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I don’t own any shoes and always go barefoot, a special person in my life asked me to devote a blog to that, thinking that people might be interested in my philosophy on that… so, here it is!

Three Years Barefoot

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Barefoot Justine At Home

Barefoot Justine At Home

“You’re ill at ease. Adventurous people are always a little ill at ease. They’re shy. They aren’t bold the way people think they are. They go stumbling around breaking things, being scolded, always looking for a place where they feel they belong, they have that crooked look… of not really matching anything.”

Lilith (from the 1964 film, “Lilith”)

I haven’t been blogging much lately, to tell the truth, it started feeling rather pointless. Yeah, sure, guys come in droves to look at my pics, but I’ve realized how utterly hollow that is. Stared at and lonely, it’s not an inspiring state of affairs. But, all the same, each year I have marked the anniversary of my dedication to hardcore barefoot living, but this year, the anniversary (January 14th–my birthday) slipped past me, it’s nearly the end of February now. All the same, this blog entry has become something of a tradition with me, so I thought I oughta muster up the enthusiasm to keep it up, after all, I’m a believer in tradition.

“You can be barefoot and still have worries.”

Brigitte Bardot

Yep, a tradition is a tradition, but these exhibitionistic blog entries have begun to seem more and more like a spotlight on each lonely weekend. Men! Perhaps I’m too picky, but it seems every man I meet is prowling around looking for a plaything to shoehorn in around their more important activities. Guys, here’s a tip, maybe you should wait to ask a girl how she feels about anal sex until AFTER the first date. So where’s the enthusiasm, where’s that patented Barefoot Justine smile? Well, group, its in there, but it takes a while sometimes for it to grace my face, and part of coaxing up that smile is hard work, the hard personal work of celebrating the good things, of which there are plenty. The hard work I persist in doing. That’s what this blog entry really is, an attempt to purge the bile and look on the sunny side, to remind myself how good things are even when I am at my loneliest and most detached.

There are two wolves at my door, the one snarls and bares its teeth, it is loneliness, fear and sometimes even jealousy. There is a second wolf, and that one is the source of my strength, my passion, and my joy and inspiration. You know the old saying, and it is true… the wolf that wins is the one you feed. Here I am, forever remembering to feed the right wolf, but often forgetting and fattening up the horrid one.

So what has 3 years barefoot meant, anyways?

Well, it’s meant a lot. For one, it means that it can be done. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean is that it is possible to live wholly without shoes, socks, slippers, sandals, anything! Yep, even in the winter. And, nope, there’s not a single thing in my home that would cover, warm or protect my feet. It’s been skin on the ground for 3 solid years now (and pretty much the same for years before that as well, I just hadn’t had the courage to burn my shoes once and for all up until 3 years ago). It can all be done barefoot, every aspect of my life, from doctor visits, to shopping, from work to visits to the courthouse, and from restaurants to business meetings. What it really means, 3 years barefoot, is that a person can live the life they want to live… so long as they have the courage and determination to make it so.

So long as they are willing to make the sacrifices… and more importantly, capable of reminding themselves of of how grand it is to live a self-actualized life even in the muggy air of a culture that works very hard to strangle that free spirit out of us.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen, dirty leathery soles

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen, dirty leathery soles

“‘Reality’ is neither the subject nor the object of true art which creaties its own special reality having nothing to do with the average ‘reality’ perceived by the communal eye.”

Kinbote (Pale Fire)

We can make lots of things so, but sadly many of us never figure out that we have that power. More to the point, most of us are not up to the challenges of conjuring our daydreams into realities, whatever “reality” is. “Reality,” as any good Hindu knows, is a construct, most usually kept in place by the average man, and it takes extraordinary people to step outside of that reality, extraordinary people who can turn their backs on the petty expectations of a world of people who aggressively believe in the big shared construct… but that’s all it is, a construct. Living barefoot for 3 years is essentially a rejection of that construct. And boy does it rub some people the wrong way. Those people will work to stop you, to brainwash you, to force you back into line with the accepted construct they all have silently and unwittingly agreed to call “reality.” You know, that ever so “real” world in which sports actually seem important, that world in which people actually watch all the crap that’s on TV, that world in which Americans actually believe that the solution to gun violence is more guns (like say in schools, for example). It’s madness, folks, look around you, it’s madness! Yes, Virginia, the lunatics have taken over the asylum, but there’s no need to stay in the asylum with them, it is, after all, only a house of cards.

