Archive for June, 2013

The Mermaid Parade where I wore my costume, Part 2.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Fiddler crab!

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Super-cool group of girls. I didn’t see them strut their stuff, but I hear they were great.

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This guy. It took me a while to notice the crotch-tentacles.

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Some antique cars. Apparently before the people march, antique cars roll down the street.

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Oh dear. I don’t think this guy knew a parade was going on.

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This woman had two mermaid tails like the Starbucks logo.

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I really liked this woman’s costume. Very clever.

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Body paint and a thong.

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The most intense quadra-boob in the history of quadra-boob.

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Some Russian women and a little girl in a sailor suit. That is some impressive underpant-showing.

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This is a group photo of everyone who was standing in our basic area. So many colors! So jaunty!

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There were some costumes that really caught my eye as spectacular/horrifying/both. One was the drag queen / anemone.

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He had a companion lungfish. Here’s a picture of them posing together.

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And here’s someone else’s photo where you can appreciate the lungfishy-ness of the lungfish.

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Here is a lady in a nautilus costume. I believe nautilii are a perfect example of the absence of intelligent design. They are basically octopuses in giant snail shells, and they swim backwards, unable to see where they are going. That there is some dumb design. I love them anyway.

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Also this amazing octopus-man. My picture and someone else’s picture:

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These two guys. Wow. One guy was wearing a leopard-print Borat bathing suit. The other one was wearing a rope with a sparkly codpiece… and nothing else.

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Here are some other people’s pictures where you can really, ahem, appreciate the front.

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Edward Scissorhands and A Hedge!

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The most unhappy lobster I have ever seen. That man made this expression all day. Like a sad-face emoticon. :(

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Adored the seagull-man. Brilliant costume.

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Here are pics of me get interviewed for the news. So exciting.

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When I marched, people cheered at me:

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And took photos of me:

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My dad was there! And he cheered for me! It was most heartening.

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And my dad’s freaky doppelganger was also there! He was there last time I went as well. According to others, he goes to all the parades. With his parrot and his dog.

Here’s last time’s photo:

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And here’s this time’s photo:

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And these were my favorite bystanders. That is some fine whale-tail.

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And finally, the piece de resistance. I did not apply adequate sunscreen, and when I got home, I looked like this:

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I call this “Poor Choices Theater.” It hurts SO MUCH. I’m going to get through it. Next year if I go to the Mermaid Parade (purely to watch) I am wearing a bedsheet with two holes cut out for eyes like a ghost.

The Mermaid Parade where I wore my costume, Part 1.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

You remember that costume I made for Burning Man? The one that I sweated and toiled over for about a year? And then Burning Man was too dusty? And during Halloween we had a massive storm? Well, The Mermaid Parade came around this year and I finally, FINALLY got to rock my costume. And rock it I did. I got on the news, people! I got on the news, and not as an innocent bystander or a suspected burglar but for a positive thing! That’s not how I expected that to go at all. Okay, we’re gonna take it from the top.

Here’s the Wikipedia page on the Mermaid Parade, in case you are unfamiliar with what it is and how it is structured.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coney_Island_Mermaid_Parade

And here is a previous entry of mine when I was a spectator on the boardwalk.

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2010/06/22/mermaid-parade/

I went there with Nessa and since she wanted to march too I made her a costume as well. I put silver fish all over a dress, made a silver fish tiara, and with the remaining fabric I made a silver cape that said “Sardine Queen” on it in red sparkly letters. She look mahvelous.

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However, for the first time in maybe ever, I was the belle of the ball. As I approached the registration area, I was MOBBED by photographers like I was on a red carpet. All of them were saying things like, “Over here! Over here ma’am! Right here! Ma’am!” etc. And every time I walked about ten feet for the rest of the day, I got asked to have my photo taken. People were freaking out. It was gratifying because it was for something I had created. And confusing because I am unaccustomed to fame and the trappings therein. I’ve never had people gawk right at me like that.

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I felt like a Disney character. “Holy crap, there’s Donald Duck! Quick kids, go pose for a picture with Donald!”

