March For Our Lives – 3.24.18

I went down to the March For Our Lives rally in DC to protest gun violence with my mom. I grew up upper middle class in living in the suburbs of DC and still gun violence was a part of my life as a kid. DC was the murder capital of the United States in the crack cocaine era and violence was on the news every day growing up here, but it wasn’t just on TV. Shortly before my first birthday one of my neighbors was shot in the head during an attempt on Ronald Reagan life. His name was James Brady and the bill that requires gun background checks is named after him. When I was six years my pediatrician opened his front door and a hit man, hired by his step son, shot him in the face. While I was on the way to school in the 7th grade a man named Mir Aimal Kasi walked up to the front gate of the CIA and fired 10 shots with a semi automatic rifle into the line of cars waiting to get in killing two CIA agents and injuring three more. The CIA was right down the street from my school and my school bus had to park a few blocks from the CIA while they searched for Kasi. Eventually we arrived at my school and were locked down for the rest of the day and spent recess indoors for a week. Just recent one of my friend’s who had been sober over a year, fell off the wagon and got in a fight with his girlfriend. While she went upstairs to sleep he took out his handgun and shot himself in the face.

If it were up to me, guns would be illegal everywhere, but it’s not up to me. Despite what you may believe I am a proud American and I love this country. Even at the worst of times, seeing this country stand up to it’s abusive leaders is inspiring. I know the vast majority of this country believes that guns should be legal and I am completely fine with that. Let people hunt, let people shoot insane guns at gun ranges and let people own a gun if they think somehow it’s going to protect them and their family. But most people in this country also think background checks should be stricter and modifications that make semi-automatic weapons automatic should be illegal. There are a lot of steps we could take in this country to make things safer and our government is not doing anything about it, and that is a bigger problem to me than the guns.

People talk about politicians being bought by the NRA, but it’s not just about the money. In red districts around the country, politicians know that if they don’t have an A+ rating from the NRA they aren’t going to be able to win a primary election. The NRA holds more power as a voting block than it does as a campaign contribution. Gun owners vote and the only way to fight the NRA is to be just as organized and just as likely to vote. The NRA uses fear to sell guns, but they also use fear to win elections. The best way to get bills passed is to scare these bastards even more than the NRA does. And that’s what today’s march was about.

When my mom and I got to the Navy Memorial/ National Archives Metro stop, several blocks away from the march, we couldn’t even get off the escalator because there were so many people there. I heard estimates of as many as a million people took part in the march. Over 700 marches around the country, including at least one in every state, brough millions of people together to stand up for not just the children involved in mass shootings but the children impacted by gun violence everywhere.

Because my mom is getting older and because it was so crowded we only stayed for about two hours and didn’t get anywhere near the stage or the kids of Parkland, Florida, but it was still pretty inspiring. I used to go to protests all the time when I was in high school but it was usually just a bunch of punk kids mixed in with mostly older people. This march had so many kids of all ages. It also had a ton of people my mom’s age. We met a Vietnam Vet who was a the first protest of his life. He said he wished he was in DC in 1968 instead of Vietnam. My mom told him she was there protesting the war. He thanked her and told her it was because of the anti-war protesters that he got home 45 days early. He thought it saved his life if not his sanity.

I didn’t take a ton of photos or anything because we didn’t really go anywhere and I was mostly just spending the day with my mom, but I still got a small gallery for you guys, mostly just of signs. This day wasn’t really about photos, it was about spending the day with the woman who helped instill in me a belief in the power of activism and the hope of progress. When we got home we sat and watched the rest of it on TV with my father who would have marched with us if he wasn’t recovering from surgery and it just made me really proud to have parents who actually give a fuck about the world and want to see it a better place even if they won’t be around to see it.

Click here to see my photos from the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC.

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

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GOP Tax Scam Protest – 12.2.17

On Friday night I went to a midnight movie and when I got out I found out that at two in the morning the Senate had passed a 500 page tax plan that had been made public just hours before the vote. No one had time to read it and there were notes scribbled in the margins and yet it still passed on a near party line vote. The bill still needs to go back to the House because their tax bill was significantly different than the Senate bill but it’s a big step towards the bill passing. I woke up bright and early the next morning and went down to Foley Square in lower Manhattan to protest.