“‘Reality,’ (one of the few words which mean nothing without quotes)…”

Nabakov

And I am seen as mad for being barefoot? Madness and sanity are not democratic states of being, whole societies can be mad, and their constructs are created to make those of us who see the madness for what it is seem like the mad ones. One thing history, myth and religion teaches us is that “they” crucify those “madmen” and burn those “madwomen” who challenge the constructs, the collective notions, of “reality.” Sometimes I think “reality” is nothing more than the sneakiest and most subtle and insidious of propagandas.

I walk barefoot for a number of reasons, and one reason is that I have renounced the madness, that construct, to create a life, construct and reality that is highly personal. I know, many may find all this hard to accept, but trust me, it can be accepted. Some of us have to experience real trauma to be able to find ourselves and make that painful break from the construct the average man mistakes for reality.

Yeah, I know, I show a picture of my dirty leathery soles and then get all existential on y’all. But that’s what it’s all about, this journey. You can choose which wolf to feed, but you can also choose between getting in line, boarding the bus and going where everyone else is going, or you can take off and explore your own life from the driver’s seat. Face it, most of the people out there have taken the passenger seat in their own lives. Simply put, you can either be who they want and tell you to be, or you can be who you want to be. Frankly, it’s easier to board the bus and sit in the passenger seats with everyone else.

“Campbell: …A dream is a personal experience of that deep dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream. The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.

Moyers: So if my private dreams are in accord with the public mythology, I’m more likely to live healthily in that society. But if my private dreams are out of step with the public–

Campbell: –you’ll be in trouble. If you’re forced to live in that system, you’ll be a neurotic.

Moyers: But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders and heroes close to the edge of neuroticism?

Campbell: Yes, they are.

Moyers: How do you explain that?

Campbell: They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it, or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience–that’s the hero’s deed.”

Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, (The Power Of Myth)

Either you can take it, or you can’t, honestly, sometimes I can take it, and sometimes I can’t.

“I will not conform and I will not submit,” that’s my motto regardless. I thought it always had been, but it wasn’t, not until after I’d faced my own mortality twice, after I had lost my home and gone bankrupt, not until I realized I had nothing to lose. It was then that I really had the courage to find out what it really means to not conform and to not submit. But here’s the funny part, group, back when I played the game and rode on that bus, I got nothing back in return for my forfeit, whereas now, when I have accepted my path and have individuated, now that I am stubbornly barefoot, living as an artist, and following my bliss, I am finding that things are working out a lot better. People give me more work, they respond better to me than they did before. I see no reason to get back on that bus. Actually, I’m rather superstitious about it all. Things are so much better for me now that I am afraid of any compromise when it comes to my vision of who I am, and I am barefoot. No, I won’t put shoes on just for this one thing… that, my friends, is a slippery slope.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen's bejeweled feet

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen’s bejeweled feet

Yep, another year barefoot, and I have done it all, gone shopping, gone out to eat, gone to the doctor, travelled, you know, I’ve done all those things barefoot that everyone thinks is impossible. How many times I have heard people lament that they’d go barefoot all the time if only they could get into restaurants and grocery stores… well… you can get into restaurants and grocery stores barefoot, the catch is, you actually have to want it enough to see it through. Oh yes, there are excuses, cop-outs, but that’s all they are. I wanted it, I won’t cop-out, and here’s how I do it:

Smile, look people in the eye, wear bell bottoms or a skirt, be discreet, and go about your business as if it’s the most natural thing in the world for you to be barefoot. Sure, there will always be busy-bodies who think it’s their job (which it isn’t) to make sure all the rules of their fragile little construct are obeyed… but those boneheads are surprisingly few and far between. Wanna go barefoot all the time?… be charming! Charm them, they’ll leave you alone… except for the real bitches and assholes… some people you just can’t work with, they are too far gone, too deep in the tar of the average man’s construct. Some of them you can defeat, but many of them have rooted their concrete so deep into the illusion that they just won’t budge. I should feel sorry for those people, but I don’t, fuck ’em! Fuck ’em!

