Music Video of the day: The Perfect Drug

A Visually stunning music video. Nine Inch Nail’s video of “The Perfect Drug” is one of my favorite videos ever! When I was in middle school I used to go home to watch MTV  2 (what ever happen to that channel??) after school and this was one of the videos that they always showed. It first debut on January 18, 1997. I have always been attracted to certain decades of time. So anything involving the Victorian and the Edwardian period gets my full attention!

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The music video is directed by Mark Romanek. The director drew inspiration for  the video came from a couple of dark and interesting themes. Such as Gustav Klimt’s painting of “The Kiss.”

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The art of Edward Gorey:

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And artist Francois Willeme:

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The story line of the music video is that Trent Razor is a man who is in mourning of the loss of his only child. He takes the loss extremely hard and turns to drinking instead. His beverage of choice is absinthe so he can escape the reality of his pain and venture into a dream like fast crazy dark world instead.

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Absinthe is a high alcohol content drink that has a flavor of anise in it. Most of the time the drink is a  green color due to it mixture of flowers and leaves. This drink also has other qualities such as being an “addictive psychoactive drug and a hallucinogen.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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The whole entire video is shot in a dark blue, and gray environment.

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We see how barren and dark the father life’s has become because of the loss of his son.

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There is no color or light left in his life.

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I noticed that after Trent Razor takes the drink of absinthe the color of the video turns green.  When he hallucinates he takes the viewer along with him to experience the sadness and craziness that he feels.

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The pace of the video slows down at the end and we see Trent Razor is in a pool of water. He is slowly stinking because there is no bright horizon nor happy ending for him the pain of losing his son will never leave him.

The reason why I enjoyed the visual of this video is because how well I felt it interpret Trent Razor’s lyrics of this song. The slow madding effect of the perfect drug. Trent Razor wrote this song for a movie called “The Lost Highway”  which is directed  by David Lynch.

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Which is one of my favorite movie soundtracks! The full video of the Perfect Drug is linked below:

Fun Fact: Mark Romanek also directed another music video for Nine Inch Nails: Closer. Another favorite music video of mine !

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Until Next time!

 

Source:

Wikipedia

Banned Book Week!

I love to read and I love to read books that have been on the banned book list. What is the banned book list? It is a list of books that have once or frequently challenged to be removed from public libraries and/or school libraries due to questionable content.

Every September the ALA (American Library  Association) dedicates a week of celebrating these books that have been or are currently challenged. Because I as an avid reader I do not like having what I read controlled. Books are meant to broaden your horizon, challenged your mind and imagine.

So here are ten books from the lists of the Classic Challenged Books list and why:

 

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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis- published in 1991. Reason why it is on the list: Overt sexual tones and violence towards women.

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Scary Stories (all volumes) by Alvin Schwartz- published 1981-1991. Reason why it is on the list: Not appropriate for children and countless examples of violence in the stories.

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Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford published in 1987 Reason why it is on the list: Nudity is depicted in the illustrations.

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My Brother Same is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier published in 1974. Reason why it is on this list: Offensive language and violence.

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Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam published in 1987. Reason why it is on the list: Violence and stories about cults and Satan.

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Christine by Stephen King published in 1983. Reason why it is on the list: Sexual content and offensive language.

 

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An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser published in 1925. Reason it is on the list: various examples of sexual content, murder and abortion.

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Deenie by Judy Blume published in 1973. Reason why it is on the list: examples of mastrubation.

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Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds published in 1993. Reason it is on the list: overt examples of sex and teen pregnancy.

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On my Honor by Marion Dane Bauer published in 1986. Reason why it is on the list: examples of divorce, death and suicide.

 

 

To see the full list the link is below:

List of most commonly challenged books in the United States

What books have you read from the list? Comment below!

 

Until next time!

 

Source: Wikipedia and ALA website

 

Welcome to the Insta-Hood: @scentofdust!

