Issue 7 August 2009
h c t i W l l e B The Coming To Terms With Racism Jason & The Pun
Fear & Publishing Hurdles & Girdles Independent publishing can be a venture that leads you down dark alleys, puke-splattered trails where twoheaded orges often hide in dumpsters and underneath dead bodies. If you happen to be the fool who stumbles this direction, I guarantee you will have two options: run like Hell, or toss a head of cabbage at the beast and giggle. For some, independent publishing can be like living in some twisted Monkees’ episode from the ‘60s. An independent publisher can’t take too many things seriously, unlike humanity in general. Life’s full of hurdles from day one, breathing, walking, using the toilet, education, jobs, mere survival and eventually, death. Deciding to print an independent publication just intensifies the process, like running this rat race with a couple of blocks tied around your waist with your shoes filled with broken glass. Then again, that’s the way some of us like to run, weighed down and ass deep in pain. Pain is another hurdle in life, whether it be physical, mental or financial. In the past I’ve mentioned the pain of dealing with flag waving conservatives who too often attack what we do here, this mere forum of free speech they so seem to despise. It bothers me so because their approach is to destroy, not change. This is a forum, where they have a spot here if they so choose to voice what’s wrong with The Sinner or a progressive nation they so fear America may be on the path to becoming. I have also warned of financial hurdles over the past six months; some expected, some not. Picking up advertising is tough for an independent publication for numerous reason, regardless if the economy is sound or a democrat sits in the White House. Small businesses usually survive on a limited budget, and what funds for promotion they do have is often spent trying to reach as many people as possible, whether that be through a daily or weekly newspaper. It’s the trick of the trade taught in marketing classes, to sell the idea that they will come if they see it... oh yeah, but it will cost a bit more and might take a while before you feel the results. Hey, it works for the big corporate publication, pick up any weekly in any city and you’ll see it with a 7080% ratio of ads over content. It’s the tongue’s quicker then the brain scenario, a trick of the word. Let me break it down, no one is traveling 15- 20 miles across town from some 1/8 page ad in any weekly for a burger and a $2 PBR. If they do, that’s one bad-ass burger someone’s fryin’ up. Most people are going to their neighborhood bars. Advertising works and it is necessary, but I know it’s just as effective when you reach a concentrated demographic than an expanded one. But that’s a hard sell when all the business owner sees is a slick media kit and a thick newspaper – to some size does matter. Of course, a few months ago we faced another financial hurdle when some bastard raised the height a couple of feet on us and turned out the lights. Yes, we stumbled a bit. You can never expect some type of theft/fraud from your banking system or postal service, a mystery that the fraud department is still working on two months later. For any small business, loosing a couple grand can be as fatal as meeting a two-headed orge in a dark alley and not knowing to throw a head of cabbage and giggle. Luckily for us, we own The Monkees’ DVD collection. Independent publishing never gets easier and the hurdles never end. And every once in awhile you find one a few feet higher, like we did a few months back. And when you stumble it’s easy to trip over the next one. For us it was the relationship hurdle. The wife and I have been doing this gig for almost seven years now, working side-by-side for the life experience mostly, but it’s also a way of getting involved and supporting our community, or communities now that we do The Sinner in two
cities. And like life in general, nothing’s ever perfect. But, last month I fell down and hit my head hard enough to see the bigger picture, that you can’t take too much of this race too seriously – and that includes relationships. Instead of blowing up and stomping feet, sometimes it’s better to sit down and smile and see the bigger picture. Life is full of hurdles, but who says you can’t run around them or through them. The only exception might be the last one at the finish line, Death. You would think that jumping hurdles would make you a lean, mean, publishing machine, but it doesn’t work that way. Instead, the faster you run from bar and restaurant to sell ads, and from venue to venue to cover local bands, the more booze and food you consume. The only physical hurdle you’re left with is the chair in front of your desk and the bed, neither much of a challenge. The pounds will come, so invest in a girdle, or better yet make your own line around your publication. I can see it now, Sinful Girdles for the glutton in all of us. Well, maybe not. As a forum, a true forum of the people, the most difficult hurdle to learn to run past or over is the critique of the grammar snob. In Seattle since the Post Intelligence has went to an online only status, the critics have fired upon this ship as if it were transporting yellow cake uranium to North Korea. I witness typos regularly on AP articles on Yahoo, but no one’s kicking them in the nuts. That’s just the way these nitwits behave, when they see a giant stumble they fire their cannons at its nuts and ankles. And they love independent publications, the thought of tearing another’s voice apart, piece by piece till there’s nothing left, not even the wish to speak again. I’ve dealt with these bastards in Seattle numerous times, even from other independent publications. Some like to say the semicolon isn’t made for newspapers and articles but for directions on the back of Hamburger Helper, or that this sentence ran on or that you didn’t put an apostrophe in 1960s, etc., etc., etc. Two hundred years ago it was unacceptable to use the apostrophe to create a conjunction, so whatever. Be prepared for many hurdles if you decide to jump on this track, but know that more than likely you’ll be running with a handicap. You won’t have the luxury of a fact checker and proof reader to run out and hand you water between hurdles. And there certainly won’t be anyone on your team up ahead warning of twoheaded orges waiting to leap from the shadows and tear you limb from limb, so be sure to bring plenty of lettuce and practice your giggle. I promise you will need it one day on this rat race to nowhere. And that, my dear reader, is another tale of fear and publishing in two cities...
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8. The Spirit of ‘99 10. The Vice is Right 17. Our Sinful Community 21. Campfire Tales 22. Just Ask Malice 23. This I Shamelessly Tell You 23. Dr. Dick Sex Advice Publisher: Chuck Foster Layout: Terri Daniels and Danielle Correll Sales: Chuck Foster Cover Art : Low Down Writers, Ranters, Opinionists & Other All-Out Freaks: Matthew Gorman Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid Saab Lofton Henry Nicolle Mark Taylor-Canfield Jeff Diggs Danielle Correll Matt Pachmyer Kimberly Peters Joshua Merrit Dr. Dick Chet Chesterson John Cole Kristen Ivy 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.
Truth Between the Sheets
The First Step Towards Illusion written by Joshua Merritt
ow is it that when you see the daily wrongs that have existed among us for years now, all you think of is the protection of your belongings? Your family is sheltered, clothed, fed and protected, right? What if you realized it was all just an illusion, that all you have really provided for them is the bonds for the rest of their existence? Everything within our system is designed to control you, from education to the basic rights that our government has deemed to be privileges. How is it you have to have a license to drive a car that will cost you six years worth of hard earned money, only to pay more fees to have it insured, inspected, and registered in your name. How is it you have to pay property tax for a piece of land that cannot sustain your family! What kind of a farm could you have on a tenth of an acre to feed your families? Would you even know how to? The whole point of life is not to attain money by any means necessary, to turn a blind eye to your fellow man when you see him stranded on
This political cartoon (attributed to Benjamin Franklin) originally appeared during the French and Indian War, but was recycled to encourage the American colonies to unite against British rule.
the side of the road unable to feed himself or his family. As the Christian doctrine sites the Ten Commandments, Jesus himself threw them out and said just love each other as you should love yourself. So if we do that, why must war, famine, racism, greed, jealousy, hate and gluttony still exist? This coming from a military man may not be as odd as you think. You wonder what we think; have you ever asked? Do you think the young defenders of this nation prefer the idea of taking a total stranger’s life? Try it one day. Just imagine someone’s mother, father, sister and brother having to grieve over a bullet that left your weapon, not because he wronged you, not because he stole something that was yours, but because your boss told you to. From the first time I had to feel the sweeping wave of an IED blast swarm my body like water leaving a faucet, my mind then understood that there was no reasoning with this kind of an enemy. There was no bargaining, no trading and no hope for them to be merciless. When you see your coworkers on national TV, beheaded by people who are supposedly fighting us for religious reasons, you realize how it is the entire existence that is wrong, not just the system.
So when you want to protest the war, protest it to no end! Call your congressional representatives, call your president all that you can, but when you see a soldier, think about the horrors that those young faces had to see so you can get your food from a grocery store. Imagine if you lived under Muslim law. Imagine every woman that you stare upon, as every male does; imagine them in a Burka, hiding their beauty that our mothers fought for so they could have the choice to show off their figure, as they wanted to! The one thing that no one can ever take from you is thought. Thought cannot be controlled, stolen, condemned, or judged while on this planet. What happens after you leave this level of existence is unknown, the scariest venture any of us go through in our entire existence. After learning to not think of it, facing it every day and hearing of your friends you have spent weeks, months or possibly years with dying, you start realizing how short it all is. There is an air of revolution around everywhere. You can see it on the nightly news, people going crazy from the stress, the tens of thousands of laws that cause people to feel. As our nation was once formed, to be a union of separate states set up for the greater good, soon it shall be separated again – and it is slowly happening before everyone’s eyes. Whether you are a democrat, a republican, constitutional republican or an independent, one thing is clear: the days of us being separated by classes, race, mental stabilities or anything else that we can be distinguished by, will soon be over. Unity of our nation will be the only thing that can save it, and let us hope it is not too late for that. Try it sometime: stop calling yourself some hyphened-American, whether it be African, Asian, Caucasian, Korean, Chinese, or any other, and just call yourself American! We are all just Americans who should be defending the right to call ourselves just that!
