MOTHER MEAT The Sinful Looks Of
ideas. As Old Age seems to snuggle up beside me, with years of physical and mental abuse as a blanket covering us both, I realize how many important dates have recently slipped my mind. Of all of them, this publication’s anniversary sits at the top of my long list. We all forget a birthday or a call to our folks out of state after a night of drinking, but to forget the anniversary date of fours years of publishing is an unhealthy sign, one of an aging, burnt-out brain. Maybe it’s the early stages of Alzheimer’s eating away at my brain. Then again, maybe it’s nothing more than eating the work load of 100 hours a week at our new bar, working endlessly open to close to make this recent endeavour become successful in one year, instead of fucking around with it like I have this publication for ten long years.
GROWING UP & GROWING OLD
actually looked deeply in the mirror for the fist time in some while and thought, “Jesus Christ! When did I get these fucking darkringed bags under my eyes and this grey hair in my beard?” I thought, my god, how old am I? The only thing easier in life than growing old is death, and that even seems to be a challenge for some stubborn bastards. Of course, our media puppets like to make them out to be heroes if they make it over 90, and gods if they live to be over a hundred. It doesn’t matter if they’re staggering on a cane or they’re asses are glued to a Hoveround while they babble about the big WWII or some other historic moment in American history. Some might say it’s a blessing; I’d say it’s a more of a curse of some sort – if I believed in such voodoo and magic. For the true Indy Publisher growing old is always going to be an equation squared-to-the-ninth-power, if not one higher than that. We work too many hours at a miserable day job with little-to-no sleep after playing hard throughout the night to gather material for the next print, all in hopes of publishing something that makes a bit of sense and is somewhat readable on a regular basis month after month, year after year. The relentless tax of indy publishing on one’s body, mind and soul will certainly age you faster than normal. Exercise, anti-aging creams and healthy foods will only do so much to slow down the burning of this candle on both ends. And for the true indy publisher, we not only burn a short candle at both ends, we dip the candle in jet fuel fist then light it in the middle too. Foolish indy bastards like myself have only one hope of growing old, even as dementia, disease and decades of physical abuse rots away at our aging, burnt-out brains, and that is our never-dying passion for what we do. Even while the woman jokes about the creaks of this old building coming from my arthritic joints as I climb up the flight of stairs at our decaying apartment, I feel no older in spirit than our new puppy who’s always dragging me forward. I could have done things differently these past ten years, like drink less, routinely exercise, eat healthier, apply anti-aging creams, etc... but that wouldn’t have been me, and this publication wouldn’t have been what it is either. Some critics might argue those steps could have made this a better publication, one which made a little more sense and a bit more readable with less errors. Maybe so. To me, changing one’s self in the pursuit of perfection or immortality is like caging a wild animal. The creature may live a longer and healthier life, but in the end it only suffers a miserable death that began the day it was caged. In the bigger scheme of life, we each begin dying on our first breath. I’d rather inhale a thousand drunken breaths than a hundred million miserable ones. But that’s just me, some foolish publisher spinning his
ANNIVERSARIES & ALZHEIMER'S
I could continue kicking reasonable excuses down the page, but here is no excuse to forget about an anniversary. That’s just how fast we spin around the sun on this little planet, about 67,000 miles per hour, and that’s what it feels like working a hundred-plus hours a week, publishing an indy zine nearly once a month as of late, and trying to hold on to that feeling of normality that most of us never think twice about. It’s enough to make you feel like the early stages of Alzheimer’s are eating away at your brain; enough to make you wish it would quit fucking around and eat your whole god-damned mind so you might live a long worry-free life. At least then, some media puppet might interview you fifty years later for your 102 birthday and make you out to be some god as you babble on about the good old days of indy publishing in 2013. And that, my dear reader, is just another tale of indy publishing form a mentally and physically stressed old man at 4am...
WRITERS, RANTERS, OPINIONISTS & OTHER ALL-OUT FREAKS: Mark Taylor-Canfield Saab Lofton Malice Henry Nicolle Colin E Suchland
Kimberly Peters Drew Digital Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid Kendra Holliday
Publisher: Chuck Foster Layout: Terri Daniels Cover Art: Eyeworks Photography Cover Model: Rachel Gunn
The Sinner is a group of contributing writers. Their opinions, rants and ideas do not necessarily 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 CHUCK@THESEATTLESINNER.COM. SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS THE 25TH OF EVERY MONTH.
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News From The Front Line written by Saab Lofton SISKO: I guess we popped the champagne cork too soon, eh? Everyone thought the war was over ... KIRA: I never believed that and neither did you. – from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, Far Beyond the Stars
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“The members of Uganda’s parliament are on vacation now and won’t be coming back to work until February . It might not be much, given the threat hanging over them, but during those two months, L.G.B.T. Ugandans can rest a little easier ... From the moment last month [November 2012] when Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament, announced that she would pass the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would imprison gays (and originally suggested the death penalty for certain homosexual behavior), as a ‘Christmas gift’ to Ugandans, activists have been coordinating a global effort to kill the bill ... As the bill seemed to be the closest it has come to passage since it was first introduced, in 2009. But lawmakers left for vacation on Friday without holding a vote on it, so now the notorious ‘Kill the Gays’ bill is back in limbo.” – The New Yorker, December 18th, 2012 ...“back in limbo” is just another way of saying the bad guys are on the run! However, as I’m typing this, it’s mid-February; the Ugandan Parliament returned from vacation, has been in session, and any day now, that fascistic legislation will either pass or be cast aside, so who knows what will be the case by the time this sees print. When The New Yorker spoke of “a global effort to kill the bill,” it’s referring, at least partially, to yours truly, who wrote in an article entitled ‘Shooting Fish In A Barrel’ about how I’ve taken it upon myself to defend Uganda’s LGBT community. I’ve even challenged the Uganda Police Force to publicly debate me, but this was the craven response I received via Facebook ... “Saab Lofton, we have read what you posted here, however, our laws does not accept what you are saying. We are here to protect the law and we shall follow it. Homs/libs are not allowed in the country.” Since English ain’t these people’s first language, I can only assume “homs” is short for homosexuals, but what the fuck are libs? Liberals? Anyway, since it would hypothetically fall upon the Uganda Police to enforce this madness, I thought it appropriate to let their ignorant asses know what happened the last time The State jailed gays en masse... “The Nazi campaign against homosexuality... More than 100,000 men were arrested under a broadly interpreted law against homosexuality. Approximately 50,000 men served prison terms as convicted homosexuals, while an unknown number were institutionalized in mental hospitals. Others – perhaps hundreds – were castrated under court order or coercion... Between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexual men were imprisoned in concentration camps, where many died from starvation, disease, exhaustion, beatings and murder.” – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum I ain’t heard from those Nazi-wannabes since. As Jack Nicholson’s character bellowed while on trial in the movie, A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!” The good news is, just as the world united against Nazism seven decades ago, it’s already isolating Uganda with threats of divestment – as well as the following... “A British university has just dropped its connection with Uganda, citing the unacceptable limitations imposed by Uganda’s stance against homosexuality... In a statement, Buckingham said they had become ‘increasingly concerned about the proposed legislation.’” – Hilary Heuler, Voice of America, January 11th, 2013 The bad news is, thick-skulled as they are, the Ugandans I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with don’t seem to mind being isolated. For instance, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the greatest, most accomplished religious figure in modern African history and HE opposes this homophobic bigotry, but after I posted a quote of his online, a retard named Banard had asked, “how many times does Uganda interfere in affairs within South Africa?” Evidently, Banard never heard of a little thing called SOLIDARITY. I’m sure there were plenty of Ugandans who interfered in South Africa’s affairs during the worst of apartheid, so Archbishop Tutu is merely returning the favor! Besides, I bet Banard wouldn’t consider the Religious Right’s presence in Uganda as interference (fucking hypocrite) ..! “American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about ‘curing’ homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.” – Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times, January 3rd, 2010 Now, how retarded would you have to be to fall for shit that’s already been “widely discredited?” Personally, I get the sense Uganda is using the LGBT community as a scapegoat to distract from its internal corruption. Also too, part of me seriously doubts it’ll actually kill homosexuals en masse (Wishful thinking?), but it does intend on keeping people in the closet, so to speak, and while I’VE learned to live without love (How many Natalie Portman/ Reese Witherspoon lookalikes would hook up with a broke black Trekkie?)... By having no family I have inherited the family of Humanity – Huey P. Newton, cofounder of the Black Panther Party, from his poem, Revolutionary Suicide ...NO one should be forced to abandon romance.
