NYC Caps Crew Fundraiser – 4.7.18

 The NHL Playoffs begin tomorrow which means my life revolves around hockey until the Washington Capitals inevitably disappoint me. If you read this blog fairly regularly you probably know about my obsession with the Miami Dolphins and about the non-profit organization that I started with my friend Michelle called Dolfans NYC, but you might not know about my hockey problem. 

I’ve been a Capitals fan since I was a little kid but it wasn’t until I became a full time freelancer (almost 1o years ago!) that I started caring about hockey anywhere near the same level as I do football. I used to just watch the playoffs but when I started working from home I found that hockey games were the perfect thing to work to. I could put them on in the background and with 82 games in the season no one game is that important. I would look up if there was a power play or a goal but mostly I would just listen while I worked. 

I started watching the playoffs with some people but it wasn’t until 2010 when a combination of the Caps playoffs and the Winter Olympics led to a more organized group. Over the years these people became friends who I started hanging out with outside of hockey games which is something I’ve never really done with my Dolfans NYC people. But then things really stepped up another level when in 2015 we had an incident at a playoff game on Long Island that ended up going viral after I wrote an an open letter to the New York Islanders. Being in the national news attracted a ton more people to our watch parties and the group of us who went to that game started a Facebook chat that is still going strong 3 years later and has become the backbone of our “New York City Caps Crew“.

One of the issues I wrote about in my open letter was about the racist treatment of my friend Fatou. Fatou is a black female hockey fan which is unfortunately fairly uncommon at a hockey game. She also happens to be one of the loudest (and if you happen to be a rival fan – one of the most obnoxious) people I have ever met. This has led to some really disgusting experiences where people have made these coded racial comments to her. At the Islanders game it was comments about her hair and at a Devils game last year someone accused her of being on welfare. These certainly aren’t the only examples but they bring us a little closer to the point of this post.

The Capitals have a player on the team named Devante Smith-Pelly who happens to be black and during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks some Hawks fans started chanting “Basketball” at him. It was the same kinda gross coded racial insults that Fatou has faced. He was noticeably upset about it and talked about it after the game. The incident made national news and embarrassed Blackhawks fans decided they would try and turn the negative into a positive and ended up raising $20,000 to a charity in Smith_Pelly’s name. The charity he chose was the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena.

Ft. Dupont is a skating rink in DC that gives inner city kids a chance to skate that they might not normally have.  Unlike most sports where you can just get a ball and play hockey and figure skating requires a rink and unless you live somewhere very cold with a bunch of lakes you are going to have to pay to have access to ice. On top of that skates and hockey equipment are quite expensive which means  there are a lot of kids who grow up without ever having the opportunity skate, but Ft. Dupont’s helps level the ice so to speak.

Fatou was really inspired by this fundraising and she knew about all the charity work I do with Dolfans NYC and she reached out to me about doing a fundraiser for Ft. Dupont as well. I gave her some advice but she really took it and ran. We decided to do a fundraiser on April 7th at Jojo’s Philosophy, during the last Caps game of the year, but Fatou also wanted to do an online fundraiser and it ended up raising $3000 before the event even happened thanks in part to a great profile of Fatou in my favorite sports blog Russian Machine Never Breaks!

At our Dolfans NYC events the most money we make is via merch sales so I knew we needed to do a t-shirt or something. We always refer to Devante Smith-Pelly as DSP and so quickly “You down with DSP? Yeah, you know me!” became a chant referencing the Naughty By Nature song “OPP”. The Naughty by Nature logo is so iconic and features a baseball bat so I was thinking it would be a great idea to do DSP’s name in the style of that logo with a hockey stick instead of a baseball bat. Fortunately NYC Caps Crew member Justin is a designer and cranked us out an amazing logo and we made a bunch of t-shirts. I also broke out my old button maker from my punk rock days and made a bunch of stupid buttons to sell. On top of that we asked people to bring in Caps stuff for a raffle. 

