Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Sound Christmas Thrashing

Yours truly gets punched in the face (twice) in a new web commercial for

This website is dedicated to promoting Street Fighter 4, apparently, and also features a lengthy exposition about a guy dressing up as Santa Claus in full body armor, going out to what appears to be right around Penn Station in NYC, and getting his ass kicked. Repeatedly. Has Christmas changed? It has.

This commercial was produced by old school chum Yehuda Duenyas, (he's the guy with the pointy beard in the commercial who looks like one of the three musketeers), and also features many former Skidmore college classmates and friends; Ryan Bronze (the guy at the table saw), Ahna Tessler (woman annoyed at being followed and eventually punched), Steve Donnely (1/2 of a couple who are punched by a pirate), and Matt Kalman (the pirate).

Yehuda, Matt, and Ryan are all members of an absurdist avante garde theatre company called the National Theatre of the United States of America. They paint the stage with historical/hysterical monologues, big dance numbers, and lots of moving platforms, slamming doors, and a myriad of death-defying surprises. NY theater not to be missed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Article about Start Trekkin on

Cool little write up about Start Trekkin in I am featured in the opening picture at my snarkiest next to a Klingon performing Hamlet. Check it out.

Also, I just want to encourage humans to check out our website,, which is in the midst of being updated and awesome-ified, thanks to our producer and webmistress Lauren Hunt. She is awesome.

Some notes of interest are the media page, specifically the red shirt diary, (super funny) and a full length and fully improvised Start Trekkin radio play (which qualifies as ultra mega gazoinkagadoinkingly cool-- that's a space term, "cool"). Please tool around the sight while you are at it, it is getting doperer and doperer as the days grow short. Word up to outer space.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Start Trekkin NY: Ten Minutes Left of Money

Start Trekkin NY performed at the Big Apple ComicCon a few weeks ago (Mid November, 2008). For some reason, they will only book us to do a 15 minute episode. Not sure why, I think we could at least do a half hour without breaking a sweat or screwing up their schedule. At any rate, we've developed a cliff-hanger-type technique for little gigs like this, which hopefully brings in new fans and briefly entertains convention-goers. Someone was kind enough to film the sequence and put it online (thank you, stranger). Since you're here, you might as well check it out:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nomadic Jazz document of mom and dad's aniversary/Izzy's b-day

Roger Fritz, rebel filmmaker and psychedelic video mage just hooked me up with a video he made of a party we had for my mom and dad's wedding aniversary, as well as my niece Isabella's birthday and her grandmother's birthday. It was a fun but fairly mundane event, except for watching Izzy eat an entire birthday cake, which was rather insane to watch, as she devoured it like a shark in a pool of blood soup. This video treat stars yours truly, the beautiful Laurelle, my sister Christine, brothers Andy and Mark, a Casilio, and the mad fool Roger himself, who seems to be wearing my hat. Go here to see more of Roger's work on the U tube. Don't forget to lose your ever lovin mind, man!

Perhaps this will be of interest to you,perhaps not,but Roger has provided me with two (yes, 2) other versions of this bizarreness, one with audible voices, but still heavy on the visual and audio effects, and one that presents, for the most part, the untouched original footage. I find it a fascinating study in the progression of his process blah blah blah just watch it, okay?

This is the one "with vocals"

And here is the "raw/uncut/savage" footage

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Murals of the Past: Me and Andy's at John and Glo's

Brother Andy and myself painted a mural in the baby's room of friends John Reitan and Gloria M. (she has a crazy last name I don't rightly know how to spell) in preparation of the coming of their new girl, Georgia. This mural never got completely finished, but it is a rare documented Ristaino bros collaboration. I did the left side over to the right side tree, Andy did the bright green tree and all the cool little characters on the right side, even following my advice to turn a smudge on the wall into a parachuting hotdog. It appears this mural was painted in late October or early November 2006.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

As Seen On TV

Hey. I know I promised a blog about the orbs in my last mural post, (for those 2 or 3 of you who've been reading these blog posts) but I wanted to post this TV pilot I hosted for my good friend Phil Armand (please check out his website). This show was created summer 2008.

Phil created this idea to enter into the New York TV pilot festival, and got some good responses from those who saw it, but unfortunately it didn't get anywhere. This hopefully will be the closest I'll get to selling my soul, in terms of content--the show is about me testing products advertised on television. I think Phil did a nice job putting the show together, it looks pretty good, moves smoothly, and there are some funny things in there. One thing of potential interest: aside from the voice-over narration, everything you see here is completely improvised. Enjoy:

Also for your perusal, I found the Net 10 commercial I made with Phil this past winter 2008:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Murals in NYC part 6 -- Root Chakra

notice anything strange on the picture above? click to enlarge.

please click images to enlarge

Yet another NYC mural that came through Chashama was this painting I did on 38th st and 8th ave in, I believe, 2005. It was created as part of a performance and art festival that was happening on or around loading docks and storefronts at least throughout the garment district if not all of Manhattan. I was supposed to create this one over the course of a weekend. What I didn't realize was that I was obligated to repaint their entire loading dock as part of the deal. I don't know how that happened but, oh well, whatayagonnado? I did end up repainting the dock yellow, white, and a lovely lime green.