Before I get into this post let’s address the fact that this is not a normal Driven By Boredom post. I tend to post photos of naked women and parties and fun things like that and I am sure the last thing you want to do is read about tax policy from me. But the reality is this bill could fundamentally shape the American economy and expand the already huge gap in wealth inequality in America. It was also passed in such an unbelievable shady way and contains all sorts of bullshit that has nothing really to do with taxes like oil drilling in Alaska, pro-life language, and most importantly repealing the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. That’s a big deal because not only does it mean millions less people will have health insurance but it means that everyone else’s premiums will go up because there won’t be enough healthy young people in the system.

On top of all that the bill gives massive tax breaks to corporations (which they will use to pay CEOs bonuses as always), ends the estate tax, and gives all sorts of shady tax breaks to the richest people in this country all at the expense of people making under $100,00 a year while adding trillions to the debt. Over the next few years most people will see tax breaks but by 2027 those breaks will actually become tax INCREASES and for millions of people. The GOP will try and argue that they will make these permanent like what happened with the Bush tax cuts, but that would add even more money to the deficit despite the GOP screaming about the deficit for the last 8 years. Next up will be cutting social security and medicaid under the guise of reducing the deficit.

Despite the political polarization in this country this bill is massively unpopular. Only 25% of people support it which is nearly 10% lower than Trump’s abysmal rating. So why are the GOP doing it? To please their donors. The GOP needs money for 2018 and 2020 and they know they won’t be able to get it if the rich assholes who put them in power don’t get their tax cuts.

But the important thing to remember is that this bill has not passed. It has to go back to the House for a vote and if they change it it has to go back to the Senate. So it’s too late to stop it. Call your representatives and senators right away. Here’s some more info on what you can do. You can also donate money to Doug Jones who is running against Roy Moore in a special election in Alabama. Getting a Democrat in that seat would not only keep a pedophile out of office but would make it a lot harder for the GOP to ram stuff like this down our throats.

Anyway, I haven’t even talked about the actual march yet… We met up in Foley Square and then marched through the financial district until we reached the NY Stock Exchange where a bunch of people spoke to the crowd including Mayor Bill De Blasio, activists, teachers and politicians. I took off a little bit early so I didn’t catch all of the speakers but I was on a few hours of sleep and got enough photos for a solid post where I rant at you guys about tax policy instead of just posting naked photos.

Now click here to see my coverage of the GOP Tax Scam Protest on Wall Street.

Bill de Blasio

GOP Tax Scam Protest

GOP Tax Scam Protest

GOP Tax Scam Protest

GOP Tax Scam Protest

GOP Tax Scam Protest

GOP Tax Scam Protest

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Juggalo March On Washington – 9.16.17

At 3am on Saturday I got on a train headed for DC. My band had just played and I was wired from the horrifying 5 hour energy and rum cocktail I down 20 minutes before I play a show. I didn’t sleep a wink on the train. It was 7am when I arrived. I ended up getting about 90 minutes of sleep before heading down to the Lincoln Memorial for Juggalo March on Washington.

I have been photographing juggalos since 2010 and in that time I have grown very protective of them. Juggalos are the most mocked subculture on the planet but if you spend a day with a bunch of juggalos you will come away with a completely different opinion of them. They are the nicest, most accepting, down to earth people you could possibly meet and every journalist I have met covering juggalos comes away with the exact same feeling.

So in 2011 when the FBI classified juggalos as a gang I was mystified. It made no fucking sense to me. Yeah of course some juggalos commit crimes but so do fans of every genre of music. The Insane Clown Posse is a horror movie in music form. Should we be locking up the millions of people who watched IT last weekend?

At the Gathering of the Juggalos in 2012 ICP held a talk to discuss the FBI designation. They had their lawyer come out and talk as well. They then set up an area of the festival where people could come and tell their stories about how this bullshit designation had fucked up their lives. Here’s how I covered it at the time.

Eventually the ACLU got involved and it seemed like this was such an easy to fix mistake but the mistake was never fixed. ICP had their lawsuit thrown out two times and even though they won an appeal in 2015 the lawsuit doesn’t even start until October! It’s been 6 years since this started and they still haven’t had their day in court.

