St Louis Sinner
St Louis Sinner issue 4 featuring the art of KrasH
Issue 4 May 2009 News, Rants & Politics 03. Fear and Publishing 04. Get Depressed Pt 2 05. Preposterous or Plausible News 06. Piper's Pit 07. A Mad Tea Party 08. Hello Apathy Music, Film, Art & Entertainment 10. Rockstar; 420 @ Fubar 11. Ockum's Razor Unmasked 12. Ockum's Razor poster 14. Unique Happy Hours 15. Conspiracy; Just John 16. Stoned Flix 17. Art Potion 18. The Sinful Works of KrasH 19. Cirque du Erotica Religion, Sex, & Other Sinner Shit 09. Strip Off Poker 20. Just Ask Malice 21. Read This: Motley Crew Bio 22. This I Shamelessly Tell You 23. Campfire Tales Publisher: Chuck Foster Layout: Terri Daniels and Danielle Correll Sales: Chuck Foster Cover Art : KrasH Writers, Ranters, Opinionists & Other All-Out Freaks: Matthew Gorman Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid Buddha Lucifer Saab Lofton Richard Art Henry Nicolle Kevin Beals Jeff Diggs Danielle Correll Pat MacMeyer Kimberly Peters Zak Weedman The Sinner is a group of contributing writers. A forum of opinions, rants and ideas which do not necesssarily reflect the views of The Sinner itself. The Sinner encourages contributions from its readers but retains the right to edit material due to content or length of submission. For advertising or submission information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fear & Publishing Mistakes and Lynch Mobs! The human Race has only been standing upright long enough to agree that it's best to wash you hands after you wipe your ass � and that agreement didn't happen over night. Everything else is off the table and up in the air, a backyard brawl where we let bullets and bombs make our rules and government. "We're #1!", remember, regardless of which land you hail from. Argument closed! And to be "#1" there shall be no mistakes; mistakes are for losers! It's a tough world, kid. No bell after 12 rounds, no handshakes after triple OT, and no alarm for incoming � no fucking Referees ! It's survival of the wealthiest or groups there of, for words and armor and bullets are never cheap. Just look around, we're in some lost episode of Buck Rogers that predicted the doomed fate of humankind 30 years ago, but was confiscated by the CIA and buried in a shallow grave somewhere in Washington DC before release. An episode that our founding father's would have called, "Welcome to Hell, 2010". That's what happens when you fuck up in public, someone buries your ass face down or in little pieces. Or even worse, drags you out in the street to be ridiculed. But this rant isn't about conspiracies of New World Order and World Domination, but one of warnings about mistakes and those mobs who will hunt you down with torch and noose in hand when committed. And I promise that mistakes will be committed, regardless of state, wealth or education. We are Human, that product of EVILution which has stood up and learned to speak, read, write, make wheels, cars, banks, cell phones and TVs to watch American Idol and CSI on, but remains plagued by error. A creature prone to make mistakes, like putting habanero sauce on tacos time and time again. As an independent publisher that still walks a bit hunched over, I have taken several steps down the path of ignorance and mistake, like, but not limited to, evil women, bad drugs, Christianity, Satanism, chocolate, and worst, typos and grammar. Of all these fouls that I'm guilty of, publishing is not one of them. Right now I'm sure there's a mob in Seattle who believes that we never mastered a professional newspaper there, so it was a crime against society to start a new paper in St. Louis without their recognition first. It's the same cult of literary snobs which existed before we moved, so I'm sure they're still bitching to their friends and readers now. I've already been informed here that we have a typo or grammar issue in "almost every article", which I'm sure is almost true. Throughout these witch hunts the part of us being an amateur forum, with no paid staff or formal education, escapes our critics. That fact also deters them when they offer their service or resume for employment. As flattering as the notion of us being a "real" paper is, we're only a B-Flick in ink. We're that alley cat with nine lives, squared. We spent our first forty learning to block the voices inside our head out, those of critics and nitwits alike, just as any performer who takes the stage does, locally or nationally. It was a difficult lesson without money, council or prescription medications, but so are most things in life. So if The Sinner isn't up to your par, or anything else in free society, pass on it. I guarantee our race will not crumble if you move on. So if you decide to invest in independent publishing and start your own paper, know that it will crawl upon your back like some manic-depressive monkey, one that will even throw shit at times. But when it pulls hair, that's the one voice to listen to. It just may warn of deadlines that must be kept. Unlike missing a doctor's appointment or jury duty, deadlines can be fatal to you, your business and your monkey. You would rather die or be imprisoned then be ridiculed by your critics, who await your one mistake like sharks outside a steel cage. In both scenarios you loose your freedom of voice, the ability to face your attackers and swing back in print . So know that deadlines are Hell to deal with, even more so with an independent publication bound by finance and staff. Each month will bring headaches and hangovers to the most sound mind and spirit. No vaccine nor pill or booze-filled bottle will immune you from this poison, only numb you from the initial pain. And for those of you who live like the cat, challenging Curiosity's wrath time and time again, be prepared for something far worse than death and deadlines, guidelines. Even as an alternative publication guidelines must be kept, even the most rogue of sorts are bound by rules. For each publication it varies. The decision to put a halfnaked gal on the cover each month wearing a gas mask or to choose a model squatting in front of a Nazi flag on the fouth of July are each guidelines that you must decide for your publication, not society's. WE're known for both, more and less. Of course, you can always take the conservative road and avoid any conflict, where guidelines are simplified by cheesy covers and boring content. But that's like standing in line for the kiddycoaster at Six Flags � boring and lame, yet safe. So even a publication like The Sinner has guidelines, our set of rules for publishing that we believe keeps us from pigeon-holing ourself into any one genre. That evil monkey has bitten my back one too many times to not listen to that fucker when he starts jumping up and down and pulling hair. So know that our only goal is to provide the most fair and balanced coverage of off-beat news, events, music and art that we can with a limited staff suffering the pains of hangovers, deadlines, guidelines and the heat of a torch to our asses while being chased down the Landing by an angry mob of grammar snobs for making minor mistakes. So put the torch down and help improve what you read and your community � submit, Bitch, or move along! And that's just another tale of fear and publishing in tow cities, I mean two cities � stop bitting, you goddamned monkey � I killed that typo before print and you might ne next! Deadlines & God-Damned Guidelines! Get Depressed! The Cynicism of Optimism Part 2 of 2 populist President, many believe that even though the bumps may be rough, we're well along the road to recovery. Just don't pay any attention to the men crowding behind the curtain. If there's anything that can be said about the majority of Americans, it's that we have a very short memory � maybe, say, about the length of time it takes to get from the beginning of commercials to the next segment of the TV show we were just watching. That might explain, at least in part, one of the reasons why so few people seem to be aware of, or even care, just what it is their government is doing. Whatever This reproduction of the Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya work was made available courtesy of Kersnovskaya foundation happened to the irascible American skeptic? Whatever happened to the ghost of Thomas Paine? This idea that we should implicitly trust the same people largely Depression, but some of the similarities are too curious away that which is dear to us. In the case of Prohibition, responsible for getting us into this mess in the first to ignore. also during the Great Depression, it was our ability to place to fix it, I can call nothing other than a bald-faced I'm not going to give the rest of the book away, as have a simple good time. When it started on October form of supremely pessimistic cynicism. It reflects a A) I'm not hankering for a lawsuit, and B) I would highly 28, 1919, there were 15,000 drinking establishments belief that we are not the captains of our own destiny, recommend reading it. Either way, if you're familiar in New York City. Within a few years, there were more should do what we're told and to simply be happy with at all with the history of the USSR, you can probably than double that number � 32,000 � and all of them "getting by" � let alone that heavily abused notion of guess what happens next. Things did not go well for were illegal. Repression breeds sublimation. The "freedom." Fool me once... most of the Americans, though some did eventually primary targets of Prohibition were � you guessed it Imagine this scenario: You've just lost your job, escape back to the States. From a certain point of view, � ethnic minorities and the people who tolerated them. your house has been foreclosed, your family has run the Americans trying to escape the Great Depression Sound familiar? out of money and you don't know where your next were experiencing perhaps the closest possible As the number of immigrants captured in meal is going to come from. For many right now, parallel to that of immigrants now traveling into the US. Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdowns this requires no imagination. Now imagine that you As is the case with many immigrants arriving illegally in grows, and the number of "temporary detention happen to spy the most killer job the United States, the Americans centers" being built to house them increases, how long advertisement you've seen in your arriving in the USSR had their is it until the methods we develop to "protect ourselves" life: Free room and board, daycare passports taken away shortly after turn against us? More importantly, what sort of a society for the kids, twice your normal arrival through various methods. are we leaving to our children? Many elites in power pay, a free gym membership, job Though English, and American will not listen to moral arguments, but their ears sure security and a reputedly beautiful culture, had a brief popularity in perk up when you're talking about issues that impact setting to boot. You would have to the USSR, eventually they were all their wallet. We may not have material wealth, but move to another country, but the forced to speak Russian. we can still be rich in our freedom. We have a unique transportation would be covered Nonetheless, many still opportunity at this point in time to not only stand up by your new employer overseas. see the deportation of illegal for our own freedoms, but for those among us who do Would you take it? immigrants, separation from their not have a voice. These things do not happen on their For several hundred thousand families, disparate incarceration, own, and we're not going to have a USSR to escape to Americans during the Great linguistic homogenization and this time. What happens when the only people making Depression, the answer was clearly the construction of prisons these choices for us are not interested in freedom? If yes. In his book, The Forsaken: outside American jurisdiction you need a hint, John Lehman, Reagan's US Secretary An American Tragedy in Stalin's as "necessary evils." The ends of the Navy, said it best, "Power corrupts. Absolute Russia, author Tim Tzouliadis justify the means, and the ultimate power is kind of neat." unearths the forgotten story of rationalization is that they are Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty, 1926. American immigrants who risked necessary to protect American Footnote: For those of you who paid enough attention to look Published by the Pillar of Fire Church everything they had in pursuit of a society. This brings us to the at the footnote last time, you've caught me. I bit off more than in Zarephath, NJ better life in the USSR. He tells their second major obstacle to overcoming I could chew, and many of the things I wanted to cram in just wouldn't