Cheney, CIA, Pelosi and Hirsch: Who’s Telling The Truth? It all began with statements made by New York Times reporter Seymour Hirsch after a public presentation many months ago. According to Hirsch, US Vice President Dick Cheney had presided over a secret assassination program as part of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror”. First of all, in order to even address the current controversy, we must be forced to cast aside the apparent absurdity of the Bush/Cheney agenda: the idea that extended wars carried out among civilian populations in foreign nations would lead to a lessoning of the feelings of terror among the world’s population. This is how “weapons of mass distraction” (i.e., mass propaganda campaigns) are utilized by governments and by the corporate media to hide any of the real issues that should concern us all as conscious human beings. To be effective, this kind of political messaging must obscure the fact that Bush’s policies took away the constitutionally protected rights of people to be secure in their personal privacy. The US government, with the cooperation of major corporations, practiced a massive program of wiretapping cell phones and collecting information about personal email communications. And these are just the programs that have actually been exposed to the public. The government’s blatant disregard for the right of habeas corpus when dealing with detainees has become a controversial public issue. Who knows how many plots will eventually be revealed by other courageous investigative reporters? These issues have been disregarded along the way in favor of discussions concerning massive corporate bailouts and multiple tax-payer funded economic “stimulus packages” for huge corporations and banks. Despite constant efforts to derail the national conversation, within the last two months Seymour Hirsch’s controversial assertions have been verified by other sources and the secret assassination program is now the subject of a possible Senate investigation. Cheney’s involvement with the assassination squad has become a topic for corporate news reports and radio talk shows. Hirsch had not intended for his statements to become public information at the time. Presumably, he was still gathering evidence for his book. Now his words have been proven to have some merit and political pundits are currently asking the question, “Will the Senate serve the former VP with a subpoena to appear before the Judiciary Committee?” No one believes that he will actually appear under such circumstances. He is far too arrogant and self-righteous to acknowledge the power of the US Senate. In the style of a true dictator Cheney has always avoided “going up to the hill (Capitol Hill)” to be confronted by mere mortals (members of Congress). Indeed, he truly believes in the concept of the “Unitary President and Vice President”, a semi-royal type of executive kingship which goes all the way back to John Adams and the original federalists who promoted a strong monarchist style Commander In Chief. That being said, the writing on the wall is that the Bush/Cheney regime are headed for a judicial confrontation with the US Congress. The raging question of the day is, of course, “What took them
so long to seek justice for all those who have been damaged by these abuses of power?” Are two undeclared illegal wars not enough? What about millions of civilians killed and classified as nothing but “collateral damage”? These are not outlandish claims, nor am I the first journalist to voice these facts. Millions of innocent war refugees have been displaced by US political and military policy. Did we learn nothing from the various policy disasters of the Cold War (i.e. “War on Communism”)? Vietnam should be a prime example of how political and economic empire building schemes and jingoistic international intervention campaigns almost always result in an overextended military overseas, along with an economic and political crises at home. Traditionally, populist political movements in the US have tended
he saying that the CIA director didn’t have a high enough clearance or a “need to know” status? So who exactly is running the show behind the scenes? The question can now be asked, “Were some of the folks at the CIA acting at the request of Vice President Cheney when they failed to reveal the program to Congress and to the new agency director?” If this turns out to have been the case, then we have a clear indication that some of the many references to a supposed “shadow government” in the current conspiracy literature may finally be documented in the public arena. The entire purpose of some covert or “shadow” operations is to avoid accountability, either to
written by Mark Taylor-Canfield 1) The head of the CIA (Leon Panetta) claims the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) is lying when she says the CIA did not inform her about their use of torture techniques on suspected terrorists. 2) Speaker of the US House of Representatives (Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi) claims the Central Intelligence Agency is purposely trying to mislead the American people by claiming it briefed her and other members of Congress on the agency’s use of waterboarding, etc., (torture) on prisoners suspected of ties to terrorism. 3) Some folks at the CIA previously claimed the agency was unaware of Cheney’s secret assassination program. They claimed that any allegations about a secret operation were “ridiculous” because such a program in the US Vice President’s office could not have been hidden from their agency. 4) CIA Director Leon Panetta has now admitted that the program did in fact exist and that he cancelled the assassination operation while the program was still in a preliminary “training” phase. 5) According to news reports, New York Times journalist Seymour Hirsch asserted that in some cases participants in the assassination program had some kind of contact with CIA station chiefs in other countries, indicating that the program may have already been operational in some foreign nations.
to disfavor “foreign entanglements” as poor investments of economic and military power. How the Bush and Cheney team were able to disguise their opportunistic intentions to build personal and imperial power based on a mass fear of terrorism will be probably be debated by historians for many years to come. But the fact that Cheney personally involved himself in the assassination squad program cannot be ignored. The Church Committee investigations in Congress revealed information about the CIA’s assassination plots to kill foreign leaders decades ago, and as a result these kinds of programs have been prohibited by special federal legislation. This kind of activity is also a violation of international law. Now it has been reported that Cheney actually instructed the CIA to hide the assassination program from Congress. If this is true, it is a violation of the right of the legislative branch of government to provide oversight of the executive branch and its agencies in order to protect the interests of the people they represent. This situation represents a constitutional crisis. It is no wonder that members of Congress waited until Cheney and Bush were no longer in power to push for any kind of accountability for their multiple abuses of executive power. The story as now revealed also implicates the Central Intelligence Agency and members of Congress with complicity in these executive crimes. President Barack Obama’s appointee, CIA Director Leon Panetta, claims that information on the assassination squad was kept from him for the first four months of his tenure. In effect, he is admitting that the agency practiced deception when dealing with its own top administrator. Is
6) Recent information revealed to the public now indicates that US Vice President Dick Cheney directed the CIA to conceal the assassination program from Congress. the public or to some oversight committee who may try to limit your ability to circumvent the law. The “Unitary Vice President” Dick Cheney wanted no accountability for his assassination squad and this is certainly not the first time that the office of the Vice President has been used to plan secret operations. Numerous scandals during several presidential administrations have been traced to the VP. Presumably, the Vice President is assumed to be “under the radar”, so to speak. In other words, the VP can supposedly get away with plotting the assassination of Fidel Castro (Richard Nixon), or exchanging guns for hostages (George Bush, Sr.) while the media and the public’s attention is focused on the Commander In Chief, in those cases Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan. CIA Director Leon Panetta says he immediately cancelled the assassination program when he was informed that it existed. He claims it was still only in a preliminary “training” phase. At least this is what the CIA told Panetta. Considering their previous deception regarding the program, we may never know the whole truth. I maintain that this is one of the most historic periods in the history of the United States of America. Either we as a nation stand up now for justice and constitutional law or we succumb to a crass corporate dictatorship, take your pick. The deceptions are now apparent when it comes to these and other issues involving secrecy in our government and violations of law. Here’s the current situation in Washington DC:
During an interview broadcast on the Air America radio network, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island told commentator Rachel Madow that he was alarmed by the implications inherent in a secret assassination squad operated out of the Vice President’s office. Since the Democratic Senator from Rhode Island is a member of both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, it might be wise to heed his words: “In the exercise of our oversight responsibilities it is very important that this is not a continuing problem with the CIA. It is of some concern that this came up at the last minute. Apparently CIA Director Panetta was very rapid in bringing it to our attention and trying to cure the illegality, but it’s not exactly heart-warming to think that the director of the CIA for many months was unaware of the program himself. What happened in the meeting where he went into his guys and said, ‘OK, folks I’m the new director here. What do I need to know? What’s gonna get us in trouble? Bring me up to speed. I don’t want anything going off under me that I’m not forewarned about.’ I cannot believe anybody as sophisticated as he is didn’t have that conversation. And it’s hard to believe it didn’t come up then.” It would seem most appropriate at this point to quote the bard himself, William Shakespeare: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave...”
Coming to terms sm with raci written by John Cole
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f one subject exists that will make anyone uncomfortable, it is racism. Yet if we are supposedly as a community not racist, why would it possibly bother us? Somehow we have yet to come to terms with racism in this country. Instead, we make excuses and do not accept this one inherent truth; racism exists. Yes, accept this or not, racism has always and will always exist. Black president or not. Now I know a lot of people reading this do not like that we have a Black (he is actually more Brown, but this is inconsequential) president. Rest your fears, his skin may be a darker complexion, but we are not about to have a president that reflects the fictional character in the movie “Idiocracy”. Sorry Mt. Dew fans. In a recent speech to the NAACP, his thoughts reflected what many would not dare to say in fear of offending. “He urged blacks to take greater responsibility for themselves and move away from reliance on government programs.” What the sad irony is, if I or anyone who is white were to say this, many would cry racism. Which leads to one of the main reason why racism exists, our fear of it. Here is a truth that will upset you: most white people have some anger and resentments towards Blacks. No, this does not make you a bad person, despite what society may say. This makes you for one, human, and for two, someone who has had to deal with certain societal pressures and attitudes towards you because of your race. Yes ladies and gentleman, despite what the ecclesiastic system might say, racism still does and will continue to exist from all fronts. It is not simply them damn crackers getting all the benefits from their skin color. For anyone who has lived in an area with a large amount of various racial groups, you have most likely already come to this realization. How many white people do you know who would say they do not like (I’ll be nice and say that dirty “N” word), but have no problems with black people? Yes this sounds astonishing, but I have heard this many times in my young life, even from a lady who lived and slept with a black man. Reflect on this for a minute. This particular lady was intimate with a Black man, and you are very possibly thinking she is racist. Sounds kind of odd to me. Now here is another thing to ponder. Just maybe, this anger does not have to do with race, but with culture. Personally, I do not see a Black person and become afraid or angry. Yet not for one minute do I deny that when some Black dude comes on the bus and starts cussing and being loud I am absolutely disgusted. My response is the same with anyone, of any skin color, who does this. Yet due to what society has programmed us all with, this is the impression that most have of Black people in general. Yet this has absolutely nothing to do with skin, but with the attitudes that certain people have. Unfortunately for many people, this is the only way they have ever seen other people due to a lack of integrated culture. This leads to a misunderstanding, which is understandable, but needs to be eradicated. If someone is jumped by a group of fat people at the age of twelve, and every fat person they know since then is rude to them, they will build both an anger and fear (they are one and the same after all) towards that type of person. The point is that it does not make you a bad person to feel this anger. For those who do not understand this, just accept that this is how many people feel. In the battle against racism we have to come to terms with this. As long as any human holds in anger, it only festers inside and slowly kills us. This is what this anger has done, and yes, most of your family and friends very well may feel this way. We need to accept and understand this. Finally, an intellectual that is not White has the ability to let the Black community know that they do not have to fall into a stereotype. Now maybe we can start being honest with one another, instead of this farce that has only made this problem so much worse. Yes, racism will always exist, but to what degree is determined by our honesty and communication as a society.
Essay | Special Fear by Henry Nicolle
have been thinking about the twists that I avoid in my essays and other writing. Everything I write is political at the core - dark, dreary and violent, as politics always must be. The twists that I desperately avoid are the ones which spell the unavoidable truths, which when spoken boldly and with specificity, bring unfortunate repercussions. People with power and people with no power at all are very dangerous when the truth is spoken of them by "outsiders". The concept is "them and us". We are good (right, brave, loyal, well-intentioned), they are dangerous (wrong, cowardly, sly and untrustworthy). Substitute any terms you please. There are "Special Cultures" of Power and Exception to the Rules. Police, with their insular society of "holier than thou and we'll kick your ass if you think you can make any rules that we have to respect". "Public People", the Hilton pubic extravagant conduct headliners who flaunt their "specialness". The political Special Culture of Obama, Pelosi, Scalia and Kennedy. The finance and corporate Special Culture of Bernanke, Paulson, Enron and GM, Blue Chip and golden hedgers. The rules for them are not the rules by which us common folk must live. They're "Special". Yes, you must talk real slow to them, because they do not understand that they are NOT so special after all. They will always be with us, as the Poor will always be with us. They are a part of humanity's peculiar process of naturally segregating us into personalities, ambitions and talents. I find these "Special Cultures" annoying and I get really tired of the individual conduct of many of these "Special Folk". This is where I find I must begin avoiding the twists of thought and expletive which follow as naturally as the aggregation of our "Special Cultures". What is waiting to be said is nothing new or even personal, really. It is the truth and the truth tends to be boringly repetitive when it is revealed. But it frightens the Special Cultures. They take the expressions of truth to be vile, individually personal threats by the speakers. Still, speaking the truth is simply speaking the truth. If the clothes fit, one must draw whatever conclusions are reasonable. Police/Law Enforcement/LEO (call them what you will) are the first line of dangerous "Special Culture". They are a new profession, barely a hundred fifty years old. They have grown brash and arrogant. They are an unnecessary profession, a fact inflicted with great sensitivity and that sensitivity aggravates the overt danger of their psychotic culture. These are the thugs who wreak violent, aggressive ambition of the Special Cultures upon ordinary people. They believe they are, and to a great extent they truly are, exempt from personal accountability for excessive and outrageous conduct. Judges and prosecutors, the ancient marriage of evil and more evil, compose the second line of dangerous "Special Cultures". Siamese Twins they are, one cannot exist without the other and each presumes supremacy over the People and the Law. The Law is what they say it is. The goals of law are less important than the goals of policy. These are the initiators of violence upon the peace of our society. They are filled to overflowing with personal hubris. The police and jailers are their monkey's fists. There is no practical personal accountability for the egregious and criminal misconduct of the Special Cultures of the Judiciary and Prosecutors. Crime is their natural element and they are purveyors of crime, they bathe in criminality, clothe themselves in criminal racketeering and retire in the wave of criminal laurels. I can say these things and when I do, I am thought a fool and raving nutcase. That's O.K. If I close an eye and allow a twist, there is a hope for justice in this world. There. I have said it. A twisted line, filled to the brim with latent violence, blood, gore, pain and confusion on a huge scale. It is time to put down this rebellion of "Special Cultures" and re-establish the Liberty of individual free men and women. We have more people in jail and prison than the entire world combined. Our lives are more controlled than most of the people of the world. Truth. Not Liberty. How many cops have become criminals or have stood in silent participation in inflicting horrible things to innocent people? How many judges have betrayed our purpose, our Constitution and our laws to destroy our lives in their pursuit of policies in place of our Law? How many prosecutors collaborate with the judiciary in the course of their ambition? How many torches and pitchforks and ropes from lampposts will balance this equation? How soon? By whom? How long before we close the circle?