ESSAY | Changes – Revisiting The Lessons Of Caesar Essay by Henry Nicolle
n 2009, I wrote an essay titled “Meandering from Past to Future” which you may still read here: http://www.theseattlesinner.com/news/meandering.php, with my thanks to The Seattle Sinner powers who keep the Indy Publishing wheels turning! The Publisher lets me write, the Editor tolerates (I am grateful) my style and the Mistress of Layout relieves my mundane scribbling with incisive, hard-targeted graphics. In our world of changes, these favors have not weakened at all, but have grown stronger during the five and a half years of my monthly experiments seeking change. Having prepared seventy or so 800 word commentaries on our political, social and monetary conditions allows me a breadcrumb trail to track back along a panoramic view which reveals as always, that the more things change, the less things change at all. My first essay in 2006, written in proxy by Ron Branson, the founder of J.A.I.L.4Judges (see www. jail4judges.org/) was a narrative of my arrest, jailing, being stripped naked and put on display in the Ventura County, California jail. The offense? Having a defective license plate light. Although I did not contrive my own arrest, I recorded a trail of evidence of police, jail, prosecution and judicial misconduct incidental to my arrest. The case extended to several months, ending in conviction and my abandonment of the remedy chase after a three judge appeals panel approved the multitude of instances of criminal and ethical misconduct by most of the government men and women touching the arrest and prosecution. My point had been proven and every element made an official acknowledgment “on the record”. Since then, our corrupted institutions have not changed. But they have changed. They have become more authoritative, usurping our primary authority without hesitation or limit. Their daily conduct has become more aggressive, more violent, more arbitrary and capricious, even within their own “special” cultures. It is a tenet of Western law that “For every Right, there is a Remedy.” With each passing day, new remedies must be invented to ease the burdens of new and repeated violations of our Rights, exploitation of our property and invasions of our Liberty. The remedies in America are defined in monetary terms. If the violation of our existence does not result in a demonstrable monetary loss, it is no violation. No remedy can be implemented. It costs time, energy and money to seek a remedy for a wrongdoing by government people. The changes which have accompanied the evolution of our social and governing structures have made effective remedies for demonstrable wrongs a mooted process and reversing the intended purpose for the process. In our private thoughts, a “remedy” is intended to repair a wrong and/or to compensate for an irreparable loss. In the thoughts of government people and other powerful interests, a “remedy” is a thing which must be avoided. They can do no wrong. Their thoughts are always first to protect the institutions, by protecting their members from demands for remedies after wrong-doing. They will ignore accusations. They will divert the problem to other agencies and dead-end procedures. They will obfuscate, delay, prevaricate, mislead and ignore the issues. They will deny the abusive conduct. If the conduct can be documented, they will protect the conduct under the premise of “following established procedures and policies”. They will institute informal proceedings before retreating into formal Administrative processes. At trial, they will offer doctored and false evidence, they will proffer perjured testimony, they will withhold information and evidence which our law requires be divulged and they will lie about the existence of required submissions. Appeals to law and appropriate remedy fail. The remedy-seekers exhaust their resources or they expire before the end of the remedy-seeking process. In many instances, the damaged person cannot be provided any remedy, because the wrong-doing kills the body or destroys the body and brain without killing the person. In these cases, the remedies are only available for the survivors and none for the injured person. These are different remedies than would be sought by a surviving victim. The processes for individual seeking remedies for wrongful conduct by men and women in government service are at best, impractical and ineffective. When the people and institutions devolve into authoritarianism, communitarianism and tyranny, there are no remedies for the individual and few for the society, short of armed resistance. When the abuses of power are opposed by only the timid processes of political remedies, very bad things begin to happen and terribly uncontrollable things grow from them. We say, “That kind of abuse cannot happen here.” Some things cannot change and will never change. The change to tyranny is one. It is here and it is now. If your house still stands, it is only a temporary illusion. Good Luck.
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Freedom of the Press? US Activists and Journalists Face Surveillance and Intimidation written by Mark Taylor-Canfield
hank you to the Sinner editors for allowing me to tell the truth without censorship! Here’s another of my honest efforts to do just that. I only hope this piece doesn’t get me into trouble with my own publishers at other websites and/or the folks who control social media networks. Let’s face it, in the land of the free and the brave the press has suffered from corporate media consolidation and lack of funding for alternative media. Witness the recent demise of the progressive national radio network Air America. Many of those broadcasters are still lamenting their lack of access to the national airwaves, so many of them have gone to the web and started their own shows, sometimes livestreaming from their own bedrooms or basements. Al Gore’s experiments in alternative news coverage went under and was purchased by Al Jazeera, prompting numerous outraged remarks by right-wing pundits who accuse the cable network of being disloyal to America. Reality check: Reporters Without Borders ranks the US as 47th on the world press freedom index. This number represents a slip from 19th in previous years. According to RWB this drop in status is a result of the arrests of journalists at Occupy Wall Street protests. It is a well known fact among occupiers that live video streamers have been targeted, raided and arrested by police at major OWS events around the country, including demonstrations in New York City during the OWS anniversary, and in Chicago during protests at the NATO summit last year. Although freedom of the press is protected by the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution, it appears that the “fourth estate” has been placed under duress while trying to report major political news stories. The latest insult to press freedom is the story of Shannon McLeish, a journalist and broadcaster from Daytona Beach, Florida. In December 2012, Shannon says she found out through Freedom of Information Act documents that her name is included on a “terrorist watch list.” Except for Chris Hedge’s column @ Truthdig or my own article @ Truthout, this story is not being reported by the national media. A recent guest on Shannon’s radio program was Noam Chompsky. (Disclaimer: I have also been a guest on “AIr Occupy”.) I found the broadcasting crew to be authentic, altruistic advocate journalists trying to get at the truth about what’s happening around the world and in this nation. Recent shows featured guests who discussed fracking, attacks on the power of labor unions and the civil rights implications of the National Defense Authorization Act. According to Liz Myers, co-host of the “Air Occupy” program, Youtube deleted their channel after they did the program on the NDAA. Youtube claimed the program had “violated community standards”
but apparently they presented no specific complaint. Add to this information the fact that at least a few other US activists have had their Twitter accounts deleted, and some folks have been banned from posting on any Facebook sites besides their own. The irony of indy activists using corporate owned social media platforms is not lost on me. Try criticizing Facebook or Twitter and see how long it takes to attract their attention. These are profit motivated websites - commercial enterprises that do not necessarily support freedom of political expression. One man banned from Twitter claims his account
was deleted after he tweeted a statement made by Indian non-violence advocate Mahatma Gandhi! I came within a hair’s breadth of being banned from writing at Daily Kos after I wrote an article about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Luckily, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas decided not to allow me to be ostracized by outraged Democratic Party readers. The Democrats reminded me that Daily Kos is a pro Democratic Party website that is not interested in articles about the Greens. Obviously many Democrats still see the Green Party as a threat to their vote counts and they still blame Ralph Nader for the election of George W. Bush. Of course the editors have the right to choose the topics on their website, but I must admit I felt I had been censored. I can no longer write about the Greens at Daily Kos without running the risk of banishment. The site which Time magazine readers voted as “2nd best blog” in the US is not a completely open forum for discussion. Besides the fears of banishment and govern-
ment surveillance, reporters also have to face the very real threat of legal retribution from social network sites if they are courageous enough to criticize their policies. Calling Facebook or twitter “undemocratic” will not win you the admiration or respect of the administrators or owners. I will admit that I am very careful what I post these days. I was banned by Facebook from posting anywhere but on my own website for two months allegedly due to “spamming” activity. The truth is, I posted many political articles on sites around the world which were dedicated to politics and activism. I have never tried to recruit anyone for a campaign; I have never offered anything for sale; I have never endorsed any commercial enterprise. And now, in an ironic turn of events, I may qualify as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed against Facebook. The suit claims that FB included user’s posts and photographs in their ads without permission from the authors and photographers. By the way, Facebook completely denies this claim. I take these issues very seriously because last year I won a major federal class action lawsuit against the Washington State Patrol after I was illegally detained and banned from covering protests at the state capitol in Olympia. Federal District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan ruled in my favor. According to his decision, the WSP had violated my freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Now I am corresponding with Reporters Without Borders, the Committee To Protect Journalists, and the Society For Professional Journalism. My task - document these abuses! To me it really comes down to a simple question: “Should US journalists be proud and satisfied with their status in society at this time?” As I have stated in my article at Truthout, these restrictions (along with the perceived harassment and threats) has silenced some editors, publishers, producers and reporters who are now afraid to cover controversial stories. I maintain that the result is self-censorship from folks who don’t want to lose their jobs or find their names on a government watch list. Just a reminder - my favorite journalists Greg Palast, Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges have been forced to give up lucrative positions at major US media corporations in order to report the truth without restrictions. Palast now does investigative journalism for the BBC and Greenwald writes for the UK Guardian. It’s amazing that we still have a few strong independent voices left in this country - Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Aaron Glantz and Arun Gupta, Matt Taibi to name a few who deserve our praise for standing up against the establishment at a time when doing so could be very detrimental to both your psychological and financial health...
