You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Political Arts & Crafts’ category.

On the two-week anniversary of Election Day I want to announce that I’ve done yet another screencast video. I was inspired to make it after I read that, on Election Day, voters in Maine approved a measure that would bring Ranked Choice Voting (also known as Instant Runoff Voting) to their state. In the video I explain what Ranked Choice Voting is and how it could encourage both the growth of third parties and more non-voters to actually go to the polls and vote. I also explain how Ranked Choice Voting could’ve affected the outcome of this year’s U.S. presidential elections.

One week ago today was the election that managed to make Donald Trump the president-elect who will be sworn into office in January as the 45th President of the United States.

As some of you may know, last summer I devoted a series of Throwback Thursday posts to reviewing the classic 1970’s comic book series Howard the Duck. Back in 2015 Howard the Duck underwent a reboot that lasted a few issues then it temporarily went on hiatus for a few months because Marvel was doing this huge storyline called Battleworld which crossed over into a lot of its comic books from The Avengers to The X-Men. Once that storyline was over, Howard the Duck started up again with the issue number being set back to #1. (In other words, there were two Howard the Duck #1 comic books that were released in 2015.) I know it’s complicated but that’s the comic book industry for ya! I never bothered with reading that huge Battleworld storyline (especially since most comic books cost $3.99 per issue these days) so I basically waited until Howard the Duck went back to printing new issues and bought that series.

The second Howard the Duck #1 that was released in 2015 had this panel that struck me as funny when I first read it. I remembered it after last Tuesday’s Election Day debacle and this Donald Trump throwaway joke is now not only no longer funny but it’s pretty ironic.

howardtheduck-irony

Not only can I now imagine that universe where Donald Trump is President of the United States, I’m now currently living through it.

Today is Election Day in the United States so I’d thought I show off one of my latest video that I made just a couple of days ago. A friend of mine had forwarded a link to this story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how today voters in San Francisco will be deciding whether to lower the voting age to 16 in city elections. If this measure passes, San Francisco would join Takoma Park, Maryland in welcoming 16-year-olds to vote. (The Takoma Park City Council passed the measure lowering the voting age in 2013.) Basically my friend wanted my take on this issue in a YouTube screencast. I took a look at the issue and I thought of a way that something like this can not only be passed but high schools could be instrumental in encouraging 16-year-olds to actually use their new-found right to vote.

Last week I was making some cat drawings for a potential children’s book project that someone who lives in my neighborhood wrote and she’s trying to get it self-published through Amazon.com. (She needed some illustrations for her book.) While I was drawing one cat that was based on a photograph of the writer’s recently deceased cat, I had this weird idea. I’ll admit that I was inspired to do this after seeing yet another photograph of Donald Trump online while he’s spewing his latest hateful rhetoric. (He’s said so many hateful things in public on a daily basis that I literally can’t keep track anymore.) I even parodied the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. I did this in colored pencils.

donaldtrumpcat72dpiwatermarked

Five years ago I wrote this Twitter rant about the scandal surrounding then-Congressman Anthony Weiner when it was revealed that he was tweeting pictures of his, uh, wiener to women other than his wife. He ended up resigning from Congress in disgrace and he faded from the public spotlight for a bit as he vowed to work on his marriage to Huma Abedin, who also happens to be among Hillary Clinton’s closest staffers. In time the couple had a son together and they tried to portray themselves as a close-knit family.

Two years later Anthony Weiner decided to revive his ruined political career by running for mayor of New York City. But then it was revealed that he had not only resumed his sexting habit but he was sending pictures of his dick under the name “Carlos Danger” to women other than his wife—one of whom was named Sydney Leathers. Not only did I write a sequel to that earlier post, I even created this mixed media piece that played off of comic books and his Carlos Danger alter-ego.

Amazing Fantasy Featuring Carlos Danger

Amazing Fantasy: Introducing Carlos Danger
Mixed-media (computer graphics, ink, colored pencils, watercolors)
8 inches x 10 inches
20 cm x 25 cm

To learn more about how I created this piece, see the post I originally wrote on July 27, 2013. This piece was on display at the 2013 Station North Arts District Salon show in Baltimore but no one purchased it. After the show ended Anthony Weiner lost the New York mayoral election and he slinked out of the public eye while his wife continued to work for Hillary Clinton as she left the State Department and began her current campaign for President of the United States.