by Jeff Diggs
n the 40th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon, much speculation surrounds the validity of whether any human has walked on the moon and returned to earth. It’s important to understand the political climate of the 1960’s. The United States and the Soviet Union where at the height of the Cold War. The Soviets had achieved the first satellite in orbit, the first man in space, and the first unmanned probe landing on the moon. The United States was years behind the Soviet’s space program. President Kennedy issued a challenge in 1962 to NASA to land a man safely on the moon and bring him back before the end of the decade. Miraculously, NASA succeeded in only 7 years with developing a space flight program, putting a man in space, and sending astronauts to the moon and back by July 1969. Or, did NASA fake the lunar missions? There are several good reasons to fake the lunar missions. The Civil Rights Movement was changing the American landscape with equality and integration. The Vietnam War was dragging on with no clear end in sight. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought fears of nuclear annihilation to the front door step of every American home. The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. crippled the American spirit. The country’s moral was low and the American people needed something to make them feel proud. NASA could easily fabricate the lunar landings to trump their Soviet rivals and fulfill President Kennedy's goal of sending humans safely to and from the moon by the end of the 1960’s. A 1999 Gallup Poll found that 11% of Americans believe that the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked. 25% of British magazine readers of Engineering & Technology said they do not believe humans have landed on the moon. Doubters point to examples in photographs that were eligibly taken on the moon. Many photos are clearly missing cross hair markers from the camera lens which immediately suggests that the images have been touched up and altered. Photo lighting and shadows are inconsistent with a single light source, the sun. Images from inside the Apollo crafts always have blocked out windows and never show the earth in a distant view. Video footage eligibly taken on the moon shows the exact same stage set used in different Apollo missions. The background hills and rocky landscape are identical with the same camera location. All Apollo missions supposedly landed in very different places on the moon. NASA later claimed the film footage was mislabeled but the astronauts in the
footage are clearly from different missions. The American flag placed on the moon can be seen waving in the wind even though there is no atmosphere on the moon and wind does not exist. The Apollo lunar crafts generated flames from the engine when blasting off. Fire and flames can not be possible in an lunar atmosphere that does not contain oxygen. The Apollo crafts would have to travel through the deadly Van Allen radiation belts that surround the earth. The astronauts would have been exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and died within weeks of returning to earth. Moon mission doubters believe the lunar landings where filmed on stage sets or possibly in a remote desert location. According to NASA, there have only been 12 people to walk on the moon and another 12 people who flew to the moon but did not land. All 24 people are from the United States. Believers of the moon landing hoax want to know why the Soviet Union never landed a man on the moon. The Soviets dominated the space race but fell short of equaling American achievements. Did the Soviets realize that in the 1960’s the technology of the time was not advanced enough to send a manned mission to the moon? The technology used in the Apollo missions to the moon is equivalent to the same technology in a wrist watch. A cell phone is a 1000 times more advanced then the Apollo lunar module. The technology simply wasn’t there in 1969 to safely transport 24 people to and from the moon. Doubters of a manned moon landing have asked NASA for one simple piece of prove to validate that humans really were on the moon. Point your telescope at the moon and take a photo of the moon landing sites. We have satellites that can read the serial number on a dollar bill on earth so surely we can take a picture of a lunar landing site. NASA has yet to comply. The last manned mission to the moon was in 1972. Congress has recently spurred interest in returning to the moon 37 years later. NASA says it needs time to create a space craft to travel to the moon and back but shouldn’t NASA already have space craft for manned moon missions? NASA claims to have visited the moon several times. So what’s the hold up? Could it be that NASA still needs to develop the technology for humans to travel to the moon and back safely?
The year was 1999. Rage Against the Machine was on the radio and fully available on an array of websites, free for the taking. This was before the Napster lawsuits, before American Idol contestants dominated the charts. 1999 was the year of the Diallo shooting, of political rage, of hope in President Chavez. In the throes of adolescent rebellion, I watched it all and posted my own calls for political demonstration on
...today is not so different from a decade ago my personal website. None of this took place very long ago, but it seems like a different world. Before my own website was taken down for advocating civil violence, before eighteen-year-old Sherman Austin was arrested for putting his views on the internet (at raisethefist.com), before two terms of George W. Bush, before Iraq, before the Patriot Act, before the ipod. Don’t forget about the ipod - and all the similar gadgets - that have crept into our lives, shock troops of increasing materialism. Twenty percent of NYU students answered a survey saying they would trade in their vote for an ipod touch, so those loveable widgets may have a cost to society beyond the price tag. The social climate of 1999 had more vigor. At least, so it seemed to me, sitting in my platform shoes (remember those?) and blue lipstick, watching the running news updates on the WTO riots. Seattle looked like an agitator’s paradise, and the world trembled on the edge of revolutionary change. When the new millennium came, I was sorely disappointed. No revolution, no apocalyptic war to purge the existing power structures. No rapture to whisk away the religious right. Instead, we got the Presidential “Election” of 2000, and I learned that adulthood was not all sunshine and protest rallies. But this isn’t about the Spirit of ’99, or even the spirit of ’09. The zeitgeist today is not so different from a decade ago. My teenage angst didn’t set the tone for all of society. Nor are we completely bogged down in complacency and conformity today. On the optimistic side, The Zeitgeist movie claims over fifty million viewers. Fifty million signifies a lot of people turning away from the willful ignorance embraced by the Republican establishment. The Story of Stuff and its message about the dangers of consumption and corporate dominance have reached over six million viewers. In spite of the Bush years, the spirit of inquiry is alive and well. There have always been two currents running simultaneously through our culture.
The currents were there in 1999, same as today. One is the spirit of conformity, willful ignorance, herd mentality. The idea we need nothing except blind patriotism and perhaps an iphone. The other current came through the radio with every riff of Rage Against the Machine. It is the spirit of revolutionary change, of progress, of agitation, of rebellion against a world that wants us to just shut up and pay our taxes. Progressives now stand at a turning point – whether to put our feet up and congratulate ourselves on Obama’s election, or resist the call of complacency and keep the skeptical view of government that got us through the Bush years. I am all for skepticism. The 9/11 Truth movement gathers evidence and strength, making it harder and harder to turn a blind eye. Yet our “progressive” congress can’t seem to take the issue seriously. The government pushes new (enhanced!) ID cards, complete with RFIT chips, that are Big Brother’s dream. No amount of optimism and change-related slogans should drown out the harsh realities. Guantanamo Bay stands, domestic surveillance is in full swing, and the costly “War on Terror” rages on. Add one economic crisis, and the stakes get that much higher. The government will never ask the hard question (not even with Obama at the helm) or hand power back to the people. Now a different administration asks for our unquestioning hope and trust Will we drown out these concerns with media consumption and blind sentiment? Or push for a better world? We may not be looking at a new millennium, but we could be looking at a new era. Instead of patting themselves on the back, progressives should see each day as a chance to hold the government accountable, to take back our freedoms and stir up some trouble in the name of liberty. A chance to agitate like it’s 1999.
"It's wonderful, imaginative, brilliant and funny. You took me on a ride I giddily enjoyed and provided surprises that I didn't see coming. And you made all this wickedly humorous, too. Sir, you have a robust imagination, a keen intellect and a bottomless talent." – Charles Johnson, a professor of LITERATURE at the University of Washington
For fifty dollars, The Sinner's own Saab Lofton can write a five to ten page fictional story based on yourself, a friend, relative or loved one (it takes less than a week to complete). These make great presents for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. It's also a chance to make a difference, support independent media and feed a censored/starving artist. Fo' mo' info, call 206-291-3815 or e-mail via
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present a Sinful Offer to All Our Fans
Enter to win an UNRATED copy of UNBORN To enter, email email@example.com Winners announced August 31st
The Vice is Right Methadone
used to be under the rather naive assumption that methadone was just something that was given to junkies to help them kick heroin or other hardcore opiate narcotics, and that it didn’t actually get you “high”. Boy, was I ever wrong! Although methadone lacks the real “punch” (and the ability to produce an incredibly good “rush” when injected) of heroin, it definitely gets you fucked-up and keeps you fuckedup for a long, long time. And the “rush” is actually somewhat decent when you bang enough of the shit, too! But you didn’t hear that from me. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that, while quite unlike heroin or morphine in its chemical composition, manages to produce similar analgesic effects by binding to the m-opioid receptor in the same manner as these aforementioned narcotics. Ahh, the beauty of chemistry. German scientists developed the drug in the 1930s prior to the start of World War II. It was created in an anticipatory capacity as an alternative analgesic for civilian and military populations should war time factors, such as enemy blockades or high demand, lead to opium shortages making the production or import of morphine and other opioids more difficult. Because it was German scientists that developed Methadone, an urban myth persisted for some time that one of the drug’s earliest trade names, Dolophine, was actually coined in honor of Adolph Hitler (some accounts of the tale have Hitler, himself, as the substance’s “eponymous” namer). In truth, the name Dolophine is derived from the Latin dolor meaning pain, and this name wasn’t actually used until after the war, being employed as a trade name by the American branch of global pharmaceutical giant
written by Matthew Gorman
Eli Lilly. Nevertheless, this myth continues to be perpetuated to this very day by The Church of Scientology (and their most vocal member and proponent, that no talent ass clown, Tom Cruise) in their ongoing philosophical onslaught against pharmacological treatment options. The original patent for what is today known as methadone was registered in 1941 by the German pharmaceutical firm Bockmühl and Erhart who called the substance Hoechst 10820 or polamidon. After the war the governments of the allied forces expropriated all German research and patents, and the rights for commercial production of methadone were sold to a slew of pharmaceutical companies with each only paying the low, low price of one dollar! The aforementioned pharmaceutical firm, Eli Lilly and Company, first introduced methadone to the U.S. market in 1947. Although originally created as a substitute analgesic for morphine or other painkillers, methadone’s primary use today is as a treatment for opiate
addiction. Methadone is effective in the treatment of heroin or morphine addiction because it works on the opioid receptor just like these highly addictive narcotics but with a longer duration of action, meaning the effects of withdrawal can be alleviated without the need for frequent administration of a more addictive opioid. Junkies call the process of administering an opioid (whether it be the drug to which they are addicted or a substitute drug like methadone) “getting well”, in order to combat the harsh symptoms of withdrawal and methadone certainly keeps one “well” for a long time, usually up to 24 hours but sometimes as much as 130 hours due to its slow metabolism. Of course, it depends upon the dose size and degree of tolerance (i.e. how hooked someone is) to a drug such as heroin et al. Also, at high enough doses methadone actually blocks the euphoric effects of heroin and other powerful opiates, which greatly diminishes the desire for them. Another aspect of methadone that can help an
addict “kick” (end the addiction to a drug) by making the addictive substance less desirable is that it also bonds to the glutamatergic NMDA (N-methylD=aspartate) receptor acting as a receptor antagonist. NMDA receptors play a major role in excitation and memory function. It is believed that this factors into methadone’s ability to combat addiction by essentially disrupting the memory circuitry as it relates to addiction; sort of like tricking your brain into forgetting how much it loves shooting up smack! Methadone is available in many different forms from the traditional pill form to sublingual (literally meaning “under the tongue”) tablets and also two forms wherein the methadone is imbibed in liquid form. The first of these is simply ready-to-drink liquid methadone typically mixed with a chemical tasting sugar syrup that some manufacturers have the nerve to call “fruit juice”, and the second is a diskette that is dissolved in a glass of water like an Alka-Seltzer tablet and then consumed. While methadone can be injected, and will give a little bit of a rush if you do enough of it, it is certainly not recommended here that you try it. The methadone pills frequently contain talc as an inert binder. When they are crushed up and added to a liquid solution and then injected, the talc can cause solid particles to build up in the blood stream, and this can lead to serious blood clots and pulmonary hypertension. Also, the sugars and other ingredients (the so-called “fruit juice”) in the liquid methadone preparations can cause permanent damage to veins or even cardiac arrest if they are injected. Man, I wish I knew that a week ago when I was banging some Capri Sun.