StoptheDrugWar.org More Overreaching Arguments Against Marijuana Legalization by DEA Chiefs and the UN by David Borden The International Narcotics Control Board, a UN agency, and eight former DEA administrators came out swinging this week against marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. The INCB says the state laws violate UN treaties. The DEA chiefs want the Obama administration to sue to block the laws. Both of those positions may be overreaches. It’s true that federal marijuana legalization would require revision of the drug treaties, if the US is not to be in violation of them (or for the US to do what Bolivia did by withdrawing and then rejoining “with reservations”). Legalization by Congress even just within states that have enacted it is also a likely treaty issue. But Colorado and Washington aren’t parties to the treaties, and federal law remains in force within those states. The states have simply ceased to contribute their own resources to a part of the prohibition program. Under our federal system they very probably have the legal right to do so. And that is why the DEA chiefs have overreached as well. When one says that federal law is supreme in this area, it means that federal agents can use the powers they have to bring criminal or civil actions against marijuana users or sellers, despite the passage of state laws -- the Raich case decided that for medical marijuana, for reasons that would seem to apply to fully legalized marijuana too. But that doesn’t mean the states have to help them. We have a federal system. As I’ve pointed out previously, no federal prosecutor in 16 years of state medical marijuana laws has ever argued in court that the states can’t have those laws on their books. Clearly they’ve had incentive to do so, if they thought they could win that way. I don’t argue that we know for sure how these points will come out if they are adjudicated -- it is new legal territory. But most legal scholars seem to think a preemption ruling would be a long shot outcome. So that is how it looks to me.
In Which Market is Someone More Likely to Come Across Harder Drugs?
The Next Seven States to Legalize Marijuana? by David Borden Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson continues his coverage of marijuana legalization with a not unjustifiably optimistic article, “The Next Seven States to Legalize Pot.” Dickinson’s predictions: Oregon, California, Nevada, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and Alaska. Some of the states are more intuitively obvious than others, such as California, and even Oregon despite the loss. But Dickinson offers reasonable reasons to be hopeful about the others. Oregon’s Measure 80 is an interesting case. While it was reported as losing 45-55, the pro total actually crept up to 46.3% when all the returns were finally counted. This was with virtually no funding, though perhaps benefiting from discussion of the issue in neighboring Washington, and with language that was far more radical in most respects than either Washington’s or Colorado’s measures. With a better-written initiative and the funding that would likely attract, and with legalization happening next door as Dickinson pointed out, Oregon could be a winner soon -- if not 2014 and the expected more conservative turnout expected in an off year election, then in 2016. Also interesting about Oregon, is that I thought the loss there while two other states passed would settle the debate over how to write an initiative -- whether to poll and do focus groups and write one that the research says can pass, or to just go for broke with the language you like -- the two initiatives that did the former won, the one that did the latter lost. But given how well Measure 80 did despite having no funding has some activists including a number of friends of mine saying that we don’t have to compromise, or compromise as much, in order to win. If the funds come on board, the money and the real campaign it would enable could make up those 3.7 percentage points, is the reasoning. I don’t believe the money would make up those percentage points. I believe it is more likely that there is a swath of voters who agree with legalization in principle, but are picky about what kind of initiative they would approve, and that initiatives written the right way for them (or for the opinion leaders they take seriously like the former law enforcement and others who supported Washington’s I-502) probably swung a significant percentage of voters. I think that Oregon was a special case, because of what was happening at the same time in Washington. And I think that a real campaign in Oregon, would have resulted in a greater amount of discussion about the details of the Oregon initiative (especially if polls suggested it had a chance), increasing the negative impact that certain aspects of it would have had on the aforementioned picky legalization supporters. But do I know that for sure? No. Oregon’s vote should certainly be studied to see what can be learned. So should Colorado’s, a system that is pretty different from and a lot more open than Washington’s. (At a Cato forum last week, former DEA chief Asa Hutchinson scarcely even mentioned Washington.) One way or another, it is very likely that a page of history turned last month. Whether as many as seven states will go for legalization in the next few years, or whether Rolling Stone has called all the right ones, only time can tell. But the optimism is certainly appropriate -- time is on the side of marijuana legalization, and I hope for overall drug reform as well.
A Depressing Essay For March by Henry Nicolle
id you know that if you are in the upper 60% or so of American society and do not live in an urban ghetto that your probability of becoming victim of armed robbery, physical assault, death or injury by firearms, financial fraud and other common-law criminality is greater at the hands of government than by our "criminal element"? True. The recent LAPD shock and awe war on Los Angeleans, raining bullets on two separate citizen automobiles in an insane attempt to preemptively assassinate a former LAPD officer whistle-blower brought this problem to mind. On live reporting, the Sheriff's department and local police can be heard to proceed to "deploy the gas, burn the fucker out" and did so with predictable success. Regardless of the personal revenge meted out by the LAPD whistle-blower, it is needless to comment that there will be no misconduct revealed by that source, now or ever, with the official declaration that officials have no idea how the fire was initiated and that law enforcement had nothing to do with the fire. Now we know where we stand. This is not a situation unique to the criminal gangs of Los Angeles Police and Sheriff's departments. It is a modern law enforcement national cultural character. They consider themselves a special culture. They are ruthless in defense of their members and just as deadly in disposing of their own who demonstrate loyalty to their duty and to the people they are sworn to serve. Some of those dear and reputable folks just don't recognize the serious gangster aspect of their special culture. Most law enforcement members do understand the inherent danger of being a righteous cop. Those go along with the criminality. They cooperate to beat, murder, abuse, arrest and prosecute innocent people when their special culture demands that they abandon honor, duty and right. I served in the Marine Corps, volunteered to invade Cuba at the time and attempted to change services to fly helicopters in our invasions of Laos, Indochina and ultimately, Viet Nam. I went on to serve as a civilian at our missile test ranges in the Atlantic, Pacific and Cape Canaveral. I joined the American conquest of South East Asia as a unique field engineer implementing our policies by advising the programs of South Viet Nam's National Police and Telecommunications Directorates, and USAID, MACV and Embassy. Yes, I had a get out of jail free card. No one would touch me regardless of where I was or what I was doing and yes, I had priority access to Army and Air America aircraft of all types. Frankly, it was a piss-ant position with excessive powers and benefits. I could go to war if I felt like it and did not when I had other things on my mind. And yes, it was real war where people killed and got killed if you weren't too lucky. I was always lucky, although my replacement was not. Back here in 1972, I got stranded in California instead of journeying on to central America as a mercenary. Like I said, I have always been lucky. In California, I became a consultant in several capacities and technologies, working for another fifteen years with top secret clearance on interesting aerospace projects. Then, I grew up. As I lived my life among the privileged of government association, I did not conceive of myself as privileged. I had power, but not as much as others. Power and the exercise of privilege through power were just my/our natural day-to-day life. Recognizing my errors of perception was a significant part of growing up. In achieving maturity in my late forties, I had to abandon my privileges of reflected institutional power. In my fifties, I learned to be a true American. It was not an easy transition. I had to learn a new vocabulary, a new social reflex and adopt new beliefs drawn from true education, experience and analysis. These last ten years, (I am now 70), I have spent constructing a new persona and career as a free man, as the source, not the beneficiary of the powers we delegate for governing. My new eyes see things that should not be. I see that we are our own worst enemies by indulging our self-serving ineptitude and our submission to government dominance for the conveniences they bring us. We dance in the blood in the street. Although the blood is ours, so is the excitement accompanying the jackbooted murderers and the weak-hearted and weak-wristed associates of their special culture. I do think I will move, leave the wonderful weather of my home, depart from its murdering cultures, treasonous judiciary and totally corrupted executives and bureaucratic minions. May they all eat their own children and leave the rest of us the hell alone.