Nessa and I got there early because the website said to get there early. We took a cab from her apartment in Astoria which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but I had already gone through the process of pinning my hat on, so I had to crouch in a weird position for the thirty-minute ride. Nessa thought that was charming and took a picture of me. I was less thrilled. Feel my joy.

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We got our wristbands and our number and lined up to go on out onto Surf Avenue. I didn’t get to see the parade because they had the participants corralled on a dead-end street. It’s a good system considering anyone can participate. The number they give you when you register is a three-digit number that starts with 1 through 9. I was 711, for example. Then there are giant posterboard numbers stuck all along the fence in increments – 500, 600, 700, and so on. I stood in the 700 section. A man with a loudspeaker kept us updated on when to march forward. That’s it. Super-easy. And everyone was really friendly in the 700 block. Here’s some of the people heading towards the registration area.

My lobster pal:

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The fish crossing guard (the other side of his sign said “swim!”)”

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This lady:

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This off-putting person:

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I don’t know what was going on with this guy. There was a group called “The Book of Mermen” (GET IT???) and this guy marched with them. What he or she has to do with either sea-dwellers or followers of Joseph Smith, I do not know.

Here’s one of the Mermen.

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And here is someone else’s photo of the leader of The Book of Mermen. Please note the narwhal hat.

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The twins (they were very nice and not creepy at all):

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And all these people:

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We walked past Nathan’s, which was packed to the gills. (Fish reference! Mermaid Parade! Hooray!)

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Next door, merfolk were snackin’ on foods and beers.

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I walked past a pile of glitter on the ground and said, “Oh look, a fairy barfed.” There were many fairy barfings around town.

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A float with angry drag queens on it:

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And this creeptacular bit of parenting.

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I don’t know if this person made this hermit crab costume or rented it. I don’t care. This is awesome.

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This was weird – this flatbed truck was covered with that plastic that mimics ice, and a kid was ice-skating on it. Ummm, she could fall off the edge, did no one think of that? Maybe some kind of bumper guard or fence for her?

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We walked past this sign. In case you can’t read the whole thing, it says, “The Greater Eternal Light Church of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. Christ Temple.” Your church’s name doesn’t need to have all the words ever in it. It is not a Google search.

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This guy had some kind of electric fan built into his helmet so bubbles just kept perpetually pouring out. It was delightful.

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This woman’s upper body is covered by body paint and glitter. That’s it.

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There were these people milling around the 700 block.

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There were a group of people rehearsing a dance number.

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There was this fella workin’ an American Flag Speedo and a necklace made of syringes. Because who the hell knows. You’re going to notice that trend, the “Wuh…Why?” reaction.

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Metrocard dress!

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This is Mr. Flamingo Hat talking to Loki from the Avengers with a crab claw staff. I really enjoyed typing that.

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All the Avengers were there with fishy paraphernalia stuck all over themselves.

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There was the Gotham Beard Alliance.

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I seriously believe the orange-haired girl is rockin’ a real beard. And I must say, she wears it well.

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A dress made of straws.

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There was “Wet Side Story”, Sharks vs. Nets.

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Sea Monkeys on unicycles!

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I made friends with this lady but between my antennae and her blowfish boobs, we could not embrace. We just stood adjacent to each other.

 

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There was this dog with blue feet who did not wish to be there.

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And these chihuahuas dressed as mermaids.

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A young girl on stilts!

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Oh dear. This guy. I’m undecided if he’s amazing or crazy.

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Here’s someone else’s picture.

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Tomorrow, we continue on this journey of New York’s wacky and wonderful art parade.

Summer approaches and charts are in bloom.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I have some charts and one helpful tweet. Please enjoy.