A few days ago Anthony Weiner was back in the news as The New York Post revealed that Anthony Weiner had not only resume his sexting habits but he was sending his dick pictures to a woman who’s a Donald Trump supporter. What’s more, one of those dick pictures he sent included his young son lying nearby as he slept—blissfully unaware of what his father was doing next to him in the same bed.

This time Huma Abedin has had enough as she announced that she was separating from her husband and taking their son with her.

It’s obvious that Anthony Weiner has a major problem since he keeps on doing stuff like this and he definitely needs professional help. The only silver lining to this latest episode in Anthony Weiner’s life is that my 2013 blog post about the making of my original Amazing Fantasy: Introducing Carlos Danger piece is now among the most read blog posts for this week. If anyone wants to purchase this piece or even look into licensing it for use in a publication or something similar, please send an email at kimstark61 at gmail dot com.

Ramadan

The weekend before the DC primary election there was this special art exhibition at The Fridge that was dedicated to Bernie Sanders. I attended the Friday night opening reception. While I was traveling via Metro I saw a woman who was obviously dressed for Awesome Con, which was held the same weekend. (I haven’t been to Awesome Con since 2014 mainly because of financial reasons but I was also turned off by the crowds. I attended the first year in 2013 and I liked the fact that it was relatively small and laid-back. The following year it had literally doubled in size so it was very crowded and full of very long lines. The entrance fee had also doubled in price compared to the year before. It was a letdown compared to that first year where I could go to any panel without having to wait in any long lines.)

A Photo I Took on the Way to the Bern the System Event in DC

The Fridge is located just a couple of blocks away from the Eastern Market Metro station and it’s located in an area of Capitol Hill known as Barracks Row because of the Marine Corps barracks located in that area. It’s a pretty trendy area full of upscale bars and restaurants. I took a photo of this really attractive mural that is located on the side of an Asian restaurant known as Hooshi.

A Photo I Took on the Way to the Bern the System Event in DC

I found The Fridge with no problem. Here are my photos from that event.

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

On the way back to the Eastern Market Metro I decided to check out this cupcake shop known as Sweet Lobby [ http://www.sweetlobby.com ], whose biggest claim to fame is that the owner of this place once won first place on an episode of The Food Network show Cupcake Wars. I decided to purchase a Smores cupcake to take home with me. I opened its pretty box the next day. I found that it tasted excellent. It had a graham cracker base with a chocolate cupcake that’s topped with marshmallow icing. It was so awesome! I’ll definitely keep this place in mind the next time I visit the Barracks Row part of Capitol Hill.

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Bern the System at The Fridge

Ramadan

Early that morning I went to the Loudon Lyme 5K/10K/1K Fun Run in Ashburn, Virginia. The event ended by 11 a.m. and I was facing an hour-long commute back to my home in Maryland. I remembered that Tyson’s Corner Mall is located at the halfway point between Ashburn and my home so I decided to stop there for a few hours, look around, then drive the rest of the way home.

So I drove along the toll roads while enduring wind gusts (which prompted me to drive slower than usual because I didn’t want a wind gust to push my car into the lane next to me and risk having an accident) until I reached the mall. The first thing I did was to check out the American Girl Place. The new 2016 Girl of the Year, Lea Clark, was released back in January. I saw the 6-inch mini doll version on sale at the Target that’s located near my home about a month ago or so but I didn’t see the 18-inch version in person for the first time until I arrived to the mall that day. I had meant to check out that doll in person sooner but I was diverted by other things currently going on in my life. Better late than never, I suppose. (At least I’m not keeping a doll news blog like Living a Doll’s Life so I don’t feel compelled to come up with late breaking American Girl doll news as soon as I hear about it.)

