Meet the Staff
Wesley Ryan Clapp • Editor
Natalie Mertz • Art Director
Tina Crayton • Staff Advisor(NP)
As one so often does, the issue of magic, in response to art and vise versa, started out with a simple conversation about S&M over noodles. My position on the subject was as follows: “Your kink is not my kink, but your kink is OK. Provided of course, that your kink has one, two, or more consenting adult humans involved.” Later that same evening, after mulling through some books on magic and the occult at Strand, it occurred to me that perhaps my position on S&M, and in fact sex in general, was not so black and white. To obtain a Messiah by some adaptation of the sexual process, has been one of the greatest ideas of magicians in all times. In Assyria, incest between mothers and sons was practiced; the Egyptians famously united brothers and sisters. Phoenicians tried fathers and daughters. Greeks and Syrians mostly bestiality, which stems from traditions in India. The Jews sought to do this by invocation methods. The Mohammedans tried homosexuality; and mediaeval philosophers tried to produce homunculi by making chemical experiments with semen. The root idea is that any form of procreation, other than normal, is likely to produce results of a magical character. These characters are the stems from which so many of today’s organizations and groups breed. I had quite the fit upon realizing that I too have been compelled to portray such characters. I was curious as to why perceiving any subject in a “magical” manner seems to allow for a more heart felt, yet surprisingly contradictory response. If my sense-of-self in terms of sex and magic is so skewed, what other facets of life need re-evaluation? On a contemporary scale, to survive politically, ecologically, socio-economically, we are in grave need of a few miracles. Based on gross measures of corruption, in all aspects of our lives, it is apparent that our ethical technology lags hundreds of years behind our physical technology. A new emphasis upon humanistic and, if you will spiritual values, is absolutely vital. Fads of meditation, ancient astronauts, pop psychology, flying saucers, Jesus, even jogging, can all be considered realms of knowledge. Whether on the fringe of speculation or in the forefront of culture humans invest their minds and souls. To employ this needed change into the cultural conscience, what better realm than that of art is there? And, what better than art, based on magic, can speak to the deepest truths of the human psyche? I am quite sure, that we all in unison, must utilize the potential power promised us through magic. We should abandon organizations: religious, political, or magical in nature, that attempt in anyway, to keep knowledge and progress from the public. Only together can our spells for a stronger and happier tomorrow be cast. In the future, when thousands of kids are bending spoons with their bare minds, parents are keeping tabs on their teenagers through telepathy, and pacifists are using psycho kinesis to defuse nuclear weapons, it’s going to be real hard to put the genie back in the bottle. It is my belief that we can accomplish these feats of magic and more with a little help from the gods and a lot of old fashioned elbow grease. Everybody think strong, happy, magical thoughts.
Wesley Ryan Clapp Editor-in-Chief
On the cover: Cryptic1, by Jaclyn Jurist
Meet the contributors
Alex DeCosta Junior Fine Arts Alex DeCosta is a squid on weekends.
Henry Fernau Sophomore Cartooning My art is time-consuming, outwardly silly, and inwardly much darker. I strive to convey heavy themes under the veil of contoured line work and over-the-top imagery. While the viewer is not always allowed to understand the significance that often is behind my work, I do hope they are left with an unsettling notion that there is, in fact, more. I like my art to focus on humans and the expression of their humanity. I also objectify my subjects. It is life viewed through the lens of a rough hatching and a heavy pen.
Jaclyn Jurist Senior Fine Arts I am a thesis year student in the Fine Arts Department, focused mainly on painting, drawing and collage as a medium. Akin to my interests, I collect and distribute imagery of my artwork as a means of practice. What these images mean to me or mean in general is not fully developed or understood. We marginalize and categorize icons based on automatic devices; I am attempting to challenge this.
Katie Madonna Lee Senior Film Katie Madonna Lee, born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, had the unusual childhood experience of growing up with two intense versions of Christianity. Being raised by secular rock â€˜n roll parents, she spent her early years adoring aerobics, E.T. and Evangelical religion. In the tradition of unsupervised children with scissors, she had the early accomplishment of cutting off her cousinâ€™s earlobe. She is now athesis year film major at SVA.
