FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Dead Man’s Gun / Season 1

Dead Man’s Gun Debut is Uneven but Weirdly Promising

by Kristin Battestella

Produced by Henry Winkler and narrated by Kris Kristofferson, Showtime’s 1997-98 western anthology series Dead Man’s Gun debuts with twenty-two episodes of somewhat rocky but no less entertaining weird and vengeful parables.

Originally, the first three episodes of Dead Man’s Gun were shown in a television movie block opening with John Ritter (Three’s Company) as an ambitious sideshow assistant in “The Great McDonacle.” He’s tired of trick shooting and buys the titular gun despite warnings that the devil himself made it such bad luck. The poor Shakespeare shows and bad saloon singing are slow to start, however, the six shooting spectacles, bullets caught between the teeth, and obvious kiss before the shot add to this business of illusions. He’s not a real marksman, so why does he need a real gun? Playing against the odds with one more shot, unfortunately, proves costly amid well-done character interplay, shootouts, and Billy the Kid references. Seemingly slick thief John Glover (Smallville) steals money, documents, and our gun in “Fool’s Gold” before selling a $200 claim to local rube Matt Frewer (Orphan Black) and making moves on saloon girl Laurie Holden (Silent Hill). Bankers, mining equipment deals, bets on recouping the cost of this speculation, and contracts with survivor claims lead to some hefty interest policies, double-crosses, and blackmail. Fortunately, this gun comes in handy for eliminating all those little technicalities. Producer cum down on his luck peddler Henry Winkler (Happy Days), however, takes a dead man’s identity as well as his gun and employment papers to become the next town marshal in “The Impostor.” He’s thrust into a standoff and inadvertently saves the day – earning free meals, service, and respect as he settles local disputes and finds romance. Our town hero begins believing he can stop bank robbers and help others, but we know such innocence doesn’t last long on Dead Man’s Gun. This first episode of the series proper is a much better start to the series than the spliced feature, and dreaded undertaker Larry Drake (Dr. Giggles) pilfers jewels, boots, and clothes off the dead in “Buryin’ Sam.” He reuses the linens and rusty nails in the caskets but charges the bereaved $12 for all the trimmings. Shootouts from our gun are good business when not pursuing widows – after all, it’s really about comforting the living. Interfering heart conditions and indirect fatalities, unfortunately, lead to murder, lightning, and supernatural betrayals as empty graves and night time burials invoke fine horror elements. Nightcaps, syringes, and killer sex for “The Black Widow” leave the titular Daphne Zuniga (Melrose Place) with will readings, black veils, and our inherited gun before she sets about ensnaring a local jeweler. Hot air balloons and romantic picnics quickly lead to the marital grand manor complete with a pesky old maid, locked attic, and treacherous stairs. Gems, fortunes, and memento mori accent the suspicions alongside poison mushrooms, nitroglycerin, well-done suspense, and deadly interplay.

A birth in the brothel and the Dead Man’s Gun is offered as doctor William Katt’s (House) payment in “The Healer.” He insists on helping a dying gunslinger after a standoff in the saloon, and the townsfolk quickly turn into a trigger happy mob. They want him to look the other way while they ‘take care’ of a feverish patient who will hang anyway, and past rows reveal they never really were that neighborly. The doctor’s missus has some history, too, and it all comes out thanks to a dreamy romp in the hay. Though rough around the edges, the vengeance, responsibility, and consequences here make for an interesting gray. Of course, racism abounds with buck, squaw, and redskin talk in “Medicine Man” as Adam Beach (Windtalkers) receives a bottle of whiskey instead of real payment for his work. His father Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves) dislikes his cold gun with an evil spirit and wishes his son would return to the chants, drums, and teepees – but these are a proud people made low, warriors with nothing left to hunt. The Nez Perce language is minimal and some of the Native American motifs are stereotypical, however, this parable is told from the proper point of view and the audience understands the anger and rage. Dreams and spiritual wisdom add a slightly supernatural touch, but the gun only makes it easier to pursue ruthlessness, and revenge only begets more revenge. In “Next Of Kin,” Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) invites Helen Shaver (Supergirl) and the rest of the snotty, presumptuous family to finalize his will. Can they stay the weekend enjoying his gourmet food and luxuries to prove themselves worthy of his legacy or will they bicker and toy with his priceless loaded gun? Despite blaming, blows, and supposed self-inflicted gunshots in the night, no one’s willing to leave and lose their fortune. The accursed gun is tossed into the fire, where it doesn’t get hot or burn, but its E&S initials – Latin for ‘ruin and destroy’ – glow. Certainly, there are similar mysteries and horror tales, but the period dynamics and stir crazy of our looming heirloom make for one of the season’s best – a superb little potboiler with kinky relations, past bitterness, and bodies in the hall. Blacksmith Meat Loaf (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), however, is displeased when his new wife arrives with a son for “Mail Order Bride.” On top of this awkward situation, he recognizes our gun that keeps coming back to haunt him. The tender father-son bonding is somewhat try hard, too on the nose with its lessons, but Meat Loaf’s fine performance raises the uneven drama and keeps things intriguing as the gun falls into the wrong hands.

Fire eaters and carnival atmosphere accent “The Fortune Teller” when charlatan Elizabeth Peña (La Bamba) really beings to see the future in her crystal ball after coming into the Dead Man’s Gun. The town is at odds over believing the tea leaves and tarot cards or ignoring the hocus pocus, but the price to hear of one’s adultery, murder, or vengeful fortunes goes up from fifteen cents to a dollar! Eerie images and a unique hedge maze finale converge as the gun brings the visions to a sharp point. He cures sleeplessness with stimulation through the power of the mind in “The Mesmerizer,” but this doctor is really using hypnosis to assault the lady patients and steal from the gents. Stealing our gun, however, makes the power of suggestion stronger – enchanting people in the streets, using old ladies to rob a bank, and invoking new death bed will signatures. Though similar to Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, we want the nastiness to get its due, and Dead Man’s Gun provides it with deathly vengeance and full-on horror in the just desserts. By contrast, the sepia stills and vintage equipment of “The Photographer” seem so quaint until Gary Cole (Veep) takes a photo of our jinxed gun in action. He has no qualms about snapping pictures of the departed, and townsfolk are shocked when he captures a bank robbery – unlike today where smartphones galore make everything an Instagram story. Is he a vulture seeking disturbing images or a chronicler capturing fatal action as it happens? After selling his graphic photos to the local gazette, national papers write that they will pay top dollar for more scenes of a violent nature. After all, folks who can’t read buy the paper for the scandalous pictures! As he snaps more shootouts and convinces dangerous outlaws to pose before his camera, our photographer traces the gun as it changes hands five times, and it would have been interesting to have had this period premise that’s still relevant today featured regularly throughout the season. Despite a strong mid-season, Dead Man’s Gun is quite uneven in its first half with an often embarrassingly wooden secondary cast and continuity issues despite the anthology format. Instead of completely tracing the gun’s travels from one episode to the next, our inanimate anchor is picked up at the end of one hour with our never knowing what happens next. Likewise, openings that had more to tell dump the piece onto the next victim as Dead Man’s Gun further misses the opportunity to have Kristofferson (Blade) appear as a sage in pursuit. After a few clunky episodes, my husband wrote off the series as being too “random” in its gun portrayal. Fire and brimstone Tim Matheson (The West Wing) is putting on the healing under the revival tent in the penultimate “Wages Of Sin” with plants in the crowd and holy elixir shams. He charms the ladies and convinces a violent brother to give up his tool of evil. From fevers to blindness and broken wings, our reverend begins to believe in the miraculous nature of our gun. He wants to build a permanent temple thanks to wealthy neighbors and tempting blondes, but some pay for seeing through the con and double-crosses as the gun giveth and taketh.

Although the narration calls the weapon legendary, it’s sentient or evil nature is not fully explored – it’s not infamous and is passed on quite innocuously at times. Some own it decades despite its misfortune while others are done with it in a few days. Beyond a general Old West, towns and locations are never mentioned, and while all these bads probably don’t take place in the same town, every place sure looks the same. A Horse or carriage ride scene opens every episode, any kids seen are dang annoying, and the nineties flirtations are laughable amid the try-hard speak older. Dead Man’s Gun also has a noticeable abundance of lookalike blondes – several each episode where having had one woman witness it all would have been more interesting. “My Brother’s Keeper” is the weakest of the initial three television movie segments, as poor brothers in bar room quarrels and quick draw fights are somehow slow to get to the point. It’s too early for Dead Man’s Gun to seem like it will be the same episode all the time – if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. The shabby boarding house of “Highwayman” is different from the usual lookalike town, but the weak, undistinguished cast and thin story also contribute to that same one-trick pony feeling. A then unlikely shorter episode order would have kept the series taut instead of repetitive. Despite a shopkeeper looking for dime novel excitement and a creepy old lady customer offering our gun as payment, the dream sequences in “Bounty Hunter” are too hokey. A wife so young she could be his daughter is just obnoxious, and the powerful temptations for a man-made small by his station in life are somehow too plain. Sage characters in these faulty episodes also add to the ambiguous nature of the gun – which can be triumphed by a good person or consume one in an evil that was already there. Is it the person or the gun’s influence? Some stories portray the philosophical debate well while others remain inconsistent. When grieving mother Kate Jackson (Dark Shadows) demands justice in “Death Warrant,” the gray area between legal bounty hunting and killing an innocent bystander is disappointingly lame, even pointless thanks to bad faux southern accents and greasy styling. Everybody looks rode hard and put away wet thanks to some juicy out of place saloon girls showers, and ultimately, the gun is an afterthought. “Stagecoach Marty” Jo Beth Williams (Poltergeist) handles holds ups and precious silver cargo before buying lavender soap and getting a makeover that catches a handsome passenger’s eye. Unfortunately, the sassy woman humor and unladylike likable awkwardness are too unevenly mixed with suspect romance, decoy wagons, and secret heist plots trying to do too much. A drunk ex-gunslinger returns to form in “The Resurrection Of Joe Wheeler,” but the slow start is laden with rapacious violence, thuggery, and incompetent town officials. Outlaws are raiding the town, and Dead Man’s Gun resorts to the same old one man with issues and a blonde on his arm. Of course, the straights, flushes, aces, and pairs pile up in “The Gambler” until a sassy blonde in a cowboy hat joins the high stakes game. Here the impressive gun action – one must kill to keep his luck – simply can’t overcome the contrived romance, card-playing montages, and streaky where is this going plot, for hot hand run cold stories are as old as the West itself. Likewise, Union troops are having a terrible time thanks to an inept young officer in “The Deserter.” No matter how many mystical riding montages we have, he keeps returning to the same painfully obvious cornfield, and the overuse of both slow motion and hectic for the cowardice feels D.O.A. before we even get to the soldier being tied up and bathed by a bunch of women. The titular safecracker in “Snake Finger” faces a newly designed, supposedly full proof, time-release safe installed at the local bank while romancing the owner’s daughter. The drama is never sure if we’re supposed to like the charming crook or support the crusty lawman in pursuit, and what should be an exciting cat and mouse is ultimately a sappy finale with little connection to our gun.

Fortunately, covered wagons, horses, painted ponies, gun powder, long rifles, and mud set the Dead Man’s Gun mood alongside western facades, saloons, spurs, stagecoaches, hay, and saddlery. While the slow-motion strobe when the gun’s firing is unnecessary, the ominous music themes and subtle guitar strings are a fine touch. Rays of light through doorways, silhouettes, and reflections in mirrors or windows also make for interesting visuals. Our holstered gun is often in the foreground ready and waiting amid lanterns, candles, old fashioned money notes, ticking pocket watches, period patterns, chewing tobacco, and wanted posters. Corsets, bustles, parasols, lace, chokers, ruffles, and bobbles provide a feminine touch while rustic outdoor filming, bitter snow, and shabby slat homes contrast luxury luggage, grand staircases, fancy mansions, and Victorian gardens. Sound effects and more foreboding lighting invoke spookiness as needed while flies buzz around the horses or the dead, yet Dead Man’s Gun is surprisingly colorful with rich greens, maroon, and purples highlighting rugs, antiques, and velvet sofas. Cigars and smoking are a realistic touch obviously not seen as much today, but how did they film that real rattlesnake bite?! The sex scenes, however, are totally lame with little to see, and nothing steamy before Showtime goes overboard later in the season without of place butt shots and side boobs. There’s a warning on the video that the picture quality is old, and indeed the nineties production looks VHS flat on a 4K television with some dark, tough to see nighttime photography. The relatively late Dead Man’s Gun DVD release also has no subtitles, and the episodes are spread out across a lot of discs despite the otherwise slim and bare-bones set. Thankfully, Dead Man’s Gun makes the most of its real locales, a pleasing sight compared to contemporary CGI. There isn’t an over-reliance on action or blood, gore, and typical western fast. Instead, the gunshots are realistically blunt with just enough splatter and drama to the shootouts. Such choice use makes the anticipation all the more intense and violent when gun action happens. After all, Chekov says that trigger’s got to be pulled!