The party was a blast and we ended up raising another $1000 and our final gift to Ft. Dupont was over $4000! Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and almost scored a third which would have given him his 8th 50 goal season. Unfortunately he didn’t hit 50 but he still scored more goals than anyone else in the league for an astounding 7th time in his career and it gave an otherwise meaningless game something to cheer for. I took photos of the party for Russian Machine so you can either look at them there or look at them on here. Whatever works. 

Anyway, this post is over 1000 words and it features no nudity or celebrities holding puppies or anything like that so I am going to wrap it it up, but wish me luck in the playoffs because I am about to lose my goddamn mind rooting for this team that has ripped my heart out time and time again. 

Donate to Ft. Dupont Ice Arena here.

And click here to see all the photos from our NYC Caps Crew fundraiser at Jojo’s Philosophy.

NYC Caps Crew

NYC Caps Crew

NYC Caps Crew

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SXSW Slugfest – 3.17.18

On the last day of South By Southwest I got to photograph a boxing match. My friend Keith Underwood is a tattoo artist and a boxer and he started a boxing promotion company called Underwood Promotions. They had this idea of doing a boxing match during SXSW called SXSW Slugfest that would feature both boxing and live music music. It worked out and became an official SXSW event taking place at the Moody Theater the home of Austin City Limits.

I know Keith because of my work with Sailor Jerry. He apprenticed under Mike Malone who worked under the Sailor Jerry himself and took over Jerry’s shop after he died. Keith has continued the legacy and we have done a bunch of tattoo events together for Sailor Jerry.  It only made sense for Sailor Jerry to sponsor the event and the tattooed ring girls wore Sailor Jerry shirts. Musically the event featured a rockabilly band called The Octanes who played before the boxing started. Between matches hip hop artists MC Doughbeezy and Young Jay performed. Zach Blair of Rise Against played the National Anthem before the main event.

As far as the boxing goes, I am just gonna post all the info from the website.  because I don’t know a goddamn thing about boxing outside of watching every movie about sports ever made. I mean, I loved Tyson back in the day but my love of boxing ended right around the time he bit Holyfield’s ear off. I do own a George Foreman grill though…

Carlos Trevino vs Manuel Rubalacava – Manny Mondragon vs Tyler Pacheco – Prisco Marquez vs Tanner Dodd  – Iskander Kharsan vs Richard Munoz

The main event was Reshard Hicks vs Adan Ahumada for the World Boxing Bureau Intercontinental Title. Check out the official results here.

Hicks pretty much destroyed Ahumada and only the first match went the distance but all of the matches were pretty entertaining. I had never photographed boxing before and honestly I had a blast. I was so close that a couple times I got hit with the ropes when the boxers would crash into them. I had some blood spatter less than two inches from my arm which was pretty great too. I mean as long as didn’t get in my face right?

I took so many damn photos and I edited them down to just over 100. I don’t think I got any shots that were the perfect boxing shot that I imagine when I think about boxing photography but I got a lot of shots I was pretty happy with. I would love to shoot more boxing. I think if I knew the sport better and had more experience shooting matches I could get pretty good at it. Sports photography in general is so specialized but with boxing you sort of have to just “spray and pray” a bit because you never know when that big punch is coming. I feel like those big moments would be a little more intuitive if I watched more boxing.

Anyway, the boxing was a blast and I hope I get to do it again. I hope you guys click through this gallery because some of this stuff is really fun.

Click here to see all the photos from Underwood Promotions: SXSW Slugfest at the Moody Theater in Austin, TX.

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest\

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest

SXSW Slugfest

 

 

 

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Florida Road Trip In 35mm

Last month I did a mini Florida road trip and I shot a bunch of rolls of film and I figured it was a good idea to post a bunch of the shots from the trip. I used to post all my 35mm stuff on Tumblr but since they changed their NSFW settings so that you have to be logged into Tumblr to view my photos I abandoned my Tumblr. I post some 35mm stuff on Twitter but honestly it looks like shit with their compression so I don’t post much.

