Six Scores From The Flea Market!

I believe it was an ancient Chinese Proverb that stated, “The early bird catches the worm, well, usually, but only if he can wake his ass up in time.”

Since I’m on a schedule where I wake up ungodly early for work each day, my body’s own alarm clock buzzed me out of a dead sleep around 7am on Saturday. The incessant chirping of birds near my window didn’t help either. The flea market trip wasn’t for a few hours, so I did my best to waste time. Ate some cereal, watched Big Hero 6 for the 11th time, inventoried my entire Monster High collection…HA! Just kidding, that would take me 3 1/2 weeks. Then, before I knew it, it was time to embark on another journey to the Englishtown Auction with Matt from Dinosaur Dracula.

To say that I was soured on my experiences is an understatement. Do you remember when Luke’s X-Wing fighter sunk into the murky swamp on Dagobah? Well, that’s basically what happened to my car, just at a Flea Market in New Jersey. If you missed that little debacle, you can read about it here!

Matt reported that his last trip to Englishtown was a major success, and I chalked that propaganda up to the natural high of finding the absolute most beautiful ceramic E.T bank that was actually manufactured in 1982 by a Hallmark-like stationary store on Brodo Asogi. Come to think of it, maybe getting my ass back there was an intergalactic imperative.

It seriously couldn’t have been a more perfect day for 3-hour walk around an outdoor flea market. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the low ’70s. Even the insane traffic couldn’t agitate me, well, that’s a baldfaced lie. Traffic always agitates me, but when I’m with friends, it agitates me considerably less. Maybe it’s because I can’t let them see my usual stuck in a car with no air conditioning type meltdowns.

Frequently, every weekend even, you tend to see people posting their big finds from the various yard sales (I always called them Garage Sales) and Flea Markets on Instagram and Twitter. What’s irksome to me is that everyone elsewhere across the country seems to find some utterly amazing shit, while often, all I come home with is a Taylor Dane LP not realizing that I already owned 2 copies. I can never get enough of “Tell it To My Heart,” so all is well. Though, records weren’t the only crap I came home with from the Flea Market this weekend.

Their trash is my treasure as they say, and this trip defined that old saying in spades. The dirty bags of junk I hauled into my apartment last night were filled with things that seriously almost no one would’ve purchased. Except maybe our friend, Trash Culture.

Literally, the first table I stopped at gave me an early indication that we’d have a wondrous experience on this day. This guy’s table was filled with the most random junk EVER. The friendly vendor was willing to work with me on prices too.

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1. GENE SIMMONS PLAQUE

Out of all the amazing stuff at the table, my eyes zeroed in on an old Gene Simmons plaque that looked like it was hanging in a den covered in wood paneling in 1978. What that translates to is me having to own this without question. FIVE BUCKS. Boom. Take my money.

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2. FLABBER DOLL – BIG BAD BEETLEBORGS

Oh wait up vendor man, you have a Flabber doll from the Big Bad Beetleborgs? WTF, are you seriously kidding me right now? I will give you $160 dollars for it. 2 days prior, I just got done telling Matt how creepy I thought that dude Flabber was. I think the spirit animal thing has been done to death by this point, but whatever the modern equivalent is, good ol’ Flabs is mine. He was Jay Leno mixed with the ghost of Liberace. NEED.

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3. PROMOTIONAL SOPRANOS WATER SNOW GLOBE TV THINGY

Oh no, wait, don’t ring me up yet, you also have this promotional Sopranos TV that doubles as a snow globe, but instead of snow it’s dollar signs? How much for f*cking Flabber AND the Sopranos promotional TV water globe thing? 4 bucks! How could I go wrong? I could’ve stopped right there and went home with the same level of happiness of a little kid in 1986 leaving TRU with an action figure. Just realizing now that this thing goes for some decent cash on eBay. Some Buy It Now listings for it range from $24 to $66 dollars!

As if these finds weren’t preposterous enough, this was all from the freaking same table! If I hadn’t already overused caps in this post I would’ve typed that entire previous sentence in caps and maybe even bold. A big thanks to that vendor too, because after I was done looting his table, Matt noticed his insane collection of old fridge magnets and he cut him a great deal for the entire collection.

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4. RECORDS! MORE RECORDS!

Leaving a flea market without a vinyl LP is a virtual impossibility for me. This time, I actually had one in mind that I’m trying to track down, but couldn’t find it. Looking at my haul, there was about 10 records, most were a buck, 2 were free, and then with a couple of Tiffany 45s thrown in the mix (Matt found them! One of these I already had, but whatevs, that’s a bad habit of mine.) I won’t detail all of the records I picked up, but I’ll show you some of the best ones.