fit. "Gulag" is the acronym for "Glavnoye Upravleniye stories in amazing detail, writing out people's disbelief � the increasingly Lagerei," or "Labor Camps Directorate" in English. Many of a genuine interest for the people involved, while touted faith in the inherent morality of law. If anything, Americans ended up working in one of these, pictured above. still exhaustively referencing all of his source material. are we not certainly a country of "law-abiding citizens"? And while there were too many awesome smuggling methods While there are no absolute statistics as to exactly how Many refuse to even question the validity of a law, to count, the winner by far was a rubber bladder filled with many Americans emigrated to the USSR, or how many simply because it is a law. Leave that to our "elected booze that a woman could hide in her brassiere. Brings a remained there, it is clearly far more than has been representatives" to deal with. I believe this attitude is whole new meaning to voluptuous... popularly discussed in the US. I had briefly read about probably the most dangerous out of all the American Americans immigrating to Russia in a number of other stereotypes, as it goes directly against works, but I had thought it more of a curious historical everything the Founding Fathers fought footnote until reading Tzouliadis' book. The sheer and died for � not to mention basic logic. magnitude of their story almost derailed me from the As Thomas Jefferson put it, "God forbid original purpose of my article, as it's hard to summate that we should live for twenty years the wealth of information in the book. without a revolution." Mark Twain said, "History rarely According to Tzouliadis, over 100,000 Americans from all walks of life applied for immigration to the repeats itself, but it often rhymes." It USSR in the first eight months of 1931 alone. Some is within this statement that I still find had pre-arranged agreements with employers in the great hope. Given, as a friend of mine USSR, others left with only the clothes on their back. put it so eloquently, "a revolution cannot "For the first time in her short history, more people happen in a well-fed country," but with were leaving the United States than were arriving," so many going hungry, I can't help but reports Tzouliadis. What I found perhaps even more wonder how long it's going to take until interesting than the extensively detailed statistics in the we're literally fed-up. We certainly have book � it's full of them � was how eerily familiar the within ourselves the capacity for civil California Army National Guard patrolling the San Francisco Embarcadero, whole story sounded. Now, obviously we're still a long disobedience, it just seems we don't July, 1934. From "The Role of the California National Guard during the San ways yet from where things were during the first Great use it until the government starts taking Francisco General Strike of 1934", by James J. Hudson, Military Affairs, 1982. written by Kevin Beals Seattle 5th - Wild Turkey Chuck Foster WA Cynicism/Optimism G enerally, I'd like to think that I don't believe most conspiracy theories. The conspiracies that bother me are the ones hidden right in plain sight. If you're like me, and you've been cheating on last month's homework of not watching television, you might have noticed a couple of new public service announcements making the rounds. The first involves a brief skit with three friends in a cabin, dressed as though they have just returned from a fishing trip. Two of them are wearing oversized cut-outs of the new "enhanced" driver's licenses being heavily touted by DHS over their heads. The third friend does not have one, and is obviously distressed � much to the mocking amusement of his friends. Though light-hearted and slightly retarded, the message is clear: those with the proper clearance avoid trouble. The second announcement, slipped nonchalantly between ads for car dealerships and KFC, is far more blunt: as of June 1, 2009, land entry to the United States from the Canadian border will require a passport � unless you have the aforementioned "enhanced" driver's license. Despite the smarmy, friendly tone and slick presentation, there is unquestionably an unspoken threat underlying the message: identify yourself...or else. Or else what? The malfeasance of the threat lies in its very vagary and nonchalance. Unmentioned are the facts that the new card is pieced together from the remnants of RealID, will contain an RFID chip with reams of your personal information and is the first step towards a mandatory, national ID card. For a country that constantly spouts ideals of "freedom" and "democracy," this method of notifying citizens of a new draconian law they have no say in the making, and must obey, shouldn't jibe well. Yet even in casual conversation, I am still surprised at the amount of disbelief I encounter from many people who are not aware of these new laws � or more frighteningly, the ones who support them. While I cannot necessarily substantiate this with any empirical evidence, I can certainly say that anecdotally, the first major obstacle to overcoming many people's disbelief is the saccharine sweet lure of the "American Dream." This is what I call the "Cynicism of Optimism" � the belief that no matter what happens, no matter how much evidence might indicate something to the contrary, everything will eventually be okay. It couldn't happen here, right? This myth is perhaps even stronger than ever, as with a highly eroles st sib u Prepo u r Pla o NEWS 1973, and since he is well educated, westernized and speaks English fluently. Being "westernized" has its price in the Muslim world, though. His critics argue that Karzai was a well known figure at the US State Department prior to the 9/11 attacks, where he attended meetings on Capitol Hill and other think tanks and foundations that focus on Afghan affairs in DC. They also believe his ties to the American oil company Unocal, who prior to 9/11 desired the construction of a pipeline through Afghanistan, made him a puppet of the US. Today, perhaps the critics were right. Presently the US has military installations at three key points along the Unocal pipeline protecting it from Osama Bin Laden and his gang of evil-doers. But what critics did not expect was Karzai to legalize rape, not even under freedom of religious expression for the Shiite Muslims. If not for a few hundred female protesters in Kabul gaining global attention after doing so, this travesty might have gone unnoticed. In Karzai's defence, he told CNN last month that he was unaware of any provision in the legislation he signed into law which legalized marital rape after four days of abstinence. Under coalition pressure Karzai has recently vowed to revise his position, instructing clergy to remove this part of the Bill from law. I wish this bite of news was preposterous, as it should be, but it is not. Karzai may have just gotten his first taste of freedom and democracy, the Power of the People � even if he never thought a few hundred woman had such rights. Venice is Sinking VENICE, Italy (Plausible News) � The new argument presented by radical environmentalists is whether or not Venice will be the first corporate victim of Global Warming. However, Venice's mayor Paolo Costa has agreed with their latest report, admitting that it was a "very good piece of archaeological research... able to compare the sinking rate of Venice over the last 2,000 years and the last century to show it is sinking more quickly, which is absolutely true." But then mayor Paolo Costa disagreed, bolstering that his critics rely on "someone else's forecasts for global warming", which he also says is "not science" and that his city has its "own forecast" for global warming. His partial argument is against the latest edition of Science, which states that newly-proposed dams would not "prevent Venice from sinking" but only provide "hope" for the victims of flood waters, which are likely to be experienced by global warming. According to Costa's statistics the city has sunk by about seven centimeters a century for the past 1,000 years, which disputes Science's assessment of 24 centimeters in the past 100 years. Costa believes the city should invest in a dam system for protection against the obvious rises in sea level, where Science suggest that, if built, the dams would have to be closed about half the year, transforming Venice into a pond for about 215 days of the year. Of course, the million-dollar question is who gains from the building of dams, or bombs? Usually the person in charge of making those decisions. As I wish this was a bite of preposterous news, it is not. Venice is gone. That even with the dams the scientific community believes that this will happen over the next 50 years. The real question is who shall you believe, scientist or mayor Paolo Costa? I'll take the odds; scientist over lobbied fraud, 10-to-1. Adult Toy Company Goes Green! CHAD, Africa (Plausible News) � Your Naughty Friend, Inc. has recently launched a new line of adult toys and condoms, called their "Green Series". Company spokesperson Clyde Johnson said that their goal is to address two of the main issues facing the world by providing affordable adult toys and condoms to a global market and by producing jobs in one of the poorest countries on the planet, Chad, Africa. YNF, Inc. is taking what some in the industry call a "ground-breaking" approach to global warming and poverty. The premise of their plan is to have people donate their old sex toys � vibrators, butt plugs, blow-up dolls, condoms, etc. � to be sterilized and repackaged. "It's kind of the same process our drinking water goes through, only it's safer for the consumer and planet." says Johnson. There's only one real problem haltering this new line, child labor laws in Chad. Due to years of poverty the average age of Chad citizens is under 18, many being much younger, and where YNF, Inc. wants to pull their labor force from. Johnson commented that the younger children have the "perfect size hands for cleaning and re-rolling the condoms for repackaging." but they have yet to reach an agreement with the government of Chad. Johnson says that a deal looks to be made latter this month. Beyond a large payoff to high-ranking officials, the YNF, Inc. has offered a sex toy incentive plan for government employees. "Hey, everyone needs a good sex toy, even if it's been used a few times." Johnson add, "We all know that they're known to take a lickin' and keep on tickin'." And that, my dear reader, is totally preposterous! As it should be. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Legalizes Rape KABUL, Afghanistan (Plausible News) � Since being put in office by the US coalition after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has accomplished much. Mostly known for keeping the Taliban at bay and spreading freedom through out Afghanistan, the president is now hailed by the nation's 20% of Shiite Muslims for signing into law the legalization of rape under religious practice. Prior to the US invasion, Western fans of Karzai praised him for his physical and financial support to the anti-Soviet Islamic guerrillas during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They also deemed Karzai qualified for the position of interim president since he had held several high-level government posts under monarch Muhammad Zahir Shah, who reigned from 1933 to myspace.com/stlouissinner 5 Pipers Pit S by Saab Lofton Oh, Bomb A Country "He was deceived by a lie, we all were. It appears that the Chancellor was behind everything, including the war." � Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith omewhere deep in the heart of white suburbia, there's a temple... Within the temple is a shrine... On this shrine sits a retarded redneck who's absolutely petrified that the events of the 1984 Patrick Swayze movie Red Dawn will somehow come to pass unless the militaryindustrial complex is CONstantly given a blank check. Why do I refer to it as a shrine in a temple? Because that's the way Obama treats retarded rednecks, like GODS. All it takes is the mere prospect of being called wimpy or unAmerican for Democrats to instantly become utterly indistinguishable from Republicans when it comes to saber rattling. If Obama was half the man his fans think he is, an apology to the people of the Middle East in general and Iraqis in particular would've been made by him by now. During said apology, the following from the February 11th, 2006 edition of the Los Angeles Times should've been brought up: "Huddled with aides at the White House, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were not sure there was enough evidence to convince the Security Council. Without the council's explicit authorization, their plans for