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.


Oct 2012 26

A.J. Focht

Warner Bros. has walked away the victor in the legal battle with the heirs of Superman co-creator Joseph Shuster. Warner Bros. retains rights to the Man of Steel. The big news here is Warner Bros. is moving forward with the Justice League movie. They will start on it next year and plan to release the Justice League movie in 2015.

Last week, it was revealed that Agent Coulson would be returning on the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. television series. Coulson isn’t the only Agent confirmed for the show, Ming-Na Wen has been cast as Agent Melinda May in the series. These are the only confirmed cast members so far. There is no word as to whether or not Cobie Smulders will be reprising her role as Agent Maria Hill. Joss Whedon is co-writing the script with his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

It was a big week as the Iron Man 3 marketing campaign put their thrusters on over-drive. First, the official synopsis for the third movie was released as well as several new stills and posters. After fans finished ‘powering up Iron Man’s core’ in the Facebook campaign, a teaser trailer was released to introduce the full length trailer released on Tuesday. Iron Man 3 is set to release in theaters on April 26, 2013.

Captain America: Winter Soldier is currently in the casting phase, and it looks like Frank Grillo is taking the role of Crossbones. Crossbones is an assassin who worked for the Red Skull. Most notably, Crossbones is the man who killed Captain America after the Marvel Civil War. The film is scheduled to release on April 4th, 2014.

The Wolverine movie is coming to theaters on July 26, 2013. While the casting is long over, it looks like there is a last minute cameo appearance from one of the original X-Men. Rumor is that Famke Janssen will reprise her role as Jean Grey from the original X-Men trilogy.

There are more video game based movies on the horizon. It’s been a while since there has been news on the Mass Effect movie, but Legendary Pictures is still moving forward with it. Now Morgan Davis Foehl has been assigned with penning the script for the film. Mass Effect isn’t the only video game movie in progress. New Regency will finance and distribute the Assassin’s Creed movie with Michael Fassbender set to star in the film.

The first television spot for The Hobbit has been released. Sir Ian McKellen recently updated his blog to talk about the pros and cons of returning for The Hobbit. The run time of the film is slightly longer than was expected, coming in just under three hours long. The first Hobbit movie is completed set and ready for theaters on December 14, 2012. Also, it’s been revealed that Stephen Colbert will be making a cameo in one of the sequels.

The trailer for the Evil Dead remake is now online. The film promises not only the return of several of the best moments from the original film, but also more gore and depravity than any of the originals. Evil Dead is opening in theaters on April 13, 2013.

The third episode of the third season of Walking Dead has been widely hailed as one of the best episodes in the series. If a new episode each week isn’t enough to fill your zombiefied cravings, the new the Walking Dead Magazine is your one stop of all upcoming franchise news. The first issue recaps the comic series so far and covers what is coming up next in the television series. There are multiple interviews in the first issue, including an excellent and revealing interview with executive producer and writer Robert Kirkman. The cover story from the magazine gives readers an in depth look at the katana wielding Michonne. Kirkman describes Michonne as the ‘Boba Fett of the Walking Dead universe’ and gives more insight into the mysterious character. The Walking Dead Magazine is a must for fans looking for all the official news behind the comic book and television series.

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

Oct 2012 10

by Steven Whitney

From 2000 onward, intentional (and criminal) voter suppression has altered the political landscape on every level – local, state, and national. But from the 2000 Butterfly ballots in Florida that handed Bush the election, the Ohio locked-door counting of votes in 2004 that defeated Kerry, to the approximately 5.9 million votes lost (or stolen) in 2008, the problem has been more insidious and widespread than most of us realize. Most tragically, this happened in America – the country that invented modern democracy, but a nation in danger of becoming a plutocracy in which only money rules.

Just in time for our 2012 elections, award-winning investigative journalist Greg Palast – arguably the foremost expert on voter suppression – has released a new book that offers prescriptive solutions to the gravest threat our democracy faces: the suppression and outright theft of votes across the United States.

