For years, I've repurposed old, metal lunchboxes. A Rambo lunchbox became a lunchbox dedicated to Great Women of Literature. Another honored Great Writers of the South. More recently, I've dedicated a lunchbox to The Donner Party. For a long time, though, I've had it in my head to create the ultimate Superhero Lunchbox...not a lunchbox featuring Batman or Wonder Woman, but a box honoring my real-life heroes.

I posed this challenge to a wide circle of friends: get your hands on a metal lunchbox, and put some thought into who or what your heroes are, and why. And then get to work making the Superhero Lunchbox of your dreams.

This online exhibit is the result of that challenge. I hope visitors to this site will find it fun and interesting, and maybe even inspiring. Lunchboxes are such useful things, and so many of us have fond memories of toting tuna sandwiches to school in our Partridge Family or Six Million Dollar Man lunchboxes. There seems to me to be no reason for us to outgrow this tradition of toting around our meals in metal boxes that say something about who we are, what we like, and what our values are. I know I've never outgrown it.

Start here, because it's what started it all for me, and work your way up. Enjoy. Leave some feedback. Make a lunchbox.

For a more detailed view, click on the individual images.

If you're moved to make a lunchbox of your own, and have it included in this exhibit, submissions are welcome. Get your hands on a metal lunchbox (no plastic, please) - you can buy a blank one from or repurpose an old one. Go to town. Choose your superhero, and and run with it. Photograph your finished lunchbox, write a few words about your subject, and send the photos and text to me at, with the words "Superhero Lunchbox" in the subject box.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Herr Metzger, Matt Polchlopek : Klaus Nomi

This box was made as a payment to a friend who made a cross stitch for me, but the idea had roots long before that. 

Pastry chef, singer, friend of Bowie, and a dude from outer space, all of these things describe Klaus Nomi. Nomi was a character, and a hell of an inspiration. He blended new wave and opera and made them sound as if they always belonged together. He was equal parts gimmick and talent, with his wacky hair, plastic tuxedo and make-up combined with his gorgeous counter tenor arias.I was drawn to Nomi from the moment I found him. He seemed to have fun with the pop opera elements, but could also make you weep with his more serious arias (his version of the Cold Song from Purcell's King Arthur comes to mind) It's a shame that Nomi isn't around anymore, I can only imagine what he would be doing now. 

This box is to honor the man, the myth, the Nomi.  
Herr Metzger, Matt Polchlopek


Friday, August 16, 2013

Lana Nieves - Burlesque

I became friendly with Amy because of insomnia. We were both Goddard students during a time when there were less than 40 people living on campus. I usually had a difficult time sleeping, and would find myself walking around campus late at night - often with my good friend, Peter. We'd walk around (usually one of us carrying a bottle of booze that we'd take turns swigging from) looking for anyone else who was awake. If your lights were on, you were fair game. Amy's lights were often on into the wee hours of the morning. At some point, late night visits to Amy's room became a semi-regular thing. We'd usually find her working on some creative endeavor. I don't remember a hell of a lot of what was discussed during those visits, except that Amy had a pug back home, who she liked to talk about. She kept a copy of a book called This Is Your Pug on her desk. For some reason, this always tickled me. It still does. I remember really liking Amy, pretty much right away, and thinking she was like no one else. Funny, Smart. Warm. Adorable. Daring. Her artwork seemed to revolve around female sexuality. I won't pretend I understood most of it, or even that I tried to. I was at least a little bit drunk most of that time. I knew she was on to something, though. And I knew Amy was sort of...audacious? fierce? Both. Audacious and fierce. And cute. You don't see that mixture very often.

I haven't seen Amy in a long time. Decades. She's still out there, though. Still audacious and fierce. And cute. She's embraced the world of burlesque since I last saw her. Again, she's dabbling in something I'm not sure I completely grasp, but I think Amy is pretty damned great so it follows suit that whatever she's immersed herself in is lucky to have her on board. Amy turned 50 this year and her friends threw her a burlesque-themed birthday party. My understanding is that the party took the form of a performance, with Amy seated front row, center for her very own command performance of Plainfield's amateur burlesque theater. I couldn't be there but, when I heard it was going to be Amy's birthday, and I was invited to the themed-event, I knew burlesque would play a part in whatever I chose to send Amy as a birthday greeting.

The burlesque lunchbox celebrates this art form, it's true, but that's not the real, Superhero Lunchbox intention. I made this for Amy, who's an Artist. With a capital A. Amy is cool on so many levels, but let me say this: she is a born Artist, and she's living the life of an Artist. I have mad respect for the way she's created a life for herself that always includes - and probably revolves around - her artistic endeavors.  Artists are Superheroes.