Hello welcome to this week’s installment of “Welcome to the Insta-Hood!” where I interview interesting and fascinating accounts people and there IG accounts! This week interviewed IG account: @thescentofdust

1. Tell me a little about yourself:

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“I was born in Orange County, CA and then my family moved to Hawaii where I grew up during the 80s and 90s. We lived in a very small rural town on the outskirts of the city where I went to school. There weren’t a lot of kids in my neighborhood (maybe two?), so my free time was spent “pretending,” drawing, making up stories, talking to imaginary friends, acting out scenes from cartoons/movie trailers or Saturday afternoon movies I saw on TV.
My dad was a horror movie fan and monster fanatic so I was exposed to a little bit of that over time. He had a Twilight Zone collection that had a fantastic psychedelic cover and a novelization of John Carpenter’s Halloween (which my mom eventually threw out into the garbage after she caught my dad and I watching James Cameron’s ALIENS on TV).
He also brought home from the library a copy of Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King with the Bernie Wrightson illustrations and it completely cracked my skull wide open. That was most likely  in 1986.
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That was around the same time that I become completely obsessed with Ghostbusters. We were at my parents friends for a party, and I was chasing someone through the house. I ran through some adults legs to get to someone or away from someone and as I came through I was staring at the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man destroying New York City. I remember sitting down and watching the rest of the movie. I think the hosts put it on again right after it ended and I watched it all the way through. After that every weekend I begged my parents to rent it over and over again. Back then we didn’t have a VCR or cable, so we rented a VCR from the local video store. Once the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters came out I was a fanatic and luckily for my sake, since this was during all that Satanic Panic nonsense and toys were getting banned, and a lot of what I “consumed,” He-Man, Thundercats, GI Joe, was being monitored and forbidden (Dungeons and Dragons), Ghostbusters was always permitted.
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So my childhood was spent being really fascinated by and studying the artwork on books, comics, role playing game boxes/manuals, movie poster art and VHS cover art. It was an amazing time. The Safeway and 7-11 rented movies, so while my parents shopped for groceries, I’d just stare at movie boxes. And if Fangoria was set low enough on the rack, I’d flip through that.
Since most of these books that I saw in stores or the library were above my reading level, and I couldn’t see the horror movies that were everywhere, I’d just ask my dad what they were about.
My dad can tell a really good story, so he’d tell me what Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street was. He told me about HP Lovecraft, and at the time and in Hawaii, he was not available everywhere (unlike now), so it was years later when I finally found a Lovecraft book at a used bookstore and become totally enthralled by him.
I also had a babysitter who was cool and who’d watch gorier things, so she’d explain Hellraiser to me and other gnarlier things (zombie movies, death metal). I found it all very fascinating, especially growing up in a Christian household because it was the complete antithesis to what we were being exposed to each Sunday.
Even though Hawaii is beautiful and most people think of it as only a vacation destination, it also has a very rich tradition of folklore and tales of the supernatural permeate the culture. So it was not unusual to hear legends or stories about haunted houses, local woods, mountain ranges, roads to avoid at night; all the time. Every one had a story; kids, parents, teachers, I was enthralled it seemed around every corner the paranormal lurked.
So over time my curiosity became an interest, and I began collecting books based on cover art with the intention to eventually read them. I started collecting Stephen King paperbacks because you could always get them for really cheap at the Salvation Army. When we’d be buying clothes for the school year, I’d throw in a copy of Cujo or some classic horror anthology into the pile because it was a quarter. And then through the Scholastic Book fairs, I stocked up on GoosebumpsFear Street, Christopher Pike, the Scary Stories collections, and then finally in fifth or sixth grade, I bought Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always. It felt like after reading that book I had graduated to more serious horror fiction.
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Right around that time (7th/8th grade) all I cared about was hardcore punk and skateboarding and all I really did through high school was play music or skate.
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If I did read it was Stephen King, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, Paul M. Sammon’s Splatterpunks collections, John McCarty’s splatter movie guides, Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror, The A-Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers and EC horror/suspense comics.
This was all pre-internet, no tumblr, so a lot of stuff I exposed myself to was from reading interviews, suggestions in books or magazines, suggestions from friends or the people at indie record stores or the local pirate radio station. So getting into this stuff was really a lot of work, it wasn’t just handed to you.
Right before I left Hawaii, I got a job working at a book store where I was in charge of the Horror and SciFi/Fantasy sections, so around then I started collecting again and I worked with some cool people who exposed me to other things I just wouldn’t find at Blockbuster or the library. Soon after that, I moved back to Orange County, CA and instead of college, I got a job at a record store and was exposed to a lot more weird music, films and art. Since Hawaii didn’t have anything at the time to offer in terms of arthouse, underground or psychotronic culture, I had a pretty quick education once I came back to California. I’ve lived in the South Bay for the last 15 or so years and have been making art, music, writing and collecting books and records the entire time. “
2. How did you come up with your Instagram account name?
“I came up with it one day after seeing another terrible photoshopped book cover or movie poster and was nostalgic for the time where everything was a painting. I realized it was a lost artform, and I had an idea for an Instagram that would be old ads from comics, book covers, album covers, the stuff that really got me excited when I was a kid. I tried to track down this ad for something called Blood Brothers for years, which was a Lovecraftian role playing game that had a chainsaw wielding Cthulu on it.
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I finally found it on Google images and was like, “Okay, I’ve got it! This will be the first image on my ‘mind of Evan Instagram,'” but I realized it wouldn’t mean the same thing to anyone but me. So, I settled on making it all cool book covers. When I was thinking of a name I remembered this Ray Bradbury quote from an interview he did about ebooks, “It’s important to read a book, but also to hold the book, to smell the book…it’s perfume, it’s incense, it’s the dust of Egypt…” So I called the account “the scent of dust.”
3. What are your top three books to recommended for fall reading and why?
“I can tell you what I plan on reading for sure this fall:
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Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
A lot of Bradbury fans prefer The October Country or The Halloween Tree for Halloween reading, but I always go back to Something Wicked This Way Comes once a year when fall rolls around. I fell in love with Bradbury in the pages of EC Horror comics, the story that left the biggest impression on me was The Black Ferris, which was a precursor of Something Wicked… part of The Dark Carnival collection. I mean the first line in the book is, “It was October, a rare month for boys.”  Immediately  when I read those few words I am transported to balmy Halloween nights, completely unsupervised, running through the streets of various neighborhoods with friends like a pack of feral dogs sweating behind a latex werewolf mask and homemade costumes. The sense of danger and endless possibilities of mischief, all mixed into a dizzying pheromone of fear. It’s a personal favorite.
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Witches Wraiths and Warlocks – Ronald Curran
I love reading a short story collection between novels. Witches Wraiths and Warlocks is great because it is full of colonial folklore and classic tales of terror. The book is broken into three sections: Folk Tales, Popular Literature and The Literary Tradition. A few of the tales included are the original versions of stories that appear in the Alvin Schwartz Scary Stories collections; The Haunted House by Richard Chase and The Cat-Witch by Richard M. Dorson. There’s also a healthy dose of Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne among others. There’s about 40 stories included.