So about the trip… I had to be in Miami for a Miami Dolphins event. My fan club/ non profit Dolfans NYC was up for some awards at a thing called Web Weekend that the Dolphins throw every year and we make a big donation to the Miami Dolphins Foundation at the same time. We ended up winning Best Community Oriented Site and Best Use Of Social Media and donated $7000 to the MDF and another $1000 to RISE. If I ever have to get a real job maybe this will look good on a resume?

Anyway, since I had to be in Florida anyway I thought it would be a perfect excuse to visit the Sausage Castle, this weird compound near Orlando run by Mike Busey. I met Mike at the Gathering of the Juggalos years ago and he had given me an open invite to visit the castle. Tragically it burned down but they ended up moving to a way better space and now have this mansion with like a hundred acres of land and all this bat shit crazy stuff like a tattoo studio, batting cage and a female pig named Richard Porkins. Mike also told me they might get a giraffe.

Now I could have flown into Orlando and then just taken a train down to Miami but I knew that this girl Magdalene lived not too far from Tampa so I hit her up about doing a little road trip. She seemed like she was down to do a whole week of Florida madness but it ended up just being two days because she is in college and had to do actual things. Still, I decided to fly into Tampa.

I ended up getting a hotel in Clearwater, FL because I am kinda obsessed with Scientology and their headquarters is in Clearwater and I wanted to check it out. The night before we left for our road trip Magda met me at my weird aqua colored motel and we did a photoshoot there before heading over to the Scientology HQ. Unfortunately there was way too much security to shoot some nudes in front of it but at least I got to lurk. After that we got some food and waited for a movie theater to close. Wait, what?

When I posted on Instagram that I was in Clearwater I had a fan reach out to me and offer her movie theater as a shoot location! Seriously. I thought it was going to be a tiny indie theater but it was this massive multiplex. I am not gonna mention the girl’s name or where exactly the theater is just incase she gets in trouble with her new owners, but let’s just she is my hero. We did a quick shoot there but we had to be up super early the next AM so I Ubered back to my hotel and slept for a few hours until Magda picked me up again.

We had this whole plan of shooting on the way to the Sausage Castle but unfortunately it was raining nearly the whole drive. Luckily it let up right about the time we got to the Castle and because it’s Florida immediately got super sunny and gave me incredibly harsh lighting for my photos. Whatever.

The Castle itself was fucking incredible. I talked about it already, but I can’t even explain how insane it is. I only got a few hours there before we went to Universal Studios for their Halloween haunted house madness so I really didn’t get to shoot enough. Mike set up a few shots of him and the Busey Beauties and I did a mini shoot with Kris Kannibal and Sir Richard Porkins the pig. It was cool but honestly I want to spend like a week at the Castle just documenting the weirdness that goes on behind the scenes. I just need to find a client to pay me to do it. It really is fucking nuts.

So right as the sun went down we jumped in a few cars and drove to Universal. They have a ton of haunted houses set up and everyone wanted to go. I kinda hate haunted houses because they aren’t scary and I don’t like being startled but Mike bought my ticket so I wasn’t gonna complain. It seemed like a good chance to get more candid stuff of everyone anyway.

At Universal we met up with WWE wrestler Mojo Rawly and a bunch of his friends for some reason. He is sponsored by Zubaz which is fucking amazing, I own multiple pairs vintage of Miami Dolphins Zubaz so that’s pretty much all I wanted to talk to him about. (Although later I found out we both grew up in the same town and went to the same high school as my first girlfriend and a ton of my good friends.) He had a big crew so we were rolling like 20 people deep through haunted house after haunted house.

Universal closed at like 1am or something like that and it took forever to assemble everyone, get food and get back to the Castle. By the time we made it pretty much everyone was passed out. Unfortunately the keys to Magda’s car were missing (we found them the next day fortunately) and all of my shit was in the car. By the time I realized that her trunk was unlocked it was like 4am and I had to get to the train early the next morning so I ended up sleeping like 3 hours in a bunk bed in a closet (seriously, they have 6 bunk beds for guests built into walk in closet). So unfortunately I didn’t get to shoot any crazy partying or any of the weird giant playground they have on the property.