with John D. Williams Photography
The Sinner was very fortunate to have John D. Williams down at Convention Plaza for St. Louis’ Comic Con on March 22-23-24. This year’s show hosted many famous comic greats, such as Stan Lee, but it’s really the fans who come out that makes this annual event so great. Take one look at the photos provided from John and you’ll see the true stars of Comic Con. This amazing show returns to St. Louis next year on Friday, April 4, Saturday, April 5, and Sunday, April 6. If you’re a comic geek, buy your tickets now!
After something so difficult, a completely magical Comicon by James Stansberry
itting here, in my little 'writing nook', writing this story, it's a week since I found out some of the worse news I've ever had to deal with. That one of my cats, Garbo Llewelyn Cat (my partner's and my favorite...though we'd never tell that to her sister, Zzell Cat) had cancer in her liver and kidneys and the decision was reached by me and my partner to 'put her down'. Not happy news, for sure, and I cried so much, I thought I'd never recover. Then, that Saturday, we both stood with my little cat (who'd become quite ill by then), and watched her take her last breaths in this world. We buried her, had a little 'wake/dinner' in her honor and ended that day, feeling both relieved that my little one was no longer suffering, but with a great hole in my heart.
Thus, the whole, should I, should I not go to this year's Emerald City Comicon came up again. I'd already sold my Saturday ticket to a very nice Facebook friend of a friend, (which allowed the trip to Vashon to bury little Garbo kitty), and still had the Sunday ticket. Thinking I'd honor my cat's life by at least having something good happen that weekend, two weeks ago now, I decided to use the Sunday ticket and book it down to the Convention and Trade Center to the mish mosh that is the Emerald City Comicon, after my weekly trip to the farmer's market. It was magical, let me tell you, and after almost literally walking into the table where Mike Dringenberg, an artist who's worked with Neil Gaiman on one of my favorite comics, 'Sandman', and not only getting his signature, and picking up his latest graphic novel 'Suffer Little Muse', but having him patiently listen to my tale of woe about my cat, I knew I'd made the right decision to show up. I also got to hang out with some other amazing folks, including the artist and writer team that does a new comic I picked up, 'Lost Vegas', Jim McCann and Janet Lee, (and the comic's fun too), and buy some nice stuff, like Steampunk earrings, for when I 'girl up' and another black tee shirt from the Brownshirts Charity folks, and some gloves to replace the one I somehow lost in all the craziness and sadness around 'putting my cat down' and burying her.
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Oh yes, and I got to see some cool costumes â€“ some of which made me drool with a little bit of lust â€“ and take some photos with some of said costumed people. In all, I think this year's con, which also included me finally meeting 'Wormwood' artist Ben Templesmith (who I tried in vain to meet last year) and getting his autograph on my Comicon program, was the best ever. Let's just say it certainly softened the blow, a little bit, of losing my sweet little cat and proved to be a great warmup to Norwescon, (which sweetie and I'll be doing together in about two and a half weeks). Yes, Virginia, being under the double whammy of Mercury being retrograde, and Saturn being retrograde (Mercury goes direct on March 16th, and Saturn goes direct July 8th), doesn't always mean that horrible things'll just keep bashing you in the head. This year's comicon proved that occasionally the universe does mercy and does it with grace and cool costumes.
Mardis Gras at The Old Rock House
few months back, bouncing from show to show, I found myself center stage in front of a bunch of kids who didn’t look old enough to buy cigarettes, much less be in a bar serving the tunes they were throwing to the crowd – the youngest being 17. The tall and slender frontman’s voice seemed far more mature than his age would suggest as he hit highs, lows, and shouts with ease. And the two cats backing him up on bass and drums came across as seasoned musicians, never missing a lick or thump. Simply put, these kids blew my mind, as they did the crowd present waiting for the more-known acts. Instead, the crowd found themselves rocking out with Mother Meat...yeah, Mother Meat! After the show I herded the lead singer over my way to ask him a few questions, like what the story was behind the band as I had missed the beginning of their set. Jackson Hammel is that guy at 17 years-old, playing lead guitar while he belts out the lyrics. The two cats rounding out the schizophrenic sounds of Mother Meat are Parker Volland (18 years-old) on bass, and Andrew Radentz (19) years-old) behind the drums. Jackon says the story behind the band’s name is that all three of their mothers were giving birth in the same room, in which they each expelled the three in unison. It was then their mothers began lashing at them, and continued beating them until they each learned the art of music. And here they are some 17 years later. Yeah, it sounds pretty fucking nuts, but what else would you expect from a band called Mother Meat? I then pressed Jackson about the origin of the band’s name, asking where the three came up with such a bizarre name? Parker and Andrew then walked up. In unison the three chanted that Mother Meat was formed out of the after-birth of the Holy Virgin Mary. That she is now an 8 ft. tall, green nun with hypnotizing, terrifying, black eyes and razor sharp antlers. Not only that, but she now lives on the moon Phobos that orbits Mars and travels the Universe turning people into MEAT. When I asked the three what had been their greatest obstacle to overcome, they replied, “Avoiding the watchful gaze of Mother Meat”, that if they mess up one of the notes in the songs she dictates to them, they will immediately be reduced to a pile of pulsating MEAT. When I asked about their influences as younger kids, they ranted off a list of bands as peculiar as their own: Scratch Acid, Erik Satie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rutherford B. Hayes, Max Weinberg, The Bonzo Dog DooDah Band, Koji Kondo, The Funk Brothers, Bad Brains, and of course the Almighty Sloth Lord that watches over their homes. On local bands they follow, they add Stinkbomb, Armatron, Pokey LaFarge, 431, Cross Exam, Killer Whale, Silverback Sasquatch, and Leather Tramp are all good shtick. I wondered what they thought 2013 had in store for them, so I dared ask. They say readers can expect a lot from them other than playing more shows. At the end of March they will start recording their new album: IN THE VOMITORIUM. And in December Jackson says Parker is due to give birth to a goat. As for last words, “Praise the Sloth Lord, and he will do you good, and if you don’t he will burn down your neighborhood.” All in all this local three-piece is one wild show and the sight of their youthful talent will leave you wondering if there’s any truth to the Virgin Mary being an 8 ft. tall, green nun with hypnotizing, terrifying, black eyes and razor sharp antlers who lives on the moon Phobos. Check them out! MOTHER MEAT has a page on bandcamp.com, where you will find their 10 song demo “Mother Meat’s Sunday School Extravaganza” for free download!!! They also have a Facebook page with updates on their shows and pictures, www.facebook.com/pages/Mother-Meat.
Colin E. Suchland photograhy The Mystic Knights of the Purple Haze kicked off Mardis Gras and celebrated 25 years as an organization with a public ball at Old Rock House on Friday, February 8. The show featured local standout The Funky Butt Brass Band and New Orleans powerhouse crew Big Sam's Funky Nation. Both bands put on lengthy sets, ending the set with members of both bands on stage for a funky free-for-all that ultimately found audience members dancing along on stage. www.colinesuchlandphotos.com
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A Death & A Promise Winner of Four Roses Bourbon bag
Cole Adams & Jim Lucas
All Hail Stray Rescue, or you should. These folks do so much great work they deserve not only praise, but some hard cash, too! And thatâ€™s what a group of us did for them last month at Ye Ole Haunt. Matt Stilt-walker Binnington organized this event for no other reason than his love for kitty cats and puppy dogs, even though he canâ€™t own one due to severe allergies. And a many thanks to the 50+ folks who showed up and donated. Oh yeah, thanks to Rachel Kitchens, LOUG, A Death & A Promise, Beach Bum Alcoholics, Cole Adams & Jim Lucas, and Molly Shrine!
