Celluloid -The Story So Far …

Arizona International Film Festival – The Art Of Storytelling

By Matt Dukes Jordan

*Don’t Let Me Drown, 2009, USA

Be Calm and Count to 7, 2008, Iran

Psycho Guru, 2009, USA

The Crimson Mask, 2009, USA*

The cool thing about film festivals is that one can discover hidden, rare, and very innovative films that might not otherwise be widely seen. Along with feature-length films, tons of short films are shown and some are experimental and non-narrative. Unless you search out such films on the internet, you probably won’t see them. It’s good to give them a venue. It’s also good to give indie dramatic features a chance to find an audience and be reviewed… and maybe pick up prizes and distribution. Continue reading Celluloid -The Story So Far …

Music May/June/10

OM ~ Cabaret Sauvage, Paris 3/6/10

OM ~ Al Cisneros (bassist, formerly of the Doom Metal Gods « Sleep ») & Emil Amos (drummer, also with the mighty Grails) ~ are my kinda band. Imagine if John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward & John Bonham went on a journey around Kashmir & smoked far too of the local greenery & ended up in some mad Tantric monastry in Shambhala & decided to do a concert.

That is what OM sound like to me.

Who wouldn’t want to be there?

Music Archives

Mary Byker – Everything’s Groovy! – An interview with Jason Michel

Mary Byker has been rocking & moving in his own weird way around the music for decade. From the psychedelic madness of the Gaye Bykers On Acid through the Industrial Grit of Pigface to success with Apollo440.I had to the opportunity to speak to him about his past, present & future.*JM : Hey Mary.Let’s first take a trip down memory lane.Tell me … all those years ago in Leicester, why would a bunch of guys want to start a band & call it Gaye Bykers On Acid?

Continue reading Music Archives

Non-fiction Archives#2

Above Ground : A photo essay by Kristin Fouquet

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The term “six feet under” has no meaning for the dead in New Orleans. Early settlers discovered coffins and caskets would unearth from graves due to a high water table and sometimes float away during heavy rainfalls. The Spanish custom of interring the deceased in wall vaults was adopted. Families of means soon commissioned their own tombs.

Some families combined their funds for bigger tombs.


The wealthiest families built temples or extravagant family mausoleums.


Most cemeteries were comprised of perfect rows and many with functional streets. Tombs resembled small houses and buildings. Lawn crypts were constructed. Some graves were trimmed with wrought iron fences. An old racetrack became the land for Metairie Cemetery. “Cities of the Dead” became a popular sobriquet for New Orleans cemeteries.

Coping graves, also turf-top crypts, are uncovered empty chambers framed then covered with soil and sod. These can be built up to three feet from the ground, granting an earthen burial, a requirement for some religious customs as in Judaism. They also provide rapid availability for recurring internments.

Repeated burial in the same space is called reuse. A vault in a tomb may be reused following another in one year and one day if a wood casket was chosen. Ten years and one day must pass if the last inhabitant was put in a metal casket. The remains are transferred into a burial bag and placed into what is termed the receptacle or the back of the tomb. The casket is destroyed and the vault is prepared for the next occupant.

Angels are popular Christian funerary imagery, second only to the cross. These “messengers of god” are believed to lead the deceased to the afterlife.

The final resting place may also be seen as a reflection of social status. When a famous brothel madam of Storyville, Josie Arlington, spent a small fortune to have her tomb erected in Metairie Cemetery, it caused a scandal among those of prominent social standing. After she was entombed there in 1914, it quickly became a tourist attraction. This horrified the Arlington family, so they had her remains transferred to an anonymous vault elsewhere in the same cemetery, then sold her tomb. The Morales family took ownership. The brass sculpture of a young woman carrying roses stayed behind. Some believe she represents Josie being turned away from her father’s home. Others assert she is a symbol of a virginal girl seeking employment, but not permitted into the house of ill-repute. Arlington claimed no girl’s innocence was ever taken away due to her establishment. Despite the legend, the more likely explanation would be that it is a copy of a sculpture Josie admired.

