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Sep 2013 13

by Laurelin

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. As tough as I make myself out to be, when it comes down to it, I have always believed in the concept of love really being all you need in life. I have never been able to understand women who married for money or notoriety; how can you look yourself in the mirror every day? Growing up I loved fairy tales; I always listened, unable to sleep until happily ever after. I suppose I still believe that’s a thing, happily ever after. Or is it?

As my 31st birthday approaches I am acutely aware that I am not where I thought I would be by this age. I am not married, I don’t own a house, I don’t have kids, I don’t have money saved – hell, I don’t even have a boyfriend. Am I broken? Has believing in something perfect turned me off to something realistic?

As the minutes tick by and turn to hours that turn to weeks that turn to years, I’m wondering, does that fairy tale still exist? Is love all you really need, or is stability something that I should be looking for as well? I have always found comfort in looking back on my dating history. I have loved so many types of people: tall, short, fat, hairy, bald, muscular… Some have been drop dead gorgeous, other have left my friends wondering if I had gone temporarily blind. Either way, I have always loved every single one of those men. I don’t care one way or another what they looked like or what they had to offer besides their love – and I have never, ever been sorry.

Are things different now? Should I be worried if someone I care for isn’t perfect on paper? Is love really just… enough? My favorite love story of all time is Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. For those who haven’t read it, it’s about a boy who falls in love with a girl at a young age. She is everything to him, and she eventually breaks his heart, and he is ruined. The story takes you through his whole life with her, without her, his life thinking of her, getting over her, running into her years later (just like we all run into ex’s), and in the end, they somehow wind up together. Years pass, lives change, marriages happen and decay, children, jobs, family… Life happens. And in the end, they just knew it was love the whole time. It’s perfect. Is that the way it could all be? Or is it just that, a tale woven by an author in the 1860s?

It doesn’t matter either way. I find that no matter what I tell myself, no matter what I feel like I should do, my heart is always going to lead the way. I don’t care if you don’t have any money, I don’t care if you don’t have the perfect job. I don’t care if you’re a 30-year-old bartender, a broke ass writer, or a fancy pants pro-wrestler on TV. When it comes to matters of the heart, I will always be that hopeless romantic.

As black hearted as I feel sometimes there is always that hope, that faith that love is simply enough. I am lucky to have loved deeply in my life, and I know what it is, and what it’s capable of. As 31 approaches, I don’t feel lost in love at all. I feel in control, like I won’t settle for anything but head over heels, totally blind, never ever looking back love. And that is anything but hopeless.

[..]

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Sep 2013 11

by Blogbot


[Adria and Temper]

This Thursday, September 12th on SuicideGirls Radio, hosts Nicole Powers and Juturna Suicide will be discussing art and pornography – and the intersection of the two – with infamous artist-cum-x-rated-actor Zak Smith a.k.a. Zak Sabbath. Zak’s partner, the gorgeous Adria Suicide, will also be joining us, as will Sawa Suicide, who is the subject of a painting by Zak which was featured in the prestigious Whitney Biennial exhibition in 2004.

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


[Sawa]

About Zak Smith (@ZakSmithSabbath)
Zak Smith, also known as Zak Sabbath, is an American artist and alternative porn star. He was born in Syracuse, New York in 1976, and grew up in Washington, D.C. After receiving a BFA from Cooper Union in 1998, he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and went on to receive an MFA from Yale University in 2001. He lived and worked in Brooklyn until October, 2007, when he moved to Los Angeles.

Zak made his pornographic debut in 2006 under the pseudonym Zak Sabbath, in the film Barbed Wire Kiss, by director Benny Profane. In the porn blog Fleshbot, Smith mentions working on a project to help fund a film student’s NYU thesis project entitled Freaky Kids I & II (although most of the money he makes in porn is actually donated to activist group Food Not Bombs). He followed this up with an appearance opposite Pixie Pearl in Eon McKai’s debut film for Vivid Entertainment, Girls Lie, and subsequently appeared in Bullets And Burlesque with Sasha Grey, Marie Luv, and Satine Phoenix, and Vivid’s Hospital with Coco Velvet and Mandy Morbid.

Often referred to as the king of the art punks, Zak is on his way to art world domination. Represented by Fredericks & Freiser, his paintings of girls have sold to some of the most prestigious art institutions in the US. His portrait of Sawa Suicide graced the walls of the Whitney Museum in New York, and the Museum of Modern Art now owns his portrait of Charlie Suicide. His books, Gravity’s Rainbow, We Did Porn and Pictures Of Girls are available in fine bookstores.