Let me say this, if you don’t go barefoot, and you wish you could, it’s not THEM, it’s not the stores, the restaurants or the social pressures that are stopping you… it is YOU that is stopping you. If you want something, you have to get off that damn bus.

Yep, 3 years uncompromisingly barefoot, and my feet are fine! I’m fine! My soles are leathery, I have no callouses (those just crack and hurt–sorry foot-community, callouses are NOT good, buff ’em off!) My feet are no longer deformed by those little bacteria incubators everyone calls shoes. My toes have a healthy spread, they’re not all cramped together like the lotus feet of some victim of Chinese foot-binding. Shoes are a cultural aberration.

“So, Justine, where’s the fun? This blog entry seems rather dark,” you might be thinking, well, the fun is coming. In the words of the Pythons… “Wait for it!”

What does 3 years barefoot really prove? For a start it means that I’ve proven I’m not fooling around. It proves not only that it can be done, but that it can be done well. Sure, it’s risky at times, but so is bicycling, playing soccer, and sitting around too long in front of a computer. Nope, what I am doing is no more dangerous than skiing, texting and driving, or bags of Cheetos, things most people don’t consider all that unthinkable. Ever notice how people will celebrate boxers but look at a barefoot person like they’re nuts? Ever notice how we celebrate skatboarding and mountain biking, but find going barefoot entirely too risky? See… y’all see what I mean by the construct and how fragile it is? For example, you can break your neck skiing… yet people are horrified at the possibility of getting a sliver of glass in their foot. My brother got a compound fracture in his leg from playing soccer, his bones punctured the skin of his leg… yet my parent’s forbade me from going barefoot because I might catch a cold! Crazy, right? And by the way, you can’t catch a cold by going barefoot.

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen's feet with concert ticket and souvenir...

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen’s feet with concert ticket and souvenir…

What were the highlights of my barefoot adventures this year? Well, quite readily, my outing to the Cheap Trick concert (which I wrote about at length in this same blog) was spectacular. It was thrilling, and took me back to those wild-child days. I mean what could be more perfect than being stoned, barefoot, and clad skimpily in bleached cut-off shorts at a Cheap Trick concert? Not much. The grass was lush and moist as I danced and danced until the grass and dirt had compacted into a delicious green clay-soft pad under my soles. I had left the house lamenting that I was single and going alone, but as soon as the band took the stage, as soon as they started playing I was reduced to tears and trembles, and realized that this was a moment I needed to indulge in, a moment where my solitude was a blessing.

Of course there were my many adventures with my dear friend Joseph Blue Sky (see pic below taken by Joe during his last visit–no feet, but it’s a cute shot!). We have such fun together. And we have adventures, plenty of stumbling about laughing and, on my end, wishing we could live like that every day. He lives in Ohio, by far too far from my swampy home. But earlier this year I traversed (alone) from Florida to Ohio in a rental car to see him as well. And again encountered snow under my feet in West Virginia!

Barefoot Justine in the forest with Joe B. Sky (taking pic)

Barefoot Justine in the forest with Joe B. Sky (taking pic)

Of course I went to numerous meetings and met with clients barefoot, something that throws them off until they start working with me and realize just how dedicated and inspired an illustrator I am. Still, there’s something ticklishly subversive about standing around barefoot in a room full of people with ties and business casual clothing on. I mean, really, who goes to meetings barefoot? Yep, it is very possible to live a professional life barefoot. The trick is that you have to be damn good at what you do (in my case, illustrating and even animating), and you have to be committed without apology to the decision to live barefoot. If you mean it, they’ll go along with it, and usually with a genuinely interested smile, yep, I’m forever answering questions about my feet, especially in winter (which in North Central Florida can still be cold enough to be annoying).