I took a train to Del Ray, FL where my Dolfans NYC partner lives with her husband Alex. Two of my friends also happen to live close by so I thought I would get to see them but unfortunately one was in Tampa and the other one just straight up blew me off so aside from dinner with Michelle and fam I just hung out in the hotel room. Whatever. The next day Michelle picked me up and we headed to Miami for our Miami Dolphins weekend.

This post is already too long and I know you don’t care about the Dolphins so I will just let you look at the pictures now. I should mention that aside from the normal point and shoot 35mm film I shot there’s also a roll of black and white I shot on my Leica and a roll of 1600 film that expired in the 90’s. That stuff didn’t come out great but it’s still kinda interesting to look at.

And lastly, there’s a gallery of about 30 digital images from the Sausage Castle that I uploaded exclusively to Girls of Driven By Boredom. You can see those and a billion other exclusive high resolution images for like $18 a year or whatever the fuck it costs. Help me pay off my credit card. Now go look at photos already…

Click here to see all the 35mm photos from my weird Florida road trip! NSFW as per usual!

Sausage Castle

Mike Busey

Florida Road Trip 35mm

Mojo Rawley

Mike Busey's Sausage Castle

Florida Road Trip 35mm

Miami Dolphins Take A Knee

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2017 #MetLifeTakeover Video

I am gonna make this post super short because I know most of you don’t care and I just posted an update about the #MetLifeTakeover event I throw every year. You can read about it over there if you want to know more but I know most of you could care less about my obsessive Miami Dolphins fandom.

I will just say that I am really proud of this video we made and this event we throw every year. This season already our non profit group Dolfans NYC has donated over $13,000 to charity and we plan to hit $15,000 at a minimum by the end of the year.

And a real quick description. This video is the recap of our #MetLifeTakeover event where we bought over 1100 seats for the Dolphins Vs. Jets game in New Jersey. We had a bunch of former Dolphins show up to the huge tailgate party we threw and most of them did interviews with us for the video. It’s hosted by comedian and Dolphins fan Oscar Collazos and it was directed by RizeOptix. Also have to give out a shout to Sailor Jerry for sponsoring the event like they do every year.

Lastly, the Dolphins got killed at the game in Jersey so the video kinda ends on a down note, but we beat them yesterday in Miami so it seems like an ideal time to post this. Enjoy.

 

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2017 #MetLifeTakeover – 9.24.17

Yesterday was a hell of a day for me. Things actually started the day before when I arrived at Slattery’s Midtown Pub to prepare for two days of football related madness, none of which had to do with the national anthem. I have explained this here before but I kinda feel like every time I do a Miami Dolphins related post I need to do it all over again…

My friend Michelle and I started the NYC Miami Dolphins fan club in 2008. When I moved to NYC I didn’t really have any friends who watched football and so I would watch them at random bars. Eventually I met Michelle and started watching with her and her small group of Dolphins fans. That small group organically grew until after the 2008 season when Michelle and I decided to start using our web and marketing skills to start promoting it. Dolfans NYC was born.

We started doing raffles and selling t-shirts and coming up with other reasons for people to come to the games despite the Dolphins being a mediocre football team. As we started to generate income we decided to give all the money to charity so we wouldn’t be motivated by profit or fight about money. That decision paid off because it attracted the attention of the Miami Dolphins who have given us a ton of support and opted not to sue us for blatant trademark infringement.

We raised so much money over the years that we actually had to become a not for profit corporation. We couldn’t just deal with beer buckets full of one dollar bills anymore. We needed to make it official. Last summer we filed for our 501(c)(3) status and got it and now I have a no limit AmEx card which says Dolfans NYC on it which is absolutely absurd but great for getting into airport lounges.

Anyway, back to this weekend. Sunday was our annual #MetLifeTakeover event where we bring hundreds of Dolphins fans to the Dolphins @ Jets game and throw a massive tailgate party which starts the night before at Slattery’s with our annual #MetLifeTakeover pre-party.