As the title implies, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits exposes the billionaires (including the infamous Koch brothers) and bandit operatives (like Karl Rove) behind the various plots to reduce minority participation in all elections, from local dogcatcher races to national Presidential choices. These crooks are – as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes in his brilliant introduction, A Hostile Takeover of Our Country – committing treasonous actions that are subverting both the intent and reality of our democracy. So in the book Palast tells you who does it, why they do it, where they do it, who they do it to, the 9 different ways they do it, why they get away with it, and, importantly, what you must do to make sure your vote counts to stop the wholesale theft of up to ten million votes in the coming election

As an added treat, Ted Rall, one of America’s top political cartoonists, has contributed a 48 page comic book insert – Tales From the Crypt of Democracy – that is hilarious, shocking, and right on target.

These scandalous shenanigans are much worse than Watergate – they are the worst political crimes of our era precisely because they aim to steal the most precious commodity Americans possess – their votes.

Read the interview, then get Palast’s ground-breaking expose on the real voter fraud taking place all across our country. You’ll not only be buying an important book, you’ll be making a vital investment in our democracy.

Steven Whitney: Let’s start with the most famous example in our history: Florida, 2000, Katherine Harris and the Butterfly Ballot. Everybody knows about that, but didn’t the Florida election officials do lot of other shady stuff even before the election?

Greg Palast: You hear about Butterfly Ballots because it’s rich, white folks in Palm Beach with their summer homes that lost their ballots to the butterflies. That’s unusual – they aren’t used to having their votes flushed down the toilet. They aren’t used to getting their chads hung. It’s usually the poorest, blackest folk in Florida. Before the 2000 election, before the butterflies, 94,000 mostly black folk – were targeted as felons, wiped off the voter rolls by a computer drone system. They were accused of being illegal voters. In fact, every one of them was guilty of Voting While Black. The number of actual illegal voters on the list of 94,000 turned out to be exactly zero. None. That’s what elected your President – a program of lynching by laptop, an electronic program against black voters.

Now, of course, things have changed since those dark days. They’ve gotten darker. This year, the felon purge is back, it’s black, it’s nasty. The Republicans have gone back in with the same game. How do they do it? For example, this time around, you’ll see in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits that a Robert Moore commits a crime. Common name, but sneaky Robert Moore changes his name to Bobbi. So Bobbi Moore, a registered voter in Florida, loses her vote. You’ll notice I said Robert Moore/Bobbi Moore loses her vote – so, obviously he had a sex change. Not only that, since he committed the crime in the future, according to the records, it’s a very sophisticated computer program, which seems to knock out black and blue-ish voters, you know, Democrats.

SW: Was it possible back then in 2000 that the Butterfly Ballot became a ruse to distract from all the other purging that Harris and Jeb Bush did?

GP: Not at all. No one gives a flying fuck about black people, especially in the white press. As far as they were concerned, the only thing that ever mattered in that whole race was the Butterfly Ballots…See trophy wives losing their votes is an issue. Black people in Gadsden County, who lost their votes through machine manipulation …Here are the numbers by the way: 178,000 votes were spoiled, that is cast and not counted in Florida. According to the Civil Rights Commission, if you were black, the chance your vote will be lost is 900% higher than if you’re white, and it ain’t just whistling dixie, that’s all over the United States. Officially we had 1.5 million votes cast and not counted in the last election, spoiled as they say. And overwhelmingly, it was a majority black, Latino and hugely, this is an interesting one, Native American. Overwhelmingly Democratic group, concentrated in swing states, there’s nothing new under the sun. America has progressed—our manifest destiny is to fuck the hell out of the Indians.

SW: Well, I think they were born in Kenya, weren’t they?

GP: Yeah, exactly. I wouldn’t mind a Muslim President from Africa because we’ve had these white Christian pricks for so long fucking it up, let’s give someone else a try.

SW: Didn’t John Kerry lose the election in 2004 because of an imminent terrorist attack on an Ohio courthouse?

GP: That was one of the games that was played. And, by the way, remember the kid who was zapped with the taser in Florida — you know, “Don’t tase me, bro!” He was holding up my book. He said, by the way, that he never let it hit the ground even though he was being tased — it was like the flag. And he was yelling at Kerry, “Why did you give up when this author, Greg Palast, said you won?” And by the way, Kerry said, “Yeah, I read the book, Palast is right.” No one got that answer. And, yes, one of the biggest ways that Kerry lost is a rotten piece of shit trick, in other words, something from Karl Rove, called caging. It’s one of the nine ways they steal votes that we have in the book.