Mostly, there’s the simply pleasure of living in a town where people are more open to eccentricity and individuality. There is support here, for my self actualization. They dig that here, where I live. Mostly there’s the rich life I lead at home, surrounded by growling alligators, soaring eagles, deer, armadillos, and even the occasional otter. I have forest land to explore in my savage state of half-nakedness.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen wild in the forest

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen wild in the forest

Yep, that’s me up there in that pic, running around topless and barefoot in the woods. Fortunately I’ve never been busted for it, though I’ve had to turn tail a number of times. Being something of a hermit, it’s lovely to have all this land to play on. Getting back to nature, that’s one of the biggest pleasures of my life. The ground here is unfortunately challenging, we have ticks, chiggers, and horrid little spiny things and thorns everywhere, but that’s all just part of the fun, isn’t it? There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Basically what 3 years barefoot mean is that I’ve done it! I made a decision, a challenging decision (to never wear shoes), and as afraid as I was that it wouldn’t work out… I’ve made it work! Of course I have had to live and accept a different life. Instead of enslaving myself to the American Delusion (or “American Dream” as it is generally known), I chose to leave that illusion to mom and dad. My ambition was to live barefoot, and as part of that to live a sustainable life. For years and years I dreamt of the day I would shed not only my shoes and socks, but my mortgage, cable bill, and all the expectations of “THEIR” reality. I wanted to live cheaply out in the woods, a smaller and simpler life with a view, and here I am 3 years later living in my little cottage-room in the woods, barefoot and low-budget. Sometimes all it takes to live the life you daydream about is a drastic change in expectations. Maybe, after all, some of our dreams may not be so unattainable, maybe it’s our expectations that are holding us back. Maybe before we even try living our dreams we have to let go of everyone else’s.

“Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Dr. Timothy Leary

Inane Insane

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(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen… barefoot outlaw!

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen… barefoot outlaw!

Yep, it happened again, and under the usual circumstances, and from the usual sort of person. I was at Walmart (I know… shame on me… but if I want waffle batter, carpet tacks and the first season of Happy Days on DVD where else am I gonna go?), carefree in my bare feet thanks to my former victory there. See, last year I had been kicked out of a Walmart for being barefoot, so I called Corporate, because I knew Walmart didn’t have a “no bare feet” policy, unfortunately most of their employees are ignorant. It was confirmed by corporate that I was within my rights to live my life as I choose, so they called the manager and assistant manager, and I was called by both… and they apologized on behalf of the idiot security guard that had kicked me out. I, of course, took names, so that the next time I was kicked out I would be able to say: “Speak to manager so-and-so.” Problem solved… uh… unless you’re in a different Walmart.

The main reason I shop at Walmart (beside the fact that–thanks to Obamacare–I have NO insurance and my prescriptions are less than half what they would be anywhere else, and besides the fact that I am not traveling all over Florida looking for three different non-corporate shops just to pick up three items I could have just as easily found at Walmart, and besides the fact that a friend of mine once chastised me for bitching him out for shopping at Walmart by saying “It’s not the fault of poor people that they shop where the prices are lowest–and sister… am I ever poor!), but I digress, the main reason I shop at Walmart is because the freedom and right to go barefoot wherever I please is very important to me, and I prefer to shop in stores and visit restaurants that respect my right to choose.

The right to shoes, the right to choose, I choose barefoot!

But, as I was saying before, I had won this battle once at one Walmart, but I was now across town in the safer Walmart, minding my own business, shopping in my freshly cleaned and perfumed bare feet (see photo form today above) when a foul little troll of a woman in a blue vest came along with her very best Seven-Dwarves Grumpy face on and started with “Ma’am… you can’t be in here barefoot.” I told her that I could indeed, that I didn’t have to leave, and that I have called corporate about this once already, and Walmart has no policy regarding bare feet.

Well, not being willing to let it go at that she walked off bitching about how they have food at Walmart.

OK… see… now this is the part that set me off, and for many reasons. Firstly, she’s dead wrong, no matter of opinion here at all. I was 100% right and within my rights. There are NO codes with the Florida Department Of Health, nor with the DBPR, see quote below:

“Good day ,

Regarding your inquiry DBPR- Division of Hotels & Restaurants does not have any regulations regarding barefoot patrons at an establishment.

