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Nov 2012 23

by Daniel Robert Epstein

“For three years we were living quite openly in a very sordid relationship.” – Alan Moore

When I got the email confirming that I was going to get to interview Alan Moore I was giddy. The man has been one of my major idols since I first read Watchmen back in the mid-80’s. Since then I have devoured as much of his work as possible from the early Miracleman days up until his recent novel, The Voice of Fire.

I often think I have read all of his comic book stories then some company will pull an older work I have never even heard of and reprint it. That is exactly what Chris Staros and Top Shelf Comix has done. The Mirror of Love was originally a short poem written by Moore with illustrations by Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch. Artist Jose Villarrubia has put a new spin on it by breaking the words up and accompanying them with his photographs.

Moore and I had a long conversation that was as much fun as reading any one of his works. His accent is a hoot and even at the end he was nice enough to ask if I had enough material. I told him that I did, but I imagined us talking well into the night and becoming best friends. Sadly I don’t think that will happen, but please enjoy our talk. We spoke about his nearing retirement, where he likes to vacation, and a possible project with Dave Gibbons.

Read our interview with Alan Moore on SuicideGirls.com.

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Oct 2012 31

by Aaron Colter


[Clio Suicide in Magica Sexualis]

Anthony Alvarado is an inquisitive man. Most of us grew up playing make-believe, pretending to be different people or different things. We played games like Bloody Mary, and often wondered how much we were told was real and how much in our minds what we perceived could be. Although magic and the occult have been seen as destructive elements in American society due to the puritanical roots of our religious culture, beings like monsters, wizards, ghosts and other worlds are no less improbable than the miracles of the Bible. Such strong beliefs, of any nature, can affect the way we perceive reality. Heaven, hell, angles and demons, how many people would swear on their very life that such manifestations are real?

Though children shed their belief in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, millions of humans still trick their minds into believing fantastic creations. After being struck by a profound revelation, of sorts, Alvarado decided to write a book about the many ways a person can start to open those channels of accepting the impossible. His curiosity is documented in a new book titled D.I.Y. Magic, a short and easy-to-read guide to some seemingly opposing practical actions a person can take to start to hack their brain into believing all sorts of reality bending events. No reason why Christian fundamentalists should have all the fun playing inside their heads. But, be warned, sometimes, if you want to swim in the chaotic, hallucinating waters of the psyche, then you’ll have to dive in the deep end.

Alvarado was kind enough to answer some questions about his inspiration for writing D.I.Y. Magic, which should be the perfect way to prepare that brain of yours for a truly frightening Halloween.

Aaron Colter: What made you want to write DIY Magic? It seems that the methods you mention have already been documented in other sources.

Anthony Alvarado: Some of the approaches have already been written about a ton, and so I didn’t try to re-write the book on stuff like lucid dreaming or flotation tanks. And stuff like Tarot cards I added a new twist to them: what happens when you design your own Tarot cards?

Some methods, there is very little information out there. Like keeping yourself suspended during the hypnogogic state for example, that’s pretty rare. I think a lot of people have stumbled on this trick from different paths, and been like, “Wow, this works, am I the only one who knows about this?” So yeah I hope for the reader it’s like a good mixtape: some stuff is like an old classic in a new context, and some stuff is brand new for you.

AC: I’m assuming you tried all of the tactics mentioned in the book? Which was the most effective? Were there things you tried that didn’t work at all?

AA: Yeah, I did try all of the tactics. I’m sure my girlfriend thought I was going crazy. Every day I’d be doing something weird. Taking naps with a big spoon in my hand and an empty bowl, or lying on the couch with ping-pong balls covering my eyes and listening to white noise, super loud.

Out of everything I tried, I was really surprised at how effective flotation tanks are. And I’m surprised that pretty much everybody hasn’t tried these yet. One trip will make you a believer. The stuff that didn’t work consistently I didn’t include in the book. That doesn’t mean that it might not work for some people: chanting, and dancing, and drumming – there are a whole bunch of rituals that are some people’s cup of tea but not mine.