Lea Clark isn’t quite as striking as last year’s Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas, but that’s because Grace had two-toned dark brown hair with light skin and very pretty blue eyes. But Lea is still pretty cute with her caramel brown hair, tan skin, and green eyes. Her default meet outfit is very colorful and bright.

photo1

photo2

photo3

photo4

The next few photos show the outfits that one can purchase separately for Lea. I really liked the outfits, especially the white dress with the pretty green floral embroidery but, with prices starting at $30, there was no way I was even going to consider buying one for one of the other 18-inch dolls who currently live with me.

photo5
photo6
photo7

photo8

photo9
photo10

They have Lea on display at that bistro’s bakery counter along with Lea-themed sweets that one can buy.

photo11

photo12

photo13

Last year the 6-inch mini doll version of Grace Thomas wasn’t sold through American Girl at all. Instead one had to go to other stores like Target or Barnes & Noble in order to purchase the Girl of the Year’s miniature doppelgänger. Since I saw the 6-inch version of Lea Clark at Target before I went to the American Girl Place, I assumed that it would be the same situation. Except that American Girl Place is now selling the 6-inch version for a few dollars more than getting that same doll at Target. The only difference is that the Target version comes with a miniature abridged version of Lea’s book while the American Girl Place version comes with this very fancy doll stand. Also the American Girl Place version comes with a different outfit from the ones that are sold at other stores. As for me, I’d rather go to Target for the mini doll while going to Michael’s or A.C. Moore for a cheap doll stand and saving a few dollars.

photo14

photo15

photo16

There are also a few animals that one can buy for Lea. I only saw the sea turtle and a Margay cat when I was there. Each animal, which is about the size of a Beanie Baby, costs $18 each. One dollar from each sale will go to support the World Wildlife Federation, although it would be easier for me to donate directly to the WWF while getting a receipt that I can claim as a tax write-off.

photo17

photo18

There are a series of three tie-in books about Lea’s life.

photo19

photo20

photo21

There are some accessories currently available for Lea. The good news is that none of them are as expensive as Grace’s French Bakery from last year. The bad news is that they are still expensive as hell. The most expensive Lea item is Lea’s Rainforest House, which costs $395. (So it’s $105 cheaper than Grace’s French Bakery.)

photo22

photo23

photo24

photo25

photo27

photo28

photo29

photo30

photo31

photo32

photo33

The next expensive item is Lea’s Fruit Stand, which costs $150.

photo34

photo35

photo36

photo37

photo38

photo39

photo40

photo41

Then there’s Lea’s Kayak, which is a relative steal at $85.

photo42

The cheapest Lea accessory is the $34 Lea’s Beach Picnic Set.

photo43

photo44

photo45

photo46

For human children there are clothes and jewelry that are all based on Lea’s clothes and accessories.

photo47

photo48

photo49

photo50

There’s also a place where one can take selfies with Lea.

photo51

photo52

photo53

photo54

photo55

photo56

As for the modern dolls, there was nothing that really appealed to me enough to even bother with taking a picture. I’ve already taken plenty of the historical BeForever dolls on previous trips so I’m just going to focus on the few new things that arrived in this line, starting with Kaya wearing her new $42 Pow Wow Dress of Today while standing next to her $48 foal, Sparks Flying.

photo57

This year happens to be American Girl’s 30th anniversary so, to celebrate in a profitable way, American Girl has released these special edition mini doll versions of the BeForever dolls. Usually the mini dolls are dressed in the same default meet outfit as their 18-inch counterparts. For this anniversary, nearly all of them are dressed in special party dresses, which are sold separately for their 18-inch counterparts. (The only exception is Kaya, who’s still in her original meet outfit, which is strange because I’ve seen other outfits available for sale in the 18-inch Kaya line.)

photo58

photo59

Recently American Girl has announced a new doll that will be joining the BeForever lineup. Her name is Melody Ellison and she’s supposed to represent the 1960’s. The doll won’t be released until later this year but one can buy and read her books in the meantime. I have to admit that her hairstyle reminds me of when I used to watch reruns of That Girl when I was growing up and Marlo Thomas wore a similar hairstyle.

photo60

After spending some time at American Girl Place, I moved on to the Disney Store. Lately it seems like half the store has been given over to Marvel and Star Wars, which is appropriate since Disney owns both now.

photo61

They had this gorgeous Elsa doll that has articulated joints. (I definitely saw elbow joints.) She looks like she’s about the size of a Mini Super Dollfie. She costs $50 and I would’ve bought her if I didn’t have to be so tight about money these days. So I had to settle for a picture instead. Sigh!

photo62

I made a brief stop at the Lego Store where I took some more pictures.