Best Regards,

Roger Xxxxx
Regulatory Consultant
Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Bureau of Sanitation and Safety Inspections”

Also, here is the letter from the Health Dept. stating that it is NOT a violation:
FL2009.pdf

So as she walked off continuing to bitch me out under her breath, I shouted back “And it is NOT against health code regulations, and it is in fact against the law to state and enforce laws that do not exist. You need to learn your company policies and do your research!” And that was that. I told her off, and frankly, felt pretty damn good about it, too. It’s about time I start coming out on top in these ridiculous situations.

But let’s leave the legalities aside and talk common sense about the absurd notion that somehow my bare feet are going to contaminate her can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli.

Let’s start with simple science (or, rather, basic common sense), how in any way are my feet going to spoil or contaminate anyone’s food? Are these people eating off the floor like dogs? Though I realize many of them are functioning at about the same intellectual level as a schnauzer, I doubt they actually are eating off the floor at Walmart. Besides that… any dirt on my feet is already on the floor in spades! Additionally, isn’t it obvious by any but the most pea-brained among us that shoes are not only no cleaner than bare feet… but far far filthier! Let’s face it, most foot-infecting bacteria worsen or are even caused by those little bacteria incubators we call shoes. Additionally, I had just walked out of the shower and gone shopping, my feet freshly cleaned. When was the last time you washed, scrubbed, exfoliated and perfumed your foul stinky shoes? Never… so, I ask… which are filthier… feet or shoes?

Let’s add to this that I, in my bare feet, have NOT been out back by the Dumpster, nor have I tread over the deli floor, nor the loading docks and trucks… I ask you again… are my feet or were her shoes filthier? See what I mean… there is NO logic to the concept that my feet are going to contaminate food (and shoes are not!)

Additionally, as this Walmart didn’t even carry produce… how in the fucking hell were my feet going to infect her or anyone’s sealed can of pumpkin spice Pringles? The whole idea is, at it’s core… utterly absurd. beyond the realization that these people are ignorant of their own policies and health codes, what they fear is so absurd as to be surreal. I can’t even wrap my head around how anyone would believe that my feet are a greater danger to their prepackaged foods anymore than I can figure out how they think my feet, as opposed to shoes, stand a greater chance of infecting a bag of EXtreme Cool Ranch Doritos?

It’s insane people, simply insane.

But, in the end, this little lamb scared off the troll, I bought my stuff and came home, and now I am sitting smugly in my room for having beaten the bullshit back for one more day.

“Justine… fighting for truth, justice… and (reluctantly) the American way!”

Best Barefoot Rock Concert Story Ever!

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(This is another of those barefoot-heavy entries… if you think that’s “weird” or it simply bores you… move along… nothing to see here!)

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen's feet with concert ticket and souvenir...

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen’s feet with concert ticket and souvenir…

Though I kinda work at not living in these moments, I think we all keep track of the things we missed out on. I no longer keep track of them to stock the shelves of my inner-bitterness library, I keep track of them so I can damn well do the things I missed out on. Last night I made good on one of those things I had missed out on… and I made good on it in a BIG way! I didn’t get to enjoy those heyday rock concerts, my adolescence was wasted on bad timing (among other far more frustrating things), so I kinda missed a lotta stuff. What I’ve really missed is that today, pop culture sucks, but then again I’ve been looking back and bemoaning the garbage on the radio and everywhere else since I was 14. Boiling it down… what I really missed were good old fashioned dazed and confused rock concerts. Nope, I ne’er got to get high and sneak barefoot into a rock concert. Last night when I went to see Cheap Trick in Ocala Florida… I got to make up for all that… and I couldn’t have done any better than seeing Cheap Trick barefoot, dazed (“with a little help from my friends”), and surrounded by palm trees in beautiful sunny Florida!

