An archive gallery of images from Real Life Superheroes.org (before the big crash).
An archive gallery of images from Real Life Superheroes.org (before the big crash).
Originally posted: http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2011/10/21/phoenix-jones-to-give-talk-on-how-to-be-a-superhero/
This may be a first for Seattle’s geek community: A real live superhero is showing up at a Con to reveal the secrets behind his powers.
In the case of Seattle’s so-called superhero Phoenix Jones, it’s the clothes that make the superman.
Jones, revealed to be Seattleite Ben Fodor earlier this month, is known for patrolling the city streets — and for posing for pictures in a black and yellow costume. This weekend, he’ll join a panel at zomBcon to talk about creating an effective alter-ego persona.
Also on the panel is cosplayer Linda Le. It happens Saturday at 2 p.m., and attendants must be registered to attend the Con.
Here’s what those registered will find out from Jones:
Phoenix Jones (is) the leader of a ten-member real-life superhero group called the Rain City Superhero Movement, which operates in Seattle. He talks discussing the surper hero costume from a survival point of view and what goes into protecting yourself…even against the occasional Zombie horde.
The two talk Zombies and super heroes with Geekscapes’ Jonathan London about what goes into designing your alter ego on Saturday afternoon.
Does this mean Seattle will be overrun with aspiring superheros wearing elaborate costumes next week? Wait and see.
Originally posted: http://mynorthwest.com/284/552771/Local-superhero-Phoenix-Jones-breaks-up-bus-jacking?page=0
Listen to Seattle Super Heroes Thwart Car-Jacking
When a guy tried to steal a party bus last weekend in Belltown, it wasn’t the cops that thwarted the attempt. It was self-appointed Seattle crime fighter Phoenix Jones, his wife and sidekick Purple Reign, and their fellow costumed-colleague Myst.
Phoenix tells 97.3 KIRO FM’s John Curley Show the trio was on patrol in Belltown when they saw a guy jump on the bus and try to drive away. The driver tried to stop him and a struggle ensued. Jones jumped in.
He says he sprayed him in the face with a high powered pepper spray.
“He went down, I went to grab him and the bus starts to roll backwards. It rolls right into the middle of First and then gets nailed by an oncoming car,” Jones says.
The guy took off. Jones and team stayed behind to help.
While felony carjacking isn’t a common occurrence, fighting crime on the streets of Seattle certainly is for the trio along with the other members of the Rain City Superheroes.
“Usually there’s at least one crime per night that we intervene on, on a good night there’s three or four. Well, not a good night, but a bad night,” says Purple, clad in her black leather jacket and purple baseball cap protruding from her black ski mask covering her face.
They all remain anonymous. Phoenix wears his black and yellow helmet mask and Batman like body suit complete with sculpted abs. But underneath it’s all business: And they aren’t messing around.
“All of us are wearing bulletproofs, we’ve all taken some self defense class, we all call 911 the minute the crime happens,” says Phoenix.
The group defends its crime fighting, despite criticism from some quarters included the Seattle Police Department, who officially would rather they left it up to the pros. But they insist they are actually a help, not a hindrance.
“Recently, the cops ended up apprehending a guy that we were watching closely,” recounts Phoenix. He says they were keeping an eye on a guy who looked like he causing problems. The suspect was making advance on another man’s pregnant wife, and punched the husband in the face when he objected. The man ran off.
“I called Purple, and she had actually alerted the police for me […]the police roll in and I tell them ‘hey this is what the guy looks like, and we see the guy across the street.’ We take off, tackled him in the parking lot of a bank and the police took him out,” Phoenix says.
As for his age, Phoenix will only say he is in his early 20’s. And his speed? “Faster than most criminals,” he says.
But they use their brains as much as their brawn. The group tracks crime trends from the Seattle Police Department and patrols areas based on the data and their own intuition.
They also videotape all of their encounters. “Knowing that we have a camera guy that catches you being a criminal on tape, a lot of guys don’t like that,” Phoenix says.
Some suspect it’s all a massive stunt aimed at gaining wealth and fame. They insist they aren’t looking to get rich. But Jones admits they do need to raise some money to keep up the crime fighting. His shopping list includes a new crime fighting car and a certain kind of cell phone to help protect his identity.
“It’s very hard to roll anonymous these days,” he says.
The (Alleged) Adventures of Phoenix Jones from Village Voice Media on Vimeo.
Originally posted: http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlla/real-life-super-hero-project-peter-tangen-hbo_b39626
By Richard Horgan on September 21, 2011 2:00 PM
If you have not yet acquainted yourself with the website “The Real Life Super Hero Project,” be sure to do so now or bookmark it for perusal later.
Thanks to the fact that site founder Peter Tangen, a local photographer, is also a consulting producer on the current in-kind HBO documentary Superheroes, his efforts are generating a lot of extra publicity these days. The latest outlet to catch up with Tangen, who has snapped and documented more than 200 citizen do-gooders, is Tampa Tribune reporter Ray Reyes. Per the article:
“There are millions of people who do good in this world but the media doesn’t pay attention to them. This is the marketing of good deeds,” said Tangen…
According to Tangen’s website, [San Diego’s] Mr. Xtreme was attacked by gang members and bullied as a boy. He donned a costume to “protest against indifference in society. People are being victimized and I feel that someone has to take a stand.”
