Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Safety Tip #1: Don’t Lie About Your Weight When You Go Bungee Jumping




Someone years ago invited me to go bungee jumping and for some reason I said yes. I will come up with some lame excuse to get out of it closer to the actual date, I thought. But, then everyone starting talking about it and I realized one day—damn I have to do this. 

I’m scared of heights and I am not very into doing things where I could die. I’ve never gone hot air ballooning, sky diving, scuba diving, snow skiing, skateboarding, mountain biking, surfing—even competitive soduko, that can be very dangerous from what I’ve heard. I have never been on a motorcycle and I stay out of the ocean if at all possible. When I walk at night my wife makes me wear a yellow reflective vest. People might think I’m boring, but the way I look at it, I’m still alive! 

So, bungee jumping is something I wouldn’t normally ever agree to, but the power of peer pressure is hard to say no to. So, before I realized it, I was in a car headed to Angels Camp, CA to jump off an 80-ft. bridge with a bungee cord attached to my feet. There was a group of 10 people there ready to jump when we got to the bridge. The bungee people gave us a speech about safety and then they asked us about our weight. At that time, I weighed 300-plus lbs., but because I am vane I told them 265. Big mistake! 

When I finally jumped, I bounced a lot more than anyone else! The first rebound raced me back up to the bridge and I thought-I am going to pancake myself under this bridge. I was bouncing back toward the bridge so violently that I actually almost slingshot myself above the railing of the bridge on the other side. The other bungee jumpers were looking at me in shock while a few of them actually laughed. 

I must have looked like a big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon flying around on a bungee cord. Later I found out, one of the operators of the bungee jumping company asked his assistant, “What did he tell us his weight was?”--knowing full well that had I obviously reported something considerably less. Today it is an amusing anecdote, but at the time it was a scary moment. 

Lesson: It’s never good to lie about your age or your weight, because you never know how it can back and bite you right on the ass!

More upcoming articles will offer great life advice, such as:

Don’t Jump in a Water Hazard at a Golf Course (Duck Poo!)
 
Don’t Eat From a Taco Stand in that Smells Like Death

Don’t Go to Candlestick Park Wearing an LA Dodgers Jersey

Don’t Ask a Drunk Cougar Her Age







 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The March for Elephants and Rhinos in SF, October 3rd



"We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior." - Graydon Carter

Please join our March for Elephants and Rhinos in San Francisco
Saturday, October 3, 2015
10:30 am – 3:00 PM
Starting at Jefferson Square

Did you know that approximately one elephant is killed every 15 minutes in the African continent, 100 elephants are killed every day, 35,000 elephants are killed every year, 1 rhino is killed every 7-11 hours and extinction looms within a generation?

Did you know that San Francisco plays a major role in the illegal ivory trade? A survey commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that up to 80 percent of ivory in San Francisco is illegal under current law.

Did you know that China is the world’s largest market for illegal ivory?

Did you know that March for Elephants, San Francisco(MFE) has worked tirelessly within the Bay Area and globally to bring attention to the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn?
March for Elephants will be joining over 100 other cities around the globe in organizing a march and speaking out for elephants and rhinos on October 3rd 2015 in San Francisco. We’ll gather around the Chinese consulate demanding an end to the ivory trade in China, an end to the trade in San Francisco, an end to the trade in the USA and an end to the trade anywhere ivory and rhino horn are commodified. Last year, the San Francisco march and rally drew approximately 2,000 people. 
MFE is a grassroots volunteer organization based in San Francisco that workson behalf of earth’s last elephants and rhinos. We are a group of dedicated advocates, lobbying strategically to promote local and global awareness about the elephant and rhino crises, calling forgovernments to take immediate action to end poaching in range nations,anddemanding an end to the ivory and rhino horn trade at all levels: locally, nationally and internationally.
You can help us by marching for elephants in October. Learn more by visiting marchforelephants.org.
Here is a video of the State of Elephants from our archives:

Here is a beautiful photo taken by Patrick Freeman:

Saturday, May 02, 2015

My 3x3 World: The Post-It Note Art of Ed Attanasio

Hope to see you at my upcoming art show. If you can't make it on Friday May 15 @ 6-9 pm I will also be at the store on Saturday, 5/16 from 11 am to 2 pm.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Stroke of Genius or Just Damn Lucky? The Story Behind My Post-It Note Art


Here is the story behind my Post-It Note Art, an amazing chapter in my life that started out with a tragedy, but led to a miracle. Before, I was nothing more than a casual doodler, but today I sell original pieces and limited prints for ungodly amounts of money. It has also allowed me to publish a graphic novel, called Bushers who is currently available on Amazon.com.



Here I am (at the left) with my writing partner Eric Gouldsberry at a book signing for "Bushers" at the Book Passage bookstore in the San Francisco's Ferry Building. 

My name is Ed Attanasio and I live in San Francisco. (That's me on the left) My art career started when I was rehabbing after having a mini-stroke on August 4, 2009. The stroke did not come as a surprise, because at that point I weighed 350 lbs. and had a wide range of other health problems.

