A Haunted Childhood Courtesy of Wes Craven – A List of Nightmares

wesNine, Ten, never sleep again.

Walking to King Soopers at eight-years-old with a friend, having zero trouble from the clerk renting a copy of A Nightmare on Elmstreet and watching (through my fingers) Tina in a bloody t-shirt as she was dragged across the bedroom ceiling.

Johnny Depp not doing a funny accent or being weird and just acting, without pretense then being good enough to get murdered in a very bloody and wet way in a water bed with headphones on!

The appropriated and haunting nursery rhyme, “One two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix…” was repeated, mantra-like at the playground on the four square court to fuck with and or intimidate opponents into foul or error.

Seven, eight, better stay up late.

Dressing up like a child-murdering psychopath who was burned alive by a vigilante group of grieving parents and returning as a nightmare-controlling demon in a dirty red and green sweater seemed totally appropriate in 1985, for Halloween or just for fun.

With a little bit of effort and some resourcefulness, an old garden glove, four popsicle sticks, red magic markers and scotch tape made for a quick and dirty way to make a semi-decent Freddy glove or pair of “fingerknives…something he’d made himself. They made a horrible sound.” Extra points for using Grandpa’s dusty fedora.

Add some Mr. Pibb, handfuls of dime store candy and easily frightened siblings at a sleepover and the screams would wake the neighborhood at 3am.

Five, six, grab your crucifix.

Of all the well established global franchise cults, Catholicism has a corner on the market for being the most frightening, steeped in violence and blood rituals. Catholic school was constantly infiltrated by dark powers. Most of these forces manifested as whispered fart jokes, dick jokes or vile new curse words used to battle bullies on the monkey bars. After being kicked painfully in the tail bone by a knucklehead bully who, today, is likely a successful dentist, big game trophy hunter and card carrying asshat for life, I was asked not to return to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School for calling him a “retarded bastard shit mouth.” They took issue with the “bastard” part as they have fairly rigid strictures about sex out of wedlock. I also attribute my expulsion to my constant crude drawings of skeletons, demons and, yep, Freddy Krueger slicing and dicing through teenagers in skimpy outfits and the school’s Nuns in a rain of Crayola red blood and gore.

Three, four, better lock your door.

In the basement of my friend’s house we devoured Dream Warriors through multiple screenings. It was gritty. Punk rock. A world that still had Psychiatric Hospitals. Misfit suicidal kids from broken homes and estranged families were locked in a mental ward and terrorized by Krueger. Dream Warriors was the first Go Team-style film that really worked well. Each teen had a special skill they brought to the table to battle the master of nightmares.

Lagenkamp reprised her role as Nancy Thompson and had to follow through with some weird ritual burial of Krueger per her alcoholic father, played with aplomb by John Saxon. It was a return to form for the franchise after a fairly unsatisfying Nancy Drew/possession trope of the second film of the franchise, Freddy’s Revenge. Craven had story and screenwriting credit for Dream Warriors. It stared a young and volatile Patricia Arquette as Kristen Parker (and it seems fitting to add that by the time she played Alabama in True Romance she had her siren scream nailed down). Patricia’s angst and anger were palpable. Believable even if it was a little over-wrought.

Freddy was hilarious. Three had the best one-liners like Robert Englund’s famously ad-libbed Freddy line, “Welcome to Prime Time Bitch” as he shoves the head of teen speed lover into the television screen. Zsa Zsa Gabor and Dick Cavett made cameos! Laurence Fishburn. Naked boobies were visible in the scene with Joey, which turned out not so good for Joey.

We wore out the tape rewinding that bit, one of us checking the stairs for curious parents while the other hit pause at just the right moment [nipple framing]. Along with director Chuck Russell, Frank Darabont (Walking Dead) was involved in the rewrite and according to some shit I just googled, most of the original script by Craven was deemed too dark. Craven based the setting of Dream Warriors on a prison-like “tough love” institution that were common in the late 80’s and into the 90’s and run with fervor by religious zealots and unqualified “counselors.”