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Lumen 2013.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

My co-worker X told me about an art festival on Staten Island this past Saturday. He sent me a link. Here’s what it said:

http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/lumen-a-staten-island-art-festival

Now, doesn’t that sound kind of interesting? And look at that neat picture in the article. Armed with this description, I headed out to Staten Island for the first time in my 36 years of living in this area and went to go hang out in an empty pool with a bunch of other artsy New Yorkers. I rode the ferry, which was delightful, and walked over to the pool with my pal G. I should have been prepared for what entailed when, during the walk over, I noticed we were completely surrounded by hipsters. I have a real problem with people who like things ironically. Either you like something or you don’t, but don’t pretend to like things that are terrible in order to appear cool. That should have been the tipoff. Shortly after arriving at the pool, we took a stroll around to get a sense of the place. I have to say, the facilities were beautiful. Here’s a bit of history:

Joseph H. Lyons Pool, the largest public pool on Staten Island, was built in 1936. Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Lyons Pool was one of eleven pools that opened throughout New York City in a single summer during the Great Depression. The pools were among the most remarkable public recreational facilities in the country and represented the forefront of design and technology. The main pool measures 165 feet long and 100 feet wide, while both the wading and diving pools are 100 feet by 68 feet. The pool is designed to accommodate 2,800 bathers at a time; during the first summer, crowds averaged 5,707 people each day. The influence of the WPA pools extended throughout entire communities, attracting aspiring athletes and neighborhood children, and changing the way millions of New Yorkers spent their leisure time.

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There were levels with gardens and round turreted brick buildings throughout. We got there before the sun had set, so many people were still setting up.

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Now, here’s the deal, and hate me if you want to, but this is how I feel. I’ve complained about the word “artist” and this was a prime example of that precise point. Everyone wants to be interesting and creative, but not everyone has talent. There were maybe forty exhibits and almost all of them were projectors projecting odd movies onto walls. One was a movie of a woman in a room filled with balls holding a birthday cake in front of a goat. Later in the movie she was brushing its fur.

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I was mostly disappointed. There were so many missed opportunities. First, let’s talk about what the word “lumen” means. According to Wikipedia, a lumen can be thought of a measure of the total amount of visible light in some defined beam or angle, or emitted from some source. Okay, so within the concept of light, this excludes fire, so no fire-breathers or fireworks or anything like that. It would probably be dangerous with the public all over the place anyway. So that leaves bulbs and LEDs and glowsticks. So aside from projectors, why was there no one doing something in the style of Indonesian shadow puppets? And there was such limited use of LEDs, or Christmas lights. I would loved to have seen a flock of something lit up wandering around in a group, like a group of snails with glowing shells, instead of most of the pieces being so sedentary. We live in New York, for crying out loud, there are costume designers, fashion designers, window decorators, set designers, sculptors galore. After going to Burning Man and seeing the truly amazing things there*, it was difficult to see such a limited palette of styles within a subject.And then there were performance artists. God almighty, I hate performance artists. They’re often unnecessarily naked, they use food as part of the performance, and the food never goes in their mouths. I remember the first time I encountered performance art. When I was about eight, my mother took me to see Urban Bush Women. They were a company of African-American women who did all kinds of authentic African dance as well as other kinds. It was all going well and good, and then somewhere near the end one of the dancers came out alone on the stage and said she wanted to do a piece on her feeling on slavery. She stood under a single spotlight topless with a carton of eggs. And then, in complete silence, she smashed the eggs on her breasts and rubbed them all over. For twenty minutes. In complete silence. When she finished, she was crying and everyone clapped. I slowly turned to face my mother and she looked at me in abject horror and said, “I am so sorry.” Ever since then I don’t care for performance art. My hackles, they rise. And this didn’t change my feelings. There was a large man in his underpants wearing smeared white face paint yelling and throwing individual slices of bologna.

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Then he lay on the ground alternately shrieking and woefully singing “Vacation, all I ever wanted, vacation, had to get away…” I wanted to punch everyone in the world.

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There was also a man wearing a wig, a hazmat suit and a ladies’ bathing suit crawling laps slowly in the pool. Back and forth for six hours.

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There was this woman sitting perfectly still in an uncomfortable position for a really long time at the top of a flight of stairs.

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And there was a woman in a tub full of foam scooping it up with her hands and blowing it around. Also for six hours.