First off, before I get into the narcissistic “Me me me” wallow that is the cornerstone of this blog, I just wanna say… Cheap Trick kicks ass! They always did… and still gloriously do. It does my heart good to see aging rockers who only age skin deep, these guys still play hot and tight! More importantly, they seem to be having a ton of fun. Lots of rockers do turn into dinosaurs, they get ragged around the edges as they age, but unfortunately they sand away all the ragged edges in their music, phoning in lackluster lifeless highly polished and sweetened low-to-no energy music… NOT Cheap Trick! Like McCartney, these guys still have it… and they have it big time. Funny thing is, I wasn’t really a huge Cheap Trick fan (not so far as I knew), and for no particular reason… other than that I was simply obsessed with the Beatles (who came along well before my time), so no other band was really able to get through the magnificence of the Beatles to make much of an impact, but in the background of my life Cheap Trick were just kinda there. Not only were they there, but like Badfinger (who I eventually fell dippy in love with), Cheap Trick’s songs had made an impact, one deep enough that I have found myself lately returning to “Cheap Trick At Budokan” over and over again, and before I knew it, those tracks that weren’t hits, and that hadn’t interested me much, were slowly becoming my favorite songs (“Need Your Love” for example… WOW!)

On a whim I thought, “I wonder if these guys are touring anywhere near me,” so I popped on their site… and talk about timing! Hell yes, they were coming in like a week and half right here to Silver Springs! I was ecstatic, and didn’t even know why… as like I said, they weren’t my favorite band, but I did realize something. I realized that every time I heard “I Want You To Want Me” or “Surrender” I felt myself melting, falling back into the warm embrace of that good old seventies magic (yeah, I know Cheap Trick were a big deal in the eighties, but in my heart they will forever be a seventies band–even though I was, again, too young to have enjoyed the seventies properly). They, like few other bands, put me right in that very particular headspace. The brilliant part was that as they played last night I realized that Cheap Trick were a NOW band as well… nothing tired or lifeless about their performances or music at all.

The big frustration was I couldn’t find a single person to go to the show with, so I had to go alone. This sucks… but then… I’m used to doing every damn thing alone anyhow, so I guess it just didn’t much matter. In the end I was glad I was alone, as I was able to sink into a highly personal experience. The other anxiety was… am I gonna be able to get past the cops and gate barefoot? I won’t wear shoes (haven’t in years), and I don’t even have any to pack, so I had to depend on the illusion of soleless sandals and a long skirt. I got right in, and once out of eyeshot of the cops, security personnel and staff, I stripped off my skirt and went happily along in my bleached cut-offs. I wasn’t fooling around here, I had dressed the part, little shorts, a scarf for a belt, and a flowery top that shows my belly button and buttons low… and of course the usual array of ankle bells, toe rings and accessories.

Cheap-Trick-Rick-Nielsen-Robin-vintage-70s-retro-classic-rock-music-musician-photo-mono-stereo-lp-vinyl-pop-art-1Seating was no problem, there were plenty of spaces for me and my lone lawn chair right up close to the stage. The view I had was tremendous, a tad stage left. I missed the opening act (who were pretty grand in their own right, but I wasn’t there for them–and I needed to go find a discreet place to… let’s say… get into that seventies frame of mind), and when I finally sat down and Cheap Trick’s audio introduction came on I found myself getting goosebumps! It was a potent celebration of their music and accomplishments.

When they took the stage the most unexpected thing happened… I found my heart was fluttering, racing, and I was tearing up, and it wasn’t just ’cause Robin Zander has always been so superhumanly hot. I mean, this was it… there I was… barefoot at a rock concert, just like I always should have been–as it turned out, I hadn’t missed it at all, that experience was still there for me, thanks to Cheap Trick. The music came on loud and hard and swept me off my feet. They opened with the same song they opened with at Budokan:

“Hello there ladies and gentlemen
Hello there ladies and gents
Are you ready to rock?
Are you ready or not?”

I was ready! Below is their set-list.

