Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Hated Star Trek

I have a confession to make. One I’ve never revealed to anyone ever. I am not a life-long Star Trek fan. My love goes back only twenty-five of my thirty-eight years. As a child I hated Star Trek.

I hated Star Trek.

The original Star Trek series, the one that ran for 79 episodes between 1966 and 1969, played in syndication throughout my childhood on WPIX Channel 11 here in New York. I remember watching it occasionally on weekend afternoons but as a child raised on Star Wars, fast paced and action packed, the slower Trek seemed boring and slow with antiquated special effects. I guess I had the same problem the network had when it originally aired—it was too “cerebral.”

Continue reading my personal essay (and viewing my TreK con photos) on my history with Star Trek and how it relates to my life-long friendship with my buddy, Martin at TRIP CITY.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Patrick Stewart and My Father


Part of the reason I co-created TRIP CITY with Dean Haspiel and Chris Miskiewicz was to have a venue to post the type of material I most wanted to work on, no matter how esoteric or personal. This past week, I posted a prose piece which is very personal. In PATRICK STEWART AND MY FATHER I write about the connection that exists [for me] between the great Shakespearian actor who portrayed Star Trek's Captain Picard, and my father.

This past September marked the fourteenth anniversary of my father's passing and it's taken me until now to be able to write about him, albeit in the form of a personal/pop-culture essay. I'm proud of the piece, so please have a look -

TRIP CITY Podcast: Michael Moore

One of the advantages of working on TRIP CITY out of HANG DAI Studios is the proximity to BookCourt, Brooklyn’s premiere independent bookstore. It’s right downstairs. Aside from being able to take a break from work to peruse the bestseller shelf, the store offers regular readings and signings with top authors. We brokered a deal with Zack Zook, the shop’s second-generation proprietor to occasionally cull subjects for the TRIP CITY Podcast from their visiting guest list. The idea for the first such team-up came when Zack excitedly informed us filmmaker Michael Moore would be appearing to promote his new book, HERE COMES TROUBLE.

We’re all fans of Mr. Moore’s films. I fondly remember seeing his first film, ROGER & ME back when I was in high school and watching his television series TV NATION when I was in college. More recently I’ve enjoyed and was challenged by his thoughtful, sardonic, in-your-face brand of social activism in such films as BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and FARENHEIT 9/11.

Our concept for the TRIP CITY Podcast interviews is to have each subject interviewed by a different TRIP CITY contributor, in an artist-to-artist situation where the interviewer would be someone with the right pedigree to spark an interesting conversation. In thinking who might be the best choice to interview Michael Moore, the answer came to us in the form of a visiting friend: Comics author Dan Goldman, whose works include SHOOTING WAR, the nonfiction graphic novel 08: A GRAPHIC DIARY OF THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL and his current haunted real-estate series RED LIGHT PROPERTIES.


We were granted fifteen minutes for Dan to conduct the interview and for me to do a quick photoshoot. It all happened in the back of BookCourt. It was a team effort. Dean Haspiel and I recorded the interview as Dan asked the questions, touching on Moore’s new book HERE COMES TROUBLE, unchecked capitalism and the #Occupy movement. All the while, our pal Josh Frankel snapped behind-the-scenes photos with my camera.

Mr. Moore graciously gave us more time than we expected, answering all of Dan’s questions thoughtfully and honestly, and even found time to ask Dan about his chest hair!

Produced by Chris Miskiewicz this this first installment of the TRIP CITY Podcast also features:

A round table discussion with TRIP CITY founders Dean Haspiel, Chris Miskiewicz and Seth Kushner, conducted by Jef UK. We talk about how TRIP CITY came about, our current work appearing on the site, and our plans for future contributions.

Chris’s New York Comic-Con 2011 report, wherein he asks top cartoonists about the cuisine at the con.

Ron Scalzo’s first installment of “Ronnie’s Story,” a regular 60-second bit.

For the outro, Americans UK’s single “You Can’t Kill The Americans UK.”

We have big plans for the podcast, so please come back to hear future installments featuring guests; Henry Rollins, Ben Katchor and more.

Listen to the first TRIP CITY Podcast.

