" and cut $4 trillion in federal spending.