photo63

photo64

photo65

photo66

For a change of pace I went to Spencer’s Gifts where I saw plenty of items related to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.

photo67

I also saw Hillary Clinton items as well. I have to say this, compared to the items for the male candidates (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump), the ones for Hillary Clinton play off the fact that she’s a woman by using all kinds of sexual metaphors that just aren’t there for the men. It’s downright sexist and disgusting. Check out this t-shirt.

photo68

And even that one is tasteful compared to this next photo, which shows a Hillary Clinton inflatable sex doll. Seriously! What’s worse is that this doll is called “Horny Hillary.” Yuck!

photo69

I think those Hillary items are tasteless and disgusting. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary in Maryland recently and I think those Hillary sex items are gross. I can only imagine the reactions of Hillary Clinton’s most ardent supporters when they see stuff like that.

I took a look at the plaza where I would’ve entered the mall had I travelled by Metro instead of by car (like I did that day). Normally there would be things like a giant chessboard and beanbag toss corn holes that would be out for anyone to use. But, like I wrote earlier, it was a very windy day when I was there so I could imagine why the plaza was relatively bare.

photo70

I saw a kiosk that was selling Emoji pillows.

photo71

photo72

I saw this covered area that was advertising various Amazon.com products. I don’t know what’s going on there but the barriers were covering something.

photo73

photo74

I took a few miscellaneous photos.

photo75

photo76

photo77

photo78

I took one last photo as I was crossing the cross bridge to the parking garage where my car was parked.

photo79

Last week I checked out a brand new event in Baltimore known as Light City. Basically it was a week-long event where there were art installations that consisted entirely of lights. Obviously it was the kind of event that could only be viewed at night. I learned about Light City on Facebook and I was awed by what I saw and photographed.

I passed by the historic Bromo Seltzer tower on the way from the Camden Yards Light Rail Stop to the Charm City Circulator bus stop.

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

I also passed by this Baltimore Ravens banner highlighting the fact that this season is their 20th anniversary.

Light City, March 31, 2016

I ate dinner at the Shake Shack but it was so unusually crowded inside that restaurant that I ordered my meal to go so I could just walk to the Inner Harbor and eat my meal on one of the benches. I was glad that the weather was nice and warm so I could do that. After dinner I walked around and took in all of the sites. There were these historic light poles that were placed in the same general area. The installation was known as In Light of History. They looked really pretty. There were copies of free newsletters that one can pick up. I didn’t read my newsletter copy until after I got home and I found out that they were there to mark places where the slave trade took place in Baltimore. That was pretty heavy to read, especially the vintage newspaper ads (which are posted on this website).

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

There was a vintage Baltimore City police car that was parked outside.

Light City, March 31, 2016

The outside of the World Trade Center had these animated lights that were really pretty.

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

There was live entertainment in various venues throughout Light City but people crowded the stage so much that I only got short glimpses such as the performance dance in the next photo.

Light City, March 31, 2016

The Inner Harbor was really crowded even though I went to Light City on a Thursday night. The Baltimore Sun reported that nearly 400,000 people attended that show the entire week. I’m not surprised, especially since the next photo shows how jam-packed the Inner Harbor was with people. (I can only image how crowded it got on the weekends.)

Light City, March 31, 2016

Everywhere I went there were all kinds of pretty lights everywhere.

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

There were echoes of Freddie Gray’s murder at the hands of the Baltimore police officers and the Black Lives Matter movement in this light display that was shown on the McKeldin Square fountain that featured people who were victims of excessive force by the Baltimore Police Department.

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

There was an area full of circles where people were invited to step on them. Generally the discs changed color every time someone stepped on them.

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Light City, March 31, 2016

Next to that area full of circles was this tent that where a private party was held that was off-limits to the general public.

Light City, March 31, 2016

A group of Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers got in on the fun by putting up their own light display urging people to vote for Sanders. (The Maryland primary will be coming in a few weeks.)