Here’s the quick game on CAGING, and what happened to Kerry, and what happened again in Wisconsin with the Scott Walker recall, is that Karl Rove’s operation – and I’m not guessing here – sent out letters to soldiers, to students at black colleges in August, and to Jewish voters in Miami who are snowbirds and go north in August. The letters said on the outside “Do Not Forward.” So the letters came back, that is they’re caged, and then the Rovebots challenge the voters as voting from fraudulent addresses.

If you look in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, you will see these caging lists. One is nothing but soldiers from the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. Now Mr. Rove, or “Turd Blossom” as George Bush called him, it was his nickname, Mr. Blossom, why wouldn’t a soldier be at their home base where they’re registered? Well, Afghanistan is one answer.

By the way, if you’re a soldier you’re allowed to vote from under your Humvee. But when those soldiers and those students and the elderly of Zion sent in their absentee ballots, they didn’t know that those ballots were under challenge and that they were thrown in the garbage. Go to Afghanistan, lose your vote, mission accomplished. You like that? That’s what the Rove Operation was doing. I’m not guessing because I have the actual caging lists…It’s not that Rove sends me his confidential evidence of felonious criminality, it’s that we had a friend of mine who owned a website – – and because they misaddressed the stuff, the stuff came right into him and he passed it to me. And as Bobby Kennedy, a Professor of Law who wrote the introduction and looked over the evidence, says, this is a “go to jail” crime. These people should be in prison.

SW: Why aren’t they?

GP: Because, it’s a lot easier to break into the vault when you’re the cops. For example, the guy that actually sent out the caging list is a creepy little shit named Tim Griffin who is Turd Blossom’s right claw. Griffin sent out the emails, which is a federal crime — several federal crimes as a matter of fact – and then when a US prosecutor began to grumble and complain, Rove had him fired and Griffin, the prime suspect, the guy who did it, he was named the new Federal Prosecutor. So you literally took the criminal and made him the lawman, gave him the badge. Fired the good guys. And, by the way, I got that information from a Republican Prosecutor, David Iglesias. The reason there’s a picture of Tom Cruise in the book is that in A Few Good Men the Tom Cruise character is based on David Iglesias. So they just got the wrong guy. They got a good man who wouldn’t go along with their racist scam.

SW: In Colorado, when Donetta Davidson removed almost 20% of the voters, how did she do it? And if we can’t put these people in jail, why can’t we make examples of them? Air an ad every day in Colorado informing people that Donetta stole their vote.

GP: [laughs] Why don’t the SuperPACs bust the Ballot Bandits? Because they are the Ballot Bandits. That’s why we called it Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. It didn’t say Billionaires versus Ballot Bandits, it’s Billionaires AND, or I should’ve really said Billionaires ARE Ballot Bandits. The guys who run the super duper PACs like Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brother’s SuperPAC, and American Crossroads, that’s Turd Blossom’s operation, the two organizations together have over half a billion dollars. No one can put in full-page ads every day except for them. They’re not going to bust themselves. They’re not going to say, here’s the crimes we’ve committed, we just thought that you should be an informed voter and know all about it.

Now, Donetta Davidson, I call her the Purge’n General. Yeah, she got rid of 20% of the voters of Colorado, which just made Katherine Harris green with envy. Well, she was already kind of greenish, but green with envy instead of rot. And, Donetta Davidson, instead of being read her rights and marched off to the federal penitentiary for this crime, Bush appointed her as Chairwoman of the US Elections Assistance Commission. They made her basically the Purge’n General in charge of elections nationwide. So that was the example, you steal enough and you get the reward. It’s a sick, sick system.

SW: What happened with the Scott Walker recall in Wisconsin this summer?

GP: I was just up in Baraboo, Wisconsin this week, and in Baraboo Obama won by 28%. That’s a crush, right? And yet, in the recall vote, Scott Walker won it big time. Now, come on, how does that happen? Well, let me let you in on a little secret. The secret is called Themis. Themis is the Koch Brother’s magical vote munching machine. It’s a data mining operation. It does two things. It’s capable first of something that’s creepy but legal. They fill out ballots for their own voters, mail them and tell them to sign it. It’s all perfect so they’re beyond challenge. So their voters are all taken care of basically, they’ve already been voted for if they sign.