by Saab Lofton
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN FICTION “White fear is profitable. Bond issues for prison construction managed by major investment banks are more profitable than school construction bonds for improving the decrepit, crowded public schools like Taft High School in the Bronx. The prison construction bonds also depend heavily on a steady flow of young, brown bodies of former students of de-funded schools, as do the crowded barracks in Iraq’s deserts.” – Roberto Lovato of the Pacific News Service, May 18th, 2004 “Over the past 20 years California has built 23 new prisons and only one new university.” – Workers World, May 22nd, 2003 “The idea that we’re just gonna keep incarcerating, keep incarcerating, pretty soon we’re not going to have a young African-American male population in America. They’re all going to be in prison, or dead.” – John Edwards, 2008 Democratic presidential candidate.
Maybe if I was as famous as Hanna Montana I wouldn’t have to be so damn redundant, but we the people are long overdue for an eco-friendly version of FDR’s New Deal; pay the poor to save the world. Given the sorry-ass state the environment’s in, there are more than enough jobs for everyone, from so-called illegal immigrants (Superman is the only “illegal alien” I know) to ghetto gangstas to trailer trash. Now, how can America afford a LIVING wage for all these people to build windmills, grow industrial hemp and install solar power panels? Tax the rich and cut the military budget, of course. Aside from the irrational, libertarian fear that Patrick Swayze’s 1984 movie Red Dawn will literally come to pass if the rich are taxed and the military budget is cut, there’s still this “profitable” fear all too many whites have that Roberto Lovato wrote about. It basically equates brown-skinned men with The Boogeyman (watch the Oscarwinning documentary “Bowling for Columbine” for details). I’m an impoverished storyteller, therefore, I can only do so much to combat white fear, but there is an opportunity for storytelling to do its part: Quite simply, guarantee The Rock is cast as Captain Marvel in the upcoming Shazam movie. Captain Marvel is a superhero that a homeless orphan named Billy Batson would transform into whenever the magic word “Shazam” was said out loud by him. Shazam is the name of the wizard who empowered Batson and it’s also an anagram for: Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage), Mercury (speed). A prowrestling champion who later became a movie star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be perfect as Captain Marvel. Though the character was initially patterned after actor Fred MacMurray, its artist C.C. Beck (a man I was pen pals with for years) subsequently gave the captain afro centric features (take a good look at the way Beck drew the hair and lips). Plus, the wizard Shazam was always depicted as being from ancient Egypt, and since Cleopatra looked like Dorothy Dandridge, NOT Elizabeth Taylor, casting The Rock (and James Earl Jones as Shazam) would make all the sense in the world.
As Jill Nelson put it so well in an issue of Star Trek Communicator, “Who better to lead us into the future than a black male, someone whose existence and survival in the present frequently seems so precarious?” Granted, she was talking about another fictional captain, Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine. Unfortunately, there’s talk of casting some white guy as Captain Marvel and casting The Rock as an equally powerful character named (of all things) Black Adam instead. This might seem like progress but it’s not. Casting Halle Berry as Catwoman and Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin from Daredevil may have seemed progressive as well, but guess what Black Adam, Catwoman and The Kingpin all have in common? They’re villains! Just like those blacks whites see on the six o’clock news every night (again, see “Bowling for Columbine”)! Independent publisher Alonzo Washington said it best at a comic convention: “The image of a superhero is one of perfection and morality. For years the mainstream media has always force fed the American public with the most negative and immoral images of black people (murderers, gang bangers, thugs, pimps, video tramps, whores, rapists, gangsta rappers, criminals, etc.). Therefore, the concept of a black superhero is almost a joke in the minds of most white people.” And if the concept is a joke then so too is the concept of a black man being anything other than a clown to be dismissed or a beast to be destroyed. Hence the prison-industrial complex. However, if The Rock is seen by millions AND MILLIONS as Captain Marvel, two things might happen: One, y o u n g blacks tempted by gangs could decide to emulate the c h a r a c t e r ’s Golden Age sense of fair play (as I did in my youth). Two, whites of all ages may see a person of color (The Rock’s mother is Samoan and his father is African-American) as someone to trust, not fear. Again, as Alonzo Washington pointed out, “the image of a superhero is one of perfection and morality,” and it’s about bloody time white America thought of a tan/brown man as perfect and moral for a change! Lives hang in the balance here!
Mount Up with The New Soul Cowboys House Of Rock Every Thursday… and occasionally on Saturday nights. 5 Ronnie’s Plaza in St Louis Do ya like pretty boys in leather, motorcycles, and flashy guitars? Do ya like songs that make it hard to sit still? Songs that are in your head for days and days and days? Do ya like really cool stage props? Then go check out these three guys from Nashville, The New Soul Cowboys. They are well on their way to being the Next Big Deal. But, don’t take my word for it – go see for yourself. Everything you ever wanted to know about this band can be found at www.sonicbids.com/newsoulcowboys; pictures to drool on, a press kit, interviews and show reviews. Truthfully, I was a little afraid to see them LIVE… afraid that would just RUIN it (they look SOOOOOO
pretty in their pictures)…but can they PLAY? As always the CHEESINESS factor is a distinct possibility… and if your name is not Brian Hall, I don’t wanna hear nothin’ about no CHEEZE* (* Memphis Bad Boy, bass player for BLACKBONE, back in the day). But I digress… This was our first time out to House Of Rock. It’s a very cool bar that seats about 200, standing room only, maybe twice that. And it has a very friendly wait staff, good food, great seating – you’re close enough to have the band in your lap. New Soul Cowboys are the house band on Thursday nights, The Well Hungarians and Eric Brittingham (from Cinderella) were recently here, and local musicians hang out here, too. I have a new favorite bar! I’m a big fan of stage props and these were simply awesome and awe-inspiring: a couple of, I’m guessing, Hindu Goddesses, a dream catcher, a band with a really cool name, motorcycle models on the amps, COEXIST symbols, a dream catcher on the mic stand and pretty boys in leather and cowboy hats with flashy guitars and, honey, have they GOT GAME! I found them on MySpace (www.myspace. com/newsoulcowboys), saw their pictures in the RFT every week, and listened to their songs for hours on end. I LOVE “Rebel Highway”, a song about riding on the backroads of Tennessee…I miss the backroads of Tennessee. And “Chicken Bone Cross” has a dirty, gritty sound. Painted Horse will have you singin’ Bang, Bang, Bang, Giddy Up, Bang, Bang all day long the next day. The there’s “Purple Whiskey Sack” ( Crown Royal Bag) with some soulful, bluesy ballads, and “You’re Amazing” about the woman he’s crazy about. And the words to
Best cds to keep in your top stacks on the nightstand Anything by The Trip Daddys…when ya need a little bump and grind
“Carolina” will bring tears to your eyes… “I’m gonna love you like nobody loves you.” Anthony Gomes, lead vocalist and guitar player, has some pipes on him and a smooth easy groove that wraps you up and takes you home, reminding me of a very young John Corabi. And bass player David Karns, just as pretty in real life – in the daylight , no less – is very entertaining to watch, whether he’s just loading in or actually playing. The drummer Peter Lang is a show all by himself, even more so when he does this really trippy drum solo. Ya gotta see it to believe it. It was great to see and hear these tunes LIVE for the first time…and I cannot WAIT to go see them again! A full frontal assault, with some amazing showmanship. They are well on their way to fame and glory. When they’re not at Old Rock House, they can be found in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Huey’s in Memphis, and back here at The Pageant and Harrah’s Voodoo Lounge. Of course, they’ve got some great merch: groupie panties, CDs, cool shirts. Their website is www. newsoulcowboys.com, and they can be found in my Flavor Of The Week Spot in my top friends. It won’t be long before you’re ordering yourself a New Soul Thong and getting wrapped up in their songs. They reach out and grab you, pull you in, and make you want more… more…more.