It’s hard enough being a teenager without worrying about getting shot for wearing a hooded sweatshirt while strolling through the neighborhood, but add abduction, idiot bureaucrats and Nurse Ratchet-like wardens and you’ve got a stellar recipe for nightmare juice.

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.

Wes Craven was a pioneer in the genre. Ahead of his time. Say what you will about franchises and the inherent cheesiness of the slasher genre. Craven created worlds (Nightmare, Scream) and tapped primal fears. Freddy’s Nightmares, an American Horror Anthology series that had two new stories per episode starring the how sweet, fresh meat of Brad Pitt and punk rock babe/Tank Girl, Lori Petty. Oh Lori Petty you were the bee’s knees in my adolescent fantasy.

Nightmare is being asleep and killed by your dreams. Strange to think about Craven’s body of work with the benefit of hindsight but those films seem much tamer by today’s standards.

You could turn on the news and have nightmares for weeks. Years if you’ve been paying attention since the Bush administration.

Craven was a brilliant creative force and he will be missed.

Thanks for the nightmares!

Rest in Peace.

You can check out the original script for Dream Warriors by Craven at http://nightmareonelmstreetfilms.com/site/films/a-nightmare-on-elm-street-3-dream-warriors/a-nightmare-on-elm-street-3-dream-warriors-scripts

Art and Dissent

Permit yourself to imagine.

Once accomplished, travel is unrestricted, borders nonexistent, walls breached.

How?

  • Words
  • Spray paint
  • Lines of code
  • Guitar
  • Microphone
  • Objet trouvé
  • Dance
  • March
  • Screen print
  • Sculpture
  • Décollage
  • Sticker bomb
  • Banner drop
  • Tree-sit
  • Occupy
  • Slingshot
  • Molotov
  • Barricade
  • Arm-lock
  • Film
  • Gas mask
  • Antacid and water
  • Fiction

Dissent is fluid.

And the energy generated as it passes through a medium?

Consider the variables contained in oppression, impunity and greed.

Each element behaves like velocity, temperature and density and movement is inevitable.

Our expectations of art are disrupted—subverted.

Remember the Chilean arpilleras? A people’s history of tragedy, torture and Desaparecidos woven into tapestries by garment workers—Madres, Hermanas y Abuelas—under the brutal Pinochet regime.

Listen to the music of Pete Seeger. The power of protest is embodied in song.
 An iconic image of a working class man with an inscription in black text on his banjo, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

Image and text by Barbara Kruger. Appropriate. Borrow. Reconfigure. 
In a haunting piece by the artist we are presented with the cropped décolletage of a woman, her neck and chin exposed and the text: “We will not become what we mean to you.”

Lauren Poitras is an Oscar and Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker and journalist. She produced, “My Country, My Country,” a film that exposed the turmoil caused by the occupation of Iraq by the United States military and the effect it had on both Iraqis and American soldiers. Poitras is consistently harassed by the Department of Homeland Security. 
Detained upon entry each time she returns to the U.S. from traveling abroad.

Journalists, Filmmakers, Artists and 
truth seekers—add them to the no-fly list,
 confiscate their electronics,
 surveil all communications.

Detain them. Intimidate them.
 Harass them to death.
 To “suicide.”

Like digital activist “hacker” Aaron Swartz?

Look at Kevin Carter’s, “Famine.”

The image of a starving Sudanese child on the ground with a hooded vulture standing sentinel in the background, netted the photojournalist a Pulitzer.
 Some time later, Carter drove to a favorite overlook—blue horizon and meditative rushing river drone—taped a hose to the exhaust pipe of his vehicle.

He died of carbon monoxide poisoning at 33.

For those haunted by experience and an excess of empathy, suicide may be a final rebellion.

Recall Thich Quang Duc immolating himself in protest of the Vietnam War?

A burning rage against the machinery of apathy.

In India, a quarter of a million farmers protested seed patents through suicide by ingesting pesticide supplied to them by Monsanto.

But is that Art?