When the Juggalo March on Washington was announced it was met with mostly mockery and not much else. Just a couple months ago when I was at the Gathering of the Juggalos even juggalos didn’t seem to be taking it that seriously. It was sort of an attitude of “this won’t change anything”. It wasn’t until the blog Metal Sucks wrote about the Juggalo March being held at the same time as a pro-Trump rally called the Mother of All Rallies (MOAR) that people started paying attention.

Once the Metal Sucks blog came out I saw people on Twitter making joke after joke about juggalos fighting nazis and these (truthfully hilarious) memes about some sort of progressive mob of juggalos rising up and murdering nazis with hatchets in league with Antifa. People kept Tweeting me about these things over and over because they know me as the juggalo photographer, but I wanted to take this seriously.

At the Gathering fellow juggalo journalist Camille Dodero and I were talking about how we thought leftist groups should really get behind the juggalos because it’s a civil rights issue. This FBI think is such bullshit and this feels very important even if you don’t care about juggalos. So when people started making juggalo antifa memes I figured I had to explain to my followers why juggalos were actually marching. They weren’t fighting nazis or protesting Trump… they wanted the FBI (and local law enforcement) to leave them the fuck alone.

I started a thread of Tweets that got a few likes and then nothing, but whenever I would see memes I would respond and link them to my Twitter thread. A couple days later as I was going to bed someone retweeted them, and then a few more and when I woke up my phone had exploded and thousands of people were liking and RTing them. People from both sides of the political aisle were retweeting them and it actually became an official Twitter Moment. It was pretty crazy for me, but the really surprising thing was that the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

For the first time in the history of the Insane Clown Posse people were on their side. (Side note: I am not taking credit for this, I just wanted to talk about my small part in it.) Article after article came out about ICP and editors started assigning the march to journalists. Playboy reached out to me about covering it and DCist interviewed me for a story. Former juggalo clients of mine like Vice and Rolling Stone sent teams of people instead. Time and the Guardian and the Washington Post took notice. People started paying attention to this travesty of justice.

So that brings us to the march and me on 90 minutes of sleep getting out of an Uber 100 yards from the Lincoln Memorial. I get out of the car and see hundreds of juggalos gathering around the stage set up in front of the Reflecting Pool on the Mall. The event hadn’t even started yet and there were juggalos everywhere intermingling with tourists.

But it wasn’t just tourists, there were random punk kids and a sprinkling of Antifa (I didn’t shoot them because they had journalists interviewing them at all times).  I met middle aged people wearing juggalo march shirts who didn’t know anything about juggalos but wanted to support. A big group of Democratic Socialists were out handing out flyers and Faygo Not Fascism signs. There were all sorts of people who were just there to back up the juggalo cause.

As far as the juggalos, I saw so many people I knew from Gatherings and ICP events. There were juggalos from every type of background, color and age. There were babies and old men in wheelchairs and veterans and priests and even cthulhu. I met people from all over the country and everyone was hugging everyone, meeting strangers and having a blast.

After everyone gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial the speeches started. We heard from juggalos across the country who had their lives turned upside down from this FBI gang designation. There was woman who had lost her job as a parole officer and a woman who had been kicked out of the military. It was just story after story of completely unfair consequences all because of this absurd gang list. ICP’s lawyer spoke and read a letter from the ACLU and a bunch of my fellow juggalo journalists spoke. Camille spoke, as did Mitchell Sunderland, Nathan Rabin, Steve Miller and Scottie D. Mitchell has covered juggalos for Vice and Broadly and Nathan and Steve have both written books about juggalos. Scottie is the founder of Faygo Luvers the biggest juggalo blog on the planet and someone who has always spread the word about my juggalo photos.

Finally ICP got on stage. They gave an impassioned speech about the gang designation and brought their families and friends out. The stage was packed with everyone from Psychopathic records and their families. After getting the crowd going they had everyone assemble and we begun to march.

I took a ton of photos as we walked around the mall but at some point I just got really into it. I have spent years of my life trying to explain juggalos to the world and this seemed like this really magical moment where people were actually listening. Random onlookers seemed really interested in what was going on and everyone I talked to seemed to support what the juggalos were doing. I even started leading chants and getting involved in the protesting as much as the documenting.