What's that little floating orb on the bottom of the picture above?

The simple gist behind this image is that its a painting of a root chokra. Ideally, people would see it and have some sort of unconscious response to it, or rather, their root chokra would be activated by seeing the image. Its been difficult for me to learn to be grounded during my adult life, and I imagine other New Yorkers have the same problem, since this place is so frenetic and mental. Ideally, this imaged would inspire pedestrians to be more grounded.

Consequently, a very ungrounded thing appears in the photos of this mural: strange glowing orbs of light, floating about, nearly invisible sometimes, or glowing brightly in other shots. I will explain this phenomenon in my next non-mural related post.
Can you dig it?!

NYC Murals part 5 -- Hiphop Theatre Festival

please click images to enlarge

Here's a series of 'process' photos of the Urban Theater Arts Festival mural I co-painted on the 2nd story of Chashama's main building on 42nd st. I would later go on to paint the "One Myth" mural over this mural. Please check out the two part entry on One Myth: Part 1 and Part 2.
The building, sadly, would later go on to be destroyed. Such is the life of a mural artist in NYC.
I think this mural was done in 2002, maybe 2003, not sure.

One interesting note: the statue of liberty image was painted by Adam Matta, who is a human beat box and does paintings with his bike. Check him out at

NYC Murals part 4 -- Anita's house 2

please click on images to enlarge

The second mural I painted for Anita was downstairs in her living room. The child was now born, a little boy, and she wanted more animals, this time in some kind of ice kingdom. The interesting thing related to this particular mural goes something like this:

In the midst of creating this particular mural, I was involved with an earthshift. A what? Lemme back up.
Since around 2000, I had been studying meditation and energetic healing with the Merlins of Vortex Healing, a divine spiritual lineage re-discovered by Ric Weinman in 1994. Over the years since 2000 I had experienced some profound energies through Vortex, but perhaps the most overwhelming experience occurred in early 2005 in NYC during this earthshift. An earthshift is a healing done on a global scale by a group of wizards who have been studying Vortex Healing, facilitated by the teacher, who happens to be a Merlin. This specific earthshift was about releasing a lot of the war or violence karma in the Middle East. I won't go into the all the details of the shift, but suffice it to say that it was a very powerful energetic experience, and at the height of it, I felt a giant snakelike surge of energy rise up my spine, force my head back, and push its way out of my mouth, as if I had vomited up a giant, invisible boa constrictor.

This is me being literal, this actually happened.

Probably a day or two later (really not sure) I was painting this mural in Anita's house and listening to the Shins second album, Shutes Too Narrow, when this feeling started coming over me. I began to see the profound beauty in the music, in the painting, in my surroundings, like this all pervasive feeling that God was in the room with me and everything had this beautiful grace about it. It was quite moving.

I'm not sure if it was that night or the next morning when I realized I was sick as a dog. Sweating, aching, nose running, completely-dilapidated-type-flu-sick. I think I remained sick for about five days, pretty much staying in bed, totally laid out and wasted. It was brutal.

But perhaps on the sixth or seventh day (again, I'm really unclear on time around this event), I woke up feeling completely amazing. Something had shifted in my consciousness, and, simply put, I knew that I was God. Not that I was a part of God, or that God had come into my life, but that I was, in fact, God itself. It was a truly incredible feeling. There was so much happiness surrounding it, so much peace, so much energy and excitement. Everything looked amazing, everyone looked amazing. It was like I was in love with everything I saw. I think this sensation lasted for less than an hour. I don't remember what happened for the rest of that day, but that brief experience was rather priceless, sort of one of those unbearable lightnesses of being that mystics, holy rollers, and rock stars strive for.

Fascinating what can happen to you around painting a mural....

NYC Murals part 3 -- Anita's house

please click images to enlarge

A few years ago (2004 to early 2005) I painted two murals for Anita Durst, the ceo of Chashama, the non-profits arts organization in NYC who had previously hired me to paint a few huge murals on the second story of their main building on 42nd st between 6th ave and Broadway (which consequently has been destroyed and turned into a humongous bank). Anita was going to have a baby, and she hired me to paint the entire bedroom as a wildlife mural. We went through lots of pictures of animals she wanted to see, as well as landscapes and flowers, and eventually I painted all four walls and the ceiling. I don't think I quite finished this mural to Anita's satisfaction, but the project was so huge I would have needed more time than I had to go back and fix or finish every mistake. That said, I think for the most part, the work I did complete was pretty cool. Please check it out: