Book Review: Welcome to the Show

Welcome to the Show 
Reviewed by Voodoo Lynn

Reading this anthology reminds me that not everything that is written is your favorite, standing coffee order and that sometimes, something different can be a good thing. There are enough stories here that are written by Bay Area natives to inject just enough truth (whatever that word may mean to you) to make everything plausible. As a lifelong Bay Area native, I have haunted various San Francisco bars and venues, especially when I was an intern at a well-established and known indie label. I have seen everything from burlesque to punk, to spoken word to I don’t know what the hell to call it. I have many fond memories of those shows and wouldn’t trade them for anything. The descriptions of this place, ring true to me.

Like every venue, the Shantyman has its own vibe. From its dark inception to its dystopian future of outlawed music, this venue follows a dark, sinewy path of death and destruction that both ravages the innocent and guilty alike within its infamous walls.

You have a selection of seventeen stories to choose from in this collection, so I know there will be something for everyone. I have to say this is one of the most diverse books I’ve ever read. Now, that’s not saying that I liked every story because I didn’t. In fact, there was more than one story that I felt fell short of the mark and could’ve been fleshed out more instead of giving it the ‘…and everyone died…’ ending. Having said that, let me take you through some of the highlights in this book.

The first story from this collection is “What Sort of Rube” by Alan Clark. This story is based in the 19th century and illuminates for us the very dubious beginnings of this infamous venue. It is narrated by a sailor, so the requisite amount of jargon is utilized but not so much as to take away from the story. It begins with one curse. A curse for revenge. A curse for love. Crazy, stupid love. And its basis is in, music. It’s always about the music. It is the alpha and the omega and through the burning fires of revenge, the stage is set for the damned and unlucky alike, to bear witness to the performances in the Shantyman.

The next story liked was “In the Winter of No Love” by John SkippThis story moves us forward to the summer of love era and a sense of the free love/freedom movement of the 60’s. It also takes us to the darker reality of that line of thinking, to the shattered dreams and memories of an idea that never came to fruition. The main character, Marcie, says that she “tastes” the history and creepiness of the venue and yet, she stays to watch the show of a lifetime. To me, that speaks volumes of the dark allure of the Shantyman. Interesting detail, the author mentions that Marcie is from Milwaukee and at one point, talks about how Marcie is 2173 miles away from the Shantyman door. 2173 is exactly how many miles San Francisco is from Milwaukee. Details. I love little details like that. So, aside from details, this story wins in the category of most unusually imaginative description of the end for the main character and all those poor bastards that was there for that show. I would’ve never seen that end coming. The ending, interestingly enough, is met by a character that reminds me of a very famous 27 year old poet/musician that died way too young. His character, this angel of mercy so to speak, exemplifies the 60’s philosophy on life. Plus, I totally dig the song lyrics in this story. Very groovy…

The last story I want to touch upon is “We Sang in Darkness” by Mary San Giovanni. It is the last story in the collection and it is by far my favorite. It’s set on the future, a sad, dystopian one that is totally plausible. Perhaps it is the conspiracy theory element that currently rings so true. With more and more criticism of fake news and mainstream media and its exclusion and downplaying of important stories, it is the conspiracy theorists that are gaining more traction and followers. Maybe I like the physics aspect of it discussing experiments with electromagnetic fields in the sky (can anybody say HAARP?) and how it was these experiments that caused one of the greatest tragedies of humankind, the complete utter ban on music for the safety of the planet all because the vibrations attract creatures from another dimension which are needless to say, dangerous. It is from here that I have my favorite quote from the story:

“I’d say I saw humanity there, but who’s to say that thoughts and feelings are the exclusive domain of human beings?”

Indeed. The story is so plausible that you can imagine the apocalyptic end of life and society as we know it and the beginnings of a new one, void of such an integral part of us as human beings- music. The main character perfectly illustrates how music has the power to help and change people for the better and we are reminded of how much we really lost because of him. Throughout this story I kept hearing the theme to the X-Files going through my head and though Mulder and Scully don’t arrive just in time, some feds at the end did and we all know what happens to eye witnesses to strange things and the feds…

I can’t say this is the best collection of stories that I’ve read but it is certainly a good one and I enjoyed it. It’s good enough for me to forgive what I call “The Little Story that Could’ve Been” that had a main character that reminded me of Alice Cooper placed into “Rock and Roll Nightmare” instead of Thor. I mention this because this story, that shall remain nameless, was one of my favorites until it just died a quick, uneventful, predictable death. I hope the author of it someday decides to expand on it because it could’ve been something.

Just like many of the Shantyman’s performers and audience members. People whose lives were cut short within the venue doors. Whether it’s cults, sea creatures, time travel, or vampires (I told you there was variety) I’m sure you’ll find your own ticket to ride within the pages of this anthology.

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Book Review: The Mourner’s Cradle by Tommy B. Smith

Review – The Mourner’s Cradle by Tommy B. Smith
4 out of 5 stars

By Chantal Boudreau

The Mourner’s Cradle offers up an exciting start.  After an intriguing prologue, we are introduced to the novel’s protagonist, Anne Sharpe.  The young widow confronts an unwelcome guest at her husband’s funeral and later encounters an intruder at home.  She concludes this is all related to her late spouse’s research into “The Mourner’s Cradle” and sets off to finish what he started.

Her trip to Peru, with associates, Ruben and Raul, is filled with adventure and danger, thanks to run-ins with her husband’s adversaries and hostile terrain.  The story reminded me of a dark blend of Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones, if the tale were set on (and in) a snowy mountain.

For the most part, the novel was a thrilling ride and kept me entertained.  I enjoyed it’s fast pace and plucky protagonist.  The action scenes were well written, which is important in this kind of story, but there were a couple of slow moments that seemed somewhat drawn out and repetitive, like at the airport, and the dialogue didn’t always flow well.  Those things aside, it was a positive reading experience for me, overall.  I would describe it as more of a thriller than a horror novel, but it was worth the read and I would rate it four out of five stars.

Book Review: The Splits by M.V. Clark

The Splits
(Personal Histories of Scott-Lapidot Disease from the Splits Archive)
Author: MV Clark
A psychological zombie novel

Reviewed by Ariel DaWintre

I was immediately attracted to this story with the tagline, “A psychological zombie novel.” I found this story kind of refreshing that it isn’t your typical zombie story it’s more of a cross between horror and sci-fi. I liked that the writer actually focuses on the medical side and what is causing the problem of zombieism.  A lot of the stories about zombies mention finding the cure but you never see them actually do that or even attempt. The characters are called Splits as that is what is happening to them from the inside and outside.

The story centers around two sisters and their families.  Claire and Anna have very different experiences and you follow their story from the onset to the final conclusion. Anna is a journalist and her journey gets her involved with interviewing people dealing with the outbreak. During all the trauma, she falls in love and gets married as life is going on around this outbreak like normal, but not normal. You never know who is going to come down with this disease and you’re never sure of the triggers. Anna’s story has many ups and downs. Claire’s journey with the disease is not as obvious at first, but her son Michael is not what he seems. However, he doesn’t seem to have the Splits either.

The story also follows a young woman named Lupe who starts out with her family being effected by the Splits and follows her journey of trying to explain it and solve it. I think she is great and analyses the outbreak while triying to fight the government and society. She tries to figure it out and come up with solutions.  I don’t really want to say more as it will give away the story.

The great part about this story is, I kept looking it up on Google to see if it was based on a true story. I could believe it was real because it wasn’t just a case of the whole world changing into zombies and only a few survivors. We get to see society going on like nothing is happening and that they are just dealing with an outbreak like the common cold. Great book!

CometTV.Com September Giveaway! Yo Adrian!

Cool Swag Giveaway!

What you win: 

The Comet TV and Charge! September Pack has:

1 – Limited Edition Space: 1999 COMET TV T-shirt: Exclusive to this month, we’ve created an exclusive shirt celebrating the retro goodness of this classic series!

1 – Rocky Exclusive Charge! Clamshell Box: While there may not be a VHS tape inside, this pack has some of the classic Rocky artwork. Yo Adrian!

1- Rocky Viewing Kit: When you’re working up a sweat in the gym and feeling the Eye of the Tiger, this kit will help you get into the Rocky mood. There is a Charge jump-rope, a gym towel and a die-cut Rocky sticker!

1- Godzilla Funko Pop Figure: Who doesn’t love Funko Pops?!? This Godzilla will be the fire breathing center of your collection and a perfect way to celebrate the Godzilla double features, Sundays on COMET TV!

How to win:

Post your favorite Rocky, Godzilla, or Space moment (or movie line) and then tag us on Twitter or Facebook with hashtags #horroraddicts #comettv #godzilla

Twitter: @horroraddicts13

Facebook: horroraddicts.net or emzbox

Contest ends  September 30th, 2017
**Available for US residents only.**


AIRING ON COMET in September

YOU DON’T NEED A SUBSCRIPTION TO WATCH THESE GREAT
MOVIES…
THEY’RE AIRING FOR FREE ON COMET!

9/22 starting at 1/NOON C

Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah (1991)

Godzilla VS. Destoroyah (1995)

9/29 starting at 1/NOON C

Godzilla VS. Mothra (1992)

Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack (2001)

 

Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965)

Dr. Who heads to the big screen and in color! After accidentally being transported to another planet Dr. Who and his friends come across a vial of drugs and head to a nearby city to investigate and find missing components of their Tardis. Say no to drugs kids! They come across the Daleks who take the components all while the good Doctor and his group suffer from radiation sickness! What can cure them? The mystery drugs they found… But an evil Dalek plot threatens the group and everyone who opposes the evil cyborgs!

Monday, Sept 17 at 8/7 C

 

Dr. Who: Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966)

Peter Cushing stars in the role of Dr. Who and he discovers, after traveling to the future, that the Daleks have taken over the Earth! A band of resistance fighters are trying to stop the attack but everyone is brainwashed!

Tuesday, Sept 18 at 8/7 C

 

————————————————————————————————————
Airing on CHARGE! in September

Rocky DOUBLE FEATURES

Yo Adrian!

Catch up on Rocky I-V all month in September on CHARGE! There’s a double dose of boxing goodness every Thursday. Watch the blood, sweat and tears as Rocky battle foe after foe and continually forges on against all odds! He clearly has the Eye of the Tiger! Get pumped and watch the first five films in the Rocky saga and relive all the action, guts and glory!

Then catch a Rocky Double Feature every Thursday after that starting at 2/1 C and 8/7 C.

CometTV.Com September Viewing Guide

Check out the new Horror/SciFi network! CometTV.com is a digi-network which people can watch via antenna and/or streaming live via the web. It’s the home for the best in classic horror and sci-fi films showing some of the most unique and rare genre content including films rarely seen from the MGM library.

AIRING ON COMET in September

YOU DON’T NEED A SUBSCRIPTION TO WATCH THESE GREAT
MOVIES…
THEY’RE AIRING FOR FREE ON COMET!

Godzilla DOUBLE FEATURES

Godzilla wanted to move to Saturdays. We said OK! Through September, catch the mega monster films that rocked the planet and featured Godzilla going head to head with his infamous foes. Destruction begins Saturday, September 8 with Rebirth of Mothra and Rebrith of Mothra II.

Saturday, Sept 15, 22 and 29th starting at 1/NOON C.

9/15 starting at 1/NOON C

Godzilla VS. SpaceGodzilla (1994)

Godzilla VS. Megaguirus: The G Annihilation Strategy (2003)

 

9/22 starting at 1/NOON C

Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah (1991)

Godzilla VS. Destoroyah (1995)

 

9/29 starting at 1/NOON C

Godzilla VS. Mothra (1992)

Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack (2001)

 

Q (1982)

Aztec Gods? Female Lizards? And a takeover of New York’s famed Chrysler Building? What’s a New Yorker to do? Rely on a criminal who has dreams of being a jazz pianist to find the creature’s lair and blackmail the city for directions! What, those aren’t on the subway map?

Wednesday, Sept 12 at 4/3 C

 

Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965)

Dr. Who heads to the big screen and in color! After accidentally being transported to another planet Dr. Who and his friends come across a vial of drugs and head to a nearby city to investigate and find missing components of their Tardis. Say no to drugs kids! They come across the Daleks who take the components all while the good Doctor and his group suffer from radiation sickness! What can cure them? The mystery drugs they found… But an evil Dalek plot threatens the group and everyone who opposes the evil cyborgs!

Wednesday, Sept 12 at 10/9A C

Monday, Sept 17 at 8/7 C

 

Dr. Who: Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966)

Peter Cushing stars in the role of Dr. Who and he discovers, after traveling to the future, that the Daleks have taken over the Earth! A band of resistance fighters are trying to stop the attack but everyone is brainwashed!

Wednesday, Sept 12 at Noon/11 C

Tuesday, Sept 18 at 8/7 C

 

————————————————————————————————————
Airing on CHARGE! in September

Rocky DOUBLE FEATURES

Yo Adrian!

Catch up on Rocky I-V all month in September on CHARGE! There’s a double dose of boxing goodness every Thursday. Watch the blood, sweat and tears as Rocky battle foe after foe and continually forges on against all odds! He clearly has the Eye of the Tiger! Get pumped and watch the first five films in the Rocky saga and relive all the action, guts and glory!

Then catch a Rocky Double Feature every Thursday after that starting at 2/1 C and 8/7 C.

 

 

 

Free Fiction: The Banyan Tree Ghosts by Sravani Singampalli

The Banyan Tree Ghosts by Sravani Singampalli

People in the village were always scared of the banyan tree at the corner of the old palace where once a beautiful princess named Kamakshi committed a suicide along with her best friend. Princess Kamakshi used to spend time in the shade of the banyan tree with her best friend named Moya who was a farmer’s daughter. Both of them had the same mindset and fell in love at a much younger age. They both were in deep love and used to discuss their thoughts and future sitting under the banyan tree. They used to advise each other and were sure that their parents would agree for their marriage with their lovers but that didn’t happen and it led to unexpected repercussions.

Princess Kamakshi and Moya failed in convincing their parents and one fine day both of them committed a suicide by hanging themselves from the banyan tree. Their sudden demise shook the entire village. Nobody expected that these two girls would take such a brutal step. Moya’s parents were in shock and left the village while Kamakshi’s parents donated their property to an orphanage and lived in a small house with their daughter’s memories. The news of their death spread to all the nearby villages. Children started weaving their own stories and that banyan tree became very popular.

One day, a farmer named Raju was passing by the banyan tree where Moya and Kamakshi hung themselves and all of a sudden he started shouting like a lady. People who listened to his voice and observed his behaviour were very sure that he was possessed by some evil spirit. From that day all the villagers became alert and were very scared of going near that banyan tree. Raju’s health kept on deteriorating as days passed by. He was newly married and lived happily with his beautiful wife but after that strange incident, happiness left his life. He spoke all the weird languages and dirty words. Sometimes, he just used to drape a saree and walk like a woman. People were not only scared of that banyan tree but were scared of Raju’s behaviour too.

Raju’s wife was very worried and felt insulted because of his behaviour. Children used to hurl stones at him and some people also used to beat him badly that led to serious problems. Raju’s wife finally decided to approach an exorcist for help. She had to visit another village to meet the exorcist and explained everything in detail to him. After listening to the entire story, the exorcist came to a conclusion and decided to perform an exorcism. The very next day, the exorcist visited Raju and tried to know about the spirit who possessed him. To his surprise, he came to know that not one but two spirits had possessed him. He asked their names and also their wishes. Everybody was shocked to know that Raju was possessed by the spirits of princess Kamakshi and Moya. The exorcist questioned them about their intentions and wishes. They just said that they never got to enjoy life so they decided to play with this newly married innocent man as he was living a happy life. They promised the exorcist that they would leave Raju’s body if he agrees to wear a red colour saree and walk till that banyan tree with a pot full of water on his head like a woman. The exorcist told Raju to do as they demanded. Raju did whatever they wished for and after an hour he became completely normal. He was free of both the spirits.

Raju’s wife was on cloud nine and grateful to the exorcist but the exorcist warned all the villagers to stay away from that banyan tree in order to lead a happy life. The villagers decided to build a fence around that banyan tree. Nobody understood what Kamakshi and Moya wanted after this strange incident. To some people, it seemed funny but rumours about that banyan tree continued to spread to other villages and nobody dared to visit that place.

PR: Wicked Lit: The Chimes and the Corpse

Wicked Lit: The Chimes & The Corpse
Tickets on Sale now!

Eric Keitel, Ian Heath & John T. Cogan (l-r) ~ Wicked Lit 2017: The Damned Thing
Photo by Daniel Kitayama

October 4 – November 10

Mountain View Mausoleum
2300 N. Marengo Ave.
Altadena CA 91001

Teig O’Kane and the Corpse – World Premiere
by Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm
Directed by Paul Millet
Adapted from the short story by Ernest Rhys, translated by Dr. Douglas HydeTeig is a brazen young Irishman who refuses to commit to adulthood. Now that he’s found himself magically bound to an animated corpse… it’s time to grow up quick.The Chimes: A Goblin Story – New Production
by Jonathan Josephson
Directed by Darin Anthony
Adapted from the novella of the same name by Charles Dickens

“There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.”
– Charles Dickens.
The Chimes tells the story of a conflicted father and the goblins
that bring him to the brink of death and back again.

There are several exciting new changes for this year’s show, including:
– Two curtain times: 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
– 75 minute total run time
– Lower ticket prices
– Smaller group sizes
– Entire performance and lobby will be indoors
– No pre-show performances, but there will be an interactive “museum” exhibit featuring past Wicked Lit costumes, puppets, and photo opportunities