skinema book

When I decided to go to Insane Clown Posse march it was because I thought I was going to get to punch a Nazi in the face at the Nazi/Trump rally being held at the same time. I was very clear to Jenkem Magazine about what my intentions were for my trip/story but when we arrived in D.C. they asked me to include skateboarding or skaters in my piece. I laughed and told them, "Sometimes skating involves not skating." I enjoy the site so I made an effort to indulge their request. In the end they scrapped the following story & left all of my Anti-Nazi questioning out of the edit. Hope you get a laugh, despite the lack of skateboarding...

Ever since the bad man took office in January I’ve been wanting to attend a protest March in Washington D.C. I missed the Women’s March in January because I was at the porn convention in Vegas, then I forgot about the April 22nd Scientists’ March because I was pretty burnt from 4/20. But I knew that when Insane Clown Posse announced they would be marching on D.C. September 16th, the same day as the Trump/Nazi rally, that I couldn’t miss it. I don’t really consider myself an activist but I am most certainly a clown that likes to play dress up. I also have spent a great deal of time studying World War II as a result of my father having been killed in Pearl Harbor so the thought of having an opportunity to punch a Nazi in the face was quite appealing to me. Sadly, I didn’t bother to read what ICP and their juggallo followers were protesting. I thought the Insane Clown Posse was going to save America from the Nazis and make it great again in a battle of white make-up vs. red hats but it turned out that ICP had an entirely different agenda. In what sounds like a waste of time and tax payer money, the FBI has wrongfully categorized juggalos as gang members, claiming their hatchet man tattoo is a gang symbol and the March was a protest against their discrimination and victimization. Targeting a group for their musical taste is absurd and I feel awful for the juggalos, truly I do, but I just wanted to fight Nazis. I really didn’t want to drive three hours if no Nazi blood was going to be spilled so to spin the juggalos’ grievances into something I could work with I took the stance of wanting to defend a bunch of peaceful clown-rap lovers for being targeted by law enforcement harder than piece of shit white supremacist assholes. It’s sad times when clowns are perceived as more dangerous than armed hate groups.

Photographer Jonathan Mehring and videographer Taji Ameen drove from Brooklyn to my home in New Jersey bright and early and rang my front doorbell. “Let’s go!” Jon said as I opened the door, all eager beaver to jump on the road. I gave him a dirty look and asked, “Where the hell is your make-up?” “I don’t think I’m going to wear make-up,” he told me. “Than I’m not going.” “You’re going to strong arm me at 9 in the morning?” he asked. “I’m not a tourist. We wear make-up or I don’t drive. And your car will die halfway there.” Thirty minutes later we were fueling up at the turnpike rest stop, all in corpse paint. Our short excursion was reminiscent of the, “Vegas, baby!” driving scene in Swingers with the word Vegas replaced with Nazis. We spent the better part of the trip thinking of D.C. area skaters we could enlist for our mission from God. “I heard Reese Forbes is in town.” He wasn’t. “Darren Harper would be a sick one to fight Nazis with!” No answer when we called. “I think Zach Lyons might be around.” Last I saw Zach he looked emaciated, like he had just escaped Auschwitz. I didn’t want him to get broken in half so I told Jon not to call Zach. “Gilbert Crockett has been skating D.C. a bunch!” He was actually going to be at Pulaski…the next day. “Is Bobby Worrest back home or in Brooklyn?” He was in D.C. and said he might be down to come meet up for our adventure…but we never found him. At the juggalo gathering we happened to find a lone skater mall grabbing an old Karl Watson Organika deck with cheddar wheels who was down to fight Nazis by our side…after he got some lunch. We found him again later in the day with his nose busted open. He told us he had been head butted by a Trump supporter. “You mean a Nazi,” I corrected him. “I didn’t see any Nazis at their rally. Just maybe 100 Trump supporters,” he told us. I told him Nazis and Trump supporters were one in the same. As I watched him smear blood across his visibly frightened face I was thankful we hadn’t recruited him. I considered giving him a baby wipe from my dad-pockets but then I would’ve had nothing to take my make up off with, so I just walked away. The mall grabber might not have been tough but he was right. There were no emboldened swastika soldiers at the Trump rally just a bunch middle aged, out of shape, hate-filled, white people in Chinese-made MAGA hates sounding like South Park characters with their, “They took our jobs,” bullshit. There’s a strange curse on my family that whatever it is we want to do is either closed or not happening when we want to do it. It all started when I moved cross country to work at Big Brother in January of 2000. In this great, big country of ours the only thing I wanted/had time to see was Graceland. Too bad Graceland is closed on Tuesdays in January. Shit has been closed on The Nieratkos now for nearly 20 years, regardless of what any listed times on websites or Yelp say (See my hashtag #GracelandIsClosedOnTuesdays) and it happened again last weekend. We drove to a Nazi rally to fight Nazis and we couldn’t find a single Nazi. So, we said fuck it and went and got burritos in a sign of solidarity with Mexico.

When I started writing there was no such thing as the internet. Cars were still new. I think fire had just been discovered two years earlier. We used to have to write up hill in the snow, both ways. It was tough. We made our own ink from the blood of lambs and we liked it! Kids nowadays have it way easier and I couldn't be more jealous. Recently a kid came and interviewed me for his college journalism class. He told me he used to read Big Brother when he was in Kindergarten; I wanted to vomit. He asked me my advice on how to become a writer. Normally I tell college kids that ask me this question to drop out of school because there's no money in it, only debt. The only way to get started is to get started. But this time I actually took a second to think about my answer and I told him to start a blog. That is this generations answer to a portfolio or sponsor-me tape. Then I went and dug out my old worn, torn leather portfolio case that I used to tote around NYC to show to potential freelance clients at meetings. I laughed at how absurd that idea is now, basically playing door-to-door salesman armed only with my clips and a few pitches. Now you can simply email some links and get an answer in 10 minutes; it took me longer than that to drive to the Holland Tunnel. As I sat flipping through my old portfolio I thought about the pending death of magazines and how my entire career is lost to attics and landfills. Then I thought about all the magazines I've been saving for my sons for the past 15 years and how they probably are not going to want to hold onto hundreds of pounds of decaying paper. So I decided to spare them the trouble and have all my old work scanned onto a single harddrive for them as well as post everything here as a reference tool for other interviewers. I hope you enjoy it. And just know there's tons more still to be scanned; hopefully soon I'll have it all up here.

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