Mr. Xtreme, who has not revealed his real name to anyone, has since formed his own group, the Xtreme Justice League, which gives food and supplies to the homeless.
“Super friend’s divorce”
Or…”How Super teams are just like real relationships”
So I’m sitting in front of a client’s house today waiting for him to come home & I’m talking to one of my Super children.
“Don’t make me choose between the two of you.” Is basically what he’s saying to me and I’m reassuring him that his Super parents both love him equally & would never do anything like that to him.
That’s when it occurs to me how much my involvement with a super team has been like an actual relationship.
I met my Super partner a little over 4 years ago on the internet, we had both been in the game for over a decade (Him even longer) and it was love at first sight. He was the Batman to my Superman, The Moon-Knight to my Hyperion, The Spock to my Kirk, The Chip to my Dale, basically whatever genre you stuck us in we were the team.
At first everything was beautiful, as it is in most new relationships. A unstoppable team with vast experience in varying fields who when we put our knowledge together were completely unstoppable. Things were so great that like in a real relationship, we decided to take the next big step & tie the knot officially…
…Forming an actual legal team.
And along with that union comes more members, responsibility, stress etc. Then like in a lot of relationships, infatuation wears thin, and people start acting like people again. You get tired of your super spouse leaving their body armor on the floor, they get sick of you hanging your cape over their favorite chair, they want to fly, you want to take the nuclear powered car, then it happens…
“I think we should see other people.”
“There’s plenty of Superheroes in the sea” (Nowadays anyway) you talk to them on the internet and you travel around on “Business trips” where you actually meet up with them and while you’re away your super spouse is doing the same thing.
Then it happens.
It’s Divorce time.
If you’re lucky (And it appears I have been) you’re super spouse breaks up amicably. You go your own ways, He keeps right on protecting Gotham & you keep a watchful eye on Metropolis, you breathe a sigh of relief and get on with your life except for one small detail.
“Who gets the Super kids?”
Back when you thought it would just “last forever” or “Our star crossed Super Team will NEVER fail!” or whatever crap you told yourself the two of you decided that a great expression of your devotion would be little Supers to carry on in your name, now that it’s over…what happens to them?
Which brings me back to the beginning of the story, and reassuring one of my Super Kids that both his super parents love him equally & I could hear in his voice the strain of him wondering what the other one would think if he went & fought crime with the other one and so on & so on. I’ve decided not to fight for custody, Super kid was always closer to my Super Spouse (Both emotionally & geographically) & he’s a good influence on him. I’ll just ask for visitation on occasional weekends. Also the divorce seems to be amicable so far & I’m sure my Super Spouse will want full custody & our Super kids have been through enough already. I expect big things from my Super kid, and I’ll always be there if he needs a hand. I don’t think I could ask for much more.
So all this has lead me to the Conclusion that Super Teams work a lot like relationships. Am I right or wrong? I’m not sure.
Do I advise you to take heed of this before you decide to join or form a team? Hell yes.
Was it all worth it? Hell yes, you learn from every experience, and there were a lot of good times too.
Originally posted: http://uscombatsports.com/index.php?option=com_flexicontent&view=items&cid=241&id=9516&Itemid=336
By: Peter Lampasona
Date: 19 August 2011
In the last installment of the Problem with Self Defense editorial series, I started to discuss the recent surge in discussion over the Real Life Superhero trend in New York. Last week, HBO aired a documentary called Superheroes following members of the recent phenomenon of private citizens dressing in costumes to engage in everything from from charity work to vigilante justice. Among the groups featured in the documentary is a make-shift team of Avengers who operate out of the New York boroughs known as the NY Initiative.
In part one of this two part series*, I discussed the charity work and general positive side of these adventurous cosplayers. But the obvious problem with trying to be a Real Life Superhero comes from the part where they have to be super.
*Editor’s note: Part one can be view here.
The practice of crimefighting, as the term is used by Real Life Superheroes, is the actual intervention by one of these masked vigilantes on a violent crime in progress. Crimefighting tactics can vary from reckless self-delusion to actions that can, themselves, be defined as violent crime.
A particularly active yet relatively sane neighborhood watch can film a criminal act, call the police, and submit the video as evidence. And, to be fair, a minority of Real Life Superheroes use this tactic. This is somewhat more sensible as the police are not omniscient, but are equipped and trained to handle potentially volatile incidents with a minimal of casualty on both sides.
Members of the NY Initiative have publicly expressed negative attitudes towards local police as justification for trying to perform jobs the police are much better suited for. The sentiment that the police are either spread too thin or just don’t care is a thin veil placed over what crime fighting really is: looking to start a fight with someone no one likes so they take the blame while the trouble seeker gets to simultaneously get out his aggressions and feel like he did a good deed.
I used to do the same thing as a maladjusted youth (going in to maladjusted adulthood) with surly drunks at public gatherings. And even though I was also intentionally putting myself in situations where someone with an itch to do something violent would appear to be the aggressor, it didn’t make me a hero so much as an asshole who would one day get shot going down that road.
