The Photography of the Amazing Andrew Max Levy

virginia jones in a mask photographer andrew max levy plus size comic bowie shirt
Photo credit Andrew Max Levy

Andrew Max Levy, @justoffthesix on Instagram, has been shooting LA comics and comedy shows for years. He recently challenged Angelenos to donate to #blacklivesmatter in exchange for a portrait, and scheduled over 70 shoots. I was so glad to be part of an important fundraiser and get some nice shots.

virginia jones bowie shirt universal standard skirt plus size fashion
This ensemble is all the shit I bought to make myself feel better. Many of these items have never left the house before. Photo credit Andrew Max Levy.

Lady Bloodmeadow Kills It On Tinder

Lady Bloodmeadow joins Tinder. If you want a goth girlfriend, please watch her video. She really only has one requirement for partners. If you’d like to see more of Bloodmeadow, check out her Youtube playlist here.

Easy Packing For All Ages

packing for travel comedy

Packing for all ages:

30’s: I gotta get my nails and toenails done for my trip!

40’s: Doesn’t give a fuck.

30’s: I’m gonna take a little bag of jewelry curated to work with my outfits!

40’s: Doesn’t give a fuck.

30’s: Brought two styles of sunglasses for different lewks.

40’s: Own three pairs of the same sunglasses, Hollis by Oliver Peoples. Does not give a fuck.

30’s: Wait, should I buy a mini of my trademark perfume or should I try something new for the trip?

40’s: Doesn’t wear perfume at home, doesn’t give a fuck

20’s: Brought books.

30’s: Brought kindle.

40’s: Broke half a dozen kindles, now watches Youtube videos of kids kicking each other in the nuts on her phone the whole trip. Does not give a fuck.

30’s: Brought running shoes, dress shoes, and casual shoes for travel.

40’s: Brought one pair Chuck Taylor high tops and cannot possibly give a fuck.

30’s: Need room for my DSLR camera!
40’s: Bringing phone.

30’s: Need to carry on my laptop.
40’s: Bringing phone.

30’s: Bringing exquisite outfits for trip, is heartbroken she can’t bring more shoes.
40’s: I don’t know these people, who gives a fuck?

Wait, am I maturing and becoming more comfortable in my own skin- or am I just depressed?

Practical Pandora Poetry

gothic american virginia jones comedy album Pandora

When you submit your comedy album to Pandora, like I did with my comedy album, Gothic American, they sort your tracks into little pre-written buckets for their algorithm- and the description of the tracks from my album, Gothic American, make a nice little poem about my comedy:

Female Experiences

An Amused Delivery

A Deadpan Delivery

A Sarcastic Delivery

A Self-Deprecating Delivery

Surprising Misdirects

Jokes About The Entertainment Industry

Humorously Dim-Witted Logic

A Wide Variety of Subject Matter

Liberal Political Leanings

Subject Explorations

Anecdotes

The Incredibly Stupid Story About My Tattoo

octopus tattoo design by Amy Nicoletto

virginia jones octopus tattoo by amy nicoletto

The Origin Story 

Having survived a questionable adolescence and young adulthood without a tattoo,  I thought, maybe my thing is to be weird WITHOUT a tattoo.   My dumb hot goth boyfriend had BAD RELIGOIN tattooed on him at a party.  Later, it was covered with a demon, and probably also dirt because I think that guy’s dead now.

 Being of a somewhat perverse personality, I find if there’s something everyone else loves, I hate it.  I’ve never seen Titanic or worn acid wash jeans.  

   When I left school, I found that every punk, every goth, every coffeeshop-clogging creative was heavily inked.  How cool could it be?  I worried that a tattoo had to mean something deep.  Something eternal.  What if I got something that would later be dumb?  My friend Bryan had a Stray Cats tattoo from the 80’s that I watched go out, and in, and back out of fashion.  