While pragmatism may have been the initial incentive in burying our dead above ground, aestheticism and personal or familial pride has elevated the practical and enriched the unique architecture in the “Cities of the Dead” that are the cemeteries of New Orleans.

Kristin Fouquet worked as the weekend internment coordinator for Metairie Cemetery and Lake Lawn Park Cemetery and Mausoleum while she attended weekday classes at Delgado Community College to earn her associate of science degree in Funeral Services Education. It was her fondest achievement there to discover the final resting place of Josie Arlington while researching old cemetery records in the vault. You are invited to Kristin’s virtual home, Le Salon, at the web address http://kristin.fouquet.cc

Post-Apocalypse Now !

(A personal reflection on a few favourite films for The End Of The World)

By Jason Michel

The film “The Road” has just been released in France. It is the latest in a long line of films dubbed sweetly, “Post–Apocalypse”, and seen and classified by such people who classify such things as a kind of sub-genre of Horror or Sci-Fi, yet really they seem to occupy an odd place that is theirs and theirs alone. It is a place that starts with a barren and arid hope and often ends with even less.
It is a place that I can hang out in like Beatniks are drawn to a café full of black coffee.
I’ll tell you poor mortals why.
Let’s start at the beginning here. What exactly does Post-Apocalypse actually mean?
The origin of the word “Apocalypse” is something very, very different from the Mushroom cloud or pale white horses. In fact, the word comes from the Greek apokalyptein which simply means – to uncover or to reveal. A “lifting of the veil” or revelation. A moment of insight. How almost enlightening and Buddhist that seems.
It was, of course, with the wig out end-times schizophrenic St John’s Revelation that we get all our modern connections to the word. A word that has inspired every millennial cult from Crowley’s Thelemites to the Jehovah’s Witnesses that lurk around train stations and knock on all our doors. The Rapture, The Four Horsemen, The Anti-Christ, The Whore Of Babylon, The Seven Seals, The Lake Of Fire. That’s a wheelbarrow full of cans of whupass right there. Scared the living shite out of me as small child, I can tell you. When I was a child of five or so in the windy valleys of Wales that we went to the local desolate chapel to see this lay preacher rant. He was doing  his Hellfire & Brimstone  spiel, and a particularly nasty one it was too. And I went ballistic. I ran up and down the aisles waving my arms and screaming like a little Damien Thorn. It was so shocking that my embarrassed parents had to bundle me there and then into the car and away to home.
Being the child I was and still am, I found that my fear was sated once I had embraced it.
So, here we are.Now for a history lesson.
Your more famous Science Fiction Movie has had its fair share of big bucks scapegoating governmental propaganda in its history. The political influences know that people always want to see a bigger explosion. With Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in the 50s and War of the World’s supposed Anti-Commie message and Independence Day with its blatant scenes of Islamic Fundamentalists adding to the overall horror experienced by its “civilised” audience of a money leeching SFX extravaganza with a plot so simplistic that even a member of your average Reality TV show could have done better.
Horror tends to show us things that go bump in the night and taps into that irrational and unreasonable side of us that only really comes out in everyday life in our dreams or after four bottles of wine.
Post-Apocalyptica pops its scorched head up from time to time.
This is one of those times.
And its message has always been a lot more subversive than its first grizzled impression.
Charlton Heston was the 60s godfather of such films, before he became the gun wielding fiend that terrified liberals from California to Manhattan. Each of the characters he played came from the same basic mould; a tough world weary misanthrope angry at his species for their greed and stupidity, snarling and shouting so whenever the opportunity allowed. A hippie gone bad.
And the zeitgeist scarred each of these films and showed what could still be.
The threat of nuclear annihilation and the idea that humans were not the end all of the evolutionary process inspired such films as Planet Of The Apes and its subsequent sequels. Anybody remember those mutant nuke worshippers? Brrrrrrr.
The threat of the baby booming generation and humanity’s voracious appetite for breeding without control and to the detriment of all other species informed the classic Soylent Green.
Finally, The Omega Man showed us a world after the threat of biological weapons of mass destruction in the wake of The Vietnam War became a reality. The Omega Man was, in fact, itself a remake of an earlier flick, The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price fighting off infected vampires and was subsequently re-remade in the 2000s as I am Legend (the original name of  the novel by Richard Matheson) with Will Smith taking the Heston/Price role.