At some point during the march I ran into Anna Merlan a journalist I know (her work on conspiracy theorists is incredible) and she had left the MOAR event because it was completely pointless and decided to check out the Juggalo March. She said it was a couple hundred people and a total bust which made me really happy. As the day went on I heard more and more about how pathetic the MOAR event was and that contrast with the really successful Juggalo March made the juggalos look even better. It was perfect.

This article is getting really long and I feel like I have so much to say but let me just pause to mention that I grew up in DC going to protests and the DC Police are so good at crowd control and not letting things get out of hand. I have seen protests in other cities go haywire so quickly, but in DC the cops know exactly what they are doing. And I point this out because there were almost no cops at all at the juggalo march. There were a few spread out mostly blocking traffic. They clearly understood what was going on with the march and just left everyone alone. I didn’t see a single police interaction or any negative event at all to be honest.

As the march wrapped up back at the Lincoln Memorial I was pretty much destroyed. I was running all around the route trying to capture everything on 90 minutes of sleep the day after my band had played a show where I had beat the hell out of myself. I chugged a gatorade and chased it with a bottle of water and walked around the Lincoln Memorial with some punk girls I met when we both happened to notice that Ian MacKaye was watching the juggalos. One of them gave me a bunch of stickers with her boobs on them which I appreciated.

As we walked around some bands played and I took it easy waiting until ICP would finally headline the post march concert. After the girls dipped I talked to some more journalists and juggalos and ate some cold McDonald’s cheeseburgers that Psychopathic TV had laying around backstage. All I could think about was passing out but I couldn’t miss this set. Finally around 9PM, more than 8 hours after I got there ICP started to play. I tell everyone who hasn’t seen them that no matter what you think of their music you need to see one of their shows. They put on this wild set and it’s like a religious experience to their fans. That combination makes for an incredible moment even if you don’t like their music, but after all the shows I have seen, it was still surreal to watch them with the Lincoln Memorial on one side and the Washington Monument on the other.

When I finally got back to my parents apartment I was just done with being alive but I had to send images to my clients that night. I dumped the images and took a bath and washed the Faygo, sweat and sunblock off me while they transferred. One of my old friends came over and he and his girlfriend hung out while I edited. He and I liked ICP back in the 90’s when we were kids so it was cool to hang out with him while I worked. I finally finished editing around 3am and got a couple hours of sleep before I headed back to NYC for a hurricane Irma fundraiser I had to host in the afternoon. That night I slept for 10 hours. It was a hell of a weekend.

The best part of this whole thing was that nearly all the press coverage was super positive. I really think this is a big moment for juggalos. Maybe people will finally respect them a little bit or at least just leave them alone. So before I get to my coverage I wanna share with you a couple videos I thought were particularly good. Both of them feature my friend Chris AKA Mankini who to be honest is the perfect subject for a video about the march. He’s from the area so he let dozens of people stay with him, he is super nice and of course he’s a giant dude who wears a bikini all the time. You can’t beat that. So check out the Reason video about the march and then check out the Guardian video which I am actually in the background of a couple of times.

Now finally we get to my coverage…

First check out my Playboy article. I wrote the (heavily edited) intro, and interviewed juggalos and took all the photos. It’s almost as if I am an actual journalist.

I also did a big gallery for Voice Media Group who I always shoot juggalos for. Here’s just the LA Weekly gallery since they are all the same even though it was published via a bunch of alt weeklies.

And now finally here’s my huge gallery:

Click here for all my photos from the Juggalo March On Washington!

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

Juggalo March On Washington

 

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Trump Tower Protest – 8.14.17

I was in the middle of writing this post when Trump just gave a press conference where he defended neo-Nazis live on TV. I don’t even know how to fucking deal with that. I was already sick to my stomach after watching the Vice story on Charlottesville and the past few days have had me in just constant depression. All I can do is read about this shit and it’s fucking up my mental health. Honestly.

I was so fucking depressed yesterday so I decided to do something with that and go protest Trump at Trump Tower. It was his first trip back since his January 20th when he was sworn in. There would have been a protest anyway but after Charlottesville it was a completely different mood.

I got there a bit late and it was already dark. I made it about a block from Trump Tower and joined a pen of protesters. I brought my camera but I wasn’t really working. I just figured I should take a couple photos because that’s all I know how to do. There were a lot of people there but it was sort of anti-climatic. I was in a group with a bunch of people with drums singing silly chants about love trumping hate. I have too much anger for that shit. New York Hates You and Fuck Trump were the only chants I could bring myself to join in on.