Mike Mehalick Sophomore Film Mike Mehalick was born and raised in Middletown, NJ where he wrote for his high school newspaper and was awarded the Quill & Scroll Honor Society Award. He is a second year Screenwriting major who enjoys street mosh pits, Gonzo Journalism, and getting caught in the rain.
Nicholas Saint Onge Sophomore Graphic Design Nicholas Saint Onge is a lover of chicken finger sandwiches and bacon.He has never combined the two, but is now considering it. It is late and he is hungry. He is also a sophomore Graphic Design student with a passion for pretty boxes and things you can touch. He works at WSVA, the school’s radio station, which is a pretty neat place to be. At the time of writing this biography, he is both 20.38 years old (fact!) and still loving life and all of its magic (double fact!).
William Paul Smith Junior Film William Paul Smith is a Native American film director, actor and writer, who grew up in Northern California. As an artist he feels he has been torn between two worlds, having a mother who is from the Eastern Shoshone tribe and a Catholic father. This lead to his struggle and inspiration to discuss themes of culture, identity, racism, history, gender, religion, sexuality and literature. He has an interest in images of violence and childhood trauma. His work explores themes of silence, death and spirituality in relation to contemporary issues of the world.
Rodrigo Quintero Junior Film I want to explore a situation that I come across in my classes at SVA: Everybody wants a revolution, everybody wants to rebel against the establishment. This includes teachers as well as most students. The problem is that very few can actually pinpoint what they want to rebel against; even fewer, have any actual ideas of what they want to achieve. With this in mind, I wanted to make up a “magic” world, where there would be “a bunch of dicks, talking about stuff they don’t understood.” I added more and more layers of knowledge that we’re all aware. For example, the stigma of Communism to mimic how we are all bombarded by information and words and concepts that we all know and relate but are obscured and shunned from systematically. I also wanted to add a religious undertone to somehow present the problem with the simple enlightened solution to all questions. I don’t want to overstate the magic aspect that it has employed for ages. I didn’t mean to offend anybody, but if I did, then I hope that helps you think about it.
Calvin Rocchio Freshman Photography My name is Calvin Rocchio and I am a first year photography student at the School of Visual Arts. Reading about the great photographers and artists, my interest in photography arose very early. By the time I picked up my own camera, I had little interest in photographing what I saw, but rather what I imagined. To this day, I still enjoy altering reality in front of my lens. Whether It is additive or subtractive photography, I feel it is important for my work to not completely comply with our way of seeing the everyday experience.
Olena Schmahlo Sophomore Graphic Design Olena Shmahalo was born in 1989 in the little city of Lviv, Ukraine. She came to the US when she was five years old. Although she was a Californian for most of her life, she now resides in New York where she works part-time as a Graphic Designer, eats bagels, sleeps… on occasion, wanders around a bit, attends SVA, and most favorably, does magic. She believes magic certainly lies within us, and for her it is felt most strongly in the act of creation.
Illustration by Henry Fernau
ThE Magic of
Ades Nicholas Saint Onge
The one thing we all tend to ignore is that, with or without us, everything going on outside of our brains is happening. More often than not, we are distracted by the thoughts in our own head. So filled with worries, we often miss what goes on around us. For me, it is the rare occasion in which I am taken out of my own world that I consider magic. It is the small things that people do that penetrate through the deep barricades of our brains. This makes us realize that we are here. We are here NOW. Too big for us to deal with, this concept forces us back into our interior. We are then alone again. But, I have seen magic. It happens when someone notices something you never expected they would. It happens when people dedicate their lives to a craft with passion. Such magic moments exist in our daily lives. I hope to help you notice one in your own. If you have ever been shopping for produce in Union Square, you might be familiar with Joe Ades, the Green Market Peeler. In a three piece suit squatting on a small seat on the ground, he peeled carrots and potatoes with vigor. Joe would projected his voice to the point that it seemed to fill the entire northwest corner of the market. He drew you in like moths to a streetlight. Each and every time I frequented the Green Market, I began to pick up on his routine. It consisted of polite jokes, sincerity, and the utmost showmanship. There was no choice but to love him. On February 2, 2009 he passed away. I wish I had the chance to buy one of his peelers. However, I was so caught up in my own thoughts that I failed to stop and see his true magic. He sold his product in a way that cannot be taught. If he tried to sell me canned oxygen (shame on you Duane Reade), I probably would have bought his entire supply. Normally when someone looks at you and tells you “this is not a trick” your first instinct is to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. But, with Joe Ades, you believed. You wanted him to be your grandpa, life mentor, or spirit quest guide. Not only were you convinced that you would never need to buy another god damned potato peeler, but you also began to suspect that your friends would love you more if you gave them one. And all the while, it didn’t once feel evil. This kind, elderly gentleman seemed to be taking his own time. He let you in on a secret that everyone else just hadn’t told you. This was his own personal magic that made him so great. Now, he is gone. No one will be able to fill the void that his death has left behind. In a way that is usually reserved for the passing of an estranged friend or relative, I only wish I could have spent more time with him. While all things may in fact come to an end, the sense of wonder outweighs the fact that what we have just witnessed is now over. Even if we somehow figure out exactly what the trick was, we never forget how enthralled we were when we truly believed we were seeing something magnificent. Characters with truthful passion and heart are not only what makes this City beautiful, but life itself. He was one of the greats and he will be missed. While the curtain may have dropped on his last performance, I think the magic lives on.
