Saturday, May 16, 2009

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 9 of 9

Suicide #9

On April 1st 2011, a tell-all book chronicling the shame, scandals, and failures of Hello Kitty was published, along with the premiere of a tabloid-style behind the scenes special on the E! Network. “Look What The Cat Dragged In. A tale of Money, Greed, Sex, Drugs, and Violence” was written by Ian Halperin and published in 18 different languages and sold over 73 million copies within 48 hours of it release, edging out “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” for a record. The television special, which featured interviews, videos and photographs from many of Hello Kitty’s former co-stars, lovers, staff, and drug dealers, was broadcast in 42 different countries was watched by an estimated 900 million viewers. Various parental and religious groups gathered around the Sanrio offices and retail stores in protest immediately following the broadcast. Sanrio was unable to do any PR damage control as they had in previous years, and their frustration with Hello Kitty had finally reached a boiling point. On April 4th, Sanrio rescinded Hello Kitty’s contract. She lost all of her stock options, 401k, royalties and residuals. She was escorted off and permanently banned from Sanrio property. Hello Kitty was unsuccessful in finding further work in retail merchandise or television. Retail chains such as Target, Wal-Mart, American Apparel, and Hot Topic turned her down. Virtually blacklisted in the industry, not even the David and Goliath clothing company, run by notorious hack artist, thief, and plagiarist, Todd Goldman, would produce any apparel with Hello Kitty. At this point, she knew her career was officially over. While she still had an estimated $700,000,000 in various bank accounts, and multiple homes across the globe, the shame of her failure became too much for her to bare. Hello Kitty was unable to find any solace in drugs and alcohol this time around. She had brought shame and dishonor to herself and her company, and she knew what she had to do. At dawn on April 13th 2001, Hello Kitty committed the ritualistic suicide act of Seppuku at her weekend home in Shimoda, Shizuoka, Japan dawn on April 13th 2001.Her body was discovered 3 weeks later and was cremated. There was no wake, memorial service, or funeral. It is unknown what became of her ashes, however the kimono she wore at the time of her death along with the ceremonial tanto she used to slice her abdomen were sold on eBay in 2013 for $750,000 to a private collector from San Francisco California USA.

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 8 of 9

Suicide #8
“Let Sleeping Cats Die”

In 2006, production began on Hello Kitty’s new television series, “The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends”. Within 2 months of filming, Hello Kitty began to crack under the pressure of the show’s demanding production schedule and late night taping, in addition to her already numerous merchandising duties. On October 3rd 2006, Hello Kitty suffered a complete meltdown on set during the taping of the 2 part Christmas special, “Where’s Santa?” She went on a 5-minute tirade, chewing out co-star, Keroppi, for stepping on one of her lines, following which she proceeded to assault the assistant director with a boom mic. The show was put on hiatus while Hello Kitty received professional medical and psychological help. Hello Kitty was placed on several different prescriptions from various doctors including, Diazepam for anxiety, Temazepam for her sleep disorders, Alprazolam for her depression, along with painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. The show resumed production on October 20th, but the cast and crew again faced many difficulties due to Hello Kitty’s increasingly erratic behavior and mood swings. In a blog post from February 2007, co-star Badtz Maru wrote, “She [Hello Kitty] is out of control! If she’s not completely zonked out, she’s swinging at the fences. Half the time she can’t remember her lines, let alone where she even is. It’s all the dope. She’s popping a different pill between every take. She’s got a whole pharmacy worth of ‘em in a Pez dispenser.” Merchandising with Sanrio also suffered, as Hello Kitty’s increasingly bizarre and unpredictable behavior, weight gain, and inconsistent professionalism caused major delays in the production of the brand’s upcoming summer line of apparel. Hello Kitty eventually became so unreliable, that the Sanrio design team skipped the photo shoots with Hello Kitty and began to draw her on to the merchandise. Hello Kitty sunk even lower into the depths of addiction and dependency in April when Sanrio had placed her on a paid suspension while she went through a mandatory inpatient detox and rehabilitation program at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, United States. Hello Kitty initially met the company’s demands with refusal, but she later agreed following an intervention with her fellow Sanrio co-stars on April 11. Later, during a 2008 interview, Sanrio puppy character, Pochacco, recalled the intervention as “an extremely emotional moment for all of us. Yes, we were at our wits end with her, but she was family and we loved her. We were all in tears by the end.” Hello Kitty requested to spend the evening alone in her Tokyo home to pack for her stay at the US clinic. Sanrio agreed and told her a limo would pick her up in the morning to take her to the airport. Hello Kitty never got in the limo. She was found that following morning in the bathroom of her home, face down in a pool of her own vomit. The autopsy revealed a drug overdose of Klonopin, Ativan, Serax, and Valium. Additionally, she had taken Benadryl and Topamax, which contributed to the sedative effect of the benzodiazepines. She also had a blood alcohol content of 0.42%. An investigation determined the death to be suicide. A note was found on her table which simply read “I’m so sorry. I’m tired and I can’t do this anymore.” Her estimated time of death was between the hours of 9 pm and 10 pm on April 11 2007. In the wake of her death, Sanrio decided to pull the Hello Kitty highball glasses and Hello Kitty chewable vitamins for children off the market.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 7 of 9

