Burns’ Love Nest and Vortex

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Two Brand New Releases Unleashed! 

I have written at least one post about Charles Burns before but maybe I failed to mention that to me he is amongst my 3 favorite graphic novel artist. I sincerly, deeply admire the quality, the releveance and the genius behind each of his books and other creations like the pocket sleeve of Iggy Pop album Brick by Brick, this guy always taps right up into my alley when he picks a subject on whatever topic it is; music, movies, writers, trends from a certain era.. I really appreciated his Black Hole, went back and read all his previous work and wouldn’t miss reading his X’ed Out Trilogy and now this. It never fails to deceive me. Burns brings you in a world of his own. Icons from our childhood now coming back to haunt us in a twilight zone that might be awaiting some of us, Burns brings evil with candor from the least expected things but giving it a estheatic treatment that is suppose to be reassuring, very definite lines, 50’s like cartoons and a technique that is flawless and is not unique but if you take it as a whole, Charles BUrns has really managed to make is style recognizable instantly, unequaled, unparalleled. Hergé drawing and writing pop surrealists stories simpler but close to what Burroughs could have done when he was a kid.

R. Crumb once observed that “The work of Charles Burns is a vision that’s both horrifying and hilariously funny, and which he executes with cold, ruthless clarity… It’s almost as if the artist… as if he weren’t quite… human!” And it’s true that Burns’ icy pen and ink drawings, which came to popular attention with the publication of the graphic novel Black Hole, depict disturbing realms that similarly attract and repulse, while being both alien and yet familiar.

The good news for Burns fans is that two new titles, Vortex and Love Nest, will be published this month by Cornelius. But if you’re in Paris there’s no need to wait since you can currently snag copies at Galerie Martel, while checking out original drawings from the titles, such as the ones below.

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All images © Charles Burns / Cornélius 2016.

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The Life and Crimes of Micheal Alig

Glory Daze in the Limelight!

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Micheal Alig looking like a deer caught in the headlights

Micheal Alig was one of those people who spent a very unhappy childhood in South Bend, Indiana because he couldn’t fit in. He was bullied, humiliated, laughed at beaten and so forth.Back then you either went to LA or New York. He went to the latter just that he could be his real-self. Problem is it must have probably work too well, too fast because Alig became totally unhinged and it all ended in a ”Disco Bloodbath” for Angel,  the ”Spiritual-Super-Drug-Hero-Dealer” who’s body was sent floating on the Hudson by Alig and Robert “Freeze” Riggs, dismembered so that he could fit in a cardboard box. The river’s current usually sends everything to the ocean but a climate change had reversed the process and that’s how the body washed up on Staten Island instead.  He was lucky to be found at all.

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Michael Alig and Gitsie , Limelight NYC, 1992
Michael Alig, once known as the "King of the Club Kids" and who went to prison for manslaughter, is pictured on the left with Mykul Tronn and Caroline Lanson at Club El Morocco at 54th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. (Jan. 7, 1989) (Credit: Ed Quinn)
Michael Alig, once known as the “King of the Club Kids” and who went to prison for manslaughter, is pictured on the left with Mykul Tronn and Caroline Lanson at Club El Morocco at 54th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. (Jan. 7, 1989, Photo©Ed Quinn)

Alig could be described as a devilishly appealing guy from the Midwest who took the ’80s/’90s NYC clubs by storm with his subversive energy. Michael Alig always talked quickly, injecting a cackle between phrases, as he cooked up all sorts of mayhem and provocation. With aggression, smarts, and an anything-goes sense of creating fun, he quickly rose up the ranks of nightlife, becoming the darling of major domos like Rudolf Pieper and Peter Gatien, who later found that Alig was also a demon who could whip up tons of trouble as easily as he could dream up an open-bar party or a nutty performance art review.

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Sacred, James St-James, author of ”Disco Bloodbath” and Micheal Alig

He managed to create a scene that was totally surreal, crazy, glamorous yet not at all the same time. This was VERY profitable and it just kept on getting better and better. Alig’s notorious “Outlaw Parties”, which were thrown in various unconventional places including a Burger King, a Dunkin’ Donuts, abandoned houses and a subway, helped to revitalize the downtown New York City club scene which Village Voice columnist Michael Musto declared had atrophied after artist Andy Warhol died in 1987. Alig’s parties also became notorious due in part to his own “bad behavior”. Alig would throw $100 bills on crowded dance floors just to watch people scramble for them. In other instances, he would urinate on clubgoers or urinate in their drinks and stage falls wherein he knocked others to the ground.

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The sparkly-eyed club kids Micheal Alig and James St James

As Alig’s popularity in the club scene grew, so did his drug use. He was arrested several times for drug offenses and entered rehab, but continued to use drugs. In 1995, Alig’s boss Peter Gatien sent Alig to rehab once again.  Alig later claimed that after he completed his stint and was released, Gatien fired him.
Some of Alig’s behavior could be explained by a personality disorder; he was diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder. He stated that “The doctor said I was the most extreme case he’d ever seen. Everything has to be completely over the top and exaggerated. It worked well for my job – I was a promoter.At first Alig was totally against drugs and thought that anyone who was using was an absolute loser. Well that surely changed radically and soon Micheal Alig became a very heavy user of every drug you can possibly imagine, sinking low into depravity but always managing to have brilliant ideas and promoting what would become a way of life in itself: The Club Kids were born.

Now of course Micheal Alig had realised than drugs were bringing a lot more money than the admission entrance and the alcohol so he thought it would be stupid to let anyone else than him benefit from the profits generated by his parties so he created some sort of super hero figure that would be a guardian angel, offering you the boost you need to feel on top of the world again!! So he created Angel, a guy all dressed in white or silver wearing giant angel wings, able to offer you whatever drug you need whenever you need it. Of course in exchange of making Angel the official drug dealer of what was the hippest ”clientele” of  the New York Scene, Alig could ask for almost whatever he wanted up front and largely benefitted from this arrangement, until the debt became a too high a problem….