an invasion to depose Saddam Hussein could be difficult to defend under international law. Bush proposed an alternative: paint a U.S. spy plane in United Nations colors and see if that didn't tempt Hussein's forces to shoot at it. In any case, he said, the war was `penciled in' for March 10 and the United States would go ahead with or without a second U.N. resolution. Blair replied that he was `solidly with' the president." Despite what FOX News usually spews, we the people are NOT in any real danger. Even if 9-11 wasn't an inside job, Michael Moore nailed it like the Romans nailed Jesus in Dude, Where's My Country? "Your chance as an American of dying in an act of terrorism in this country was 1 in 100,000... The suicide rate alone means that YOU were a greater danger to yourself than any terrorist." Meanwhile, tens of thousands die of poverty and preventable diseases every-single-day... I opened with Obi Wan Kenobi's quote from Revenge of the Sith for a reason � as Professor Howard Zinn wrote in A People's History of the United States, "In 1984, the CIA admitted that it had exaggerated Soviet military expenditures, that since 1975 it had claimed Soviet military spending was growing by 4 to 5 percent each year when the actual figure was 2 percent. Thus, by misinformation, even deception, the result was to inflate military expenditures." Now, who benefits from such lies? An elite of weapons manufacturers who are in MC Hammer mansions while the rest of us live from check to check (or beg for spare change). Think about it: If your MTV Cribs lifestyle hinges on the sale of bombs, and bombs ain't regularly detonated, your trophy wife is going to bail on you with a quickness! Therefore, you HAVE to lie and claim the bogeyman's gonna getcha � hence the prevalence of films like Patrick Swayze's Red Dawn... Be it those in Fallujah burned by white phosphorus or those in Abu Ghraib stacked buck naked like hot dogs, the whole world is suffering because white suburbians are too stupid to know they're being suckered by the aforementioned elitists. Rather than expose this scam, however, most peace activists CONstantly tiptoe around the feelings of �ber-patriots since the worst case, nightmare scenario is supposedly for soldiers to be spit upon as they rarely-if-ever were after tours in Vietnam (another liebased invasion/occupation). Two things: One, it's pretty safe to say the NAPALM poured on the Vietnamese was FAR more painful than a globule of saliva � so it's high time whites finally learn to keep things in perspective. Two, respect must be earned, and if the goal is to get folks like me to respect America's armed forces, they better join Amnesty International and act accordingly. A Republican and WWII general by the name of President Dwight D. Eisenhower not only warned us about the military-industrial complex, but sounded like a commie at an anti-war protest when this was said to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 16th, 1953, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense." I LIKE IKE! And the military-industrial complex won't be spending the sweat of this laborer! I will NOT pay taxes or pay back my student loans so long as a single nuclear missile exists! Put my black ass in the cell next to Wesley Snipes for tax evasion, for all I care! All this damn whining about the economy when all it takes to fix everything is PEACE... A Mad Tea Party Written by Jeff Diggs 2009 Tea Party protests held in Louisville, Kentucky, across from the Louisville Metro Hall on April 15, 2009 "NO ROOM! NO ROOM!" they cried out Fundamentally, there is no difference between the when they saw Alice coming. "There's plenty of messages preached by the Ku Klux Klan and the room!" said Alice indignantly, and she sat down Tea Parties on April 15. The Tea Parties are just a in a large arm-chair at one end of the table. The more cleverly disguised rally. Hatter opened his eyes very wide; but all he said I want to know why the conservatives are so was "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" afraid. Why does a black man as president frighten That question makes about as much sense them so much? I spoke to a married man who is a as the recent Tea Party demonstrations held small business owner living outside Terre Haute, across America. On April 15, 2009, Tax Day, Indiana. I quote him, "I'm ok with black people. thousands of Americans took part in local protests I just don't think they should be telling white affectionately named Tea Parties. Roughly people what to do." This was his comment to me, around 900 demonstrations were organized and referring to Obama being President. That is the patronized by the ultra conservative movement. fundamental definition of racism. Could it be that You know, the same people that want to abolish the conservatives fear retaliation for the 200 plus abortion along with a women's right to choose, years of social and economical repression that deport all immigrants out of the country, protect they have imposed on the minority communities in the sanctity of marriage by rewriting State and America. It's time to put the Conservative Agenda Federal constitutions, and pack a hand gun in to rest and make America a country that represents every child's lunch bag. This is a grass roots style its entire population and not just the conservative movement composed mainly of Republicans, white Christian American. Libertarians and Constitutionalist which has been Even Texas Governor Rick Perry, a well know carefully crafted and designed to appeal to the conservative Republican, used the Austin, Texas conservative white Christian American. Tea Party event to promote his own political Tea Party attendees waved outrageous protest agenda to support his reelection campaign efforts. signs proclaiming vile declarations of hatred in Governor Rick Perry announced at the Tea Party one hand while waving an American flag that Texas could secede from the Union in the other hand. Some protest signs if it wanted. I can just see Texas as an contained proclamations that were not independent nation. Texas would the least bit American in any way. A be the country known for no speed sign from Madison, Wisconsin read limits, no abortions even if you're "Obams's Plan, White Slavery". only 13 years-old and you and your From Chicago, Illinois a sign baby have the same daddy, the gun read "The American Taxpayers capital of the world, and the penalty Are The Jews For Obama's Ovens" for every felony would be death. I and another sign read "Barack Hussein would give them about 2 weeks before Obama, The New Face Of Hitler". they invade Mexico. While Texas sure In Evansville, Indiana one sign read does love to talk about the Tea Party "Obama, What you talkin about and how patriotic it was in 1773, Texas Willis?" while another read "Got seems to have forgotten another classic Birth Certificate?"and yet another read Revolutionary saying from 1768, "Obama Loves Baby Killing". From "United we stand, divided we fall." Tampa, Florida a sign depicted By far, the best Tea Party Tea Party protest sign at the a black figure that resembled activity was Tea Bagging. I just President Obama slitting the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, couldn't get enough of Fox News Connecticut. Photo by Sage Ross. throat of Uncle Sam. In Bryan, reporters talking about all the Tea Texas a man held a sign "Guns Bagging that was taking place. I Tomorrow". From Washington, DC a sign read believe Fox News was referring to Tea Bagging "We are a Christian Nation". From San Diego, as the act of attending a Tea Party event. Here's California a sign read "Freeloading Illegals Are what Tea Bagging really means: Tea Bagging is Raping US Tax Payers". And the hatred went on a term for the act of a man placing his scrotum and on and on. in the mouth or on or around the face including Tea Party demonstrations were intended to the top of the head of another person often in a voice concern over excessive taxation without repeated in and out motion. The Tea Bagging due process representation. Why did these rallies practice resembles dipping a tea bag into a cup promote racism, hatred, and discrimination? of tea. Next time, the organizers need to promote These ideas have nothing to do with taxes. that Tea Bagging will be taking place, then they Everyone pays taxes regardless of your race, are sure to get a much better turn out. What man religion, etc. The Tea Parties remind me of another doesn't like to Tea Bag? well know group of people that also like to spread "At any rate I'll never go there again!" said the ideology of racism and hatred against other Alice, as she picked her way through the wood. people who are not conservative white Christian "It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my Americans. That would be the Ku Klux Klan. life!" myspace.com/stlouissinner 7 By Matt Pachmayr pathy is not such a bad thing. There are more eligible voters who don't vote than do vote, and this is a good thing. Our political system has evolved into a strict two party system. This pushes any political parties or political ideas outside of the two party mainstream to the outermost fringe. Ralph Nader has some great ideas. The Libertarians have some great ideas. You can find great ideas for how America should be governed in numerous fringe parties; you just have to look for them, because they aren't easily accessible. You aren't going to see a commercial for the Libertarian Presidential candidate unless you are smoking some crystal out of a light bulb at 3am and happen to be watching some D-movie on a snowy local channel. Fringe ideas must be sought out if you want to find something beyond what is offered by the two party system. The eligible voters who do vote know how the system works. They may cringe when having to vote for the lesser of two evils, 2004!!!!, but they can't bring themselves to vote for a third party candidate because its the equivalent of throwing away a vote and helping the greater of two evils get elected. The two party system keeps the fringe elements out of American politics and ensures that both parties play centrist politics. Apathy helps keep this system going. But in a country of this size, to have a majority of eligible voters be passionate about the political process and actually think they have a stake in the running of their country, well, it would be trouble. Let me first say that I am a firm believer in the multiple party system. Western Europe has it figured out. They have social welfare states without much social unrest (forget the French, protesting is a national past time) and without hurting their economic status, depending on who you ask of course. But the history of America and Europe couldn't be more different. America has never been attacked, and no, 9/11 doesn't count because it was an attack from a rogue group striking back for wrongs done to them whether those wrongs were perceived or actual (pssst, we had that shit coming, just look at American foreign policy from the end of WWII up to 9/11, and read Blowback by Chalmers Johnson). Europe has been through too many wars to recount and has seen one of the worst atrocities in the history of man. It is impossible to separate modern Western European politics, with its multi-party systems and its insistence on a social welfare state, from the two world wars that helped produce these various systems in Holland, England, France, Belgium, and other Western European countries. America has not seen its continent destroyed through war. We haven't even fought a war on our own soil in almost one hundred and fifty years. That war, fought so long ago, was fought by people who thought their values and way of life were not represented by the American Government; so they tried to start their own. America's governmental system, in the modern post civil rights era, is inclusive enough to keep the fringe elements in the periphery, to keep them labeled as kookie and misguided, because often they are. But for the most part they are ignored, left to drift out into obscurity because the choice is between two and not three; that's just how it is. An end to apathy would add a large number of voices to the American political system. And where would these voices go? A number of them would probably join one of the existing power parties, but an even bigger number would start their own parties or join one of the fringe parties. The two parties in power would be stupid to include the outsider parties in all of their little reindeer games and debates. So, what do these parties do? They do what fringe parties do when they want to be taken seriously; planned acts of violence meant to raise awareness of their cause. Revolution happens when a large block of citizens are left outside the system, voiceless and faceless. It