AC: Are there methods you still use today?

AA: Absolutely! I’m a fiction writer and I’m constantly searching for new ways to get into the deep end of whatever project I’m working on. My hope for this book is that it will find its way not only into the hands of people interested in magic, but writers, storytellers, poets, comics artists, musicians. My book is spinach for the muscles of the imagination! I’ve been playing around a lot lately with using Tarot and other idea/symbol generating engines to add an element of chance. I also have found that the more attention I pay to dreams in the morning, the more likely I am to have a flash of inspiration for a story while taking my morning shower.

AC: What’s your favorite tip or suggestion in the book?

AA: I kind of like the simple ones. Like grow a beard or buy a weird looking jacket you would never normally wear, and watch how much it changes your day-to-day, because people react to you differently.

AC: How did you go about selecting the illustrations in the book?

AA: I was lucky to have my friend Jason Leivan, the owner of Floating World comics, curate all of the illustrations. He is really plugged into the underground comics and art scene, and the roster of artists he pulled together for D.I.Y. Magic is awesome. I felt honored to have illustrations by artists like Farel Dalrymple and Ron Regé, Jr. because I’ve been reading their comics for years.

AC: What’s the most significant paranormal or outside-of-reality event you’ve ever experienced?

AA: I had a full blown mystic epiphany type experience, some years ago, that happened suddenly while I was walking past an oak tree. I won’t go into detail about it here, because it would take pages and pages. It was basically this intense realization of . . . the incredible strangeness that the world exists. You know, why is there something instead of nothing? But it was overpowering. I could hardly talk for 24 hours. And it seemingly came out of nowhere. I was like, what the heck was that? Later, it was through reading about other people’s experiences, that I started getting into a lot of the ideas that eventually became D.I.Y. Magic.

I’ve since learned that you can’t really convey the reality of a mystic experience. If you try, it just ends up sounding cheesy, like listening to somebody else’s drug trip. You can only write down pointers on how to get there.

AC: Do you think most modern mages, wizards, psychics, yogis, etc. are legit? How do you find the true believers from the snake oil salesmen? And, in the end, if you believe in it, does it even matter?

AA: What’s the Bible say about judge a tree by its fruit? It’s like that. I think you can tell by . . . well, is it working for them? And does it really work for you? The spell, or the yoga pose, or whatever.

At the same time, you’ve got a good point, does it matter? There is a teacher at the yoga studio I go to who is so amazingly cheesy, vapid, and New Agey, that I have a hard time not cracking up during downward dog. But his classes are just as demanding a workout as the other yoga teachers, so I guess it works. At least if all you want from the class is a good workout.

AC: If you could only give one piece of practical advice to someone trying to shake up the mundane, what would it be?

AA: Meditate. Just take 10 minutes every morning, sit down and empty out your thoughts. It does so much for you, and if everybody in the world did it we would be living in a different reality.

[..]

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Oct 2012 17

by Alex Dueben

“Cheerleading to me says a great deal about femininity, womanhood, girlhood…”
– Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott made her name as a novelist with a series of crime novels set in the mid-Twentieth century. In books like Die a Little, The Song Is You, Queenpin, and Bury Me Deep, Abbott put her female protagonists through hell and back. They were innocents who found that they were darker and more complicated than they imagined, pushed to their limits and out of their comfort zones which often led to blackmail, murder, self-delusion and more. Last year saw the publication of The End of Everything, a book set in the 1980s, featuring a thirteen year old protagonist whose best friend goes missing. The result is a brutal story that spares no one in the town.

Her new novel is Dare Me, a book about a cheerleading squad who gets a new coach and upends the team and the girls’ social dynamics. Sex, drinking, betrayal, kicking another cheerleader in the stomach to purge, broken bones and ruined lives – this is not a warm and fuzzy book, but it is a great read. It’s also one of those books that’s very difficult to talk about without giving anything away, but when we reached Abbott over e-mail, we tried our best.

Read our exclusive interview with Megan Abbott on SuicideGirls.com.

