The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf | East Villager & Lower East Sider

The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf

One hundred percent better than Amazon: Kim’s Video stock is 30 percent off, in anticipation of its closing.  Photo by George Courtney

One hundred percent better than Amazon: Kim’s Video stock is 30 percent off, in anticipation of its closing. Photo by George Courtney

BY REV. JEN (  |  Some of you might have noticed my face (and elf ear) gracing the cover of a recent issue of TimeOut New York, wherein I am the poster girl for weirdness in New York. This was a great honor and a band-aid on my sorely wounded ego. But don’t let my current stint of fame fool you: I am still a total failure with absolutely no self-esteem, money or shame. Yet, if the cover helps to sell even a single copy of one of my books, I will continue to kiss the buttocks of media outlets everywhere in hopes that I see a royalty check in this lifetime. And as ever, I am committed to bringing you the latest in local news and events.

Sadly, many events that occurred since my last column were tragic, and I would be a dishonest writer if I pretended that all was hunky dory on the Lower East Side. Spring is supposed to be about renewal and growth — but this one has pretty much sucked, as the art scene lost far too many cherished badasses. So this installment of “The Adventures of an Underemployed Urban Elf” will focus largely on loss, grief and coping, and trying to regain your strength when you are faced with a miasma of protoplasmic shit. Happy Spring!

February saw the loss of writer, Maggie Estep. We became friends while working at the now-defunct SHOUT magazine. Her writing inspired me and if you’ve never read one of her books, go out and get one. I was always envious of her career and I wanted to hate her, but I couldn’t because she was so kind to me. Also, she was about one of ten poets I could actually stand. Her poem, “F**K Me,” inspired my BFF, Faceboy, to want to do just that. They did and then they lived together. She will be missed.

In other extremely depressing news:

When my friend, Holly DeRito, went to the pound to get a dog, she found “Taco” — a tiny Chihuahua who had been severely abused, starved and burned with cigarettes. (Note: Some people suck.) Holly immediately took him home and nursed him back to health. Her love for him inspired her to start Waggytail Rescue, a non-profit that has now saved over 4,000 dogs ( When Taco met my Chihuahua — Reverend Jen Junior — the frightened tail that had been between his legs started wagging (hence, his last name). The two canines then fell in love and went on to have the healthiest relationship on the Lower East Side.

After a decade together, Taco and Jen Junior wed in the backyard of Luckydog (303 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn) on April 29, 2011 — the same day as the other, less cool Royal Wedding. Faceboy officiated the “puptials” and many said it was the best wedding they’d ever attended. Sadly, Taco passed away this month from leptospirosis, an infection carried by rats. (Don’t let Disney fool you: rats will not sew you a dress like in “Cinderella.” They are actually kind of assholes.) There is a vaccine for the aforementioned disease and if you are concerned, consult your pet’s vet. We will honor Taco’s legacy with a memorial to be held at Lucky Dog on Sun., May 25 at 6 p.m. All are welcome to read, sing, weep and drink heavily. But, truly, the best way to honor Taco’s legacy is to foster or adopt a pet. What seems like a mangy junkyard dog might just turn out to be man or woman’s best friend. And always be grateful for the existence of Dog.

In other crap news, Dave Brockie (a.k.a Oderus Urungus), frontman for the awesome band, GWAR, passed away suddenly this March. In 2011, I was lucky enough to perform with him at GWAR’s Crack-a-Thon at MF Gallery in Brooklyn (213 Bond St.) At the end of the show, Oderus and I trashed the stage set together, and then drank tall boys. I can honestly say that being able to proclaim that I have not only had beers with GWAR, but tore apart a stage with them, is one of my greatest accomplishments. MF Gallery is now hosting an art show in his memory and to raise money for The Dave Brockie Foundation, a charity fund with the mission of promoting the advancement of music, writing and art. The fund’s first goal is to finance the creation of a memorial monument to Dave in his hometown of Richmond, VA to pay respect to the memory of a very charismatic man. (If you aren’t familiar with GWAR, simply Google “GWAR on Jerry Springer” and you will have all the information you need.) Opening night of the show was packed with GWAR fans and art lovers. If you have money, go to MF and buy art. If you don’t have money, go there and look at the art. You will be inspired.

While not on the same tragic level as losing friends and pets, the closing of Kim’s Video really bites — especially if you are a film-addicted insomniac like me. Kim’s has always stocked the films of my film production studio, ASS Studios, as well as the Electra Elf box set, 22 episodes of the superhero-themed cable access show I made with director Nick Zedd. The best thing about Kim’s has always been meeting other film nerds there at weird hours. Given that everything there is now 30 percent off, I recently visited (along with my friend, George). As we browsed the sexploitation section, I noticed two young men about to purchase “Anthole Dickfarm.” “No! Don’t buy ‘Anthole Dickfarm,’ ” I blurted out. “It’s not as good as advertised. I actually sold it back to Kim’s.” They then noticed I was holding “Werewolves Vs. Strippers.”

“Don’t buy that,” one of them said. “It’s not that good.”

“But it looks like an awesome crappy movie.”

“It’s not the right kind of crappy movie. It’s not like Tom Selleck’s ‘Runaway.’ ”

These were clearly my new best friends. They introduced themselves as Scott and Tomas. We hung out in Kim’s for two hours, discussing films. Scott claimed he once watched six Ed Wood films in a row, a feat that impressed me. Together, we perused titles such as the “Early Films of John Holmes,” “DILF Porn” and other gems. This is the problem with the Internet and online buying — conversations like this just don’t happen on Amazon. After checking out several sin-sational films, the four of us then proceeded to go to The Library, which is actually not a library at all, but an awesome bar that serves two for one drinks from 10 till 12 on Sunday nights (7 Ave. A.).

Head to MF Gallery, for some GWAR art and the chance to advance the work of The Dave Brockie Foundation (named after the band’s late frontman).  Photo by George Courtney

Head to MF Gallery, for some GWAR art and the chance to advance the work of The Dave Brockie Foundation (named after the band’s late frontman). Photo by George Courtney

So, despite the fact this spring done sprung with some terrible events, New York always offers a spirit of redemption. Nothing will ever replace the wonderful people and animals that were lost, but sometimes just wandering into a video store and telling a stranger not to buy “Anthole Dickfarm” can lead to new friends. Sometimes, old friends reappear. Nick Zedd — whom I hadn’t spoken to in years, whom I dated for half a decade, made countless movies with and subsequently had a bitter breakup with recently — visited New York. I knew that he cared about Taco so I got in touch with him and told him the heartbreaking news. He came over and hung out with my new BF and our former assistant director. We laughed the way we did when we used to sit at Mars Bar all night, and I was happy to let go of everything in the past. If you’ve never seen his movies, you can check out a couple of them, which are screening at Museum of Modern Art on May 26. Though technically not located Downtown, there will be nothing “Uptown” about the event.

So put on your finest, hop the F Train, have some fun and help keep New York weird. As the cover girl for New York weirdness, it’s my duty to encourage this.

Originally from Middle Earth, Maryland, Saint Reverend Jen Miller is an “Art Star, Troll Museum curator, writer, painter, Voice of the Downtrodden & Tired and Patron Saint of the Uncool.” Her latest book is “BDSM 101.” Rev. Jen’s Anti-Slam, a free event, happens every Wed., 8 pm, at Old Man Hustle (39 Essex St., btw. Grand & Hester Sts.). Visit