The stroke didn’t affect my motor skills, but it definitely addled my brain to the point where I was unable to continue my job as a journalist/ad copywriter. 

Ruffled Feathers, 2014
My speech therapists suggested that I find something to do--an activity where I'd be able to exercise my brain on a daily basis. 

So, I started drawing a series of illustrations on Post-It-Notes, for hours and hours, as I went through a slow 14-month recovery.Sometimes I would sit in my office and draw 10-15 straight and other days I couldn't do even do one I could keep.

Scary Nights, Halloween 2013
At first, I drew these characters only as part of my therapy and nothing more. My wife Simone and my two stepdaughters always seemed to enjoy these silly 3” x 3” creations, but eventually they would migrate down to our refrigerator door and after a while, they'd disappear.

Left Brain, Right Brain, 2012
Then, in October of 2011, my wife gave me a notebook and all of the drawings were there—close to 400! I had created a my own world of baseball players, football players, gangsters, monsters, dinosaurs, dogs, dysfunctional couples and aliens. All of these peculiar-looking illustrations had emerged from my stroke-scrambled brain and now all together, but ready for what? 


As I browsed through these images, I thought wow--these characters drawn in black felt pen and colored pencils tell a great story. 

For more than a year, I didn’t know if I would be able to be a professional
Bushers, 2011
writer again and these drawings are a map that shows how I recuperated or maybe digressed, depending on how you look at it.


After I went through all of the images, I assembled some them into collages.
I named my first one 'Bushers--A Fantastical Collection of the Craziest Ballplayers You Never Saw' consisting of 48 baseball players I created. 

  
Pretty soon, I assigned each player with his own name, complete with a colorful nickname and a biography describing his baseball career. It became a fun project, but at this point it was just like the drawings themselves--a continuing mental exercise.

Then one day, I decided to submit my image of 48 “Bushers” to an upcoming show at an art gallery in San Francisco. The George Krevsky Gallery of American Art was holding its 15th annual baseball art exhibition called The Art of Baseball. But after a couple of months anxiously waiting for a response from the gallery and not hearing back, Attanasio figured that his players were probably too bizarre for their show.

I resigned myself to the fact that my sad-sack “Bushers” might not get out of the minor leagues. Then, one day the phone rang and the people at the gallery were on the other end. As a writer and a former standup comic, I hate to admit it, but I expect rejection. 

As the woman on the phone started talking, I was waiting for her next words, telling me that my “Bushers” were not an ideal match for their show. So, when the people at the Krevsky gallery said they liked the image and wanted to meet me, I was obviously very pleased and surprised. In the end, it was accepted into the Art of Baseball show and even before the exhibition began it was sold!”

So, rather quickly my therapy turned into an art career--something I never imagined even in my wildest dreams. Now I sell originals and prints from $30 to $3,000 and participate in as many exhibitions as I possibly can. 

Now I am experimenting with other size Post-It Notes in larger collages and other other formats. It has become truly my passion and the perfect way for me to unwind. Some people do yoga or needlepoint and I draw. 

I haven't stopped drawing and in fact, now I draw even more. When people look at my images and react--whether positively or
negatively--I covet that feedback, because I love what I'm doing and I want as many other eyes on my art as I possibly can.  

Things have improved tremendously since the stroke. I have lost more than 100 lbs. and I swim a mile every day. I turned my life around and my Post-It Note art has definitely played a major role! 

In October of 2013, my Bushers and their stories became a graphic novel, published by McFarland Publishing. Now the whole world can read their stories of near fame as they play this great game on baseball fields from Parole, Maryland to Sweet Lips, Tennessee. 

The book is available at www.amazon.com or email me at: era39@aol.com if you want an autographed copy. 

Also, if you want to purchase an original or a print from me, give me a call at 415.994.5335 to discuss images, sizes, formats and more. 


Monday, May 12, 2014

My Take on the 2014 NFL Draft



The 2014 NFL Draft was fun to watch, if you like seeing young prima donnas turning into multi-millionaires in real time on TV, but the NFL has turned it into a game show and the fanfare outweighs the actual event in a big way. If I see another mock draft, I will strangle Mel Kiper. I may strangle him and his 1975 hairstyle anyway. The biggest story at this year’s draft was Johnny Football and where was he going to land? When I saw that he ended up with the cursed Cleveland Browns, I laughed myself silly. This kid was maybe already doomed, but by getting drafted by the Browns, that sealed it. The Browns are the only original NFL team to never make it to the Super Bowl and every year they take a good college player and ruin him with bad coaching, bad food and of course, the curse. Can you remember Spurgeon Wynn or Tim Couch? Point made.

Then, the other big story surrounding the draft was when the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam, a player who announced he was gay about a month or so ago. He said he probably would have been drafted in the 3rd round (instead of the 7th) but the NFL is a homophobic league. And from what I’ve been reading, I tend to agree. Helmets off to the Rams for stepping up and telling the world it’s okay to be gay and still kick ass on the gridiron!