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It Grows on You/Needful Things – Stephen King

I saw the movie Needful Things well before I read the novel, which I always enjoyed, and I read It Grows on You long after reading Needful Things. So I’m excited to return to these two stories.
When reading Needful Things for the first time I remember thinking to myself, “this is Stephen King’s version of Something Wicked This Way Comes” and since I love that story, Needful Things took on a new life for me. Plus King’s novel always reminds me of grey autumn days.
At its core Needful Things is a Faustian tale, but so is Bradbury’s; you get your wish but like with a djinn it turns dark quickly, and in the end you become part of the dark carnival, forever an Autumn person, your soul is lost to Mr. Dark. In King’s novel you receive your darkest desire in the form of a gift and which is given only after you perform a twisted favor for the proprietor of the antique shop Needful Things, and once done the punishment is that Leland Gaunt owns your soul. It is pure Halloween fare.

Recently, I read that the character of Leland Gaunt was supposed to be a Nyarlathotep-type character, which is again King playing with the Lovecraft mythos. He does this a lot in his universe, the events of Jerusalem’s Lot have a Lovecraft connection to explain why the evil in ‘Salem’s Lot exists. Revival and Jerusalem’s Lot both mention De Vermis Mysteriis a Necronomicon-like tome created by Robert Bloch in the Cthulu Mythos.
It Grows on You, according to King is supposed to serve as an epilogue to Needful Things. It’s about a house that grows new staircases, halls, rooms, and other additions to itself, all appearing directly after evil events that take place in the house or near its grounds.