I need to do more. I have used my platform to talk about this shit but that’s not enough. I wrote about my white privilege for 2000 Words yesterday and made a donation to a tattoo shop that is covering up white power and gang tattoos for people who have turned their lives around. The non-profit I run is non-political but we are making a donation to Life After Hate, an organization that tries to get people to leave a life of white supremacy behind. I listened to a Podcast with the former white power skinhead who runs it and I knew I wanted to do something to help him.

I still don’t really know what to do about any of this, but I need to do something. I need to be more involved. I hope if nothing else this week inspires more people to get involved in activism and fight these Nazi scum one way or another.

Look, these photos aren’t very good. They are mostly just photos of signs, but they are at least an excuse to do a post about this and use this blog to get some of this shit off my chest and maybe get a couple of you to do something to, whatever that may be.

Click here to see my photos from last night’s Trump Tower protest.

Trump Tower Protest

Trump Tower Protest

Trump Tower Protest

Trump Tower Protest

Trump Tower Protest

 

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Pulse Rally At The Stonewall Inn – 6.13.16

When a bi-polar Islamic radical kills 50 people at a gay night club people frame the tragedy the way they want. Is it about terrorism or gun laws or do we need to have a conversation about mental health? It’s easy to forget that this was fundamentally a hate crime and over 100 people were hurt or killed in one of the few places they feel safe.

Living in New York City it’s easy to pretend that homophobia is a thing of the past. I spend most of my life surrounded by people who think like I do who don’t think twice when discovering someone’s sexual identity. But last night as I stood 100 yards from the Stonewall Inn I watched a queer latino man crying and screaming to his friend about being kicked out of his home by his parents. He came to the New York City as a homeless teenager and this was his place. This was where 20 years before he was born gay men fought back and started a civil rights movement that is still being fought and the Pulse nightclub attack is another reminder that we have a long way to go.

Last night there was a rally at the Stonewall Inn to mourn the victims of the Pulse nightclub attack. I heard about it a little too late and I got there about twenty minutes before it ended. People were giving speeches but I couldn’t really hear what they were saying as I moved closer to the stage. The crowd chanted over the amplified voices “Read their names! Read their names!” Finally someone came up and began reading the names and ages. The crowd was silent except for the word “Presente” after every name was read. People held up candles and lights on their phones and people started to cry. I put down my camera and just tried to hold it together. It was one of the most emotional things I have ever been a part of.

As the crowd began to disperse I walked around talking to people and taking photos. I made my way to the memorial in front of the Stonewall Inn to take photos but also to pay my respects. I hugged a lot of strangers and was getting ready to make my way home when I ran into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who were showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community. They were loudly chanting and being followed by a few dozen NYPD members so I followed them.

As they marched a trans woman named Mariah Lopez from the Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform would speak about landmarks in the LGBTQ struggle. Someone referred to her as a revolutionary tour guide. When we got to the West Village Pier she spoke of Marsha P. Johnson a trans woman who’s body was pulled out of the Hudson after Pride Week in 1992. It was an incredibly emotional moment. There were some more words said by other activists and the names of the victims were read again and then everyone held hands and chanted. I put down my camera and held Mariah’s hand and just took part in the moment.

When I finally made my way back home I felt this crazy feeling of sadness and togetherness that I haven’t felt since probably September 12th, 2001 when I went to a vigil in DC after a plane crashed into the Pentagon a mile from my home at the time.

It’s unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to bring strangers together like what I took part in last night. And with the Pulse nightclub attacks it’s even harder to feel that closeness with your fellow man. With so many different agendas it’s hard to see that almost everyone wants this shit to stop. We just disagree on how to make that happen.

So take a look at my photos and get off Twitter and Facebook for a second and go hug a stranger.

Click here to see my pictures from the Pulse nightclub rally at the Stonewall Inn.

The Stonewall Inn

Pulse Rally @ The Stonewall Inn

Pulse Rally @ The Stonewall Inn

Pulse Rally @ The Stonewall Inn

Pulse Rally @ The Stonewall Inn

Pulse Rally @ The Stonewall Inn

Pulse Rally @ The Stonewall Inn

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Dead Democrats Vote – My Twitter War With The Right

This is going to be an extremely long post, but it ends with a really cool graphic at the end! See how much of it you can get through! Once you get bored skip to the 10th paragraph. That’s about where I get to the point.