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First, the most random “get” was My Stepmother is an Alien Soundtrack. The fact that this even exists in 2015 is a miracle. The inspiration for owning this soundtrack was clearly not the music etched into the vinyl. Look at that cover! Was that photo one of the rejects from an ad for the Playboy Channel in the late ’80s? So awesome. From there, a Hall and Oates single, one of my favorite tunes by them: “Adult Education,” with the lyrics on the back cover! Also, Wendy and Lisa’s Fruit at the Bottom, former tag-team backup for Prince. And of course, those Tiffany 45s. The design of these covers were so simple, yet so effective. They didn’t overthink it at all. Slap a glamour shot on the cover, a typical font of the era, and some minimal effect, and nowadays you have artists trying with all of their ingenuity to recreate this style on their own releases.

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5. HERCULES THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS FIGURES, 1996

My condo is packed with about 685 million action figures, so clearly I needed more. I don’t even know a damn thing about the Hercules TV show or Xena for that matter, but one thing I will say in my defense is that I won’t needlessly buy figures unless I’m drawn to them in a specific way. Now, when reading the name of this next figure, how could I not be drawn to her?

SHE-DEMON.

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I’m attracted to She-Demons, what can I say?

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys from Toy Biz figures were 2 for $5 bucks. I wasn’t an avid viewer of the show, but I’ve definitely seen it on TV, I believe it aired on our local WWOR-9 at the time. It was that shlocky Saturday mid-day programming that always came through for me when I was eating lunch in the kitchen and needed a temporary diversion. I don’t know too much about the show, but I can now tell you that the figure line was amazing. There are monsters, there are heroes, there are Mesomorphs. I went with that stone cold fox She-Demon and Xena II with her red warrior disguise.

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6. WONDER GIRL CUP 7-11, 1973

Something tells me that a roving therapist or psychiatrist would benefit some of the people at the Englishtown Auction. Whether people want to admit it or not, there are some nutsos running a few of the tables. Some of them are just wacky, while others are seriously delusional.

This one lady had about 5 or 6 of these vintage 7-11 cups on her garbage filled table. Keep in mind, people go to these flea markets to get good deals, not to overpay with eBay pricing. I asked “How much are these cups?” as if I didn’t know anything about them. With that, this woman starts asking me all kinds of questions like “Which one are you interested in, I can sell you all five for $100 dollars, you know they are all so expensive.”

I explained that I didn’t want all of them. She then offered me the price of $15 each and reminded me again how expensive they were, which technically, by eBay standards was actually pretty fair, but we were standing on a pile of dirt that was clouding up every time people walked by, we were in the middle of a big open space with picnic tables that have been there since the ’60s, and there was no freaking way I was prepared to shell out $15 bucks for this damn cup, no matter how bad I wanted it. She asked me how I felt about that price and stone faced I said, “That is too steep for me,” and began to walk away. “3 DOLLARS!” she yelled to me.

SOLD.

And there you have it folks, one of the most successful and entertaining flea market trips I’ve ever taken part in. There were a few other items too, so I’m sure they’ll surface here in the near future. Thanks for reading!

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10 Things I Love About Jersey Shore Shark Attack

Shark Week is coming. Matter of fact, a friggin’ Sharknado is scheduled to touch down tonight, on SyFy Channel. Luckily, this time it’s New York City that will be infiltrated by sharks, but rewind only a couple of summers and it was the Jersey Shore that was overrun by sharks in glorious Sy-Fy style. It was blood spattered, B-Movie bliss!

Preppy rich folk are trying to build a beach club spa and undersea drilling from the project winds up attracting a very rare species of CGI albino bull sharks, the natural non-tanned well known enemy of the shore faring orange gorilla guido. A Jersey Shore Shark Attack of epic proportions ensues.

While MTV’s Jersey Shore is a distant memory to many of us, clearly its impact still lingers. Jersey Shore was in its final season when Jersey Shore Shark Attack aired on SyFy Channel in the summer of 2012. Similar in spirit to 2010’s Piranha 3-D, another film with Jersey connections, JSSA garnered a better than expected 3 out of 10 stars on IMDB and 25% liked it on Rotten Tomatoes.

The title is a bit misleading because the movie has nothing to do with the actual shark attacks that happened along the Jersey Shore in 1916. If it bums you out and you were geared up for some historical progressive era carnage, you are S.O.L. there, but you’re in luck here because I’ve compiled 10 things I love about this movie. Here we go!