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Communion/Transformation/Breakthrough – Whitley Strieber

Whitley Strieber’s Communion series is fantastic. Great debate still ensues about the validity of his claims in these books. When published it was categorized as non-fiction but as controversy grew as to if the work was indeed factual it was moved to the fiction section of bookstores. The Communion series contains over seven books but the first three and most notably Communion and Transformation are fascinating, intriguing and terrifying. The books all describe Strieber’s repeated abductions and interactions with what he calls “the visitors”. The visitors are neither supernatural or extraterrestrial in our general sense of the word. But then again they are, it’s all very interesting.
As the nights grow longer in Los Angeles the skies are filled with the lights of aircraft earlier and earlier. It’s fun to look into the skies with a head full of these books and hope that you’ll see something other than a jet.
Fun fact: Strieber claims all his horror fiction is directly related to the subconscious memory of these visitations. Highly recommended reading, don’t just Wikipedia this!!”
4. What book are you reading right now? What is it about?
Morning/Night
The Ceremonies
 – T.E.D. Klein
I’m about 100 pages into this book and it’s right up my alley. There is the resurrection of an Old One in the form of an elderly man who may or may not be the only survivor of a tragic fire that killed an entire family in the mid-1800s. A strange religious order worship in solitude on the outskirts of rural New Jersey. An outsider who decides to rent a summer house from a couple from this order is unwittingly lured into their rituals. This all feels like a set-up for some Lovecraftian-esque sacrificial folk horror. Something like The Wicker Man meets The Dunwich Horror. I’m very excited to see where it goes.

Afternoons

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion – Tracy Daugherty
Joan Didion is the master of making apathy beautiful. Her journalistic writing, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, and her novel Play It As It Lays are flawless and serve as a scathing critique of pop culture, Americana and life in Los Angeles. There is a fantastic documentary called The Center Will Not Hold on Netflix by her nephew Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman of An American Werewolf in London fame), which is very informative and I enjoyed very much, I’ve watched it three times. So when I saw this at my local library I decided to pick it up to gleam more insight.


Weekends:

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Occultation – Laird Barron

In my library have what I call my Carcosa shelf, filled with HP Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Ambrose Bierce, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Chambers, etc. Laird Barron was a large omission from that shelf and thankfully my friend at Death Wound Publishing turned me onto his writing. Over the last year or so I’ve been catching up on what I’ve been missing. There is an eerie detachment and dizzying psychedelia to Laird Barron’s writing that translates into a beautiful uncertainty from the narrator to the reader. Magnificent paranoia.
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Tales from the Underworld – Hans Fallada
I bought this book while in Scotland. I wanted to read stories of crime that weren’t your standard vintage crime; James M. Cain, Chandler, Hammett, Jim Thompson and what I received with Tales from the Underworld is the opposite. This isn’t hardboiled punchy crime fiction with no-nonsense leading men and dames in distress. These are tales of deceit by desperate uneducated  people and their transgressions. Fragile individuals pushed to criminal activities purely to survive. It is more or less, with each new story, a dark study in human weakness and failure.”
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Lunar Park – Bret Easton Ellis
I read all of Bret Easton Ellis’ work in chronological order over the last few years. Reading Less Than Zero was one of those doors being opened in my mind by an author. I remember thinking “you can write like this?”, it had the voice of a sophisticated amateur. Even though the books character’s were in college it felt like someone writing about my cynical and disinterested experience of high school in a very elegant way.
I decided to revisit his work but this time out of order. I was especially interested in starting with Lunar Park because he claimed it was his homage all of the EC/Warren horror comics he had read growing up.”
5. Is there any exciting events or news that you would like to share?
“I am excited to announce that I am finishing the final editing and artwork for my short story collection of weird fiction called Rats in the Dream House, which will be out by November 2019. Hopefully, other stories of mine will be appear through various publications throughout 2020.
I am also working on another issue of my art/essay zine Strangers Die Every Day, I have quite a few articles I’m putting the finishing touches on and it will also include an extended version of my essay from issue #1.
Also, in my book buying excursions I can never pass up a great cover in the wild (even if I own it already), so I have acquired a small collection I’d like to begin selling off online. So that may crop up sooner rather than later on my Instagram.”
Death Wound Zine (DeathWound.com ) still has copies of a horror anthology that includes my story “In the Summer You Really Know”, a psychotic paranormal murder mystery. 

Fractured Noise (Instagram: @fracturednoise) still has copies of a boxset from a noise group I was in called Moth Drakula. It includes a cassette and 7″, a reviewer described the album as “the sonic equivalent of a Hammer Horror film directed by David Lynch”.

Thank you for the interview!
If you like to know more information there are his contact information:
Until next time!