The most egregious example of this danger seeking was featured both in the documentary and on multiple articles about the NY Initiative. It is a practice they refer to as “bait patrol.”
One member of the team, usually a woman known as T.S.A.F. or an openly gay man who goes by Zimmer, will intentionally dress like a victim. T.S.A.F. will dress provocatively with an exposed purse or Zimmer will assume another identity of a hilariously offensive gay stereotype. They will then walk the streets of Brooklyn at 3 A.M. hoping to have a run in with a mugger, rapist, or gay basher.
When this violent encounter comes, or so goes the plan as I was unable to confirm if they ever got their wish of being attacked, they signal the rest of the team who are riding a block away on skateboards to come to the rescue.
There are so many problems with this practice it’s upsetting to have to put it in print. First, if the real intent was to deter violent crime, the Superheroes would come out in full regalia, let everyone know they are there, and hopefully make anyone with the thought of committing a violent crime view the neighborhood being patrolled as too hard a target.
Bait patrols are not crime prevention. They are spoiling for a fight.
Whether or not the bait patrol is technically entrapment is up for debate. However, it is certainly violent vigilantism and even more demonstrably stupid.
How long does it take for a team of Superheroes to skateboard a city block? How long can the physically smallest and weakest member of the team, dressed in clothes that intentionally restrict movement and ability to protect oneself from harm, fend off an unknown number of potentially armed attackers without serious injury?
I’d wager the answer to those questions are two different numbers.
It seems purely a side note at this point, but the two common people used as bait are really bad at fighting. Not that any amount of martial skill can guarantee safety in the bait scenario, but what sparring video and open-mat accounts of their training exists indicate that T.S.A.F. and Zimmer are terrible at unarmed violence.
Though, the existence of open-mat accounts show that they’re not above trying to convince themselves that they are fighters for a few hours a week at various gyms.
That is where the worlds of Superheroes, “self defense,” and martial arts cross: the ass kicking fantasy.
Visualizing the physical destruction of generic evil doers to either right wrongs or feel like the world is a safer place is a smooth and sexy feeling. It is a feeling of control: that the hero is the one imposing his will on the situation rather than the bad guy. And, like all control, it is a fantasy.
In my career as a sports writer I have had the privilege of meeting and sometimes training with some of the best athletes on the planet. These people’s skill, physical prowess, and dedication have turned them into something that seems more than a mere human. And all those athletes are killed just as dead by two bullets in the chest and one in the head.
Even the most intelligent and practical means of self protection, which are almost always absent from self defense fantasy, are playing a numbers game. The best methods are all built around avoiding trouble or recognizing and quickly escaping from it. And, if someone takes the most sensible measures to avoid harm, there’s a better than average chance he will lead a safe and happy life, free of violence, until disease or old age eventually kills him.
Or he could be killed by a stray bullet from an incident too far away for him to have possibly observed.
If you are reading this article the odds are that you are alive. This also means that there is a chance, no matter how small, that at any given moment you can die. And so can anyone you know who is also alive.
Playing the odds is the best you can do. And no amount of costumed gallantry used to disguise impotent rage at this fact can change it. Certainly beating up some malnourished crack head feels awfully potent, but in the end there will always be more danger.
A watchful and protective community group is only working if it is deterring violent crime from happening in its neighborhood, not provoking it or trying to physically fight it.
Grim is the newest recruit to the XJL, he only started patrolling with us last saturday, he says that he has been doing this off and on for a while now, in his words: “he’s done it a coupla times” on the east coast. but he has decided to join our ranks. He wears blue, which is great variety in the XJL color scheme, which is red, green, and a lot of brown and black. Anyway, he joined me for the gaslamp patrol (as I always get there before anyone else) so I explained to him a few of the things we do on gas lamp patrols, and what to expect. Sure enough, we come across a situation. Down the street we see a guy down on the ground and a bunch of people surrounding him. I’m not sure what is going on, so I switch on my shoulder cam to record anything that may or may not go on. I’ve been mentally training myself to do this as I always forget to do when entering a situation, defeating the whole purpose of the camera! below is the video I recorded of the situation we encountered:
We continued about our way after I shut the camera off. I approached an officer around the block and told him about what had happened. he said he’d heard about it, and we went on our way.
continuing to walk down fifth ave. where all the clubs are, we saw a fire engine going down the street, they announced from their PA system: ‘URBAN AVENGER!” I gave them a big wave and kept on walking.
I think that has to be the single coolest thing I’ve ever encountered on patrol. Being given a personal shout out on PA system. Later on after everyone else showed up and the patrol was starting coming to an end, we came across a bicycle cop who thanked us for breaking up the fight earlier, and that they appreciated what we did, and to keep up the good work. props from a cop, that was awesome.
the entire patrol went really well, aside from those two instances it was a pretty standard patrol. Grim has quickly proven himself a valuable asset to the team and the XJL is very fortunate to have him with us. He proved himself quickly as calm and collected in a hairy situation, and came out on top.