The Magic Issue
William Paul Smith
It was that winter morning sun The birds flew through above and out of my sight casting not only their shadows against the buildings splashed with that pooling light familiar to this city But, their souls, which dazzled my spirits, from where I stood The wondering eyes of the young toe- headed boy clad in a vermillion shaded winter coat, who dropped his coins in the slush of the street, gathering them with a careful footing
Those colorful emotions on colorful faces, traveling like a thousand trains, whose chimneyâ€™s bellowed morning winter waves in a rhythm up and behind in the wake of their steps down the stairs and underground, together Creating an almost invisible shape of communication that forms this community Living in a tone of commotion, a cadence of silence,Â a new cadence of the dead, the new funeral march composed by Chopin Their movements, nothing less than the beauty of natural forces, the charms and spells and transformation happening this winter morning after my arrival in a city where the spirits of art reside, die, remain, are giving birth, where everyone who comes can find those moments of insight into him or herself, incantations and truth: New York New York New York echoing and lined up like a true and beautiful sentence
The eyes of the Iranian man focused like a soldier, crossing the street, in a suit and tie and clutching a brief case black The eyes of the old Jewish woman, gazing in length and meditation, umbrella purple in hand The eyes of the Chinese girl wincing, pink lips and pink cheeks flushed pink by the kiss of breeze, carrying her purseÂ
The eyes of Dad clad in scarf and gloves green, throwing his hands up in the morning winter air
Like the ending of the greatest novel being read out-loud. I just wanted to read it slowly, more softly as I just allowed, this existence to continue without my further interpretation, to continue into a different realm or muted existence, like a conversation ending between the actor and the stage, and then again, the actor entering the stage Waiting for that moment when word would open and commence a new play
The eyes of the African street sweeper, mumbling to himself, picking up trash in disgust, stuck in the sounds of the taxi and busses, and, and, and...
Like a dreamless sleep where one is dying but one does not wake, but continues in afterlife like a long and melancholic whistle in an endless and open space, like that that connects us all in the breath
The diversity of eyes that never tried to meet any other eyes
That we take from others when we inhale and that we receive when we exhale, the breath that can be found when we are aware, this, and what I saw that winter morning is nothing less than perceived magic
The eyes of the Latino man, graceful and down, hands in pocket playing with his keys or something The eyes of the Pakistani boy scattering, looking around for dad
Which caught my eyes watching these men and women and girls and boys
Opposite page, Clawknot. This page, Cryptic1, by Jaclyn Jurist
The Magic Issue
Previous spread clockwise: Untitled 5, Untitled 3, Untitled 6 Opposite page: Untitled 1. This page clockwise: Untitled 7, Untitled 2, Untitled 4
Buy Toys Store Rodrigo Quintero The damned souls of the toys
were bound by the hours of the market. In the moment when they again became available to be purchased, they transformed into inert, empty, worthless, things. Lit by the pink neon light, they would wake up, halfway through every night. In one of the many lost and forgotten worlds that plague this little town, they would forever adorn the corner of this long, narrow street. Blue was the name of the most wonderful of all the toys; a pretty, little, bunny that rooted from a long round tower. Blue had always wanted to see the children that came into the store, but he rarely saw one. Every single time he woke up, he would shake his head slowly from one side to the other. Very discretely, not wanting to be noticed by the other toys, he tried to gaze across the store. During the night, the dark street would be covered by a thick white fog. Twisting and turning, trying to amuse himself, he would stare at a sack of white pearls that stood before him, Thumbelina, one of his oldest and closest friends was a blind toy. She had no eyes and only one ear, but told amazing stories. She would sometimes spend hours on end reciting stories about children and their innocence. Blue would listen carefully, and in amazement, at how they would emerge from the womb: fragile and helpless. But as soon as they would open their eyes, they would take the whole world at once. The other toys: Rose, Koi, Boss, and the twins, Gigi and Liv, would listen. However, they would rarely become interested in the stories by