I got there at 5pm to set up for the 7pm party which was supposed to end at 9. I think we left around 1am after organizing and packing up eight huge bins of assorted Dolfans NYC merch. The party was a good time and we raised $500 for hurricane Maria which unfortunately makes nearly $2000 we have already donated to hurricane relief this year. On a more positive note we got to try out our Snapchat filter that my friend Ricardo at Subdrive records made for us.

After I finally got home from the party I packed up all my personal shit from the night before and tried to get a few hours of sleep before I had to be awake again. I might have managed 90 minutes… I had to be back at the bar in midtown by 6:30. The bar manager was still there from the night before.

We loaded up four chartered buses and took them to MetLife Stadium in jersey to meet up with over a thousand Dolphins fans for a party organized by Urban Tailgate. They took a huge amount of stuff off our plate and were already pretty much set up when we got there. Our own DJ Tropic showed up with them and had music blasting before the busses even pulled in. There was so much god damn food and a bar sponsored by my friends at Sailor Jerry and we set up all sorts of games that bros like to play. And of course we brought some inflatable palm trees. It was pretty great.

Around 10am the Miami Dolphins radio show “Cup of Joe” showed up to film before the game. It’s hosted by former Dolphin great Joe Rose who interviewed fellow former Dolphin and current Dolphins Vice President Nat Moore and CEO Tom Garfinkel. We also had another legend (Jim “Crash” Jensen) just show up randomly to the tailgate and party with us.

After that Solo D performed a few songs in the crowd. He is a rapper who mostly writes songs about the Dolphins and unlike most sports themed music is actually really good. I have a weird collection of Miami Dolphins vinyl records and I really want to put out a Solo D record one day.

The tailgate sort of ended with a big raffle we did for a Dolphins helmet signed by one of our best players, Cam Wake. We ended up raising $1800 for charity just with that helmet alone. When you add that to the all the merch we sold and profit we made on the $70,000 worth of tickets we are going to be able to do a lot of great things with that money starting with a pretty sizeable donation to the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

It’s really weird that the thing I have been most successful at in life is running a pro football fan club but here we are. I am actually headed to Florida in just over a week to see the Dolphins play and make that Miami Dolphins Foundation donation but I am gonna fly into Orlando or Tampa and make my way down to Miami with a nude model and shoot a bunch of weird photos and get tattooed and crash with a juggalo sideshow because my life is fucking insane.

Speaking of trips, I am headed to Detroit tomorrow to hang out with my lady friend Gia Paige. Hopefully I shall return with photos of her in abandoned urban ruins and even more photos of her tiny puppies. Gonna try and get an update ready to go before I leave so I can drop at least one more post on you before the weekend, but no promises.

Click here to see all the photos from the 2017 Dolfans NYC #MetLifeTakeover.

Ps. Yes, I know the Dolphins got embarrassed by the Jets and yes, I think it’s bullshit that the President of the United States is using is platform to tell black athletes to shut up, but don’t you think this post is long enough already?

2017 #MetLifeTakeover

2017 #MetLifeTakeover

2017 #MetLifeTakeover

2017 #MetLifeTakeover

2017 #MetLifeTakeover

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2016 #MetLifeTakeover – 12.16.12

A few times a year I do a post about the Miami Dolphins and you just have to deal with it. On Saturday my Dolfans NYC partner Michelle and I threw a massive event called the #MetLifeTakeover. We run the aforementioned NYC Miami Dolphins fan club Dolfans NYC and over the past 8 or so years we have turned it into the biggest Dolphins fan club in the country and raises tens of thousands of dollars for charity in the process. Our #MetLifeTakeover event has become one of the biggest events on any serious Dolphins fan calendar and we sell around 1000 tickets to the Dolphins @ Jets game every year.

This year the game was on a Saturday night so we did things a little differently. Instead of having a party the day before at our bar Slattery’s Midtown Pub we held a pre-tailgate party starting at noon. We got to Slattery’s around 10am to start setting up and I didn’t get home until around 2am. Long fucking day.