Then, the Themis machine is capable of doing all the caging, all the challenging, the purging, and the blocking at the polls to keep away the voters. For example, if I went by the Brennan Center numbers, and these are experts and therefore no one listens to them, but if you do listen to the screaming, screeching, buried experts, 97,000 Wisconsinites, almost all of them students, were barred from voting because they lacked state ID. Even though they had state student ID, that’s not state ID.

But that wasn’t enough for the Themis machine. The Koch Operation, Americans for Prosperity, had its Chief set up a front called United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which appeared and then instantly vanished after the recall vote, using the Themis machine, were able to identify likely Democratic absentee voters in key recall areas. Because there were also votes, by the way, on legislatures. The Themis machine was able to get the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin to identify Democratic voters, send them letters saying here’s where you mail in your ballot, and here’s the deadline. The address was a phony, it was their own, and the date was after the legal date for submitting an absentee ballot. So, either way, you were fucked like a duck. The Sportsmen basically were hunting Democrats. That’s how it worked. And again, as Bobby Kennedy says – he’s Dean of Law School at Pace University – this is a crime. And it’s a double crime when you add in the fact that most of this is racially targeted.

SW: How many people do you think are going to lose their right to vote this November nationwide?

GP: I can give you the exact number for 2008 which was 5,901,814 — in fact, if you look in the book you can get the real serious point-by-point break down.

SW: Yeah, I’ve got the same numbers for 2008 and 2010.

GP: Here’s the deal, for 2012 we’re looking at double to triple the loss. And it will be highly targeted. We’re going to go from 488,000 absentee ballots, which were cast and not counted in 2008, to having 2 million absentee votes thrown in the garbage…and it will occur, of course, in very targeted areas. The magnitude of the steal in America is very large because we have an electoral system and of course, don’t’ forget, we have something called the United States Senate. Heaven help us. And not my numbers, but the University of Minnesota says that seven Republicans are sitting in the Senate not because they were elected, but because they didn’t count all the votes. So I see that magnified. I can see a complete shoplifting of the US Senate. So how many more than 6 million votes lost this time? I can only guess. My numbers are more conservative than the experts at the Brennan Center, so I’d say 10 million. They would have the number much, much higher.

SW: Will most of those be in the swing states?

GP: Most of those will be in the swing states, but the key thing is that most of those will be in the non-billionaire community. [It’ll be in areas where] the 47% of the lazy ass, dependent skivers that are sucking off the government’s tit – Democrats – live. Remember vote theft is class war by other means. I mean, there’s this whole ugly Ku Klux Klan counting system we have, but it’s really about class.

In fact, my studies were showing that the worst vote theft in some states is actually of the poor white voter. And while it will be in swing states substantially, it’s also because that’s where the congressional and senate races are hot. Like Missouri, like Ohio, that’s where you’re going to see it. Not even so much to swing the presidential election but to swing those congressional and senate seats.

SW: Could you explain what overvotes and undervotes are?

GP: That’s a fancy ass term for getting jacked on your ballot. For example, an overvote is where you vote twice, by accident supposedly, or often by deceptive ballot design, or someone has a reason to cut out your vote. I give an example, a true example, in which I saw ballots when I went down to Florida where in the Black community of Gadsden the ballot said: “write in candidates name.” So people wrote: “Al Gore.” But they also voted for Al Gore by punching the ballot.

Now, according to Katherine Harris, that someone voted twice. The old rule was that the voter’s intent counted. So like, excuse me, can you figure out the voter’s intent if they punch Al Gore and write Al Gore? Is that difficult to figure out their intent? But no, it was thrown out saying they can’t figure out the intent, overvote, it’s out.

Undervote works the other way. You didn’t vote enough. For example, and literally, two old people I know, two elderly people, my parents, okay — they wrote in a candidate’s name, a Democrat, Donna Frye, the surfer chick of San Diego.

SW: I remember her.