Thumbelina. They were older toys and had mostly forgotten the light of children’s smiles or the sparkles in their eyes. “Would you knock it off already?” said Koi. “I cannot stand this anymore. All of this sounds really good and all, but what do you know of children? You have never seen one Thumbelina.” “I have,” said Gigi, as she slowly stretching her body across the glass from behind the shadows. “Two years ago, don’t you remember? There was a little black boy that walked with a sort of gimp. He kept his eyes high and slowly moved his head from side to side. He was curious!” she added, making her way out from the shadows. “That wasn’t a boy,” said Koi in a low, sad voice that flew across the excitement of the others, but couldn’t touch it; like a feather floating on the water. “Of course, there are still children. Don’t mind grumpy old Koi,” added Liv. “Blue, you know that there are. Nowadays children aren’t interested with rabbits or angels anymore...” she paused for a moment as she remembered the child she had also seen. He had a short beard and glasses. It was obvious that he was a midget, but she had never admitted it to her sister. Liv looked around at all of the rubber duckies that were always watchful and committed to bringing joy to the children. “What about us?” asked Paris, a very glamorous rubber duckie, who always wore a pink scarf and a diamond nose ring. “As long as they are children they’ll need something to play with, especially in the tub. Why don’t they come for us?”
Illustration by Olena Shmahalo
Blue could see how all of the toys in the store were curious. It seemed all of them had waited for somebody to ask the question. He understood them all. After all, didn’t they all deserve to know what they were doing there? Where were the children? Blue understood that children or no children, he had lost many friends. He knew that with the morning, he could and would lose friends again. Adults, those shape-shifting creatures, that grew hair in all the wrong places, went bald and took up violence; they had bound them to their misery. They were clearly to blame. This was a pain all too familiar and all too neglected. The powerlessness and the inevitability of it all began spreading its grave and tragic sense. For a moment all of the toys became silent, as if the fog that caressed the streets, had spread through their minds. The sounds of a lonely city, along with the forsaken music from a saloon filled the shop. The neon light flickered off and on, and in those drops of darkness, they all felt relieved; as if a new thought had taken over the previous one. The lights continued to flicker and after a moment remained off. In the shadows, as a sigh, they were all forgotten. Blue could hear laughter coming from the back wall. For a moment he felt confused because he had forgotten all about that place. “Hello?” said Blue in a clear, loud voice. “Silence Blue,” shushed Rose. “Yes Blue, be quiet,” said Gigi. “What’s the matter? Can you guys hear that? Hello?!” continued Blue in his childish concern. “Shut up Blue!” said Boss. But, the laughter had become so loud that Blue could barely hear anything else. “What’s so funny?” said Blue, almost yelling in order to overcome the laughter. As he said those words, the laughter stopped. “What’s so funny?” he said again, this time in a quiet voice. “I think you are funny,” said Bear, in a deep scratchy voice. Bear was a leather creature, with crazy long dreadlocks that ran for the entire length of his body. “I think you all are. I think we are all quite amusing.” “It is quite clear that there are no more children in this world. The question is not, what are we doing here, but what are we going to do?“ As Blue became adjusted to the blackness of night, with the little moonlight that bounced through the twilight, he could see