The Dolphins organization has been very supportive of our events and sent broadcaster and former Dolphin Joe Rose to film his show “Cup of Joe” live at our bar. Team vice-president and Dolphins legend Nat Moore came with him to co-host the show. Also one of my favorite players of all time, former CB Sam Madison came up and actually hung out with us all day and even sat in the cheap seats way up top with us. He tried to pay for his tickets but instead we talked him into hosting our #MetLifeTakeover video (coming soon!). It was pretty amazing.

The party was a lot of fun and we did a free raffle and then did a live auction and raised some money for charity. We also raised another $1500 selling raffle tickets to a team signed helmet that the Dolphins sent us. After merch sales all in all we raised close to $3500 not including the money we made throwing the actual event.

The tailgate didn’t go as smoothy as usual. Our normal DJ couldn’t make it and we ended up renting a PA and getting a friend of a friend of a friend to DJ and he apparently didn’t have the right cords and so I spent most of the tailgate trying to figure out how to make that work. Eventually we got some music playing but it was kinda a disaster. On top of that one of the 6 busses we rented broke down so we had to load about 50 people on to the already packed busses. The whole thing sort of killed me but fortunately everyone seemed to have a great time even if Michelle and I were super stressed out.

Thankfully we had some great sponsors again. AQUAHydrate provided a ton of water for the event and we went through a case of Sailor Jerry very quickly as the Sailor and hot apple cider drinks we made were a huge hit. Pabst Blue Ribbon actually came out to the event and passed out gloves that had cup holders in them so you can drink your PBR with incredible style and class. So thanks to all of those guys!

The game itself was fucking amazing. The first half was kinda close but the Dolphins destroyed the Jets in the third quarter scoring 3 TDs in a five minute span. I lost my voice quickly and we could easily be heard on TV cheering for the Dolphins. The NFL Network was joking about how loud we were and how many Dolphins were at the game. A bunch of players mentioned us and the Dolphins social media posted about us several times throughout the night and posted this video the next morning. It was all pretty fantastic.

Anyway, I know most of you guys don’t care about any of this but for those who do I took a handful of photos. Thanks again to PBR, AQUAHydrate and Sailor Jerry. Phins up.

Click here to see photos from Dolfans NYC’s 2016 #MetLifeTakeover.

Fuck The Jets

Sam Madison With Michelle And I

Sam, Super Fans & Omar Kelly

Nat Moore & Joe Rose

Thanks PBR!

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Mini Metlife Takeover – 8.12.16

It’s almost that time of the year again where I switch from misanthropic disaffected hipster photographer to bat shit crazy sports fan who spends hours a week screaming at a television and hugging strangers. People who meet me during the football off season often have no idea about my obsession so I guess it’s time to remind you.

I co-founded the New York City Miami Dolphins fan club, Dolfans NYC in 2008 with my friend Michelle. Together we have turned a group of about 30 Dolphins fans into the largest Dolphins fan club in the world and have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity. We have filed paperwork to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit group and that should be official any week now.

We throw massive events every Sunday but our big event every year in both scope and outreach is the “Metlife Takeover” an event surrounding the Dolphins trip to New Jersey to play the New York Jets every year. We own the three largest group ticket purchases in MetLife Stadium history and two years ago brought 1200 Dolphins fans to the game.

This year, the Dolphins played their first pre-season game against the New York Giants so we threw a mini MetLife Takeover as just an excuse to see everyone and meet some new Dolphins fans.

Michelle has recently moved to Miami so it was just me planning this one and we just went ahead and let people get their own tickets. Fortunately for me I had a bunch of help from our crew who helped me out a ton and we set up a small tailgate. We had some burgers and beer and our signature inflatable palm tree cooler and we had a good time before the game and I ended up taking a handful of pictures which you now have to look at.

The game itself was pretty awful because preseason football is particularly terrible. But the Dolphins won and I got free tickets (thanks Justin!) and ended up sneaking down to the front row for the last quarter so it was a good time. Thanks to everyone for helping out and sorry to everyone who read this whole who isn’t actually a Dolphins fan… Now go look at a handful of photos from our tailgate!