Beach Bum Alcoholics
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LIVE AT LEMMON’S The first time I caught Without MotherFucking Order was a few yeas ago at The Crackfox. That was two years ago and I still cringe when I think of that night. Front man Captain Perverto was punched in the head, hit with an aluminum baseball bat, and even had the skin on his head shredded with a cheese grater. He redefines the phrase, glutton for punishment. You could say he’s a fucking nut-job or some caged animal let free, one. It really doesn’t make a difference to me, or Captain Perverto, either. On WMFO’s Facebook page Captain Perverto writes this, “Compare me to Neil Diamond for all I give a shit, but that won’t make it true. I don’t want to emulate or replace anyone. I’ve got goals that don’t involve living in another man’s shadow.” And if you haven’t seen a WMFO show, you probably don’t get what he’s saying. He adds, “More often than not I’m compared to GG Allin. While it makes absolute sense that people make this connection based on my stage antics, the type of music we play, and the fact our band is on the same label he was on, this is actually pretty inaccurate. To be honest it gets on my nerves when people compare us...” Who’s GG Allin? He was an American punk rock singer-songwriter, who performed and recorded with many big-name groups during his career, but is best remembered for his notorious live performances, which often featured transgressive acts, including coprophagia, self-mutilation, and attacking audience members. And that’s a WMFO show with Captain Perverto on stage, only a bit more brutal and insane. The Captain also writes that he’s always had a high tolerance for pain. In middle school he says he would bang his head into a kid’s lockers for a nickel, and let them punch him in the face for a dime. In high school, he says it only got better. “There were soda cans to chew on, high balconies to jump off of, jocks with cleats to kick him in the head and balls, you fuckin’ name it,” he was down. He adds that he would snag sewing needles from Home Ec class, find the most wholesome group of girls, stab himself in the arm repeatedly with said needle, then lick the blood off of his arm just to see the looks on their pretty little faces. Good times. WMFO formed in 1998, but the Mother-Fucking was added a few years later. Since then the band has spit out 6 CDs and bled several big-name stages coast-to-coast, like, CBGB’s, The WHISKY A GO-GO, and KEY CLUB on the Sunset Strip. So if you haven’t caught these guys, you should, before Captain Perverto takes one too many blows to the head or someone has him committed....
UNMASKED interview by Chuck Foster
ntil a few months ago I wasn’t even aware that Clusterpuck existed, much less that they were a band from right here in these parts. And I get out more than the average foot-stomper. But that says a lot about the St. Louis music scene, mostly about its abundance, diversity, and numerous venues. It’s easy for an amazing act like Clusterpuck – a homegrown, washboard slapping, fiddle playing, bluegrass foursome – to elude the most avid music fan. And that’s what they have done to me. The band describes themselves as a blend of potent homegrown harmonies and morning melodies, utilizing a few traditional bluegrass instruments with a 4 part vocal attack. I’d say they come across as a good ol’, Kentucky Moonshine hootenanny. You know, back in the good ole days when all you needed for a hootenanny was a couple of guitars, a fiddle, a 5 gallon wash tub with a string, and a washboard. Not only was a drum kit unnecessary then, it was unpractical and too much dang trouble to haul to the still – something Clusterpuck doesn’t include in their line up, a drummer. Every member in Clusterpuck takes lead vocals at some point during their set, but for the most part you’ll find Chris Rader on banjo and guitar, Justin Torres on bass and guitar, Derek Rutter on mandolin and guitar, and Leah Osborne on her washboard and ukulele. It’s nothing short of staggering to witness this foursome switch instruments and vocalists throughout the night, but to keep your foot flat on the ground as it happens is damn near impossible. They’re gonna make you at least kick your feet and shake your head, if not grab a partner and swing ‘em round and round. When the last note’s hit, and the lights go down and the dust settles on the floor, the sweat dripping down your back will remind you that you just witnessed one hell of a hoedown. And that’s why I asked the band to answer a few questions for you. I hope you enjoy this time and find yourself craving a little shoe-stomping, hell-raising bluegrass afterwards... So how did Clusterpuck come to exist. Clusterpluck was started in fall of 2010 after a few years of Chris, Derek, and, Justin talking about starting up a string band. They had met previously when crossing paths while Chris and Derek played in the band “Leveld” and Justin went from “ The Driftwood Strings Band” to his own “Justin Torres Loop Project” which he still holds down today. Leah came on later to help round out the sound that was being created. Justin and Leahmet in culinary school and had played together in the band “Boom Tops”. Everyone’s role differs slightly but are mostly the same...write songs, perform to your best ability, and look out for the band like family. Justin and Leah primarily take care of the booking, Derek Records album material, and Me, well, I play banjo. What’s the story behind the name, Clusterpuck? Clusterpluck was actually a response to a Facebook post after we first got together. I believe we had a video attached and said we needed a name if any body had any suggestions. Clusterpluck stood out immediately and we thought it described us to a T.
What I enjoyed mostly about your set was the way you each shared the spotlight, vocally and instrumentally. How do you decide who sings a song or plays a certain instrument during the song? Whoever writes it, sings it, so far. We all find our own harmonies. As far as instrumentation, sometimes it’s what the song calls for, sometimes it’s just what we pick up first. Speaking of your performance, you guys describe your sound as “Newgrass genre”. What exactly is Newgrass? Newgrass, to us, is just a way of describing a non-traditional approach to bluegrass. We have elements of bluegrass and go roots deep in bluegrass but, we are far from traditional and incorporate a whole range of influences into what we do. We just try to keep it within a certain sound and with certain instruments, so those influences aren’t always so apparent. Let me ask about your song writing. Can you tell me something about how you guys produce such diversity in your songs, such as the case in ‘Pirates in a Bathtub’ and ‘Laundry Line’? The great part about our band is that we all write music. Its really a matter of who is writing and how that person is feeling at the time. Chris wrote Laundry Line and Derek Wrote Pirates in a bathtub. Both really awesome tunes! I was checking your Reverbnation page out and noticed you were ranked number 2 in Americana / Grassy / Pop. How does that type of recognition make each of you feel? We are very excited and we couldn’t have gotten to #2 without all our pluckers out there tuning in for new stuff and checking out our events coming up! I noticed you guys have done some really big festivals. How did you get on those gigs and what was your favorite? Last year we did the River Romp Festival and that was
probably one of our favorites! We were asked by the Bloom Heavy folks to join up and we couldn’t have been more pleased about it. Beesonstock was a hit last year as well and we have known those folks for several years. This year though we are really stoked about Summer Camp and John Hartford Memorial. Don’t forget about EARTH DAY at Green Mountain!! We are proud to support a Festival that boasts Sustainability and caring for the earth and each other! What would you say has been your biggest mistake as a band; and what has been your greatest achievement? It’s tough to describe something as your biggest mistake. Everyone at some point will make a mistake, from the beginner player to the most advanced. You may miss a note here, or there, but that is all about the wonders of learning. Sometimes it’s more about how well you can cover it up, and hopefully getting it right the next time. As far as greatest achievements go we have had many in the short time we have been a band. Winning the battle for Summer Camp Music Festival at the Old Rock House. Playing Bloom Heavy’s River Romp last year. We got to share the bill with such amazing musicians as Del Mccoury, Yonder Mountain String Band, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. As the years go on I’d expect many more great achievements to come our way. What about local bands, which do you each follow/ catch live?