Bear’s shape become more and more visible. He hung from the back wall, like a moth, helpless, surrounded by other leather and metal creatures, toys of curse and torture. “We are all already in hell, boy,” said Bear, as the Slings and the Cuffs drowned in laughter. All of the toys that surrounded Blue had turned away from the back wall. They kept their heads low and closed their eyes, but they listened. Bear continued to raise his voice high, above all. “Lose your ideas of control boys. We are the children, and we are the accursed!!! Abandon is our only hope!” he cried proud and strong. “We have been blinded by the ages, no disrespect Silky.” “None taken,” replied the silk blindfold, that stood right below him. “We need to take action now!” said Bear, as he continued to incite the rest of the toys. “Should we take this shop and turn it to flames, or should we continue to let our meaningless lives go to waste? It shall be our choice, and not the adults! They refuse to give us their children and continue to steal our friends!” Rose, Koi, Boss and the twins turned to each other. The neon light lit up again, and they were renewed by the thought of choice. “Aren’t we all just toys? What does it matter whether you have a display collar or not! This is our life and we’re rotting on this wall.” Bear’s dreadlocks swung around his wall, and he touched all of the toys around him. “We’ve been ghosts prophets and an insect exhibit. But, we could do so much more!” “This all sounds like communism!” said Thumbelina. “Who’s to say we’re all equal. I don’t think we’re equal, you and me, Mr. Bear. I don’t want to turn this place apart. I don’t want to be in hell! I don’t want to be here anymore!” Thumbelina finished her comment abruptly. All of the toys that surrounded her went silent, too ready to agree, cheer and support the next toy that would stand in the spotlight; carrying all the shame that this brings. Thumbelina swayed side to side, and made her way next to Blue. “I love you boy, “she said as she caressed his bunny ears. With that she leaped out from the shelf and into an unknown world below that shattered as it received her. Blue was speechless, he felt it was him who had broken into a million pieces. “No,” he muttered to himself in a microscopic voice. “We ARE just toys.” The rest of the toys slowly gathered closer The Magic Issue
together, trying to get a glimpse of the wreckage. With the coming of the morning light, even the dark contraptions in the back wall began to tremble in fear. They could all see the store for what it really was- all of the store at once. The pictures that hung on the walls contained signs all around them. They had somehow forgotten that they were all there, where they had always been. The posters showed a smiling man being strapped to a bed by two beautiful women, another showed a woman, naked, holding Thumbelina in one hand, and biting the nails of her other hand. None of the toys could really make anything out of it. She had jumped, yet she remained above them all. She had given up, but she symbolized the fight. A naked woman would hold her forever. In this grip, in the sensual exciting grip, she would live not as a toy, not as a dreamer, but as the gift of joy. “Women are nothing but old girls!” said Blue, in excitement, as he came to this realization. How would he know about conceit? How would they all know that it feels good to be poisoned? It feels good to be bad and forget yourself in selfishness. All of this, how would anyone know, if it doesn’t start by a question? The store remained closed for the entire week. And, as the month of October began, the owner walked inside the store. As he closed the door, his youngest daughter came in, running with her little dress, her shinny black shoes, and white socks. She had dark grey eyes, long, red, wavy hair, a beautiful freckled face, with a big smile on her pretty, pink lips. She ran across the store and around the place as her father slowly made his way to the counter. She stopped suddenly as she came across the broken glass. “Daddy, what is this?” Slowly she walked across the splinters of glass and picked up the remains of dear Thumbelina. Because it had gathered some dust, she blew on it. Then, she licked Thumbelina’s side, tickling her. “Oh my!” said the store owner, as he realized there was broken glass all over the floor. “Hey! Don’t do that! It’s not a toy!” The owner took Thumbelina and grabbed his daughter’s hand. “What is that daddy?” “Oh, it’s a toy for big girls. When you’re older, you’ll understand.”