Suicide #7
“Atrocity Killed The Cat”
August 30, 2003

On the evening of August 29th 2003, Hello Kitty was partying at The Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood CA. Bartenders recall her growing increasingly violent as the evening progressed. In addition to the numerous Red Bull and vodkas, Hello Kitty consumed various designer drugs such as speed, ecstasy, and was reported to have been seen sharing an eight ball of cocaine in the ladies room with Justin Hawkins of British rock band, The Darkness. After making various verbal threats and harassing the bar staff, Hello Kitty struck one of the bartenders with an empty Skyy Vodka bottle. She remained confrontational as she was escorted outside and began assault the club’s bouncers. Before police could arrive, Hello Kitty took off in her pink 2003 Jaguar XK. LAPD quickly caught up with Hello Kitty who refused to pull over. Hello Kitty sped down Laurel Canyon Blvd towards her weekend home in Valley Village. During the pursuit, her driving became more erratic and at 12:28am she struck down and killed a pedestrian at the corner of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Mullholland Drive. Additional police quickly joined the chase. At 12:42 am, hello Kitty reached her home on Addison Road and was able to barricade herself inside before the police could apprehend her. She then broke a window on the second story of her house and with a Walther P99 semi-automatic pistol began to open fire on the police officers outside. Police immediately returned fire and the crossfire lasted approximately 8 minutes. The gunfire had left 3 officers wounded and 1 dead. Hello Kitty herself was also wounded. Police quickly broke down the front door of the house and moved in to apprehend Hello Kitty. Before police could breakdown the door to her bedroom where she had barricaded herself, Hello Kitty took her own life using her custom pink Remington Model 1100 shotgun. Hello Kitty was pronounced dead on the morning of August 30th 2003 at 12:52 am. By that afternoon, the Rainbow Bar and Grill became a makeshift shrine with fans and mourners leaving various gifts such as flowers, pictures, candles, alcohol, bullets and cocaine. American film director, Quentin Tarantino, had at one point expressed an interest in producing and directing an exploitation film-style adaptation of the of the evenings events.

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 6 of 9

Suicide #6
“The Cat’s In The Bag”

The Hello Kitty brand rose to greater prominence in the late 1990s when many popular celebrities, such as Mariah Carey, began to adopt Hello Kitty as a fashion statement. As sales rose, Hello Kitty fell deeper into depression. Japanese franchise icon newcomer and rising star, Pikachu, revealed that during a cocktail reception at a trade expo in Düsseldorf Germany, Hello Kitty confessed to him that despite the money and fame, she felt hollow inside and desired something else. On June 29, 1999 during a signing at the Virgin Records mega store in Union Square NY, Hello Kitty met James Euringer, leader of the New York City based religious cult, Polaris Temple. James had convinced Hello Kitty that the path to happiness lay with his people, the renouncement of worldly attachments, and unfaltering faith in the Alruccabah star, whose fixed position “serves as a beacon of hope to those who wander lost in the darkness of mankind”. The following week, Hello Kitty sold her Sanrio stocks and emptied her bank accounts. She gave a cashiers check for the total sum of all of her assets, along with the deeds to her various homes, to James Euringer. By the middle of July, Hello Kitty had cut all ties with her company and any outside friends or relations. The last person to hear from her was her bookie and on-again/off-again lover, Nick “The Fish” Mintz. He had received from her a note, which simply read, “I’m happy now.” On February 12, 2000 FBI raided the Polaris Temple’s compound in Yonkers NY, after an anonymous videotape was received in the mail by a local NBC new affiliate. The tape featured James Euringer claiming that “There was no longer any solace to be found on this island, Earth. It is time for something new. We are going over the stars”. Hello Kitty’s body was found along with 27 others, all of whom had plastic bags over their heads and tied at the neck. The investigation determined the deaths to be a cult mass suicide. James Euringer’s body, however, was not found among those of his followers. He is currently wanted by the FBI and was last sighted in Venice Italy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 5 of 9

