on tarot shoots and other miscellaeny...

Jack of Swords
Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
Obligatory plug: If you haven't yet, go vote in my annual sexiest woman alive contest. It won't take much time and it should be fun.

So the Maverick Tarot project (some pics, NSFW) is well underway. I've been using a mixture of friends of mine and models, but I think its going well. I actually have quite a great deal of the 78 cards planned out, but I still need more people to pose for them. So if you're interested, please let me know.

For everyone who volunteered before so long as they could be a specific card, I just want to make it clear that all the major arcana cards are nude. In the minor arcana, the wardrobe's vary by suit:
  • Swords: Goth, Punk, Club or Fancy clothes
  • Staffs: Preppy, Trendy or Biz Casual clothes
  • Cups: Urban, Hipster, Street or Hiphop clothes
  • Coins: Formal and Dressy clothes
  • Major: Nudes and Implied Nudes
It actually gets even more complicated than that, once you get into my ideas for each indivudual card, and each suit is in a different artistic stle, hence the cartoony, illustration style of Shiima on the pic for this post, but that gives you the baseline I am working from.

Oh, and I'm looking for a couple props. I need a set of balance scales (which I think atraxen said before he might have). And I need some interesting staffs. Does anyone have cool canes I can borrow? And what I really would love to borrow would be a really ornate spear. Anyone have one of those? And if you have ideas for different types of coins that show up well in photos, let me know there too. That's the most problematic of the suits.

So the photography is going well. I'm actually feeling more confident about being able to finish this project and maybe even sell it one day. I wish my day job hunt was going better. In the meantime. If anyone wants to hire me to do portraits or headshots, I could totally use the work and extra. So let me know if you are in need (or know someone who is).

In the meantime, I've been booked up pretty well with photoshoots for this thing, but I'm still going to need more (78 cards is a lot). So who wants to help me out sometime soon?

And oh yeah, please go vote in my survey. I want a nice big turn out like last year so we can hopefully get some interesting results.
Being Maverick

on the sexiest women alive (2007)...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
About a year ago, I was having a conversation with people about the annual sexiest women/men alive surveys that a lot of magazines do. . I decided to run my own version of the contest on my blog. I gave people one week to vote on who they believe the top 10 sexiest women in the world were. I used a weighted scoring system. If you ranked a woman #10 she got one point. #9 gave her two points. And so on, all the way up to #1 which was worth ten points. In all 437 votes were collected on 53 ballots for 218 women and as I had predicted we ended up with a Top 10 Sexiest Women that was quite similar to the ones being offered by Maxim, FHM, and Stuff magazines, but different as well.

My version of the list was so successful and good in fact, that I managed to drive the US version of FHM magazine out of business. (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

Now, I'm doing it again. I'd like the survey to be even more successful this year, so I figure I might as well get votes from all my flickr friends as well. So here's what I need you to do: Just pick ten and list them in order. Voting closes at 12:01AM eastern on Tuesday, May 22nd. I'll tabulate the results and post them.

Oh, and tell all your friends to come vote too. This should be fun.

on MPAA ratings...

beststephi and I were at a party the other day and I got into a discussion with people about MPAA ratings. What do they mean? Where do they come from?

I was surprised to find out how little people knew about the movie ratings. Most people seemed to think there were specific guidelines of how a movie recieved a certain rating, which I suppose is not that unreasonable an expectation, but is also completely false.

Much like the FCC's guidelines, which I also hate, the MPAA guidelines are entirely arbitrary and pretty much vary from one case to the next. They are based on a "reasonable person" principal, however the obvious problem is that what one person think is reasonable is completely different than what another person thinks.

I guess most people don't realize that a movie rating says the rational right under it. If you look next to the PG-13 or R or whatever, it will say why the film got the rating it did. My favorite of all time is Two Girls and a Guy which was "Rated NC-17 for a scene of explicit sexuality." I love that movie. I've seen it a dozen times at least. I must note that it has no nudity. It has no drug use. No one gets violently shot on screen. What it does have is a single scene where Heather Graham and Robert Downey Jr. have a quickee against the wall in his darkly lit bedroom. No naughty bits are exposed. It all just pantomimed thrusting, kissing and licking. They're not even in their underwear at the time. It's an unzip the pants and hike up the skirt moment In all seriousness, I have seen much more graphic sex on daytime soap operas. What it does have, that the soaps don't, is fuck noises. Not gentle loving moans and gasps. No, it angry grunts and dirty talk. You know... kinda like real sex. In fact, I'd argue it may be one of the most realistic sex scenes ever filmed. Or maybe I should say not filmed, because you never actually see much of anything. But it was given an NC-17 because Graham and Downey know how to act. Or at least, they know what good fucking sounds like.