The Sixties also saw the rise of the most famous sub-genre of all Post-Apocalyptica. The zombie flick. Shuffling into our consciousness in 1968, George A Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead changed our perception of the zombie forever. Gone was the idea of  Voodoo witchdoctors reanimating corpses to do their bidding. It was now replaced by something all the more insidious. A creeping mindless horde of undead cannibals. So influential was this film and its sequels that oddles has been written about them. From their satirical counter culture stance on the military and The Vietnam War in the form of the pompous General to their comment on our consumer society. Also The Night featured a black hero. This was considered subversive enough for your average Middle American in 1968. To say that these films were mindless rubbish was really missing the point. They are a glorious modern day Grand Guignol.
The Mid-Seventies brought with it its own social upheaval and counter culture – Punk. Its chaotic battle cry of “Anarchy!” mixed with the nihilism of Heavy Metal and permeated throughout pop culture from the seminal Brit comic 2000AD to the bedsits of a thousand potential record labels and fanzines. Film was no exception and another great piece of Post Apocalyptica was George Miller’s 1979 feature, Mad Max and its sequel Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Pre-Catholic lunacy leather clad Mel was the coolest anti-hero on Earth beside Johnny Alpha as he drove like a demon to avenge his wife and child while around him punks raped and pillaged their way around a Third World War stricken Australia in search of precious oil. In 2006, the co-scriptwriter James McCausland wrote in an article on peak oil, “George and I wrote the script based on the thesis that people would do almost anything to keep vehicles moving and the assumption that nations would not consider the huge costs of providing infrastructure for alternative energy until it was too late”.
Throughout the Eighties and Nineties there were the odd one or two of note, such as Gilliam’s pandemic fantasy 12 Monkeys but in general the films were poor such as the utterly pitiful Waterworld, which even Dennis Hopper couldn’t save and the turgidly vacuous Tank Girl which should have stayed a comic. The films belied an era built on dreams that are turning on us today.
The Noughties on the other hand have brought with it a slew of worthwhile efforts not seen since the Sixties, such as 28 Days Later, a film that added a new slant to the zombie movie and showed that normal humans are even more frightening than the infected that they are running from. This film also heralded a new wave of zombie flicks that continues today including a decent remake of Dawn Of The Dead and Romero’s own Land Of The Dead as well as the emergence of the Zombie Comedy with Shaun Of The Dead. Zombies have well and truly gone mainstream with even Channel 4 in England showing Charlie Brooker’s splendid Dead Set, a zombie story set in a reality TV show.
Another of note is the intelligent almost biblical Children Of Men with some fantastic action scenes and genuinely gritty sets, in a story concerning the worldwide infertility of women and the consequences on a species knowing it’s going to die.
Then there is 2012. Based on a Mayan prophecy, the Apocalypse has finally gone fully sooper-dooper SFX mainstream entertainment.We are now living in our own Sci-Fi world, with portable communication devices and a worldwide communication network. We have everything we want at our fingertips. Computers are everywhere and are so ingrained in our way of life that most are invisible. We can enter into virtual worlds of our own making and live out our fantasies however high or tawdry. Our species life expectancy is longer now than at any time in the past. Bubble-headed TV shows designed to take the worries of the big bad world away from us. Ice cream in a thousand flavours in the average supermarket. We should be happy. But we’re not.
It all comes at a price.
New viruses appear weekly to make us wash our hands in anxiety; our species is breeding so rapidly that if every family in the world had the lifestyle of the average American family, we would need five earth’s to support us; there are CCTV cameras on almost every street corner for our “safety”; our governments are playing with our money willy-nilly and getting away scot free; the proliferation of nuclear warheads to so-called “rogue states” is imminent; our society is based on a fundamental resource that not only poisons us and our environment but is depleting fast, and as for Climate Change, don’t even start me on that one. Tornadoes in Derby?! A Lovelockian tragedy feels more and more real everyday.
I see the Post-Apocalyptica all around me and I have to admit that I don’t feel that much hope for the future. Not to say that I am right. Or some kind of eco-avenger. I do my bit, don’t drive, don’t want kids. If there is any hope in all this it is a quote from the biologist Lynn Margulis, “Gaia Is a Tough Bitch”. Nature will sneeze and off some of us tumble, but when Rome begins burning I’ll be on my veranda with a Strawberry Daiquiri, searching for my violin.