Memphis Bad Boys Egypt Central…if you haven’t yet heard of them, check ‘em out , they can be found in my top friends on MySpace…favorite song “Push Away”, although “The Way” also gets me there…oh yeah, right there;) Another Memphis Band, Rock City Angels, “Use Once and Destroy” The singers in these two bands have incredible pipes on ‘em…you’ll feel like you’re in a wicked dream ya don’t wanna wake up from. If you’re into hardcore, no holds barred, heavy metal like there’s no tomorrow, I suggest Soldiers Of Scrape anything and everything (“Red Hair Revolution” & “Operation: Shifting Gears”) when ya need to feel it to the base of your skull. Oh my fucking god. In the same vein, there’s my old standby Pantera…always gets the juices flowing. Always has the desired result. always always always. If you wanna take it slower, Mike Ness from Social Distortion has a solo album “Cheating At Solitaire” that drives me insane with desire. “The Devil and Miss Jones” “Misery Loves Company” are just a couple of them. These are just a few. If you’d like to share with us what YOU like to get your groove on to, drop me a line @ firstname.lastname@example.org
written by Chuck Foster
UNMASKED! . . . d l i w e n o g Punky-tonk
When I first heard Jason and The Punknecks on MySpace a few months back, their ground shaking energy and immense diversity knocked me back a few feet. There are several seasoned bands out there in music land that know how to blur the lines of honky-tonk and punk, but these cats scramble the two like a twelve egg omelet with all the works and a bottle of habanero hot sauce, producing some tasty, yet smokin’ hot tunes from start to finish! Their act quickly hit the top of my “Must See” list, passing some fifteen other local bands. I contacted them through MySpace, which listed their hometown simply as “America”. With a current touring schedule that zigzags across this country like a blind man on acid almost 300 days of the year, I guess that’s a pretty accurate statement. With Jason and The Punknecks playing St. Louis eight to ten times a year I assumed Misery was where the Punkmobile rested those five off days, but Jason says that home is Nashville, Tennessee as of this past winter. And to name the members of this band would be as much of a challenge for me on space as it would be for Jason’s memory. Beyond Punkneck founders, Jason and Polly Punkneck, the band has a rotating list of musicians that join them on the road. For example, Jason says part of the tour might feature Kevin and Donna Frazier out of Nashville on upright bass and Sky and Kim on melodic guitar and drums. Then in St. Louis Jason says you’ll find Stephanie on the conga, but then find Jonas Westerlund on guitar in Los Angeles, not to mention numerous others in different cities that help them out year round. Jason and Polly founded the band some six years ago in LA. Jason says he was working in Hollywood, writtin’ songs on the curb in front of his tattoo shop on Hollywood Blvd. when he met Polly Punkneck through a friend; one he says he had to cock-block to get her in his band. From there he says the rest is history. After two years in LA Jason says the band had gotten pretty huge, playing any venue they wanted. But Jason wanted something more, to hit the road and build a true fan base. He and Polly then recorded some new material, creating this real-deal, outlaw bluegrass/ Punky-Tonk tourin’ act that has become their staple. “For Christ’s sake” he says, “we’ve been tourin’ the whole country doing it all ourselves for over 4 years now, either we are rockin’ or the world pities us. Either way, I just love our friends and fans across the country, especially in St. Louis, so much, that’s what keeps me goin’.” When it comes to influences who have sculpted this band, Jason
says there’s a “shit-load of them” like Hank Jr. and Waylon, but he also mentions The Ramones and Motley Crue with lots of laughs. Mostly though, he says that these people are more than mere influences, that after having lived some of their stories on the road, “ya really feel what they are tryin’ to say... on the road it’s real hard to say no.” When it comes to the punk scene today, Jason hesitates, not one of his strongest suits. “Well, I don’t know if ya want my true opinion on it. Personally, I think it’s all gone a little girly, no street feel to it... punk wasn’t about fallin’ in love, but more like hatin’ the ones ya love and lovin’ the people that loved you hate.” In laughter he does admit that there are still some bands out there keepin’ it real, “only ‘cause their parents weren’t yuppies.” Living on the road 300 days of the year has its fair share of ups and downs. Even though Jason says it’s all been good, he admits that eating sushi four days a week compared to peanut butter sandwiches every day isn’t bad at all. The worst experience for him though isn’t the financial hurdles, but the transportation woes that sometimes causes the band to cancel a show. He says the road is a tough life, that they always hit it financially broke in their minds. He adds that there are far greater rewards to the road than money and sushi, like all of their great fans. I asked Jason what advice he would pass a young punk getting into the scene. He says to pick it up, record an album and get some merchandise and tour as quick as you can get it together, and that acoustic acts can get things moving quicker. He also wanted to shout a “huge thanks” out there to Breedlove Guitars (www.breedloveguitars.com) for bein’ so awesome to them, and another to all the bands that have supported them. Beyond asking about their next St. Louis show at The Ten Mile House on September 26, a must-see show at a kick-ass venue, I wanted to know how the nude shots of Jason and the Punknecks on MySpace came about. In true punk fashion, he says, “With enough tequila ya don’t know whatcher gonna get from me...” Aint that the truth! Check these cats out on MySpace at www. myspace.com/jasonandthepunknecks, or you can go to www.punknecks.com. And be sure to come out and support them on September 26 at The Ten Mile House. It’s guaranteed to be Punky-Tonk gone wild!
Fags, Freaks, Saws & Shots I
t was 10:30 in the morning when I leapt to the computer. The wife lays behind me in drunken bliss, a night that could easily be lost in nightmares of queer men in cowboy hats, women with needles under their fingers, chain saws roaring and multiple shots of liquor spilled. It doesn’t make much sense at 10:30 am, a few hours later as I try to explain the past 14 hours, but neither does mixing Wild Turkey with Lipton Tea before noon. It’s madness that only few welcome and less accept, but one that I cannot deny myself nor you. We found ourselves beat down on the 17th after entertaining the wife’s family for a week, that never ending tale of terrorism that all us city folk know too well. But there’s no rest for the wicked, and even less for sinners. So we were off to Just John’s for their Gay Cowboy Association’s Underwear Auction before heading to Atomic Cowboy for Sons of Black Mass and The Sadistic Side Show at 10pm. In the midst of this madness, I had forgotten an invitation to an after party at The Saw Is Family’s house after their show at The Way Out Club, and the drunken promise to attend both. When I got Pam’s text reminding me we were already knee deep in gay
cowboys and drag queens, but that’s a typical Friday nigh for us. Audibles like this demand action, so we switched to ice water after every third whiskey. Not that we were in harm, for a straight couple this was an amazing auction. The guys were hot, half naked and the mixed crowd of gays and straights were bidding like mad, and all for a good cause. We raced down the road to Atomic next to witness the freaks from out of town come break block and glass over their bodies, and then to enjoy them walk in it and eat it afterward. These guys and gals made the full house screech, laugh, turn away and applaud on queue, even more so when some damn fool drank the remains of snot whiskey, a glass of bourbon used in one trick that was repeatedly snorted through two of their noses. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t even taste the snot. We were also there for Satan’s number one rockers, Sons of Black Mass, hoping to witness another Christian gone bad, but the finish line for this night
wasn’t even in sight yet and we had to book over to The Way Out Club. You gotta Love Bob, The Way Out Club, and mostly, the fucking Saw! The Family puts on a show like few others, and having mentioned them last month, let’s leave Bob & The Way Out for now and head straight to the after party. The Saw’s manager, Pam, had mentioned the bottle of Skull Vodka to the wrong person. As soon as the PBRs settled we hit it next, then some whiskey, more PBRs, then tequila, then more Skull, and Whiskey, then PBRs. And then the Family and friends started falling like road kill. And there are more shots, or photos, to prove it. Before we left we got to hang out in the Hearse out back, a real treat for this Sinner. And we even made it home with no blue lights... only this god-damned hangover! WE give all you fags, freaks, and Family a sincere “thanks”. Let’s do it again soon!
HELLO, ST. LOUIS!... AND WELCOME TO THE FIRST EPISODE OF
OUR SINFUL COMMUNITY! I’ll be your host from here on out, Chet Chesterson, and every month we’ll be featuring some of your local businesses with a bit of sinful flare to them. So all you in the audience please stand up and give yourselves a round of applause for supporting your sinful community, and all you folks out there watching on the boob-tube, give yourself a pat on the back, too. You all deserve it!
The Beauty Bar 7001 Lansdowne Ave 314-647-5400 To kick this show off with a bang the producers of The St. Louis Sinner thought owners Tori and Danielle Berdeaux of Beauty Bar & Salon would be the perfect guest for our first episode. After all, who isn’t a bit guilty of vanity? And with what these sisters are doing over there at Beauty Bar Salon, you get a double dose of vanity with a side of sinful indulgence. Everyone give Danielle and Tori a big sinful welcome. WOW! You gals look smashing! Who does your hair? Just kidding, we all know that answer. So, just what is this Beauty Bar all about, Danielle? Well Chet, The Beauty Bar was opened by us, the Scissor Sisters, in 2008. Together we have 22 years experience in the industry. We feel that we provide the best in modern and classic cutting and chemical services. We are driven and highly passionate in showing our creativity. Our salon features a kicked back ambiance with complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails which you can enjoy at the bar while listing to any genre of music! Well you can sign me up for a cut and a waxing right now! So, you know that me and the little lady have been there recently for a hair cut. And let me tell all you out there, this is the first time in 13 years of marriage and haircuts that I have ever went with the wife to the salon. The kicked back ambiance Danielle mentions is 100% accurate and so is the complementary drink! I’ve never thought a haircut, or waiting on the wife to have one, could be so entertaining. So tell me what sets Beauty Bar salon apart from other salons, Tori? Chet, beyond the ambiance and cocktails, it’s our Happy Hour Specials, Private Hair Parties, our Retail Spinning Wheel and the fact that we have parties with BBQ and free live music from time to time to show our customers a little appreciation.
WOW, Again! This is cutting edge, gals. Someone has to pay for all these amenities and such, right? You’re just not having happy hour specials on services, spinning wheel deals and BBQs with music for nothing. So, what’s the cost for some of your services, pretty high, right? No Chet, they’re actually very affordable. A man’s haircut runs from $20 - $25, a woman’s from $30 - $35, and it’s only $15 - $20 for kids. And our color runs from $42 and up, our highlights run from $45 - $95, and our facial waxing is only $10! And to top that we offer coupons on our MySpace page, www.myspace. com/envisionshairstudio, and all new clients get a free haircut with any color service! One last question here as we’re running out of time. What are the hours of operation down at Beauty Bar Salon and where exactly are you located? Chet, we are located at 7001 Lansdowne Ave here in Saint Louis. Our current hours are Tue-Thur 12-8, Fri 11-4, Sat 10-4, otherwise by appointment only, and you can do that by calling us at 314-647-5400. Thanks so much for coming out today. Everyone give Danielle and Tori a big round of applause... and keep your eye out for the sisters, they’re likely to have a chain of Beauty Bars across the country in no time. Until next month, I’m Chet Chesterson and a member of your Sinful Community!
of i t fi f a r The G
“You have to realize back then there weren’t a million internet sites where you could check out graffiti from around the world from the comfort of your house. All our influence came from in person meetings with writers that were traveling, and trading graffiti magazines if we could get out hands on them, and the occasional graffiti VHS.”