On Tuesday the news of Shirley Temple broke on Twitter. My timeline quickly filled with RIP Shirley Temple Tweets. Every time a celebrity dies everyone on Twitter has the need to post something mourning the death of whoever. The bulk of Shirley Temple’s acting career happened during the depression and while I am sure at some point in all of our lives we had to watch a grainy video of a small child singing I doubt it had any real impact on all of my friends Tweeting about how tragic the death of an 85 year old woman (who most people probably didn’t even know was still alive) is. In a particularly antagonistic an grumpy mood I tweeted the following:

That Tweet was then picked up by a site called Twichy in an article about people talking shit about Shirley Temple for being a conservative.  That article was then picked up by sites like Free Republic and Independent Journal Review and for the last three days I have had all sorts of amazing hate Tweets sent to me from conservatives all over the world wide web.

Now to start with, I don’t have a real problem with Shirley Temple. She seems like a nice enough person. She did a lot of good with breast cancer and Multiple Sclerosis awareness and has been praised for her work as the ambassador to Ghana. Plus the Melvins loved her.  But, she was also very active in the Republican party in California and a lifelong conservative. The truth is I don’t care one way or another about Shirley Temple. She lived a long life and her death isn’t at all tragic. So why did I even comment at all?

So the point of my Tweet was a) to piss people off b) to remind my liberal friends of her conservative leanings and c) to make a “joke” about how the GOP is out of touch and hopefully dying off. At least I hope the social right is dying off. I don’t agree with purely fiscal republicans but I also don’t wish ill on them. I just tend to think they are greedy and selfish, not morally repugnant like I do anyone who wants to restrict other peoples civil rights.

So yeah, I don’t regret the Tweet but it’s pretty hard to defend too. I was really just trying to piss people off and boy did I ever!

(Read the article)

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Breezy Point One Month After Hurricane Sandy

When I posted the photos I took from Roxbury, Queens one month after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast I mentioned that I would be posting even more devastating photos later in the week. Last November when I visited Roxbury with Camille Dodero our second stop was Breezy Point, Queens. Breezy Point is a small isolated community at the far end of the Rockaways between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. When Sandy hit it was completely flooded. During the storm a fire broke out and because of the storm no one could get to it to put it out. 111 homes were completely destroyed and of course it received major media coverage all over the world.

A month after the storm most of the media was gone. We met people with homes still standing just feet from where their neighbors lost everything. Their homes were flooded, without power and heat and in some cases slightly melted because of the fire. These people felt so lucky to even have a home and even luckier to still be alive. We met people who were still living in their heat free homes in late November despite everything. Not to sound corny but it really was a testament to the human spirit. It was hard not to be inspired by these people, but at the same time the trip was absolutely devastating. I walked around the rubble of the 111 houses and just tried to imagine what I would do if everything I owned was gone.

Since my last post on Roxbury another tragedy has hit this country. Tornados in Oklahoma have left many people homeless and in the same predicament as the residents of Breezy Point. Before you donate to the Red Cross to help the people suffering in Oklahoma think about some things I learned while talking to people from Roxbury and Breezy Point as well as Red Cross workers themselves. The Red Cross is very limited in what they can do for people. They work with FEMA but they can only provide immediate shelter, food and blood for people. They can’t help people rebuild their lives.

Everyone I talked to in Roxbury and Breezy Point recommended donating to Habitat for Humanity. They were on the ground almost immediately helping people gut and rebuild their homes. In this time of need in Oklahoma I would imagine that Habitat would be the ideal charity to support.

I would also like to point out that their is still a lot of work to be done in New York and New Jersey months after hurricane Sandy. If you would like to know how you can help visit the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation.

Now, please click here and check out the heartbreaking photos I took in Breezy Point, Queens one month after Hurricane Sandy.

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Breezy Point After Hurricane Sandy

Volunteers/ Victims At The Catholic Club

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Roxbury Queens One Month After Hurricane Sandy

In late November of last year I traveled to Roxbury and Breezy Point Queens with my former Village Voice partner in crime Camille Dodero to do a story for Gawker about the hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Only a month after the storm it seemed to us that people had almost forgotten about the complete devastation that occurred just a short drive from Manhattan. The city was without power and there was a lot of damage south of midtown but things were back to normal relatively quickly. I really wanted to see what was happening for myself and Camille and I spent a devastating  meeting with survivors and touring wreckage.