happens when people have no other choice but to force change because they have nothing to lose. Apathy means that people aren't desperate enough to care, and maybe that's the American Dream, existing in a flawed system that leaves its citizens comfortable enough not to rise up in mass revolt. Several of we so called liberals, including myself, have had wet dreams about revolution in America. We tell ourselves that rising up and taking back the power that belongs to the people is a good thing, that this time power won't be abused and in the words of the Who, "We won't get fooled again". But that is not how revolutions work. The people who take power have to immediately protect themselves from the people they dethroned. They become the old guard they overthrew, but with different titles and different policies that don't offer much change for the large mass of us existing somewhere between poverty and affluence. Revolution is bloody, messy, and almost never does what it sets out to accomplish because it's run by people and not by ideas. If we were abstract creations in the mind of God, playing out some sort of experiment, then Communism would have worked, but we're not, we are human. And human beings fuck things up; we can't live up to ideal goals and ideal aspirations because our realities are less than ideal. Apathy is a good thing in this country right now, because there is no one to represent those of us who aren't happy having the Democrats or the Republicans speak for us. And I don't blame my peers for not caring anymore. For most of the apathetic it doesn't matter whether they vote or not, it's a choice between shitty and shittier. They have mortgages to pay, mistake-children to be raised, and lives to lead. Whether the President is a Republican or a Democrat makes very little difference for most of us in the middle, our mediocre jobs aren't going to suddenly start paying more and offering more benefits because of who the President is. I hope to be proved wrong by Mr. Obama, but a President can only do so much, this isn't a parliamentary system where the winning party gets to set its own agenda. But I digress. I understand why people don't vote and I never look down on my friends who year after year refuse to get in line at their local polling station. But I keep voting for the same reason I keep playing the lottery; maybe, just maybe, one day, I'll get lucky and pick the right one. A NOW OPEN FRIDAYS! ...human beings fuck things up.... o r ip OffRPqukred Str e ie Cigar Not W hen I think of a poker game, a duel of good and evil comes to mind, where the guy in white bluffs his loosing hand against the town nemesis dressed in black, cigar and whiskey in hand. There's a ranch at stake, the lively hood of the hero and his gal, who stands alone amongst the crowd awaiting his victory or demise. Anything could fly when the last card is turned over, including punches and bullets. That's why we play, for the sheer thrill of seeing that last card flipped. Well, OBE Holdings LLC has added another reason to play, to get naked � they call it Strip Off Poker. The concept of taking an intimate game of strip poker and linking it around the globe through seven webcam technology came to this small group of locals about three years ago. Stewart Schelp, one of the founding members, says the idea for the site began when the group was reminiscing on their childhood days of spin the bottle and strip poker with friends, the good times. A few years later, Strip off Poker was a working concept. Stewart says the site is more of a software designed for adult entertainment, where they hope the players will escape their stressful day and have a little fun. Strip Off Poker is also a social networking site, where members can simply register and interact with each other or upgrade and download the software to enter the strip poker rooms. It's something a little different for each member. The site is less than a year old and for now only offers two levels of play, but the higher membership grants voyeur access to watch ALL public and private rooms. Stewart says all you need to become a member is a good webcam and a credit card, and the ability to become "uninhibited and enjoy" yourself. And once you're online and registered, he says that OBE Holdings cannot control the "depth (no pun, actually, yes pun)" players will go. However, he adds the site was "designed to be more clean than explicit." Now this big question is whether or not you can bet the ranch with your panties? Stewart says, not yet. Due to the US moratorium on internet gambling, OBE Holdings decided not to pursue the expense of adding that feature. However, the groups says that should the law change they will gladly rethink that decision. In the near future, once the site has 10,000 members, Stewart says they will begin to plan an annual live event where the top 1000 members online will be invited to play for free. And for a limited time OBE Holdings is offering 5,000 free lifetime memberships, which grants full access to the games. An upgrade will be required for voyeur access, though All you need to do is log on and type in your promo code: N30P4Y73 So, the next time you find yourself surfing the net, craving the thrill of a game and maybe a bit of nudity, too, log on to www.stripoffpoker. com � cigar and whiskey not required, only recommended. 9 The Great Absinthe Experiment A Night of Black lights & Green Fairies At Rockstar W hen we arrived at the door the sound of strange music echoed from the other side, a noise which many in alternative scenes label Experimental. These are rhythms and beats not meant for the sober mind, those that torture the soul and thought until certain drugs intervene in the brain's normal process of interpretation. When our friend answered you could see that he was well past that point, and all that surrounded him was quite pleasurable. As he poured us a taste, he introduced my less-daring comrade to sense depravation, a leather blindfold and ear muffs used for shooting high-calibre guns. These experiences aren't for the sober mind either, but these notions escaped our blissed friend who was already engulfed in the nectar of the Green Fairy, better known as Absinthe. This was my first experiment with the taboo spirit some five years ago. Until then, I had never even heard of this forbidden brew, as Absinthe has been illegal in much of the civilized world for the last hundred years and here in the U.S. until 2007. It was branded the Green Fairy ages ago as it often carries a green tint, but that's never a certainty as there are several different recipes for the spirit amongst bootleggers. The fear of Absinthe heightened in the early 19th century as it was known to be used by writers, poets and artisans as an inspiration, like the infamously feared Aleister Crowley. Social conservatives and prohibitionists demonized the beverage, claiming it had psychoactive properties. And this is the reason I tried it five years ago and why I led the wife down to Rockstar Nightclub a few weeks ago. Once again we arrived to a closed door with sounds penetrating the steel as if it were mere cardboard, yet these were the typical sounds of a party, not some acid-induced craze. Upon entry we were each given a ticket for a free shot of Absinthe, the gift that never stops asking once it's consumed. Jeff was standing at the door greeting guests, and warning that absinthe is rumored to posses psychedelic properties. I let him know that was my reason for attending, that I was in search of the truth, whether or not this tale held any fact or if it was all hype. I wanted to know if it was some kind of marketing hoax created by slick CEOs, or an elitist wise tale created by wealthy snobs to torture the less fortunate with. I had no answers, but I was certain to leave with one. I'm no stranger to psychedelics nor booze, so I started by matching every shot of absinthe with a Wild Turkey and coke, perhaps not the best way to consume a beverage that has been rumored to put you on a mild trip. But I wasn't driving nor riding a bicycle, so all other travelers that night were safe from my demise. The first three or four shots went down smooth, as they often do, but the last two or three started to wreak havoc on my senses. I found myself wishing for a blindfold and ear muffs, but this wasn't the time nor place for that kind of weirdness. Instead I began to take photos in an attempt to capture part of this weird ride, as those are the best rides yet seldom are ever captured on film. I quickly found myself in a purple haze, some weird land where clothes and skin alike glow brilliant colors and green fairies hide behind shot glasses carried by painted arms and faces with white smiles. If I had been a stranger to this land it could have been a frightening experience. Perhaps this was the result of a tainted experiment, honest intentions gone awry. Perhaps I should have consumed the absinthe alone, without the extra kick of Wild Turkey. Either way, I came in search of an answer, even if the results may have been a bit skewed, and I left with one: The absinthe served at Rockstar is true to its word, that in high enough consumption, colors and sound will blur into one mind-bending experience. It's no wonder this taboo spirit frightens conservatives and prohibitionists, as it is those who have always wished to confine the minds of the masses in the darkness of conformity. This was a good night though, even if leaving Rockstar was a multicolored blur. And it's a place where you will find an array of events, like this one and not like this one, each unique and entertaining � with or without Wild Turkeys and Green Fairies. 420 @ Fubar I n true stoner fashion, we didn't contact Fubar management about their 420 show last month until about 4:20pm that day. Unfortunately, this mental slip had little to do with celebrating the stoner holiday in green fashion. This was a total mind-fart, perhaps from too many past 420s. Regardless of reason, we made the ride north, to Fubar (3108 Locust St.). Too many Americans, young and old, white, brown and black, view this day as some pot-frenzy holiday of smoking reefer all day and night. They overlook the bigger picture in their stoned-haze, that this is a fight of principle, reason, justice, freedom and common sense. Too many non-violent pot smokers are behind bars, wasting tax dollars and court time that should be dedicated to real criminals. Too many Americans are still lost to government propaganda, like the Reefer Madness campaign from the early part of this century that portrayed users as insane and suggested that the drug was used by "Darkie" to subdue white girls. The 420 Awareness Rally bagged these issues in a fat sack with 9 musical acts, 7 comedians, 4 magicians, and Captain Spalding Jr. as host. It also featured St. Louis Norml's Mark Pedersen as a guest speaker. It was a motley event, Rappers and Rockers and Metal heads and magicians banned together for a great cause, which is tearing down the walls of propaganda that have separated us for too long. There is power in the people, but only when they stand hand-in-hand, and this festival proved it. The issue deserves more than a few sentences as does the history of the madness behind it, so put the pipe down one day a week, even a month, and get involved � not just on 420! written by Chuck Foster UNMASKED! here are bands who crumble before adversity without fight or thought, who seldom see that success often lies though the simplicity of shaving the problem at hand of unnecessary troubles, regardless of its magnitude. Ockum's Razor is not one of those bands. Their name alone stems from the principle of shaving unnecessary assumptions and entities from a theory or problem to produce the simplest explanation or answer, Occam's Razor. If not for their ability to strip adversity of all its threat and worry, this powerful foursome wouldn't be where they are today in the St. Louis music scene. One of the challenges Ockum's Razor faced early on was finding the right fit in its personnel, which has led to many key changes. Today the band consists of Topher on lead vocals and keyboard, Viner on guitar and background vocals, Ryan on bass guitar and some background vocals, and Voodoo on percussions. Of course this is a far shout from the original line up, having went through four drummers, four bassist and two rhythm guitarist. Perhaps the most difficult trial for this band to overcome happened in 2004, when the group T called themselves Few & Far Between. Faced with numerous internal issues the band agreed that they needed to change pace, if not direction. The first step was the creation of Ockum's Razor and a new EP. Unfortunately, this alone did not prove to be the answer to all their problems. It has taken a few years to develop the