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Sep 2012 18

by Jovanka (Jen) Vuckovic

“What it comes down to is two words: creation and imagination.”
– Clive Barker

You know his name, you know his movies, and you damn well better know his books. Twenty years ago, Clive Barker redefined horror literature with his infamous Books of Blood; a genre-shattering, breakthrough collection of abbreviated nightmares in print. His fantastic tales were a masterful blend of extreme horror and poetry of the perverse, comparable to the best of Poe and de Sade.

His six controversial anthologies, of course, were a huge success and lead Barker to a rightful seizure of horror’’s cinematic throne just three years later with Hellraiser,– the highly influential, flesh-wrecking slice of sadistic cinema and unholy nativity of Pinhead, one of the genre’’s most intriguing and enduring icons.

Nevertheless, over the last decade, Barker has been criticized by genre fans for abandoning horror in both literature and cinema, his last directorial effort having been 1995’’s Lord of Illusions. But a closer look at his body of work reveals that, despite varying subject matter, he’’s never really left us at all. Now armed with a bloody bible of new material and grand designs, Clive Barker is poised to reinvigorate the genre in the way only he can.

Like the great William Blake, Barker is an artistic polymorph; whether it be painting, poetry, erotica or horror, his monolithic imagination has always addressed the strange, dark and unusual– right on through to Abarat, his new series of children’s’ fiction. Whatever artistic discipline he expresses himself through, Barker always dives deep into the dark waters of his soul for inspiration, fearlessly exploring its boundless depths.

Barker comes full circle with his film label Midnight Picture Show, a collaboration with Anthony DiBlasi and Joe Daley, the creative team behind Barker’’s Seraphim Films (Saint Sinner, Lord of Illusions). The new genre-specific, hard horror label plans to produce two films per year taken from the Books of Blood anthologies, with the purpose of creating and entire library of movies aptly-titled the Films of Blood.

Beginning with Midnight Meat Train,– a cannibalistic tale of subway train terror from the very first volume,– MPS plans to follow up with a delicious assortment of Blood stories including Pig Blood Blues, Age Of Desire, In The Flesh, The Madonna, The Life Of Death, Jacqueline Ess and Twilight At The Towers.

In addition to producing the Films of Blood, Barker also plans to return to the director’s chair with Tortured Souls, a new movie based on his McFarlane line of toys. And if you’’ve been turned off by the fantasy literature that the author has been pumping out over the last ten years, a new anthology of collected shorts and poetry –– which includes a story that will spell the death of Pinhead –– is the violent Viagra pill you’’ve been waiting for.

SuicideGirls communed with Barker in a frank and intimate talk on everything from his struggle to get the Books of Blood published to his fear of dying. Sit down, eavesdrop…

Read our interview with Clive Barker on SuicideGirls.com.

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Sep 2012 13

by Aaron Colter

Wild Children by Ales Kot and Riley Rossmo is one of the bolder comic releases of late. With an industry still stuck in rehashing old characters and making blockbuster movies, Image Comics has given two independent creators the opportunity to publish a graphic novella that is equal parts teenage rebellion and conceptual reality.

SuicideGirls reached out to the creators to talk about the inspiration behind the book, since any review of it would contain spoilers. If you’ve already read Wild Children, this should give you some insight into the creative process behind the title. If you haven’t, don’t worry. This interview should give you enough reason to check it out soon at your local comics shop.

Aaron Colter: Ales, what made you want to write a book like this?

Ales Kot: About twenty different things, really. As with almost everything, the origin of Wild Children can be traced to my childhood. My parents led me to question authority and desire to understand things as they truly are, and not just as they are presented. I took it a bit further than my parents expected. I loved school in the beginning, but the overall atmosphere of it quickly unfolded itself as a prison-like structure created to build docile citizens that would perpetuate the already dead dream of capitalism and infinite growth. Pair that up with the messy divorce my parents went through when I was about ten, and I quickly realized things were much more complex than the teachers were saying. So I began questioning them, first with an honest interest, and then eventually just to piss them off, because being nice never got me anywhere with them – except for the few that were at least partially aware of the absurdity of the system they were both facing and keeping alive.