I've found that a lot of ratings systems follow arbitrary systems like this. Flickr recently implemented a self rating system for photos that are uploaded. We are instructed to mark our photos as "Safe," "Moderate," or "Restricted." However, there's no real guidelines of what constitutes what, other than to state that Safe is safe, Restricted is stuff "you wouldn't want your mom to see." and moderate is for stuff inbetween. But what do you do if your mom is cool. My mom is very cool, and in fact reads my blog and looks at all of my pictures on flickr, and I'm pretty sure she's seen naked people before then in any case. So does that mean I can just mark everything Safe?

What about the picture I included on this post. Is it ok? Is it worksafe? Obviously its sexual. But it specifically and intentionally doesn't show any naughty bits at all. In fact, when I took this shot, I took care to not make it at all obvious where hands were or what was going on. I think the imagination takes it a lot farther. So what should the rating be on it? What about in the MPAA system? Do you think its worksafe yourself? How do you arrive at that conclusion?

Last week, Steph and I watched a great documentary called This Film Is Not Yet Rated. It explores the MPAA and filmratings, albeit from a biased, very pro-filmmaker, anti-MPAA point-of-view, but its quite good. But it poses an interesting question. How useful are the ratings anyway. If they're more or less arbitrary, and no one understands what they mean, then are they actually useful to anyone? Does anyone reading this actually pay attention to film-ratings? Do you use them to decide what to view for yourself? What about for your children? Do you read the little blurbs about why a film is rated how it is?

I'm sure I had other thoughts on this as well, but I'm actually starting to get tired, so i'm going to sleep. But I'd love to know people's feelings on this.

on building a home studio...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
So I've obviously been doing a lot of photography lately. In doing so, I've converted a room of my house to a fully functional studio. However, I know a lot of people who are in to photography that don't have that luxury. This was originally posted to a flickr group that I read, but jameel asked that I crosspost it here for easy reference for him and in case anyone else wanted to know what I was using before I got my better lights. So here you go. I'd love to know if anyone finds this helpful or anything people would change.

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Also, I finally put up a personal website a couple weeks ago at So if people have always wanted to link to my a Mav website or wanted to comment on stuff, there it is. It has links to a lot of my photography and stuff like that.

on photoshoots...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
I guess this is late notice, but what the hell.

I've been looking to do some photoshoots because 1) I am bored, 2) my wrestling show on Sunday got cancelled and 3) I need some tarot project stuff. Since this is Carnival weekend at CMU, I figure some people who aren't normally in town might be. So does anyone want to pose for some photos on Saturday or Sunday? (people who live in Pittsburgh are welcome too of course)

Let me know.
Being Maverick

on strippers and singing...

Carmen Electra
because I can't take my own
pics in strip clubs.
I had been meaning to write this earlier in the week, but life got in the way. And I totally wish that I was allowed to take pictures in strip clubs, because I totally would have a 365mav picture with me singing Bareoke to go with this post, but since I didn't please enjoy this here picture of Carmen Electra, the future former Mrs. Maverick, pole dancing. I know I do.

So anyway, I've had the opportunity to talk about the concept of strip clubs with a few people lately. I find the varying attitudes towards them amusing. Particularly from women, but even from men. I've heard arguments that going to a strip club is essentially cheating and i've heard arguments that its harmless fun. One female friend of mine recently said to me "what's the big deal? I mean, its no different than looking at porn, right? All men look at porn." (let me just point out that this particular girl is beyond awesome) While another friend told me just tonight that her husband wasn't allowed to go because "he has me, what more could he want. I'm willing to strip for him if he wants, and I even have the shoes." (said girl is also totally awesome). Still another perfectly awesome girl has given me the argument that she is against them because she considers them "explotive to women because the men are in control and treating them like objects." Of the three women I just mentioned only one has ever actually been to a strip club (the second one) and only once. So in my opinion, its all just conjecture and speculation, but still they are all valid points worth examining, I think.