Related Posts
Zak Smith – Pictures of Girls
The Art of SuicideGirls feat. ZakSmith

**UPDATE**
ICYMI: Last week’s s0xy show feat. Adria, Albertine, Juturna, Sawa and Waikiki Suicide + honorary Suicide Boy Zak Smith:



Video streaming by Ustream

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Sep 2013 11

by SG’s Team Agony feat. Casca

Let us answer life’s questions – because great advice is even better when it comes from SuicideGirls.


[Casca in Professor]

Q. I’ve been seeing this girl for about a month or two now and everything seems pretty good. There were a couple of other guys in the picture at first, but now it seems she’s narrowed it down to me, though we haven’t made anything official. We talk pretty regularly and the other day she told me she was seriously considering becoming a stripper. Normally, from any other girl, this would have been a major turn on and a source of enthusiasm from me. But with her, I get these awful negative feelings when I think about it. I really wanna be supportive cause I can tell its something she’s excited about, but I know just thinking about it really hurts. Not really sure how to approach the situation. Advice?

A: I think it is only natural that you would be apprehensive about this. This is a girl who you obviously care about and the idea of stripping will put all sorts of pictures in your head. I think you need to have a proper sit down with her and discuss it.

How does she feel about it and what are her reasons for wanting to do it? Will she be safe where she intends to work? Tell her how you feel, and your worries about the situation. If you say everything is fine when it isn’t this could cause strain on the relationship down the line.

When I first became an SG my partner said he was all for it, but as time went on and I wanted to shoot more he finally told me he wasn’t happy during an argument. After that, we had a really good talk and got everything out in the open, and he is OK with it now. I think communication is the key.

Take care,

Casca
XXX

***

Got Problems? Let SuicideGirls’ team of Agony Aunts provide solutions. Email questions to: gotproblems@suicidegirls.com

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Sep 2013 03

by Blogbot

This Thursday, September 5th on SuicideGirls Radio, hosts Nicole Powers and Juturna Suicide will be joined in-studio by post-apocalyptic percussion troupe Street Drum Crops. These boys can bang the shit out of anything, and have to be seen to be believed, so don’t miss this show!

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About Street Drum Corp

DRUM! Magazine’s 2012 Drum Ensemble Of The Year, Street Drum Corps, present their high energy, over the top “Lost Vegas” show at Vinyl in Las Vegas (at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino) on September 28, October 19 and November 16, 2013.

Once your ticket is taken, you enter Street Drum Corps playground. With massive sound and epic visuals, the audience will experience Street Drum Corps as never before. The show features instrumental percussive numbers as well as epic songs with vocals. Musical selections will span SDC’s 9-year history, as well as new material.

The SDC “Lost Vegas” cast is made up of ten performers, decked out in custom costumes and makeup, with props crafted specifically for the show. The group pushes the boundaries of creativity, performing mainly on recyclable found instruments – everything from oil drums to washing machines.

Each performance is unique since you never know who’ll turn up to join in. Past celebrity guest performers include: Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Adrian Young (No Doubt), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Jose Pasillas (Incubus), and Deryck Whibley (Sum 41).

In addition to the monthly Saturday night residency at Vinyl Las Vegas, SDC will also be embarking on a string of “Blood Drums” tour dates nationwide. Check their website, Facebook and Twitter for more info.

Related Posts
Quality Couch Time With Street Drum Corps
Street Drum Corps: Big Noise at The Roxy and on SG Radio (Nov 21)
Street Drum Corps: A Lesson in Misfit Drumming

**UPDATE**

ICYMI: Last night’s show feat. Street Drum Corps.



Video streaming by Ustream

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Aug 2013 29

by Blogbot

This Thursday, August 29th on SuicideGirls Radio hosts Nicole Powers and Juturna Suicide will be joined in-studio by Zak Waters for a spot of skinny dipping!

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

***

About Zak Waters

Los Angeles native Zak Waters has been shaking the dance floors across the country with his impressive and ambitious solo work since 2011. Now the singer, songwriter, producer and DJ is gearing up to release his highly-anticipated first full-length album Lip Service via Spotify on September 9. In conjunction with the album release, Zak will bring his full live band to The Satellite in Los Angeles for a month-long free residency every Monday night beginning September 2.

At theses shows, he will highlight material from album Lip Service including the album’s first single “Penelope,” a catchy pop track Zak penned about a young man’s longing for his former babysitter. There’s also soul meets dreamy indie pop tracks like “Dear John” and “Sleeping In My T-shirt.” Also included on the album are previously released cuts “Runnin Around” and “Skinny Dipping In The Deep End.” Look for “Penelope” to debut August 27.