Writers Interview June 2010 – U.V. Ray & Richard Godwin

Jason Michel talks to the irrepressible U.V. Ray

Q1: Hey, u.v.ray. Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I was a child prodigy. By the time I was just 6 years old I was already well on my way to inventing a self-stirring saucepan. I tell you, if I could have solved the problem of the melting rubber band I’d have been a millionaire today. As it stands, I dropped out of school at the age of 15 without any qualifications and spent the 80’s and 90’s drifting around the backstreet bars and clubs of Birmingham City. Several of my friends from that era are dead. But I don’t remember anything with any real clarity, I mean a lot of crap went under the bridge. But I think I had a good run and I’d do it all over again if I was younger. None of us had shit to our names but at least everyone seemed to be trying to do something; either form bands, make films or, in my case, be a writer. I would ask behind the bar for a pen and write on torn up beer mats and cigarette packets and the likes.

Continue reading Writers Interview June 2010 – U.V. Ray & Richard Godwin

Non-fiction Archives#1

Crime & The City Solution: Tony Black By Paul D Brazill

Edinburgh crime writer Tony Black is an award-winning journalist, editor, and novelist.He is the editor of the brilliant PULP PUSHER ezine and the author of three novels featuring punch drunk, boozy Gus Dury, an ex  journalist turned Private Investigator.Paying for It, Gutted & Loss see Gus sniff around the back streets of Edinburgh and follow the trail of crime and corruption to the top. They’re gruelling, intenese and exciting journeys – not without moments of humour and tenderness. You feel as if you’d like to give Gus a smack every few pages but the pitbull proves himself again and again and it’s down to Black’s great writing that when you you finish one of his novels you feel Continue reading Non-fiction Archives#1

Writer’s Interviews Archive

Jason Michel Interviews Jodi MacArthur

Jodi MacArthur is one of the finest underground horror writers on the net today. Her stories ooze originality & ideas.*The Mistress Of The Macabre Speaks! * 

Continue reading Writer’s Interviews Archive

Fiction#June 2010

Diamonds Inc’ By U.V. Ray

Norton saw a spider crawling across his desk. He bought down his glass of Scotch and crushed it. He buzzed his secretary and said, “Send in Offenbach .”

Offenbach came in and leaned his black umberella against the wall in the corner of the room. He adjusted his suit and sat down in the leather chair opposite Norton, crossing his legs.

Continue reading Fiction#June 2010

Fiction#Apr/May/10

May 2010

 And The Music Lives On by u.v.ray
It had been boiling that morning. And later on, when a summer thunderstorm shattered the tense atmosphere, the rain immediately evaporated upon contact with the still hot asphalt. No money left. No smokes. No drink. I was out of almost everything.But I did still have some luck left. Continue reading Fiction#Apr/May/10

Fiction#Feb/Mar/10

 Two Flash Fiction Pieces From Jelena Vencl Ohlrogge

Metamorphoses

Jeff was looking at a tiny cockroach in his living room. The cockroach was looking back at Jeff with its Parisian blue eyes.

Jeff thought he was dreaming, because roaches do not have blue eyes. Or, do they? Jeff was trying to fill his blank thoughts with something. Anything. He was holding his breath, frozen in time, hesitating to stomp on the roach.

"Write What Thou Wilt"

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