AC: Riley, what made you want to draw this story?

Riley Rossmo: Young people get often painted poorly in the media – either as violent geek shut-ins about to snap, or nymphomaniac cheerleaders. But the range is so much greater. Young people can be brilliant, well-intentioned individuals. Wild Children addresses some of that, it doesn’t fall back on typical teen archetypes.

AC: Following the tragedies in Colorado and Wisconsin, are you worried that Wild Children will be seen as insensitive or promoting violence?

AK: Not at all. Wild Children is not a cheap army propaganda-style FPS like Call of Duty. Ultimately, it will be whatever people decide to see it as, but that’s beyond my reach. The intent is not there, and we don’t care about cheap sensationalism, although the comic kind of invites it.

Anyone who uses fiction as a crux when explaining their own stupid decisions — “The Devil in the Comic/Game/Movie/Music Made Me Do It” is a person that needs therapy, and lots of love and patience. Anyone who supports that logic will likely require the same.

AC: Were you both rebellious kids? Did you get in trouble in school a lot?

RR: Yup. I couldn’t handle people telling what to do without giving me a reason. I loved reading, so I’d read all the assigned books, but thought it was a huge waste of time to regurgitate my thoughts in essay form. I was pretty angry – mostly I would skip class, go to the arcade and play video games or paint, draw or silk screen. I had a couple great art teachers that would let me do art in their classes, even though I was skipping other classes to be there. I liked girls – they were probably the biggest draw. And it was the best place to go to when you wanted to acquire anything illegal. Very little learning happened in the class.

AK: Yeah, once I hit a certain age, I definitely did my best to get in as much trouble as possible. It’s not that I wanted the trouble – I just wanted to show that I didn’t care for the fake rules and spineless non-authorities, and that they wouldn’t put me down. A history teacher once gave me a verbal test in front of the entire class because she suspected I was off my tits, and I got B+, although I should have gotten an A. Nearly everyone in the class knew about my state, so it’s still one of my fondest memories. Apart from that, I skipped school a lot, first because I simply hated it and was bullied, later because I just wanted to hang out with girls or read somewhere quiet on my own. I remember a school where some schoolmates used to do speed off the toilet boards, sex in class, things on fire…the first time I had a gun pointed at me was in front of the first school I went to. So I guess there was some trouble, yes.

AC: Are either of you familiar with the concept of brain-hacks? Essentially tricks to shape your reality. A new book called D.I.Y. Magic by Anthony Alvarado touches on some of these notions. I ask because Wild Children talks of magic. Are either of you interested in magic on any sort of level?

RR: I love magic. I like street magic, metaphysics, performers that use misdirection in new ways. I think there’s a lot more out there than I can conceive of. There’s so much in the world that can’t quite be coincidence, or chance.

AK: Oh, absolutely. I hack my brain – more accurately, my entire being – and Wild Children is definitely a brain hack, or at least an honest attempt at one. I meditate, explore reality, observe how my mind shapes it, do my best to learn as much as I can and then implement all the new tricks into my daily life. I haven’t heard of D.I.Y. Magic, but I’m going to read it now. I’m currently reading Colin Wilson’s The Occult for the first time and it’s a crucial experience. I don’t think there’s any difference between what we call magic and what we call science. It’s just about seeing the hidden strings and learning how to operate them. Words and pictures are some of the strongest magical/scientific properties in our daily arsenal, because they shape the reality we live in to an uncanny extent. And, as Harvey Pekar said, you can do anything with words and pictures…Magic. It’s fun. Take it seriously. Like it’s science. Because it is. Just work to see the hidden threads.

AC: The notion of comics being a separate reality or a meta-world within a world that we create is something that’s very Grant Morrison in ways that resemble his work The Filth and even concepts in The Invisibles. What other comics inspired this project?

