Friday, October 08, 2010

The Theme was FREAKS! Which Really Means: Be Yourself.

Preternatural Performers, Aberrant Artists, and Fairground Fare!

Photograph of Jonathan Nosan by Paul Weiner

On October 2, 2010 I held a lavish birthday party for myself in a two story, 8,000 square foot Manhattan loft. The party was sponsored by my husband, Russell Farhang, and my locations company, CvB Spaces.

I was a mermaid and I greeted my guests from a claw foot bathtub with running water.

Photograph by Krys Fox

It started when I had a dream about the gulf oil spill.

A week before the party I had a dream about oil spill mermaids. In my dream, I was one of the lucky ones who had been rescued and cleansed of oil. I decided to recreate this dream for the party.

I had a latex mermaid tail created in one week by The Mertailor. I needed many mermaid costumes for the oil spill mermaids. They wouldn't be immersed in water, so I made their costumes out of cellophane, saran wrap, foam core and fish netting. Their oil was spray-on food coloring and edible glitter.

I created an oil spill mermaid installation.

Photograph by Krys Fox

Photograph by Scott Dakota

Photograph by Paul Weiner

In the mermaid room Amanda Palmer tries on a dress made for her by Kambriel.Kambriel:
Photograph by Clif Stoltz.

The live mermaid sideshow featured two life-size drawings by Molly Crabapple at the entrance and performances by Miss Vivian, Zelda Fitzgerald, Delysia La Chatte, Dulcy, Ange Lynn, Ariel Wolf, Dame Cuchifrita, Chicava, Honey Child, Ashley Schmidt, Julie Schworm, Amy Uzi, Andrea Kaplan, Natasha Sorokin, Edrie, Katrina Galore, and jojo The Burlesque Poetess.

Molly Crabapple poses in the mermaid room. I'm in the tub.

Photograph by Kyle Cassidy.

The mermaid dressers were Kambriel, Melissa Dowell, Natasha Sorokin and Curse. Kambriel helped dress me and she even made me a hair piece, on the spot, utilizing bits of glittery ocean detritus.

Me, Molly and Kambriel rolling around on my mermaid bed.
Photograph by Mark Hoffman.
Molly Crabapple's art:

I was in that tub for two hours. My favorite place in the whole world is the bathtub. My second favorite place is a party. Needless to say, I was in my element.

Here I am greeting my guest and former bandmate, Larisa Gassel.
Photograph by Mark Hoffman

Russell Farhang (the sailor) gave me the party as a birthday present. He gets a big kiss! Artist Scott Cahaly sits beside the tub.
Photograph by Mark Hoffman
Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman brought me an amazingly lifelike reproduction Dodo skeleton to use in my art. Here's the Dodo skeleton on a shelf in my house. It fits right in.Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket gave me a delightfully strange little paperback book as a birthday present. Here's Neil with Daniel.

Photograph by Kyle Cassidy

I receive a kiss from one of my biggest fans, Mike Canter.
Photograph by Mark Hoffman

Meghann Pardee has been working as one of my interns on the Evelyn Evelyn graphic novel. I meet her for the first time.
Photograph by Clif Stoltz

Adele Griffin and me.
Meghann Pardee, Adele Griffin, Christina D'Alessandro (my sister) and me.
Photograph by Paul Weiner

Meghann Pardee, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Adele Griffin.Look in my hand. I'm holding the beautiful glass hourglass Adele just gave to me.
Photograph by Mark Hoffman

Sometimes life is surreal.

I was carried, dripping wet, from tub to bed by my sailor. Then the bed was carried to and fro by strong men.
My friend Dean Haspiel, who recently won an Oscar for his title animations for HBO's Bored to Death, introduced me to the shows writer, Jonathan Ames (far left). Bored to Death is fantastic. Watch it! On the right is Allan Bennington Castro, the manager of the best bookstore in Manhattan, Books of Wonder. My window display for But Who Will Bell the Cats was in the bookstore's window for a good part of the summer.
Photo by Dean Haspiel.
Neil Gaiman and I chat while I eat cotton candy.
Photo by Menachem Luchins.

