Weekly Photo Challenge: KISS

By Johna Till Johnson

471627_10150716407605951_747648912_oThis week’s Photo Challenge is Kiss.

What with Couples, and Love, and Valentine’s Day, we’ve had entirely too much romantic stuff lately. So, for something completely different—


A few months back, a friend and client invited me to a corporate event.

Not your typical corporate event: It was a “Battle of the Bands”, in which employee-musicians competed in front of a crowd of  hundreds of other employees and business partners.

Knowing my friend is a huge fan of the rock group KISS, I volunteered to come dressed in full KISS attire.

Okay, actually I didn’t volunteer. My business partner volunteered me, as in, “I’m sure Johna would love to dress up!”

Hmm… I’d love to, but… As the president and CEO of an up-and-coming technology research firm, did I really want to show up in front of clients and other professionals dressed like a rock star? Isn’t there something about, you know, having an image to uphold?

Upon further consideration, it took me about a nanosecond to agree with the idea. (After all, if I were diehard about maintaining a professional image, I wouldn’t be sporting a Billy Idol ‘do.)

Much longer, though, were the preparations.

First: Which member should I emulate? I was only dimly aware of the individual band members. My friend the KISS connoisseur advised that although Gene Simmons is better known, Ace Frehley’ Paul Stanley’s makeup is easier to do. (Note: As alert readers have noted, it was actually Paul Stanley’s makeup we emulated. I was confused by listening to “New York Groove” while writing this….)

Paul it was!

Then there were the logistics. Prior to the Battle of the Bands, there was an actual formal(ish) event during which we technology folks were to get briefed on the company’s products and services. The CEO would be attending. Did I want to show up at this event in KISS makeup?

In the end, I decided against that plan of action. Instead, after the event, my friend and I swiftly changed into KISS gear and did our makeup, rocking out to the sound of  “New York Groove”.

The results? I think we were a rocking pair of Pauls! And my friend accessorized with a blow-up guitar…


By sheer coincidence, some time before Vlad had taken a photo of a Gene Simmons lookalike at the Hallowe’en festivities on the Upper East Side.  He didn’t recognize the costume, though: I had to provide some additional context.

DSC_0017 cropped small 2

After all, by then I was an expert in KISS!


Great minds think alike!: To Mother Earth, with Love

88 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: KISS

  1. Excellent! That must have been great fun. And you two look great! :)

  2. Great take on the challenge. THat is Paul, not Ace though!

  3. I was hoping someone would come up with this KISS :)

  4. Love it! Best kiss ever :)

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  6. One of my elder brother’s favourite groups… I remember he had two posters in his room, one that showed Kiss and another one with King Kong hanging from the Empire State Building. :)

  7. Excellent for the theme – for years ago I was at a KISS live concert… :-)

    Great story and wonderful shots… :-)

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks! The shots are from random bystanders, on my friend’s camera. (All except the last one, which Vlad took).

  8. I LOVE THIS well of course any ROCKER would! :)

  9. The KISS of kisses. Nicely done, Johna!

  10. Love it … glad you let your ‘hair’ down!

  11. Nicee !!! I like the KISS !! :)

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  13. What fun, but as an above poster pointed out, and being a Kiss fan myself I noticed, that’s Paul Stanley’s make-up, not Ace’s :-D

  14. This made me smile :-)

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  16. Nicely done–like your interpretation of the theme.

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks! I’d take credit, but the idea was Vlad’s. (He basically said, “Tonight you have to write a blog post–I need you to write it up because I can’t.) I love getting writing assignments like that, especially on Friday evenings…..

    • Johna Till Johnson

      It totally was, Lynn! The whole evening was amazing. My favorite part was when the fiftyish, rather buttoned-down CEO ended up crowd surfing—and none of his employees dropped him!

  17. how fun! i loved scrolling through this narrative!!!! thanks for taking us along; the event was surely a success!

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  20. Great interpretation!

  21. LOVE it! A classic KISS reflection ~ Kat

  22. VERY Creative indeed!

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  24. A brilliant interpretation. I wish I could have done it myself. Well done.

  25. Too cool! Nice selection

  26. Looks like a lot of fun. And perfect for the KISS theme. :-)

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  28. Ahahaha.. The band kiss, and their signature heavy make up! :D

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  31. Good job on the makeup and good picture for the kiss challenge. I was going to buy a big hershey kiss candy, but I didn’t.

    • Johna Till Johnson

      It was a hell of a lot of fun to do the makeup. I learned tips about makeup I’ve never known….And I think you listened to your better angels on the giant Hershey kiss! It would have been a wonderful photograph but *such* a temptation….

  32. A fun take on the challenge!!! ;-)

  33. My absolute pleasure having you join me for a memorable night!!!
    From our 65yr old CEO crowd-surfing, to the awesome photos rocking out….. That was my favorite analyst event ever!!!!!!
    Thanks for making it so much fun.
    And you have the special honor of being the only woman I have ever put makeup on and you looked AMAZING!!!
    Your friend. Bernard

    • Johna Till Johnson

      No WAY is your CEO 65! I felt bad about even saying “fiftyish”–maybe I should just stick with “prime of life” from now on!!

      Didn’t we have fun?

      And the music was great, too—even though I don’t recall them playing KISS. Next time, Bernard–you can’t let them get away without it!!

  34. That is great. Love the make up and the spirit behind it.

  35. I grew up listening to Scorpions, AC/DC, Def Leppard and KISS just to name a few, and KISS is still one of my favorites!! Love your post

  36. Hi Valdimir,
    Too cool! I am not a fan( I will admit, KISS was hot when I was in high school) but, KISS is fun :) Great makeup job, guys!!

  37. Just brilliant :-D

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