10. No actors from New Jersey appear in this production. This is not surprising. The closest we get is Staten Island’s Jeremy Luke who plays “The Complication” and sort of looks like a white Tracy Morgan. Staten Island is so close to New Jersey that it’s apparent why he was also cast in other Jersey related films like Don Jon and Jersey Boys. This guy is likable on screen and he’s definitely going to become a familiar face. You’ll enjoy his performance more than watching the real Situation.

9. Guy fishing in a canoe smoking a cigar catches a…New Jersey Turnpike sign. This sign is so iconic to me that it’s been part of my site logo for nearly 10 years. That wasn’t the only surprise this guy got, he caught the severed head of a guidette! Pulling body parts out of the water in Jersey is a weekly occurrence here, they aren’t embellishing.

8. Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) plays boardwalk Tiki bar proprietor, Captain Sallie. Although he was born in Brooklyn, Sirico will always be associated with New Jersey thanks to The Sopranos.

7. WET T-SHIRT CONTEST. With Super Soakers.

6. The Warriors reference. “Preppies come out and pla–ay!” The Preppies think the Guidos are trash but they both have to grudgingly team up in this film. Ugh, how excruciating.

5. Jack Scalia rules. He’s like a Shakespearean actor. Who needs Anthony Hopkins when we have friggin’ J.Scal? My mom had one of those hunky pictures of him on our fridge in the ’80s so there’s that. Oh, and there was also one on the inside of our coffee mug cabinet.

4. Luring sharks with Protein bars, they might be onto something.

BJ: 
“You really think you’re gonna attract sharks with protein bars?” 
DONNIE: 
“Nothing’s gonna resist 25 grams of power packed peanut butter crunch!”
(he delivers this line like a pro-wrestler cutting a promo!)

3. Italian Stereotypes to the MAX er, um the MASSIMO! Bocce Ball! Grappa! Sopressata! Surprisingly, I don’t think there was one mention of a cannoli.

“Ya got 10 miles of beautiful white sandy beaches, blue sky, and what do you have to show for it? Wet T-shirt contests and funnel cake…”

2. ATHERTON! The brilliant William Atherton will help you’ll get a feel for the other side of the Jersey shore, the one that that you don’t often see depicted on TV – the yuppie rich folks who own yachts and mansions right on the beach. They wear boat shoes. You know them. Guidos don’t seem so annoying in comparison right? Atherton is the big pretentious a-hole from that crew, similar to Jerry Hathaway from Real Genius. This time, instead of turning off the protection grid like Walter Peck in Ghostbusters, he’s activating undersea drills that attract killer sharks in order to build his beach club.

1. Thank you Captain Obvious! This movie over-explains everything and I love every utterance. After a shark launched into the air and swallowed N’Sync’s “legendary” Joey Fatone whole, the actual Vinny from Jersey Shore yells “Joey Fatone just got eaten by a shark!” Or, how about the classic “Help me my foot is stuck,” when Nooki’s (knockoff Snooki) foot was stuck. Riveting! In the end, there’s even a celebratory fist pumping “Guido” chant to remind viewers that these guys are supposed to be guidos.

Leave It To Cleaver

 photo cleaversopranos_zps24bc81ba.jpgIf you were ever yearning for a direct to DVD mafia slasher movie within an HBO show, Cleaver is the way to go, especially because it might be the only one to fit that very specific category. As a huge fan of The Sopranos and a horror fanatic, I was amused when the two worlds began to merge in the 6th season.

 
Christopher Moltisanti wrote the film’s story which seems to mirror his own life. His ideas for the film were inspired by his tensions with his mob contemporaries and the possibility of an affair between his fiance Adriana and his boss Tony Soprano.
 
The premise of Cleaver revolves around a mafia killer who gets betrayed by his people and they kill him and cut him into pieces that they leave all over the city. The body parts come back together (possibly supernaturally) and he comes back to life to exact revenge on those who f*cked him over. Every slasher needs a memorable killer and in Cleaver it was The Butcher, who was aptly named for a movie originally titled Pork Store Killer. Sounds like an upcoming Asylum picture.
 

Described in the show as “SAW meets Godfather II” or “The Ring Meets The Godfather,” the mob/slasher movie eventually got it’s own mockumentary which is included in The Sopranos complete series DVD set and posted above thanks to YouTube user bufflo. There’s also a cult following for the film which spawned memorabilia like t-shirts and mugs.
 
Horror fans not acquainted with The Sopranos would appreciate it because it never held back from showing explicit violence and gore. Some scenes in the series were pretty horrific at times, especially when Christopher’s movie project was getting the spotlight. After the series ended there were tons of rumors floating around about a Sopranos movie, but instead, a real Cleaver movie would’ve reached beyond just viewers of the show and into the massive horror audience all over the world. Are you reading this Michael Imperioli?

TRIBUTE TO A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY: JAMES GANDOLFINI 1961-2013 by Nick "NJ" Holden

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Our feature writer Nick “NJ” Holden pays respect to Jersey icon 
James Gandolfini a.k. Tony Soprano
Governor Chris Christie called James Gandolfini, who died unexpectedly yesterday at the age of 51, “a true Jersey guy”, and while the governor has made some questionable statements and decisions as the head of the state, he really hit the nail on the head. Not only was Gandolfini a true New Jerseyan (born in Westwood, raised in Park Ridge, and graduate of Rutgers University), he took a murdering, lying, cheating, neurotic gangster named Tony Soprano and have him a soul on the HBO show The Sopranos. But he was much more than a gangster on television, for he was a true character actor capable of roles on Broadway and on the big screen.

James Gandolfini first came to prominence as a violent enforcer in True Romance, where he had a memorable (albeit brutal and bloody) encounter with Patricia Arquette. Given his size (6’1”), it would be easy to typecast him as the heavy. But his acting ability and charm won him a variety of roles: a kind-hearted Hollywood stuntman (Get Shorty opposite fellow NJ’er John Travolta), a gruff working-class stiff babysitting a spoiled ad exec (Surviving Christmas), and even the Mayor of New York (The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3). 
I remember watching Zero Dark Thirty in a packed AMC Theater at the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall, totally immersed in the action, when about mid-way through the movie, Gandolfini pops up. The audience was stunned, whispering in hushed tones “It’s Tony Soprano!”, but stopped once he began speaking. Gone was the heavy bravado and Italian accent made famous every Sunday night and on-screen was a strict but open-minded CIA director inquiring about a compound that may or may not house the most wanted man on the face of the earth. A personal favorite of mine is his role as Woody Dumas, a tough DEA agent with a lisp and unfortunate habit of getting hit by cars in the little-seen horror/action/romance/comedy Perdita Durango, also known as Dance with the Devil from Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia. Acting alongside Rosie Perez and a then-unknown Javier Bardem, Gandolfini manages to steal every scene he’s in while keeping his tongue firmly in cheek among the madness.

James Gandolfini isn’t the only successful Jersey-born actor (Abbott and Costello, Ed Harris, Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson), but he was the first to fully embrace his roots as well as his fame and keep a balance on both. He rooted for the Scarlet Knights and would appear on the sidelines. He produced the documentaries Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq in which he interviewed 10 injured Iraq War veterans and Wartorn. He was also a fixture in the Tri-State area, appearing at dinners, lectures, and other public functions, all the while smiling and keeping his feet planted on the ground. And despite the credit that was showered upon Jersey Shore for revitalizing New Jersey, especially Seaside Heights, The Sopranos was really responsible for putting the Garden State back on the map, using locals in Kearny, Wayne, North Caldwell, and most notably Lodi (the strip club on the series Bada Bing! is actually Satin Dolls). Even after the show’s finale in 2007, fans from all parts of the globe can still see the actual shooting locations and other points of interest via The Sopranos Sites Tour (http://onlocationtours.com/tour/sopranos/), an four-hour bus tour. 
So with a heavy heart, the Sexy Armpit and I bid James Gandolfini a fond farewell and extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and co-stars.

Not Fade Away…Not Playing In A Theater Near You

David Chase’s new film about a suburban New Jersey rock band in the 1960’s is currently in a limited release. It would seem that the chances of such a film rooted in the Garden State would be easy to catch at a local theater in Jersey, right? Nah. Why make it that easy for us? The film is already available for pre-order on Amazon so it looks like I’ll be waiting it out for a bit.

Something tells me HBO will eventually get a hold of this one and never let go. I’ll have it memorized by the end of the summer. But seriously, David Chase AND James Gandolfini together again? It’s a no brainer! Of course, a story of an aspiring rock band is far from The Sopranos. Despite a pretty shitty review on IMDB from reviewer, Clayton Davis, who claims it “doesn’t hold a candle to Cameron Crowe’s homage to music…” referring to Almost Famous, I’m still highly interested in seeing this.