AK: Kill Your Boyfriend by Grant Morrison and Philip Bond – a great story about teenage revolt that I loved as a kid. It’s very similar to Badlands and Natural Born Killers, it’s angry, it’s fresh, it’s short, and it packs a punch. I loved that comic, and it came out in the same format as Wild Children – a short graphic novella. I also thought about Shoot, the long-unreleased Hellblazer story about school shootings that DC Entertainment shelved back in the day because it was about to be released just as Columbine shootings happened. I disagreed with that decision – the comic wasn’t sensationalist at all, and it had some important things to say. When I conceived of Wild Children, I wanted to combine these two comic books into a new one, into a graphic novella that would feel truly 2012 while paying its respects to the stories that influenced its birth. Casanova and the brave way it approaches itself and the medium. Asterios Polyp for some of the more theoretical stuff in the middle. John Smith’s writing influenced the ending. Graphic novellas by Alan Moore, Warren Ellis and their collaborators. There are some nods to Frank Miller’s early work in the beginning. Dash Shaw’s work. Matt Seneca’s webcomix – I love Affected – and his comics theory as well.

The inspiration related to Wild Children hit from many different sources. Filmmakers like Cronenberg, Lynch, Godard, Kubrick and Tarkovsky were instrumental in forming my approach early on, and they still influence me a lot. Music by Flying Lotus, Fuck Buttons, Pictureplane, Aphex Twin, DJ Rupture, Kode 9, Burial, Coil, early Marilyn Manson. Al Columbia’s art, anything Brandon Graham does. Books by Hakim Bey, Robert Anton Wilson, Kenji Siratori, Jorge Luis Borges, P.K. Dick, Douglas Rushkoff and others. Some of the ideas in Rushkoff’s Life, Inc. influenced Wild Children quite directly.

AC: Something else that comes across in the book is that all of the adults seem threatened by teenagers, who are, for the most part, harmless on a large scale. Do you think society is afraid of teenagers in real life? If so, why?

AK: It’s quite clear that some parts of our society are afraid of teenagers in real life, yes. People who are shriveled inside, whether they’re physically young or old, forget to question things, and live in their temporary sand castles, often doing everything they can to keep them standing, regardless of how much harm that imposes on everyone and everything else. The teenagers inevitably belong to our society, and it’s often quite impossible to destroy their idealistic energy right away.

It’s not exactly correct to say that only young people push things forward – it’s people with a young attitude, wanting to learn, to discover the world, be in awe of the universe, that make the world a better place to live, and help us all evolve. But we’re often taught to expect the worst – 31% of Americans are likely to suffer from an anxiety problem at some point during their lifetimes – and when we’re worried or downright scared, rules make us feel safer, however temporary that illusory safety is. And rules are, by and large, something the new generations seems to have less and less use for. “Chaos is evil, rules are good.” is an excruciatingly stale narrative. The world is much more complex. Question everything.

AC: As bad as our generation may have it, there may be less opportunities for those just now starting to grow up. Why do you think more students in America don’t demand access to education in the same way students in other countries have?

AK: Because they don’t believe in the system, perhaps? I’m genuinely not sure if I can answer this question well enough, but I’ll do my best. I imagine that a huge part of it is the fact that we’re observing the collapse of capitalism, and whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we know that’s what’s happening. We’re offered a choice between a guy that believes that corporations are people, supports penalties for doctors who perform abortions, won’t release his tax returns and most likely would perform fellatio on a pig for a nickel, or a guy that supports extraordinary rendition, secret kill lists and illegal spying on the people he swore to serve and protect.

AC: If you could give you teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?

RR: Make more art, and let your anger go.

AK: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Wink, wink, wank.

For more information visit:
aleskot.com/
rileyrossmo.com/
imagecomics.com/

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Sep 2012 04

by Fanny Merkin a.k.a. Andrew Shaffer

The following is an exclusive excerpt from Fanny Merkin’s parody novel, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. At this point in the story, the rich, sexy tycoon, Earl Grey, has just led college student Anna Steal into his “Room of Doom”…

The first thing I notice is the smell: Nag Champa incense and dirty laundry. The room is illuminated only by black light, but I can see enough to tell this is the kind of closet R. Kelly wouldn’t mind being trapped in. The room is tiny compared to the rest of Earl Grey’s apartment. There’s barely enough room for the waterbed. Whips, chains, ropes, riding crops, paddles, and iron shackles are hung up on the walls next to black-light posters — really trippy black-light posters. Room of Doom? More like the “Dorm Room of Doom.”