written by Chuck Foster 18
t was an overcast June morning when we pulled up outside J. Gravity Strings, a downtown music store located at 1546 S. Broadway. The weather of the day was critical to the project that had already begun a few days earlier. I found myself gazing upon the clouds hovering just a few hundred feet above us for signs of good fortune, but quickly got lost in the images appearing within them as they merged and disappeared behind one another before they passed out of sight. As we entered the empty lot my thoughts drifted again, gazing upon a brick wall towering before us, some 30 feet high and 100 feet long covered in scaffolding and writers (graffiti artists). For now it’s only a blur of letters, images and faces unknown to all except the gods of paint who hold its fate, yet the unknown can be as hypnotic as the masterpiece that awaits to surface. Rain was in the forecast for the day, and all we had brought for protection from the elements was a cooler full of beer and a camera. It was hardly the perfect day to “piece” a wall with over a $1,000 of spray paint, but this wasn’t a contract for profit. This was graffiti on a mass scale for individual reasons unknown to me but shared amongst the crew of LD. We were only present to experience this outlawed art form firsthand and to possibly gain an understanding of what compels this St. Louis crew to do it in the first place. At first glance they’re a motley dozen or so of different colors and attitudes, each individual yet bonded by the same glue. It’s easy to tell that we’re the outsiders here. The scent of cooking meat from a small grill greeted us, but no one acknowledged our existence much less invited us to partake in their meager feast of hot dogs, burgers and strip steak. LD is hardly a gang like the Bloods or Crips, but only a fool or an asshole reaches for food or brew amongst a tight-nit group; a fool they might tolerate, an asshole they might beat to the ground. This is common sense for those who have ran the less-lit streets with the more seedy bunch of American society,
like myself, so we stood back and observed, waiting for someone to acknowledge our presence. We had discussed our attendance over some brews and free hot wings a few weeks prior at DB’s Sports bar, which is how this location was picked, but I still couldn’t point out the member who approved us coming out. We had met under normal circumstances, beers and wings, no mask or gear hiding identities. Today was different, though. Everyone blended in with sweat shirts and hoodies, except for the lively gals that were present, who slammed beers, smoked cigarettes and swayed to music blaring from one of the artist’s car. We were given a few odd looks the first ten minutes, like you might expect if crashing the reunion of a mafia family. Everyone was loosely circled around the food and brew except for the artist spraying and their partners, who would often drift over and swoop through the crowd and snag a beer and a piece of meat like an eagle grabbing a trout from a river. It was a freakish experience to witness; no one was related, nor seemed like “friends”, only brothers of an inner circle gathered for one reason, graffiti. Finally Amens stepped over to greet us, easing the level of alienation that had consumed us. His first words were a reminder, that it was cool to shoot the wall, but the artist and people present were off limits. I had agreed to this prior, but it was made clear again. As we discussed the theme of the wall, a rock-n-roll collage, a detective drove past slowly, making some members of the crew slightly turn. I didn’t even notice the plain white car, but after it was pointed out, it was obvious. This was a huge project, out in the open, in the middle of the day. It was bound to get some notice from a local do-gooder citizen or one of St. Louis’ finest. But this project was given the OK by the owner, so Johnny Flatfoot had no reason to shake anyone down – at least not this day. But how did we get here, as a society, where public art is only acceptable if it is leased on a city bus or pasted on a corporate billboard? Probably because there’s a stigma attached to graffiti in this country, as there is with a black dude dating a white gal or two homos holding hands in public. It’s discriminative propaganda, performed on a mass government scale. Unfortunately, too many of us die never escaping propaganda’s lie. To understand this taboo art and where it is today you must first know that graffiti is defined as any type of public markings that appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. It has existed for centuries, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, and as far back as 30,000 BC in the form of prehistoric cave paintings and pictographs. Graffiti has been used throughout centuries to communicate social and political messages, usually ones of unrest and anarchy. In America graffiti dates back to the 1920s, where railroad boxcars were tagged by Bozo Texino. In the 1960s graffiti was used to protest the Vietnam war and in the student protests and general strike of May 1968, where Paris was covered in revolutionary and anarchist slogans such as L’ennui est contre-révolutionnaire (“Boredom is counterrevolutionary”). In the 1970s Americans read the popular tag, “Dick Nixon Before He Dicks You” and witnessed graffiti enter the rock and punk rock subculture. Today’s modern graffiti has evolved into a pop culture symbol, often related to underground hip-hop music and break dancing, and as gang signals to mark territory. This movement dates back to 1971 when a foot messenger out of Washington Heights, Manhattan known as TAKI 183 was featured in the New York Times. The article titled “’Taki 183’ Spawns Pen Pals” was precisely that, as Taki 183 had created an army of taggers in NYC. This led many new artist to venture into train yards to produce larger and more artistic works, which was quickly labeled as “bombing”. The expanding popularity of graffiti in the early 1970s led to the creation of “tagging”,
in order to distinguish one artist from another and anonymously credit one’s work. Then in the early 1980s Fab 5 Freddy (Fred Brathwaite) appeared on the scene merging the late 70s style with his own, taking graffiti and rap music out of the Bronx into the hip white art and music scenes. The graffiti wave crested about this time as transit authority officials made its eradication top priority, beefing up patrols, repairing train yard perimeters and painting over all graffiti. The local stores also got involved by removing spray paint displays to protect large amounts of paint from being stolen, which was a common means for an artist to acquire paint. The new anti-graffiti movement led to territorial spots for tagging and bombing and the creation of strength in numbers, or gangs. And this is where we are today, amongst a gang mentality, called a crew, being observed by detectives and added to files for future investigations. But these are dangerous waters entered by choice for everyone present, a swim with sharks for the thrill of either being bit or surviving the experience unscathed. When I asked Amens why he risks so much for no gain, he said he honestly doesn’t know, other than ego. He does admit to loving the fact that what the crew does is in your face, but you and him could be standing next to each other and you’d never have any clue he was the one that did it. When you look Amens up and down, he’s a pretty typical looking tattooed dude with a suburban feel, not some gangster from the hood running the streets with his cap turned sideways. I asked him how he got involved with graffiti. He says he got into it through skateboarding and hip-hop around 1996, but says that both have changed drastically since then. He says that skateboarding was barely alive then and hip-hop hadn’t been corrupted by MTV and the record companies, producing the images of “bling-bling” with “leased duds” and “$100 bills”. As the rain began to drizzle upon us, no one seemed worried. Some of the artists were wrestling with each other and with the gals. The top went up on the car, but the music was turned up a notch to accommodate the restriction of sound. There seemed no real rush as the rain was more of an annoyance than issue. We then chatted about influences, as traditional artist are known to be influenced by other artist. But what about graffiti artists? Amens says he was inspired by local writers (artists) like Hoax, Vatoe, Wae32, Bost/Vibes, Casper, Faroe, Phite, and Stun, but adds that his longtime friend from NYC, Hence, can’t go unmentioned for what he’s done for the city of STL and graffiti in general. Amens considers himself lucky to have met these guys back in ‘97. He says they taught him the tricks that could have taken decades to learn. “You have to realize back then there weren’t a million internet sites where you could check out graffiti from around the world from the comfort of your house. All our influence came from in person meetings with writers that were traveling, and trading graffiti magazines if we could get our hands on them, and the occasional graffiti VHS.” As the drizzle ended and I opened another PBR I asked Amens how LD came about. He says the crew came together in 1999 through Hoax, who had tagged a few trains with “Lowlife Drunks”. He says the name kind of stuck with the five or so of them. Now, almost 10 years later, he says that LD is very deep in numbers and is well known around the country having members in Boston, Philly, SF, Oakland, KC, Louisville, Chicago, and everywhere in between. He brags that anywhere you look in STL you will be within 20 yards of something by LD…regardless if you know it or not. I also asked him about the initiation of new members, how a writer proves he’s “down”. He says there’s various ways, but without going into too much detail, racking (stealing) paint is a huge way to prove yourself. He adds that there are various techniques to get large amounts that are handed down to the young bucks, but says it takes real balls and helps the crew out as a whole. “You get us paint, we know you’re serious.” As the wall began to take form with six or more different writers on it, I asked about the different types of graffiti and how they’re
used on a wall like this one. Amens says it starts with “sketching”, this is simply “chillin’ at the house with the crew, drinking beer, smoking herb, and comparing work.” He says that most of what you’ll see on a wall in a production was done on paper first. Then there’s “tagging”, which he says is pretty self explanatory, “Markers, mean streaks, etch bath, spray paint, scribes, basically anything you can write your name on something with. Real drive by style…quick in and out.” Unfortunately, Amens says this term is how graffiti is usually described and he personally can’t fucking
stand it since there’s so much more to it. Next there’s “Bombing”, the concept of two or three color bombs. He says these are fast, big, in your face, and mostly what you’ll see on the streets. This process only takes minutes but doesn’t look like some scribbled tags. Last is “Piecing/Productions”, the pinnacle of graffiti. “This is what you’re seeing in galleries. As far as on the streets, it’s all around if you look beneath you. You won’t see a whole lot of this at street level unless it’s a legal wall. This is the multi color, multi hour, multi person collaborations. Train bridges, inside abandoned buildings, freight trains. Anywhere you can take your time and really get down is where you’ll piece.” Amens has an attraction to the train yard, the thrill and danger of the run. He mentioned a location in East St. Louis where the terrain and environment is like a scene from Mad Max, where you not only worry about hoodlums and hobos, but of wild dogs that roam the area free of will in search of food. He says that painting freights is one of the purest ,oldest methods of American graffiti, that the beauty of it is knowing that within hours your art is on its way across the country to be seen by all. He says that there is also something humbling about being around such deadly machinery that can and will end your life in seconds. Several writers have lost their lives here in STL to the mighty train, Phloe was the most notable back in 2000. Amens remembers back in the day when the crew used to have a “friend” that worked in a yard who would let them paint boxcars as long as they kept off the reporting marks so the companies could identify the boxcar, which really helped to avoid getting the pieces buffed off. “He would bring us these really sick train company logoed 5 gallon lined buckets full of bottles of cold water. He’s long retired at this point but what he did for us spoke volumes.” Today though he says the economy has really fucked up the train traffic, car selection is down, traffic is extremely low and a lot of places they used to paint are ghost yards now. Not a single car to be found. We left shortly after, leaving LD to finish their work through the night, but agreed to meet up in a few days and check out the wall after completed. I drove up and some-
thing didn’t look quite right. Amens said a few days later another crew came in and hit the wall, adding to it. This is not acceptable; it’s that asshole thing again. It’s worse that “side-busting” he says, “when you get out and rock a new dope spot and some little turd comes and paints right next to you.” This is the gang perspective that Amens chose to acknowledge, but not to comment on. All that was finally said was, “we know who it was and it will be taken care of it”. I don’t think he means an invitation to the next cookout either. As we sat over another PBR and shots of Wild Turkey back down at DB’s, I asked Amens what property is off limits to an artist, if any? He says that’s a personal choice, but that he would never paint a church or a house, but that’s about all that’s off limits to him. He adds that his restraint or code of honor doesn’t go for every writer by any means. When I asked about the cost of removing graffiti from inappropriate sites, he says the cost of removing paint isn’t really any of his concern, “that’s what Operation Brightside is for, right!?” I also wanted to know his take on billboards, as businesses do pay for their own graffiti to be posted there. “Billboards are one of the best places to paint because the whole point of that ugly ass sign in the sky is to get people to look at it. That gives us a perfect canvas to put our work on.” I asked Amens his take on the city providing legal walls for graffiti, whether or not that could curb graffiti and the animosity city officials have towards the art. He says that St. Louis has a 3 mile legal wall here and he’s sure it’s curbed A LOT of illegal graffiti, but that he’s not sure there’s ever going to be a way to completely stop painting on the streets. “When it comes down to it, that’s what we do. You lose that rush and thrill of painting when you’re doing a legal wall. It just doesn’t feel the same.” So I asked him about the penalty for graffiti, what would be just to him? “As far as punishment... the laws are set up the way they are... I think maybe a $5 fine if you get caught would be OK with me. Yeah, that’s it.” I’ve ran with Amens on several occasions recently to get a better understanding of his perspective, and because, like I said, he’s a pretty typical tattooed dude. He holds a good paying steady job, shows everyone he meets a fair share of respect and enjoys a Wild Turkey and a cold PBR. But I certainly don’t see eye-to-eye with all of his reasoning. I understand the rush and the passion for expression, but not when the cost of removing it is passed to tax payers. I believe graffiti art and tagging is a bit different than vandalism and deserves a separate penal classification. I think the punishment should be more than $5, like making the writer remove gang graffiti throughout the city. Beyond disagreements, I do admire the anonymity that writers like Amens share, the love of art and expression over notoriety and fame. Like he said, “you and him could be standing next to each other and you’d never have any clue he was the one that did it.” Before the wall at J. Strings is tagged again or side-busted, I urge everyone go check it out, it’s certainly a piece of art worth experiencing.