“It’s good day for an exorcism”

Back in October 2015 my friend Jane called me asking me if I was interested in meeting up with her. She told me that the Exorcist staircase was getting the VIP treatment by becoming an official Washington DC landmark and  tourist attraction that day. Also she told me that director William Friedkin who directed “The Exorcist” and the author who wrote “The Exorcist” William Peter Blatty was going to sign autographs a couple of hours before the landmark ceremony and if I was interested in going to both?

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Without any hesitation I said yes! I do not remember if I had any other plans that day but I guess they were not important enough to keep. I automatically met with her at the metro and we headed towards the top of “The Exorcist Stairs” about two hours when the signing started and we were already met with a line! Not a long one at the time but there was about ten people in front of us.

Only then I realized I tracked all this way and I had absolutely nothing for them to sign. Fortunately I was able to find a newspaper stack that had  a front page  talking about the exorcist steps.

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While Jane and I were waiting in line we met some new friends ! Like @punchbuggyblues who was the first person ahead of us in line. We also some some kids and an lady dress up in some awesome Exorcist characters!:

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Then it was time to meet William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty! There were super nice and I got an autograph from them! This is only the second and third time I got someone’s autograph in my life!

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Jane got her movie signed too:

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Later that evening everyone met by the bottom of the Exorcist Stairs

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The mayor of Washington DC and William Friedkin both did a speech about the steps and the cut some ribbon around the plaque:

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This was the nearest spot I got that evening. haha! 

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It was a pretty cool experience to see and be a part of! These set of stairs really do not look like much from afar. Before this event it took me a while to realize that this was the steps from the movie. My sister even went to college near there and I would drive or even walked down the set of stairs not realizing the significance of them.

Days after the event I decided to give my sign autograph picture of William Friedkin to Mike:

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Until next time!

Welcome to the Insta-hood : @george9840!

Hello all! Welcome to another installment of welcome to the Insta-hood! Where I interview fascinating people and their accounts.

This time I interviewed IG account:

@george9840 ( also known as George Marquez)

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  1. Tell me a little about yourself.

“My name is George , I like a lot of retro stuff, and things that provoke imagination. I love to laugh and help people.”

2. What is Dungeons and Drag?

” Dungeons and drag , is a non for profit that is set up to support the LBGTQIA community through gaming(Dungeons & Dragons, board games) and drag. We set out to have safe, sober spaces, for the community to play and express themselves.

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We do this by working with other charities such as Sunserve, and pridelines to make sober gaming events for everyone.

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We are trying to make a campaign to promote sobriety for the LBGTQ community.”

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3.  What was the most memorable event that has happened to you this summer?

“Most memorable event this summer was the most awesome event by our friend @DJhotpants, the event is called Double stubble at Gramps. Dungeons and Drag were invited to table at this event.We had an amazing raffle to raise some money for our charity, and some amazing queens brought down the house.

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Also I will say meeting the amazing Florida man @floridamaniac, and Lacienga @lacienga_, two great drag queens that will set the scene ablaze!

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4. What is  your top three songs that best describe your summer?

“Queen of the rodeo by Orville Peck.

Clutch by Power glove.

 

Status quo by Period bomb.

5. Is there any exciting events or news that you would like to share?

“Currently we are excited that we finally raised enough money to become a 501c3!”

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If you like to know more info and/or contact George about Dungeons and Drag his IG is below:

 

@george9840

There is also a go fund me page if you would like to donate for Dungeons and Drag:

Dungeons and Drag GO Fund me Page 

 

They also have an IG account:

dungeonsdrag

 

 

Thank you for the interview George!

Until Next time!

 

Five movies that feel like fall to me!

Hello everyone! Around this time I always feel like we are in between seasons. September has always been that in between month where the last of the hot weather lingers on. But you see nature around wanting to transition to fall with the turning of the leaves. It make me want to watch certain movies that feel like it is a good transition into my favorite month. Which is October because of two reasons my birthday AND my favorite holiday which is Halloween!!!

So here are five movies that help me into that fall like tradition!

Cruising:

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(1980)directed by William Friedkin and starring Al Pacino and Karen Allen. This probably my favorite movie by William Frienkin. Mostly due the grittiness of the movie and the amazing soundtrack. It is one of those movies that definitely leaves an interesting mark on your mind after you watch it.