It makes it’s difficult to actually get out and see bands due to our schedule. “The local music scene is bitchin’. We are a family, a strong, supportive group of friends just trying to make great music together.”(Leah)”. When we do get a chance we try to catch Jake’s Leg, Elemental Shakedown, Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, Stone Sugar Shakedown, Cumberland Gap just to name a few of the local STL bands. What can readers expect from Clusterpuck as 2013 begins...touring, shows, CD releases, arrests for moonshining? 2013 is already looking bright for us as a band. We are always writing new songs so I would expect us to get back in the studio, and start recording our second album. We are planning a CD release party for our freshman album here in the next few months. Followed by some touring to support the album. As far as arrests go, hopefully that isn’t in any of our near futures. That could definitely put a damper on some things, though out of all of us Chris is the closest thing to looking like he could become a moonshiner. Any last thoughts to share with our readers, or breaking Clusterpuck news? Our bond is growing stronger and stronger. Its amazing the feeling I get when I’m up there with those boys. Unlike anything I’ve ever felt, and or us to share that with yall is a treat in itself. We cant wait for summer time! So many new places, people, and beautiful music to be shared! As far as breaking news goes....well....Justin and I are currently on the look out for a touring van! That’s pretty exciting if ya ask me! How can readers find out more about Clusterpuck, or purchase merch like your new T-Shirts? We are constantly keeping our websites and events up to date. I try to send out a monthly Newsletter via ReverbNation as well to inform our pluckers about any local shows. This first batch of T-shirts will be available only at our shows...and there are sellin’ fast! SO COME TO A SHOW!! Last, when and where can St. Louisans catch Clusterpuck live again? We have a show coming up in April...the 21st I believe. 2720 InFest 2!! We love Loyal Family and are really looking forward to returning. May 16th we are teaming up with our new friends Old Salt Union at Off Broadway! That will be a show y’all wont wanna miss! If you’re interested in booking us please contact us via Clusterpluckmusic@gmail.com. YEE YEE!
Hungover & hoarse as hell A Night With Butcher Holler and Black Bonnet Ballyhoos Fuck-sakes, I had to smoke a bowl to wake up, then slam a double turkey to shake the shakes from last night’s show. My voice is pretty much fucked. There’s a Devil Pentegram drew on the bar’s floor, some demented joke letting me kmow that I passed out last night way too early. Cassious Clay is laying in my lap. The champ’s only about 40lbs now but he’s still heavy as shit when you’re trying to type – and it being 7am doesn’t help either. I’m fucking babbling. But that’s what happens after a shit-kicking show, like last night with Butcher Holler and The Ballyhoos. ‘Loner’s Lament’ off Butcher Holler’s album At Any Rate is playing on iTUNES now as I babble on; if you don’t have it, you should. I only mention ithe actual song to set the mood. Butcher Holler is evily good, meaning you’ll need the God-Father of Country, Hank Williams, to perform an exorcism on you to get them out of your head – which aint likey to happen. You’’re just cursed with their tunes rattling inside your brain – but that’s a good thing. That means for at least once in our miserable fucking lives we’ve caught an act who not only posses our souls, but leaves us thirsting for more the next day. Speaking of acts that will posses you, it would a crime against the Gods of Country if I didn’t mention The Ballyhoos. As a guy, I’ll confess there’s someting hot about four chicks kicking the shit out of country tunes like a bunch of the good ole boys, but when they kick it like the Good Ole Boys – Hank, Johnny, Willy, Waylon, etc. – you loose the beautiful faces and sexy figures to a group of extraordinary musicans that this foursome is. They’tr not ranked 6th on REVERBNATION because they’tr four hot chicks, either. These gals just kick the shit out of country tunes! There’s nothing else to say....I’m done. My throat hurts. My head Hurts. The Champ feels like a 100lbs in my lap. The Turkey has worn off as has the weed. I’m hungover and hoarse as hell....and so should you be.
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ver the pat decade or so burlesque has been reborn, raising form the ashes of performers who have been long gone but not forgotten. This sinful art of dance has a freshness to it today as troupes take the traditional style of 50’s burlesque and tweak it with modern ideas. This is certainly the case with St. Louis’ Sinful Burlesque troupe. Relatively new to the “scene”, this troupe has been turning heads for almost a year now, wooing crowds with an array of performances – some traditional and some not. It was my pleasure to sit down with these entertainers and discuss who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going... So, who is Sinful Burlesque? During the summer of 2012 my wife and I had started to put together a promotions company with the hope of building clientele for our photography and retail clothing company Studio 8. During that time Jim from the Jumpin’ Jupiter approached us and asked if we could put together a show. Since my wife and I are both singers and additionally I had a background in theater and event production I said yes and Sinful Burlesque (at least in its infancy) was born. When we first began doing shows we struggled for a while to find our niche. Originally we were pushed in certain directions by the suggestions of Jupiter Management and those concepts never quite worked, it wasn’t what people wanted and it never clicked with us as performers. It was when we came up with the concept for our previous show the “Absinthe Follies” that we started to find our niche with the humor and playful side of burlesque. Attendance increased, the reviews were better and we began to see where we needed to go. Then when we began doing the “Speakeasy Cinema” we really found our home in the way we produce our shows, the content we choose, etc. Plus I have to say we pride ourselves on being a family, on the chemistry and tight knit friendship that we all share, our loyalty is strong to each other and to our shows and I think that is huge with something like this. On your FB page it states SB is unique and original. Tell me how so, or what separates SB from other troupes. Well first of all we are the ONLY troupe in Saint Louis who donates a portion of proceeds from every show to a charity. We rotate charities every few months but we decided early on that part of our mission was to give something back. Additionally as we said we struggled hard to find our Niche but now
that we have it we realize that no one else is doing what we do. We take all the elements of burlesque and put them into a show that taps into people’s memories, their nostalgia, their emotion. By doing burlesque this way it opens it up to more people. You don’t have to be a theater person, a burlesque person, or any type of person to enjoy a show we produce because whether or not you know burlesque the themes we do are something people identify with. The Speakeasy Cinema is entirely themed around movies, not an old 1930’s movie that 1 of 20 people may know but classic and cult movies that most people know. Movies like Ghostbusters, Top Gun, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Rocky Horror Pic-
ture Show, Gremlins and more. For a while we even did a routine themed from “A Christmas Story” where our performer was dressed in the pink bunny pajamas. We are fearless and always willing to take a chance to make sure the show we provide has everyone in
the audience standing on their feet. It’s an amazing feeling to close a show with a sold out, standing room only crowd all on their feet singing your closing song along with you. It’s all about connecting with every single person in the crowd, not performing at them, not aiming over their heads but REALLY connecting with them and producing a show that is fun, has a lot of audience involvement, and more! Additionally I think (and others have said) that we have some of the best performers in Saint Louis AND we’ve been described as being the MOST FUN burlesque show in Saint Louis and I think that’s definitely something to be proud of!
With burlesque making such a strong comeback, what has been the troupe’s most difficult obstacle to overcome? Our first venue was a blessing in the beginning, but became a hindrance later on. We had creative differences with management,
in that they felt our show was theirs to mold and could fire performers of ours without cause, but more importantly, there was a lot of uncertainty in scheduling. Some events had to be rearranged because the venue was mismanaged. However since we have left most of our worries are now gone. Our biggest obstacle now that we’ve moved into a new venue is letting people know where we moved to. We developed an amazing group of fans at our former venue, in fact there are fans still asking for us there, we just need to help them find us at our new venue! Plus, we’ve got a great show that people can relate to and enjoy so we want to make sure and reach new people who haven’t had a chance to enjoy it yet. With that in mind, what’s your take on the St. Louis Burlesque seen? I think the Saint Louis Burlesque scene has some truly amazingly talented people in it and it is fantastic the amount of attendance these events can garner. I think it speaks extremely highly of the art form itself and the crowd in Saint Louis considering the continued success of so many troupes. I would only say it can be disheartening when the politics of the entertainment industry rear their ugly heads. Like a lot of new troupes and shows in the area, we were met with some push-back in the beginning. Some shows were nearly shut down and we really had to do it all on our own. I wish it could be more about the art, the show, and the support for the community, rather than politics and cliques When and where can readers see SB perform in March and April? Currently we are proud to call Cicero’s in the Delmar Loop our home and we perform their once a month! It’s a great fit for us and our next night is Friday March 22nd. We have both a 730pm and a 1030pm show that evening, the proceeds from both will be going to benefit Saint Louis Breast Cancer efforts. We will also be performing at Cicero’s in April although a date has not been solidified yet. And last, where can readers find more info on SB? Facebook is honestly the best way to follow us! www.facebook.com/SynStl On our Facebook page we post photos from the shows, photos from the photobooth we run at every show, and we clearly post our events and the like there as well! Also we usually list a contest or two there!