Though occasionally rerunning on western themed channels, creators Ed and Howard Spielman’s (The Young Riders, Kung Fu) series always seemed unloved by Showtime and Dead Man’s Gun remains a little elusive. I remember waiting for new episodes back then and was disappointed when the more recent DVR was likewise filled with the same few reruns, so it’s pleasing to see all the episodes here almost anew. While some legs are better than others are and the series doesn’t go as full-on horror or mystical as some audiences may like, Dead Man’s Gun is the perfect weird western for steampunk-ish viewers looking for something that’s not your daddy’s western.

Interested in More Horror Westerns? See:

Brimstone

Bone Tomahawk

Penny Dreadful Season 3

 

Author Interviews at The Mount Holly Book Fair Part 1

Vampires, Magic, and Steampunk!

 

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz was on the windy scene April 29, 2018 at the Mount Holly Book Fair to interview several Local Horror Authors…

 

Author Brian McKinley chats about his Ancient Blood series, vampires past and present, psychological horror, thrillers, Hitchcock, and zombies. For more visit http://www.brianmckinleyauthor.com/

 

 

Author Char Webster talks about her Gifted Series and The Runes Universe, paranormal, magic powers, and marketing. For more visit http://www.charwebsterauthor.com/

 

 

Author Christine Norris talks about her Athena series, Middle Grade Fantasy, mythology, Young Adult versus New Adult, Magic, and Steampunk. For more visit https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristineNorris

 

Special Thanks to the Mill Race Arts & Preservation for hosting The Mount Holly Book Fair.

 

Stayed tuned to HorrorAddicts.net for more Author Interviews and let us know what kind of video/media content you would like to see!

Press Release: Airship Game from Abney Park

PRESS RELEASE: *** ON SALE NOW STEAMPUNK CRIME SOLVING GAME ***

A.C.E. Airship Crime Experts is a game for people who like “Clue”. 6 Sailors aboard the Airship Conundrum must race to find out what crime was committed, where, and what sailor did it! Was in Carolina Sassafras, sabotaging the engine room? Or is Captain Robert breeding mutant armadillos in the Captains quarters?

Game play is nostalgic of Clue, easier to learn, but much deeper to master, as you must track evidence moving about the game from player to player.

This is a hand made game, all on heavy wood, and packaged in a charming burlap sack. Durable, and packable, the game includes:

• 1 solid wood airship map
• 6 solid wood crew tiles
• 6 solid wood crime tiles
• 8 solid wood location tiles
• 6 pawns
• 1 burlap sack to keep it all in

These games are hand made by the infamous Captain Robert himself. Because if this, quantities might be limited, so get your copy before he comes to his senses.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Profile: Laurel Anne Hill and the The Engine Woman’s Light review

One of the authors featured in Clockwork Wonderland is Laurel Anne Hill. Laurel Anne’s story is called Gone a’ Hunting and is about a girl who goes on a rabbit hunt and gets caught in a place where she has plenty of time to think about what she has done. Laurel Anne Hill has been featured on the horroraddicts podcast a few times, being voted most wicked in 2011 for her steampunk/horror podcast: “Flight of Destiny. She has also been published in several anthologies and recently released her second novel, The Engine Woman’s Light. To learn more about her visit her website: http://laurelannehill.com/ and keep reading for my review of The Engine Woman’s Light.

Jaunita has had an interesting past, she was abandoned and left on a train going to an asylum for the poor. Luckily she was saved by her great grandma Zetta and the ghost of Zetta’s husband,  Javiar. She ends up in a small village where at the age of fifteen she has a mystical vision of a dead captain in an airship. She is told that it is her mission to put a stop to trains carrying California’s unwanted masses to an asylum where they will live and work until they die. A plan is in place to murder part of the asylum’s inmates to bring the asylum’s population down and Jaunita may have to murder people to put a stop to it.

Jaunita will not be alone though, she will have the help of her ghost ancestors and will meet other characters with complicated pasts. Jaunita will learn that her family has a dark side and she herself will have to do some horrible things to fulfill her mission. Jaunita is on a path that will change history along with her life, the question being can she live with the new person she will become? Jaunita lives in an alternative nineteenth-century steampunk world where spirits communicate with the living and our loved ones never really leave our sides.

If I was to use one word to describe Laurel Anne Hill’s The Engine Woman’s Light I would use “different.” Laurel Anne has created the world that made me think of an old western with steampunk elements and spiritualism thrown in for good measure. The way the settings are described really bring everything to life and you can see yourself living in this world with its vivid descriptions. Since I haven’t read too many westerns or much steampunk, this book was like entering a new world, which was easy to get hooked on. Right away you are invested in Jaunita’s story since she was a baby she defied all odds. After being abandoned and saved, she is forced into a lifechanging mission that she has to accomplish whether she wants to or not.

One thing I like about this story is that all the characters are shades of gray. Some characters here can be considered good, but sometimes they do bad things. There is a theme of redemption that runs through this book for a couple of the characters and even Jaunita wants to be redeemed for some of the actions she is forced to suffer through. The spirits in Jaunita’s family have done bad things in the past and are looking to get redemption through Jaunita and some of their actions have a bad effect on her.

Another theme in this book I liked was the idea that the people you love or have a connection to, are never far away. Jaunita’s ancestors still talk to her, even though they are dead. Even Jaunita’s dead mother who she never met is always close to her.  At one point we discover that two of the men in her life have a connection to her going way back. While reading this I felt that Laurel Anne Hill wanted to get the idea across that we are all connected whether we think it or not and even when someone is gone, they are never really gone.

One of my favorite scenes in The Engine Woman’s Light is when Juanita is starting to have feelings for the man she calls Guide. When Guide reveals who he really is and what he has done in the past, Jaunita’s heart is broken, but they stay together to continue their mission and their relationship changes. Everlasting love is also a theme in this book as well as accepting someone for the good and bad they did in life. If you like books that transport you to a different time and place, then check this one out.

http://laurelannehill.com/

The Engine Woman’s Light

Clockwork Wonderland

 

 

Submission Call for Guest Blog

This is a site FOR HorrorAddicts, BY HorrorAddicts.

Deadline: Ongoing

Guest Blog is your chance to share just a little bit of your work with the HorrorAddicts.net readers.

*200-1000 words flash
*Must be horror or fit in one of our **Approved Themes below.
*This is for free posting on our HorrorAddicts.net blog, exposure only, with link back to your work.
*At the end of the submission, please include your bio (100 word max), url, and attach a cover pic or author pic.
*Send all submissions to: horroraddicts@gmail.com, SUBJ: Guest Blog

************************************

**APPROVED THEMES: Dark Fantasy, Monster, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Clockpunk, Alternative, Goth, Metal, Industrial, Avant-garde themes. Erotica only if it tastefully falls into horror / goth / fetish culture. If your submission is in the Science Fiction / Fantasy / Thriller / Suspense or any other genre, please email before submitting with a 2-3 line query. If it seems like it fits, we might make an exception.

For full submission requirements, go to: SUBMISSIONS

Submissions Call: Clockwork Wonderland

LAST WEEK!!

Clockwork Wonderland

A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology.

CWFront

Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well as the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CLOCKWORK WONDERLAND/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2016, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/16). You should expect a return within 3 months of the submission close date.

If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Submissions Call: Clockwork Wonderland

Clockwork Wonderland

A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology.

CWFront

Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well as the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CLOCKWORK WONDERLAND/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2016, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/16). You should expect a return within 3 months of the submission close date.

If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Laurel Anne Hill

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Laurel Anne Hill and recently talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?
OnceUponAScreamFrontMy short story is “Commanding the Stones,” about Yana, a middle-aged Russian-American woman on a business trip to Paris with her husband in 1995. In “Commanding the Stones,” a murder, Yana’s troubled marriage, her mysterious benefactor, and a Russian fairy tale—a twisted variant of “The Stone Flower”—add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.

What inspired the idea?

My love of Russian fairy tales and painted lacquer boxes sparked the initial inspiration. Then I visited Paris during the month of November in 1999. Through the rain and chill, a story line emerged.

When did you start writing?

I started writing before I could read. I created stories and my older sister wrote them down. I illustrated them with pictures from comic books and magazines. My first short story was published—in the kids’ section of a major San Francisco newspaper—when I was eleven. The piece was absolutely terrible, but I had no clue. The San Francisco News paid me $2, enough for eight double-feature movies way back then.

What are your favorite topics to write about?2969162

Many of the stories I craft have inspirational premises. Worthiness is rewarded. The power of love, honor, faith and duty can surmount daunting obstacles and transform lives. But I also like to write about the jolting “rewards” unworthiness can bring, and the sometimes blurred line between virtue and vice. Whatever I write, I love using my imagination.

What are some of your influences?

Without a doubt, atmosphere and music influence the direction of many of my stories. Between 1999 and 2005, for example, I made three trips to Paris—all during the November time frame. When first working on “Commanding the Stones,” I took the Paris sewer tour. The unpleasant taste of the air near an underground sewer drain let me picture ominous things happening to my protagonist. My mind processed the many details of the scene. Back home in California, I listened to Russian Orthodox chants to set my mood, allowing ancient magic and mysteries to merge with modern times as I worked.

Laurel by the Seine River 2002What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The physiological reaction a scary movie produces in me. The increase in my heart rate and breathing. The tensing of my muscles. It’s like I’m the one in danger. I’ve had a half-dozen or so close brushes with death—experiences that had nothing to do with movies. During those times, survival—and the various chemicals released into my bloodstream to secure it—exhilarated me. Not so with movies. When an empathetic character on the screen escapes death, I feel more exhaustion than elation. When I read horror, however, my brain does a better job of moderating the intensity of my physical reaction. Maybe that’s why I prefer scary books to scary movies in recent years, although I do adore both.paris sewer sandstone wall cropped

What are some of the works you have available?

My award-winning novel, HEROES ARISE, and many of my thirty published short stories are available through Amazon. To listen to my stories I’ve recorded (including award-winning “Flight of Destiny” and “The Grave of Mario Bandini”) go here. For my darker short stories in print, read “Wings of Revenge” (in The Wickeds), “Till Death Do Us Part” (in Horrible Disasters), “The Vengeance Garden” (in Spells and Swashbucklers) and “Fowl Consequences” (in Fault Zone: Diverge).

What are you currently working on?

My novel, The Engine Woman’s Light (a spirits-meet-steampunk, weird west tale) was accepted for Paris sewer tunnel croppedpublication by Sand Hill Review Press last month. I anticipate it will be available in 2017. I’m preparing to serve as editor for the next Fault Zone Anthology. That, too, will release in 2017. Also, I’ve started working on a short story for Horror Addicts’ next anthology. For long-term projects, I’ll either return to a novel-in-progress (magical realism) set in Mexican California, or start a new one based on my recently-published fantasy short story, “Going Revolutionary.”

Where can we find you online?

For my website, go here. My Amazon.

For Facebook here.

 

Kbatz: Penny Dreadful Season 2

Penny Dreadful Season 2 is Again a Macabre Good Time

by Kristin Battestella

penny 2Penny Dreadful’s sophomore year opens with a recap of the the Showtime series’ debut before picking up the Gothic sophistication right where we left off – this time with ten episodes of scorpions, witches, monsters, and devils.

Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) is attacked by a group of Nightcomer witches led by Madame Kali (Helen McCrory), but ex-gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) protects Vanessa along with Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) – whom Madame Kali pursues romantically. Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) helps translate a mysterious demonic tale written on a monk’s relics alongside Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), but Frankenstein is distracted by his work on the late Brona Croft (Billie Piper) – now resurrected as Lily Frankenstein at the request of the Creature Caliban (Rory Kinnear), himself going by the name John Clare for his new job at a waxworks museum. Unfortunately, Lily eventually sets her sights on the decadent Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) instead.

White snow, demonic language, and dangerous carriage attacks waste no time starting “Fresh Hell” alongside excellent tender moments and graves dug from last season. Where Year One was about meeting the team and facing a largely unseen evil, now Penny Dreadful puts a more human face on our company’s threats with evil women and meddling inspectors. It’s a delightful step to share the gruesome aftermath while we get to know this enemy – a little demon family to mirror our flawed fighters. Monstrosity is just everywhere in Londontown!These naked witch ladies should be alluring but they are not, and new biblical threads arise in “Verbis Diablo.” Even prayers are no longer sacred amid pity projects, cholera ills, and enchanting deceptions. New character interactions infuse Penny Dreadful, anchoring the stories of possessed holy men, titular puzzles, disturbing infant abductions, and unique voodoo uses. That’s one diabolic arts and crafts room! There’s sup
erb war room plotting in both our houses – and a mole between them – so it is perhaps unusual to have an all Vanessa flashback episode so soon in “The Nightcomers.” However, the Victorian meets Baba Yaga magic, symbols, and protection motifs are excellent thanks to critical past information that will be important later and sublime guest star Patti LuPone
(Life Goes On). This well paced character drama fills in history from the First Season and serves it with quaint do no harm and brutal persecution.