The 2011 arrest on a trumped up tax charge and subsequent, temporary disappearance of Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, had Western supporters mounting a full campaign for his immediate release.

#releaseaiweiwei trended on Twitter.

Soon after, inexplicably, numerous shattered dynastic vases and knock offs adorn the steps of historical Chinese landmarks and consulates in Western cities.

Dissent art is situational and represents the possibility of a crucial narrative, not new but suppressed.

We’ve been locked into a singular system, which serves official culture.

Flummoxed by alternative thinking, critical thought asphyxiates under the touch screen.

The forty-pixel finger navigating through a pop culture shock architecture, finds many connections and little substance.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of the feminist punk group, Pussy Riot begins her two-year sentence for her participation in the bands February 2012 protest song and performance at Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

While at Penal Colony 14, Tolokno goes on hunger strike, citing the inhuman conditions and slave labor practices of the colony. She smuggles a letter, which is published later online, detailing her treatment. She is disappeared while in transit to a new prison camp in Siberia.

A single human brain is capable of processing 37 petaflops of data, rounding up, that makes one quadrillion calculations, give or take, per second.
 So, knowing the variables make it—art—difficult to quantify.

Emerging science suggests that within the next 18 months there will be a network of supercomputers capable of five times that amount of processing.

Art must penetrate this confounding and subvert the official narrative.

Open the between space.

Alyce Santoro articulated the role of Art recently in her “Manifesto for the Obvious International.” She writes: “Drawing on art’s infinite possibilities, system-defying agents are re-humanizing, de-commodifying, and debunking all manner of contrived contraries by creating barter systems, cooperative workspaces, soup kitchens, food forests, and street libraries. In societies based on an ever-intensifying quest not for peace, health, or contentment, but for “progress” (broadly defined as the drive toward maximization of personal convenience, or what social ecologist Murray Bookchin called “the fetishization of needs”)—strategies for existence that are participatory, inclusive and nonhierarchical, and that encourage the sharing of skills, ideas and resources (the maximization of meaning), are eminently subversive.”

Caveat emptor.

Temptations are everywhere.

We accept these little concessions without reading the service agreement and relinquish control for convenience—security for a sense of belonging.

In his latest collection of “quasi-essays and docufictions,“Revolutionary Brain” writer and critic Harold Jaffe offers, “Possibly the hardest factor for concerned younger artists to accept is that there will always be an incommensurateness between their imaginative efforts and results. The primary obligation is to not avert your eyes: to bear witness.”

Writers, artists and activists must refute official narratives.

The artist/revolutionary creates new methods of engagement, informing the discourse with immediacy.

Artists are in a unique position to engage directly with the established value system, call it into question and mobilize against it.

If a distinction between commercial and activist art no longer exists, the medium(s) an artist uses no longer need be relegated to a single surface or conversation.

Subversion happens while viewing.

Walls disintegrate and become canvas.

The canvas extends beyond the inner city, barrio, border to the wild.

Courage of the imagining mind.

Everett Collection Library of Congress March 2010

RIP Wuornos, Serial Killer

Wournos, Aileen

Final Interview

October 8, 2002

Florida State Prison, Bradford County, Florida

I was benighted amidst the yellow birch, conifer and sugar maple in the forests of the Midwest.

There I ran with the squirrels. In my child’s voice the song of the Scarlet Tanager echoed, harbinger of spring, my bared toes massaged the loam under hemlock and black oak.

The sky was wide. It offered a seamless verticality.

When the sun hung above the horizon, I felt, in my child’s body, a tensing of muscles, as if I was lifting something heavy.

Dirt and asphalt cut black scars through the hills.

For me, life was a matter of straying from the shoulder of roads.

Soon the forest gave way to concrete and the broken skyline of cities.

There I met the gritted teeth of the world.

There is a dream memory of me, floating above my child’s body.

It haunts me at night when the alcohol wears off.

I am motionless and lying on black, star print sheets, staring through the popcorn ceiling, peering at a life lived rogue, and a future I can’t imagine.