I'm obviously in the first camp. But then I'm a hypersexual, superliberal, anarchist afro-chinaman who worships Jay-Z as a god, so, you know, my opinions on these things can be a little skewed sometimes. But in general, I'm of the opinion that how a woman (or a man for that matter) chooses to earn a living is their own damn business. If you can make a buck by shaking your thang, then more power to you. I don't consider it cheating or even insulting to your SO because, no, its not enough. Life is about variety sometimes. For instance, I think beststephi is incredibly gorgeous. Honestly, I'm shallow, that's probably one of the reasons I fell for her in the first place. But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy looking at someone else as well (as I enjoy looking at Ms. Carmen over there). I think its quite similar to the fact that I really enjoy talking to Steph because I think she's incredibly bright. (I'm shallow, that's probably one of the reasons I fell for her in the first place). But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy talking to any of the rest of you as well.

And I don't consider it exploitive because, well, I've been to strip clubs, and its pretty much been my experience that the girls are the ones in control. And I'm pretty sure that the girls choose to be there. I mean, yes, they are being paid to provide amusement with their bodies. But I'm a prowrestler. I get paid for the same thing. Really, I think some of the software design jobs I've taken are far far far more exploitive than any of that. I think Walmart is more exploitive than a strip club. But I shop there too.

But as always, I'm quite curious to entertain other people's arguments. How do you feel about strip clubs? Do you frequent them? Are you against them? Do consider then art or are all we sinners going to Hell? Have you ever even been to one? How do you feel about your SO going to one? What do you think about the women who work at them? What about a male strip club? Do you feel the same way?

I've been itching to go back to the Tennyson Lodge for Bareoke since I was there for a bachelor party weeks ago, and max1975 and I were talking about taking a trip out there when I get back from Boston. So either on Wednesday the 11th or Friday the 13th of April. Would anyone like to come with us? It'd be great. Call it field research or just good fun. AOL and SPIN magazine both consider it the best Karaoke in Pittsburgh and its really fun. Wed. seems like a fun day because the bar is emptier and you get more chances to get on stage, but of course, most people have to work on Thursdays, but it's totally worth it. Friday of course doesn't have that problem, but the club has a lot more people in it, so you don't get to sing as much and it might be more intimidating to people who've never gone before.

Oh yes, and of course both women and men are welcome. As one of the dancers explains it, its a quite "couples friendly" club.

So who's in?

on comparing art...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
So, in the midst of my 365 Days project (avaliable for viewing on LiveJournal at 365mav - cheap plug), I got into a discussion as to what the better movie is between Scarface and The Matrix. I am of the opinion that while I am actually a big fan of the first Matrix film but I'd argue that Scarface is the better movie. Matrix is of course very enjoyable, but at the end of the day is just a REALLY GOOD sci-fi/aciton pic. Scarface on the other hand I'd argue is a more DEFINITIVE example of an crime/action drama.

It's not about which movie you or I like better, that's a completely separate issue. Personal tastes come into view. I'd argue that there are specific quantitative aspects by which one can judge art. I always think its funny when someone mentions a singer, like say Jessica Simpson and calls her untalented. That's obviously untrue, she's quite talented (even beyond the obvious assets in front of her). She's not the MOST talented of course, but she's clearly a superior singer to say Ozzy Osborne, The fact that I may like Ozzy's music better doesn't change that. I'd say it's the same with writers or painters or movie makers and their works.


Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
Now in this specific case I'd argue that Scarface is extremely well written and executed. Even though 24 years later, its kind of dated looking, it's still the kind of work that you could teach a class around. A screenwriting class, an acting class, a directing class or even just a film appreciation class. Matrix on the other hand is only 8 years old at this point and already doesn't stand up that way, in my view. I very much enjoy it, but I also huge fan of Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. I just wouldn't go so far as to call it high art or anything.

So that's my question for this week. How do you judge art? Is it fair to even compare two works? Can you separate whether you like a movie from whether or not its good or not? Does it even make sense to do so? What about other arts? Books? Songs? Even sports teams?

Wow, I know I've been posting less lately as my 365 project has taken up more of my time. But it really feels as though I'm not quite being angry enough either. Maybe I should work on that.

on the Maverick Tarot

V. The Empress
Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
I finally started working on my Tarot deck. I have finished two cards. Only 78 more to go.