After he emerged with his first solo EP New Normal two years ago, Zak collaborated with rising dance music prodigy Madeon on his dance single “The City” which peaked at #4 on dance charts. “Not Coming Down” with Candyland was also the #1 track on Beatport for two-and-a-half weeks. Besides his singing and songwriting, he has produced official remixes for major artists including Adam Lambert, All American Rejects and Foxy Shazam. Most recently, Zak has been in the studio and collaborating with some of the most highly acclaimed and well respected DJs and producers such as Flo Rida, David Guetta, Benny Benassi, Mak J, Alex Gaudino, Felix Cartal, Hot Mouth and DCUP.

For more on Zak follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

**UPDATE**
ICYMI: Here’s last week’s outrageously fun show with Zak Waters.



Video streaming by Ustream

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Aug 2013 23

by Rachel Allshiny

Working on prisoner support is one of the most exhausting, transformative, frustrating, vital, tedious, rewarding, messy, wonderful things I have ever done.

When someone is in prison, every moment is a crisis. Even when a specific problem or situation is resolved, there remains an overwhelming survival mentality, which affects those inside and their supporters alike. I move from crisis to crisis every day; meanwhile the prisoners I am not actively engaged in supporting at any given minute hover in my peripheral vision, imploring they not be forgotten. None are ever forgotten, of course, but the need to prioritize presents me with difficult decisions about how to use my time and resources daily.

In the past few weeks, most of my efforts have been dedicated to helping Mark Neiweem, also known as Migs, of the NATO 5. Quick refresher: five activists were arrested days before the NATO summit in Chicago last year and subsequently charged with terrorism. Three remain incarcerated at Cook County Jail, awaiting trial. One accepted a non-cooperating plea agreement and served a sentence of four months in a boot camp for non-violent offenders. He was recently repatriated to his native Poland. The fifth is Mark, who also accepted a non-cooperating plea and is serving two concurrent three-year sentences. With credit for time served and time off for good behavior, he expects parole in November. You can read his comments on his decision to change his plea and his grim experience at Cook County Jail here.

Mark entered his new plea in April. He was immediately transferred to Stateville, where he stayed for one month under barely tolerable living conditions. He was then moved to the medium security unit at Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac, IL. This was by far his best housing situation, although it feels strange to put it that way. Prison is always a miserable experience, but there are relative levels to misery.

I got my first letter from Mark when he was still at Cook County Jail exactly one year ago today – the same day I attempted to visit him for the first time. His tone was friendly, engaging, and funny, but he also came across as angry, frustrated, and obviously in pain. In one line that still haunts me, he suggested that they should execute him and let the other four guys walk. When we tried to see him that day, we discovered he had just been hospitalized after being severely beaten by guards. His hospitalization was followed by five weeks in solitary confinement, where he stayed without visits until after his visible wounds healed.

During those five weeks, I made it my personal mission to make sure he always had mail and someone he could call. I wrote and told him that five guys went in, and I would not rest until all five walked out. Ever since, it has been my utmost priority to make sure the shadowy powers-that-be know we are paying attention to what happens to him. As the good Doctor would say, he is protected.

As it happens, we’ve also become good friends. I very much look forward to the day when I can spend time with him that’s not regulated by the Illinois Department of Corrections.

After his conviction and move to Pontiac, I noticed a significant positive shift in Mark’s attitude. I attribute this change to the resolution of his case, having a release date in sight, and having escaped the hellhole that is Cook County Jail. His medium security designation meant he merited “contact visits” where he was able to hug his mom and some friends, myself included, for the first time in over a year. He began making concrete plans for the future and became determined to use his remaining time to educate himself in preparation for release. He requested books, signed up for the prison’s GED class, and began attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. He mentioned in his letters that some of the prisoners knew why he was there and tried to engage him in conversation about it, but that he had no interest in discussing the past. His sights were set on the front door and he was doing everything possible to get a strong new start on his life.

Imagine my concern and disappointment, then, when I drove down with a friend to visit him in July and discovered that he had been moved to solitary confinement in the maximum security unit. We were still able to see him, thankfully, but it was a no-contact visit. We spoke to him through a sheet of plexiglass and watched as he twisted around, trying to find a comfortable position to sit with his arms shackled behind his back to the base of his stool. He told us he had not been able to contact anyone about his transfer to solitary because he was no longer allowed to use the phone and his property had been seized, which meant he did not have his list of mailing addresses. At that time he had not been charged with any misconduct but was “under investigation,” which meant they could hold him in solitary for at least 30 days.