sound they were looking for as a group, which led to the personnel changes at bass, rhythm guitar and drums, but Topher says that they have now become a band of like-minded individuals working towards a common goal. Topher describes the band's sound today as "music enriched with pure emotion, innovative directory and the vastness of the human condition." Ockum's Razor are certainly an act full of emotion, direction and extreme condition, but their performance is beyond such obvious professionalism, displaying a profound love for music and performing. When it comes to influences, the band cites Faith No More, Alice In Chains, Snot, Project 86, Sevendust, Soundgarden, Pantera, Tool and hints of Saviour Machine. Speaking of Alice In Chains, this is one influence today that brings a unique feeling for Ockum's Razor. Later this summer they will have two songs featured on a sampler disc in the new book about Alice in Chains, Alice in Chains: in the Studio. Topher discovered this project on the Rock `N' R o l l Report website, where he then contacted the publisher about submitting a couple songs by Ockum's Razor that have the "whole AIC vibe" to them. Topher says that each band member was definitely influenced by Alice In Chains at some interval in their lives, so it's an honor to be featured on such a famed project. Perhaps the best part of this project is that they're in familiar company, as their friend's band Kharma will also have two songs on the disc. Beyond the release of the new Alice In Chains's book/disc, Ockum's Razor have also released its first acoustic album, tHE tERRIBLE tRUTH. This new project stems from 2007 when the band lacked a steady rhythm section, a time when "nothing seemed to work." Topher says the band, as a whole, has finally come fullcircle, with a new rhythm section that fits well. Even though the acoustic album is originally Topher and Mike's venture, their current focus is "getting back to the full-on Ockum's Razor that most fans are accustomed to." I asked Ockum's Razor what type of music they caught live and which local venues they preferred, mostly to get a feel of who they are locally. With a band influenced by the likes of Faith No More, Alice In Chains, Snot, Pantera and Tool, it's no surprise that this foursome follows every thing from "Death Metal to Reggae, Hip-hop to Rockabilly, Pop to well, you get the idea" and everything else in between. It shouldn't surprise many that they also enjoy to play The Library, Pop's, The Ten Mile House and Just Bill's, just to name a few. To purchase Ockum's Razor swag and CDs go to their main website, www.myspace.com/ ockumsrazor. And if you prefer acoustic sets, then check their new CD out at www.myspace. com/ockumsrazoracoustic. *Upcoming full-band O.R. shows in May: 5/06 9pm - THE LIBRARY (O.R. w/Thorn Fetish & Amorath) $6.00 21 and up only 5/14 8pm - THE LIBRARY (O.R. w/Born In Winter, Celldom & Exe) $6.00 21 and up only Angie Knost Photography www.myspace.com/stlouissinner 11 Angie Knost Photography Unique Happy Hours VENICE CAFE 1903 Pestalozzi St. 314.772.5994 Our search for happy hour havens with cheap drinks took a unique turn last month, landing us in some of St. Louis' most peculiar bars. Places where unusual decor covers walls and strange things sit upon shelves amongst local art and live music. Keeping tight budgets in mind, I picked a few that I know any sinner will enjoy as much as our pockets and livers did.... If not for being lost one afternoon, we may have never even discovered this hidden treat along the outskirts of Soulard. Venice Cafe is certainly a peculiar joint, with that mad-scientist on acid decor that never stops questioning the senses. Strange looking heads and authentic skeletons drape every wall and corner as do plastic alligators and other creatures with limbs hanging from their mouths. Regardless of which direction your eyes wander, something is starring you in the face, and just beside it something else obscure, and sometimes outright creepy, sits. Like I said, some crazy acid trip that never ends. But that's a good thing for those of us who wish for something more than a Guinness and Budweiser neon light on every wall. This cozy joint's happy hour does fluctuate here and there, like Venice's non-stop happy hour on Tuesday, but on Saturdays from 4-7pm you can find Riley James kicking out a few tunes and some stiff $2.50 rails. And for a trip through this bizarro land, inside and out, is worth a cover and $5.00 rails all night long! So be sure to bring your camera, you're going to want it. THE SHANTI 825 Allen � 314.241.4772 BASTILE Following 9th street through Soulard takes you in the vicinity of two other bizarre bars, this one being The Shanti Tavern. There is nothing that escapes the decor in this bar, either. Monkeys sit perched along shelves and posters from great shows past cover walls while lighted palm trees hang from the ceiling along surfboards and everything else that one could think to hang� and that's not even going out to the new patio, where a sign that reads "Hippies Welcome" hangs. Perhaps the most rewarding character of this bar is its staff and patrons, who always seem to be in the midst of some party. Of course, with two happy hours daily and live music of some sort nightly with no cover, there's plenty to party about at The Shanti. This unique Soulard treasure deserves much more to be said, and you deserve much more than to read about it, so get you asses down there for one hell of a time! 1027 Russell blvd � 314-664-4408 Down from The Shanti Tavern you'll find one of Soulard's more colorful bars, Bastile. Like The Shanti and Venice Cafe, Bastile offers patrons a very unique experience, full of character and sheer individualism. Walking through the door is like entering a set of some Lords of the Ring production, as no other bar shares this one's ambiance. It's dark inside, not so that you can't make out the person at the end of the bar, but enough to give you that private club feel, where anything could happen and only those you told would ever know. In one corner you'll find the Crypt Keeper perched on a shelf, looking down upon, camouflaged by an array of other eccentric novelties. In the other you'll find a mystic pagan-like statue guarding the juke box while planes buzz above head, preparing to drop their pay load. But there's more to Bastile than its offbeat charm: strong drinks at cheap prices. Their standard happy hour from 11am - 6pm is .50 cent off all drinks, which puts rails at $2.50. But between 11am and 5pm, you can slam all the draft beer you want for $8 � every day, not just one here and there. And as a straight-friendly gay bar, Bastile puts on one stiff drag show every Monday night from 9pm - midnight. Man, talk about unique times and cheap drinks in Soulard... watch out Liver, here it comes! written by Chuck Foster A decade has passed since I attended my first fetish event in Tampa, Florida, but the scent of leather and the snapping of whips against bare flesh still sits with me as if it were yesterday. Even though I have never owned a leather outfit or whip, I still find the unhindered freedom of the scene quite thrilling. What plagues the S&M community is propaganda, constantly being portrayed by Christians, media and Hollywood as a group of weirdos, sexual deviants who threaten the fabric of society. Luckily there are people like Carrie from Conspiracy to educate the misinformed masses through experience. Carrie Harris grew up in the St. Louis area, but says she was first introduced to alternative lifestyles when she managed Glad Rags in St. Charles. She then moved to Tampa, Florida, where she began Blackline Productions, where she hosted and created a variety of events for local clubs and bands. It was there, at The Castle, that her and I probably bumped shoulders without ever meeting. Carrie describes her new project, Conspiracy, as a "synergy of visual and performance art, music, fashion and local vendors in an erotica setting. It's like an art gallery meets dance club meets fetish scene." This event is held every third Saturday of the month at LIT, which has provided Carrie a great space with 2 floors for music and additional spaces for fetish play and art. A goth/industrial dance floor is featured on the second level with resident DJs Salem, Forensic and Chrome 242, but a rock-n-roll style lounge with Al Swacker greets visitors when they enter. Every event also has leather gear from Glad Rags and a featured artist or two with a raffle for a piece of art at the end of the night. The next Conspiracy is May 16th, which has a $10 cover but includes a "sink or swim" all you can drink! So come on out and enjoy a group of unsuspecting people, where cliques and animosity are forgotten and individual passions can be expressed. Just John An Evening of Fire & Ice grand Reopening is expected to dazzle the masses with entertainment and spectacle galore, but few have matched what new owners John Oberkramer and Jeromy Ruot did last month with Just John. After the completion of a new patio, which contains a fire-lit tiki bar, the duo decided to kick the weekend off with an all-out celebration. The party started on April 17 with live music rocking the patio and DJ Canny Morris spinning nightclub beats till 3am. Saturday night seemed to be the main celebration, though, where the crowd flooded the bar amongst hype of something John and Jeromy called "Fire and Ice." With DJ Danny Morris once again at the helm, John and Jeromy unveiled an elaborate ice sculpture with flames running up the arms of a strapping male figure. But the party didn't end there. On Sunday DJ Power 10 took control of the beats while Just John took some lucky patrons Out To The Ball Game � with some free Cards tickets! All this complemented with a great staff and drink specials made this the place to be last month � and this month, too, with their new Drag Show, Two Bitches & A Mic, every Sunday night at 9pm. Just John, located at 4112 Manchester Ave, opens Monday through Saturday at 3pm, Sunday at noon, and parties every night till 3am. Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender, Just John is one full service nightclub worth checking out! For more information go to www.justjohnsclub.com or call 314-371-1333. A NOW THAT GWB is out of the White House, I thought you Sinners deserved a lighter side of Old George. After pondering the notion a bit, I decided to search for an old Comedy Central Favorite of mine, That's My Bush. Don't remember this one? Well, don't start blaming your memory � or lack of � on burnt brain cells from too much pot, because it was pulled about six months after 9/11. A Comedy Central spokesperson stated that even though the show was fairly popular, it was just "too expensive." Could it have been that after 9/11 Bush was just too popular to poke a little fun at? I'd bet that had as much to do with their decision as cost! This classic spoof of the early Bush administration from Trey Parker and Matt Stone has sat and collected dust for years until this last October when Comedy Central finally released all eight episodes on DVD. Filled with mishaps, controversial topics (prior 9/11), and scenes with Karl Rove, Laura and crazy Dick, this is a must have for South Park fans and stoners alike! Stoned Flix reviews by Zak Weedman WHILE STEVE BUSCEMI'S career was merely up-and-coming in 1993, Ed And His Dead Mother was one most moviegoers missed, even with a great supporting cast that included Ned Beaty and Gary Farmer. And while it may not be Buscemi's finest film, it is certainly a work that will make one under the influence crack a smile or two. You could say the title is a dead giveaway, as Ed Chilton (Buscemi) finds himself missing his deceased mother to the point of considering reanimation after meeting a shady salesman from "Happy People Ltd." After a minor fee of $1,000 Ed finds dear old mother back in his loving arms, his refrigerator, and even chasing the neighbor's dog for a quick snack! If you enjoy Buscemi, a crazy zombie-like plot, and a little green pot, then this flick is certainly one for any lonely night! photographer: Richard Art - Model: Georgia Myles BRINGING YOU THE DISH ON VISUAL ART EVENTS IN SAINT LOUIS LOYAL DIMENSIONS by Danielle Correll UPCOMING ART EVENTS MARK WEBER: 20 Years of Painting - May 2 through June 13 Opening Reception: May 2, 2009; 6 to 10pm PhD Gallery 2300 Cherokee Street More Info: www.phdstl.com Craig Downs: Current Works - May 4 through June 1 View current paintings from the mind of Craig Downs. Hartford Coffee House 3974 Hartford Street 63116. More Info: www.hartfordcoffeecompany.net 2009 MFA Thesis Exhibition - May 8 through July 27, 2009 Opening Reception: May 8, 2009; 7 to 9pm Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum - Washington Univ. exhibition