Link it buy is here:

Cruising

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School:

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(1979) directed by Allan Arkush. Starring the RAMONES!!! and PJ Soles. The Ramones is one of my favorite bands EVER! And this movie is so much fun to watch! I think anything fun and worth singing along to in a movie is a definite must watch. It has a good mixture of quirky characters and with the setting being a school. I feel like this is a must watch for this month!

Link to buy is here:

Rock ‘N’ roll High School

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So it is no hidden secret that one of my favorite directors is John Waters. But not a lot of people know that my favorite movie of his is Polyester. This is the first movie I watched that had a scratch and sniff card to follow while watching it! Plus this movie also stars one of my forever icons Divine! This movie is got the Criterion Collection treatment and is being release by them on September 17th!  Even the Criterion Collection cover is super dreamy!

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Link it preorder is here:

Polyester

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad:

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(1949) directed by Clyde Geronimi and Jack Kinney. There were two segments in this movie the first was “The Wind in the Willows” with Mr. Toad:

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However when I was little I remember watching “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” more heavily of the two when I was little:

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After watching it I had a huge obsessions with pumpkins and would begged my parents for my birthday that I wanted nothing but pumpkins as birthday gifts. I feel like this is a staple must watch for the fall. The scenery in this movie makes just want to put on a sweater and make a mug of warm apple cider.

Link to buy is here:

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad

Phenomena:

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(1985)- directed by Dario Argento. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence and Daria Nicolodi. This movie is about a girl named Jennifer Corvino (who is played by Jennifer Connelly) who has an interesting super power. She is able to talk to insects and they are able to communicate back to her. While she realizes her super strength there is a string of murders happening around her and she is able to use her super powers to find out who the murder is! This movie has a good mixture of horror and a bit of sci fi mixed into one! Plus it does not hurt that this movie was filmed among the Swiss alps that makes me just want to quite my job and move there! This is a good fall movie to watch in order to get ready for Halloween!

Link to watch/rent is here:

Phenomena

What movies do you gear up for in order to get ready for fall?

Comment below!

Until next time!!

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @tonytrigilio

Hello everyone!

Welcome to this week’s round of Welcome to the Insta-hood. Where I interview fascinating and interesting people and their accounts. This week I interviewed IG: @tonytrigilio

1.  Tell me a little about yourself.

Trigilio reading, Aug 2019

” I’m a poet, scholar, editor and musician.  I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, a small rust belt city, and I’ve lived most of my life in Boston and Chicago. I teach Creative Writing and Literature courses at Columbia College Chicago. As a writer, I’m drawn to subject matter that explores obsessive, anxious states of consciousness, such as the newest book in my ongoing Dark Shadows project and recent poems I’ve published on the Betty and Barney Hill alien abduction case.”

2. Can talk about your latest book you wrote?

“My new book, Ghosts of the Upper Floor, is the third installment in my multivolume experiment in autobiography, The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood). A hybrid mix of poetry andprose, it was published in August 2019 by BlazeVOX Books, a press that specializes in experimental poetry and fiction. I’m watching all 1,225 episodes of Dark Shadows for the project. Ghosts of the Upper Floor covers 122 episodes. I compose one sentence in response to each episode and shape each sentence into autobiographical poetry and prose. Some episodes trigger wildly detailed memories from my childhood, while other episodes focus squarely on the minute particulars of the present
moment. Sometimes, though, I just let the show’s relentless, low-budget kitsch speak for itself. After eight years and three volumes, I haven’t lost my appreciation for the show’s chaotic mashup of daytime soap melodrama, Gothic horror, and deliciously bad acting and special effects.

Trigilio--book-cover--Dark-Shadows
While I can’t predict exactly how many books the project will encompass, my hunch is that I’ll need at least 4-5 more volumes to watch, and write about, the full run of the show. Sometimes the project feels like a race against time. Will I live long enough to write my 1,225th sentence? I’m a future dead person, but I continue the project year after year with the faith that I’ll finish it before I take my last breath. I might seem like I’m making light of my own mortality, but I’m as worried about death as anyone else, and I often write about my fear that I won’t outlive the project. And I’m aware that, ironically, the backdrop for my death anxieties is a supernatural soap opera in which very few characters actually stay dead.”

