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Home BLOGS So Hot Right Now SHRN: Male Nudity, An Abandoned Gun Factory, And Niagara Falls

SHRN: Male Nudity, An Abandoned Gun Factory, And Niagara Falls

Written by Noah Hanson   
Thursday, 07 December 2006 05:24
Noah continues his country road trip
Picking up where I last left off, Michelle and I continued our journey around the US of America, left Philly, NYC, and Long Island, and then headed more towards upstate New York and back west. There we met our friend "Liam Devowski," who's real name is not Liam, but who has requested to be left somewhat anonymous because of his regular habit of making illegal graffiti (which you'll see down below). "Liam" lives in the city of Syracuse, which was named after the original Syracuse, a city on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy, with which it shares some similarities, including a formerly important salt industry and a neighboring town of Salina. Woo-hoo. The city has functioned as a major crossroads over the last two centuries, first between the Erie Canal and its branch canals, then of the railway network. Today, Syracuse is located by the intersection of Upstate New York's two major interstate highways (which will rape any and all with their constant tolls), and its airport is the largest in the region. Internationally, the city today is best known as the home of Syracuse University, which I think Liam goes to(?) Syracuse kinda reminded me of Eugene, OR in a lot of respects, which we visited earlier in our cross country road trip. (You can read all about that here: Hippies, The Coast, And Psilocybin.) I could be wrong though. It wouldn't be the first time. It just seemed like the same kind of small, pseudo-hippie college town, and it had a similar earthy, ride-a-bike kinda vibe going on. Some huuuge rasta lady even offered to sell us some pot one night while we were walking around town looking for beer and burritos.


Here's our Syracuse host and his half-tailed kitten. I swear, there's nothing wrong with the cat aside from it having half a tail, and that it's not being hurt ... I can't remember the cat's name, but I do remember that it only had half a tail because before Liam adopted it, it tried sleeping under the hood of a car to stay warm. Someone started the engine, and oops, there goes the other half of the tail.


This little kick ramp or whatever was on Liam's deck where he painted it. He's got quite the thing for painting/drawing/building old synth keyboards, and you can check some of them down below.


Casio rock, literally.


Big daddy stay puft.







Hipster and dog. Pretty cool huh? To check out more stuff by Liam, click here to be redirected to his Flicker page, or click here to go to his 'space. Anyhow, I should mention that I didn't know Liam at all until I actually pulled up to the front of his house to crash. I don't really know very many people over on the east coast, and so I didn't have anywhere good to stay for this leg of the trip. I posted somthing up here on the Fecalface.com asking to see if anyone wanted to help a brutha out, and Liam came to the rescue. He totally showed us a good time and was really generous to us. He fixed us breakfast and showed us around town, and he took us on some really rad adventures over the 2 days that we were there. It just goes to show how awesome Fecalface and its Fecettes can be. Thanks again, mang.


One day Liam drove us down to the nearby town of Ithaca, NY to check out a big swimming hole with cliffs for diving. The swimming hole was awesome. It was basically a river that was dammed off to form a reservoir, but you can swim in it and the water is really warm. I also have to mention that during the drive down we passed through a small town with a lot of trailers that allegedly has the highest incest rate in the country! It was cool. Lots of above ground pools and stuff. Unfortunetly, we didn't actually get to witness any of the incest going on ...


See that sign nailed to the tree across the water? Well, basically what it says is somthing to the effect of "Don't swim here. It's illegal, and dangerous. Go away."


And this is the reason why. It's the dam that makes the reservoir possible, and for inexperienced swimmers, it could mean sudden DEATH. You can swim right up to it and it's kinda scary. I tried it once but didn't stick around long, fearing I might get sucked over or somthing.


Here you can not only see a kid jumping from extreme hights into the water, but also a couple of girls sitting on the edge of where all that water pours over. Ballsy.


This was one of Liam's friends climbing up this little house/tower to jump off of. I think his name is Erik.


Michelle made it up too.




Here's another x-treme pic. Pete's getting ready to do some illicit spray painting and there's another kid jumping to his death in the background.

He makes it look so easy.


Gold maybe wasn't the best color choice, but I think it was all Liam had, and it ended up looking pretty cool in the end.


There was also one completely random naked fat dude who was kinda creepy and hung out the whole time we were there. The scene at a place like this is usually younger adults and families, and bathing suits, while optional, are typically "customary". This is especially true when there are young children around. The entire time we were there this dude was just lurking around. This is fine and all, but at one point he gathered up his things and headed up the hill like he was leaving. He was gone for a while, and then we saw him again, but this time he was following a crew of 10-13 year old girls.