A L O O K AT T H E
UNKNOWN LITTLE TREASURES IN
S T. L O U I S There are a lot of well known artists in this
city of ours, but have you wandered out to see the extraordinary talents of those whose name you don’t wander across often, or not at all?
There are many smaller galleries in St. Louis where artists are just venturing out of their
shells. These smaller less prestigious galleries
are popping up left and right and in most cases the art is absolutely fantastic! So get out on
the town and check it out. Here are a few of our most recent favorite places.
Don’t forget to support your local artists!
ArtDimensions 1214 Washington Avenue, 3rd floor St. Louis, MO 63103 314/497-5356 www.artdimensions.org Hours: W-Sat. 12-5 p.m. or by appointment
(The Gallery at) Coffee Cartel 2 Maryland Plaza St. Louis, MO 63108 314/454-0000 www.cwecartel.com Hours: 7 days, 24 hours
The Firecracker Press 2838 Cherokee Street St. Louis, MO 63118 314/776-7271 www.firecrackerpress.com Hours: M-F 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Art Space at Provisions Market 11615 Olive Boulevard Creve Coeur, MO 63141 314/989-0020 www.provisionsmarket.com Hours: M-F 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Concrete Ocean Gallery and Studios 2287 Jefferson Ave. St Louis, MO, 63158 (314) 497-0199
Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts 3151 Cherokee Street St. Louis, MO 63118 314/772-3628 www.fortgondo.com
Atrium Gallery 4728 McPherson Avenue St. Louis, MO 63108 314/367-1076 www.atriumgallery.net Hours: W-Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun 12-4 p.m., Tues. by appt. Belas Artes Multicultural Center & Art Gallery 1854 Russell Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63104 314/772-ARTS www.belas-artes.net Boots Contemporary Art Space 2307 Cherokee Street St. Louis, MO 63118 314/772-BOOT www.bootsart.com
Cranky Yellow 2847 Cherokee Street St. Louis, MO 63118 314/773-4499 www.crankyyellow.com Hours: T-Sun 12-5 p.m. D-Zine Hair & Art Studio 6679 Delmar Boulevard University City, MO 63130 314/727-0708 http://DzineHairArt.us Faces in the Loop 6265 Delmar Boulevard University City, MO 63130 314/494-1930 www.facesintheloop.net
Snowflake/Citystock 3156 Cherokee Street St. Louis, MO 63118 www.snowflakecitystock.com Hours: Sat 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Soulard Art Market Contemporary Art Gallery 2028 South 12th Street St. Louis, MO 63118 314/258-4299 www.soulardartmarket.com Hours: Th-F 6-10 p.m., Sat 12-8 p.m., Sun 12-6 p.m. Urban Eats Urban Arts Collective 3301 Meramec Stret St. Louis, MO 63118 314/558-7580. www.urbaneatscafe.com Hours: M-F 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
VISUAL ART OPENINGS Parallel Reality: abstract landscape paintings by Michael Bolton based upon photography by J. Roberts Opening Reception: Friday, August 14, 6-9pm through August 31, 2009. Call 314.621.4744 to confirm additional hours or for an appointment. More Info: www.marblesyoga.com Watercolor and Collage Works by Shirley Nachtrieb & Renea Erickson at Framations Opening reception Saturday, August 8, 2009, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Framations Art Gallery in St. Charles. The exhibit continues through September 6, 2009. More Info: Call 636.724.8313 “When We Build, Let Us Think that We Build Forever” at the Luminary Center Opening reception Saturday, August 8, 2009, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Luminary Center for the Arts. The exhibit continues through September 30, 2009. When We Build, Let Us Think That We Build Forever is a curated group show focused on the intersection of natural
and man-made environments. Ranging from ecological experiments to meditations on the precariousness of our built environment, the exhibit presents a poetic view of the world that surrounds us and our effect on it. When We Build… features the work of primarily St. Louisbased artists, giving a local viewpoint and immediacy to the exhibit. The exhibit brings together a broad base of St. Louis artists, from the internationally recognized work of Peter Marcus to the emerging work of Brea McAnally, BJ Vogt and Christine D’Epiro. Peter Marcus will contribute several pieces from his striking Horsehead series (provided by Bruno David Gallery) that focuses on a single Victorian house “emblematic of an America – or, at least, the idea – of an America that has ceased to exist.” Brea McAnally, who also curated the exhibit, has created an interactive outdoor cityscape that invites viewers to add water to an adjacent dam that will, at some point in the evening, overflow and flood the city. The work is a ambivalent exploration of the role of man in natural disaster, inviting questions of
implication and responsibility as well as the uncertain outcome such an event brings about. They are joined by Luminary Resident Artist Christine D’Epiro, who is transforming brown paper grocery bags into a room-sized installation depicting a nightscape. Entitled Night, the installation responds to our present shared economic situation with imagery that represents both a conclusion and a cyclical occurrence. B.J. Vogt is also contributing sculptural pieces depicting “natural” environments or settings using mass produced or easily replicated “man-made” materials, such as cardboard, PVC pipes, plastic implements, lamps and other electrical devices. Call 807.5984 for more info. Surreally Yours Soulard Art Market & Contemporary Art Gallery Exhibiting artists Dustin Norman, Evelyn Astengo, Phil Jarvis, Robert Bruce and V. Holecek. Opening August 13 through August 16, 2009. Live Musical Guests! Our Kansas City guest artist V. Holecek will join
them on Saturday in the main gallery. 2028 South 12th Street for an amazing show of artwork . Dustin Norman will entertain us with his video wonders during the course of the show. More Info: www.soulardartmarket.com Sew What! Flax Gallery On The Record 3rd Floor Gallery Jim Sabo Solo Gallery Opening August 14, 7-11pm. Exhibition runs through September 26, 2009 1214 Washington Avenue above Mossa Furniture Sew What! includes an array of artwork that has stitching, fibers or thread. On the Record displays work literally on the LP’s that we grew up with, ok well most of us. Last but certainly not least enjoy the photography works of Jim Sabo. His work is fantastic and is not your average photography! More Info: www.artdimensions.org
By Matthew Gorman
The Real American Haunting A True Account of the Bell Witch
ne of the most harrowing episodes of supernatural occurrence in American history befell a family of Tennessee settlers during the early part of the nineteenth century. The events that transpired during that period have long since been the subject of debate and speculation within both parapsychological and historical circles. In addition, these happenings have inspired both cinematic works of fiction, such as The Blair Witch Project, as well as those that attempt to recount the tale itself, the most recent of which was the movie An American Haunting. This four year series of incidents that plagued the Bell family of Adams, Tennessee would come to be collectively known as ‘The Bell Witch Haunting’, and would go down in annals of history as “America’s Greatest Ghost Story”. John Bell and his family moved from North Carolina in 1904 to settle in the Red River Bottomland of Robertson County, Tennessee in an burgeoning township that would come to be known as Adams, Tennessee. Life was good and the family soon expanded their land, growing crops in several different fields. They had no way of knowing that years down the road their happy life would take a bizarre and unthinkable turn for the worse. The Bells’ troubles began in 1817. One day, while inspecting his corn field, John Bell stumbled upon a strange creature he described as having the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit. Taking aim at the creature he fired his gun at it only to have it vanish into thin air. It was soon after this inexplicable incident that the strange and frightening events would commence at the Bell family homestead. At first the family was terrified by the sounds of scrapings and beatings on the sides and front door of their house, as if something were attempting to seek entry into their home. When John Bell and his sons would run outside to investigate they would find nothing there. The phenomenon soon progressed into poltergeist activity within the house itself, with the Bell
Cabin built sometime in the early 1800’s by John Bells family.
children complaining of blankets and pillows being ripped away from them as they slept and a sound like that of rats gnawing on their bedposts. The Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, was subjected to particularly brutal treatment by the unseen force. It would pull her hair and slap her in the face on a regular basis, often leaving marks that would remain for days. The entity soon begin to make itself audible as well. At first, the noises it made were no more than faint whisperings, but they soon grew into what sounded like the voice of an old woman crying and singing hymns. At this point, John Bell related the family’s woes to his friend and neighbor, James Johnston, urging Johnston to verify the phenomenon for himself. Johnston and his wife spent the night at the Bell house, and after they experienced the covers being pulled off of them as well as being slapped by the entity, they could easily concede to John Bell that something was deeply amiss in his household. The spirit, although never seen, was soon talking up a storm, carrying on conversations, quoting scripture, laughing after pinching or slapping its victims, and cursing at or scolding the members of the family. It held a particular animosity toward John Bell (as well as for his young daughter Betsy), vowing eventually to destroy him. The entity would often hurl items such as plates and furniture at John Bell, and engage in other nuisances such as spilling the family’s milk, taking sugar from bowls and food from their mouths during their mealtimes. Though most of the spirits anger was directed at John and Betsy Bell, the spirit would slap and pinch other family members and visitors as well. Although it is unclear exactly when, at some point the entity became identified with the spirit of Kate Batts, a former neighbor of John Bell with whom he had had a land dispute, and who had allegedly vowed on her deathbed to wreak vengeance upon him and his family. The term “The Bell Witch” was never used by the family (they always referred to the entity as a “spirit”) but is likely to have originated within the community who may have regarded Batts as a witch during her life. To convolute the story further, however, some accounts claim that Kate Batts was actually John Bells former betrothed in Halifax, North Carolina before her untimely death, after which time Bell married his wife Lucy. The capricious spirit seemed to
have a soft spot for Lucy Bell, and was said to have once referred to Lucy as “a good woman”. It would talk pleasantly with her and sing to her, and once while Lucy was very ill, the spirit
Elizabeth “Betsy” Bell
John Bell, Jr. (1793-1862)
reportedly manifested walnuts for Lucy in her bed insisting that she eat something to improve her condition. When the spirit asked her why she was not eating, Lucy protested by saying, “I have nothing to crack them with Kate.” The entity then allegedly cracked open the walnuts in mid-air before representing them to Lucy. The community soon became abuzz with interest over the supernatural proceedings at the Bell house, with people coming from all around to bear witness to the strange phenomenon. The legend goes that even the future president-tobe, Andrew Jackson, paid a visit to the haunted home. The older Bell boys had served under him in the Army, and Jackson was curious to observe the family’s mysterious ordeal for himself. It was said that a member of Jackson’s party, a man who claimed to be a “witch tamer” was violently beaten by the entity in the presence of many people, including Jackson, after attempting to dispel the spirit from the house. After witnessing this and other poltergeist activity within the Bell house, Jackson was later quoted as saying, “I’d rather fight the entire British Army than to deal with the Bell Witch.” Eventually, the spirit’s attacks against John Bell became increasingly more and more violent, finally culminating with him being beaten so badly that his tongue swelled up completely inside his mouth. He became scarcely able to eat and he soon fell very ill. His condition began to deteriorate rapidly, and a doctor prescribed a tonic for his extreme malnourishment and subsequent sickness. The spirit was claimed to have switched out the salubrious tonic for poison, resulting in John Bell’s ultimate demise and as the only
The cost of living hasn’t affected its popularity - The World According to Malice
recorded case of murder by a poltergeist. The entity cackled maniacally as John slipped away claiming “I’ve got him this time. He will never get up from that bed again.” Bell passed away after falling into a incurably deep coma on December 21, 1820. The spirit departed soon after disposing of John Bell, but vowed to return seven years later. It did just that in 1827 for a period of two weeks after which time it claimed that it would return again in 107 years to seek further vengeance on the descendants of John Bell. Though the entity never did seem to resurface in 1935, the year that it had foretold of its second return, John Bell’s son claimed to have had further encounters with the violent spirit in 1852, and his son claimed to experience some evidence of its presence in 1961. Furthermore, throughout the years, many of Bell’s decedents have met with violent and often mysterious ends. Who or what exactly was (or is?) “The Bell Witch”? What did the strange creature that John Bell encountered in the corn field have to do with the haunting? Why was the spirit so kind to some (In addition to Lucy Bell, John Bell Jr. was also spared the spirit’s torments) and so vicious towards others? These and other questions remain unanswered. Many scholars of ghostly lore have researched this particular haunting for years and still have yet to reach any formidable consensus as to the true identity and nature of the spirit. The story itself is far more nuanced, with many more facets and subplots than can be effectively conveyed in so limited a space as this, but it certainly bears researching for those truly interested in unexplained phenomenon or just good old fashioned ghost stories. Although the Bell house was eventually destroyed by the people of Adams, fearful of the spirit’s return, the property remains much as it was in the 1800s. Apparitions of a dark, haired woman, a girl, and of a man have all been spotted on or near the Bell property throughout the years, and a cave on the Bell property, overlooking the Red River, dubbed “The Bell Witch Cave”, is said to be haunted by the sounds of screams and rattling chains.