ichelleX possesses a disturbing passion for the arts that will question not only your soul, but your mind as well. Her art is nostalgic, often macabre, yet so powerfully created that it’s easy to loose yourself inside each piece. Her works range from photography and Photoshop to canvass and jewelry. She is as diverse of an artist as one can find on the cover of any publication. But it didn’t happen over night for her, or after years of art school, either. It has a long road of trial and error for her. As a child she bounced around a lot, from Dallas to Houston to Ohio, then properly back to Dallas. She recalls being raised by her grandparents, a time when children were meant to “be seen, not heard”. Needless to say, she spent a lot of time alone in her room drawing. It was then that characters became darker figures, but her interest in the human form remained. Shortly later she was introduced to the contrasting worlds of pin-up models and horror art, where she became fascinated with the process of merging both the macabre and the beautiful into one. And this is where she is today, now in St. Louis, still merging beauty and the macabre – only she’s came a long way since drawing dark figures in her bedroom. With that said, I offer you a look into the twisted world of MichelleX.... Your website tells how you developed an interest in art at a very young age. Can you tell me the moment that you knew you wanted to be an artist? I was seven years old. I’d been drawing a lot of comic type stuff, but I had a fascination with the idea of “the future.” My grandparents watched a lot of Star Trek, so I guess that’s where it came from. Anyway, one day I sat down and drew what I thought everyone would be wearing in this future time, with hover cars and common space travel. After I’d colored them in, I showed them the drawings and proclaimed that I wanted to be a fashion designer. Okay, not exactly art, per se, but even at that age I was thinking about a career. Even after they firmly slapped that idea down, I persisted. I wanted to draw. I wanted to do something with that, to create. Your website doesn’t mention any formal education in the arts. Have you attended any art schools or taken classes, or are you simply self-taught? I’m self taught. I didn’t attend college until I was 32 years old, where I took some art and photography classes. The intent with college, though, was to figure out a career path for my existing skills and portfolio. It didn’t work out. As an amateur photographer I’m always curious about one’s choice in cameras. What camera do you prefer, and why? Hasselblad - and not the digital kind. Although, if I had the kind of money for a digital Hasse, I defi-
nitely wouldn’t be opposed to getting one. I just love medium format film. I love heavy cameras; I love film so very, very much. To me, photography becomes a true fine art when you have your hands in the making of an image the whole way. Developing my own film and printing my own pieces gave me the exact same kind of satisfaction that working on a painting does. It’s a beautiful and incredibly satisfying thing. That said, I’ve done a great deal of my work with prosumer level DSLRs, shooting both Nikon and Canon. I don’t know that I really have a preference among them. They each have their own pros and cons. What intrigued me the most about your portfolio was the diversity of your work. Can you explain how you came to master painting, photography, and photoshop? Also, tell me a bit about the macabre nature in most of your works. When I was eight, my great grandmother passed away. Unbeknownst to me until then, she had all these old oil paints and brushes, which she left to me. So I started playing with oils. I knew nothing about them, and every experiment was just awful. I didn’t have much to use with them, except a few dried up brushes. Many, many years later, I became friends with an artist who allowed me to experiment with his materials. It was instant love. I eventually went out and bought every conceivable thing one can imagine to continue the experiments. I still consider myself very much new to painting, but it’s definitely where my heart lives. Photography on the other hand, has been a constant my whole life. My grandparents had a Polaroid and a 110 camera that I often tinkered with. When I was fairly young, I believe around 9 or so, I was given a Disc Camera for Christmas. Every family member had some kind of camera that I played with, and we always took snap shots, but I would really analyze the results of each photo that came back. In my early 20’s I finally got my first SLR, which finally gave me the kind of control I’d been seeking. I built my first studio in the living room out of stuff from Home Depot, shooting primarily with natural light and lighting (studio lights made out of flood lights bounced off the wall). Shooting with DSLRs became a necessity for the amount of work I was producing in 2005. I discovered Photoshop when I discovered graphic/web design in 1998. A couple years later, I started really getting into the grit of that program when I began experimenting with photos and montages. But I don’t strictly work with Photoshop; I also work with Corel Painter and sometimes Poser for certain things. As for the dark/macabre nature of things it’s often a kind of therapy. For me, emotion becomes art. The emotion that creates this kind of art is generally derived from some awful experience. I have very few pieces that don’t have a story behind them. Which is a big reason why montage is such a great technique for this - to tell that story, without actually telling the story. I also noticed you make some amazing jewelry. How did you spread into that? My mother was a leather crafter by trade, but also made traditional Native jewelry, or other pieces that were earthy. Hours and hours I watched her make these things - fascinated. After college, I got the bug the try my hand at it
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and just went with it. It’s kinda crazy what one can remember about the smallest details after all those years. I picked up a couple books too, but I keep leaning toward the kinds of things she would make. Not the kind of stuff you find in books. Again, a lot of experimentation. What has been your biggest mistake? I have to laugh at this. The memory is just so awful, though funny now. I’m not saying when or who because I don’t want anyone to look it up. But years and years ago I was given an opportunity to get published with a well known publisher for a collective work. I’d just started painting digitally - with a mouse. Those paintings were not good. In fact they were positively terrible. But, those are the works I chose to submit to this publication. The publisher included them, but I will never not be embarrassed by it. What advice would you give to a young person today deciding to follow a career in the arts? Never take your talents for granted. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Most artists don’t actually have a choice in that anyway. To create is to live, to breathe. Anything different is unthinkable. So, perhaps, be certain that you have that kind of passion and drive. Expect adversity. Don’t take negative comments personally. Just keep doing what you do best, and take whatever risks required to pursue your dream. What can readers expect from you in 2013? I’m very much in an experimentative mode these days. My paintings have always been “the light”, while photo montages have been “the dark.” I’m wanting to break through that mental barrier to shed more dark on canvas. And last, where can readers find more of your works or reach you? My entire portfolio is on my web site, but there’s also my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MichelleX.creative). I’m not currently exhibiting anywhere. I can always be contacted via email at email@example.com.