features thesis projects by twenty-seven master of fine arts candidates in Washington University's Graduate School of Art, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. More Info: kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu "RENEWAL" Art by Carol Carter - May 8 through June 20 Opening Reception: May 8, 2009; 6 to 10pm D-Zine Hair Studio 6679 Delmar Blvd in the U City Loop 63130 more info: www.dzinehairart.us Jennifer Flores: "Relative Toxicity" - May 8 through June 6 Jennifer Flores' synthesis of different mediums addresses the environmental and biological problems facing our communities. Opening May 8, 2009; 6 to 10pm at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Ave. More Info: www.goodcitizenstl.com eARThworks 2009 - May 8 through May 30 Opening: May 8, 2009; 5:30 to 7:30pm The Missouri Coalition for the Environment celebrates its 40th anniversary with an exhibition of art from more than 60 regional painters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers and other artists -men and women working in a range of styles, from representational to abstract, with recycled materials and with natural matter as well as with more traditional media. The exhibit is called Art for an Endangered Planet - or eARThworks for short. Regional Arts Commission 6128 Delmar Blvd 63112. More Info: www.art-stl.com CINDYLAND: Eclectic Mixed Media - May 6 through June 9th Opening Reception: May 10, 2009; 2:30 to 4pm Soulard Coffee Garden more info: www.royalartworks.com "Faces from the Shadows" Benefit for The Epilepsy Foundation; St. Louis Region - May 13 The first annual art auction to benefit the epilepsy foundation; St. Louis Region. One Night Only Show! May 13, 2009; 6 to 10pm at Soulard Art Market (Annex) 2028 S. 12th Street 63104. More Info: www. soulardartmarket.com John McQueen: Fiber Sculpture - May 15 through June 13 Internationally acclaimed fiber sculptor, John McQueen at the Duane Reed Gallery. Opening Reception: May 15, 2009; 5 to 8pm. This will be the inaugural exhibition at the gallery's new 4,000 sq. foot Central West End location, 4729 McPherson Avenue. More Info: www.duanereedgalleryt.com Third Friday at Third Degree - May 15 Third Degree Glass Factory announces their Third Friday Open House for May. Third Degree East Gallery debuts new glass work by graduating BFA/MFA students from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale's Glass Program. Event taking place May 15, 2009 from 6 to 10pm. Third Degree Glass Factory 5200 Delmar. More Info: www.stlglass.com Taking a Ride: Works by Peter Charlap - May 15 through July 5 Opening: May 15, 2009; 6 to 8pm Atrium Gallery announces an upcoming exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Peter Charlap. Titled, "Taking a Ride," the show presents works exploring the iconic theme of an automobile excursion involving familiar sites beyond suburbia. Atrium Gallery 4728 McPherson Avenue More info: www.atriumgallery.net Writing With Light: New Media Exhibit Writing with Light will bring together exceptional artists working in light-based media ranging from video installation to alternative process photography. Opening Reception: May 16, 2009; 7 to 9pm More info: theluminaryarts.com Cool Chicks & Hot Glass: Girls Night Out at Third Degree Glass Factory Grab your Gal Pals for an evening of chocolate, massage, and hands-on hot glass projects. Sign up at the Front Desk to make a paperweight, wineglass charms, cheese knife or embossed wine platter (from $20 - $30). Event Time/Date: May 20, 2009; 6 to 9pm at Third Degree Glass Factory 5200 Delmar. More Info: www.stlglass.com Printmaking classes at All Along Press All Printmaking classes at All Along Press come with one full month of access to the shop, so that you can actually use the skills that we teach you. All are limited to 7 students per class so that one on one time with the instructor is maximized. In June students will learn Poster Screen Printing using the photo-emulsion process. Class runs June 6th & June 7th; 10am to 2pm. Sign up as classes fill up fast! More Info: www.allalongpress.com W hen you think of the vast amount of different art arenas and venues that have arrived in St. Louis in the last several years many think immediately of the well-known Regional Arts Commission, The Artists Guild, The Contemporary Art Gallery and so forth. Many young artists that are just coming into the art world within our locality reach for places that are refreshingly new, vibrant, raw, unintimidating and are looking for experience in getting their feet wet. Art Dimensions happens to be one of these venues. Created by a group of artists Art Dimensions has stuck it out and succeeded many locations in their seven years of history. Their current location at 1214 Washington Avenue, above Mossa Furniture has been a successful location for some time now and allows emerging and established artists to hit the ground running. They strive in teaching artists Cherokee), Publishers like Cranky Yellow (2874 Cherokee) and retail locations like Black Bear Bakery (2639 Cherokee), and APOP Records (2831 Cherokee). The neighborhood also contains the rich 78 year history of Casa Loma Ballroom just across the street at 3345 Iowa. The building located at 2720 Cherokee Street has a history of its own and once contained Woolworths as well as other retail businesses. This building Myles Keough - Project Coordinator of the 2720 Cherokee location admiring the future. features beautiful architectural details that remain at the current location on Washington command attention to the building, including Avenue, the new location will host four large original terra cotta work displayed on the fa�ade artist studios for a reasonable rate. The artists and displays the date of creation "1922" along renting these studios will have an exhibition wall the top detail of the building. The enormous space guaranteed to them for each show held. cathedral windows on the second floor allow a The artists that will currently inhabit these stuvast amount of natural light to steep gently into dios include Brian Walsh, Scott Ernst, Jennifer the room. The work that is going into this locaHayes, and Billy Williams. The space will also tion includes restoring the floors that were once allow for banquet and facility rentals whereas covered with linoleum, carpet and paint at one the Washington Ave. location lacked. time, lighting, paint and many more projects on the to-do list. The step down to the enclave in The street level location will contain Loyal Famfront of the cathedral windows will include a bar ily and serve as a bar, retail and entertainment area, perfect for meet and greets. The hard work venue featuring local and traveling acts and will will definitely pay off when this location opens. coincide with the Art Dimensions Gallery events and openings and vice-versa to provide variety Myles Keough whom is heading up the project to the public. Visit loyalfamily.com for more at 2720 mentioned this location will not only alinformation. low larger and more artwork to be displayed but it will also allow an continuance for innovative Look for information for this location opening in and freshness to the St. Louis art scene. While June 2009 by visiting their website the Flax Gallery and 3rd Floor gallery will http://artdimensions.org The second floor enclave in the remodeling phase new techniques, business skills, and provide a venue for exhibiting as well. Their exhibitions last up to six weeks each and currently include the 3rd Floor Gallery, The Flax Gallery and also a Solo Artist Gallery. With a wonderful board of members and volunteers Art Dimensions has grown in leaps and bounds with a true commitment to the world of art and serving our community with culture and creativity. I had a chance to meet with some of the board members at their eighth location opening in June along the revitalization of the Cherokee neighborhood; which in the last few years has tripled in the number of galleries, retail, restaurants, local artist apartments, studios and more. This is one neighborhood that you want to get in on if you are creative; do it soon as low rents may not last. This historical neighborhood includes galleries such as PhD Gallery (2300 Cherokee), Boots Contemporary (2307 Cherokee), Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts (3151 Cherokee), Art suppliers such as City Art Supply (3215 The building facade displays original terra cotta detail. Have an upcoming Art Event? Contact us at myspace.com/stlouissinner www.myspace.com/stlouissinner 17 The Sinful Works Of KrasH t some point we each boarded this train to Demise, this evident wreck called Life, seldom slowing from its dangerous speed long enough for anyone to savor what it has to offer or to remember what it once did. And when it does briefly slow enough for us to focus on our surroundings, those minuscule flashes in time that are uniquely vital to the soul and mind, we're too often distracted by trivial issues to notice. Few of us even recall when it happened, that day we traded our dreams for work, family and religion. Fortunately, there are a few amongst us that have dared leap from this mad ride to capture the beauty of life before we each exit at our final destination, Demise. Local photographer John Williams, aka, KrasH, just happens to be one of those few. KrasH's passion for fine-art nudes, glamour, fetish and imagery that most would consider out of the norm is a blurred shot from where his love of photography began. As many with a passion for the arts share, KrasH knew he was hooked years ago, in the 7th grade, when a science project put his first camera in his hands, a pinhole camera. He says he was "hooked" from that moment on. By high school he was shooting with a Cannon, as he says it always felt like "more bang" for the buck. Today he admits to being almost 100% digital, where he says Photoshop has replaced his darkroom with results in real time, even though he still uses the same techniques he learned spending all those years in the dark. Flipping through the albums on KrasH's site becomes a venture of talent and diversity, visions the eye is seldom accustomed to under normal circumstances. He says that having progressed from a photographer's assistant at weddings, to shooting weddings and portraits on his own and then working at a commercial studio photographing rock bands, models and exotic dancers helped him develop the diversity present in his work today. KrasH believes that his approach to shooting the human body as a landscape, whether it be nude, fetish or glamour, as one would capture the folds and lines of a flower, creates the unique variation found in his work. Speaking of his nude work, this is where KrasH strives to be as creative as possible, as he wants the viewer to see more than the imagery and derive an emotional reaction to each and every piece. As a parent KrasH says that the most rewarding aspect of his photography has been seeing his own daughter pick up a camera and start creating. He admits that inspiring others is very rewarding, too, but inspiring your own child to express him or herself is "off the charts" as far as he's concerned. Beyond the parental aspect of his teaching and work, he adds that helping someone to see themselves in a better light is a very close second. When it comes to advice for young photographers looking for models, he says that finding models to work with when you are new to the game can be difficult. Most importantly he adds that your attitude and respect for your model is extremely important at all times, and needs to be turned up a few notches when you are just starting out. "My best advice would be to use people who already know they can trust you, friends, family and the like." KrasH also suggests doing a sit down or what he calls a "meet and greet" prior to any session being booked. He says that is his way of "breaking the ice" and making sure a positive working environment will be created. This also avoids having a cold start to your first session, something KrasH says can ruin a shoot for any photographer, not just a newbie. And as you start to develop your own style and cement the path you want to take as a photographer he suggest to take a traditional film class so you can learn the basics and to find a job as a photographer's assistant, if at all possible. If you think KrasH's advice is a bit out of focus, think again. For the second year in a row he was honored to have his work featured alongside many other talented artists at Naughti Gras, which he admits was a blast. "Anytime my work has been picked by a jury to be part of a show I have always been blown away, especially when it is a show featuring artists I respect and admire." He says that what really knocked him off his feet was being invited to the last Dirty Show