The book is available directly from the publisher here:

Ghosts of the Upper Floor 

And it’s available from Amazon here:

Ghosts of the Upper Floor 

3. How did you come across Dark Shadows? What was your first impression when you
watched it?

“I watched the show every day with my mother when I was a young boy. She was a stay-at-home mom, and we sat together in the living room day after day with her favorite soap operas. Barnabas Collins produced incessant nightmares in me as a kid—nightmares so frightening that I went to sleep at night with my shoulders hunched, thinking I was somehow protecting myself from that inevitable moment when he’d break my bedroom window with his wolf’s-head cane and lunge for my jugular. I’d wake up with my shoulders relaxed and my neck exposed. Right away, I’d check for bite marks.

Eventually, my vampire fears grew even more elaborate and absurd, and I became convinced Barnabas lived inside the walls of our house. He didn’t have to break my window anymore. He was like a vampire termite, waiting inside the walls for me to let down my guard and fall asleep. Of course, this was a real pain for my parents: their imaginative little insomniac boy crawling into their bed constantly after nightmares about a soap opera vampire. We’d go through periods when my mother wouldn’t let me watch. But I threw tantrums until she changed her mind. I’d resume watching, then the nightmares would start all over again. What a little masochist I was.”

 

4. What are your top 3 favorite Dark Shadows episodes and why?

Barnabas-Willie-casket

“1) Episode 210: The first appearance of Barnabas Collins—released from his coffin by jittery grave-robber Willie Loomis. Willie breaks the chains securing Barnabas’s casket in the secret room of the Collins family tomb. He lifts open the coffin lid, expecting to find jewels to pluck from the casket’s skeletal remains. Instead, he triggers the Dark Shadows primal scene: Barnabas’s ruffled sleeve rises from the opened coffin, his left hand closing itself around Willie’s throat. And so it begins. Barnabas returns from the dead, saving the show from cancellation and, in the process, inserting himself into my childhood nightmares.

Barnabas-picking-nose (1)
2) Episode 635: Barnabas is caught on camera picking his nose, the dread vampire of my
childhood nightmares rooting around inside his right nostril with his pointer finger and then flicking away the booger—unaware the camera is focused directly on him. I know that ABC, the network that produced Dark Shadows, skimped on the budget for retakes. But I still find it hard to believe that Dan Curtis, the show’s creator and executive producer, approved this scene. I can’t imagine Curtis saying, “The vampire just picked his nose and flicked the booger. Yeah, that’s awkward. But, you know, it’s really not that bad. Let’s keep it.”
3) Episode 691: This is the only episode that actually rattled me as an adult. Watching as a child, I was scared of everything; I was too young to understand the camp and kitsch that delight me now. But this episode, one of the last ones I write about in Ghosts of the Upper Floor, actually put a fright into me as an adult. In the opening scene, the mute, mutton-chopped ghost of Quentin Collins tries to strangle Maggie Evans with a purple curtain sash. The spectral homicide is interrupted by the Collins family maid, Mrs. Johnson, dressed in an angular panic-black dress, hair pulled back so tightly it must’ve given her a headache. Little David and Amy, enchanted children possessed by Quentin, watch the whole scene in weird nineteenth-century period costumes—David flailing about in a double-breasted frock coat and floppy bow tie, Amy right behind him in a neck-high, floor-length lace gown.

Amy-struck-blind

Later, they walk in creepy circles around Mrs. Johnson, warbling as they shuffle to the tune of “Quentin’s Theme” playing on the Victrola. Amy works herself into a frenzy—until Quentin, sick of the child’s braying, waves his hand in
front of her face and literally strikes her blind. The episode ends with David cackling in
sociopathic deadpan, “It’s too late. It’s too late to be afraid.” Typical Dark Shadows over-the-top pandemonium; but this time, as an adult, it shook me, watching a ghost who can sweep his hands over children’s eyes and make them go blind. The show lost its mind for that episode, and I absolutely loved it.”

 

5. Is there any exciting events or news that you would like to share?

“I’ll be doing readings for the book in the Midwest this year, and I’m in the process of setting up East Coast and West Coast readings for 2020. The full 2020 schedule hasn’t been finalized yet, but folks can go to my readings webpage:

http://www.starve.org/tony-readings-pubs.html

Also my Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tony.trigilio

and Instagram:

@tonytrigilio

I can also be contacted directly at my email address:

tony@starve.org

to set up further readings.