Hello There (THE opener!)
Elo Kiddies
Big Eyes (Budokan… hell yes!)
That 70s Song
California Man
Tonight It’s You
Ain’t That a Shame
Magical Mystery Tour (Beatles… damn straight!)
Borderline
She’s Tight
Ballad of TV Violence
The House is Rockin’
Need Your Love
Stop This Game
I Know What I Want
The Flame
I Want You to Want Me (Be still my heart!)
Dream Police (Better than I remembered)
Never Had A Lot to Lose
Surrender (Hmmm yes…)
Goodnight (Naturally)

I let go, I let go of anything but that part that wanted to open up and have the experience I had missed… I was THERE! Before I knew it I was standing up front dancing and letting the music take over my body. I was simply ecstatic! And so were a couple of the men nearby, who I am privately proud to say, were stealing glances my way. It’s nice to still be able to catch men’s eyes. The grass and ground under my bare feet were moist and delicious feeling, and I could smell the aroma of rich trampled soil and lush green grass. As they played I realized that even the songs I didn’t know were turning me on, and the songs I never cared much for… well, now I very much cared for them. Cheap Trick convinced me utterly and wholly, and like Badfinger before them, I will no longer take them for granted, and like Badfinger before them, I will most definitely be seeking out their albums, slowly collecting the whole bunch of them… and yes, I will go see them every chance I get. Between you and me… I have a thing for the bass player (Tom Petersson), who has aged quite nicely.

Song after song I found myself in the moment, and nothing mattered but me, the band, and my bare feet on the ground.

One of their bits of schtick is to toss guitar picks into the audience, and by that I mean by gobs and handfuls! Finally, when they tossed the picks over to our side of the stage, they were flying all over and hitting the dark ground, booted and shod people tromping and rushing in after them. I got my ten toes the hell out of the way, there was no way I was entering into that melee. As I settled back into my place, my left foot sinking back into the grass, down in the dark I felt the tiniest little sensation of something as it tipped over against my toe (something I NEVER would have felt with shoes on) and I thought “THAT is a guitar pick!”) so I bent down into the darkness and picked it up… sure enough… there it was! See below…

(Barefoot) Justine scores a pick at Cheap Trick concert

(Barefoot) Justine scores a pick at Cheap Trick concert

And if you look at the top of this post, you can see my bare feet, the ticket and pick both pictured (against the toe it had leaned against) in a pic I had taken right after I had gotten home from the show.

Yep, folks, had I not been barefoot, I never would have felt or found that pick… and I didn’t even have to fight my way through the crowd to get it. My friend Joe Blue Sky says it was a sign. Yeah, I guess it is, and I think it’s a sign that I’m living life right–at least by my own rules.

And while I’m at it… you know who rules?

Fucking Cheap Trick!

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Cheap Trick… you were the fuel that fired this dream-come-true… thanks, and good night!

New “Barefoot Art” Gallery!

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(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen: barefoot MARA3

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen: barefoot MARA3

Since I have so many fans who are into the whole barefoot trip I’m on, I thought I’d post a gallery of my artwork that features other barefoot women. These images have been created over the course of many years, and really only scratch the surface. These drawing span everything from my work on my own independent comic, to WOTC, and even to Star Wars illustrations (yes, once upon a time I was a “Lucasfilm approved” artist). I often drew the feet dirty, which would have only been natural in the lives of the characters in the pieces. I have plenty of other great examples of barefoot women in my work (I never have gotten all that interested in barefoot men, sad to say), but those images will have to wait. I won’t bother uploading anything new to this gallery unless interest is high.

So, from Barefoot Justine to you… a portfolio full of barefoot girls in fantasy and science fiction settings. These are some of my favorite images, and were certainly images in which I show a lot of heart and personal interest… enjoy!

To see the gallery go to the “Galleries” link above and hit “Barefoot Art.” Or just click here: https://barefootjustine.com/galleries/4-barefoot-art/

New Galleries at BarefootJustine.com!

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Hey group, I have been working on new galleries for my site (see the “Galleries” link above). These galleries will be far more in depth than my old galleries, I hope you enjoy them. So far the only gallery I have assembled is the “Comics & Toons” gallery.

I have yet to create galleries for 2 to 3 more categories; one for “Illustrations,” another for “Barefoot” (featuring what else… drawings of other barefoot women), and perhaps I will even include a gallery for my digital work.

Keep checking back as I will be working on these galleries a lot over the next week or so.

To see the gallery, click on the link above, or go there from right here: https://barefootjustine.com/galleries/comics-toons/

Here’s a sample of what you will find there:

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen - Odysseus: finished inks page 10

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen – Odysseus: finished inks page 10

Barefoot Justine Photo Galleries Updated

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Hey gang, I updated my photo galleries. I needed to streamline my site to showcase my artwork more than my… uh… body and personality, but fear not, lots of pics in there now, even some new ones, and I plan to rotate them and post more new ones as well as old favorites, so keep checking back in!

Here’s one new one just as a sample:

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen - ruins2

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen – ruins2

Micanopy Florida

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My view of Micanopy

My view of Micanopy

My view of Micanopy (side)

My view of Micanopy (side)

I decided that since I had a lot of repetitive computer work to do today that I would take the 20 minute drive to Micanopy Florida (where “The Yearling,” “Doc Hollywood,” and “Cross Creek” were filmed) to sit on the great wrap around porch of one of its ice cream parlors, sip a chocolate malt, and do my work.

These pics were taken from my viewpoint… kinda shows not only why I moved to Florida, but why I came here to work. It’s like Mayberry here in Micanopy and Gainesville… but with hippies and punks mixed in. Micanopy is the oldest inland town in Florida, is full of antique shops and lovely old buildings with gardened lawns. Very charming. Oh… and the chocolate malt was made with real malt and not that lousy syrup!

I have to say, if I can spend the rest of my life sitting on scenic porches barefoot and sipping at chocolate malts while I work… then I’m doing better than most.

I am grateful!

If you are wondering, I am working on an animated info-graphic for the University of Florida’s library. The job was bid on by Tom Hart (our founder at SAW–“Sequential Artists Workshop,” where I teach), and the project has essentially been handed over to me to write, direct, illustrate and animate, so I think I’ll include one of the background images just so you all can see what it is I’m working on.

Well… it’s time to set this HUGE malt aside before I drink it all and get fat. Back to work!

Barefoot Justine's Easter Island Bots for UF.

Barefoot Justine’s Easter Island Bots, a background drawing for SAW’s UF project.

Barefoot Justine… Yes, Barefoot In the Snow, Too!

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Well… I dug around on my antique computer (a computer so old even the Amish would find it beneath them) and I found one last photo of me barefoot in the snow. I’m posting it alongside the other one from the same shoot.

I remember the day well. This was a park in Ohio that I used to hike barefoot in the winter, it took about 90 minutes to make the whole trail. The day these pics were taken it was uncommonly cold and the snow was brittle and hard… my feet had to break through a layer of hard sharp ice with every step. I remember that it was painful and sorta sucked… but I still had a lot of fun!

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) In the Snow.

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) In the Snow.

That day I had hoped to hike the whole trail, but the conditions were just too rough. I climbed a tree just to get up out of the snow for a few minutes.

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) in a tree one snowy day!

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) in a tree one snowy day!

I learned a lot of things about hiking barefoot in the snow, and one was that I would stop to gently warm my feet after the first 10 or 15 minutes, the blood would all flow to my toes after that, and they would stay pink and warm for a long time. Of course all along the way I would frequently stop and warm them. Another thing I learned was to bring an extra pair of gloves so that if the first pair got wet there would be a nice cozy second pair for my hands. Dry warm hands were essential for the long hikes. One of the most surprising things I learned was how important mind over matter was. On more than one occasion I would head out for a barefoot winter hike and turn around and go home if I wasn’t feeling good about it or couldn’t focus. I knew that if I started a hike while I was distracted or not feeling confident, that there would be a greater chance of it going badly. Mainly what I learned was that it’s totally possible to safely go barefoot all winter, and that our bodies and minds are far more powerful than we think.

This is not something anyone should try for too long without a lot of research, practice and focus. I have NO desire to return to Ohio and those dreadful winters… but at times I really miss sinking my bare feet into sugary soft-serve snow! What I don’t miss is that in Ohio winter starts in October and lasts until almost May… simply put… fuck that!