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Andre “Angel” Melendez

Andre “Angel” Melendez was regular on the New York City club scene and worked at The Limelight. He also sold drugs on the premises. After the bar was closed by federal agents when an investigation found that Peter Gatien was allowing drugs to be sold there, Melendez was fired. Shortly thereafter, he moved into Alig’s apartment. On the night of March 17, 1996, Alig and his friend Robert “Freeze” Riggs murdered Melendez after an argument in Alig’s apartment over many things including a long-standing drug debt. Alig has claimed many times that he was so high on drugs that his memory of the events is unclear.

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1992, At the Limelight with Peter Gatien

After Melendez’s death, Alig and Riggs did not know what to do with the body. They initially left it in the bathtub, which they filled with ice. After a few days, the body began to decompose and became odorous. After discussing what to do with Melendez’s body and who should do it, Riggs went to Macy’s to buy knives and a box. In exchange for ten bags of heroin, Alig agreed to dismember Melendez’s body. He cut the legs off, put them in a garbage bag and stuffed the rest into a box. Afterwards, he and Riggs threw the box into the Hudson River.

In the weeks following Melendez’s disappearance, Alig allegedly told “anyone who would listen” that he and Riggs had killed him. Most people did not believe Alig and thought his “confession” was a ploy to get attention.

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NYC club kids James St James and Michael Alig (right)

I told you the main lines of the story but I just wanted to make sure that if you were caught up in the story that you would watch this documentary on the subject.

In 1999 a memoir written by James St.James ”Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland” was released and Disco Bloodbath has since gone out of print but was re-printed in 2003 under the title ”Party Monster – The Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland”. It was also made into a movie that you can also watch for free here:

We must not forget the fact that this man killed and dismembered a human being and if it come across as a side note in this story, I am deeply sorry but it is not that I do not care about the horrible torture and death that Angel suffered. I just wanted to let people decide for themselves by watching the documentary, the  shockumentary, the movie or reading the novel. Micheal Alig is out since May 5th, 2014. Will he be able to reinvent himself and create something new and funny and healthy and cool and…. or not?

”FEED MY MORBID CURIOSITY. LIFE IS A BLOOD BATH, ADD SOME GLITTER & PLAY IN THAT SHIT”

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Litchi Hikari Club

ibrU5nAxe2BatABased on a play, the manga is a Japanese horror manga, written and illustrated by Usamaru Furuya. It was adapted from a play originally written and performed by the Tokyo Grand Guignol theatre troupe in 1986. The original writer of the play, Norimizu Ameya, played the part of Jaibo and thus became the character’s namesake..

Litchi Hikari Club also know as Lychee Light Club  was published in English as Lychee Light Club by Vertical Inc. on April 26, 2011. This Ero-Guro /seinen manga that revolves around a group of nine schoolboys who plan to create the ultimate in Artificial Intelligence. For the sooty industrial town’s lads there’s only one point of light: the Light Club, a secret brotherhood they’ve organized in an abandoned factory.

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The attractive leader of the club, Zera, is a twisted man polluting the minds of the club members to make them do whatever he pleases. Tamiya, the original founder of the club, wants to reclaim the club. Niko, the second in command, is pissed off at Jaibo, the one obsessed with Zera. They kidnap a schoolgirl, but the AI Raichi falls in love with her and she with him, and things get messy.  They’re on the verge of booting up their crowning achievement, a “thinking machine” fueled by lychee fruits. At the same time, the middle schoolers’ cooties-fearing solidarity is devolving into a downright National Socialist muck of murderous paranoia, perverse aestheticism, and (not always) suppressed homosexuality and as the story progresses, we watch the group gradually fall apart due to internal conflict and as the boys, under corrupt leadership, involve increasingly more twisted and depraved methods to reach their goal.

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Furuya Usamaru made the action to take place in a world where the Japanese and the Nazis have won the  Second World War, even if it doesn’t play a very important role in the action, it always made me thaught how affected the Japanaese were by their defeat and how close their way of thinking is close to the Germans. Furuya Usamaru is the same author who wrote the troubling Suicide Club (Jisatsu Circle) who was later on made a succesfull and equally troubling movie by Sion Sono as young students, subliminally influenced by apparently teen pop artists bands into a trend of comitting group suicide…

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 Now there is a prequel that has been written as well as a sequel that were both supposed to be made availabel in North America but so far, it has been impossible to get one delivered to my door. If one of you know how to get ahold of one or the other in North America plz let me know!! If you want to begin your first adventure in the Manga world I think this Manga would be a good place to start, in my humble opinion of course…
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Charles Burns

Trapped in the Atrocious Dimension

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His plots play out like fever dreams, swirling through time and perception, but Charles Burns’ aesthetic style alone is enough to make you queasy. In a class on underground comix, I was assigned Burns’ most popular tome, Black Hole, as an introduction to contemporary comic art. During the second session on Burns, a few of my classmates begged the professor to let us move on. “I just can’t look at this stuff anymore,” one of them said. She was sitting close to the projector screen and a page from Black Hole from superimposed on her hair. I remember it being these panel:01                                                                                                            My only qualm with Black Hole, though I do love it, is the sinister use of yonic imagery. Some useful information emerges from the vaginal openings Burns draws in his character’s feet or throats, but mostly it’s just more nightmares. Flipping through Burns’ book, you begin to feel tension building around the image of what most characters call “the slit”. Oh great, another evil vagina, come to absorb you and your agency. What I found most exciting in Black Hole were the repeated images of monstrous teenagers.

 They experience bodily changes which mirror “normal” stages of puberty (i.e. new patches of body hair, sensual urges toward others, changes in skin texture), becoming alienated from unchanged teens around them.

    The kids in Black Hole are altered and mutated by a sexually transmitted infection (or something, it’s never fully explained.) Although they have a lot in common, they fall into isolation by blaming each other, losing themselves in numbing drug use, or fading into repetitive nightmares which blend into Burns’ depictions of reality. The reader is left questioning what’s real and what isn’t.46

     As far as monsters, the most engaging depictions in Black Hole are the yearbook-photo style drawings lining the jacket. Readers love these anonymous, twisted, rotting teenagers so much that they’ve even recreated some of the portraits in photos.  Burns’ teen faces are made grotesque with the addition of insect parts, or by the omission of recognizable human traits like eyebrows or hair. It’s funny how a teen with vicious acne and greasy hair is considered “normal,” while a teen with larger teeth and a rotting scalp becomes something else, something more disturbing, simply because we don’t recognize these changes. Monsters, again, need to be slightly unfamiliar or surprising.

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It would be a disservice to Charles Burns to discuss his flair for monstrous images without discussing his other pieces. So far I’ve found The Hive trilogy more engaging, as its set in a world different than our own. His use of flat color, without depth of focus or gradients, makes his creatures look as if they’ve been drawn for children, and this makes the books more uncomfortable to read.

A page of promo art I found floating around.
A page of promo art I found floating around.

The long, strange trip that began in X’ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, but not before Doug is forced to deal with the lie he’s been telling himself since the beginning. In this concluding volume, nightmarish dreams evolve into an even more dreadful reality…

The series centres around a troubled young man, Doug, in a non-linear narrative interspersed with dream-like sequences, varying levels of reality among a man who has overdosed, a weird world of worms where a reverse Tintin named Nitnit is finding his way, and angsty drama that will be familiar to readers of Black Hole.

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I just finished reading Sugar Skull yesterday, well in fact I reread the whole thing starting with the first album and by God it definitely is a striking masterpiece. Charles Burns manages to make reality seem even worse than his nightmarish visions. It is a blend between Eraserhead and something by Daniel Clowes but I thought it was way better than anything he had done so far. Pushing his strange world into ours. It is very harsh. Very sarcastic. Almost traumatic. For sure I enjoyed every page of it. I must admit I had doubts that it would be good and that the wait wouldn’t be worth it but it was… but then again that’s just me…. Charles Burns always was and remains my favorite Graphic Novel author. 

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Charles Burns

Burns has been producing this work at a slow rate of 64 pages every two years so it hasn’t exactly been a quick ride but who cares. This is one of my favorite comics of recent years—despite the low page count, every panel is filled with allusions, color-coded mystery and a complete world that it takes many readings to unpack. And of course, perfect cartooning.

Interesting in The Hive and X’ed Out, the first two installments of Burns’ most recent collection, is the hierarchy of monsters. Burns doesn’t explicate his monstrous society through character dialogue, but his art suggests some monsters, though capable of fear and trauma, are just food for the larger, humanoid creatures.

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In a sequence that has haunted me since I read it, an unintelligible creature eats an obviously terrified worm-monster. There are a few questions at play here: what separates a monster from an animal? Is this larger creature a cannibal, or is he simply eating the way we eat, popping prey into his mouth? His sneer suggests that he’s aware of the worm’s fear (or worse, he’s into it.) Burns’ narrator, who bears a disturbing resemblance to Tin Tin, looks on in stunned silence.

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“Six years ago, when I started working on this project, I conceived the books as three separate books, even if they tell one complete story,” Charles Burns says about his just completed trilogy, which started with “X’ed Out,” in 2010, and was followed by “The Hive,” in 2012. The last installment, “Sugar Skull,” comes out September 16th. Burns, who turns fifty-nine this month, told us what inspired him:

The format of the three hardcovers is based on Tintin in its Franco-Belgian comics album format. I know it’s unusual for an American artist of my generation to be growing up with Tintin. These days, you can find it in all the bookstores, but, when I was growing up, there were just six books that came out and they just didn’t do very well.tumblr_nblee0seOM1tlqmbho3_12806

Luckily, I had those books growing up. When I was five years old—I couldn’t even read yet—my Dad, who went to bookstores and libraries all the time, brought back one of those early Tintin books for me. It felt like the first book that was just my own. My sister read it, but it wasn’t for her—it was specifically for me. Also, it stood out from all of the other comics that I’d seen—the beautiful color printing—it was a world that you could really enter. It made a huge impression on me.

In those early American editions, there were six volumes, and then, at the very bottom of the last book, it said, “Look for additional titles coming soon.” And, of course, I looked for additional titles for years and years. Eventually, when they started being imported to the U.S., I found the British translations, but it took a long time. So as a kid looking at the books, I was filling in the holes, the missing pieces—kind of making up my own stories, I guess—looking at the back cover and seeing images that didn’t appear in the stories I knew. Now, the book I made—all three books—feels complete to me. I had a pretty firm idea of what the story was going to be when I started, but many things changed while I was working. In the end, all the pieces fit together the way I wanted, or as close as I could get. I feel like I’ve said everything I need to say.

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See below for a few pages from Sugar Skull”–though we strongly recommend that new readers start at the beginning.

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“You have no idea…..” 

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If you do not know what a Sugar Skull is Click on image below:

tumblr_nblee0seOM1tlqmbho4_12806The 2 previous albums of the trilogy:

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”It’s not like here’s Anti TinTin”

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As for other works: Burn’s Big Baby is interesting, because monstrous humans are difficult to depict in graphic novels. Burns’ protagonist, Big Baby, is both childlike and devious. Big Baby is a particularly impressionable young boy named Tony Delmonte, who lives in a seemingly typical American suburb until he sneaks out of his room one night and becomes entangled in a horrific plot involving summer camp murders and backyard burials. Burns’ clinical precision as an artist adds a sinister chill to his droll sense of humor, and his affection for 20th-century pulp fiction permeates throughout, creating a brilliant narrative that perfectly captures the unease and fear of adolescence.

Fears of the Dark , Burns’ short animated segment had some interesting moments. His creaky insectoids, as they cared for their victim, were pretty unsettling. As usual, I wanted more from the human characters; Burns’ humans tend to appear numb, or only vaguely ruffled despite the atrocities he puts them through.

 ”A Reluctant Habit”

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William S. Burroughs by Charles Burns

 EL BORBAH

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Excerpts fromEl Borbah

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“Are the El Borbah stories actually, you know, important? Hell no. This is Burns pop recycling at his manic and hysterical best. For all his later work, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Burns is, you know, a really funny guy. And never has this been more on display as through El Borbah’s adventures, vague detective tales where our hardboiled antihero is a misanthrope in a Mexican wrestling outfit, unraveling mysteries with equal doses of contempt and fisticuffs, like every weird television moment of the fifties and sixties exploding onto a page. El Borbah is a giant book with beautiful stuff inside. Well worth it at twice the price.”- Matt Fraction at www.artbomb.net

”Big Baby is a particularly impressionable young boy named Tony Delmonte, who lives in a seemingly typical American suburb until he sneaks out of his room one night and becomes entangled in a horrific plot involving summer camp murders and backyard burials. Burns’ clinical precision as an artist adds a sinister chill to his droll sense of humor, and his affection for 20th-century pulp fiction permeates throughout, creating a brilliant narrative that perfectly captures the unease and fear of adolescence. “At once alluring and grotesque, Burns’ imagery has been eagerly embraced by the counterculture, mainstream media, and a recalcitrant art world without ever compromising his strikingly singular aesthetic.” Juxtapoz

“The work of Charles Burns is a vision that’s both horrifying and hilariously funny, and which he executes with cold, ruthless clarity… It’s almost as if the artist… as if her weren’t quite… human!” R. Crumb

“These comics are brilliant, loaded with humor and a love of B-movies, pulps, and old comic books. ‘Curse of the Molemen’ is a classic of modern cartooning, and alone would make this book worth buying.” John Porcellino 

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Pocket Sleeve for Iggy Pop’sBrick by Brick” and Iggy Pop by Charles Burns..

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He certainly has an eye for round, jutting ugliness, and I admire how tension undulates through most of his stories. More uncomfortable than horrifying, Burns is a classic for any monster-lover. I imagine I’ll give his books to a teenage kid one day. At the very least, I think any offspring I’d have would enjoy Uncle Death:

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click on Uncle Death for more MONSTER BRAINS !                                            

T. Casey Brennan

Truth Stranger Than Fiction

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Comic Book Writer MK-Ultra Victim JFK Alleged Shooter

To say that the life of T. Casey Brennan is extraordinary would be a huge understatement. Since childhood he was dragged in a series of utterly mysterious, mind-boggling events culminating when Brennan got involuntary DIRECTLY implicated in JFK assassination, being one of the shooters. Brennan himself  is a very well-known writer so I will use various sources and put them together so we can have the whole story. I was fascinated by everything I found and I saw it as imperious to share it with you.

Here is the best introduction I could findYou find the whole story on there too, not just the intro.

”My late mother was paperback author Alice Brennan, and she published numerous gothic novels, one of which, CASTLE MIRAGE, was recently reprinted in the U.K., in Leicester, by a company called Ulverscroft or F.A. Thorpe. My late father, who wrote under the name Bill Brennan, was not as widely published, but did appear in the classic 1940s Street & Smith pulp, LOVE STORY magazine. I had a blueprint for making contacts in the magazine industry, and the process for submitting a professional looking manuscript through them. I was born August 11, 1948, in St. Clair County, in Port Huron, Michigan. In addition to being authors, my late parents were both local school board officials; my dad, using his full name of William James Brennan, served on the St. Clair County Board of Education, and my late mother served as CEO of the Swamp School District, Kenockee Township School District No. 4…this, in the 50s and 60s. When I got in as a Warren comics scripter, I began with the standard E.C. comics motif, which the Warren magazines were intended to imitate, but I soon branched off into work that was more experimental.”

T Casey Brennan told everything that happened via a story called ”Conjurella”. I thought this memo by Brennan himself would make a perfect introduction:

CONJURELLA NOTES: 

MAMAGANDA

by T. Casey Brennan

Conjurella is true but I want people to think I’m lying.

Basically what happened is this: David Ferrie wanted children to experiment on; turn them into assassins, agents, and the like, same as what they were doing in Asia at the time. He said he didn’t want to pay them because “they’ll think they run it then”. He chose me and Linda (she was firing from another window in the Texas Book Depository Building). Linda’s step-father at that time was my uncle, the late John Goodrich, of Columbus, Ohio. Her mother was my Aunt Bonnie. They lived very poorly, and I remember that there was a lady who lived upstairs we called Mamaganda. As far as I know, Mamaganda was the first person murdered over David Ferrie’s plan to make Linda and me shoot John Kennedy.Another, amazingly, was George Lincoln Rockwell. Here’s why that happened: to explain this thing that they were doing, whatever it was, with laboratories, and rows and rows of children in front of computers with needles sticking in them, they said they were planning a SECRET INVASION OF CUBA. Now, THAT is what Lee thought was happening, and, whatever else you may have heard about him, that is what he was damned well for: invading Cuba. (The stuff they were doing with kids bothered him, however, and THAT was what he told Tippit before his death.) rightist like George Lincoln Rockwell and Major General Edwin Walker were supposed to have some kind of role drumming up support for Beachhead Cuba, among the people who David Ferrie was fooling. Walker wouldn’t help at all, so David Ferrie ordered Lee to shoot AT him (and missed) to scare him. Rockwell must have done something or other because later, when he went to see the  Nation of Islam, he told Malcolm X that I had shot John Kennedy, and even called me by name. Coloring it to fit his own philosophy, he (Rockwell) told Malcolm that “Jew doctors” were creating a plague to kill all the blacks, and had already started infecting babies with it. The “Jew doctor” was Dr. J.H. Earnshaw (a Dutchman) and company; to Rockwell, damned near everybody in the world was a Jew. Anyway, Malcolm X thought it was just a screwball Nazi theory, but THAT’s what got Rockwell killed.