The demonic riddles and unique character confrontations continue in “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places.” Deception always wears such a pretty face yet Penny Dreadful makes time for our darkly clad band to enjoy some lighthearted social moments before a creepy chameleon siege upon Sir Malcolm’s house that has the viewer studying each frame for clues. While padding time and unnecessarily stretched out scenes are apparent in this longer season, the final moments here are an appropriately simmering, silent unease. “Above the Vaulted Sky” has some fine true horror as extensions of our family pay a terrible price, and recalled Apache atrocities parallel the montages of faith and battle preparations. Are steel doors, guns, prayers, and totems enough to face the devil? It’s pleasing to have time dedicated to the turmoil and lying in wait for harm to come as evil and the authorities close in on our company. Penny Dreadful has touching poetic moments before major ghosts encounters and hefty scares. However, the sex scene finale here is very poorly edited with intercut frightening erroneously mixed with what should be tender bedroom moments. The morning after in “Glorious Horrors” is non too peachy either as influences are asserted and bloody fatalities become as simple as replacing the carpet. Can one be oblivious to threats when everything is connected and nothing is happenstance? Funeral talk and awkward balls shape a deliciously off kilter splendor, and Penny Dreadful puts all its players together in a twisted little bloodbath with intriguing character asides, jealous pairs old and new, superb revelations, and gruesome showdowns.

 

Little Scorpion” is a shorter Penny Dreadful episode at only 49 minutes, but this Ethan and Vanessa-centric block has lovely one on one character moments questioning solitude and the growing distrust among our eponymous team. The tormented have some small, delightful comforts away from the inescapable monsters and demons at their backs, making for some dangerous tension and steaming dancing in the dark storms. Superior hours where not all the cast appears suggests Penny Dreadful creator John Logan may be juggling too many storylines or characters, but “Memento Mori” trades deadly toppers for swift interrogation filming. Askew up close shots, intercut tension, and lies contrast softer fireside conversations and waxing regrets. Can you look at yourself inthe mirror when you do what has to be done in the fight against evil? The ongoing demon incarnate puzzle solving ties together pieces from Season One as mirrors and dual camera tricks heighten the character heavies. Although the evil plans seem too wishy wasy at times with back and forth possessions and reversed enchantments, this episode allows its three plotlines to play out as uninterrupted acts, bucking the A, B, C standard television story structure to elevate its scary revelations.

Monster does catch monster, and even the authorities consider otherworldly and superstitious possibilities in “And Hell Itself My Only Foe.” Upticked violence and hauntings find our team, and the witty dialogue and intelligent scripting add to the surprises. The subtle Talbot name drop is worth all the wolf mishandling in the First Season, and more self-awareness comes in the ugly waxworks entertainment. Evil is beautiful and seductive with temptations from Lucifer to display one’s inner beast. That internal made manifest leads to some stunning confrontations, indeed. $%#%(*&! The excellent multi-layered horrors and battle of wills continue in the “And They Were Enemies” finale as Penny Dreadful’s not so merry band is tested in enemy territory. Devils on the shoulder present a most convincing case – be it death, our darkest desires, or the brightest dream too good to be true. Once you cross the line toward darkness, what must you do to come back to the light? Can you save yourself at all? Granted, moments with the effigy puppetry and lookalike demonic language arguing become hokey quickly, a jarringly laughable moment amid the utmost heavy. After a hefty but quality slow build and some unnecessary treading tires and stalling plots, the final evil confrontation also feels too rushed by comparison. There are some wild surprises and a character denouement with time for reflection is a welcome change from an action finale. However, maybe the pacing should have been tightened to have an all battle second to last hour and then an entire sigh of relief end instead of a finale that feels too half and half. Fortunately, Penny Dreadful concludes with plenty of creepy nonetheless. Are our players moving forward stronger after these paranormal events? Their ships may be sailing their separate ways, but Year Three of Penny Dreadful looks to promise plenty! %%$%#$@#*@!

 

Evil just won’t let go of Vanessa Ives so easily, will it? Her strength to fight against demons inside and out glues the team together as much as it puts them in peril, and Vanessa needs them as much as they need her. She talks about what must be done and what she is capable of doing, and even when some of that is just delayed exposition issues, we believe her wrath because we’ve see her pain. For all the good she does and her ongoing struggles to keep this delicate balance, her ties to Amunet leave nothing but badness in her wake. How do you cling to faith when there is so much wicked? Vanessa endeavors to embrace her power within – but does that mean you abandon your belief in a higher power? Having religion doesn’t necessarily make you good, and Vanessa admits she and God are on challenging terms. Can we just be who we are or is that too much responsibility for one soul? Vanessa’s therapy is in her support of the boys about her – she is a confessor for each of them in different ways. Will solace be found in like tormented persons? She can soothe others but not herself, and Vanessa has some deliciously intellectual conversations with John Clare, adding a new damned soul to her repertoire – which looks quite cloudy for next season.

Likewise, Ethan Chandler is beginning to suspect his wolfy connections as more dastardly carnage comes to light. He’s perpetually trying to leave town thanks to his fear of admitting what he is capable of doing, which is beautifully foreshadowed in “Verbis Diablo” before the tenth hour finale. Ethan’s charming banter with Lyle deflects his inner lupus with Latin research, and Hartnett very nearly steals the show in his witty battles with Douglas Hodge (Red Cap) as the persistently not stupid Inspector Rusk. Like Vanessa, Ethan pegs people for who they really are, and his coy comes in handy as his pursuers mount. Even if he can face his affliction and its monthly consequences, he tries to protect Vanessa from his wild in a wonderfully unconventional romance – if it can even be called that. We don’t see the wolf outs for flash in the pan cool, but rather as choice visuals to emphasize the tormented monstrosity now fully realized on Penny Dreadful as it should have been all along. Danny Sapani as manservant Sembene also has more to do now that he helps Ethan bind his lycanthrope tendencies, adding to the fine moments he has with Sir Malcolm. This stalwart and strong but humble workhorse character provides a shaman wisdom while doing the dishes, baking, and waxing on how Ethan should see his moonlit changes as a blessing not a curse. Sembene shares his own past sins and guards his household kin with unwavering duty and respect, but by golly, audiences will be understandably angry at the treatment of the character. He still deserves more, #$%D#&*%!

 

New bewitching temptations and continued family losses grip Sir Malcolm once again on Penny Dreadful, but the in control, noble gentleman on the outside can’t use his suave to hide his pain. Sir Malcolm must face the questions and consequences regarding his daughter Mina’s death from Last Season, and he’s ready to trade his life and accept his punishment to spare his newfound family further torment. His internal demons provide ghostly experiences both positive and wicked. Dalton is charming in his unknowingly deceptive courting with Mrs. Poole, but the shaving of his beard is a surprising character development. It’s just so odd seeing the ex-007 sans scruff again, but the change is a perfect reflection of the evil influences at work. Despite some strong advice from Sir Malcolm and an interesting science versus faith intellectual pairing with Lyle, young Victor Frankenstein is also blinded by his wrong doings, chiding John Clare’s pressure on Lily while Victor himself is slowly but surely shaping his perfect woman. Frankenstein’s muddled monster making motives become increasingly creepy science for fetish alongside his now not secret drug addictions. He’s a little nasty, too, but bonds with Vanessa, trusting her to help him with his awkward shopping experience. Slowly Victor becomes aware of his mistakes, even admitting his addiction is affecting his freaky science, but by time he wants to escape his creations, it’s too late. Ironically, Dr. F. doesn’t believe in witchcraft, but evil knows what he has spawned and uses his deeds against him in smashing fashion.

Those wonderfully macabre waxworks and layered Victorian deceptions elevate the Caliban aka John Clare plots this season, and his scenes with Vanessa are refreshingly honest and mature. Clare speaks his mind without malice instead of his usual mine mine mine childish wants. Why are these Frankenstein men so pressed and gushing over every woman they meet? Clare’s friendship with Vanessa is his first genuine and healthy relationship. Kinnear has room to shine in the poetic recitings and quiet moments with Green, but the well read doesn’t do Clare any good if he won’t learn from his to err is human. Once again, he misuses his chance to do right, can’t catch a break, and ultimately must flee. When Clare finally looks past Lily’s beauty and his desperate need for companionship, he sees a worse ruthlessness and rightfully realizes that Pandora’s Box contains a mirror. Was Lily’s creation worth it? Though the short blonde hair doesn’t fit the period and it is unusual that Vanessa doesn’t recognizer her, Billie Piper is much better this year as Lily Frankenstein compared to the dead end and bad accent that was Brona Croft. It’s perfectly acceptable on Penny Dreadful when the resurrection of a character can fix all that was dislikable, and Lily smartly questions why women wear corsets and are meant to be controlled and appealing to a man. She seems innocent, but soon proves the dastardly of her rebirth and wrongfully remodeled by Victor is not for anything angelic. Lily learns how to lie, finds her deadly instincts, and grows tempted by Dorian thanks to elegant white frocks, gruesome blood stains, and a man-made monster superiority complex. We should like Lily – we don’t blame her for remembering the abuses of her previous oldest prostitution profession and using her strength for revenge. However, her twisted and wrong doing companionship with Dorian is anything but empowering to anyone but herself.

 

Unfortunately, I did not miss the absent Dorian Gray in “Fresh Hell,” and his brothel shenanigans feel more like interfering annoyances during the first half of Penny Dreadful this season. I’m all for more penis on television, but compared to the more serious, self aware, and better developed star roles, the character seems like an excuse for depravity mixed with would be modern social commentary. Dorian doesn’t even interact with any other main character until “Glorious Horrors” – or anyone else but Jonny Beauchamp (Stonewall) as Angelique for that matter. These scenes become shoehorned in titillation or sensationalism, a cruel and cliché storyline serving no purpose in the overall season arc. Angelique’s gender struggles in Victorian society and finally finding a tender relationship should be touching, but by slicing their aforementioned consummation scene with evil seduction and paranormal death scenes, are you saying gay sex is as bad as casting demonic spells on a man and using voodoo to kill his wife?!?! #$%$^$@*&! We know this tryst is fun and games for Dorian, but this is no fling to Angelique, and those consequences also unfairly stereotype Angelique as a nosy, jealous beotch when Dorian moves on to his next fancy. The about dang time reveal of his eponymous portrait and his blasé attitude toward it proves how ugly his true self really is, but we already knew that from his toying with Angelique. This entire unnecessary and unjust plot further proves Dorian Gray is a tug and pull supporting player who should only be recurring as needed – and Angelique should have been the gosh darn regular joining our dreadful company instead!

Thankfully, Simon Russell Beale is deliciously good fun as our team’s flamboyant Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle. Despite the sophistication and heavy work at hand, Beale provides a covert humor and positive gravitas with his flirtations:

“American! I am undone!”

“Well, I do have a gun belt.”

“Stop!…Will you bring your gun belt?”

“Both guns.”

Underneath this fluttery chemistry, Lyle is unsure where his allegiance lies, and by admitting his conflicting circumstances and burdens to bear, he fits right in with the Penny Dreadful gang. The homoerotic undertones match the main story instead of being uncomfortably apart from it, adding flair to a character largely saddled with fantastic exposition. In addition to the already established Catholic iconography, Lyle adds more conversations on faith, reflection, and recompense thanks to all he has witnessed from Helen McCrory as that sometime Madame Kali and always evil Mrs. Evelyn Poole. Her enemy house not only has a medieval ossuary bent, but Sarah Greene (Vikings) as the ruthless but cool Hecate is ready to step out of her mother’s much older than she looks shadow. Madame Kali is in a powerful tit for tat with her demonic master, and she intends to gain new praise by delivering Vanessa to him – with Sir Malcolm as a dark bonus for herself. Her ambitions, Hecate’s rival desires, and their evil foil, however, do get stretched thin at times. These are formidable ladies cutting out hearts and invoking killer puppetry with more provocative tricks – The Pooles shouldn’t have to hurry up and wait to harm our dreadfuls. Nonetheless, such evil planning talks make for some juicy scene chewing for McCrory and other returning guest stars. Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t reappear as Madame Kali sees fit!

 

Iffy CGI cityscapes, animated scorpions, and more sweeping scene transitions don’t always look right on Penny Dreadful, but the up close London streets alive with horses, waxworks, and period mechanization look the ghastly Victorian needed. The below the British Museum dusty, piles, statues, and maze-like clutter for good or ill is simply begging for some Mummy plots! More Universal Horror nods including the one armed inspector and swan style gowns layer the lush alongside a haunting score. The witch designs look of the past, with evil sprites coming out of the walls or mirrors and matching a colorful scheme of orange for evil firesides and gruesome greens for the dead. Candlelit patinas contrast the all gray and white ghostly while coffins, shrouds, gargoyles, and dungeon traps keep the macabre personal rather than today’s hollow torture porn gore – often with 55 minutes plus for full morbid effect. Sharp language uses mix old staples, making for a twisted new tongue where eerie terms like lupus and Lucifer stand out and force the audience to pay attention upon first viewing Penny Dreadful. The fashions are again scrumptious, and it’s lame of Hot Topic to go with scorpion tee shirts when this kind of long skirt and button up lace is on the runaway and ripe for a comeback. Penny Dreadful has an excellent attention to detail, and I’m surprised this uber sophisticated design isn’t receiving more technical awards.

Watching Penny Dreadful can also be tough thanks to cumbersome Showtime Anytime and Xfinity interfaces, loading and log in troubles, and expiring episode rushes but there are Amazon streaming and DVD options in addition to Showtime reruns. Ironically, the show’s premium channel home allows it to be top tier scandalous yet also makes Penny Dreadful difficult for viewers to find. Nonetheless, the series remains must see for Gothic horror fans. The sensationally spooky material and often outlandishly wicked are treated intelligently, and we’ve been waiting for Penny Dreadful’s kind of sophisticated, top drawer horror for too long.

 

Faire Garb and Cosplay: Dressing Your Dreams

 

Tonight Kbatz is in stitches with seamstress Susan of Dress Your Dreams, a historical clothier in Manheim, Pa.

 

How did you get started in the Renaissance Faire circuit and making period garb? How has the costuming and role play niche changed since you started?

I started as a volunteer working behind the scenes at a small Faire in Central Jersey…sewing and prop making, mostly. I had a few people ask me to make something for them for personal use, and was paid for sewing, which I loved to do. I had a season or 2 of running my own shop before the Faire folded, & was seen by the vendor coordinator of Professional Actors Resource Forum (PARF) and invited to vend at their event (Celtic Fling) so they could see if we would be a good fit for the Pennsylvania Faire. The event was a blast; I pretty much sold out of clothing!!

The biggest change has been the influx of factory made costuming copies of individual shop designs, and the speed at which that now happens. 15 years ago, a vendor might design an item, have about 3 years of being the only vendor making that item, and then see knock-offs coming from China or India or Pakistan. Now the market has the knockoffs arriving 6 months after a designer creates a new style. From dresses to menswear to corsets, you might get 1 show season before the knock-offs appear.

On a positive side, a designer can be as creative as they wish, since there is now a greater market for unique clothing…either garb or streetwear, everyone feels freer to wear what they feel like, instead of copying a particular era or look, so I just make what I feel like making, and sooner or later, the item will find its owner!!

 

You have a shop at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire during the summer festival season. Are patrons up for dressing in medieval garb or do some ‘norm’ folks take convincing to get into the spirit?

We get a good percentage of patrons who garb & even create a persona for the garb; I’d like to say about 60% or more come dressed in garb. There is a greater number of non period garb & fantasy creations recently, which delights me!

One way to get non-garbing patrons in the spirit is to encourage the children, who frequently ask for something (I wanna be a pirate! …princess !!) so I make it a point to have some flexibly sized pieces to create an outfit within a 20-30$ price point, since that seems to be the average a parent will spend for a child’s outfit ! Once a child has dressed up, parents sometimes get in the spirit as well!

 

Recently, you’ve branched out from Faire fashions and Pirate styles to Victorian and Steampunk designs. Are the eras more similar in style than we realize? Which period is your favorite to dress?

The eras use different designs and fitting, but some clothing pieces, skirts in particular, can be interchangeable. The Faire styles I make are within the merchant/peasant level for the most part, & for Steampunk the style is chosen by the characters class level as well, so the similarity runs in clothing choice. I really don’t have a favorite era as much as a favorite style choice…easily adjustable sizing with elastic & drawstrings & versatility in use from character to character. I will admit to favoring separates over 1 piece dresses.

 

10428015_656792094452497_4957654715945735832_nCourtesy of Shecktor Photography

 

What do you say to people who don’t understand the fair and costuming lifestyle? Have you ever had a negative experience or do you have a favorite Faire moment?

I recently saw a comment on the internet that said everything about cosplay vs. other fandoms perfectly…. It was the one that showed a picture of a sport fan with paint on his face in the colors of his team, wearing a shirt with a team logo & number on it, holding a pennant, and the comment was, “why is this fan, with a home filled with sporting memorabilia, considered normal, yet this fan “ and a picture of a costumed Star Trek fan, & a picture of a wench at a Faire “ considered weird?”

I have been at a few shows where the parents didn’t quite get why people were dressed up in different outfits, but once they saw that the fans were just enjoying being with like-minded friends, they not only appreciated the efforts of fans, but of the vendors as well. I’ve even sold garb clothing to people who have never been to a faire, because they saw the comfort of wearing some of garb designs as daily wear!

I have had moments in the shop where I hear the dreaded comment “why is this stuff so expensive, I can get a Halloween costume for $10 at Wal-Mart!” But I just say to myself “different strokes for different folks!” and smile, and keep right on giving attention to the shoppers who are really looking for what I make!

Every show, if I am lucky, there is the moment where someone, who has been looking for something special, sees a piece of clothing I made on the rack, picks it out, sees that it fits (even if we need to tighten the elastic!) & falls in love…& the price is within her reach…tries it on…& twirls!! The happiness on that customers face is my high point of any day! Each piece I make, I’m waiting for it to be found by its owner …& I love when it is!

 

Where can customers – er costumers! – find you online?

www.dressyourdreams.com is my website, and while the items there are mostly basic garb pieces, you can email a question with a picture of what you are looking for & I will be happy to see what I can do.

On Facebook, I have a page for Dress Your Dreams, and a group as well. Even my personal FB, Susan Belloff, has pictures of Dress Your Dreams at shows ( my favorite personal cosplay is Ursula the Sea Witch from Disney’s Little Mermaid, and I have posted pictures of my work there too.)

Thanks for the opportunity to share my work & fandom with your followers !!!

 

Thanks for chatting with HorrorAddicts.net!

Wendy L. Callahan on Horror Writing

Wherever You Go…

by Wendy L. Callahan

Sometimes we live somewhere we love. Sometimes we live somewhere we loathe. Sometimes we move and the anticipation of it can bring up any number of feelings, including extremes of excitement and disappointment.

While my first published works were set in places I was familiar with (for example, my dark vampire fantasy Dead Wrong [Damnation Books, 2010], is set in my hometown of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where I lived for nearly 20 years), my later works were strongly influenced by where I lived at the time. In a way, writing where you know dovetails nicely with writing what you know. World building can be a little easier if you are writing details you don’t need to create from your imagination.

However, my most inspired work came from my surroundings later in life. One move thrilled me, while the other left me uncertain, to say the least.

ChronosClock-coverIn 2011, I moved to England. Oh yes, this was an Anglophile’s dream – to live in the land of Shakespear and Doctor Who and Monty Python! Everywhere I looked, I saw beauty and history. England looked and felt just as it “should” in my girlish fantasies. Perhaps I had a little too much Jane Austen and Emily Bronte coloring my expectations, but I saw every bit of my literary dreams and more in my surroundings.

Houses in the village where I lived were quaint stone affairs, with thatched roofs. The pubs were raucous (especially when football was on!), yet cozy places to wind down at the end of a long day. And the fog – oh, that fog. I could get lost in it all day, if only the sunshine wouldn’t dissipate it later.

It was in England that I dreamed up the story of Demetra, my heroine in The Chronos Clock (Aetheric Artifacts: Book One). Demetra lived for tea, cake, and a good adventure, not to mention the opportunity to mock everything and everyone that crossed her path. Over the course of three novels and one short story, she partied in London, solved a mystery in Greenwich, and even ventured to one of the small islands along the Thames to rescue her kidnapped fiancé from a gothic manor. All of this came from the two years I – and my overactive imagination – resided in England.

About a year into our time there, however, we had to decide where we would move next. After a great deal of consideration and weighing the possibilities, we chose Nebraska.

Of course, as a Stephen King fan in the 80s and 90s, my reaction was, “Oh sure – put a New Englander in the state where Children of the Corn happened.”

Dead Wrong_300dpi_eBookBut, rather than weirdly religious children in Amish garb chasing after me with implements of barnyard destruction, I discovered rolling golden hills, prairies of waving grass, and endless blue sky. When friend after friend from back home said, “You’re moving to Nebraska? Oh, I’m so sorry,” I told them I had not just natural beauty to enjoy, but comic book stores, sci-fi conventions, and constant discoveries that Nebraska was more than meets the eye.

Which, in turn, led to inspiration for my current projects. As they are currently on query, I cannot share much about them, except a few, teasing tidbits. First, both novels are about creatures that should not exist in this world and need to hide from humans. Second, they find Nebraska to be an excellent place to do so because while the eastern part of the state is quite heavily populated, the rest of the state is not.

My inspiration for these stories came from the ghost towns here. There is one within two miles of my home, and a great many others throughout the state if you just know where to look.

What I learned in twenty years of moving with a military spouse is this: take each place as it comes. You might be surprised at what you see when you look beyond the mundane or just open yourself up to the possibilities.

**********

AuthorHeadshot-Official-smallerWendy is an urban and steampunk fantasy author, as well as a genealogical Nancy Drew in disguise. You can learn more about her and her work at www.WendyLCallahan.com.

 

Music News

10257897Over the last few weeks in the horror addicts email box we have heard from some great bands that have new songs out. The Spekrfreks have recently released a new song called Steampunk. This is an electronica song that reminds you of steam machines, vaudevillian showgirls, outlaws, and top-secret technology. A full album will soon be available from Golden Age Recordings. You can listen to the song here:

http://www.beatport.com/release/steampunk/1394312

Spekerfreks also did the theme song for horroraddicts season 1 through 3. To find out more about them check out their website at: http://www.spekrfreks.com/

Another song that we recently got turned onto is from Videogram. This song promotes a retro horror soundtrack project and is called Camp Blood.  This is a tribute to the iconic Friday the 13th series, the track is a sort of “nudge nudge, wink wink” to fellow horror fans and a mix of the disco theme of Part 3 and Michael Jackson‘s Thriller. The song has been digitally released through Bandcamp, itunes and youtube. Here is the video:

For more information on Videogram check out their website: http://videogramswe.blogspot.com/

We’ve als oheard a new track from the Barbarellatones called the Donut Shop. The Barbarellatones are described as The Barbarellatones are the sloppy seconds of ‘Sex With Lurch’. Mesmerized and Hypnotized by bad B-Movies and Rocky Horror, we do our upmost to keep Rock N Roll a total sleaze-fest. To find out more about them check out their facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/thebarbarellatones/info.

Another band we recently heard from via Starwave records is Misaruka. Misaruka is a Japanese rock band with a new release called The Butterfly Effect.  Here is a video from them:

To find out more visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/misarukaofficial

 

Manga Review: Nightmare Inspector by Yumekui Kenbun

ninspecAt the end of the Taisho era in Japan, a small tea house draws patrons to Hiruko. He is a Baku-he or “Eater of Dreams.” It is said Hiruko can enter a nightmare and release the victim from suffering. He can put people to sleep with the wave of his cane and accompany them into the nightmare.

The stories in this manga are very odd and don’t seem to make much sense. In one case, a boy walks into the tea house and asks for help. It turns out he is a weather vane. I’m confused how a weather vane could walk into a tea shop and how do weather vane’s have nightmares?

Another tale features a girl who always writes the same thing in her dream. She asks him to change it, but when they get to the part where he can, she ends up writing the same thing. There is a secondary character in the tea house who sometimes asks Hiruko what happened and his explanations don’t make much sense either.

There are also repetitive chapter beginnings which are common in mangas that were serialized in magazines.  I always think it is better for the editor to cut these out when composing the manga book.

I absolutely love the art in this manga. It’s a very interesting sort of steampunk/cosplay mix with long art deco lines. The styling of the Baku-he is awesome.

In back, there is a short letter from the author. The best thing is a full page illustration/explanation of Hiruko’s cane by the friend of the author. It’s hilarious and informative. It makes me wonder what sort of manga would come from the author and best friend collaborating.

Over all, I’d say, check it out for the art, but don’t hold out much hope for the story.

Monster Mash with Valentine Wolfe

VWwide

Singer Sarah Black and bassist Braxton Ballew make up this episode’s featured band, Valentine Wolfe, a Victorian Chamber metal duo. That’s right, I said “Victorian Chamber Metal”. Their last album used the phrase “Steampunk Macabre” — I like that, too. Braxton said, “We also perform Dark Ambient Soundscapes. Usually, if this is too vague, we tell people if they like Emilie Autumn and Nightwish, we like to think they will like us.” Furthermore, we’re playing their song “Annabel Lee” from their new album, Once Upon a Midnight, which is themed around Edgar Allan Poe. Be still my little goth heart.

Braxton told me, “‘Annabel Lee’ is one of the songs off of our newest endeavor. It is a graphic novel plus full length album all about Edgar Allan Poe. The graphic novel tells a story and the music follows along with it. The story puts Poe in an alternate universe where all of his stories and poems are his reality and so we set his work to go with that. Also, we feel it’s a great first ‘single’ off the new album, one that has all of the elements that make a Valentine Wolfe song: beautiful vocals, brooding classical bass, and slamming drums and distortion. The visual artist who did the cover of our last album, Jacob Wenzka, agreed to take a larger role this time around. He has drawn a graphic novel for our story about Poe. The album is not strictly programmatic, but it does follow a story in a very similar way to Silverthorn by Kamelot. I suppose the idea started when we saw a sketch Jacob had drawn of Poe. It was amazing! We thought we would like to see more. We had also been setting Shakespeare to music and that prompted us to think about how much fun it would be to set some of Poe’s words to music. His poems are so lyrical anyway.”

Midnight

For the Horror Addicts who are Deathstalker fans, you may recognize the namesake of the band. Braxton confirmed that, “Valentine Wolfe is a character from the Deathstalker novels by Simon R. Green. He has somewhat of a depraved nature and we relate to that!”

More than just a duo, Sarah and Braxton are married and have been making music together since 2006. “We sometimes collaborate with other musicians and especially other artists, but we like to keep the main core as just a duo. We currently live in Greenville, SC. We moved here from Athens, GA. I would say that living in Greenville has certainly had a big impact on our music. Braxton works as the Education Director for the Greenville Symphony. That huge connection to the classical world has kept us from going in a fully metal direction. We have written music for three Shakespeare plays now: The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, and The Winter’s Tale. All of those were made possible by us living in a city that is so supportive of the arts. We have the Metropolitan Arts Council which really brings the whole community together through an impressive array of artistic endeavor.”

With such an interesting style of music, the venues they have played are rather diverse. “We’ve played venues ranging from dive bars to art galleries. We really love playing fan conventions…it seems that’s the best overall fit in terms of finding people who are interested in our music. I think it helps we’re pretty geeky ourselves. We have played at several different conventions including Raven Con, AnachroCon, Upstate Steampunk, ConCarolinas, and DragonCon. We would love to play at Wave Gothic Treffen or Whitby Gothic Weekend or even Wacken Open Air some day! Our fans are so amazing! They are willing to travel to see us perform in different cities and we really appreciate that. One thing we’ve seen it that at conventions, especially one where we’re new, the crowd always seems to get bigger and bigger while we play. Just about every show is special-cliche, maybe, but true. I think my favorite odd story was a show where I (Braxton) was doing solo bass soundscapes with looping. A gentleman asked me what instrument i was playing, and rejected my answer of electric upright bass to tell me it was, if fact, a cello (Hint-no, it isn’t). I was still playing and looping the entire conversation, which made it even weirder.”

Their favorite bands and musicians are as varied as one might expect: “Bach, Verdi, Handel, Mozart, Debussy, Ives, Copland, Beatles, Iron Maiden, Insomnium, Opeth, Nightwish, Kamelot, Amon Amarth, Dragonforce, Ronnie James Dio. Braxton’s favorite bass player is an amazing player named Renaud Garcia-Fons. He’s also really into Francois Rabbath.”

Braxton summed up his musical tastes with a quote by Duke Ellington: “There’s only two kinds of music: good and bad, and I like both.” Braxton really only gets turned off to music that “seems to prioritize mass consumption to the exclusion of any other interesting features. But he thinks you can learn anything from anything (He listened to a Justin Bieber album for a group of kids, and was astounded at how the meaning of the song could be conveyed in only 3-5 seconds). We both think it’s better not to spend too much time concerning yourself with what turns you off, and just focus on music that really excites you.”

Is there a style of music that they’d like to try? “One style that we would like to explore more of is film scoring! We have written scores for plays so far and have done short movies for the internet, but we would love to do more! Braxton especially is a huge fan of what Philip Glass did for Dracula and we would love to do a film score for a feature length silent movie. We’d love to do an old one or a completely new one that is just in the style of an old one!”

ValentineWolfe

Both have been making music for quite a while. “Sarah started on piano in elementary school and kept up with that up through college. She got a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Composition from UGA. She has been taking voice lessons with Lisa Barksdale most recently. Braxton is a late bloomer-bass guitar at age 14, double bass at age 18, composition at 20 (apart from a few aborted attempts in high school). However, he’s kind of old-he’s been at this for about 20 years as a pro.”

What has it been like to produce their latest work? “It’s always exhilarating and terrifying. You get an idea that sets your passion on fire, and it becomes an obsession. At the same time, you hope and want your peers and your audience to get into what you’re doing. The hardest part is waiting. Works of quality take time. Sometimes, you want to just work and work and work, and the hardest part is knowing when you pass the point of diminished returns. The most fun part has been playing the new songs live, and seeing the savage joy they trigger.”

How has producing their latest album been different than their previous work? “There are two basic differences: we blended the composition/performance approach. Generally, in the classical world, you write a piece, sending it out into the world more or less fully formed, and then you learn and interpret the piece through rehearsals and performances. Sometimes you get to revise in a rehearsal, but not often. This time, we played everything we wrote either live or in the rehearsal studio several times through. It enabled us to add small and significant touches to everything. On our first two albums, we wanted to explore EBM and electronica. As such, there’s synth basses and other electronica textures we play with. For Once Upon A Midnight, we fully embraced our inner metalhead. There’s still electronica, but almost all limited to double bass (there’s a bit of piano here and there). So while we’re still very much a band who loves electronica, I’d say this album is definitely gothic metal.”

Duo

Music is so much a part of their life, working together as a couple and a band, there’s little time for diversions. Sarah said, “Not working with the band? We didn’t even realize that was an option! We are a married couple and we spend just about every waking second involved with some aspect of music making. It is nice for us because we both have the same passion and drive to immerse ourselves in a non-stop musical adventure. We do also enjoy reading and movies. That is where much of our inspiration comes from. Braxton says pretty much just music, books, and movies. I’m into video games, too. I really have ambitions to make a silent movie one of these days.”

They do occasionally listen to podcasts, but only “sporadically, and we listen to those done by people we know. Jim Ryan is a good friend of ours who has several podcasts he is involved with. Here’s a link to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/every-world-news/id328217881  I think the only ‘celebrity’ ones we subscribe to are Mr.Deity and when they were active, DGM’s Hot Tickles. We’re much more likely to check out the individual episode here and there; most of the time, we’re listening to demos, sketches, or inspiration. We really want to make time to listen to more podcasts because Neil Degrasse Tyson also does podcasts and he is so interesting to listen to!”

So, what is next on their radar? “We need to finish up the recording and mixing on this current project but after that, we’d love to travel around for more shows. We played at several conventions last year, but we want to try to get to twice as many this year! So we have some great new music that we are finishing up and the next step will be sharing that new music with as many people as we can reach.”

They have some great, practical advice for new bands. “Watch the Ira Glass video on the gap between taste and execution as much as you can. If you want to make this your main source of income, limit your debt as much as practical. Follow your own instincts as a fan-in other words, what kinds of shows do you like going to? What kinds of sounds, experiences, etc, do you value; that is, more importantly than even money: where do you invest your time? If you can get a clear answer to those type of questions, you can get a pretty accurate road map of your trajectory. Oddly, don’t obsess too much about being ‘good’. Everyone defines that differently. As long as the best show you play is your next one, that’s a pretty good way to think about it.”

Listeners can find out more about Valentine Wolfe on their home page, ValentineWolfe.com, and listen to their wonderful music on BandcampiTunes, Amazon, Google Play, last.fm, and YouTube. You can also stalk them on Facebook, but beware, they might just stalk you back.

Manga Review: Anima by Dany & Dany

Before I go into this review, I’d like to bring up the subject of Yaoi. Yaoi (pronounced Yowie) is a form of manga that features male to male romantic stories usually written by women, for women. Often erotic, these tales can be little more than porn, or they can be truly beautiful stories of love that transcend race, sex, and even species. The best Yaoi I have ever read is the topic today.

ddfanart

Anima was written by Dany & Dany, two women from Italy who write and draw all their own comics. Daniela Orrù and Daniela Serri are known as paranormal manga creators by those in Japan and around the world. They work as instructors at two major comic schools in Italy. Dany & Dany are also Vampire Chronicle fans and because they have an interest in portraying Louis and Lestat in a Yaoi light, you may sense a vampire feeling in their work. Some of their works have characters that look so much like Louis and Lestat, you may find yourself looking twice to see if it is our beloved vamp boys. For those of you that like the idea of Louis and Lestat being lovers, you will be excited to know Dany and Dany have done some fan art that can be found sprinkled across the internet. If you find a well done fan pic of Louis, Lestat, or Claudia in manga style, it is usually theirs.

anima_500The cover of Anima shows just a glimpse of the coolness you will find inside the book. Anima features crisp, clean art in a steampunk setting. On a ship like the Titanic, a beautiful love story ensues between a gorgeous writer and an angel-like ballet dancer.  The beautiful android dancer, Danya, is injected with “Anima” to allow him to feel human emotions, but what his creator doesn’t realize is that the injection also allows him to fall in love. Patrick, a cynical journalist and admirer of Danya, just happens to be there as Danya’s emotions are released. They fall in love, but Patrick doesn’t know Danya is an android. Though Patrick is an android sympathizer, will he be able to over look the fact that his new love is one? And once Danya’s creator finds he loves another, will he be able to let him go?

Anima is an erotic love story that may not be for everyone. Parental guidance is suggested.

Extras:  The Terrible Plot Demon is a one page, silly, chibi cartoon where the characters torture the authors.

To find out more about Dany & Dany, go to their website at: danyanddany.com

Shove Off and The Magnetron Chronicles

frontcoverIn this blog post were going to take a look at steampunk. In case you’re not familiar with the genre, steampunk is usually set in the 19th century Victorian era or wild west and features steam-powered technology. This is demonstrated in the first episode in the William’s Hunt series called: Shove Off by Krista L. Cagg.

The story follows the crew of The William’s Hunt, a time traveling chronos ship that was stolen from the Naviwerks fleet of ships which are used to retrieve historic artifacts to sell in the present day. Naviwerks is selling the artifacts to make a profit and they are also manipulating the timeline for their own gain. The pirate crew of The William’s Hunt plans on stopping the evil corporation that is Naviwerks and changing history to what it was supposed to be before it was altered.

The captain of the William’s Hunt is Captain Alexandria De Sade and she has assembled a crew of unique characters. One of them is the ship’s horotech who makes it possible to travel through time. The man in charge of the engine is Laurence Kane who couldn’t get a job on another ship but is now counted on to make sure things run smoothly. The rest of the crew includes Geri Reynolds – Security; Angel Flynn – Pilot; Dr. Hennessey – Medical and Lord Nigel Wellington III – Historian. The crew is dedicated to their captain and won’t rest until all of the stolen historical objects are returned to the correct time period.

This book was short and sweet with a lot of action. The story is told in episodes that are scheduled to come out monthly and are around 50 pages. The best part of the story are the characters, who are very diverse and nothing like people you would meet in everyday life. Laurence is very proper and is shocked when Nigel is rude to the captain, but Alexandria takes it all in stride and proves that she has everything under control. I liked how Laurence is surprised at the beauty and intelligence of the captain and the beginning of a love story is hinted at.

In addition to the characters I also thought Krista Cagg  did a great job of describing how the time ship works and the look of the ship. She also brings the past to life in great detail. In Shove Off  The William’s Hunt is headed back to Italy in 1490. Their mission is to retrieve a statue made by Da Vinci before Naviwerks gets it. It’s obvious a lot of research went into to Shove Off and I look forward to reading more in The William’s Hunt Series.

15752050Shove Off isn’t the only steampunk series out there.  The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum by D.L. Mackenzie is the first book in The Magnetron Chronicles.   The story is told by 19th century inventor Phineas J. Magnetron. He is a member of the Hogalum Society which is a group of humans with special talents that fight crime, are dedicated to going on adventures and protecting mankind from evil.

The year is 1877 and things aren’t good for the Hogalum Society as their founder dies under mysterious circumstances. Against the wishes of the rest of the group Phineas decides to bring their comrade back from the dead. Needless to say, things don’t go well and a mystery is uncovered.

This book was excellent, its funny and the way the story is told and the language used make it a must read. One thing that every steamunk story I’ve read has is some really interesting characters and this one is no exception.  The story is told  in the first person by Phineas Magnetron who is a bit of a mad scientist and has visions of  life in the future. This story moves along quickly, I find some stories told in first person don’t come across as exciting but this one does. I loved how the Hogalum Society is brought together and despite Phineas  describing them as being superior to others. He also describes how some members fight among themselves  and  have issues with dealing with the stress of protecting the world.

The Hogalum society is like a 19th century Justice League or like The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. The story made me want to read more science fiction from the likes of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  I also liked how D.L. Mackenzie describes everything in the book, he brings Phineas’s world to life in stunning detail. This book is a self-contained story but there are three books after it that follow the adventures of the Hogalum Society. The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum was a fun read and a great beginning to what looks to be an excellent series.

Upcoming Events

October 27th / Nightmare On Chicago Street / Elgin, Illinois /Chicago Street will be decorated to look like a zombie war zone. Events include a zombie prom, a zombie walk, storytelling, side show performances, haunted houses and live music from Hairbangers Ball and V is for Villans. For more information go to www.Nightmareonchicagostreet.com

November 2nd -3rd / Drunken Zombie Film Festival / Peoria, Illinois /This independent horror film festival includes the movies: Doll Parts, Apocalypse Salad, Get Off My Porch, The Puppet Monster Massacre, House Of Ghosts and Masks. for More information go to: http://drunkenzombiefilmfestival.com/

November 10th / Steampunk November / Venus, Texas / Come and experience the steampunk party of the year. There will be live performances from Cut Thrust and Run, a wine tasting, belly dancing, a burlesque show and side shows. There will also be a vendor’s area  and live music. For more information go to: http://www.cutthrustandrun.net/index.html

November 9th – 11th / Blood On The Beach 2 / Virginia Beach, Virginia /  This convention includes a zombie walk, a zombie prom and appearances by Anthony Michael Hall, Jamie Kennedy, Sid Haig and several cast members from The Walking Dead. There will also be live music and a tattoo show. for more information go to: http://www.botbcon.com/

November 16th – 18th / Days Of The Dead / Chicago, Illinois / Events include a Fright Night Reunion, a They Live reunion a Rock And Roll High School reunion and appearances by Heather Langenkamp, Linnea Quigley, Lita Ford, Peter Criss and Derek Mears. There will also be a comedy show featuring Roddy Piper and Mick Foley. For more information go to:http://www.daysofthedead.net/chicago/

Monster Mash with À Rebours

For our season finale, I could think of no one finer to conclude our musical meanderings than Ian Stone of À Rebours [ah reh boor]. I discovered his music in 2007 and I have endeavored to keep in touch with him through the years. It was a real treat to be able to tap him for the finale.

Of the band itself, Ian is “the founder, singer, guitarist, programmer, and songwriter. Ryan Holmes is the bassist, and John Cole is the drummer. Ryan and John both bring that outside viewpoint along with an expert-level of musicianship to the mix. I write the songs from start to finish and I present them with pretty much a finished product, with a bass part and drum part already written. Although I’m proud of what I create, I’m still insulated in my little creative cocoon. Ryan and John generally play what I’ve written, but when either one tweaks something or suggests a change it’s always fantastic. Both of them are outstanding and we all like textures and unexpected left turns, so their perspectives are welcome. They’re really the first ones I’ve felt comfortable letting in to the creative process in that respect. I’ve had such bad experiences with band mates before that I always had the idea that À Rebours wasn’t going to be a democracy. Haha! Thankfully I am privileged to work with a couple of guys that will add taste and texture instead of cliché and mediocrity.”

His debut album, Vanish, is always in my listening rotation (not just around Halloween) and the songs are deep, sometimes playful, always hauntingly beautiful pieces. It was difficult for me to choose one song to feature on Horror Addicts. In the end, I picked the song that seems the most Poe-inspired to me, which is “Cardiac Thanatosis”.

What was the inspiration for this song? “Naturally heartbreak is the general theme, but I wanted something that took the feeling in a different direction. At the time the music was starting to take shape, I was reading The Villain’s Guide to Better Living by Neil Zawacki and there was a section in there about how important it was to get rid of your heart before someone got to it. The book suggested cutting it out and hiding it so that good guys couldn’t poison you with things like regret, sympathy, kindness and those types of things that would kill your evil mojo. I thought, ‘There we go. How do you protect yourself against heartache? You’ve got to make sure there’s nothing to break!’ I was reading this in early 2005 or so, I think, or early 2006. It wrote itself from there. My songwriting tends to go like that: once a seed idea has germinated the whole song just kind of unfurls out of itself.”

He added, “Incidentally I’ve had many late night, alcohol-saturated discussions with friends and fans about whether or not the song is figurative or literal. I like for the listener to derive some of his or her own meaning from it, but if you ask me I suppose my response depends on my mood. I’ve defended both sides. The sketch animation video I did for that song ends with an image of a screaming guy with a massive suture on his chest. Is it symbolic, or literal? Hmmmm…”

I first discovered you about the time you packed up and left Phoenix, AZ, for the “bright lights” of New York. How has NY treated you since then? “Haha well let’s clarify that I went to upstate NY, not New York City. Going to NYC would’ve been a significantly different experience—better or worse, I’m not sure. But I would say that as far as the band goes it was a setback. I built up the beginnings of a solid fan base in Phoenix, and then I left it behind and never really built something as good here. The decision to move had nothing to do with music, and in the long run it’s been overall good for my life…not easy, but good in the end. I met my new wife out here after all. For my music, though, it’s been difficult, and may very well have been a blow À Rebours won’t bounce back from. That’s depressing. I have a lot of music still inside clawing at the walls to be let out. I have some stories to tell about the things that happened to me in New York and about the things I’ve discovered about myself. You can’t, however, spend too much time dwelling on the whole ‘coulda-shoulda-woulda’ thing, or playing ‘what if?’ all the time because it’s pointless. It just causes emotional unrest, you know? So I suppose now I just need to get to making lemonade, if you know what I mean. I just need to release my music and keep trudging forward.”

Where are some of the places you have toured/played? “Played all over Phoenix before I left. In the North East I’ve played all over the Southern Tier, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, some places in PA, all the way down to Ohio, Connecticut and over to Michigan.”

Where would you love to play that you haven’t yet? “I haven’t gotten to play in NYC yet, which I’d like to. I really want to play in Europe, too; I think audiences there are more in tune with À Rebours’ musical style and I’ve just fallen in love with Europe every time I’ve traveled there.”

Do you have any stories of any gigs that stand out? “Haha not any good ones! Any band will tell you that there are more clusterfucks on stage than visits from angels, so lets just say that we have our share of those! But, to answer you, I guess one that stands out in my mind was when we played Mohawk Place in Buffalo alongside Tearwave, who at the time was on the Projekt label, and Woven, who were from LA and touring. Overall the show was an epic dud because, like, five people came. Total bust—and Tearwave were hometown heroes there. It kind of baffled all of us. Bad timing, I guess. It happens. But each band setup nevertheless, played like we were playing to a stadium and were cheered on by the other two bands. It was kinda cool. The energy from fellow musicians and the enthusiasm and support for what each band stood for was just awesome. We played so great that night, haha of COURSE!”

I know that “À Rebours” is French for “against the grain”, but what does it mean to you, and why the evolution of name from “Maxwell’s Demon”? “À Rebours stands for being fiercely unique and independent. To me it means not only trying to find an oblique way of doing things, but also making a point to do things differently. It’s about existing on a level apart from the everyday ignorance, mediocrity, and herd mentality. It’s about being an outsider by choice and savoring the delicious experience that offers.

“I switched from Maxwell’s Demon because À Rebours just resonated with me and more accurately described what I was aiming for. I figured I’d have one shot—my fifteen minutes—to say what I wanted to say to people so I’d better make it count. Or at least be as accurate as possible.

“About that time, oh I’d say 2005 I think, I was also submitting an early version of ‘This Winter’ to Projekt for their unsigned band compilation. Again, I wanted a name that cast the light I wanted cast on the music I was presenting. It was the first time I was putting my music out there. That compilation never materialized, but it was the thing that solidified the name. In retrospect, Maxwell’s Demon probably would’ve been easier for people to pronounce!”

It may be hard to choose, but which of your songs is your favorite and why? “On Vanish, I’d say my favorite is ‘Dust‘. Amongst the newer songs, my favorite is ‘The Parliament of Rooks.’ That tune is split into two parts and bookend the album, but as a whole I’d say it comes the closest to capturing the bleak, melancholy sound I’m always trying to create. There’s a live version of the second part on YouTube, if one is interested in hearing it.”

Outside of the usual labels describing music, how do you describe your music? “Way back on MySpace I used to describe it as ‘deliciously melancholy rock.’ On our Facebook it says ‘If Edgar Allan Poe had a rock band, this would be it.’ It’s a collision of rock, shoegaze, goth, progressive, and probably a few other things in the mix. Sometimes it’s bleak and introspective, sometimes it’s dense and defiant. Put equal parts haunting, Tesla experiment, postmodern romance, and message from space into a shaker with ice, strain into a chilled soul and garnish with loud amps.”

Who are your favorite bands, and who has influenced your music? “Oh my God that’s asking for an encyclopedia recital! My favorite band of all time is the prog band Fates Warning. I grew up on them, learned so much from trying to play their music and they still capture that same vibe lyrically and atmospherically that resonates with me. I have everything they’ve done and just about every side project from the members.

“Outside of that I could name a ton of artists that inform my style: AFI, Bethany Curve, Jean-Michel Jarre, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo, Trivium to start. I’ve had stages where I couldn’t get enough of things as widely different as Jack White, Iron Maiden, or VNV Nation. I’ve got a huge music collection. Real honestly, anything that I hear that I like is a potential influence. It all enters some kind of mental cauldron and bubbles back up somewhere.

“I know Ryan and John are both big fans of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Iron Maiden and Rush (as am I). Ryan has a Jazz degree so there’s that side of his playing that figures in. John is a high school band teacher so he naturally has to command a ridiculously huge repertoire and that kind of knowledge naturally informs his playing.”

What other styles of music do you like? “Classical. Middle Eastern. Ambient and atmospheric. Electronic, Industrial and Dance. All kinds of rock and metal. I’ve been getting into sick and sleazy blues—not like Stevie Ray Vaughan or Eric Clapton kind of blues, I mean like chilly, raw, remote, bar on the edge of town at 4 in the morning kind of blues. Just to name a few things.”

What type of music turns you off? “I just CANNOT get into contemporary country. Old C&W has some valid merit and of course great musicians; I still don’t much care for it though. The stuff nowadays we call country just completely turns me off. Induces nausea, even. Most contemporary R&B and pop music kills me a little inside, too. Outside of those I can usually find something I like in just about every genre.”

Is there a style that you haven’t worked in that you would like to? “As far as genres that I’d like to explore, I’d like to go in a couple of different directions. One, I’d like to do more electronic. There are more keyboards and sequenced parts in The Parliament of Rooks album than in Vanish, but it’d be fun someday to go full on industrial-EBM or something. Second, I’d love to do something totally and unapologetically heavy metal. Something like Trivium or In Flames. Now, I don’t believe À Rebours is the medium to explore those avenues, so there might be side projects in the future, or perhaps a revival of Maxwell’s Demon outside of À Rebours. I need to get Parliament of Rooks out and the third album done as well, though, before I even entertain those ideas!”

Speaking of, how soon can we expect to have The Parliament of Rooks available? “Well that, my friend, is the million dollar question, LOL! 2013 at the earliest, hopefully not 2014 or beyond. I’m trying to balance optimism with realism. At this point that’s the best I can offer.”

How has producing The Parliament of Rooks been different than Vanish? “Compared to this, Vanish was a breeze. With all of the times that files have been lost or corrupted, that life has gotten in the way and shut me down, and now of course factoring in the physical distance from my label and their resources…it’s been very frustrating. The songwriting aspect is always the most time consuming because I obsess over so many aspects of a song. That being said, writing definitely went faster for POR than for Vanish. However, once Vanish got the green light to produce, it went fairly quickly. This album has been anything BUT quick or smooth. It’s been terribly frustrating. The music was all written three years ago!”

Do you listen to podcasts, and if so what kind and which ones? “I have listened to some, but I just don’t feel like I have the time to subscribe to them. I’ve tried before, and iTunes just ends up full of podcasts I never listen to. Then I get so fed up I just delete the whole lot. I feel lucky to have time to read a book for crying out loud.”

When you aren’t creating or playing music, do you have any other creative outlets? “Absolutely!! Music is actually my second avocation. I am a freelance illustrator/designer and I run a business called Moulin Diesel. I did all the artwork for Vanish from the tray card and J-card to the disc. Moulin Diesel did À Rebours’ website and graphics, too. Art is really the thing that feeds my soul. Music is a side dish. I’m passionate about both, don’t mistake me, but my art definitely takes precedence over my music, especially at this point in my life where the music is caught in a swamp and my art is doing well. Not to mention art actually creates an income, whereas the music most definitely does not. But alas, we don’t do creative things for the money, only for the enjoyment. Nevertheless, one has to eat, n’est-ce pas?”

Indeed, so what’s next for you and the band? “Finish recording and release The Parliament of Rooks. That is job number one. And then, of course, play shows to support it. Given Ryan and John’s schedules, however, that second piece is tentative. Ryan’s in Connecticut playing with the band Echo & Drake which is dong fantastically well. I’m really proud of him. John, as I said, is a high school teacher so he’s really only free during the summer. I need—NEED—to release this album though and tell the story of the third album, of which I’ve already been writing for. We’ll see what the live schedule looks like, but one way or the other I need to keep sharing the music I write.”

What advice do you have to new bands? “The ‘music business’ is a sham designed to grind you up and package you as a money-making commodity for the people running the business. Avoid it. Be your own boss, learn some business practices and run your band like a business. It won’t be any harder work and you’ll be happier in the long run. And when I say treat it like a job, that means full time at the very least. It’ll require that much and more to make it into something. I think that’s why À Rebours hasn’t done better: life got in the way and I never put the 110% it took to make it. When I tried, other things suffered and cost me emotionally. For better or worse, I believe the band could’ve been more and probably still could be. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that presently it’s not and shouldn’t be my main focus in life.”

You can download their music from iTunes and Spotify, or purchase the physical CD directly from CD Baby or from their website in a merch bundle. Merchandise is available at their website: maurautius.com, as well as some other stuff on Cafépress. They are also on ReverbNation and MySpace. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Soundtrack To The End Of The World and Four In The Morning

Strange things are starting to happen all over the world. One man walks naked into heavy traffic. Another man is defecating all over his apartment building and there is a new underground night club that says it can give you an out of body experience.  Welcome to Marty Raft’s world, he’s a man with a horrific past who plans to find out what’s going on in Anthony Rapino’s Soundtrack To The End Of The World.

Going along for the ride with Marty is his best friend Corey, a wannabe comedian with problems of his own.  Corey and Marty get an invitation to the underground night club from their friend Skinny, who is a Buddhist and claims he can take over other people’s bodies.  In the club they witness the impossible and see spirits leaving their bodies and entering other people.

From there things start to get worse, people start turning into zombies, but these aren’t your normal everyday zombies, they don’t want to eat the living. In fact nobody is quite sure what they want but when the zombies see the living their jaws open wide and they let loose a high pitched scream that turns the living into the undead.

When I started reading Soundtrack To The End Of The World I was expecting an all out action packed gore fest. While it does have action and gore it offers a lot more. At the heart of the book is a story about the importance of family. Marty has lost his family and is just drifting through life.   This is illustrated when he witnesses a man die and he thinks to himself that he wants to care and he tries to look like he cares but in reality he just feels hollow inside  and doesn’t know what to do.

On his journey to find out what is causing the zombie apocalypse he meets other people and they become a family and Marty finds his purpose. The book gives an interesting social commentary on whats important in life and gets into philosophy as well. It also provides some humor and some tense scenes where your not sure if the zombies or the people Marty and company meet on the road are the bigger menace.

There was a couple of scenes in the book that I did find confusing, like when two of the men that Marty are traveling with think they see something and they go running through the woods and get captured by slave traders. There is also a confusing scene where Marty’s truck gets stopped in a traffic jam and hit by a car of people who end up joining Marty’s family, but the story has many great scenes as well.

In particular I liked the scene where Marty and his family are taken to a church where a mad priest thinks the rapture is happening and is giving people to the zombies so they can be saved. I also loved the fight scene at the end of the book and how the book wraps up.  There is also a really good love scene that is funny and touching at the same time. Soundtrack To The End Of The World is a very original zombie tale with a lot of action and gore thrown in for good measure.

Another book I want to talk about is Four in the Morning. This is a collection of four novellas all centering around a different age in life . One story focuses on young kids, one on teenagers, one on a middle age woman and on on an elderly man.  The first story is a steampunk story named  Half Dark by Malon Edwards. This is a coming of age story about a mermaid/robot girl living in a dangerous world who finds that she is much more then she thought she was. This story has a little bit of everything, witches, faeries, pirates and boys with chin chins.

I love the made up language in this one, even if I didn’t fully understand it.  All of  the characters were great and the setting were excellent. This story also has the best character name I’ve ever heard which is: Big Poppa The Draws Dropper. You gotta love the creativity that goes into steampunk. This story is funny yet exciting and very unique at the same time.

The second story is Gully Gods by Edward M. Erdelac. This is an urban fantasy with some real life horror thrown in. The story follows a gang member named J-Hoss who after killing a man in Huston has to move to Chicago with his aunt and young cousin but trouble finds him and he is forced into the middle of a gang war.

The author must have done a lot of research on gangs for this story because there is quite a bit of gang lingo used here. This story was frighteningly realistic and extremely violent. The story moves along quickly and it is very well written. I liked how J-Hoss is given a chance to change but because he is so used to things being a certain way he can’t do it. I also liked finding out about the god that is behind the gang war and the conversation that happens at the end of the story.

Next up is Queen by Lincoln Crisler. This one follows a woman named Rita who just had her 42nd birthday. Rita is not happy with her self image so she decides to take part in an age reversing treatment experiment that has some interesting side effects. What I liked about this story was hearing  Rita’s feelings about getting older and her reaction to what is happening to her. This was a science fiction tale with an ending that could have been explained a litle better but was still entertaining.

The last story is an all out horror tale called Cenotaph by Tim Marquitz. It follows a religious 73 year old man named James who has to live with the horror of out living all of his loved ones. Which to me was the scariest part of the story. He finds out by accident that his family are not in their graves and then sees his grandson who has been dead for 10 years in a liquor store. James is left to discover the mystery of what happened to his family and the answer may ruin everything he believes in. This was a great horror story that was suspenseful right up until the end. All of the stories in Four In The Morning we’re great and well worth your time.

Guest Blog- Laurel Anne Hill: Shanghai Steam

Laurel Anne Hill (Most Wicked 2011) Invites you to Read

SHANGHAI STEAM: A Unique and Totally Cool Steampunk-Wuxia Mashup

To scare or not to scare: That is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to write of

The slings and arrows of a character’s ill fortune

Or to rip away that character’s two arms in a bloody sea of troubles

And by opposing what the reader craves, end their interest. To die, to sleep–

No more the story shall be read if I choose wrong–and by such sleep careers doth end.

          – Written by Laurel Anne Hill, Most Wicked 2011, even as Shakespeare groaned from his grave

Sometimes I write horror. Sometimes I don’t. My latest offering, Moon-Flame Woman is not horror, although my main character, Cho Ting-Lam, finds herself in a horrible situation. Moon-Flame Woman is steampunk, and included in SHANGHAI STEAM  (Absolute XPress, November 2012), a steampunk-wuxia anthology to be launched at the upcoming World Fantasy Convention in Toronto.

The setting for Moon-Flame Woman is a North American railroad construction camp in 1866. That’s because the tremendous contribution of  Chinese workers in the building of the U.S. transcontinental railroad never ceases to impress me. Yet nineteenth-century Chinese laborers in the United States didn’t receive the respect they deserved.

In Moon-Flame Woman, Ting-Lam has lost self-respect. She, a slave, has neither a husband nor sons. Disguised as a man, Ting-Lam uses explosives and crystal technology to bore railroad tunnels through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Then a railroad superintendent endangers her and her people.

I invite you to visit the worlds within SHANGHAI STEAM. From ancient China to a future Mars, from the British Empire to the Old West, nineteen authors will show you worlds with alcohol-fueled dragons, philosophical automatons, and Qi-powered machines both wondrous and strange in tales of vengeance, paper lantern revolutions and flying monks.

Abney Park Press Release

NEW POSTER, ON SALE NOW!

18″ by 24″
You can get this gorgeous poster in two flavors:

Poster: $15

Numbered and Autographed Poster: $25

On June 2, Abney Park’s newest album
Ancient World will go on sale.

This is a magnificent album, one of our biggest endeavors
to date, featuring 15 never before heard songs.

Steampunk Revolution
The Story That Never Starts
Terrible Affliction
Things Could Be Worse
Automaton
Jealousy
Scupper Shanty
Fix The Boat Or Swim
Stealing From The Past
Tricked The Machine
Waiting For You
Can’t Talk About It
Ancient World
Steampunk Revolution Instrumental

…and more!

In total, nearly an hour of new songs!
52 minutes so far, unless we add some more solos!

Click the highlighted songs above to download those now, for free!
(I’m like a drug dealer, but for music! Getting you hooked, so you have to come back and buy it!)

ABNEY PARK WHOLESALE PRICING
Do you own your own store?
Do you travel to conventions and
sell from your merch booth?

Abney Park now offers wholesale
pricing to you so you can sell our books,
posters, and CD’s! You can even go
right now and order copies of
The Ancient World, Abney Park’s NEXT album!


ABNEY PARK PERFORMS 2 SHOWS AT WORLD STEAM EXPO
MAY 25-28

“In 2010, we presented you a show 120 years in the making, and in 2011 we produced one of the largest Steampunk experiences in the world. Now we return in 2012 to bring you an event beyond the scope of your imaginations! Join us once again this next Memorial Day Weekend for high adventure and exploration galore! From elaborate events to a vendor’s hall that is beyond compare, we will bring the wonders of the world here, all for your enjoyment and entertainment.”

Abney Park Press Release

NEW MUSIC VIDEO

Click the picture to be linked to Abney Park’s latest music video EVIL MAN.

HELP US OUT HERE
If you feel so inclined, go a vote for Abney Park for best band, Airship Pirates for best game, Mandem for best artist.

Captain Roberts is up for SteamHUNK!

And don’t forget Abney Park will be playing Portland, Oregon.

Friday, March 23rd at the Star Theater.

13 Northwest 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
+21 | doors at 8:30

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Abney Park Press Release

February 25th, at 6pm
“Captain” Robert Brown
will be reading from his novel
The Wrath Of Fate

at
Ada’s Techincal Books
713 Broadway East, Seattle

This is a FREE EVENT

We’ve got a bunch of super cool vests added to the market for men and women. They come in three styles:

Airship Captain Tailcoat Vest: $95
Airship Captain Vest (no tails): $95
Cropped, Detachable Hooded Vest: $45

If you’ve shopped in boutique fashion stores lately, you’ll know these are amazingly low prices. Especially for something this cool.

These designs were all taken directly from the patterns made for my stage vest.

We’ve been hard in the studio working on a new album for over a year and a half. We hope to release it in the next few months!

We actually started writing this before we started recording Off The Grid!

Here is a partial song list for the new album:

Steampunk Revolution
Automaton
The Story That Never Starts
Waiting For You
Terrible Affliction
Ancient World
Things Could Be Worse
Fix The Boat Or Swim
Tricked The Machine
Can’t talk About It
Jealousy

…and more!

– Captain Robert Brown

Abney Park Novel: The Wrath of Fate

ONSALE JANUARY 1st, NOON, PACIFIC TIME
THE ABNEY PARK NOVEL

Captain Robert’s novel, The Wrath Of Fate, which is the backstory for Abney Park, goes on sale January 1st. You have heard the stories in Abney Park’s songs for years, and wondered how they all fit together. Here is the adventure novel that explains it all!

First Addition Paperback: $15
Numbered and Autographed First Addition Paperback: $30
(These early release first additions will be only available as a trade paperback. e-book, and audio books available later in 2012.)

This is the story of a young and destitute musician, who through a series of failed heroics changes the history of the world. Expect time travel, clock work men, floating cities, apocalyptic wastelands, and of course Airship Pirates!

(click) Hear a chapter read by Captain Robert (click)

This story is told in 26 chapters, each beautifully illustrated by Juan Pablo Valdecantos Anfuso (one of the brilliant artists who works on the Abney Park RPG). Here are a few of his illustrations to wet your appetite.