Despite the circumstances, it was a great visit. He looked healthier and stronger than ever, if a bit scruffy from lack of access to shaves and haircuts. He was funny and thoughtful as usual and clearly determined not to give in to these heavy-handed tactics. He expressed concern over not completing his GED class and the setback in his plans to prepare for release. It wasn’t the most relaxed or pleasant visit, but definitely one of the more important ones.

Cue an endless number of urgent phone calls. We stood in the prison parking lot, phones poised, reaching out to lawyers, his family, and other activists as a thunderstorm brewed in the distance. It was very dramatic, or maybe that was the adrenaline speaking. During the 100-mile drive home, we held an early strategizing session. After the lawyers made their official requests, we launched a call-in campaign, flooding IDOC Director Godinez and Governor Quinn’s offices with demands for accountability. They responded by moving him to a smaller, more restrictive cell within solitary, behind a solid steel door. At one point I found myself sitting on the dirty sidewalk outside CPD District 001 at midnight, waiting for anti-ALEC protesters to be released, typing up actions and campaigns to at least get Mark some mail and pictures, at his request. It’s a glamorous life.

Ultimately, Mark was charged on two counts – possessing “unauthorized” anarchist symbols and possessing “unauthorized” anarchist literature, both of which were deemed an imminent threat to the facility. We are still awaiting a decision on these charges. Assuming they are upheld, he could be moved farther downstate, away from his support system, or lose his time off for good behavior. Or both.

Meanwhile, every moment is a crisis. I walk around with the awareness that his fate is balanced precariously, and there is only so much I can do to help. I send him photos taken in shaded parks along Lake Michigan, where I like to sit and write. He sends me funny drawings to let me know how much he appreciates my support.

This week, I went to visit him again.

I drove down in a borrowed car, pumping donated funds into the gas tank. I brought three books for him:

• On Writing by Stephen King because I am gently encouraging him to write about his experience;

• Packing for Mars by Mary Roach because it’s funny and informative and deals with confinement in small spaces as a means of exploring the vast depths of inner and outer space;

• and City of Thieves by David Benioff because if I sent him on a life-or-death mission to find a dozen eggs in war-torn Russia, I know he would deliver.

I was braced for trouble getting in to see him but it all went smoothly at the gate. In the waiting room I met a woman from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, there to see her brother. We traded war stories about visiting different facilities, always carefully avoiding the question of why we had to in the first place. Prison etiquette.

Finally, I was called to see Mark. He was behind plexiglass again, arms shackled behind his back again. You wouldn’t know it from the grin on his face, though. He looked too skinny and he still hadn’t gotten to cut his hair or shave, so he was starting to resemble the caveman drawings of himself that often adorn his letters to me. It was great to see him, no matter what.

We got business out of the way. He had a productive legal visit the week before. He still didn’t know his fate, but told me he is committed to resisting whatever they have in store for him. He said he was not interested in passively accepting their aggressive tactics, especially since he doesn’t believe acquiescence will result in better treatment. He has clarity of purpose about both his own situation and how it fits into the larger context of the system that keeps him unwavering in his resolve. As his mom told me on the phone recently, “They’re trying to break him, but they won’t. He’s a tough nut to crack.” He still spoke of his plans for the future, but they were more abstract.

He asked about other defendants’ well-being and for general news updates. I felt bad; it seemed like most of what I had to share was bad news. I told him about a contested space in Chicago that had been used as a community center for the past three years – until it was destroyed overnight with no warning. His response? “That sounds like a prime spot to occupy.” I shook my head and told him there was nothing left to occupy anymore; it’s just a pile of rubble now. He smiled. “So, it’s a pile of rubble now. Turn it into an organic garden.”

That wasn’t the response I expected, but it was the response I needed. I am constantly fighting burnout and every pile of rubble looks like a loss, highlighting the futility of our efforts to create sustainable change. He found the hope and possibility for a new beginning that was buried in this one. I didn’t tell him at the time, but hopefully he will read this and recognize that he could not have suggested that a year ago. He’s come a very long way.

I told him about the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black, and how people keep telling me I should really watch it because of my involvement in prisoner support work. I have been watching it, and see both its merits and its flaws, but it is slow going. I spend so much of my day worrying about prisoners and their perpetual moments of crisis that it is hard to sit back in my downtime and watch a TV show about it. Even harder to laugh. He compared people telling me to watch the show to prisoners who never miss an episode of Cops, or love detective shows that glorify the police force, without a deeper understanding of how it compounds their own oppression.

He wants to teach people about how the state uses incarceration to drain our power and resources and ability to resist. He wants every activist to know about the prison industrial complex, not just in theory or from a TV show, but from experiencing it alongside somebody trapped in the system. At least until they are all free.