Flabul us Katie Madonna Lee
A long, long time ago, in 1991, before cotton-spandex blends, lived a twelve year old girl named Brenda Lynn Baker. She lived in a far, far away land called Michiana, Indiana. Brenda Lynn did what most 12 year old girls did. She enjoyed the glossy Jason Priestley spreads in Sassy magazine, brought Color Me Bad cassettes from Coconuts, and watched, with envy, mall fashion shows. She did what most 12 year old girls did, only, she had one shameful secret. Brenda Lynn Baker wanted so badly to be in the mall summer fashion show. Yet, she had been fooled into believing that she was nothing but a fat girl. The only store in all of Michiana that sold neon green and signed up models for the fashion show was 5-7-9. It’s an elitist white trash boutique only selling clothes for small boned girls soon to be heavy metal groupies. A neon green fanny pack display caught Brenda Lynn’s eye, she ran towards the gemmed, pocket wallet. Brenda Lynn’s enthusiasm for the trend of bright neon colors was to be met with distain and vile looks--looks that a Miss Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, got once at a Rodeo Drive boutique. “We don’t have this in your size.” The icy and boney clerk smirked. “You may be a little too fat for this to fit around your waist.” She added as her Press on Nails snatched the fanny pack away. “Fat” is the paranormal adjective that when said, has the power to make a girl become completely worthless. Brenda Lynn openly displayed her love for fanny packs, and within moments, one word zapped her affections for fanny packs and for herself too. Visual Opinion
The terrific thing about magic, is that it only has power if you believe in it. As the seasons of 90210 passed, Brenda Lynn Baker’s belief in the power of the word fat grew. It controlled every little thing about her. The clerk’s spell from 5-7-9 convinced her that fashion was only allowed for the skinny to enjoy, so she never even attempted to sign up for the show. Feeling worthless, she wished to be as invisible as possible. Brenda did as the white trash retail clerks wanted. She resigned her wardrobe to beige and earthy office colors. The 5-7-9 store clerks smiled at Brenda Lynn Baker’s bleak outfits. Secretly, she yearned to wear biker shorts, bra shirts, and Guess jeans, the way the MC Hammer dancers did. Brenda Lynn wanted to be fabulous. She knew that deep down there was more to her then just Lane Bryant. Yet, she kept this secret hidden deep within her, and lived in her fantasy world of fashion. She hoped that one day something or someone would see in her what she felt. Distraught, Brenda Lynn made her way into Claire’s boutique, searching for a glimmer of hope, a pair of gold earrings. “Do you have these with a clip on?” Brenda Lynn held up Nena Cherry hoop ear rings. “No, if you want to wear those you have to get your ears pierced.” A high banged teenage worker exhaled with boredom. Brenda Lynn touched her earlobes. As she stood in line, she listened to the sounds of a piercing gun, and preteen cries. Finally a platinum blonde, an Anna Nicole Smith-alike turned around. She said, “Sit in the chair.” Brenda
The Magic Issue
All images in care of Katie Madonna Lee Visual Opinion
gulped as she sat in the chair. “Is this going to hurt?” Brenda asked. “Oh, more than you know,” replied Anna. The blonde then aimed the piecing gun. Brenda Lynn cringed. And, as the gun pierced her ear lobe, Brenda Lynn passed out. When Brenda awoke, she found herself in a room. A room that may have once been her bedroom, yet had been transformed with neon pinks and leopard print. Then, the same platinum blonde from Claire’s boutique, dressed in what was a little bit Country, and a little bit Peg Bundy, strutted towards her. “Ouch!” she said. Brenda sat up with giant hoop earrings dangling over her shoulder. “Well, my dear, aren’t you going to ask me why I am in your bedroom?” Brenda Lynn was too confused to respond. She wanted to touch the colorful wardrobe, gold pants and acid wash jeans, bra shirts and pastel sweaters that lay like a buffet before her. The fairy godmother schooled Brenda Lynn on the fabulous chubby sisters that came before her: Suzanne Sugarbaker, Divine, Leslie & the LY’s, and of course, The Weather Girls. “Now, I’m going to show you how to sew, how to snap and how to Bedazzle.” The fairy godmother whipped up an outfit with