Light City, March 31, 2016

It was an amazing night. I was only able to take in just half of what was going on in Light City. Based on the map I saw, it looked like the whole thing started from Rash Field all the way past the Inner Harbor attractions (Maryland Science Center, Harborplace, etc.) until it ended just west of Fells Point, which was a huge amount of walking. I wasn’t able to return to Light City to finish touring the rest of it due mainly to the fact that I have a lot of other things I needed to do (such as spring cleaning, working on income taxes, etc.). I hope they do it again next year. I would definitely take at least two nights to see everything and account for the huge crowds that this event draws. Next time I would pack a dinner, snacks, and drinks from home instead of battling crowds to order a meal at one of the many restaurants and fast food outlets in the area.

I have a couple of friends of mine who perform together as a duo known as The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. They’ve been performing together for quite a while and they have an interesting repertoire that you can listen to right here.

A few weeks ago they posted on Facebook that they were shooting a music video for their latest song at the New Deal Cafe and they wanted as many people to come out and be a part of it as possible. The song is called “Be a Believer” and it’s a tune that’s encouraging people to vote for Bernie Sanders. (I know that many states have already have their primary elections. I live in a state that has its primary scheduled for April 26 this year.) So they shot the music video and they recently released it online.

Not long after its release Mashable.com featured that video along with a few other pro-Bernie Sanders music videos in this article. Then Fox News featured that same video in the first two minutes of this eight-minute video that someone posted on YouTube. The female host, Kennedy, is hysterical as she goes out of her way to paint everyone in this video as being crazy, naive, and delusional who are backing a totally lost cause. I remember Kennedy back in the day when she was a mediocre VJ on MTV (back when that channel actually used to play music videos instead of the really godawful reality shows that it now features) who used to brag about still being a virgin in her 20’s. Seeing Kennedy openly snark on a video that I appeared briefly in is definitely the most surreal blast from the past that I’ve ever had in my life.

It’s pretty cool to be in a music video that is starting to gain traction online. I had a blast making the video. I even took a few behind the scenes photos during the shooting of that video.

photo1

photo2

photo3

photo4

photo5

photo6

photo7

The next two photos show what it was like to be on stage with bright lights shining in all of our eyes.

photo8

photo9

Here’s a rare selfie of me wearing a flying pig hat. We were told to dress festively so I looked through my drawers where I found this hat, which I purchased when I was a vendor for the Pigtown Festival in Baltimore way back in 2010. (The table next to mine were selling flying pig hats for $10 and I ended up buying one on impulse.) Basically you pull on the strings dangling from the pig hat in order to flap the pig’s wings.

photo10

Anyway here’s the video for “Be a Believer” by The Bachelor and The Bad Actress. You can see me wearing the flying pig hat and a blue sweatshirt on the far right hand side of the stage at the 7 second, 46 second, and 56 second marks.

(There was more footage shot of me with a couple of other people as we danced on stage and I flapped the flying pig hat’s wings but it was left on the cutting room floor. I’m still happy with the result nonetheless.)

Once more, here’s the link to the Mashable article that features this video along with other similar ones.

Here’s the video of Kennedy openly snarking on “Be a Believer” that is totally over the top. (Her looney rant kicks off the first two minutes of this eight-minute video.) One warning: You may not want to have anything in your mouth while watching this because there’s a chance that you’ll laugh so hard at Kennedy’s crazy rant that your computer/mobile screen will be covered in food and/or drink.

The only consolation about that above clip is that I doubt many people have actually watched the show that Kennedy’s rant appeared on. I know I didn’t. The only reason why I knew about its existence is because someone on Facebook saw it and started to post about it. That’s because, like the other cable news outlets, Fox News’ core audiences have shrunk despite increasing profits due to ad revenue. Basically Kennedy is blathering into a void where people aren’t even caring enough to tune into Fox News so her career continues from being a mediocre MTV VJ with a lot of viewers between 12-34 to being a mediocre Fox News commentator with fewer viewers (and the majority of them are over 60). If it weren’t for the fact that MTV prefers airing awful reality shows to actually playing music videos these days, I would tell Kennedy that she should stick with being a VJ.

This morning I saw a few videos that I can’t resist sharing. The first one is an ad that aired on Saturday Night Live last night that’s totally hysterical.

Then there’s this hilarious mash-up between Donald Trump and the 1950’s sitcom The Honeymooners that’s totally sublime.

On a more serious note, here’s the latest threat from Anonymous to take down Donald Trump.

You can watch that one unfold in real time on Twitter under the #OpTrump hashtag.

Previous Entries

Categories