Click here to see the photos from the Dolfans NYC mini Metlife Takeover when the Dolphins played the Giants in NJ.

Dolfans NYC Mini Metlife Takeover

Dolfans NYC Mini Metlife Takeover

Dolfans NYC Mini Metlife Takeover

Dolfans NYC Mini Metlife Takeover

Dolfans NYC Mini Metlife Takeover

 

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Jeff Hardy & Juggalo Championship Wrestling

One of the things I spent extra time on at this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos was the wrestling element. I have covered it in the past (I really enjoyed doing behind the scenes at Bloodymania 6) but it’s never been a main focus of my coverage. This year was a bit different because one of the guys covering the Gathering for the LA Weekly (Art Tavana) is a huge wrestling fan and that seemed like a good angle for me because mainstream press hasn’t really covered it and there are infinite wrestling fans out there.

One night we headed down to “Strangle Mania” which was the all hardcore Juggalo Championship Wrestling event. That means lots of barbed wire, thumbtacks and a lot of real blood. I didn’t stay all night and I didn’t really have an appropriate lens to cover wrestling but I got a few decent shots both back stage and in the ring.

The second night was our main focus. Former WWE legend Jeff Hardy was going to be part of the main event at “Bloodymainia” Which is like the Wrestlemania of the JCW. This is the big event of the year. Jeff is not only a pretty big star in wrestling but also happens to be kinda an eccentric guy who wears make up while he wrestles and also just happened to have made this amazing viral video called Final Deletion that was the talk of the wrestling world. He seemed like the perfect person to profile for this juggalo wrestling story.

Jeff is apparently a bit reclusive and doesn’t do a ton of interviews but fortunately for us I met Jeff’s sister in law Reby Hardy at the Gathering of the Juggalos a few years ago. The Gathering is a seriously bonding event and Reby and I have become pretty good Twitter friends. Her husband Matt Hardy is one half of the Hardy Boyz with Jeff and all three of them made Final Deletion. For those of you who care about wrestling all of this is probably super obvious but for everyone else it’s probably mildly confusing. Long story short, Reby hooked us up with Jeff and we got the interview.

Art and I drove out to the Columbus airport to interview Jeff (and his wife Beth) in their hotel room. They were super nice and it was actually a really fun interview. Listening to Jeff talk about wrestling made me kinda miss watching it. I was a pretty big fan in high school right around the time Jeff was huge and the Hardy Boyz were involved in one of my favorite matches of all time. It was great to talk about all that stuff and to find out that Jeff was only a couple years older than me when he was doing it.

Anyway, from there we all drove down to the Gathering. I took my rental car and they all drove in the car that JCW provided. We got there at pretty much the same time and Kevin Gill who runs the wrestling picked us up in a golf cart on the way in. Juggalos were freaking out about Jeff and he posed for picture after picture and signed autographs. I got to take photos of him trying out the ropes and working things out with a wrestler named Hero who was a huge fan of Jeff growing up. He told us later went back stage and cried he was so overwhelmed.

I got to shoot back stage at Bloodymania and of course I shot some of the matches. The event actually had some pretty amazing moments. My long time Gathering buddy Colt Cabana played his cop heel character and started yelling about Blue Lives Matter until a midget (he wanted to be called midget) named Swoggle who we had met earlier kicked the shit out of him which was great. There was also a pretty bloody hardcore match that ended with kinda an emotional passing the torch moment where JCW legend Pondo made everyone in the crowd chant for the other two wrestlers involved in the match.

But the real highlight of Bloodmania was actually a low light. Violent J’s best friend The Rude Boy is a JCW legend himself and was apparently diagnosed with dementia. He was inducted into the JCW Hall Of Fame and both he and Violent J gave speeches that had the entire crowd crying including myself. It was such a weird thing to be crying at a juggalo wrestling match. I was not expecting that. Rudy announced his retirement and the crowd went crazy for him and he finally made it back stage after several walks around the ring thanking fans.