a blink of an eye. “Now it’s your turn.” Brenda Lynn shrugged. “But I can’t sew; can’t I just buy something and wear it?” Fairy God mother snapped her fingers, sharply. “Then there is no use in having your own style now, is there? Don’t you know what makes these threads is magic? It’s the magic of creativity. I can turn ordinary throw aways into something colorful and fun. It wasn’t there before and wouldn’t be there without me.” Brenda Lynn saw her point. “All you have to do is try.” Finally, with a few attempts, came Brenda Lynn’s first hand made outfit. As Brenda Lynn stepped into her feathery sweater and leopard print pants, something stirred within her. A change was taking place. The fairy godmother snapped on the fanny pack that the 5-7-9 clerks denied to her. Brenda Lynn looked in the mirror and saw that person she always knew was inside of her. Brenda Lynn took her confidence and look to the streets. She strutted the country-ghetto avenues of Michiana, Indiana, getting applause from crack heads and little kids flipping on mattresses. Outside of Frankie’s BBQ, she felt her confidence sparkle and shine. The wind did not limp her high bangs. That was until a group of boys called out the infamous word that threatened her spark. FAT! And there Brenda Lynn started to fell her strength wither away. Brenda Lynn felt defeated and ran for home. Suddenly, a loud four door tinted window Oldsmobile, with dice in the mirror, pulled over. Fairy Godmother stepped outside with a bucket of ribs. “Brenda Lynn, you need a ride somewhere?” As they drove with Reba McIntyre blasting, Brenda Lynn told her how ashamed she was of her outfit. “And why is that? You aren’t dressed up
like a hooker on a bike. You just are trying to enjoy yourself.” “But all the boys don’t like the way I dress,” said Brenda Lynn. “Brenda Lynn, is this the way you want to dress?” “Well, yes.” “And do you want boys to like you for you, or what you pretend to be?” said Fairy Godmother. “Me, I guess,” Brenda Lynn replied. “Many girls pretend to have style, but they don’t. The only style they have is ‘sexy’, and it’s one-dimensional and only has one goal, to attract a man. And, then what? What about what happens after that?” “Never has fashion has been about what the opposite sex wants, Brenda Lynn. Fashion is the one thing that we females can own for ourselves. Own your own style, and then you own yourself.” Brenda Lynn told the Fairy Godmother to stop the car. She stepped out and strutted down the street, gathering up all the girls that had been told that they were “too fat,” “not sexy,” or “ugly.” And soon, that gang of girls, Deborah Magillacutty, Claire Butterworth and Martha Dumptrunk found themselves in Brenda Lynn’s basement whipping up some magic. Several Bedazzled dresses later, the girls found themselves with a summer collection. Brenda Lynn knew exactly what she had to do. She knew that since they would never allow her to sign up for the fashion show, they were just going to have to highjack it. Watching as the Slut R Us models strut by, the girls hid in the audience wearing trench jackets and sunglasses. Just as the ending chords of “Rock N’ Roll Hoochie Coo” faded out, an early 90’s dance piano overtook the speakers. Ripping off a cape and showing off her Gem sweater and David Lee Roth inspired pants, Brenda Lynn took over the stage. What had been released in Brenda Lynn, had been released in everyone in the crowd. Everyone seemed to feel like an outcast from all of the retail stores. Everyone felt forced to feel terrible about their bodies because they could not comfortable fit into a size 6. They had to suffer through the disapproving looks of judgmental retail clerks. And, as the audience of Michiana, Indiana watched these four little girls own the stage with what they made, everyone realized that there was another way to do things. Brenda Lynn spotted the Fairy God Mother watching from Orange Julius and darted towards her. “You are magic; you made all of this come true,” Brenda Lynn said as she hugged her. Her Fairy Godmother said, “All I did was pierce your ears, you made the magic yourself, darling.” The magic happened once Brenda Lynn quit believing in the word fat, and started believing in herself. Magic is the positive belief in ourselves as we overcome the negative voices within. It was through magic that Brenda Lynn Baker became Flabulous.