Suicide #5

By 1992, Hello Kitty merchandise sales took a hit in the US market due to the resurgence of Troll Dolls. Though sales still remained strong in other markets, The Sanrio company’s net profits for the year were not enough for Hello Kitty to maintain the lifestyle of luxury and opulence that she was accustomed to. In a move of desperation in January of 1993, Hello Kitty, without the knowledge or consent of Sanrio, began to distribute and sell her personally used panties and other various undergarments through vending machines in an area of Chiba City, Japan which was known for its pornographic magazine and video vending machines. While the burusera (panty fetishism) market was indeed lucrative, Hello Kitty was not able to supply enough undergarments by herself to pay the mortgages on her 5 homes. At an average of 4,800 Japanese yen (50 US Dollars) a piece and an average of 60 pairs of panties a month, Hello Kitty needed much, much more. Beginning in March of 1993, Hello Kitty became much more active in Japan’s lolicon industry by modeling for several erotic magazines dressed in traditional schoolgirl attire. When questioned by her managers at Sanrio about the pictorials, she denied any knowledge of the photographs and it was later dismissed at Do j i n s h I (fan-work pornographic imitation). As Hello Kitty’s greed grew, so did her desperation. Now that she was in the clear with her superiors at Sanrio, she was able to take on a wider variety of more hard-core, and therefore more lucrative, roles in pornography. By the following June, Hello Kitty was appearing in videos of various sub genres of Japanese pornography including Goukan Pure (rape play) and Enjo Kosai (compensated date). On October 25 of 1993, Hello Kitty was filming a shokushu goukan (tentacle rape) porno based on the ukiyo-e woodcut, “The Dream Of The Fisherman’s Wife”, by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. During filming, as she was being penetrated by 3 tentacles of a radio controlled animatronic octopus, Hello Kitty began to cry uncontrollably and suffered a complete breakdown. She ran off stage and locked her self in her dressing room. When the director, Kaneto Shindo, tried to convince her to come out and finish the scene, she cried out from behind the door, “I’ve always been a whore. I’ve been a whore from the very beginning, but I never wanted this. I was born a whore, and I’ll die a whore!” Hello Kitty then took her life by electrocuting herself with an 8-volt golf cart battery which was used to power an multi-pronged, studded and barbed phallus that was to be used in a later scene of the film.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 4 of 9

Suicide #4
“The Lighter Side of Suicide” or “Cat With A Hot Skin…oof!”

In the summer of 1990 Hello Kitty once again began to frequent many exclusive nightclubs in London, New York City, and Los Angeles. While she was more outgoing and promiscuous than she had previously been, she began to grow disinterested with her work and eventually became completely detached from those close to her. In February of 1991, Hello Kitty’s publicist issued a statement saying that she would be taking a sabbatical for the remainder of the year. Hello Kitty took residence in a 2-bedroom home in the medieval hill town in Montefalco, Italy. Between the months of February and September of that year, Hello Kitty had very little contact with the outside. She rarely if ever spoke to her agent, manager, any of her other representatives at Sanrio. The only person she maintained regular contact with was Stephen Purcell, a young temp in the mailroom at Sanrio with whom she had a romantic encounter with in the broom closet at a company holiday party the previous year. According to Stephen, her phone messages during that period were often frantic and increasingly incoherent. “She would start to talk about something like the scenery in Italy, and then in mid-sentence start to talk about the evils of organized religion.” Claimed Stephen in a November interview for tabloid news television show, “Hard Copy”. Hello Kitty’s last contact with the outside was a message to her agent on September 30th in which she simply stated, “The caterpillars are stealing my thoughts. I’ll get ‘em back though. They’re clever. But I’m smarter than they are.” Subsequent calls to Hello Kitty were not returned. Two and a half weeks later, at the request of her representatives, local authorities went to visit her home on October 24th. When Hello Kitty failed to answer the door, the police entered by force and discovered Hello Kitty’s burned corpse in the back yard. The death was determined as a suicide after a full investigation of the house turned up no evidence of foul play. It was determined that hello Kitty was suffering from acute schizophrenia and severe dementia at the time of her death. The stacks of writings, poems, and observations, primarily of various insects, drawn with crayon on butcher paper support this classification. In addition, virtually all of the walls were covered with anatomical drawings of insects that Hello Kitty had made herself with her own feces. Tests of the feces as well as her autopsy revealed she was infected Toxoplasma gondii. Hello Kitty’s acute toxoplasma infection is believed to have occurred as early has the spring of 1989 to also be the cause for the onset of her schizophrenia. The estimated date of her suicide is October 11, 1991.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 3 of 9