John Cameron Mitchell (Hegwig and The Angry Inch, Shortbus) brought a bevy of handsome boys. Here he is with Krys Fox.Juan Son also arrived with John. We should have had Juan's fantastic Mermaid Sashimi video shown at the party. We will need to ask him to perform at our next party.
Adele Griffin and Rachel Boyadis (center).
Sweetheart Mike Canter couldn't stop saying how happy he was to be there. We almost had to tape his mouth shut.
Betsy Bird (Author, New York Public Librarian, book reviewer (New York Times, Time Out Kids, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, etcetc) and Kid Lit's number one blogger chatted with me while I was in the tub. You can read Betsy's School Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly blog post about the party HERE.
Photograph courtesy of Betsy Bird

I also chatted with Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket). I have recently become friends with his wife, Lisa Brown. We were sad that she couldn't make it to the party. She had a book event elsewhere. Here's Daniel riding and singing on the Merry-Go-Round.
Photograph by Betsy Bird.
Me, Jen Ferguson and Molly Crapapple.
Allan Bennington Castro and me.
Larisa Fuchs (Gemini Scorpio), Carlos (DJ and Fashion Designer), Molly Crabapple and me.
Scott Dakota, me, Ajda The Turkish Queen and a bunny rabbit (some people were saying that this bunny was Salman Rushdie incognito. Others said that Salman was strolling around the party photographing the ladies. Neither the bunny nor the photographer were Salman. Apparently someone saw his name on the guest list and their imagination got the best of them). I do not know who the bunny was, but we did snuggle on the bed for a bit. You can see my friend Madeline Von Forester in the background. She looked stunning in all white.Jerelle Kraus (not pictured) gave me chocolate sardines from Paris!Russell Farhang and Larisa Fuchs.
Photograph by Paul Weiner
Peter Christian Hall:Scott Pellegrino was a huge help at the end of the night when Russell broke his arm.My friend Dohan had oil spill eyes.

We raised our glasses to congratulate Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer on their wedding engagement.

Photograph by Mark Hoffman

Photograph by Justin Moore

Photograph by Justin Moore
Holly Gaiman looks on during the champagne toast.
Photograph by Paul Weiner

Kyle Cassidy, Neil Gaiman and Holly Gaiman.
Photograph by Kyle Cassidy

Photograph by Paul Weiner

I congratulate Neil and Amanda from my bed perch.
Photograph by Paul Weiner

I had a variety of weird and wonderful performers. . .

Step right up! See a woman swallow a sword!

Photograph by Mark Hoffman

Step Right Up! See the tallest twins who ever lived.

For more information on the twins and their outfit go HERE.

Photograph courtesy of Ali Luminescent

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys find a home on the island of misfit freaks.

Photographs by Justin Moore

Katrina Galore::

Photographs by Paul Weiner


Photograph by Paul Weiner

Sxip Shirey invited some of his friends onstage during his performance.

Photograph by Kyle Cassidy.

Jonathan Nosan, the contortionist, was a human pretzel.

Photographs by Paul Weiner

Photograph by Mike Canter
Sxip and I found the perfect table for his instruments.

Jason Webley really got my flipper shaking during his raucous set.

Photographs by Paul Weiner

Photograph by Kyle Cassidy.
Jersey Shore's Uncle Nino (who also happens to live next door to my castle on Staten Island) and Ryan Anas (who helped set up and load in all day long) enjoy Jason's performance.

Evelyn Evelyn got stage fright and decided not to perform. Amanda and Jason did a song together instead.

Photograph by Clif Stoltze
I painted this Evelyn Evelyn cutout the day before the party. It's a bit messy, but it did the trick.

Amanda Palmer serenaded mermaids and a rapt audience.

A few of the oil spill mermaids slid over from the adjacent mermaid room to watch Amanda perform.
Photo by Clif Stoltz.
Photographs by Paul Weiner.
Photograph by Julie Schworm
Photograph by Clif Stoltz.