GP: And Frye won by a couple thousand votes for Mayor of San Diego in a write-in campaign. But then, after the fact, they disqualified 4,000 ballots, including my parents’, because while they wrote in Donna Frye, they didn’t blacken the bubble next to her name that said that they were writing in her name. Now, one way to figure out whether they wrote in her name was that they wrote in her name, but again, the new trickery that’s being done, now computer aided, they called that an undervote and it was thrown out. This was the problem. So Jesus Christ, don’t fucking go postal on me. Do not mail in your ballot. Shove it down their throats. Walk in with your ballot, even if you have an absentee ballot, take it to your Board of Elections and make sure there’s no problem.

SW: How do these officials get away with it? As I recall, the Voting Act of 1965 is all about the intent of the voter?

GP: Yes.

SW: How do they get around that when the intent is so clear?

GP: How do these guys get away with it? One, they fire the cops and they give themselves the badges, as we saw with creeps like Rove’s right hand man, Tim Griffin.

SW: Right.

GP: Two, one thing about stealing an election is that you basically steal a police department. You’re the cops. There’s no enforcement because you steal the badges. You’re now the Justice Department okay? There’s a couple of other elements too. The Democrats have their hands dirty in this shit too. They’re not nearly as good, but they’re dirty enough, that they’ve got shit stains in their party underwear.

SW: Especially in New Mexico, right?

GP: Especially creepy things like in New Mexico, where you have this massive wipeout of the poor Hispanic voter. A wipeout. Purges, blocking, registrations thrown out, Native American registrations dumped in the garbage, provisional and absentee ballots thrown out. An entire precinct of Native American and Hispanic soldiers, where they claim that there was not a single vote for President of the United States. All these games, pulled off, all that vote blocking done against Hispanic Democrats, by Hispanic Democrats, by the elite. Again, this is a class war issue. People like Bill Richardson — do you know a lot of William Richardson’s who are Hispanic? So you figure that one out. And the Secretary of State, who I’m glad to say is on trial and hopefully on her way to prison for these games, that’s rare, but she couldn’t just steal the vote, she had to steal the money from the voting machine companies as well.

The thing is, the Democrats have their hands dirty, but the victims are always the same. You’ll notice that the Democrats go after Democrats and the Republicans go after Democrats, so it’s always poor defenseless voters who get it in the rectum.

SW: In the book, you detail the nine ways that are most commonly used to purge votes. We talked about caging, you defined that. Didn’t caging begin as a direct mail tool?

GP: What’s interesting is Rove & Company is a direct mail operation, which is why they used the term caging, because that’s used in direct mail. Usually, when people send back checks in the mail the letters usually have to be opened inside a metal cage, literally. That was one of the hints to me that Rove was in the middle of this.

SW: Rove made his fortune in direct mailing.

GP: Yes, and not only that, but the guy who sent the emails, believe it or not, the little criminal Tim Griffin – who by the way is not in jail, he’s in the U.S. Congress right now – I’m the only guy who actually believed [Griffin] when he said he didn’t know what he was sending out. Because Rove doesn’t have his own computer — Rove is a whiz kid with computers. He was the first guy to use computers in elections, which he did for Richard Nixon. While the rest of us were protesting the war, he was wearing a clip-on tie, a white shirt, and with his small, soft hands had all these computer tapes rolling to figure out who to electronically zap.

SW: He was mining databases back then?

GP: Yeah, the first guy to do it…and then working as a protégé to Richard Viguerie, a right-wing freak show [and the pioneer of political direct mailing]. Rove hasn’t denied it and Rove reads all my stuff carefully. I know because the Justice Department got his files and made them public. I said clearly Griffin has said that he didn’t know what caging is and his boss [Rove] doesn’t have a computer, so who sent out those caging lists? Well, golly gee, you figure it out. Now, it could’ve been Griffin’s assistant, a guy named Matt Rhodes. He’s not in jail either, he’s now the Campaign Chairman for Willard Mitt Romney.

SW: What a coincidence. Okay, tell me what TOSSING is.

GP: That’s tossing of absentee ballots. We mentioned that. If you mail in your ballot like my parents did, they throw it out because they didn’t like the size of your ballot, your postage is due, or you didn’t lick it correctly – I kid you not – you wrote the different name on the outside of the envelope than you did when you signed it on the inside, suspect signature. Now who’s suspect in America? And who suspects us? This is the game that’s played. Like I said, officially 488,000 absentee ballots were tossed out on the most cockamamie reasons and 2 million are going that way this November.

SW: Okay. How about computer hacking?

GP: What I call PRESTIDIGITIZING, because while hacking is an issue, I’m not an expert at that. I wanted people to focus on the other problems of computer voting, which is if you want to steal a vote by computer, the easiest thing to do is unplug it…And a favorite in places like Florida is to not give black poll workers the passwords to open the machines. So votes lost in computers, that’s a lot easier than when they play the game of supposedly switching your vote, which is complex and difficult. What’s real easy is for the machine just to go bluey and not record.18,000 votes went bluey in Democratic precincts in a congressional race in which a Republican won by only 500 votes. Katherine Harris’ old Sarasota District. All those votes just disappeared. “Gee, there was a glitch, what can we tell you? They just didn’t show up.” And, go ahead, try to find the fingerprints on that fucker.

SW: Is Diebold still in the middle of this or are there other manufacturers of electronic voting machines that are in on it?

GP: There’s plenty of operators in on the game. Like I say, they were bribing Secretaries of State like the Becky Vigil-Giron of New Mexico. The bribery is rampant and the games are rampant, but like I said, the big thing is the machines not working. Hugo Chavez’ buddies bought one voting company hoping to correct our elections, figuring [Chavez] had a better chance if Americans actually had their votes counted. But again, once they get the machines, they go zap. All they have to do is screw them up so that the votes do not appear. That’s the biggest thing. Precinct after precinct where you see zero votes on hot key offices. Zero votes. And, they go well, “What can we say?” There is simply no way to trace it back.

SW: What about SPOILING?

GP: In Gadsden, Florida, for example, where I saw these wonderful optical reading machines, that’s the best thing you could have, paper ballots that are optically read. In white rich areas, every precinct had its own little reader. If you make a mistake, and you accidentally add an extra mark or forget to vote for an office, you will get a message and you get to revote, correct your ballot, whatever. But in poor black areas, Hispanic areas, Native American areas, where they put in optically read balloting, these areas don’t have the money, just like they don’t have money for good schools, they don’t have money for good hospitals, they don’t have money for good voting systems, and everyone knows it. The ballots go to a central reader and if there’s an error, the ballot simply gets tossed out.

Now spoiling is no joke, we have nearly a million and a half votes spoiled every presidential election. A million and a half, and the chance of your ballot spoiling is 900% higher if you’re black than if you’re white. 500% higher if you’re Hispanic than if you’re white. And it’s statistically insane for Native Americans, how high the spoilage rate is. I have a chapter called “Indians Spoiled Rotten” because their ballots spoil all over the place. Again, because of the crap machines that they’re given, not because they don’t know how to vote.

SW: How about REJECTING?

GP: Oh excuse me, I’m sorry, I reversed these. Rejecting is disallowing absentee ballots. Tossing is throwing out provisional ballots. So just to get the terminology right here. Now what is a provisional ballot? As Lee Camp said in his SuicideGirls rant based on the book, when your name is purged or some bullshit, or you don’t have the right ID, they’ll say, “Oh, take this provisional ballot and we’ll count it later.” No they won’t. Lee said, filling out a provisional ballot is like voting on a fart, okay. It’s gone. Because whatever knocked you out in the first place stays knocked out. If they say you’re a felon, you have a felony record. And in Colorado, they removed all these people with felony records, despite the fact that in most states, including Colorado, you can vote with a felony record. But, forget all that, if they have it dead wrong and they give you a provisional ballot, they’re not going to count that vote, they’ll just say that they can re-register you next time. It’s a placebo ballot. They throw them out. I think it’s going to be big this time because when people go in with the wrong ID they’re going to be handed these provisional ballots so they don’t bitch. So, 767,023 provisional ballots were knocked out last time. Three quarters of a million — watch that double.

SW: Okay. How about ERRORS? Now, you talk about government clerks making mistakes. Is some of this intentional and some of it just human error?