I could tell that the girls didn't know him and didn't really know how to act in that kind of a situation, so they just went about swimming like they probably would have normally. The naked guy just hung out the entire time right by them, acting slightly creepy, standing over them, and then "sunning" himself on a large rock nearby.


The naked dood was riiiiight behind us.


I can't put more pictures of him on here 'cos some of you will just say I'm ghey for showing the peen, even though it was itsy-bitsy and hella funny. You people who always leave negative comments on here went ahead and ruined it for the rest of us who wanted da cock shot. Shame on you.

Eventually a ranger wandered down and told the guy to keep his pants on, but it was entertaining/creepy to watch the whole event unfold. Sadly, she didn't want anyone swimming anymore either, so everyone climbed outta the water and we took off. Still, our day of exploration was far from over.


After the swimming hole, we went to check out an old abandoned gun factory not too far away. The idea sounded weird at first, but when we got there it was really big and filled with tons of cool graffiti. It was fun to explore, and there were even some eerie reminders left over from the old factory, like a rusted out caddy for a shit ton of old time cards.


This is the building we climbed into. The one pictured up above this one, with the huge brick chimney, was puny compared to the size of this place.


To get inside we had to climb up a hole that was under the building, opening into the first floor. Yes, we were tresspassing ...


Super creepy.





Mattress stairway?


This place was fucking HUGE by the way. I think it had 3 floors, each the size, if not larger, than a football field. There was a basement too, but it was way to dark to go down there since there wasn't any electricty running in the place.


Liam threw up a piece.




Keyboard monster.


I really like the black, squiggely face at the bottom right corner of the orange in this one. There's also a little squid done over the letters K and E that I think I've seen before ...



A shaved bowling ball?


This and that other one up above that says FATE are my all time favorites. The colors are so awesome in this, and the sad goblin with the word KRAKHED above him ... I love it!


One of the old bathrooms. I checked for turds but came out empty handed :(


haha weiner!



This is one of the first things I saw when I climbed into the building. Hella spooky.


Fuck the fucking fuckers, grow a goatee.


The most profound piece there. The little guy looks like he's really stumbled onto somthing.


This reminds me of a combination of things. One being the bad guy from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the other being a little condom character that's painted on the side of Michael Sieben's gallery, Okay Mountain. Speaking of which, has anybody seen the show that's up there right now, titled Staff Infection? Man, wish I could check that out for the sheer excuse of picking up one of those t-shirts made especially for the event. Great design.


Looking out at Ithaca.


The ceiling.


Outside and behind the gun factory was an alley and another smaller building to explore.


Any of you bike nerds notice the blue chain ring stencil?


Fetus and mummy worm monster.


You guys remember Jesse Edwards? Well he does some pretty cool B&W portraits that blow these outta the water. Check 'em out here, here, here, and here.


Goblin's Alley.


This was taken inside the smaller building adjacent to other one we first explored. Apparently after the gun factory closed, someone illegally used this place as a chop shop for bikes, and there was a huge room filled with all these rusted bike parts.


One of Liam's bike nerd friends, Erik, was in that room checking out bike parts, when he fell into a hole filled with nasty mucky water! We heard his yells and came running.


Pobrecito fell into a nasty hole and got the wind knocked outta him. Sucked big time.


Some graffiti on the walls in that same room ... "Fuckame Indian Tribe."


The hole our friend fell in. I didn't even see it until I used the flash on my camera to light the room. Word to the wise, if you go into an abandoned, pitch black building, be sure to watch your step ... Learn somthing new everyday!


Ouchy-wa-wa. Later some stupid Cornell frat boys saw us in the parking lot and tried to scare us by telling us that the factory was filled with lead dust, but I don't think I believe them ... completely. I still have nerve function and I ain't gonna have any kids anyway... so I rule that the gun factory is still cool. Of course we went right home and looked it up on the internet just to be safe ... It turns out that the factory was a huge site of lead contamination, until the City of Ithaca bought the property from Cornell University ten-plus years ago for one dollar. Because the area is a watershed and the river below had a dangerous concentration of lead, the EPA came in and cleaned it up. Now the lead levels are well below the safe "minimum", but apparently the legend still lives on among the frat brothers ... and is still kinda freaky. Also, we ate at a really good pizza/sandwich/sub shop before we left Ithaca that was really, really good. I can't remember what it was called, but I have a feeling it was one of those small town eateries that all the locals know about. I think the building was orange and had a convieniance store built in with snacks and a soda fountain. I also remember that to place an order you had to fill out a piece of paper, checking all the boxes for the type of sandwhich you wanted. Some damn good grub.