Interactive art was provided by moi...

jojo looking in my Show & Tell painting keyhole. Photographs by Justin Moore

It was Carol and Clif Stoltz's wedding anniversary. Clif and I used to run Castle von Buhler Records (with Adam Buhler).:
My Shake Hands With Uncle Sam presidential scandals machine. You can see a video of this piece in action HERE. Photograph by Clif Stoltz.

Speaking of Adam, here he is with his fiance Su Young:This painting/sculpture of mine houses live rats. You can feed them through a tracehea hole in the neck.
Photograph by TJ Horn.

My interactive sculpture It Can Happy To You being peeped at by a cute clown.The infamous CYNTH-O-MATIC machine. I should have placed one CYNTH capsule in each swag bag. Why didn't I think of that before? Next time. Beware.

...and The Empire Snafu Restoration Project

Photographs by Ali Luminescent
Michael Pope makes a shadow on the wall.
Photograph by Paul Weiner
Scott Dakota and Michael Pope:
Photograph by TJ Horn

Tarot Readings were done by Katelan Foisy with my Shakespearian Tarot Deck.

Katelan also displayed some of her paintings.
Photograph by Clif Stoltze

We placed Al Gori's Homespun Merry-Go-Round on the 4,000 square foot roof deck. Up there, you could practically reach out and touch the Empire State Building.

Photograph by Julie Schworm.
Photograph by Krys Fox.
Photograph by Scott Dakota.
Photograph by TJ Horn.
Walter Sickert took these beautiful photographs:

My wonderful intern Fin Cramb and his girlfriend Lynsey May Sutherland enjoy the roof:

We hung deviant art all over the place.

Paintings of Neil Gaiman and Cynthia von Buhler by Walter Sickert

Jen Ferguson's (who also graciously provided the live rats for my painting/sculpture) also hung her art on both floors.
I met Kelli Bickman for the first time.
Photograph of Mark Hoffman photographing a couple sitting in front of Kelli's art.

jojo brought some of her tarot paintings. Photo by Mike Canter.

My Heaven and Hell paintings were hung behind some of the broken toys.

We spent the whole day tranforming the loft.

I only had the hanging portion of my Please Don't Look Up My Skirt sculpture at the loft. Larisa Fuchs from Gemini and Scorpio made it a skirt from her striped fabric and hung it from the ceiling.
Rachel (far left) and Larisa (far right) arrived at noon and helped me set up all day long.
Photograph by Clif Stoltz.

Jason Webley, Ryan Anas and Michelle Auerbach helped out all day too.

We dined on cotton candy and other fairground fare.

Photograph by Paul Weiner

We ate oysters served ala human flesh and drank from an open bar manned by Miwa, (who is in truth a far cry from manly).

Unfortunately Russell fell down the stairs and broke his arm at the very end of the night. Thank you so much to Scott Pellegrino for taking him to the emergency room. Russell is a violinist and we were worried about how this would affect his playing. The doctors say that it is healing well and he should be fine. There were rumors that he broke his arm while carrying me around. Not true. And no, I did not push him down the stairs! Here's Russell carrying me. He won't be able to do this again for quite some time.
The party was sponsored by my husband,

The Right Honorable Russell T. Farhang

and my location company,

CvB Spaces: Locations for Film, Photography, and Events,

with decorating assistance from Gemini & Scorpio,

and cabaret model assistance from Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School.

You can rent this (and other) fabulous lofts, houses, and mansions for your own party or shoot through my company CVB Spaces.

Other blog posts about the party:
Kyle Cassidy
Neil Gaiman
Katelan Foisy
Molly Crabapple
Nicks N Dimes
Betsy Bird for School Library Journal/Publisher's Weekly
jojo, the burlesque poetess
Papusza In Birdland

Paul Weiner
Mark Hoffman
Kyle Cassidy
Krys Fox
Clif Stoltz
Betsy Bird
Ali Luminescent

TJ Horn
Scott Dakota
Justin Moore

Click on the Freaks icon above to view a slideshow of additional photographs from the party.