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Rev Jen

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Why 'Elf Girl' is Extremely Important

Posted: 11/03/11 05:14 PM ET

I know what you're thinking - "Reverend Jen wrote Elf Girl! She shouldn't be allowed to review it and call it important." But the truth is that I'm highly critical of my own work, therefore I'm the perfect person to review my book. If anyone were going to give it a bad review it would be me. However, having read it several times, I can attest to the fact that it is not only hilarious; it is also culturally significant.

Now you are probably wondering what Elf Girl is about. Obviously, since it's my memoir, it's about me. But who am I? In short, I am an elf-eared performance artist, writer, painter and ordained Reverend who lives in a "Troll Museum" with a Chihuahua named Reverend Jen Junior. For over 16 years, I've hosted an open mike on Manhattan's Lower East Side populated by freaks like me who live to make art even if it means having only 4 dollars in the bank (which I currently do). We call each other "Art Stars" and our scene "The Art Star Scene." (ASS for short.) We're like the Superstars in Warhol's Factory minus the glamor, money, designer drugs and fame. What we do have in common with them (and with other artistes of the past) is the will to live the bohemian life. Only we're doing it in an era when bohemians are more endangered than lemurs (especially on the Lower East Side where our habitats have been converted into luxury housing for the wealthy). And this is the crux of Elf Girl - the struggle to be an artist, pay rent, eat and survive in the face of adversity. Elf Girl is actually a lot like the musical "Rent" but a million times less depressing. (Note - I've never actually seen "Rent").

As a former art student, it is my opinion that Elf Girl should be required reading for art students as it shows us that one comes out of art school less equipped at dealing with the real world than when one went in. Neophyte artists could almost just skip art school altogether and save tuition money by spending a mere 15 dollars on my book, in which they'll learn more than they would in 4 years of studying (or pretending to study and instead doing copious amounts of LSD.) The book even features a short guide on how to be an Art Star in 13 easy steps.

But Elf Girl is not merely for young artists! It's for anyone who's tired of reading memoirs by people whose lives were a mess, and then they got their shit together and wrote a book about it. My life is still a mess, but it's a mess that has produced stories you'll want to read aloud at your next party or on your next trip to the toilet. In Elf Girl tales of creative expressionism and civil disobedience are woven into a colorful tapestry of stories about crap jobs, lost love, cheap domestic beer, marginal fame, occasional enlightenment and one unsettling hippie orgy. Taken together they tell of my journey from uncool adolescent to Patron Saint of the Uncool and the many hats I've worn along the way.

I've worked as a costumed frog at the zoo, a Christmas elf at Bloomingdales and a Slurpee technician at 7-11. I've been thrown out of FAO Scwartz for causing a ruckus while dressed as Doo-Doo, a hard-drinking Teletubby and I've been tossed from the Broadway sidewalk for performing my one-person musical "Rats." I've led a hokey-pokey circle around City Hall in protest of New York's dance laws, attended a death metal festival dressed as a member of the Christian hair metal band, Stryper, and lay in a hospital bed on death's door because of lack of health insurance. There's not a whole lot I haven't done except make money so get the hell out there and buy my book. I promise you'll laugh your ass off and possibly even be inspired.