Now, doesn’t that sound like a fantastic book?
(on sale January 1st)

October/November Events

October 21st / End of the Earth art show and Zombie Walk / Mason, Ohio / This art show features paintings that show what the end of the world will be like,  there will also be several local bands performing and a zombie walk. For more information go to: poprevolutiongallary.com 

October 22nd / Dorian’s Parlor Grand October Ball / Philadelphia, PA/ Dress up in your favorite Steampunk, Neo-victorian, Neo-Vintage, Victorian Ball gowns and dance all night to celebrate the changing of the seasons and All Hollow’s Eve. Cost is $25 and there is a $500 prize for best costume. For more information go to: doriansparlor.com

October 26th / The HORRORphiles #8 Miedo Mashup 3 / New York, NY / Come out and celebrate the work of Latino horror filmmakers. There will be movie clips shown along with a costumed cocktail reception and a Q and A with the directors. For more information go to: http://www.latinhorror.com/horrorphiles8/.

November 4th – 5th  / Drunken Zombie Film Festival / Peoria, Illinois / This film festival includes the best in low budget filmmaking, some of the movies at the fest include: Dead Bodies Everywhere, Fitness Class Zombie and Thy Kill Be Done. For more information on this event go to: drunkenzombiefilmfestival.com.

November 10th – 13th / Buried Alive Film Fest / Atlanta, Georgia / This event supports underground film making and independent horror. Some of the movies being shown are Terry Gilliam’s The Legend of Hollowdega, She Wolf Rising, Necromance and Satan Hates You. There will also be a horror art show. For more information go to: buriedalivefilmfest.com.

November  11th – 13th / Horrorhound Weekend / Cincinnati, Ohio / This convention includes appearances by Kane Hodder, Tom Savini and Loyd Kaufman. There will also be movie showings, a tattoo show, an art show and model making seminars. For more information check out: horrorhoundweekend.com.

Be an Airship Pirate and enter the world of Abney Park

Abney Park has been entertaining audiences since 1997. They got their start  as a goth band but have transformed their sound into a mix of industrial dance, world music and steampunk.  Through their music they have created a world where anything can happen.

It all started while the band was on tour. Their plane collided with a time traveling dirigible called the Ophelia that was created by Dr. Leguminous Calgori in a freak storm. The band took control of the vessel and became airship pirates. Abney Park now travel through time seeking adventure, playing music and altering the worlds timeline.

If your not content experiencing Abney Park’s story through their 11 albums you can now play Abney Park’s role playing game. The 300 page RPG book will be released on August 31st and is currently available for pre-order at the band’s website. The story is based on Abney Park’s music and all the artwork was chosen by the band. Steampunk is a fast growing sub genre and Airship Pirates could break out the way Vampire: The Masquerade did 20 years ago.

The story for Airship Pirates begins in the year of 2150. The earth was recovering from the great apocalypse of 1906 but someone screwed up the timeline. Taking place over the You are the captain of the airship Jolly Roger and your living a life of adventure as you sail over beast-haunted wastelands and the steampunk sky-cities of Isla Aether and High Tortuga.

Also below you in the  fog shrouded cities are people huddled in Victorian squalor being ruled over by the upper class. The Emperor’s clockwork policeman patrol the streets with the threat of the change cage hanging over anyone who rebels against the government. Out from the dockyards come the imperial air navy in search of pirates. Your mission is to use your ship to keep away from the emperor, sail the winds of time and plunder history itself but try not to screw up the timeline in the process.

Also coming soon from Abney Park is their novel The Wrath of Fate. Written by Captain Robert who started the band. The book expands on the origin of  the band, how they became airship pirates and tells the tale of their adventures throughout time. For more information on the music of Abney park as well as their RPG, their novel and some really cool looking goggles, check out abneypark.com

Press Release: Veronique Chevalier Update

Veronique Chevalier Update

* * * Veronique Announces Partnership with SJS Promotions * * *
Ms. Susan Soares, Founder of SJS, shall now be conscientiously bombarding vous with all news Veroniquey. We are most honoured to welcome her & look forward to a lovely working relationship, as we pick up greater eSteam!

* * * PDX Gear Con & Back to The Pacific NW! * * *
Excitement is at hand, as well as a-foot! The event producer of Portland’s first-ever Steampunk Festival – PDX Gear Con, July 23rd-25th, (who happens also to be the producer of the acclaimed Rose City Steampunk Film Festival), had the excellent taste to include La Moi as one of his first invited Honoured Guest Perv-ormers! Also appearing are Erica UnWoman Mulkey, Vernian Process, Wanderlust Circus & Vagabond Opera, among many others!

Visit the Official PDX Gear Con Website for further info:
http://pdxgearcon.com/category/performers/

Well, that’s enough excess “braggage” for this round. Please feel free to send moi an Aetheric Telegram with any questions/comments/kudos! (Complaints shall be duly ignored- forewarned is four-armed. 😉

With great affectation, er, affection & eSTEAM,

MADemoiselle Veronique
The Original Mad Sonictist

Abney Park

For those of you not familiar with or new to the band fan base. You may not have known that Abney Park’s name comes from a cemetery in London. Or that they started out as a goth band and since then have become the steampunk band we know them as today. Their current members or shipmates include Captain Robert Brown, Daniel Cederman, Jody Ellen, Kristina Erickson, and Nathaniel Johnstone.

Recently, Abney Park began sales of their newest poster Abney Park In The Clouds (as seen on the right). Each poster is numbered and autographed by the band members. You can also purchase past posters (autographed or not) at their online store Abney Park Market. You most likely have heard that Abney Park also has a RPG based on their songs titled Airship Pirates. You can find out additional information here.

They also have a new Christmas album in the works. I’ll let Captain Robert give you all the details, “Years ago Kristina and I wrote a Christmas Album in about two weeks. It was kind of a joke, and it forever haunted us, because people loved it so much we could never get rid of it (even though it was not very good). As the years went by, fans continuously begged for more, but we never really had time to do it justice, since we were always working on new Abney Park albums. Well, this year we are making time! We’ve started recording, and arranging songs, and I have to say the result is coming out awesome. With any luck, we’ll have this done in time for Christmas this year!”

May 7th, Abney Park will perform main stage at Blackbeard’s Ball in Oakland, California. The ball will be held in The Oakland Metro Opera House from 8pm to 2 am. All ages are welcome and tickets start at $20 for Early Bird, $22 for Advanced and $25 At the Door. For more information and to purchase tickets head over to Brown Paper Tickets.

And Pirates be ready for Dragon Con 2011! Abney Park will be performing along side many other amazing artists.

For more information on Abney Park check out these sites:

http://www.abneypark.com/
http://www.myspace.com/abneypark
http://robert-from-ap.livejournal.com/

THE EDWARDIAN BALL 2011

THE EDWARDIAN BALL 2011

The original, turn-of-the-century extravaganza returns with a two-city celebration of music, dance, circus, Gorey & more!

SAN FRANCISCO :: Friday & Saturday Jan 21-22
at The Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness, San Francisco
Doors & Show 8pm-2am both nights, all ages welcome
Plus — FREE daytime shopping Sat Jan 22, 12-6pm

LOS ANGELES :: Saturday Jan 29
at The Music Box @ Fonda, 6126 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
Doors & Show 8pm-2am, all ages welcome

FRI 1/21… THE EDWARDIAN WORLD’S FAIRE (SF)

Exposition of Technology by KSW * The Edwardian Midway * Dark Garden Corsetry * DJ GlobalRuckus (PDX) * Flynn Creek Circus * Vima Vice Squad * City Circus * Vernian Process * Shovelman & more.

Tickets $28-38 + very limited $75 VIP, all ages welcome, doors/show 8pm.

SAT 1/22… 11TH ANNUAL EDWARDIAN BALL (SF)
Featuring a live, original performance of Edward Gorey’s “The Eleventh Episode” by Co-Hosts Rosin Coven & Vau de Vire Society * “Belle of the Ball” Jill Tracy * Miz Margo * Fou Fou HA! * Delachaux *
The Gomorran Social Aid & Pleasure Club * Portrait Studio & more. Tickets $38-48 (VIP sold out!) All ages welcome, doors/show 8pm.

BOTH NIGHTS (SF)…

Steam Powered Tea Garden by KSW * Cabinets of Wonder * Hall of Fine Arts * Sideshow Oddities * Ballroom Dancing * Vendor Bazaar * Gaming Parlour and much more!

AND… FREE DAYTIME SHOPPING SAT 1/22! (SF)

Find that perfect outfit, accessory, trick or treat for The Ball, or for anytime! Free daytime shopping hours in between the Friday and Saturday nighttime events. Changing rooms available. Full bar for 21+ with ID. Entrance at 1270 Sutter Street, lower level of event only. FREE, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, NO TICKETS REQUIRED!

SAT 1/29… EDWARDIAN BALL 2011 LOS ANGELES
Featuring a live, original performance of Edward Gorey’s “The Eleventh Episode” by Co-Hosts Rosin Coven & Vau de Vire Society * “Belle of the Ball” Jill Tracy * DJ Xian (LADEAD) * Miz Margo * Fou Fou HA! * Delachaux * Dark Garden Corsetry * Ballroom Dancing * Vendor Bazaar * Parlour Games & Special LA guests!
Tickets $28-35 + VIP Packages * 21 & up w/ID, all ages ok with adult chaperon.

THE EDWARDIAN BALL is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author Edward Gorey. Set in “Edwardian” times, this multi-media festival has grown over the past decade from a small underground club night into an internationally recognized event, even earning the blessing of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

The Edwardian Ball has been called “the quintessential must-never-miss event of the year,” “a defining annual San Francisco tradition,” and “a literary circus of the highest caliber” for good reasons… come see for yourself!

Tickets & Info: www.edwardianball.com

Edwardian Vendor Bazaar Daytime Hours
A leisurely day of shopping & gaming – FREE -12-6pm

Find that perfect outfit, accessory, trick or treat for The Ball, or for anytime! Free daytime shopping hours in between Friday and Saturday nighttime events. Changing rooms available. Full bar for 21+ with ID. Entrance at 1270 Sutter Street, lower level of event only. FREE, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, NO TICKETS REQUIRED!

We have just a few vending spots still available for both San Francisco and Los Angeles but they are going fast – more information here or contact Anna the Vending Queen anna@edwardianball.com.

Learn to Dance for The Ball!
Vima Dance offers group & private lessons to all

Step out in style and learn to dance for the Edwardian Ball!

Vima Dance Studio is once again hosting ballroom dance classes for the aspiring Edwardian. Classes run from November through January, at a very special rate for Edwardian Ball-goers, including:

FREE Intro to Ballroom Classes. Learn the basic step in six partner dances. This is a great class if you are not sure what you want to learn and want to sample a bit of everything. Early Bird Special – Free Classes in November and December. Drop-ins are welcome!

$8 Salon and Variety classes. These group classes will offer a more in-depth look at some of the classic ballroom dances: Viennese Waltz, Tango, Slow Waltz, Fox Trot and even some Rumba! (Group Package 16 classes for $128)

Edwardian Intro Package: 1 private lesson for $30 (single or couple). One on one introduction to ballroom dancing, or refine dances that you already know.

For schedule of classes visit www.edwardianball.com/dance

Vima Dance Studio

560 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

415-977-0203

www.vimadance.com

www.facebook.com/vimadance

Dead Man’s Carnival

I’ve been entering events for a few months on the horror addicts event calendar. Most of the events that I add have to do with masquerade balls, steampunk events, and Burlesque shows. After entering all these events to the calandar, I always think to myself these events look fun, but I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and we don’t get to see stuff like this here.

Then one day I was in a local grocery store and saw a poster saying Dead Man’s Carnival presents Steampunk Victorian Ball coming to  Milwaukee’s Hyde bar on August 26th. This costume ball coming to my own backyard is like all the events I add on the horror addicts calandar rolled into one.

I contacted the organizer of the event, Gypsy Geoff Marsh and asked him what people can expect to see at the Steampunk Victorian Ball.

Geoff  will be performing along with a variety of entertainers including the Absinthe Minded Professors Steampunk storytelling to hammer dulcimer and electric fiddle and  Eric Bang!!! Electric medicine man and sideshow bally professional. There will also be music from Water Street Bridge and a few metal sculptures including a 13 foot time machine that shoots electricity out.

Headlining the show is Dead Man’s Carnival which is kind of an underground circus and burlesque show featuring sideshow stunts, fire performers and juggling.

I also Asked Geoff  how he got started promoting shows and performing he said he has been producing vaudville shows in Milwaukee for 4 years but he believes that this is the first steam punk show in Milwaukee. He will have another show with Dead Man’s Carnival at the Miramar theatre on October 2nd.

Geoff’s influences include Nicoli Tesla, W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, and Moonie the Magnificent. If your interested in the show or want to find out more about the performers you can go find more info below and don‘t forget to check the horror addicts fourms for info on other shows like this one:

Gypsygeoff.com
http://www.Deadmanscarnival.com
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=145902068757588
www.waterstreetbridge.com
http://www.ravenstory.com/clockwork.html
http://www.Erikbang.com