JUST ASK MALICE
photo by Dr Steve - models: Lux
’ve been receiving a lot of mail from women who are afraid their men are cheating, and letters from men who want their wives to be more adventuresome, so I thought I’d share a list of things to do to keep things from falling into a rut. There are a million things you can change without changing your partner!! Secrets, lies, & infidelities can wreck a relationship beyond repair. The important thing is that you communicate with each other, and be open about what you each want from the relationship. 1) Change up the songs you listen to in the bedroom…the same old tired songs get boring, bring in some new music. If you usually listen to Barry White, bring in some rockabilly, or really shake things up and crank up the metal. 2) Go to Victoria’s Secret and invest in some racy lingerie. True, sometimes all that lace can be itchy, but if you’re only going to have it on for 20 seconds, it’s well worth the sacrifice. 3) Take sexy pictures…nobody says you have to post them on the internet (but if you do, hide your face so your boss won’t know it’s YOU) 4) Change your location, try the kitchen table, your breakfast nook, or the laundry room…or find a secluded spot outdoors. But don’t scare the neighbors! 5) Talk to each other about your fantasies and find ways to act them out. 6) If your man is into visiting porn sites, look over his shoulder, who knows, there might be something you might like to try…then give it a shot. 7) Send each other racy text messages…all the teenagers are doing it. 8) Go commando next time you go out, then show him later, out in the parking lot. 9) Go dancing!! 10) Surprise him when he gets home from work wearing nothing but a big red bow and a smile.
Random Thoughts From The World According To Malice
☛☛ No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes. ☛☛ A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
☛☛ Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places. ☛☛ Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. ☛☛ Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it. ☛☛ There is always one more imbecile than you counted on. ☛☛ Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. ☛☛ By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends. 22
Dr Dick’s Sex Advice I’m bi male, 25, and I have both female and male lovers. Right now, I’m in more of a same sex phase. I’m dating two different guys that I like a lot. Both are really nice and fun and the sex is pretty good. But neither one of these guys — one is 23 and the other is 25, knows how to kiss worth a damn. And I can’t get worked up without kissing. The 23 year old claims to be mostly straight and says kissing is too queer for him. The other guy is all like all open mouth teeth. Yuck! Is it just me, or is kissing a lost art for gay men? Gil You are so right on, Gil! Kissing is a lost art, but not just for gay men. Women tell me that their straight male partners don’t know squat about kissing either. Is it just too intimate a thing for manly men nowadays, or what? And yeah, it is queer for one guy to kiss another guy. It’s supposed to be, for Pete’s sake! What, does the 23 year old think he’ll maintain his “straightness” if he blows and buggers another dude, but doesn’t kiss him? WTF! In my book, kissing is essential to satisfying sex. If ya can’t kiss, I’d be willing to bet you not a good lover either. Oh, that’s not to say that you won’t be able to bump parts, any monkey can do that. But a real good lover involves passion and how’s there supposed to be passion without kissing? That’s what I’d like to know. Kissing is often the first sexual experience we have. Whether it’s a light kiss from a friend, or a deep sensuous French kiss with a potential lover. We can express so much with kissing — love, passion, friendship, commitment — and we can do so while fully clothed.
Kissing someone on the mouth is bliss. But taking those kisses to other places on your partner’s body is a mighty fine idea too. I used to think kissing came naturally to us all, but now I’m convinced that’s not so. It could be we all have an innate ability that just needs to be nurtured before it blossoms. Whatever the case may be; there are some things the kissing challenged ought know. Always make sure that your breath is fresh. There’s nothing worse than kissing someone with bad breath! This is particularly important for those of you who still smoke. Passionate kissing not only involves your mouth, it also involves body contact, hugging and touching. • If you’re all open mouth, teeth and drool, you’re not kissing. • If you rush to jam your tongue into your partner’s mouth and down his/her throat, you’re not kissing. • If you’re biting instead of nibbling, you’re not kissing. • If you’re trying to cover his or her entire mouth with yours like some kind of freaky suction cup, you’re not kissing. • If you’re kissing with your eyes wide open, you’re not kissing. • If your tongue is poking and prodding in your partner’s mouth like it is searching for lost food, you’re not kissing. • If someone is kissing you and you’re not kissing back, you’re not kissing. • If you’re body is stiff, like a frozen slab of beef, you’re not kissing. • If your hands are stationary without a thing to
Richard Wagner, Ph.D., ACS Sex Therapist, Sexual Health Counselor and Sex Advice Columnist www.drdicksexadvice.com
do, you’re not kissing. • If you think kissing is something ya gotta do just to get laid, you’re not kissing. If you’re pressed for technique, or you’re simply clueless about where to begin, start by giving your partner a quick peck on the cheek or lips. Then move back a little, look him or her in the eye, then move in again for another kiss with a bit more passion this time. Slowly build up the passion and excitement with a series of these kinds of seductive kisses till you’re all over one another like a bad cold. Or try light kissing all over your partner’s face and neck pausing every now and again for a deep sigh and a longing look in his/her eyes. Whatever you do, don’t suck or slobber, save that for the blowjob and the muff diving.
If you think you need practice kissing; and unless you’ve been told that you are a great kisser, you do need practice. And you’re too timid to invite a partner to join you for the exercise, here’s what I propose you do. Make a fist; turn it sideways so that you have the opening between your thumb and forefinger in front of you. Kiss that. Stand in front of a mirror and watch yourself. If you look like they do in the movies, you may be on the right track. When you think you’re getting the hang of it, move on to the real thing. Don’t be shy, we all have to start somewhere. You might invite your partner to give you some feedback on how you’re doing. Remember, practice makes perfect. Good Luck
This, I Shamelessly Tell You Why I Think More People Should Give Asian Men a Chance, Part Two, and Truth, Trust In S/M and Why I Have Problems With Blonde Women by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid
kay, as I sit here, still reeling from the fact that in the last couple of days I’ve gone from being all nutty over a new financial mess left by the person in charge of keeping my money matters straight, to suddenly having extra money (the first time that’s happened in months!) due to that same person making fast and loose with mine and other people’s money, I start to consider other things. One, that money does corrupt people, and also that I still think my slave/honey and men like him are the greatest thing to happen to me since the day I spoke up and we left my horrible beast of a father behind for what’s turned out to quite an adventure. True, it’s a better adventure now than then, but it’s an adventure nonetheless. Part of that adventure, I realize, started with me being fascinated by the two prints of geishas on my grandmother’s wall, which led to me being riveted by Japanese sci-fi movies like Godzilla, and The Mysterians (rent it if you haven’t seen it and tell me those folks, the aliens aren’t hot). Thus my ‘Asian period’, where all I dated were Asian men, and a couple of Asian women too. Actually I didn’t ‘date’ the women, more like just knocked boots with them and then one, at least, went back to her boyfriend. Now, my Japanese lover/slave. True, a tall, blond guy will still get my heart
jumping, and make me think wicked thoughts, as a certain store clerk did recently, when I happened to see him smoking outside of work and mustered the nerve to flirt (under the guise of condemning that same habit). And cops still make me hot, but my soul gets wet for men who look like they’ve just stepped out of a Destroy All Monsters film, and if they’re wearing the ‘uniform’ black suit, white shirt and tie, all the better. That suit says two things to me: power and sex. Maybe it has to do with that whole idea that Japan once saw itself as the place the sun rose and set (the reason for that red circle on their flag), and the whole samurai/warlord identity from way back. What can I say, power, real power, or the implication of (remember my slave is submissive, but being Japanese, I still am in awe of his elf like beauty, especially when I’m riding him like a pony and his eyes are closed in sheer bliss) turns me on. Like hearing anything spoken in German makes me feel like spreading my legs and saying ‘wilkommen’. Not ‘pc’, I know, but hey, I’m a fan of whatever blows your dress up, and doesn’t hurt others. That’s probably why my slave and I did a scene recently that not only involved him completely trusting me, but even in my experience as a top, was on the cutting edge (pun intended here) for both of us. Nothing
model: Krystal like leaving your slave nearly naked, gagged, with no clothes to wear except what’s in my closets, and cleaning like Cinderella (I had his clothes with me, which turned out to be a challenge, since I also had my purse and gym stuff for my workout). Trust is the essence of s/m and that scene proved that to both of us, and bonded us in a way most people only dream of. In fact I put it to a ‘vanilla’ couple to try the same thing and see what happens. I don’t know if they did, but I can tell you, when I left him to get on the bus, we were both trembling a bit, and I don’t think it was from fear. To me, in a perfect world, people would try this and maybe other stuff we’ve tried and then have the great sex we had and the whole world would be a better place, or I think so anyway. Also, Asian men would get the props they so richly deserve, and be news anchors in prime time, get love scenes on detective shows and be the top banana, not the second one. Maybe in time,
“No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes” - The World According to Malice
who knows? In the mean time, I’m sold on my goldenbrown son of Japan and only Brad Pitt appearing naked in my bedroom could change that. On the other hand, my problem with blonde women, now that’s another story, one that goes back to my childhood and my horrible father making mama cry over him reading porn mags featuring Teutonic women with perfect bodies, all naked and pink. Also that smug attitude of privilege that I’ve been on the not so happy receiving end of hasn’t endeared them to my heart either. Maybe someday dark skin, dark hair and Asian men will be the preference for billboards and magazine covers and I’ll change my mind, or at least soften my attitude toward haughty Britney wannabes. In the mean time, I work on my issues around that, and promise myself to be better in the future, tolerating a bit more and hatin’ a little less the blonde, white woman. This, I shamelessly tell you.
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