For whatever reason the article never ran and these photos just sat on my hard drive. I knew that I wanted people to see these images but part of me wanted to find a better place to publish them than my website, but something happened recently… I had a really bad day. I had a shoot get canceled, lost a $1000 gig, found out the Village Voice was falling apart, found out I was getting paid $400 less than I thought for a previous gig and my favorite hockey team got bounced from the playoffs later that night. During that 24 hours of bullshit for some reason I kept thinking about the people I met when I was in Roxbury and Breezy Point.

I wondered about them and thought about how much worse things could be for me. I also thought about how resilient people are and how even after losing everything people just carried on as best as they could. I met people still living in their flooded, heat free, electricity free shell of a home who just were just thankful their house wasn’t 20 feet closer to the fire that wiped out 111 homes in Breezy Point. In fact everyone I met would point to someone who had it worse.

I did fundraiser through the Dolfans NYC group that I run and I interviewed several members of our group. To a letter each one of them told me their horror stories about flooding and loss of power and then they would point to another Dofans NYC member who had it worse and how they were the lucky ones. I talked to a friend who lost his vacation home and was just happy it wasn’t his actual home. I talked to someone who lost everything on his first two floors who was just happy to still have a home. When I got to Roxbury they just were happy not to be living a mile down the peninsula. I talked to people in Breezy glad to still have a home and I talked to people in Breezy who had nothing who were just glad to be alive. It was crushing and inspiring.

I did a diservice to these people by not publishing these images and I want to apologize and thank them for their time. I especially want to thank the fireman who took us on a tour of Roxbury. It was such a small community and everyone knew everyone so he could point to each house and tell us a story about the people who lived there. Roxbury FD were the first responders in Breezy Point because the Breezy FD had been evacuated.

I am going to split these photos up into two sections. The first section is from Roxbury. The photos include shots from the Breezy Point Co-Op who had organized donations for the community, photos from the Roxbury Fire Department station and our tour of Roxbury. Later this week I will be posting photos from Breezy Point and the heart breaking devastation there.

But remember people still need help. Hurricane Sandy left hundreds of people without homes. If you want to find out how you can help check out the FEMA Sandy Website. And be thankful for your life no matter how bad it gets… humans can endure almost anything. We are amazing creatures.

Click here to see all the photos of Roxbury Queens one month after Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roxbury

Roxbury FD

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Sweet Election Party – 11.6.12

Last night I decided to head down to the brand new Slipper Room to watch my man Barry Obama put a licking on Mitt Romney while comedians entertained me for just five dollars that all went to hurricane relief. This is America at it’s finest. The entire six years I have lived in NYC I have been going to my friend Seth Herzog’s weekly comedy show Sweet. As it happens on Tuesday Seth has done a lot of political themed nights like Super Tuesday Sweet and election watching Sweets. Always a good time because nothing is better than watching comedians make fun of our insane political process.

Last night Seth had his mom, who I love dearly, co-host. She was actually one of the funnier co-hosts he’s had and as always it got really awkward. Seth brought out Jordan Carlos doing a great Barack Obama impression. Rob Cantrell was up next and told a story about how he saw Run DMC, Whodini, Grandmaster Flash and the Fat Boys in 1986. It was hilarious and all but I was mostly just thinking about how jealous I was. Holy shit that would have been an epic show. Finally Driven By Boredom regular Hannibal Buress showed up and killed it as always.

After the jokes, shit got serious as we watched election results. Thanks to my near obsession with Nate Silver I knew Obama had it sealed up as soon as they called Wisconsin so I headed home early and by the time I got to my apartment CNN had called the election for Barack. I spent the rest of the night making fun of republicans on Twitter and then got an email about how my flight to Miami tomorrow got upgraded to first class. It was a fucking perfect day. God bless America.

Click here to see all the photos from the Sweet Election Party Special at The Slipper Room.

Seth Herzog Sweet Election Party

Jordan Carlos As Barack Obama

Seth's Mom

Rob Cantrell

Hannibal Buress

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