I have some ideas about some of the cards, and I have a nice long list of people who have agreed to model, but before I go any further I'm going to need to plan ahead an work out some details. So if you're interested in posing, you could help me out by filling out the following little questionnaire.

I am still of course looking for other people, so if you know someone who would be interested, send them my way.

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I'm still not going to promise anyone any specific card (especially since it turns out that like most people request like the same 10 cards, and no one asks for the other 68) but I did write down when people requested a certain card.

Oh, also let me know when you're going to be around to shoot. Thanx.

on poetry and perviness...

How Do You Make Love to a Black Woman?
I wonder if this painting has a real name
Haven't been writing much here lately. I've been preocuppied with my 365 Days project (available through the feed at 365mav). But I saw something on the news today that made me want to rant a little.

So, apparently a local Pittsburgh teacher has been suspended with pay after a mother complained when her 14 year old daughter brought home a poem that the teacher had given her entitled How Do You Make Love to a Black Woman". The daughter claims that the teacher called her into his office after class and gave her the poem. It upset her, so she took it home and showed her mother who went with her to the principal and demanded that the teacher be fired.

The poem is printed below for your easy perusal:
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Now, I'm not going to go so far as to claim that what the teacher did was appropriate. But I do have a bit of a problem with how the media handled it. The story was sensationalized to sound like this was the biggest tragedy of all time. There are wars going on. There's global warming. Anna Nicole is dead and Britney is insane. We have real problems here, people.

The news only printed two lines from the poem, claiming that the rest of it was too scandalous. But I knew I vaguely remembered hearing it before, and a simple google search found it for me. Is it really THAT scandalous? I guess the word penis is in it. I'll grant that the guy probably was up to shenannigans when he called the girl into his office alone, but they were saying they felt it was inappropriate for the poem to be distributed (and to really drive the point home, the mother photocopied it a bunch of times and gave them out to all the parents in the neighborhood... I am not making this up). What would people have thought if he had assigned the poem to the entire class? They claimed that the poem was and I quote "graphic language even for adults, and especially for children." Is it any more sexually deviant than Romeo and Juliet (which I'm pretty sure i had to read by 7th grade)? Or is it that the woman in the poem is black? Do
black women not make love?

Also, did anyone actually read the poem? It's not even about fucking. It's about being sensitve and listening to the woman. The only reason they even mention penis is to say that its not the most important part of lovemaking.

So, I'm curious as to how people feel about this issue. Is the news overstating it, or am I just too jaded to realize how awful that poem really is? How would you feel if your daughter was given this to read by a teacher? What if the whole class was? How young is too young to discuss sexual literature in an English class? Is it more acceptable if the literature is a "classic?" Like I said, I certainly read Romeo and Juliet that young, and there's tons of sexual overtones in that. And I know we were assigned books with explicit sex in 9th grade when I was 14 (the same age as this girl). So how young is too young?

Of course, this is all just silly. Everyone knows that kids are already fucking their teachers by the time they're 13.

on help with photo projects...

Liz with sword
Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
So I've been doing more and more photography lately. Obviously I have my 365 Days project (available for LJ viewing through the 365mav syndicate -- cheap plug). But I've also been shooting lots of lovely ladies lately. Mostly I've just been attempting to approve my skill and my portfolio, but doing so has given me an idea for a photo project.

And I need your help. Or at least the help of 78 people.

What I would like to do is shoot a tarot deck. Or at least make a photo set representing every card of the tarot. I haven't decided for sure whether every shot would feature a person (for instance, I might want to do something else for the World or the Tower) but I'm certainly going to need people for a great deal of them.

So who wants to model for me? I've asked this before of course, but never with a specific point. Now I kind of have one. I kind of don't want anyone to pose for more than one card, so I really am going to need a lot of people. So whether you've posed for me before or not. Whether you're male or female. Whether you even know me. If you're interested, please comment here and let me know. And hey, if you know someone else who I don't know and you think they'd like to do it, please send them to comment here as well. Its not like I have a shortage of spots.

I'm not specifically planning out who is what card yet (because obviously, I don't have any volunteers), but if you have a specific card you'd like to be (or a few options) feel free to mention that down here as well.

This should be exciting and fun. So does anyone want to help me out?