My comrades, associates and dear friends have launched a kickstarter campaign to fund a fabulous dream project in the mysterious and vibrant land of Detroit. Curious objects, totemic figurines, elaborately and lovingly produced tableaus, strange icons and bizarre tchotchekas: these are the things that have been collected from the furthest corners of the world and will appoint and adorn Detroit’s Seafoam Palace.
The avatar for this project, Julia Solis is one of the early pioneers of the world of Urban Exploration. Her book New York Underground is a primary text for explorers. She was a friend of and inspiration for Ninjalicious the fellow that grounded and popularized UE with the zine Infiltration and book Access all Areas. Julia’s NYC based exploration and event group Dark Passage founded in 1999 holds a near mythic status and has inspired adventurers around the world.
Julia’s many projects over the years have radiated an essence of purity and authenticity that is rare to find. Her singular aesthetic is deep, dark and beautiful. She attracts collaborators of high caliber.
To peruse the histories of folks involved in SeaFoam is to open many doors to rare, exotic and obsessive worlds.
Filmmaker and educator Bryan Papciak has documented surreal yet very real worlds in his uniquely disturbing style. Bryan continues to warp impressionable young minds as a prof at RISD. Bryan’s work as an animator and creator of images is pretty disturbing. He LOOKS normal, but watch out when delving into the worlds he creates in his feverish imagination. Watch his oddly mesmerizing video below!
Photographer, fearless explorer and web designer Tom Kirsch has captured some of the most haunting images ever. A small sampling of his work can be found here. His work has been featured on PBS’s American Experience, in Digital Photographer Magazine and other publications. Tom likes to fish – a lot – his nautical sensibilities have and will continue to influence Seafoam.
Madagascar Institute founder and international art Star Chris Hackett helps out in Detroit in between stints blowing things up, sometimes on teeveeand instructing the kids on how they can “do this at home!” for Popular Science Magazine. Hackett is deeply dedicated to making the world a more interesting (and dangerous) place. Madagascar has turned out hundreds of maladjusted young artists (with some actual real world skills) after Chris turned chose to open the place in 1999.
Globetrotting film professional Christos Pathiakis explores ruins for fun between exotic location shoots. Before teaming up with others as the internet began to connect explorers Christos spent thousands of hours roaming through much of the NYC subway system in the 90’s disguised as an MTA worker.
When not hammering away on Seafoam, swashbuckling pyrotecnician Kim Couchet installs and ignites the largest fireworks displays in the world.
Social engineer Shel Kimmen has dedicated her life to the revitalization of her beloved City of Detroit. Shel’s counsel has been invaluable for the Seafoam crew.
Italian explorer and aesthete Alessandro Toffoli adds a compelling European flavor to the Detroit mix. Alessandro compares Detroit favorably with Rome (for the eventual importance of it’s fast disappearing colossal abandoned edifices). Alessandro has published both fiction and nonfiction, and is now an ongoing researcher at Casa della Memoria, the official oral history society in Rome. He is also a co-founder of Arcadia, a Roman art and restoration laboratory that specializes in antiques and objects of curiosity.
Paul Parkhill is the Executive Director of Spaceworks, Between 1999 and 2012, Paul served as the Director of Planning and Development at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center. Paul worked as a housing developer for Common Ground Community. In 1997 Paul co-founded Place in History, and in 2004 he co-founded Furnace Press with Julia Solis and Ars Subterranea.
Installation and performance artist Monica Canilao creates exquisite, dream inspired worlds from the detritus sloughed off from the mundane world around her. Her involvement in Seafoam has introduced the project to a younger risk-taking group of collaborators. That’s a nice way to say “watch out for these crazy kids!”
Other key personnel and associates include artist/performer Vness Wolfchild a musician and interactive ritual healing performance artist. Her work explores the complexity of the physical, spiritual and emotional body existing within urban industry and architecture. soundcloud.com/vnesswolfchild
Designer Dorothy Trojanowski whose work includes the lovely lay-out for Julia Solis’ recent book Stages of Decay.
metal sculptor Colin McIntyre, Inspired by creatures from the oceans and all plant life, Colin creates sculptures using hot metal forging and fabrication. His work is featured as a permanent public art piece at the Austin Nature & Science Center.
Detroit homesteader Ryan Carmichael is a functional artist and was one of the lead fabricators on Gon Kirin. In recent years he has specialized in architectural installations around Detroit.
Maggie Sisco lives in Detroit and works in public relations for a small firm in the metro area. Her expertise is in media and content strategy.
Seafoam Palace is made up of artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, sociologists, engineers, historians, travelers, explorers, and a few varieties of alchemists. Some have been collaborating on projects for over twenty years, some are brand new – drawn together by a love of the absurd, the profound, and the curious.
My old friend (and local rock star) James “Kimba” Anderson has been very busy since I first ran into him as he joyously spread his Kimba-ness all around San Francisco over 20 years ago. Kimba has always been involved in some kind of performing high-jinx; his projects always have a sense of wonder and an element of the surreal. Right now, this very minute Kimba is building a unique, scary children’s Horror movie: Tip Toe Past the Witch. It looks like it will be pretty amazing and will, no doubt scare the crap out of me while merely amusing my young son. Kimba needs some help financing the project, you can check out his trailer and pitch on his kickstarter page.
His band Candyass , with East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys on guitar, was a club staple in the late ‘90s:
& my fave Sharkbait was one of the truly astonishing San Francisco ensembles. Kimba and bandmates Chris Taylor, Mr. Clean, Greg Slugocki and others created a unique, audience participation element for their one of a kind performances. Kind of a metal/noise/glam/industrial hybrid, Sharkbait would drag audience members up onto their stage set and, after outfitting them in welding chaps, gauntlets and full helmets, would hand them a sledge hammer and put them into chain link cages where the virtually frothing at the mouth fans turned performers would frantically smash the crap out of a seemingly endless pile of televisions…Priceless.
Sharkbait played Lollapalooza 92
and they were by far the loudest, burningest, most participatory and fabulously excessive thing at Burning Man 94. (an event I can find no record of ANYWHERE – Kimba, Chris Taylor, Clean?)
Kimba’s a father now-a-days and kind of settled down, (much to the chagrin of rocker chicks around the Bay) so, naturally he has directed much of his prodigious energy toward children’s projects. Kimba’s Cave is kind of a cross between PeeWee’s Play House, Jules Vernes Journey to the Center of the Earth, Equus and The Muppets. Well, it scared me, but my seven year old laughed all the way through and doesn’t SEEM to be traumatized..
So if you have kids, check out Tip ToePast the Witch. You’ll need to watch with your kids so they can comfort you when YOU are traumatized by Kimba’s oddly wholesome yet undeniably perverse imagination…….The Witch is played by Rumi Missabu who was an original Cockette and who still has IT and wants to give it to you and your kids!
Tip Toe Past the Witch Kid’s gotta have it!! You can help “educate” the next generation by helping Kimba out and contributing here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tiptoepastthewitch/tip-toe-past-the-witch-web-series?ref=recently_launched