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written by Chuck Foster
A Love That Never Died
he thought of Christmas brings visions of decorated trees, mistletoe, and the taste of egg nog to mind. It’s a time to spend with family and friends, a time to share your love with your sweetheart, and for most to feel goodwill towards all. For some, Christmas brings nothing more than sorrow and loneliness, even at its best. This couldn’t have been more true for Carl Von Cosel, a German immigrant who came to the United States after the first World War. Von Cosel found himself here in America all alone in the mid 20’s, with no known living family or friends. He claimed the war had destroyed his family’s fortune and all the official records documenting his aristocratic lineage. He also claimed to have nine college degrees in various sciences when he took employment as an x-ray technician in a Key West naval hospital shortly after his arrival. By 1929, the middle-aged Von Cosel had moved through the ranks and been promoted to a radiology technologist. During this same time he had been known to tell stories about the ghost of his dead ancestor, the Countess Anne Cosel, who revealed to him a young beauty he was destined to marry one day. It was about this time in his life when he met a twenty-two-year-old Latino woman named Maria Elena Hoyos. Hoyos was a patient receiving treatment at the hospital for the deadly tuberculosis virus and was close to death. Young Maria had captured the love of Von Cosel instantly; he was sure that she was the goddess in all his visions. He became obsessed with curing her illness and was known to take an x-ray machine to her home where he performed various radiation treatments and therapies on her. Von Cosel had every intention to marry the beautiful Maria Hoyos and believed that if he cured her, she would be forever in his debt. Unfortunately, the very ill Maria died at the age of 22 on October 25, 1931. Von Cosel was devastated beyond hope and started to visit her grave site every day. His obsession with her in life began to carry over into her death. Shortly after her burial, Von Cosel received Hoyos’ father’s permission to dig her coffin up and have it placed in a specially designed crypt. The mausoleum he had made for her contained an incubator type apparatus as well as a telephone that he used regularly to communicate with her. His conversations with her were said to consist of various plans to reunite her body and soul again so they could be united. For two long years Von Cosel visited the late Hoyos’ grave day and night, then after the two year anniversary of her death, neigh-
bors noticed the doctor’s visits had come to an end. Most of the neighbors had always been suspicious of Von Cosel and his visits but thought nothing of it when the doctor was no longer seen. Little did they know, he had removed the decaying body from the tomb and took it to his secluded house on one of the islands surrounding the Keys. At his home, Carl Von Cosel committed himself to the unimaginable task of trying to preserve the once beautiful Maria’s body. He covered her decaying corpse with silk, mortician wax, and exotic perfumes, then took the remainder of her hair and attached it to a mask for her to wear. Von Cosel was so desperate to save her fragile body that he even tied her bones together with piano wire, stuffed her insides with rags to keep her from collapsing, and replaced her decaying eyes with glass ones. He went on to place a vaginal tube for sex, but clothed her in a wedding gown to make their marriage sacred before consummating it. Von Cosel’s love for her never ended. He continued to import the perfumes and played the organ for her every night. As years passed, Von Cosel kept the only key to the mausoleum to himself and was sure that his secret was safe. Nine years went by before Maria’s sister came to Von Cosel demanding the key so she could visit the mausoleum. It was then that she noticed the smell at his house and contacted the authorities. Carl Von Cosel was arrested and the body was taken to the local coroner for an autopsy. Despite the severity and grotesqueness of Von Cosel’s crime, he was found sane enough to stand trial. Even though he was found competent, he was not convicted of any wrongdoing because the statute of limitations on grave robbing had expired. Maria Elena Hoyos’ sister had her body re-buried at a secret location to protect it from Von Cosel and was kept secret until his death. Carl Von Cosel may not have gone to prison for his fiendish acts, but his life was over. He was reported to have become secluded in his home and heard playing the organ every night. When he was found dead in 1952, he was lying on the floor beside a life size dummy, wearing a death mask identical to the one he’d made for Maria Elena Hoyos after he brought her home. Today, the story of Von Cosel is still a popular one down in the Keys. You can hear it at its best by Kat Maguire of “Ghost Tours of Key West” any time during the year.
By Single In The City
ontinuing on my journey of singlehood in our somewhat noble city, my adventures, mishaps, triumphs and life’s observations are chronicled here. This is a work of fact, fiction and frivolity…purely for entertainment purposes, not guidance. To start, I finally found out what the catch with “Mr. Nice Guy” (Feb 2013 Sinner) was…he was to “let me mark my territory” possessive in public (for my taste) and well, to be honest he had a little (literally) problem that I just couldn’t deal with. So I cut him loose. This brings me to explore the age old question - Does size matter? I am a self- proclaimed size queen. I like everything big; big hair, big boobs, big eyes, big ideas, big dicks, etc… I have dated two gentlemen with extremely small genitals. By extremely small, I mean 4 inches or less when fully erect and one finger worth of girth (read non-existent girth). While they were good at eating out, so to speak, this woman cannot live on cunnilingus alone. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, I have also dated generously-endowed guys who had no idea what they were doing other than the old “in and out”. I do think that size does count. I am a sucker for a big one, but it is also how you use it and I can also be happy with an average or even slightly below average size penis, as long as the chemistry and everything else is off the charts, but I digress… Getting back to adventures in dating, there was another boy I dated for a couple weeks. Right off the bat I told him I didn’t want anything serious, let’s keep it casual and in less than 3 weeks, I discovered he drank too much for my comfort level, smoked like a chimney, was too physically clingy, emotionally needy and in love with this fantasy he had of me. When I told him to go away, that I just wasn't that into him, he kept contacting me – hell, his pathetic
ass is still contacting me to this day. It’s really sad that I have blocked him on several networking sites like Facetwit & Instabook and he still continues to contact me. He is more persistent than those bill collectors who were calling me demanding money when I was going through my divorce. After him, “Mr. CEO”, a higher-up at his company and a real estate entrepreneur came along. While we had fun going out, he had money to spare and a big member to match his pocketbook. There were a few things I couldn’t live with in the long term: 1. He was a cheap tipper and tipped the waitress less than 15%, which, in my opinion, if you have money there should be no excuse. 2. He was older and liked to use the adjectives awesome and nice – a lot. For having a college education and being so smart he talked dumb, at least around me. Overuse of “LOL”, poor grammar and “cutesy icons” all are negatives in my book, especially if someone is educated enough to know better. He also would always make the “mmm…” sound and that made me feel like I was an entrée getting ready to be devoured. 3. And most importantly, we just don’t connect on an intellectual level. I don’t know if maybe our 12+ year age difference was a supporting factor in this but for whatever reason it just wasn’t working. Have I become a girl version of the guy I once hated? Am I shallow because I know what I want and won’t settle for less? Or am I just realistic and know what I want and what it takes to satisfy me in the long term? I pondered these things and well, I know what it will take to make me happy, that is not for anyone else to determine. Call me a bitch or an asshole but to settling for less is not an option for me. I had all about just given up on dating, feeling put off and emotionally shut down when Mr. Wonderful finally entered my world. Introduced to me by an acquaintance, he inquired about me and I said unenthusiastically, “Sure.” I didn’t expect much at this point, I was tired of these jerks in general. I expected to be fully bored and put off by just another dude trying to get up my skirt. What I didn’t expect was to feel an instant connection like nothing I have experienced before on a date coupled with several hours (our date lasted almost 22 hours) of conversation about everything under the sun, including religion, sex, art and our work. Plus our chemistry was great too and I feel like we connected on so many levels on that first date alone. Since then we have hung out a few times and had our second official date. I am excited to see where this goes! For hecklings, gripes or other mindless, witty banter please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Think Outside The Cage with Kendra Holliday of The Beautiful Kind
How Do You Get Used To Condoms? The other day I hooked up with a guy. We were making out and wrestling around. He fingered and ate me really well, then it was time for the sexing to commence. That bastard tried to fuck me without a condom! I was like, “Uh, no dude, you gotta use a condom.” So he slapped one on and immediately lost his erection. He said he had too much to drink and that condoms numb him out. So he said, “Guess I’ll just have to eat you until the alcohol is out of my system.” He ate the shit out of my pussy for about 45 minutes, it was fucking awesome! Then we passed out because it was 3:30 in the morning. We ended up sleeping in until 11 then woke up and fooled around some more. He still wasn’t able to really stay hard for longer than two minutes with the condom on. Do you know of any remedies for this? My last guy wasn’t able to keep an erection with condoms on either, which is the reason we never had sex. I’ve heard goatskin condoms are better, but I don’t want to risk it, they’re porous and less effective. ~Lovely Glovely . Dear Lovely Glovely, Yep, this is a common problem. There are so many types of condoms you can try, like ones with more head room. Find your favorite brand and style and BYOC - Bring Your Own Condoms! Use lube inside and out. Even if you’re not in the big dick club, try out larger condom sizes. Check out the various Trojan styles, easily found in corner drugstores. My friend likes Supra, and I’ve heard good things about the new Ecstasy line, as well as Extra Thin design. Don’t fall for the “ribbed for her pleasure” gimmick – focus more on the male sensations. In fact, you might like to try female condoms – they are quite different. Order a sampler from one of those online condom candy stores. Do a search for “condom superstore” and go to town! I found a 100 sample pack for $25! Turn it into a quest to find your favorite condom. And practice makes perfect, you have to get used to it. So many people try condoms a couple times and give up on it instead of pushing through. One guy I talked to suggested unwrapping the condom and having it out, and ONLY using it if you get to the super hyped up and hard stage. If you don’t get in that zone, pass on penetration Photo: Connie LaFlam and give and get pleasure a different way.
email@example.com www.thebeautifulkind.com Got a sex, relationship, BDSM or fetish related question? Ask your local sexpert, Kendra Holliday, Writer & Editor of The Beautiful Kind, and Co-Founder of Sex Positive St. Louis.