Oh yeah, this pic's a bit random. When Michelle and I were in Idaho last November, some hillbilly hit Michelle's car while it was parked and then did the dickhead move and just drove off. We found a dent puller at a dollar store in Syracuse, so Meesh got it and tried unsuccessfully to pull out the dent. Oh well ... Any of you remember the old post I did on the old Fecalface site about that N. Idaho Thanksgiving trip I took? There were shop vacs and private parts involved ... Ring a bell, anyone? It was a classic.


Anyhow, we stayed at Liam's place one more night and watched the movie October Sky. That movie's good. Liam also gave me this piece that him and his friend collaborated on by mail. Pretty cool, huh? After all that though, we had to press on and head towards our next destination, Niagara Falls. Thanks again for letting us crash at your place "Liam." We had a great time, and wanna let you know that you're always welcome if you ever make it over here to the Seattle, WA area. Keep making all the cool synth stuff!


And we were off. Luckily Syracuse isn't too far from the falls, so we were able to get there pretty early in the day to hang out. To get to and from the falls you have to drive over these blue toll bridges first.

bridge 2.jpg

I think it costs like $1.50 each way or somthing. Seems like that would suck if you were a local who wanted to leave town every so often. Man, I hate tolls.


Oh, here's a shot of how far we've traveled thus far. Each stop along the way we continue to paint a line on the back of our car's map, showing where we've been. You wouldn't believe how many people honk and wave at us in support. People cut us some major slack too if we drive kinda funny, cuz they know we're not from around the area. People in general really seem to have sympathy for us road-trippers.

niagara balloon.jpg

Niagara only has a population of about 9,000, and it seems like a lot of the economy is built on the fact that tons of tourist come to see the falls. While we were there we saw lots of side attractions around like this big ass balloon.


And this colossal casino. For some reason the camera didn't pick it up, but a lot of those windows had rainbow colored lights flashing from behind them.


When you first get there you have to walk over a small bridge that goes over the water that eventually pours over the falls. It moves pretty fast and is probably frigid as shit.


That's Canada over there, with a couple of the Maids of the Mist boats down below.


Here's a side shot of the American Falls.


And here's a closer one still ... No human has ever survived a plunge over the American Falls, thanks to the many boulders and the relatively weak current. But, there have been a handful of survivors and daredevils who have passed over the Horseshoe Falls, where there are fewer boulders and the current can "throw" a person farther away from the brink and (hopefully) avoid the rocks.


There's all the boulders that kill everyone ... The wooden walkway that makes it's way over those boulders is for a guided tour that takes you down to the "Cave of the Winds." We didn't take the tour ourselves, but I guess tropical storm-like conditions can be experienced, as winds can reach up to 68 mph down there.


The falls create so much mist that in some areas you can just barely see through to the Canadian side of the falls. Recent construction of several tall buildings (most of them hotels) on the Canadian side have caused the airflow over the Falls to change direction. Students at the University of Guelph demonstrated, using scale models, that the air passes over the top of the new hotels, causing a breeze to roll down the south sides of the buildings and spill into the gorge below the Falls, where it feeds into a whirlpool of moisture and air. The result is that the viewing areas are now often obscured by a layer of mist. Another possible explanation for the mist is a rise in local ground temperatures due to global warming. In either case, solving the problem will be difficult, but I gotta say that I'm pretty impressed with the intelegence it took to come up with either of those theories.


I nabbed this shot from online, showing what the Niagara Falls area looks like from an aerial view. Hopfully it helps in showing you where I took all my pictures within the park.


From here we could hear a live band at a restaurant covering a bunch of songs written by the Charlie Daniels Band. They seemed out of context to say the least.


Here's a picture looking over the Canadian "Horseshoe" falls. In October 1829, Sam Patch, who called himself The Yankee Leaper, jumped over the Horseshoe Falls and became the first known person to survive the plunge. This began a long tradition of daredevils trying to go over the Falls and survive. In 1901, 63-year-old Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel; she survived virtually unharmed. Soon after exiting the barrel, she said, "No one should ever try that again." Since Taylor's historic ride, 14 other people have intentionally gone over the Falls in or on a device, despite her advice. Some have survived unharmed, but others have drowned or been severely injured. Survivors of such stunts face charges and stiff fines, as it is illegal, on both sides of the border, to attempt to go over the Falls.