Now. If you want to hear the whole story through the man himself well you most definitely can. The story is utterly interesting and it’s along detailed accounts of TCB’s life as one of David Ferrie’s mice. Just click on the link:

Castle Mirage – The Prelude: Conjurella

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by T. Casey Brennan 

From A Moment a Moment of Cerebus:

Prior to JFK’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, Brennan said he would go with his father who would get hypnosis from a Dr. Earnshaw. While they were there, the doctor would drug them with or without their consent, he said.

“I was a docile kid,” Brennan said. “I did what they told me to do.”

Brennan claims that Dr. Earnshaw and David Ferrie, who some conspiracy theorists believe was involved in the JFK assassination, came at him with a needle and injected something into his neck. He was then stuffed in a crate and flown to Dallas. Brennan said he woke up in a storage room. A hood was put over his head and he was forced to fire a shot at the president who was driving by on the street below. Brennan said he didn’t know if the shot connected, but he thinks it ricocheted off the pavement and hit a pedestrian. He was then pushed out-of-the-way and Ferrie continued to shoot. Brennan said they left the storage room and ran into Lee Harvey Oswald on the second floor, pushing a broom. Brennan was 15 years old at the time of the assassination, he said.

Brennan’s name is mentioned in the book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi, which he carries around with him on he streets of Ann Arbor. Brennan said he would take a polygraph test and testify about his experience, but no one seems to care.

“Nobody wants to know or hear about it,” he said.

Hypothetical Cerebus
Written by T. Casey Brennan, art by Dave Sim
Actor Comics Presents #1 (HERO Initiative ,2006)
hypothetical_cerebus_2
In 2006, Brennan wrote more about the JFK assassination in his comic Hypothetical Cerebus in Actor Comics Presents. He writes in detail about how he was forced to take a shot at JFK and what his life has been like since that historic event… 
Father, son tortured, robbed

From the Times Herald, 12/4/75

By John F. Brown

An Avoca man and his son, who were beaten and robbed of more that $1,400 then bound and
gagged and set on fire, were left to die in a flame-filled bathroom of their old farmhouse about
midnight Wednesday.
William J. Brennan, 72, of 4238 Bricker Road, and his son, Terrance Casey Brennan, 27,
bound together with a pair of police handcuffs, electrical cord and tape, managed to free
themselves to telephone a Michigan Bell operator for help.
Sheriff Norman D. Meharg said Brennan and his son were admitted to Yale Hospital for
treatment of second- and third-degree burns of their hands and arms and head and facial injuries.
Young Brennan had been stabbed in the head several times by his attackers.

Both men were reported in fair condition today at the hospital.
Meharg said there have been no arrests made and so far there are no suspects. He has assigned
Detectives Robert V. Quain and Donald E. Tuthill to the case.
Meharg said the torture bandit were both white, armed with hand guns and had dark ski masks
over their faces when they forced their way into the Brennan home about 9 p.m.

"One of the thieves knocked on the door and when Mr. Brennan answered he told Brennan he
had ran out of gasoline, then pulled the ski hat over his face, pointed a gun at Brennan and
pushed his way into the house," Meharg said.

"The Bandits used a pair of handcuffs to lock the men together. They set paper on fire and held it
under the hands of the two men. Their hands were baked," Meharg said.

Deputy Sheriffs James VanConant and Orrin Burgett arrived at the scene less than six minutes
after the operator called the Sheriff's Department.
"You could smell burning flesh when you entered the house," VanConant said.
Brennan and his son told the officers their attackers pushed them into the bathroom of the
six-room farmhouse after they had taken the money.

They said sheets and bedding were put around them on the floor and the men poured them on the
floor and the men poured some type of flammable liquid over them.
One of the men tossed a lighted match into the sheets, closed the bathroom door and ran from the
home.

Brennan said he and his son managed to get the rope and cord off their feet and stamped out the
fire with their feet and hands, which were free of the handcuffs. They forced open the door and
stumbled to the telephone.

"My dad thought it was a joke at first. He even tried to brush the gun aside from the man at the
door, but I told him not to," Casey said.
Every room in the house, except the kitchen, was ransacked as the robbers searched the house
for money.

Neighbors of the Brennan's heard nothing, deputies said.

However, VanConant and Burgett said there were footsteps leading from the Brennan home
through freshly fallen snow for about a block to an area where a car had been parked.

The Brennan's were described by their neighbors as quiet people who "bothered no one."
Neighbors said the Brennans had few visitors
Brennan's wife, Mrs. Alice Brennan, was killed in a car accident two years ago in Ohio.
293505
Buy the comic based on TCB true story!
t-casey-brennan
On page 1496 of Vincent Bugliosi’s “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” Brennan is listed as number 8 on a list of possible JFK shooters.

 

Sources and Related Links:

Ero-Guro

The Ultimate Shocking Manga Style! Adults Only!

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Just a fast introduction if you are new to this. The Erotic Grotesque genre in novels is inspired from the famous writer Rampo Edogawa from the Taisho Japanese era (1912-1926), father of the detective story and author of numerous novels were erotism is intertwined with grotesque (ex: The Human Chair and Imomushi). It was introduced in the manga subculture of the 60’s by artists like Kazuichi Hanawa and Suehiro Maruo, later in the 80’s. Maruo’s style takes its roots in surrealists, marxists and expressionists movies. But the real inspiration of it all really comes from all the decay, the macabre and the grotesque that goes hand in hand with any war.

Le Lézard Noir is a French Editor founded in 2004 by Stéphane Duval whos editorial line is mostly inspired by something between black romantic and Japanese decadence. If you are curious and want to delve into those rare dark  depraved masterpieces of Japanese graphic novels with a rare, almost copy-logounbearable intensity, Le Lézard Noir Logo would be for sure the perfect place to look…  One of the main author of what is called the Ero-Guro (erotic-grotesque) style is without the shadow of a doubt Suehiro Maruo, who’s books are very troublesome and definitely ”XXX Rated”. One can simply say that this is pure and simple free provocation but it would be a mistake, if you take the time to dig into his art (because this can definitely could and should be called ”Art”) you will discover something that has been laying in our subconscious and says a lot not only about the atrocities the Japanese have witnessed and how heavy was the loss of their (extremely precious) pride when they were defeated by not one but 2 atomic bombs by the US but for sure a little something that lies within each of us too. Now I know these pages are hard to swallow and I totally recommend to keep these books out of the reach of your kids or any one for the matter. They are the kind of books that you keep under a lock after you have read them, exactly as if you had some Gestapo paraphernalia or a snuff movie…Well maybe not quite but almost… So I want to thank Mr Duval who has dared to present us those authors and if you’re into wicked japanese stuff… Like I said, look for the logo… So without further more useless words to describe the images, here are some drawings from various books and some animes made by Le Lézard Noir to present the graphic novels as they were released back then as well as some other ero-grotesque goodies (just click on the little logo for Lézard Noir homepage).

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Eros X SF by Shotaro Ishinomori

The New National Kid
Cover of ”The New National Kid” by Suehiro Maruo

Some clips made to present some of Suehiro Maruo‘s best works:

maruo1Les Femmes du Zodiaque – Miyako Maki

This last one couldn’t be listed as Ero-Guro but it is still very good. Same goes for the following one classified as ”seinen” (manga marketed to men in their late teens, 20’s or 30’s) which is most definitely a classic in his style so I thought that those of you who would be less ”hard core” would be able to appreciate more the one above by Miyako Maki and/or the classic ”seinen” below:

Clip with drawings from Shintaro Kago 

This is far from being complete but I hope if you are curious about this and want to know more, you now know some names and words to google to start your research!! Have fun and tell me what you found!!

tgirl1

OTAKU

Sons and Daughters of the Virtual Age

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Otaku is the honorific word of Taku (home).

Otaku is often associated with an extremely negative image as it is used to refer to someone who stays at home all the time and doesn’t have significant social or love life. They are seen a someone who pass the time by watching anime, reading mangas, playing videogames, surfing the internet (otaku is also used to refer to a nerd/hacker/programmer), or being a fan of a band, an actress, a singer or anyone who has achieve a certain popularity in one way or another for very various reasons. They are perceived as someone who become very specialized in one domain without making a living out of it. They are also perceived as someone who will be or hasn’t  been able of making it to adulthood.

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In the Western culture, people confuse otaku to be something positive like “Guru”. If you think about it, it’s not really good to be called a guru if it means you are a total loser who can’t socialize with other people except through the Internet.

Other Japanese words which have been confused by Westerners also include but not limited to: Anime, Manga, etc
otaku no jinsei ha yabai na! (it sucks to live the life of an otaku!)

The word Otaku is very related to one of an idol. A Japanese girl answered when asked ”What is an idol?” answers: ”For a guy it is someone to protect, for a girl it is someone she would like very very much to be friends with”. Hum… Right there it says a lot… I think this young lady tried to make it look like it’s a lot worst to be a male Otaku than a female Otaku. I felt listening to this that she wanted to make it look like male Otaku are much more and in a perverse way, addicted to their idol(s) than a girl who just ”wants to be friend” with her idol(s). If you watch the way the girls react when in presence of  one or more of their male idols, I wouldn’t say that this way of describing the matter is accurate….

The term “otaku” seems to have been introduced to anime fans in the US and other countries via Studio Gainax’s “Otaku no Video 1985,” a self-parody film.
Otaku, meaning probably “venerable house,” refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home. For instance, an otaku fan of a particular movie star could quite possibly know all of the films s/he has been in, their birth date, time of birth, shoe size, favorite toothpaste, etc. Generally speaking, calling someone an otaku in Japan is an insult, implying that their social skills have atrophied or never even developed, due to their manic involvement in their chosen fandom.In America, the term is used to denote a zealous fan, usually of anime and/or manga. Due to its introduction to most people’s vocabulary through its tongue-in-cheek use in Gainax’s film, “otaku” tends to have a much less dire definition overseas.When dealing with Japanese people, however, it may be best to keep in mind the modern Japanese image of an otaku — Someone who only leaves their home to eat or shop, if at all, with an overwhelming and unhealthy obsession about something. It can as easily refer to a stalker or sociopath as it can to a harmless anime buff.
     Under  a different angle, I have seen many times in various sources that Japanese children are asked to perform a lot, it goes without saying that even more is expected from them in adulthood. The passage to adulthood becomes a terrifying step to take for many. Otaku is seen by many as people who are afreaid to take that step and take refuge in childhood, clinging to childish hobbies that then become perceived as some kind of fetishism. You can easily see now why Otaky is so badly perceived in Japan. It’s sort of a rebellion against the Japanese values and is also seen as a very undignified way of doing so. I am not aking sides here. I am only exposing the way it is perceived in Japan and I am pretty sure any Japanese will say that I am at least 75% right. Of course I am not Japanese so I can barely grasp the magnitude of the unease that the Otaku phenomena has created, putting in question the very foundation of the Japanese traditional values. You might also see it as the result of  an exponential  growth of the wealth in Japan, a country that was barely making it before WW2 and that is now one of the countries that most if not all consider as a world economical force. Therefore leisure time and industries become very important in a country in which everyone as the means to afford spending money on stuff that is stricly for pleasure. That is one way of putting it but I think explaining the whole otaku social phenomena using only those arguments would be a huge mistake and missing very important considerations. Putting both together would for sure reveal a lot on why otaku became what it is and grew within the social Japanese way of life.  I do not know if it is still view with as much disdain now as it was a few years ago. I think otaku are seen at best now as some necessary evil that are tolerated, trying to keep a straight face while your teeth are grinding.
This is a very good documentary made in 1994 called simply ”Otaku” by French director Jean-Jacques Beineix (Betty Blue, Diva) but I could not find it in English. Here it is in French. It is very well made, goes very deep and explores many angles on the subject. You can always order it, it does have English subtitles on the DVD. Here it is in French for those who can understand it. Sorry.. It’s the best I could find.
I would like to finish by just saying that of course the bad reputation dragged by the term Otaku is of course related to Tsutomu Miyazaki a.k.a ”The Otaku Murderer” who killed 4 victims between 1988 and 1989.

The Thin White Duke

The Side Effects of the Cocaïne

DAVID BOWIE 01 APRIL 1975 – 02 FEBRUARY 1976

WRITER SEAN T. COLLINS
ARTIST ISAAC MOYLAN

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If that flyer of ”Sound” in Berlin, here labelled as ”the most modern discothèque in Europe” means something to you, try clicking on it and then try to find the same image in the clip.

The Sound

Sion Sono Interview

Himizu

Format: Cinema

Release date: 1 June 2012

Distributor: Third Window Films

Director: Sion Sono, Japan

Writer: Sion Sono

Based on the manga by: Minoru Furuya

Cast: Shôta Sometani, Fumi Nikaidô, Tetsu Watanabe

Directed by Sion Sono, who brought us Suicide Club (2001), and more recently Cold Fish (2010), Himizu is an urgent and topical film. Located in the midst of the devastation in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2011, the film shows a society that is not only physically destroyed but also socially falling to pieces. Fifteen-year-old Yuichi Sumida (Shôta Sometani) lives with his neglectful mother in a boat hire shop. His drunken father only lurches into view when he needs cash and curses Sumida, wishing him dead and reminding him about the time he saved Sumida from drowning, an act he bitterly regrets on account of the insurance he could have claimed. Sumida is also the object of a school girl crush on the part of the hyper Keiko (Fumi Nikaidô) – ‘Am I a stalker? Yes, I am’ – to whom he is (at best) indifferent. The boat house is also a gathering place for a disparate bunch of refugees who serve as a Greek chorus and attempt to help Sumida in his troubles even as he hopelessly pursues his wish to lead an ordinary, normal and boring life.

Himizu 3

Tragedy overtakes him, however, and with his chances of normality gone forever, he teeters on the edge of madness, haunted by recurring dreams of apocalypse. Threatened also by the yakuza, who are pursuing his father’s gambling debts, Sumida considers suicide but wants to do something genuinely good that will redeem him before he dies.

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Sono’s film is a deeply unsettling view of modern day Japan. It is a society in which the adults have an antagonistic, if not downright hostile, relationship to their offspring. Sumida’s parents are blandly negligent on one side and furiously hateful on the other, but this isn’t simply an isolated case. Keiko interrupts her mother and father, who are in the process of building her a gallows. ‘You’ll use it when we’ve finished,’ they tell her. School is an irrelevance that spouts new age platitudes about hope and individuality while having no real impact on the lives of the pupils. The only sympathetic adults in the piece are the refugees, but they themselves have had their lives reduced to vagabondage that in its precarious vulnerability is not that far from childhood.

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Although originally based on a manga by Minoru Furuya, the script was changed at the last minute by Sono to incorporate the tsunami and the subsequent nuclear drama that was played out. Sono took his crew to one of the most devastated areas for some of the scenes. The film was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2011, a mere six months after the tsunami had hit Japan. It treats the aftermath in a tangential manner, alluding rather than depicting. But the whole film is imbued with an out-of-joint surreality, a topsy-turvy universe in which the generations are pitched against each other. There is no sign of authority and every now and then an ominous growling roar is heard as if there is another earthquake on its way, waiting to happen on the margins of the frame. This is a much more serious film than the dark comedy of Cold Fish. Despite the freakishness of the plot, there is a mournful tone that the use of Mozart and Samuel Barber reinforces. This is a satirical and in some ways despairingly angry film. In its privileging of the point of view of the young, Himizu is reminiscent of The Tin Drum (Volker Schlöndorff, 1979). Hope, if it is to come at all, will be brought out by the young kids who play out their relationship in the worst possible conditions and yet have an independence and resilience that will allow them in some way to survive.

Himizu

John Bleasdale talked to Sion Sono at the Venice Film Festival in September 2011 and asked him about adapting a manga, incorporating the tsunami in the film, and softening his trademark violence.

John Bleasdale: When did you decide to adapt Minoru Furuya’s manga?

Sion Sono: It was before the earthquake: what we refer to as 3/11. Actually, I had already completed the screenplay when 3/11 happened, but I had to adapt the script after 3/11. The original screenplay was very faithful to the manga, but I could not ignore what had happened and continue to make the film.

Himizu_0

The film is very different from the manga, especially the ending.

The manga was published 10 years ago, when Japan was a little more peaceful, and a little milder compared to now. Minoru Furuya wrote about a life of boredom and peace and the endless continuum of those days, but after 3/11 we were in a situation where we were living the unordinary, and the unordinary became our daily lives. The unending unordinariness is what we’re living now. The time has completely flipped. The manga is more depressing, because it was written in a more peaceful time. Now we’re not living in a peaceful time; we’re not secure enough to show these depressing things. That’s why it changed.