in Detroit for their 10th anniversary, a huge privilege for any artist While KrasH does not have any plans for a future show today, he does have a few charity projects in the works to be announced later. Currently his works are featured on three sites, www.johndwilliams.net, www.insomniacstudios.net and krash.deviantart.com. But know that you must become a member of Deviant Art, which is free, to view any of his "mature" imagery. Beyond thanking Koken Art Factory for providing such an incredible environment for his studio location, KrasH wanted to thank all his models for their support and continued inspiration. And if you have any other questions for him or you are a model interested in booking a session, you can contact him via e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. But know beforehand that his studio is called Insomniac Studios for a reason, for he's one of the few amongst us daring enough to capture life's beauty without fear or question. A f you had a chance to attend Cirque du Erotica at Casa Loma Ballroom in April 2009 you were impressed by the ingenuity, organization, and overall entertainment of this now annual event. The second annual show went off without a hitch and included several acts from performance artists, musicians, dancers, magicians and more. Let's find out more from behind the scenes, including information about "Cirque du Erotica", Outrageous Productions and their upcoming show "Roxotica" taking place at Casa Loma Ballroom on August 29th . Owners Teya King and Andrea Morse have a lot to say, check it out. What is Outrageous Productions? Outrageous Productions is a production company made up of artists, musicians and performers who have devoted most of their lives to the entertainment business. They specialize in creating unique and edgy productions from the solo entertainer for private or corporate events to the full-production, multimedia extravaganzas where all stops are pulled. Their goal? For the audience to run the gambit of being on the literal edge of their seats; stunned, amazed, thrilled, wowed and deliciously satisfied � but eager and excited to see what future productions will bring. Who is Outrageous? Outrageous is owned and operated by two transplanted Saint Louis artists/performers, Teya King and Andrea Morse, who met and befriended each other like many other musicians do � through a band project that eventually became their company. I that employed musicians and dancers for theatrical, musical productions that traveled around the world. I wanted to start up Outrageous here in Saint Louis, because Saint Louis was gasping for a breath of fresh air. The club scene around Saint Louis has become rather stale the past few years, and I really longed for some energized life blood to be injected into the Lou's flagging pulse. It was time for a change. Andrea and I realized that we had the skills and experience necessary to create something new, fresh and vibrant � outside the realm of the ordinary `schlock-rock'. I mean, how many times do we have to be subjected to a band playing "Sweet Home Alabama' or `Mustang Sally?' Today's audience craves originality � they're sick to death of the same-ol', same ol'. Where is Outrageous? Outrageous Production's events are so far out Dynamic; Contact Juggling (Photo Credits: Danielle Correll) of the ordinary, the everyday bar scene that acts set to a fresh musical theme. Roxotica opens they usually produce and private functions and August 29th, and once again, Casa Loma will be events that have the same longing for the unique home to this Outrageous Production. and original entertainment that Teya and Andrea aim to provide. OP is proud to represent a topnotch roster of talent, from musicians to dancers, More information on OP can be found at www.outrageoustalent.com, or phone (314) 239performance artists to magicians � entertainers 4704, or (618) 525-2445. experienced in all venues from intimate settings to packed stadiums. Information and pictures regarding Cirque du Tongues are still wagging from the April 4th Erotica can be found at www.myspace.com/cirqevent Outrageous held at the wonderful Casa ueduerotica Loma Ballroom. `Cirque du Erotica' featured more than 24 National and International exotic acts and was a huge success. `Roxotica', will have the same erotic edge, but will feature many wildly entertaining new Dancing Deserae (Photo: Danielle Correll) Why Outrageous? Andrea: Outrageous Productions exists because we wanted to create an environment, or mind-set if you will, where people can experience what it's like to `step over the line' of their normal, everyday life into a space that's edgy, but classy; comfortable, but titillating. Teya: Outrageous is an off-shoot of a company I created in Vancouver Canada in the late eighties (Pictured from Left to Right) Ami Amour, Dynamic, Rayna Skye, and Red Hot Teya (Creator) (Photo Credits: Danielle Correll) www.myspace.com/stlouissinner 19 JUST ASK MALICE photo by Dr Steve Got relationship issues? Moral dilemmas? Questions about social conventions, etiquette, and comportment? Drop me a line, I can help... or I could completely screw up your world. Either way, what have you got to lose? My advice is kinda funny, kinda mean, but meant all in good fun. I'm looking forward to hearing from my general circle of degenerates and social outcasts... together we'll cry, we'll laugh... until we pee ourselves!! I can be contacted on MySpace at www. myspace.com/k4_space Dear Miz Malice, This is more of a rant than a question. I just wanted to put it out there that just because a woman dates musicians and is comfortable with her sexuality does not make her a whore. I am sick and tired of jealous, hatin' bitches labeling me a groupie without even getting to know me. I am a young woman in my early 20s, I sport lots of cleavage (if ya got it, flaunt it...and honey, I got it), and I love to flirt. I date musicians, almost exclusively, because your average Joe just doesn't do it for me. I love live music, I love the energy and the passion of a stage show. But, I. AM. NOT. A GROUPIE. I AM NOT A WHORE. So all you prudes out there just need to lay off me! � Steamed and livid in Utley, TX. Dear SLUT, Well said. Carry On. Your pal, Malice Dear Miz Malice, Sooooooo....there's a hot chick. She keeps inviting me out, says she's crushin on me, but will never go on an individual date with me, and says she doesn't know me well enough to be my girl. So...if she doesn't know me well enough, but she's crushing on me, it'd make sense to spend time with me, but she won't do it on date, only when out with all of her friends, which are ALL guys. What the hell is going on? Dear Dazed & Confused, Weird, yo. Sounds like she's gun shy. Try hangin' out with her & her guy friends, see how that goes for a minute. btw-how old is she? Maybe invite her out with you and your friends...if the one on one thing scares her. But, it sounds weird, yo. You might be better off running the other way, fast. Like the wind. Get her talking, maybe you can figure her out as time goes by. good luck! keep me posted. nfessions of the The Dirt: Co Wo rious Rock Band rld's Most Noto ee by Tommy L n Corabi eil, & Johw by Malice Vince N revie , Mick Mars, , Nikki Sixx ... Everything You Never Wanted to Know... and a few things you were too afraid to ask about Motley Crue. This was one of the most riveting band bios I've ever read. It's a journal written in their own words, each band member having their own chapter, with some parts unknown to the other members prior to their reading of the book, themselves. Drunken debauchery, criminal destructiveness, reckless, insane behavior, rampant drug use, and some seriously warped sexual practices...which I could have gone happily to my grave without having ever heard of such antics. You get to know them as people, their failings, their inner thoughts, their medical conditions. Mick Mars was a scary little troll of a man, but he had this bone disease that made it almost impossible for him to perform on stage. He was physically unable to move around much, but he's a first class musician and a genuinely decent human being. Vince Neil, while not one of my favorite performers (I'm not wild about blue eye-shadow and pink lipstick or a singer who's a little too handy with the high notes), comes across as very articulate. I felt bad for him when he crashed the car that killed Dizzy, when it could have happened to ANY one of them, and later on, when his daughter died. Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx are overly predictable and it's entertaining to read their impressions of their own behavior. They fell into the Rock Star Trap : Easy drugs, easier women, fame and glory, loads of money, feeling entitled to be destructive...and it chewed them up, spit them out on the sidewalk, and yet still they continued on...and on, and on. I especially liked John Corabi's contribution for the brief moment in time as the Crue front-man. THAT was the BEST Crue EVER. In fact, it is the only Crue CD I own. I LOVE "Poison Apples", "Uncle Jack", "Hammered" and now that I know the stories behind those songs, I am one happy bitch. He's an amazing guitar player, a brilliant songwriter and has a voice much grittier and dirtier than Vince Neil's. His treatment from the band was inexcusable and I'm happy to hear he's moved on to other projects. They kept telling him to sound more like Pantera...no, no, more like NIN...no, no, that's not it, more like... bastards...he can only sound like HIMSELF. This is the bare bones, stark reality, of their lives in their own words, from their earliest memories to their dimmest recollections. It's a fascinating read and will stick with you for a long time afterward. Whether you're a die-hard Crue fan or you just want to take a trip down memory lane to the late 80s and 90s of post grunge, Glam Metal and Hollywood Poseurs to catch a glimpse of a day in the life of one of the most notorious bands the world has ever seen, this book is for you. SPREADING LIKE THE PLAGUE! Now found from East St Louis to St Louis City and every where else in between. NOW REACHING 15,000 READERS! www.issuu/stlsinner and www.myspace.com/stlouissinner.com www.myspace.com/stlouissinner 21 Yet another `imaginary conversation' with someone about my thoughts on our society's `last frontier' This, I Shamelessly Tell You by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid Gina Simon photography 'm saying to my cats � that way I can tell myself, that no, I'm not talking to myself � it's stupid for the television detectives to always assume the perp is a guy. On one show it turns out to be a Transsexual man, or really a man who morphs into a woman and kills straight men, and then stays a woman to protect his `other' male self. Yeah, it was better watching it than explaining it, even if yes, I hate that the whole Trans question is still mostly addressed by having a character either be some whacko killer, or be someone who ends up getting killed. Ah yes, the `last frontier', gender, and the last place most folks still feel comfortable unleashing their prejudice since it's no longer pc to spew over Black folks, Asians, women, or to some extent Gay people. I was trying to explain to a particularly girly client/friend of mine that calling me `lady' as a greeting as in `hi, lady', was no longer something I'm comfortable with, as I've recently started identifying more as a guy. A guy in a woman's body, but yes, a guy. The kind that, if I still drank, would probably crack open a cold one when I get home from lifting weights at the gym (don't drink, do lift weights), and watch some porno for a while, then some sports and then fall asleep in my chair. She, of course, being from a country where gender's fairly stratified (even more than this country), pretty much let it go over her head. Did I mention she looks like a kewpie doll and giggles a lot, and thinks men are another species than women, as in: `oh you know how men are'. Something I correct her about, but she keeps saying those kinds of things anyway. Like I said, the last frontier. The reason I think women are stupid � okay, not entirely, but in films Like the recent `Sin Nombre', where the girlfriend ends up getting killed by the lead member in a Mexican gang because she follows her gang member boyfriend to their hideout � and men are cool. I'm a guy, after all, with boobs, and a nice ass, but a guy, nonetheless. Just so you know, reader, I'm working on this opinion. This is why I joined a Zumba class, where mostly women work out with a female instructor. I want to get back in touch with my female side. Really, don't laugh. After bringing my inner boy out and blowing up the closet he was in with two tons of C-4, teaching myself to kickbox, and working up from lifting 30 pounds of weight to 