I feel Earl’s hand on my left shoulder. He’s breathing into my ear. “Welcome to my world, Anna.”

“Do you bring all your dates here?”

“I don’t know if I’d call them ‘dates,’” he says. “They are, more accurately, LARPers. ‘LARP’ stands for ‘live-action role playing.’”

“If they’re not dates, then what are they? Volunteers? Where do you meet them?”

Earl picks up an impossibly large, rounded red die off the nightstand and rolls it around in his hand. “There are women who LARP professionally,” he says. “They’re all over Craigslist.”

I laugh at the thought of him trolling for women on Craigslist. Surely someone as good looking and rich as Earl Grey doesn’t need to resort to picking up girls on the Internet! “You’re kidding,” I say.

He shakes his head. “I know, it just seems so dirty to meet women on Craigslist.”

“Dirty and gross,” I say.

“It’s just one of my fifty shames, Anna,” he says, lowering his head. “You don’t know the depths of my perversion.”

I’ve already seen him at what I figured was the depth of his shame, buying a Nickelback CD. Do I want to know how deep his perversions go? “And you use these . . . things on them? You torture them?” I ask, motioning to his toys.

“If the game calls for it.”

“And who decides that?” I ask.

“I do, with a little help from my trusty D-sixty-nine,” he says, rolling the die on the nightstand. “This is a sixty-nine-sided die, Anna. As the Dungeon Master, I use it to guide the action.”

The die rolls to a stop. “So you want me to role play with you?” I ask.

“Eventually,” he says, grinning.

“What do I get out of the whole deal? I don’t know if pretending I’m an elf being whipped is really my thing.”

“I see you as more of a faery than as an elf, but we can get into specifics later. What I get out of our arrangement is you, submitting to my every whim,” he says. “And what you get is Earl Grey.”

Wow. Somebody thinks highly of themselves.

“But we can ease our way into our LARPing characters with time. I don’t know what you’re doing to me, Anna: I don’t feel the need to pretend you’re a captive orc princess in order to get off. All I know is that I need you right now — any way I can get you.”

Oh my. Earl reaches a hand out to me. I take it in mine, and he leads me to the waterbed…

***

Continue reading the story in Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, available in bookstores everywhere! To locate a copy near you or find one online, visit 50shames.com.

Fanny Merkin lives in a Beverly Hills mansion purchased using the embarrassingly large advance she received for Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. She is a former Walmart employee who writes under the pseudonym, “Andrew Shaffer,” for publications as diverse as Mental Floss, Maxim and SuicideGirls. Andrew Shaffer is the author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love. He reviews romance, erotica, and women’s fiction for RT Book Reviews magazine.

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Jul 2012 27

by Daniel Robert Epstein

“It’’s very expensive to make a film in Britain because the exchange rate is so terrible. Dollars are worthless in the UK.”
– Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle is near and dear to the heart of probably every SuicideGirl and member. If not for his debut film noir Shallow Grave or the film that broke him through, Trainspotting, then definitely for the horror film, 28 Days Later. That film gave a pure shot of adrenaline into the heart of the zombie picture. His latest picture, Millions, might surprise casual fans. But Boyle nuts know that the man can tackle any genre and come up with a wonderfully inventive picture.

Millions tells the tale of a three person family; a practical nine year old called Anthony, his religious seven year old brother Damian, who sees saints around every corner, and their father who is the superintendent of a new housing development in Manchester. When a suitcase full of money falls out of the sky at Damian’s feet, it sets the boys on the adventure of a lifetime that leads them to realize that true wealth has nothing to do with money.

Read our exclusive interview with Danny Boyle on SuicideGirls.com.

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