GP: The answer is yes. It’s what I call vulture opportunism. I think 1 in 12 names are input wrong. You know, you fill out those forms and some knucklehead has to read it, you have sloppy ass handwriting, so they get your name wrong when they input it. And, it turns out that it’s especially unusual names like Mohammad or, in California, a lot of Filipino names and hyphenated names and Hispanic names with the funny accents on them and stuff. So they get it wrong. But they know who’s getting fucked on these errors and they don’t notify anyone. You don’t know until you show up that you lost your vote or that your ID doesn’t match the name they inputted. I mean, in Arizona we had Juarez spelled with a ‘W’ so people lost their votes because you know, their ID didn’t say Juarez with a ‘W’…I mean Paul Maez, his name was knocked off and he’s the Elections Supervisor in Santa Miguel County, which is a very poor Hispanic area. I asked why that happened and he said, “The answers on the down low.” That’s all he would say.


GP: We have a chapter called “Nuns on the Run” where I go through the case of the 10 nuns who didn’t have their driver’s licenses in Indiana, which has the worst ID law. It’s a good thing they didn’t because one of them was 98 years old. They’d been voting in the same place for decades. I understand this ID law is to prevent voter fraud, however, there has not been a single case, not one, of a nun or anyone else voting fraudulently, stealing someone else’s ID. See, the whole point of ID is to say, “I’m the person whose name is listed there.” No one does that crime because you absolutely get caught, you absolutely go to jail. You’re insane to do that to vote for a school bond or even to vote for Hillary Clinton or Ron Paul. No one does it. That’s why we don’t have those cases.

SW: On August 12th, the Carnegie and Knight Foundation report was released. After examining thousands of documents from 2000 to 2010, and looking at 600 million votes, they found only 10 cases of alleged in-person voter fraud. Those were just alleged and no there were no convictions. So, these two very bi-partisan foundations together said that voter fraud is virtually non-existent.

GP: As I point out in Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, Tova Wang, who’s from the Century Foundation, was asked by the Elections Assistance Commission to analyze voter fraud and she found only 6 cases a year. 6 million voters are knocked out a year to stop 6 cases of voter fraud a year! So she says you’re more likely to get hit by lightning. I actually calculated that you’re 60 times more likely to get hit by lightning then commit voter fraud.

SW: Okay, how about STUFFING?

GP: I left stuffing to Bobby Kennedy. That chapter is written by the Professor. He goes through the good old-fashioned stuff of cranking in the votes after the election is over to change the outcome. He just took a simple case, Don Siegelman of Alabama. By the way, most times it’s paper but sometimes, like in this case, it’s by computer. That’s very helpful because then there’s no trail. Don Siegelman was reelected Governor of Alabama by several thousand votes. Then, in a Republican area, the courthouse was sealed. They said a mistake was made, they had a recount of votes and they got something like 8,000 votes that they suddenly found overnight that had switched and Siegelman lost. There was no record of how this happened. No one was allowed to observe this so-called computer recount, or question why it took all night. Just a bunch of Republican officials locked in a room. And when Siegelman bitched, which you’re not supposed to do… Siegelman decided to scream bloody murder, and so he was arrested and today he’s in a federal penitentiary. Because they always have files on these guys. Everyone has a file, and they pulled it out on him. He still refuses to concede. He says, “I’m Governor. I was elected. I’m not giving up.” ….So what happened is, they kept him out of office by good old-fashioned stuffing.

SW: Okay, now. Where does lying come in? I’m talking about trying to convince ex-cons that they aren’t allowed to vote when in fact they are.

GP: The ex-con con is what I call BLOCKING. It’s part of the stopping of registration of legal voters. You know, one way is to make it illegal by simply arresting members of the League of Women Voters for having clipboards in public or something, which, basically, Florida tried to do. It was very effective. Black and Hispanic registration has dropped in America by 2 million since the last election. 2 million fewer black and Hispanic voters. Because we know fewer Hispanics have come in to the country and fewer are becoming citizens, is that right? No.