*Although the film is set in New Jersey, much of it was filmed in Pearl River, NY.

Anthony of House Soprano, Lord of New Jersey

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Counting the days until Game of Thrones Season 3? ME TOO! We still have a bit of time until March 31st, 2013, so in the mean time, I found this awesome Photoshop mash-up of two of HBO’s best shows ever: Game of Thrones and The Sopranos. If Jersey puts anyone on that throne, it would have to be Tony!

New York Comic Con 2011 Recap Part 1: Artist’s Alley

2011 will go down as one of the best times I’ve had at New York Comic Con yet. There was a fun vibe going on and less people were in my face begging for attention this year. Attendants seemed to be having a blast as usual. All the interactive displays and photo ops were bigger and better than previous years. The main floor attractions advertised for properties like Star Wars, Marvel, and DC Comics, and your other usual suspects. As for The Sexy Armpit, sure I dabbled in the mainstream stuff, but as usual, most of my time was spent in Artist’s Alley.

Art by Laurie B. 

My first stop was to Laurie B’s table. I first discovered Laurie’s art several years back while on a Google image search and continued to check her site often. Her artwork reminds me of Disney animation, especially wide-eyed girls like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Ordering prints from her shop was always something I planned on doing, but when I recently saw she’d be coming to NYCC, I held out. I bought some awesome pieces from her. One piece I’ve wanted to hang above my toilet for the longest time, to go with my Vigo print on top of my toilet. Then I also picked up a Stay-Puft Marshamllow man holding a cute Ghostbuster girl in addition to The Sorceress from Masters of the Universe, and a cute girl version of Snap, Crackle, and Pop for my kitchen.

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You never know what kinds of cool art you’ll see when you aren’t even looking for it. My meeting with Scott Cooper is a prime example. Scott had the exact type of toonish art that I dig. One piece in particular caught my eye. He had on display an animated version of The Sopranos crew. Imagine The Sopranos had a Saturday morning cartoon show on Nickelodeon! HA! Fuggedaboutit!  I felt that I’d like to buy this print, nay, needed to own it desperately. Once Scott and I got into talking, he mentioned he had 2 different Sopranos prints and he offered a third print of my choice for free. What a guy! Naturally, when I saw a print of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, it was easily my pick.

After getting home and finding his blogspot site, I hit the jackpot. I found out that the Dracula print I brought home was actually from his animated illustration of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein! With 2 classic Jersey icons like The Sopranos and Abbott and Costello, stopping at Scott Cooper’s table was an awesome surprise. Check out his illustrations and storyboards at his official site.

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The fun didn’t stop there! I bought a few Spookshow Pinups from Ant Lucia, a digital pinup artist who you may know from his retro “Join the Rebellion” propaganda posters featuring Princess Leia. And finally, I couldn’t pass up an extremely cool tattoo art style print of Josie from Josie and The Pussycats by Archie artist Dan Parent. I discussed the upcoming ARCHIE MEETS KISS mini-series with him and now I’m even more pumped for it. Can’t wait!

Before my go around in Artist’s Alley came to an end, I stopped at one last table. The cute leather clad girl on the cover of The Saga of Pandora Zwieback lured me over. I’ll admit, the name alone did not compel me to stop and find out more, but the art by Eliseu Gouveia sucked me in. Steven A. Roman, author of X-Men The Chaos Engine Trilogy and Final Destination, Dead Man’s Hand, was promoting his new series of novels starring a goth girl named Pandora. The book’s tag line reads “Vampire Fashionistas, Paranoid Werewolves, Sugar Addicted Zombies, Welcome to Gothopolis.” If it sounds familiar, it might contain some similar ingredients and pop culture references, but this monster slayer story is all newfangled because only Pandora can see the creatures that are converging on the city.

Cooler than Buffy, tougher than the emo wimps in Twilight, Pandora is a teenage goth girl fighting off ghouls and monsters in New York City. She’s drawn to be really hot, but the problem is she’s underage! Hey Steve – what are you trying to do to us, couldn’t you have made her 18? No worries though, if things get inappropriate with your first Pandora experience, feel free to fantasize about her mentor, Sebastienne Mazarin, a chick who’s quite attractive for a 400 year-old monster hunter. All this was in the preview comic that Roman handed me (read the comic book HERE), but the novel is the real deal. Since alluding to Pandora’s box would be tasteless, why not open up Pandora’s book? It’s called Blood Feud and it’s available now at http://www.pandorazwieback.com/.