50. I needed to feel whole. That was why I found myself in a class of bimbos, er, women, trying to be more femmy. Eventually I just let myself be a guy trying to exercise like women who never consider that there's a guy inside them screaming to get out. After one class I had the `coming out' conversation with the instructor. She was very cool, and even though I have to remind her when a biological guy shows up and she says `we even have one guy in here today', that no, there's more than one. She laughs, I laugh, and the, er, women give me weird looks. Hey, I'm losing pounds, so I ignore them and Zumba with the best of them, like a guy. Unfortunately the experience with the other instructor, who usually teaches the femmy aerobic class, was not only a defining moment, but a bad one. I realize I've moved out of `show your pretty legs' territory and all of the gender crap that passes as information to women in our incredibly messed up society. So after hearing that phrase one time too many, and trying to work past how uncomfortable I was, I stormed out, and went to lift weights with the other guys. That's where I live these days, which trust me, is even weirder when I'm doing the horizontal tango with a biological guy. I've learned to not talk about the whole Trans thing, after a, now, former lover, let me know how uncomfortable the idea made him. Fortunately for me, I am one hot chick, or at least my body is, so getting natural born guys to `wrestle' with me � that's how I think of sex with men now, which is hella more fun than before � isn't that hard. I just think of myself as mirroring who they are (which is essentially what it's like for me, now, having sex with men), like getting to have the body I'd really like to have, vicariously. Being an energy vampire helps with that too, in a way. Now, if only I could get up the nerve to yell at parents who keep trying to keep their kids in one box or another, that it's okay to try on the other sex. `Cause trust me, gender isn't really as black and white as the screwed up media would have us believe. This, I shamelessly tell you. I Lovers Lair Lynnwoods #1 Adult Super Store www.loverslair.net 425-775-4502 Campfire Tales their door, whether or not they be the intended victim, that a basin of blood would be thrown in their face. There was no escape from the hand of death if the Coach-a-bower and the Dullahan stopped outside your door, as they were the agents of death itself. It was claimed, however, that the Dullahan was scared of gold and would not go near a home where it was displayed (talk about your precious metals!). Now, whether or not the Irish peasantry was perhaps just hearing the echoes of real-life horses and carriages and believing those sounds to be just outside their door can only be a matter of historical debate, but what is true is that these people truly believed that such an innocuous sound was, in fact, a herald of certain death. A more widely known death omen from Irish (and also Scottish) folklore is that of the Banshee and her blood curdling wail, although few people outside of Ireland are familiar with the tale behind this frightening apparition. The Banshee, or bean s� in Gaelic, is said to be a member of the aos s�, a race of nature spirits worshipped in pre-Christian times in Ireland and Scotland; they would be somewhat akin to the English notion of fairies. Some believe that the Banshee is a sort of ancestral spirit connected in some way to some of the oldest families in Ireland as traditionally the banshee only wails for members of the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, the O'Gradys and the Kavanaghs. And when she wails, her mournful cry is said to foreshadow a death in the family who hears her. The Banshee is said to appear dressed in flowing garments of white or grey and can appear as a young woman, a matronly lady, or an old crone which corresponds to the three aspects of the Triple Goddess found in early Celtic myth. In another guise, the banshee appears as a washerwoman washing the bloody clothes of those who will die. Tales surround the Banshee, of which I should make clear, there are generally thought to be more than one. The banshees are said to wail in numbers when someone truly important dies. And it is said that banshees will appear in human form as wise women to converse with nobility. A banshee is said to have visited King James of Scotland in 1437 to tell of him of his own impending murder by agents of the Earl of Atholl. Though the Banshee's cry is often said to be mournful and piercing (in Leinster county they say that it can shatter glass) the people of Kerry county say the banshee's cry is like a low and rather pleasant signing. Stories concerning the banshee abound in Ireland, as do the many conflicting descriptions: some say she is a nature spirit, others the ghost of a murdered woman, some say her cry is like that of an owl, others say it is like two boards being struck together, and so on and so forth. One thing's for sure though, despite this barrage of discrepancies, a lot of people believe that the banshee is a real as it gets. I've talked with a few people who claimed to have heard the banshee's cry. Not one of them was a stupid person, and not one of them was joking. The English have their own omen of death in their tales of the Black Shuck, a large black, demon dog said to roam the English coastline. Legend has it that those who see the Black Shuck will often fall ill or die soon after. On August 4th, 1577 the Black Shuck was said to burst through the doors of two separate churches in Suffolk on the same day during their services. In each instance the Black Shuck was said to have claimed the lives of two members of the congregation before exiting the churches and leaving scorch marks on the floor. As fantastical as these accounts might sound they were recorded as factual history by the people of that time. It is believed that the legends of The Black Shuck were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's inspiration for his Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. Another omen of death found in many cultures is the notion of the doppelganger (originally German for "double-goer") or "Fetch" which is the ghostly double of someone who is still alive which appears to them or to their family and is typically thought to signify that person's death or grave misfortune. Several famous names throughout history have claimed to have born witness to their doppelgangers shortly before their deaths including the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, American President Abraham Lincoln, and German author and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Recent studies involving the left temporoparietal junction of the brain have shown that the awareness of another identical person can be "created" through written by Matthew Gorman Omens of Death a bad rap as precursors of death as well for various behaviors they may exhibit. The toppers for birds being death omens though include a bird flying in through an open window or down a chimney, a bird hovering over a house, and a bird tapping its beak against a windowpane. One population of people who actually still put faith in many of the bird omens as well as other signs that death is on it's way are those who make their home in the Appalachian mountains that run from Canada through the United States to the state of Alabama with a large concentration of said people in states like Kentucky. They tend to be a folksy bunch to put it kindly and their lose-knit culture is just steeped in superstition. The Appalachian peoples have so many death omens and rules for avoiding death that it's amazing that they even do anything at all. For example, a lot of these people believe that if you sleep out in the moonlight, you'll die. If you get your hair cut in March, you'll be dead before the year is out. If a salesman leaves his hat on a bed, he'll die. If you sweep under someone's bed while they're sick, they'll die. If you sing after you go to bed, someone will die. If a pregnant woman views a corpse, her baby will die. If a baby talks before it can walk, it will die. Are you starting to sense a pattern here? hroughout history mankind has searched the natural world and its myriad phenomenon for clues to its fate. Man has witnessed and interpreted what he considered to be signs in all of that which surrounded him. And whether these signs were simply superstition or genuine augury, the trappings of folklore or of destiny foretold, was (and perhaps, continues to be) the province of the skeptic or of the believer respectively. For those who did believe, however, these signs served as a powerful prophecy of things to come. Some were desirable and brought with them good fortune while others were more ominous and evoked terror in the hearts of men. And none, of course, was more terrifying than that particular harbinger of earthly doom, the death omen. Omens of death can be found in almost every culture spanning the globe and the ages, but one culture with a particularly abundant belief in such portents of death was that of the ancient Celts. The peasantry of Ireland in medieval times and beyond, for example, would be horror stricken to hear the sound of a carriage's wheels or of horses' hooves for this might signify the arrival of the Coach-a-bower, or Death Coach. The Coach-a-bower, sometimes referred to as the Coshta-bower, was said to be a ghostly black carriage pulled through the night by six black horses, although it was said that the coach could be only heard and never seen. When the sound of the coach and its horses were said to stop in front of a home, it was believed that a death would soon after befall a member of the family who dwelled within. A frightening creature called the Dullahan supposedly drove the Coach-a-bower. The Dullahan was said to carry his glowing head beneath his arm or atop a horse's saddlebow to guide his spectral coach through the Irish countryside at night. His disconnected head was said to be the color of moldy cheese and beset with a wicked grin and two beady, black eyes. I don't know how they could have determined this, however, if no one could ever see the damn thing! Other versions have the Devil, himself, as the operator of the Coach-a-bower. In some versions, if the sound of the coach simply stopped outside your door it only meant that a terrible sickness would come over the household, and it was only after the addition of hearing three raps upon the window that an actual death would occur. It was also claimed that if a person was to open their door after hearing the Coach-a-bower outside T the electrical stimulation of this part of the brain. This portion of our brain is believed to control our sensation of self-image, and in certain mental illnesses such as schizophrenia this part of the brain might not be functioning properly, thus causing us to essentially see ourselves outside of ourselves. Does this go a long way towards explaining the phenomenon of doppelgangers? I'm not sure, let me ask my doppelganger. Birds, for some reason, also seem to be inextricably linked with the forecasting of death, with many cultures believing our feathery, little friends to be the messengers of the Grim Reaper. There are far too many superstitions concerning birds and death to list here but some of the most common ones involve owls and crows. For example, either one of these birds seen flapping against your window is thought by many cultures even to this day to be a sure sign that your number's up. Likewise, an owl seen in the day and hearing a crow cawing at night are also presages of one's imminent demise. Bitterns, cocks, cuckoos, doves, pigeons, eagles, larks, swallows, sparrows and whippoorwills all get They are also big on dream interpretation and see many omens of death in the content of dreams. For example, if you dream of a birth or of a marriage it is actually a sign of death. Conversely, if you dream of death it is a sign that there will be a birth or a marriage. I know, what? Also they say that if you dream of your teeth falling out it is a omen of death, but they also expand upon this to say that if you dream of one of your bottom teeth falling out someone younger than you in your family will die and if you dream of a top tooth falling out then someone older than you in your family will die. The list goes on and on, and I greatly encourage anyone who's interested to research the Appalachian beliefs concerning death and it's omens further but I think I've spent enough time on these hillbillies for now! Yes, omens are certainly powerful things for those who believe in them and just superstitious nonsense for those who do not, but I must say one thing that I know for sure is that all omens of death do, in fact, come true...eventually.