Right before the final match Violent J came back out an announced that he was going to be wrestling for the first time in 8 years. He had been in WWE back in the day and was a wrestler in JCW before he gained a ton of weight and quit. He ended up losing something like 200 lbs in the last year and somehow not only wrestled, but wrestled well. It was impressive. But not only did he wrestle but he brought out 2 Tuff Tony and the Rude Boy for Rudy’s final match before retiring. The crowd went crazy again. The match ended with Rudy winning it but after it was all over Violent J did a moonsault which is essentially a black flip off the top rope. It was pretty fucking insane and I missed the shot because I thought the match was over.

The whole thing ended with the big three way JCW Championship match between Jeff Hardy, Kongo Kong and Willie Mack. The match was a bit of a mess because so many juggalos had thrown beers and Faygo at the ring and the ropes were wet. Jeff slipped on them and then moments later took a serious hit to the head from Willie Mack’s ass. Seriously. Apparently Jeff really hurt his neck in the process and I am fairly certain he was concussed as well because after the match was over he stayed after and just started breaking shit. I think he wanted to give the juggalos a show since he didn’t perform to his standards but it was a little weird and juggalos were reporting he was on drugs or something . Honestly he seemed fine after the match was over but I am sure he was really dazed after that hit. He told us his neck was killing him but otherwise he was good.

Anyway the day was a pretty cool experience for me because even though I don’t watch wrestling now I was really into it as a kid. I loved WWF Superstars when I was little and then again I got into it in the late 90s when the WCW/NWO storyline was warring with the Rock and Stone Cold and Degeneration X. It was a pretty awesome time for wrestling and the Hardy Boyz were the best tag team in the sport.

Now, if you made it this far it’s time to look at stuff.

Go read Art Tavana’s profile of Jeff Hard in the LA Weekly.

And then check out my photos from Juggalo Championship Wrestling at the Gathering of the Juggalos.

And finally click here to check out my photos of Jeff Hardy.

Jeff Hardy's Entrance

2 Tuff Tony, The Rude Boy & Violent J

Strangle Mania

Jeff Hardy & Beth

Violent J Off The Top Ropes

Tommy Dreamer & Swoggle

Jeff Hardy @ Bloody Mania

Bloodymania

Jeff Hardy

 

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Sorry, But Here Is Another Post About Sports

Here’s one of those posts where I talk about sports and no one cares because no one comes to this website to read about sports. But at least try to make it through the third paragraph because I am trying to help raise some money for a good cause. As you may know I am a big fan of two professional sports teams. I am both a big Miami Dolphins football fan and a Washington Capitals hockey fan. Currently the hockey playoffs are upon us and that means two things — 1) I ignore nearly everything else in my life and 2) I take part in a superstition that nearly guarantees I won’t have sex for a while: The playoff beard.

The idea behind the playoff beard is that it’s good luck to not shave during the playoffs. I realize that a fans superstition will not actually impact the game but I have been wearing the same socks during three consecutive Caps games and the are 3-0 so you can’t possibly argue with that.

Anyway, me and three hockey watching friends of mine are growing our beards as part of Beard-A-Thon in order to raise money for USA Warriors Ice Hockey. They are an organization that helps rehabilitate wounded veterans though hockey. It’s a really great cause and we are trying to raise $400 for it and we are almost there already. With your help we can blow past our goal.

Playoff Beards

Aside from raising money we also started a weird blog for our weird NYC Caps Crew. So far the site features articles from me, my friend Fatou who names her “Bae of the Game” and a game day journal from a stuffed bear that happens to be owned by our resident DJ Ky. There’s gonna be a lot of stuff over there soon but you don’t really care so I am just gonna stop talking about it.

Also, in hockey news today is the one year anniversary of that time that my friend’s car got fucked up at a hockey game and I wrote about it and then we ended up becoming a national news story. Yikes.

End of sports post. Will try and not post one of these for a bit but if the Caps keep winning* I may not be able to help myself.

*Don’t worry. The Capitals will no doubt crush me as they have done every year of my life.

NYC Caps Crew

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