No, can’t hardly think of me an old woman. Ain’t no getting old.

I heard the nauseating sound of a chord struck, like strings out of tune on an old Dobro guitar.

In the dream memory I can make out his hairline, blocking out the dim sixty-watt hanging from the fixture, his thumbs pressing into my wrists, smell of his stale cigarette and Schlitz breath and see that stars of Dixie tattooed on his neck—my mother’s father—and a bright white light erupted from above.

Not until I heard my grandfather was dead, did the pieces fall together.

And your Father?

[Father was a pedo. Hung hisself in the Pen.]

The grace of Jesus. That’s what I thought it was then, that’s what I call it now, waiting here to die.

The light was a signal and a map.

Codified in pain, I was tasked—me—with removing from the world eight demonic entities.

This was a quest I couldn’t comprehend nor deny.

If you asked me, I would tell you, in my own street talk way, that I shifted from child to woman.

Like a manual shift transmission.

Fast and smooth like that Camaro I boosted with Tracy when we was on the lam from that fucking piece of S.H.I.T. Jasper.

Pressed, I would foreswear my childhood.

That the shift never occurred—was imperceptible—and that I was born an angel, with womanly parts and disposition.

You had a child at fourteen you gave up for adoption?

Ain’t gonna talk about that, okay?

No prob.

Here, this is where we enter the world of the transaction.

Somewhere, inside me, a vacuum.

They said I was too immature to grasp the finality of death.

Prosecutor was a condescending prick. ‘Scuse me for sayin’ so.

But my awareness stemmed not from a lack of maturity but a diamond honed sense of survival.

To avoid pain and embrace the reptilian.

Escaping pain became centrifugal.

A damaged and primitive child, I slipped through the teeth of the world and bared my own.

When I was at County I met an Indian lady, looked me in the eye and told me I was a container.

F-ing Tupperware, I says to her?

No, she told me that I contained everything; anguish, loneliness, sadness, anger and love poured into the hollow point between my sternum and above my pubic bone.

Trippy right?

Please continue.

 

Learning eventually that the foundation would always shift but the center wouldn’t never change, you know?

I rode the road.

Offered myself.

And the in between plushness of death, extended to the men I encountered.

Under cypress and the smell of wet soil, diesel and aftershave, I absorbed them into mine.

Gave my tender love to Boys who later died under the oily umbrella of a Kuwaiti sky.

In the low-lying hitchhiker’s thumb of the continent, skirting gators in the glades, lessons in the secrets of the transaction were practiced.

Meanwhile, I looked for the signs and signals of the eight.

See, violence in America is idiosyncratic.

I was further enlightened with a pistol in my rectum.

Back of some bastard’s Buick Le Sabre.

Hell fire of rubbing alcohol to wash away the evidence, his sin.

He was my first and when the hammer hit the firing pin, I shot true, relieving the world of the first of eight demons.

This was in?

Must have been ’round Thanksgiving, ’89.

Then it was the principle. The deputy. The businessman. The pastor.

You got any cigarettes?

 

Sure. Here.

 

Thanks [shrugs and motions towards her restraints].

 

[Exhaling]

 

That upon leaving this world I would be met by the holy trinity.

Those spirits would bear the names: sodium thiopental; Pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

 

What about the other homicides?

When I met them, each of them, my muscles tensed, mouth filled up with hot spit like when you’re about to puke. I’d hear with clarity the strumming of a badly out of tune guitar.

The notes, was always sour.

But it’s how I knew.

The dance I had to perform with them was always terribly painful and violent.

Getting punched in the mouth. Raped in the, you know, in the rear…

But I had faith.

With God. My Jesus was by my side, guiding my hand, sending those demons back to hell.

 

The used-car salesman. Unemployed high-school coach. Tax preparer. Bar tender from Pensacola.

Before I killed them, they asked me my secret.

What is your secret?