The Magic Issue
The Magic Issue
Born to Henry Craven, a Manhattan socialite, and Dusty Lix, his hooker, Richard burst forth from the womb. At exactly 3:00 am, on an especially cold January day, as some historians now refer to as “The Magic Hour,” Richard was delivered in Henry’s Upper West Side apartment. The doctor present at the time of birth describes the experience in his 1976 best selling memoir Delivering Magic: “His birth was an unusual one, different from any I’ve ever seen in my forty or so years of delivering children. His umbilical cord was attached with a seemingly never-ending collection of tied together, multi-colored handkerchiefs. When I brought Henry over to cut it, a cloud of smoke poofed out from the severed end. Hours later, as Richard rested quietly, his mother went into labor again. We thought there might have been a possibility of twins, but moments later a tiny white rabbit leapt out from the womb.” Richard was encumbered with the Power from a young age. His beloved childhood pet, Rodrigo, a schnauzer, once went missing for a number of days. After countless days of searching, Henry went to Richard’s bedside one night and told him that Rodrigo had disappeared. Richard did not weep, he only asked that Henry check underneath his bed for monsters as he always did. As Henry lifted the skirt of the bed, Rodrigo sprinted out. The dog, most likely crazed, after being released from his magic prison, ran into the hallway, out the door, down the elevator, through the lobby, and into the street where a street sweeper promptly annihilated him from the face of the Earth. Each of Richard’s later shows were prefaced with a moment of silence for his career’s only causality. Craven’s professional career began right out of high school. He struggled for years to find an appropriate stage name. He once performed at a local yacht club under the guise of Craven Richards, but dropped it after he was laughed off the stage to the chanting of “Craven Dicks.” After weeks of soul searching, he took his mother’s maiden name, Lix Richards, but that only led to a more disastrous result for his confidence. It was only after he met his first partner, and future wife, Sandy, that his career really began to take off. Dropping the idea of a stage name, Richard booked a number of key gigs all over New York City. The 1955 International Confused Male Conference, now known as Gay Day at Disney World, and the now infamous Louis Berksanbaum Bar Mitzvah, were his launching pads. When Sandy fell ill with pregnant, in the spring of 1960, Craven’s prodigal rise to the top of the magic making world, came to a screeching halt. Despite her affliction, Sandy continued on courageously. Yet, her new, bulbous figure made it impossible for Richard to perform the most menial of illusions. Sandy took a necessary leave of absence, and was replaced by Delilah. Richard was able to saw her in half without first hitting a child. The affair that took place between Richard and Delilah is well documented in publications like The New Yorker, where Sandy is quoted as saying, “Richard and Delilah are f***ing? I had no idea! I am going to cut his dick off.”
Heartbroken, Sandy went home to her mother and raised her first and only son, Trevor Craven. Eventually, he would play Oedipus to Richard’s Laius, including boning his mom years later. Playing cheap dive bars, in exchange for drugs and white rabbits, Richard took off with Delilah. They binged their way across the country, including a stop as the warm up act for the Ed Sullivan Show. This was rock bottom in Richard’s illustrious career. Irreparably drugged up, he used his penis in lieu of a wand, grabbed his assistant’s breasts, and ran back stage, introducing The Beatles to marijuana before Bob Dylan even hit the charts. After an intervention led by his father, Richard began a come back tour, with amazing show after amazing show. Sober for the first time in years, Richard met his son for the first time. The meeting was less than stellar as Richard attempted the “Got Your Nose” trick on the infant. Young Trevor was subject to abuse throughout his remedial schooling, answering to insults like “Flat Face,” “No Nose,” and “Bitch Tits.” Trevor’s latent hate for his father manifested years later during a Police concert where he was called on stage during “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” He was smacked in the vacant space between his eyes and his mouth by Sting’s bass. A large welt developed into the shape of a nose, as the sold out crowd laughed him off stage. Richard enjoyed continued success well into the 70’s and 80’s, including a set at Woodstock where he made Abbie Hoffman disappear. In 1978, in a private ceremony, he and Delilah married at the Palms Casino in Atlantic City. In attend dance was every prominent magician, at the time, including Skyles Morgan, Rudy LeChase, and Marianne Peebles-founder of the Peebles Foundation For Displaced Magicians. Noticeably absent was Trevor Craven who was busy playing to a packed house at the very same casino. The noseless Trevor began an offensive against his negligent father. They challenged each other to the greatest magic display in modern history. Known as the “Great Magic Off,” which was held outside Madison Square Garden in 1979. Each competitor traded blows with a flourish of trickery and illusions. Despite being at a severe disadvantage to his younger adversary, in both age and skill, Richard attempted a trick he had been developing his entire life. Ultimately sealing his fate. Richard pulled a pistol out of his pocket and shot himself in the head. It was later discovered in a note written on the butt of the gun that he would bring himself back to life. Richard Craven was pronounced dead at the scene. Trevor went into exile where he has remained since the incident. To summarize Richard Craven’s life in one sentence or paragraph would be like trying to capture a rainbow in a bottle. What can be said is that despite his love of heroin and prostitutes, his first and primary love was always magic. It was the man himself who said it best in a posthumously released interview, “Life is the greatest illusion. One minute you’re at the top of your game and the next you’re opening for Joan Rivers in A.C. for some blow and a bag of Funyuns.”
Richard Craven was conceived a man of destiny.
Alex DeCosta 23
The Magic Issue