Suicide #3
“Cat Scratch”

In the fall of 1984, Hello Kitty began a romantic relationship with fellow character franchise front woman, Strawberry Shortcake. The two had met in the cocktail lounge of the Abbey Court hotel in London where both were scheduled to appear at a trade convention. They had kept their relationship concealed from the public for 8 months. This was due in part to Astro Boy posing as a beard for Hello Kitty. In June of 1985, the two had taken a romantic weekend getaway to a private beach in Jamaica. Paparazzi caught up with the lovers and the following week they were outed by Michael Musto of NYC paper, The Village Voice. Despite initial public shock, Hello Kitty and Strawberry Shortcake continued their relationship. Around this time Strawberry Shortcake had begun filming her latest special, Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins. Also filming across the lot at DiC studios was newcomer, Rainbow Brite’s debut feature film, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer. The two met at the studio commissary and shortly thereafter began a secret affair. Strawberry Shortcake began to grow distant from Hello Kitty, but she did not think it suspicious as both had demanding schedules between merchandise shoots and animated specials. An anonymous letter was sent to Hello Kitty notifying her of the secret affair. It was later revealed in the behind the scenes, tell-all book, “The End Of The Rainbow”, published in 1998, that the letter had been written by Twink, Rainbow Brite’s sidekick, in a drunken jealous stupor. When confronted by Hello Kitty, Strawberry Shortcake told her it was over and she officially left her for the younger, spunkier franchise character. Heartbroken and crestfallen, Hello Kitty took her life that very evening on the night of June 13, 1986 by slicing her wrists.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 2 of 9

Suicide #2
“Wet Pussy”

Throughout the remainder of the 70s, Hello Kitty’s popularity in the US continued to rise no only with the original intended demographic of children, but also with many eminent celebrities of stage and screen. Hello Kitty soon joined the jet set crowd and was frequently visiting New York City on the weekends to party at Studio 54. Hello Kitty soon fell into a lifestyle of not only luxury, but also extreme excess and hedonism. As her cocaine addiction became more severe, she would often indulge in 2 to 3 day binges, which would include compulsive drinking and unprotected sex with multiple partners at once. During a visit to her physician for a fever in June of 1982, Hello Kitty was diagnosed with AIDS and was told she would be expected to only live another 8 months. Due to her rapidly deteriorating condition, Hello Kitty was unable to stay as active as she had previously been with Sanrio and Tuxedo Sam stepped in on her behalf for many of her merchandising roles. Despite her reduced participation with the company, she took the position of U.S. children's ambassador for UNICEF since 1983. Her final days were spent in seclusion in her vacation home in Honolulu Hawaii. On the morning of January 17 1983, Hello Kitty took one final sail on her boat, the Kon-Kiti, and threw herself into the Pacific Ocean.

The 9 Tragic Suicides of Hello Kitty - Part 1 of 9

This is part 1 of a series of 9. All 9 will be displayed and for sale at “Quiet Roar – An Evening of Art & Fashion Inspired By Hello Kitty” Saturday May 16th at dooGallery in Atlanta GA. All proceeds will benefit Good Mews Animal Shelter See the flyer at the end of this post for additional details.

I will be revealing a different painting and story everyday leading up to the show (except for today. I’ll be posting 3 today to get caught up). And now, without further ado...

Suicide #1
“Hang In there”

Introduced to the Sanrio Co., Ltd brand in 1974, Hello Kitty became an instant hit with Japanese consumers. Strong sales continued when her image reached the US markets in 1976. Despite growing profits, it was not enough to cover Hello Kitty’s mounting gambling debts. Already owing a substantial sum to the Bakuto, Hello Kitty placed a double or nothing bet on the Minnesota Vikings to take the American NFL championship at Super Bowl XI. After the Viking’s 18 point loss to the Oakland Raiders, Hello Kitty feared reprisal from the Yakuza syndicate, Yamaguchi-gumi, and took to the underground. After calling in a favor to new Sanrio star, My Melody, and selling her Sanrio stock, Hello Kitty had fled the country. The Yakuza had tracked her down to a modest cottage outside of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. Before the Yakuza assassins could arrive, Hello Kitty took her life by hanging herself on the afternoon of August 16, 1977.