How did Furuya react to the changes?

He is very jealous, and he said, ‘I’m not going to read the screenplay because if I do, I’m probably going to give lots of notes, but as long as I don’t read the script I won’t feel I have to make any suggestions. So I’m just going to wait until you finish the film and then watch it.’

During the production was there any difficulty shooting the film?

The schedule for the principle photography didn’t change that much, as it was a low-budget film, and my crew wasn’t too open to incorporating the events of 3/11 into the film. But it was what I wanted to do, and so I very hurriedly rewrote the script because we already had a date to begin shooting.

In the film the protagonist seems to become a comic-book superhero, a masked vigilante, but that seems to be a parody almost, an idea that fails him.

[SPOILER] Looking back I agree, but he was in no way trying to be heroic. By committing parricide, he actually wants to kill himself, but in the time that he’s deliberating, he decides he wants to commit one good act for society, for mankind, before taking his own life. And he felt that to find and kill somebody who is obviously evil would help others.[END OF SPOILER] So it’s not like he’s a Kick-Ass type of character – he’s not a geek, he doesn’t read superhero comics – it’s not as if he’s emulating those heroes.

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Like the anti Kick-Ass?

Maybe not even that, because he doesn’t have the reference.

Can I ask about the use of music? What influenced you in choosing Mozart’s Requiem and Samuel Barber?

When I was in editing, there was a melody that would haunt me. I wanted to be faithful to that, and I thought Mozart’s Requiem would be too easy a choice, but it’s just the best. It’s not about it being a requiem – that’s not the significance. It’s more about the melody. And I had seen a couple of films where there is a main theme that is repeated with variations, and I found that effective, so I always wanted to try that with the Requiem.

Were the ruins used in the beginning and closing of the film real?

I did actually go on location to a place that was hit by the tsunami, but I didn’t shoot the location like a documentary at all because Himizu is a feature film, a drama. I wanted to film the place in an un-documentary way, which is to say we had a different way of shooting. We had a very long tracking shot that showed the rubble, which is something a documentary film wouldn’t do – it will give you an idea of how vast that landscape is. It is very dramatic, as nothing in particular is going on, but it just shows you the scope of the devastation.

How did the actors react to being in a ruined place?

We actually shot the scenes very quickly, right before the light failed, so maybe three hours, four hours tops, and within that time frame I didn’t want to make it a big production, so we just had the actors and the cameraman. It was beyond a director directing it. The actors hadn’t been there before, they hadn’t seen the place where the tsunami hit, and so I was just filming their raw reaction.

What is the film’s relationship with violence? Is it an aesthetic choice?

In just this film?

In all your films.

I haven’t really compared them to others, and I can’t really talk in relation to other people, but it is quite normal for me. Say you have a Francis Bacon painting, and you go to Francis and you say: ‘Francis, you have very violent, grotesque expressions – why is that?’ He’ll probably just say, ‘that’s the way I draw, that’s the way I paint’. It’s like a tick. Like a tendency, or habit. It’s not that it has come out of a place of intent, it’s not planned in a conscious way. Like you see the sky, and some people will see it red. They don’t see the blue in the sky, and you might say where’s the red. I don’t see that.

There is much less violence in Himizu than in your previous work. The film is softer.

Yes, you are absolutely right. I think I was more restrained in my expressions of violence, but it’s funny because people keep asking about the violence in the film. I feel that it is much tamer than my previous films. Violence isn’t a theme of the film, and there are so many violent films, so why do mine stand out? I didn’t want to show the murder too graphically, because it is such a sad scene. I didn’t want to emphasize it.

There is poetry in the film. Do you still write poetry?

Before I started making films, I wrote poems. One day I realised that I had started making films instead of poems, and now I don’t write films any more, but all the impulses and passion I put into poetry, I now put into my cinema. It’s like making films is like writing a book of poetry.

HUMI

The adolescent point of view is very isolated. The parents and the schools are not there, and the kids have to do it themselves. Were you influenced by any films told from the child’s point of view, for instance The Tin Drum?

The Tin Drum is one of my favourite films, but this was an adaptation of a manga. Within it, there was the character of a policeman who showed understanding for the boy. I didn’t put him in the film, because I wanted the boy and the girl to be (as you said) isolated. I wanted them to work things out, to drive the story; the world’s most isolated and alienated characters.

On TV we see that everything is in order now in Japan, but in the film there is chaos.

Journalism, I think, may not reflect the truth, so maybe it shows only a part of what the youth in Japan are going through now. Some journalists will say that the smiles are returning to the faces in Fukushima, but actually I went back a week ago to where we shot, and I didn’t see anyone smiling. Everyone is living in misery, and you can see the disparity between what is being reported and what is happening. In this sense my film is truer than the journalism.

Throughout the film we hear the sound of the earthquake, giving us the feeling that the earthquake is about to happen again. Could that be a social earthquake?

Yes. Absolutely, the apprehension of not knowing what is going to happen at any time. Ambiguous worries about what will happen in the future. To visually or cinematically convey that sense, I used that sound.

The community act as a second audience in the film. They seem to be the only community that works…

Yes, those characters had suffered so much. They had hit rock bottom and so they are able to bond. I went to the area that was hit most by the tsunami, and there were many bonds that were created as families lost members.

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Is this an optimistic film?

I am going to make a film about Fukushima next, which is going to be much more about dealing with reality. This film in a way doesn’t feature radiation leakage issues that much, because if I delved into that, it would be too much. But with my next film I’ll deal with it. Talking to people, interviewing people, investigating – that is not optimistic or hopeful at all. The process itself… I am doing it so that I will find hope, but it isn’t optimistic now. To cover your ears isn’t good. You have to have the clarity and everything out in the open in order to find hope.

Interview by John Bleasdale in  electrichseeplogo