CulturePOP Photocomix: Jonathan Ames


I first met author Jonathan Ames about 5 or 6 years ago when I took his portrait for my book, The Brooklynites. I've photographed him twice since then, and material all three shoots are utilized in this latest CulturePOP Photocomix profile. The text/quotes are culled from several places and have been edited to tell the story of Jonathan's fascination with Brooklyn's Williamsburg Bank Building and how he believes it to be the most phallic building on earth.

The piece ties in nicely, I believe, with the current season of Jonathan's HBO series, Bored To Death, in which his alter-ego played by Jason Schwartzman now resides in the building and in the premiere hangs from the clock facade Harold Lloyd style.

See my Photocomix profile on Jonathan Ames and all future episodes exclusively on


Monday, November 7, 2011

CulturePOP now on TRIP City




Press Release for November 1st, 2011


TRIP CITY is a Brooklyn-filtered literary arts salon launching November 1st, 2011 at The multimedia website features free content curated by a host of creative heavyweights. "TRIP CITY reinvents the online arts collective with a virtual playground for a diverse set of accomplished and highly individualistic creators,” says Emmy Award winning cartoonist and TRIP CITY founder, Dean Haspiel, “spanning every borough of artistic endeavor from the visual arts to literature, music, video and beyond."

TRIP CITY is the exclusive home of united individuals exploring new media to achieve a modern salon. Brooklyners Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, Bored to Death), Seth Kushner (The Brooklynites, CulturePOP Photocomix), Chris Miskiewicz (Everywhere), and Jeffrey Burandt aka Jef UK (Americans UK), will release exclusive content at TRIP CITY, combining avenues of expression such as podcasts and profiles, including upcoming portraits and exclusive interviews with Jonathan Ames, Marc Maron, Ben Katchor, Michael Moore, Henry Rollins, Dan Goldman, and Moby. Additionally, a fellowship of regular contributors will provide their original voices to TRIP CITY, including, Joe Infurnari (MUSH! Sled Dogs with Issues, Marathon), Nick Bertozzi (The Salon, Lewis & Clark), Jennifer Hayden (Underwire), Nick Abadzis (Laika), Jen Ferguson (Art in Chaos), Ron Scalzo (Bald Freak Music), Amy Finkel (Furever), Kevin Colden [Fishtown], and The Perv Whisperer (The Perv Whisperer).

TRIP CITY is a digital experience with future plans to take some of the content and perform it live on the road. “Working with so many Brooklyn locals, we have this great sense of community right out of the gate,” says Jef UK. “Then, when we take the next step and turn TRIP CITY into a live event—which is in the works—our tribe is already gathered, so to speak.”

The TRIP CITY launch will feature Dean Haspiel's “Bring Me The Heart Of Billy Dogma,” Seth Kushner's CulturePOP Photocomix profile of Bored To Death's Jonathan Ames, Chris Miskiewicz & Kate McElroy's “Adrift,” Jef Uk's “The Better Head,” Joe Infurnari's “Memoirs of the Kid Immortal,” Nick Bertozzi's “Lad Zeppelin,” Jennifer Hayden's “S'Crapbook,” Nick Abadzis' “Subterranean Stories,” Jen Ferguson's “Metrollpolis,” Kevin Colden's “Baby With A Mohawk,” Ron Scalzo's "A Dozen Movies That Scared The Shit Out Of Me, Revisited” featuring PSYCHO with an illustration by Rick Parker, and the inaugural TRIP CITY Podcast highlighting a round table interview with the TRIP CITY founders, Chris Miskiewicz' New York Comicon 2011 report, Ron Scalzo's “Ronnie's Story,” graphic novelist, Dan Goldman's exclusive interview with filmmaker, Michael Moore, and the Americans UK’s single “You Can’t Kill The Americans UK.”



Continuing to catch up on these last group of subjects. The most recent profiled on the site is writer Brian Azzarello, best know for his work on 100 Bullets, Joker, Batman: Knight of Vengeance and the new Vertogo series, Spacemen.

The portrait was taken during a trip to Chicago last spring and is meant to invoke Brian's noirish writing style.

Read the GRAPHIC NYC Profile on Brian Azzarello-
Brian Azzarello on Crime and Superheroes