Joker’s Comedy Club

   One time I was doing comedy in Tri-Cities, Washington.  That’s right.  Three small towns: Kennewick, Richmond, and Yakima, gather their low-self-esteem populations together and call themselves the Tri-Cities in an attempt to matter. 

The Thursday night show had a promo table with a local tattoo shop, and they were giving away a tattoo to the prettiest girl in attendance who didn’t have a tattoo.  This really brought my two worst personality traits into the foreground: I am cheap and vain.  The nice tattoo lady said I was cute, I should put in to win the contest.  I laughed and said OK. 

   I had a really good set, I blew my headliner off the stage.  He was murky and resentful.  The next night, he melted down and was dismissed for he rest of the weekend. 

While drinking for free, I checked in with the tattoo lady.  She said I was still the winner by a mile.  I was feeling small-town famous.

Brianna

  I started thinking about what kind of tattoo I wanted.  I decided on an octopus.  Like on the Kraken rum bottle, although that is a Kraken, which is not real.   We got ready to line up for a vote.  I was confident.  I was ready.  But at the 11th hour,  she showed up: Brianna.  Brianna was 24 and had blonde hair piled up on top of her head, and was somehow wearing a pink baseball hat perched on top of that.  She had dimples.  I lost, and lost badly.

  Brianna got a dynamic ribbon reading “ALWAYS RESILIENT” tattooed on her ribcage, which I am told is a very painful spot, and that was a comfort to me.  It was executed right there, on a rickety massage table in a dark corner of a nightclub.  I started to think maybe I was glad I didn’t win.

  I woke up surly and resentful that I didn’t have an octopus tattoo.  Complaining to my friend Richie, he told me: believe, there is nothing more expensive than a free tattoo.  You’re glad you didn’t get inked in the tri-shitties. 

When I got home to Los Angeles, I got a birthday gift from my baby sister so I could get a tattoo at a fancy shop, from the lovely @amynicolettotattoo, and I don’t think I could love it any more.  It looks good with dresses, it looks good with t-shirts, it’s an accessory that I have on all the time, and it doesn’t mean shit.

Wisdom Of The Ages

 Looking back, I realize that if I had gotten a tattoo in my 20’s it would have been for The Cure, and if I’d gotten one in my 30’s, it would have been for Nick Cave, and they’d still be great today.  This is an often-overlooked plus to being someone who maxed out their taste and personal growth at 17, and will always be the same asshole, and who is also cheap, and also vain.

Check out Virginia Jones- From Voyage LA

virginia jones comic photo by adrienne harris
photo by Adrienne Harris

http://voyagela.com/interview/check-out-virginia-jones

Today we’d like to introduce you to Virginia Jones.

Virginia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I used to do drawing and writing and dance, and now I do comedy, and also all the other things. It was a relief to me to realize that these things are not in conflict-they’re all part of the same thing, being an artist. I am also fantastically up my own butt!

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am a standup comedian and comedy writer type person. It started by accident, like it was a bucket list “I’ve always wanted to do comedy” and then that became my whole life.

I hope people come away from my act with some kind of new idea or a recognition of a thing they hadn’t named. Comedy should communicate something or else why bother- I’ve seen people onstage that can generate laughter, but it’s like a trick? People walk out of the room exactly the same as they walked in, except full of nachos. I am the kind of pretentious little shit that wants comedy to mean something.

I think my jokes are mostly about unexamined social inconsistencies, and also about animals.

Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think the problems of an artist today are the same as they ever were- trying to be you the best you can while the industry wants the same five people, over and over again. I think it’s a great time to be a female artist, moving from being ignored to actively reviled. That’s cool!

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I have a record called Gothic American. I’d love it if you picked it up on Itunes, or, failing that, listened on Spotify or Pandora or Snapchat or Instagram or scanned a sticker from a banana peel that took you to it on Youtube or something. Is that something you can do? I have a website with dates and funny stuff on it. I like it when people show up to stuff. I’m very funny, I promise. I have a twitter account, but I’m bad at it.