So, what’s happened? One way to block voters is to convince them, and even some minor officials, that they can’t vote when they can. The biggest unrepresented vote in America is not the youth vote, it’s not the Hispanic vote, it is the ex-felon vote. If you served your time in the United States of America, except for six old Jim Crow states, in 44 states, if you served your sentence, you can vote. You don’t become a non-citizen. You have to basically be in jail or under probation to have your vote removed in most states, and in most states even not on probation. You have 16 million ex-cons in the United States for committing crimes like doing a little blow and being poor. Obama did a little blow but he wasn’t poor. Or having a little J but not inhaling. That’s Clinton because he was at Oxford, so he’s got the Oxford elite exemption. So, remember, we’re not talking about people who have committed crimes, we’re talking about people who’ve been caught comitting in crimes in America, and those are two different categories – 46% are black and a lot are Hispanic, and that’s knocking out 16 million voters.

Here’s the interesting thing. Something the Democratic Party never mentions, and they should, which is that 88% of voters who go to prison come out Democrats. 88% come out Democrats. It’s16 million voters, you do the math. If the Democrats would stand up for these voters, they could never lose an election, but they won’t. In fact, it’s the opposite. They will take anyone that looks like a felon, in other words, black, BLA as they say on the Florida Voter Forms, and the Democrats let them be labeled felons and whistle at their shoes. It’s sick….And Obama, by the way, has nothing to say about that.

SW: We covered the nine ways they suppress the vote, could you go through for me the seven prescriptive solutions that voters can do?

GP: Yeah. One is don’t go postal. I just told you, they throw the crap in the garbage. I mean, you think these guys even want your vote, a bunch of partisan sharks and you’re going to mail it to them? Come on, get real. Second, vote early because when they fuck you around and say that Steven is a criminal, you can go back and say, well I served my time so I can still vote. Three is register and re-register. I know you think you’re registered. You voted last time, what’s the problem? The answer is, don’t be a schmuck. They’ve knocked out 22 million people in the last 2 years. Let me repeat that: 22 million people purged. That means you better get online and check if you are still registered. County Clerk or a Secretary of State’s office, get your name and get your address and make sure that your name is not spelled with an ‘F’. Okay.

SW: Right.

GP: Number four, vote unconditionally, not provisionally. Don’t take one of these placebo ballots. Don’t vote on a fart. Five, occupy Ohio, invade Nevada. What I mean by that is, get your ass in gear, okay? Show your shit, do your thing. Martin Luther King took a bullet for the vote. You can take a bus. You can do something valuable. The revolution will not be digitized. Go to where the votes count. If you’re in a non-swing state, though look at those congressional districts, it’s not just about the presidency. And I don’t care whether you’re for Obammy or Mitt Romney, this is not a partisan issue, this is about protecting ourselves from the Ballot Bandits. Number six is date a voter. As I say, voting, love and bowling should never be done alone. There’s all kinds of reasons for that including when they jack you around that you have people with you. It’s always easier to stand up when you’ve got people watching your back. Because sometimes people complain and they get busted. And also convince your friends, your frienemies, whatever, to show up and vote.

I don’t want to hear any crap about it doesn’t matter, they’re going to steal my vote. Fuck you, okay? I’d take your name off my list, don’t read my books, you’re not getting a ride in my car – I’m not going to let you date my ex-wife. I don’t want to hear from you with that crap. It’s not about the candidates. It’s about this thing that we have fought forever for. As Jesse Jackson said, “Marched too long, worked too hard, died too young.” If you haven’t put those three things on the line, then you definitely don’t have no right to talk about whether we should vote or not.

Seven, make the democracy demand no vote left behind. The election is November 6th. I want to see your ass at on November 7th, because we’re going to review whose vote was stolen where. Even if they reelect Obama, that’s not the issue, you need to know which votes were stolen and believe me, how many congressional and senate seats were swiped, whether or Obama wins or not.

When Obama won in 2008, it doesn’t matter when 6 million votes are stolen. That’s sick business, and it’s got to stop, and we have to demand that the votes be counted. If Don Seigelmen is ready to go to jail because he said the votes should be counted, shit let’s do it. We saw this in Serbia, we saw this in Peru, we’ve seen people in the Ukraine, people stand up and say, you can’t steal the fucking election, not from me. That’s it. So, we have to stay with it. That’s the Seven Demands, that we don’t shrug our shoulders and do an Al Gore.

Visit to buy the Billionaires & Ballots Bandits book and/or download the 7 Ways to Beat the Ballot Bandits poster for free.

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

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:


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

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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