Here's an old photo of one dood who made it in 1911. His name? Bobby Leach, and what a stud! In what some called the "Miracle at Niagara", Roger Woodward, a seven-year-old American boy, was swept over the Horseshoe Falls protected only by a life vest on July 9, 1960. He and his sister, seventeen-year-old Deanne, were taken on a boat ride in the upper Niagara River by a local man named Jim Honeycutt. The boat's motor failed and it capsized, sending its passengers into the water rapidly approaching the cataract. Honeycutt was swept over the Falls and died. His body was found four days later. Deanne was rescued from the water just meters from the brink of the Canadian Falls, by a man who climbed over the rail and reached out for her. She managed to grab his thumb, and somehow maintained her grip. The little kid, Roger, wearing only a life jacket, went over the Horseshoe Falls and miraculously survived. A Maid of the Mist boat lifted him out of the water downstream of the Falls. He suffered only a slight concussion and has a really awesome story to tell everyone he meets for ever and ever.


We spent $11.50 each to ride one of the "Maid Of The Mist" boats, and it was definitely the best $11.50 I've ever spent. They drive you right into the center of the Horseshoe Falls where you get totally drenched and blown around by the wind.


To get down to the boat you have to go down this huge elevator.


It's so high you'll lose your head. har har.



Meesh and I suited up and prepared ourselves to get soaked.


To the upper deck!


I thought this guy was so funny. Check out the little booties he made for his feet! Gotta protect the kicks! Not to mention that the phrase "Maid of the Mist" stretches across his chest. haha!


Our ship mates.


There were a bunch of young Japanese girls on the boat with us and they kept taking pictures of each other in front of the falls flashing the peace sign. The boat got really rocky at one point and one of them looked like she was about to hurl, but I think she was okay. I really felt bad for her, but I don't think there was anything I could have done. For some reason Japanese tourists always take pictures flashing the peace sign ...


Reminds me of when we went to Albuquerque earlier on the trip and saw this rainbow.


This was when things got really windy and everyone's ponchos started flapping around.


This mist was coming in pretty heavy too, so in effort to protect my camera I tried taking a photo from the inside of my poncho.



The larger water fall to the left is the American Falls, and the thinner one on the right are the Bridal Veil Falls. That's the walkway I mentioned earlier that leads to some cave. I think it cost like $8 to go, but the boat ride sounded way better.


Here's a really weird photo I found on the internet of the American Falls "shut off" during a few months of 1969. I had no idea this kind of work was possible, but appearantly it was done to try and help with preservation efforts and to cut back on erosion issues. When they were all done doing whatever it was they had to do, they blew up the damn they created with dynamite, redirecting all the water back to the drop off.


The wind down here is so strong that it climbs up your poncho and puffs you up like a pillow.


Entering the Horseshoe Falls.


You get DRENCHED down here from all the mist floating around.

Video I took of inside the falls with my camera, showing how wet and windy and blue it is down there.


Eventually we made it back to our campsite where I burned a bunch of stale bread and we got drunk off of some strange kind of bitch beer made to imitate iced tea, but with booze. I think we drank all 6 without ever feeling a buzz, but it did taste okay.


Okay, I think there's enough good stuff crammed into this update for now ... I'll leave you with this picture we took of our tent at the KOA, guarded by the tape skull Mark Jenkins left us, from when we visited him in D.C. Speaking of which, check out one of the coolest things he's ever made, here! Anyhow, after Niagara we had to press on and head to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival. I'll try to update this soon with more traveling updates. I am psyched!


Alison Blickle @NYC's Kravets Wehby Gallery

Los Angeles based Alison Blickle who showed here in San Francisco at Eleanor Harwood last year (PHOTOS) recently showed new paintings in New York at Kravets Wehby Gallery. Lovely works.

Interview w/ Kevin Earl Taylor

We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...

Peter Gronquist @The Shooting Gallery

If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.

Jay Bo at Hamburg's Circle Culture

Berlin based Jay Bo recently held a solo show at Hamburg's Circle Culture featuring some of his most recent paintings. We lvoe his work.


Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.

Gator Skater +video

Nate Milton emailed over this great short Gator Skater which is a follow-up to his Dog Skateboard he emailed to us back in 2011... Any relation to this Gator Skater?

Ferris Plock Online Show Now Online as of April 25th

5 new wonderful large-scale paintings on wood panel are available. visit: www.ffdg.net

ClipODay II: Needles & Pens 11 Years!!

Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.


In a filmmaker's thinking, we wish more videos were done in this style. Too much editing and music with a lacking in actual content. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.

Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.

Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.

John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.

FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners

Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.

Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.

Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.

NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.

Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding

"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle

Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.

Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.

Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.

The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.

The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.