Contact Info:

My Fantastic Fantasy Star Hits Interview

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Growing up in Texas but *with* MTV, I identified myself as a New Waver and found the lifeline for all aspirational cool kids at the time, Star Hits magazine.

 Heavily influenced by its UK parent, Smash Hits, it was chock full of awesome photographs of the most important people in my life, including Duran Duran and the Cure.  They called Morrissey Mozz and Madonna Madge and they had advertisements for punk clothes and rare records and everything I dreamed of.

I dream of being interviewed by Star Hits, but because they don’t exist, I had to do it myself.  So, here it is.

I meet Virginia Jones in a coffeeshop near her Silverlake abode.  The coffeeshop sells perfumes named for alternative rock hits but cost one gazillion dollars.  

She sits on the patio, head to toe in black, drinking a Dirty Ginger, a soy milk latte with spicy ginger syrup in it.  She smiles slyly and says it’s her fourth. I greet her, take off my suit jacket, brush the shaggy blond hair out of my eyes, and set up to record our chat. She says she only has half an hour before she has to go do comedy in the basement of a wine shop.

Firsts

Who was your first crush?

Ohhh, this is weird but it was definitely Boy George.

Oh wow!

Yeah, I just thought he was spectacular.  I still do. At twelve year old, I had a poster of Culture Club on my wall that I kissed every night before bed.  When I took it down, George’s lips were clear with greasy little-kid Chapstick kisses.

What was the first record you ever bought?

The first single was Celebration by Kool and the Gang.  This was about ten years after it came out, but I heard it in one of my mom’s Jazzercise classes and I had to have it.

And the first LP?

Chipmunk Punk, obviously.

Obvi.

Which had no punk songs, but some new wave songs and some Billy Joel.  The weirdest track was My Sharona, which was written about a 15 year old girl and has some semi-explicit reference to thighs, but the chipmunks DGAF.

Bests

What is your most treasured possession?

When I was living in Potland, I did a show on Christmas Day. It went, as I remember, horribly, but my friend Bri Pruett, who was KJing there at the time, gave me a card that permitted me to go next to sing karaoke.  That potential, the idea that I could be next, even in a bar that has closed in a town in which I do not live, makes it one of my most prized possessions. Also, that Bri gave it to me.  I’ll never cash it in. I’m perpetually next!

Other Stuff

Do you get presents from your fans?

Yes, isn’t it weird that people give you images of yourself?  But I have some awesome fan art, including a Barbie doll of me, an embroidery of my album cover, and a pen and ink rendition of me and my many interests. They are displayed proudly in my home.

In Portland, I was given a lot of weed, which I saved in a tin and forgot in my apartment when I moved.

How often do you wash your hair?

I like to wait at LEAST three days between washes.  If I can stretch to four, even better. My hair is long, when wash it, it’s a hot mess.  If you ever see me wearing a hat, you know it’s day four! Sorry.

If you were an animal, what would you be?  

I mean, I love the idea of a three toed sloth, but that’s not really my lifestyle.  I’m more like a squirrel, out there hustlin’, always starting projects and forgetting about them, and of course, looking adorable.

Oh, certainly.

Thank YOU.  

Ok, the last question, and this is a deep one:  Where do all the lost pens in the world go?

You know, I’m glad you asked me that, because it’s something I have thought a lot about.  The size and shape of pens mean that they take up space on the horizontal, but also they can slip through any hole or crevice, and we live on this earth full of holes which is always rotating, so if you think of the world as a big Pachinko game, and pens as the ball bearings, pens wind up:

(Flabbergasted) In the center of the earth?

Yes, precisely.  Magma is made of melted pens. That’s what makes it so dangerous.

I effused my thanks to her as she killed her last inch of coffee and took off, yelling thanks and that she looked forward to the interview.  I had to take a second to catch my breath, and, folding up her paper coffee cup into my pocket to take with me, (don’t judge me!) went home to write.