Call me Lee…

Top Twenty Semi-Context Free Concepts Purloined from John Berger

 

  1. Political resistance often begins in a meanwhile.
  2. The consumer is essentially somebody who feels, or is made to feel, lost, unless he or she is consuming.”
  3. Once, long ago, a future existed.
  4. HOW MUCH LONGER GLOBAL POWER IN D NUMB HAND OF DOSE WHO KNOW NUTHIN?
  5. The Eternal is meow.
  6. AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS

The most beautiful sea

hasn’t been crossed yet.

The most beautiful child

hasn’t grown up yet.

Our most beautiful days

We haven’t seen yet.

And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you

I haven’t said yet. – Hikmet

  1. One was born into this life to share the time that repeatedly exists between moments: the time of Becoming, before Being risks to confront one yet again with undefeated despair.
  2. In the war the dark is on nobody’s side; in love the dark confirms that we are together.
  3. Spray. Paint. The. Walls.
  4. Illuminated moments arrive by way of tenderness and love.
  5. Political resistance often begins in a meanwhile.
  6. The consumer is essentially somebody who feels, or is made to feel, lost, unless he or she is consuming.
  7. Are we approaching disconnections which amount to what can be called madness when found in the minds of those who believe they can rule the planet?
  8. Where do birds go when it rains?
  9. The wind got up in the night and took our plans away (Chinese proverb).
  10. There is a very direct relationship today between the minutes of meetings and minutes of agony.
  11. Happiness is what pierces grief.
  12. Spay/Neuter
  13. The memory of the dead existing in timelessness may be thought of as a form of imagination concerning the possible, the imagination is close to (resides in) God; but I do not know how.

i.)             God is an astronaut

ii.)            God is an anachronism

iii.)           God is a frozen goat’s milk yogurt honey lavender popsicle 

 

  1. Purchase a large 20’ x 10’ strip of painting canvas from local hardware store. Add one of the above quotes using can of Krylon. Display barely legible banner from freeway overpass. Try not to die while hanging banner.

a.)  Feel more alive

b.)  Feel less dead

c.)  Feel between breaths

 

 *1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19 from John Berger’s Hold Everything Dear. 

 

Image 

Raised Lettering, Jesus…Guns

A Military optics manufacturer supplied targeting scopes to US and Allied troops in [______] and [______] referencing scripture verses featuring, “2COR4:6” and “JN8:12” in raised letters.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians reads: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness.”

And John 8:12 reads: ‘I am the light of the world.”

Amidst controversy, the manufacturer of the “Jesus Guns” offered 100 modification kits to remove the inscriptions.

Roughly 250,000 of the targeting scopes are in service.

GooQuery 1: effects of light pollution during combat.

GooQuery 2: what would Jesus do, in a combat zone. 

Draft 1 Printed in Pacific Review 2011: Revolt

Available at Amazon

Federal Bureau of In Your Face Book

The F.B.I. has entered the social networking space creating phony profiles in an effort to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize dissidents.

Distant acquaintances and “friends” who post: at the gym; waiting in line; guess who got tickets to the Superbowl? or other insufferable humble brags and literal “in the moment” activities, attention seeking narcissism or uninformed political bating while sharing pictures in grammatically/syntactically incorrect prose are, quite possibly, bored and overpaid analysts @ Quantico.

Printed in Pacific Review 2011: Revolt

Available at Amazon

*In light of the Edward Snowden’s revelations last year regarding the NSA’s massive data collection program, this piece, though speculative when I wrote it, can easily be edited/redacted in a few places. For example, F.B.I. changed to NSA and Quantico, changed to Fort Meade.

Facebook_welcome

 

Designer Rebel

Espousing Jihad Chic: Olive Drab Shemagh Kafiya; Duo-tone Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses; Desert-Camo iPhone Case; Versace bomb belt; hand-sewn Cavalli bandolier; Kalashnikov w/ USB and headphone jack (dig the latest Faakhir Mehmood); KidRobot branded SIM-card reprogrammer (screen printed to look like an IED).

Balaà, coolest mutha fuckin’ insurgent in Karachi.

 

Printed in Pacific Review 2011: Revolt

Available at Amazon

designerrebel