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Not to belabor the point, but just because you shine a light on yourself doing some weird stuff doesn’t make it relevant to the Lumen concept. I’m sorry, I’m done complaining. There were a few things that were actually really well-done and well-designed. For example, the cicada. The cicada had a bicycle hooked up to an electrical thingie underneath it, and if you pedaled, the wings went up and down and the legs lit up.

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And there were men laying like a clock. They had a sound system that clicked off sixty seconds and then made a soft “ding” and the men knew to move ever so slightly over. I checked my iPhone a bunch of times and these guys were right on the mark.

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There was a projector into the pool showing a blobby water pattern and a small girl was running around in it, utterly delighted by its perpetually changing shape.

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Then the pattern changed to something more square, and the little girl was devastated. She just crumpled up into a silent sadness pile in the middle of her former beloved light source. It was very dramatic. Her mother, standing next to me bemusedly watching all this go down, said the quote of the night, “That is some Tilda Swinton sh*t.”

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There was a pool of what appeared to be milk, and a projector shone down on it with geometric patterns in fun colors. The children were splashing around in it with glee. These photos were taking before the glee-splashing commenced.

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There was one station that used 3D glasses.

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And there was a deep pool that hasn’t been open for 28 years (“too many floatuhs” said the security guard) and there was about a foot and a half of stagnant water with algae and weeds growing in it. A bald man with a flowing red robe spent a good while slowly crossing this deep pool using two white stools. It was quite hypnotizing.

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And someone made a crashing wave sculpture out of chicken wire and gauze, then shone a blue light on it from two angles. It was ethereal.

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I do not regret going, there was enough cool things to experience and the weather was sumptuous. I would go again if it was better curated, less projectors and more alternative approaches. And, I got to ride the ferry, twice! I loved it. I found it humorous that the pillars of the ferry port on the Staten Island side was painted like the pillars in Sephora. The black and white striped pillars are the iconic look of Sephora. I don’t know who the ferry folk thought they were foolin’, but I knew better. This was no Sephora. The dumpsters is what gave it away. That, and the complete lack of eyeshadow.

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*Like these.

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Painted shoes.

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I decided that I could use some super-cool painted sneakers. There has been a rebirth in awesome painted sneakers recently, and gosh darnit if I can’t get on that bandwagon. I went to Target and got some basic warm gray canvas sneakers and proceeded to make them jaunty and glittery.

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The toes and the heels are sparkly and glittery blue, and I dyed the laces to match. And then there’s red glitter all around the edges and seams. So exciting!

I went to Etsy to see other painted sneakers and like anything else, most are eh, some are good and a few are great.  Like these painted by MichelleHandPainted:

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And these absolute stunners by ShelleyBelleShop:

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These are $500. If they didn’t go on my feet and would therefore be tracked through the mud and be ruined, I would snap them up immediately. So beautiful.

 

JR jr’s mural, Part DONE.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I finished it! I banged it out this weekend because the baby is a-comin’ in a week or so and I cannot be painting around a newborn and its weird sleep habits. So I buckled down like an adult-type person and it is finished. I finished the bunnies and woodpecker last week and (quick recap pics):

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And now the owl has feet, the cardinals are red with mustard-colored beaks, and there’s a squirrel with a swirly tail.

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Plus, I did the fox all in one day! He’s on the wall right next to the door.

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I even hid a small painted version of a dead mouse behind the bureau for them to find one day. Full service, that’s me.

Nature be CRAY.

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

1. Giant hot-pink slugs in Australia. Because Australia.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/giant-pink-slugs-australia-mountaintop_n_3365306.html

2. 10,000-year-old frozen mammoth starts bleeding red blood. Now they want to clone it. Ummmm, did no one see Jurassic Park? Like, all the way to the end?

http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_05_29/Russian-mammoths-skin-starts-to-bleed-2795/

3. Oh, you want to swim with beluga whales in sub-zero-tempurature water? You gotta get nekkid first. Belugas don’t like clothes.

http://optimistworld.com/Scientist-Natalia-Avseenko-dives-naked-Russia-beluga-whales/

And, as a bonus, here are beautiful designs shaved into the pelt of a camel.

http://designtaxi.com/news/352564/In-India-Camels-Get-Designer-Tattoos/