He also expressed an interest in environmental activism as his next endeavor. When I mentioned some of the ongoing struggles against the KXL pipeline and fracking, he looked sad. “I’m missing so much in here,” he explained. I promised him we wouldn’t fix the whole world without him, but would leave something for him to work on when he got out. He’s holding us to that promise.

(This part of the conversation reminded me of my visit to Brian Church, also of the NATO 5, two days earlier. Brian was trained as an EMT but will never be able to work in that field again due to these charges. He very much wants to volunteer as a street medic to help people rising up against dictatorships in other countries – if he can work out a way to travel – who often end up badly injured. His desire to use his own skills to help other people was palpable, even with his own fate still undecided.)

At one point, Mark went off into an earnest and passionate political discourse, talking about how ridiculous he finds the concept of asking elected officials to honor rights we already have. If they really represented us, he theorized, we wouldn’t have to ask them to be on our side and protect our innate freedoms. “You can’t ask for permission to be free,” he told me. “You just have to start being free.” He interrupted himself with a sheepish smile. “I’ve been reading a lot,” he apologized. I looked at him, wearing “more chains than the Ghost of Christmas Past” (as he once described it to me), and I knew that he was free. They have imprisoned his body but his soul is soaring above it all, and he will prevail.

Every moment of prisoner support work is a crisis. But here’s the secret I saved til the end: every moment is also a precious gift. I have friends I haven’t talked to in months because I’m secure in the knowledge that I can text them at any time. My time interacting directly with prisoners, however, is measured and cut into segments that are never quite large enough. We don’t waste our moments together. Each and every one is important.

Before I had to leave, I asked Mark if we could do anything more for him right now. He is getting his mail again, very slowly, presumably after being read and documented by the prison. It is his only link to the outside world, and he asked people to continue writing and sending him photos. You can learn more about how to do that here.

When I hit the halfway point on my way back to Chicago, I suddenly started crying. I didn’t want to leave him behind, but I had reached the point of no return and had to keep pushing forward. I remembered a final bit of wisdom he had left me with: “It may feel like you’re on the ropes a lot, but at least you’re still in the fight.”

When every moment is a crisis, every moment is also an opportunity to resist and push forward. This is my work and my calling, but you can be a part of it to whatever extent you are comfortable. Choose one person on the #OpPenPal mailing list and send them a letter or postcard that will make them smile. If you live in the area of one of these cases, reach out and ask what court support and jail visit needs are, and if you can tag along with a veteran your first time. Donations to defense funds are always appreciated, and if all else fails, sharing links and information with your family and friends helps get the word out.

“Solidarity is our best weapon, and it works.” – Mark Neiweem, Open Communiqué

Rachel Allshiny served as librarian and press liaison for Occupy Chicago and co-founded OpPenPal in February 2013.

Related Posts:
Love In A Time Of Mass Incarceration

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Aug 2013 21

by Laurelin

There are defining moments in everyone’s life, milestones that we’ll never forget: Births, deaths, epic parties, love or love lost. These are moments in time you’ll have imprinted in your memory forever. Whatever that moment was, it changed you as a person and it changed the path of your life. Sometimes the second it happens you know right away, and other times it takes a while. Sometimes it needs to soak until finally something clicks and you think, “Wow, that was really something.”

It all seems to fall into place when you look back on it; hours that turn to days that turns to months, and all the while you’re changing but you never know exactly how or when. We scoff at the years past, our clothing or our significant others, our fights and friendships. We know that where we are right now we are the most enlightened, we have learned from our prior mistakes and we feel invincible. And then suddenly, a year later everything has changed again. The time frame moves forward and still we are unsure of how exactly we got to this place.

I remember seeing him walk into the room almost a year ago. I remember the date, the event, what I was wearing, the way I wore my hair (the same way I wear it now). I remember what I was drinking (white wine) and that it went down like tacks because it was my 30th birthday and I was so hungover from my party the night before. I remember that I almost didn’t go. When he walked in the air rushed out of the room and out of my lungs, and as we shook hands and said hello I had no idea what I was getting myself into. If someone had flashed the next year of my life before my eyes at that moment, I would have believed it to be a dream, someone else’s life, certainly not mine.

Looking back, that handshake and smile was one of those defining moments, that one-second in time where unbeknownst to you, you have actually changed your future, altered your own fate. He still has no idea; the choices I’ve made since then, how right he was about some things and how wrong he was about others. He as a whole might have been all wrong for me, but one year later I look at who I am as I write this, and I know that my life was forever changed the second I laid eyes on him. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say thank you, but I am grateful for the new path he has shown me.

[..]

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